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One of the big nights of the offseason is the announcement of who has been elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. That comes on January 23rd.
To be elected, a player must receive 75 percent of the vote of 10-year members of the BBWAA. A candidate can remain on the ballot for 10 years as long as he receives at least 5 percent of the vote.
For those who don’t get elected by the BBWAA, there’s another avenue, and those are the Era committees, which consider players who didn’t get the 75 percent. They also consider managers, executives and umpires who aren’t voted upon.
This year, longtime major league manager Jim Leyland was voted in by an Era committee. It’s a much smaller group that votes, 16 in all—with longtime baseball executives, Hall of Fame players and media members in that group. Twelve votes (75 percent) are required.
In many ways, those committee votes are much harder to predict than the annual BBWAA elections. The ballots are secret and the electorate changes annually.
There are many players who deserve consideration who weren’t elected by the BBWAA. Let’s look at 10 of them.
This seven-time All-Star was named Rookie of the Year with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1964 and Most Valuable Player with the Chicago White Sox in 1971.
Allen was a feared slugger with a .912 OPS. He hit 351 home runs, slamming 30 or more six times.
He never topped 20 percent in the years he was on the writers’ ballot, but he’s been a finalist in Era committees before, and fell one vote short of election twice, the last time in 2021. He should get in next year.
Best known for his outstanding 19 years as a Boston Red Sox outfielder, Evans finished his career in 1991 with the Orioles.
He won eight Gold Gloves, but strangely the rightfielder has a negative defensive WAR (Wins Above Replacement) for his career. His overall WAR was Hall-worthy, 67.2 .
He was overshadowed by teammates Fred Lynn and Jim Rice, and his outstanding .370 on-base percentage, nearly 100 points higher than his batting average, helped give him an .840 OPS.
Evans hit 385 home runs, and he led the American League with 22 in the strike-shortened 1981 season.
He never received more than 10.4 percent in any of the three ballots he appeared on.
Garvey was one of the most popular players of his era and was always a fan favorite in All-Star voting. He was an NL All-Star 10 times.
I’ve always believed Garvey should be in the Hall. He was the best player on five postseason teams and hit .338 with a .910 OPS in 55 postseason games.
Garvey had 2,599 hits, and had 200 or more hits six times.
He doesn’t stand out to the analytic crowd with just a 38.0 WAR, winning four Gold Gloves as a first baseman with an -11.6 defensive WAR.
Despite his acclaim, Garvey never received more than 42.6 percent of the vote in the BBWAA election.
Grich was a six-time All-Star and a four-time Gold Glover as a second baseman.
In many ways, he was overlooked when he was playing and received just a handful of votes (2.6 percent) the only time he was on the ballot in 1992.
I voted for Chase Utley, whose stats are similar to Grich’s, but Grich’s WAR is 71.1 in part thanks to a 16.8 defensive WAR.
While he’s not even the most deserving second base candidate on this list — Lou Whitaker is — Grich, who played seven of his 17 seasons with the Orioles, should get some recognition.
When Hernandez played with the New York Mets in the 1980s, he was considered the heart and soul of that wild team.
He won an astounding 11 Gold Gloves as a first baseman, and when Hernandez was with the Cardinals, he shared the Most Valuable Player with Dave Parker in 1979.
Hernandez never hit 20 home runs in a season, and hit just 162 in his 17-season career.
His lifetime average was .296 and thanks to drawing more walks than strikeouts, Hernandez had an outstanding .384 on-base percentage and an .821 OPS.
While he doesn’t fit the power-hitting first baseman stereotype, he was a unicorn there and deserves serious consideration despite never reaching 25 percent in the vote.
No, he doesn’t deserve to be in the Hall of Fame because a famous elbow surgery was named after him.
John has the most wins of any 20th-century pitcher, except for Roger Clemens, who’s not in the Hall of Fame.
Jim Kaat, who was voted in two years ago, has eerily similar stats. So do a whole host of Hall of Fame pitchers (Robin Roberts, Bert Blyleven, Ferguson Jenkins, Tom Glavine and others).
He was 288-231 with a 3.34 ERA in 26 seasons, pitching until he was 46.
John played on five postseason teams with the Dodgers, Yankees and Angels, and was 6-3 with a 2.65 ERA in 14 games.
He peaked with 31.7 percent of the vote in 2009.
He appeared on just one Hall of Fame ballot and was removed after garnering just 3.2 percent of the vote in 2013.
Lofton is primarily remembered for his fine play as a centerfielder for Clevelan in the 1990s, and it’s astounding that he played with 11 teams in his 17-season big league career.
His 622 stolen bases are good for 15th most in baseball history, and he was a good hitter, with a lifetime average of .299,
Lofton was a six-time All-Star and won four Gold Gloves.
It was an injustice to see him fall off the writers’ ballot so quickly.
How could a player with two MVP awards, seven All-Star Games, five Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers not be in the Hall of Fame?
Murphy isn’t because his career went south in his early 30s.
He was a great Atlanta Brave outfielder just before the Braves got competitive in the ’90s, and his counting numbers weren’t all that great. Murphy finished two home runs short of .400 and hit .265, though he did have an .815 OPS.
Murphy was an authentic guy who campaigned against steroid use but wasn’t helped by a 46.5 WAR. Like Hernandez, he never got a quarter of the vote in his 15 years on the BBWAA ballot.
He was on the Era committee ballot in 2022 but wasn’t elected.
Adrian Beltré is a sure thing to be voted into the Hall of Fame as a third baseman on January 23rd.
I’d be shocked if Nettles was ever voted in.
He had the misfortune to play third base in the late years of Brooks Robinson and concurrently with George Brett and Mike Schmidt, all surefire Hall of Famers.
Because of the competition, Nettles won only two Gold Gloves and hit only .248, extremely low for a Hall of Fame candidate. His .750 OPS doesn’t stand out, but his play at third did.
Nettles owned the 1978 World Series for the Yankees at third, as Robinson did the 1970 World Series for the Orioles.
He hit 390 home runs in 22 years, and thanks to his 21.4 defensive WAR, he has a total WAR of 67.9.
Nettles played until he was 44, and he received scant attention from voters in his four times on the ballot, but his stats are similar to Ron Santo, a Hall of Famer who was also shunned in the BBWAA vote and had to wait for a more friendly electorate.
Whitaker played on one of the best teams of the last 40 years, the 1984 Detroit Tigers, who won 35 of their first 40 games and went on to win the World Series.
He played in the days before anyone knew what WAR was, but his 75.1 demonstrates both his offensive and defensive excellence.
Whitaker was a three-time Gold Glover at second base and a four-time Silver Slugger.
In his only time on the ballot in 2001, Whitaker got only 2.9 percent of the vote and hasn’t been up for consideration by an Era committee yet.
The three players his stats are most similar to are Ryne Sandberg, his longtime teammate Alan Trammell, and Roberto Alomar.
Call for questions: I’ll be answering Orioles questions next week. Please email your questions to: [email protected].
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