One of my favorite, and many other baseball writers’ topics is the Hall of Fame. Who should be in? Who shouldn’t?
Fangraphs, the innovative baseball website asked 22 writers, including me, who they thought were the three best players not in the Hall of Fame.
Many of the writers chose deserving players: Tim Raines, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio were the top four choices. I think all four may make the Hall relatively soon. All four received support from over 50 percent of the voters; 75 percent is needed.
I concentrated on those players I thought had been overlooked. It’s often the case that player’s careers have to be digested and thought about for some years before they get enough support to get in. This was the case with Tony Perez and Bert Blyleven, whose support steadily grew until they were finally elected.
Jack Morris, who finished second behind Biggio in last winter’s balloting, is another whose support has grown. Whether he’ll make it in his final year of eligibility from the Baseball Writers is unknown.
My three were Jim Kaat, Lou Whitaker and Steve Garvey, and my reasoning can be found here.
Kaat never came close to election, didn’t ever reach 30 percent support. Tommy John, whose stats were eerily similar to Kaat’s didn’t get much more support, either. Many other pitchers with similar stats: Robin Roberts, Ferguson Jenkins and Blyleven, are in the Hall.
Of the 20 players listed by the writers, I could make a logical case for perhaps three-quarters of them. Babe Adams and Minnie Minoso were before my time. So was Gil Hodges, but as a native Brooklynite, I’ve certainly heard enough about him to think he’s a credible pick.
I couldn’t consider Dick Allen, whose longevity doesn’t measure up. He didn’t have a good year after age 32. Nor Dwight Gooden, whose reckless off-field behavior truncated a potential legendary career.
It was a fun exercise, and I appreciate Fangraphs for asking me, and I hope you’ll have fun coming up with your own overlooked three.