The famous National Baseball Hall of Fame is located in Cooperstown, New York. Earning a place there is one of the greatest honors a baseball player can ever achieve in Major League Baseball. It’s a shining validation of their skills and achievements during their careers.
But while some athletes are obvious candidates, others will never make it in. Most of the time it’s because they’re simply not quite good enough, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, players are removed from consideration even though their stats and awards have been phenomenal. So today, we’re going to look at 30 stars who could have made the Hall of Fame but most likely never will. Many of them are drug cheats. However, there are a few others who didn’t take PEDs but ended up eliminated for other reasons.
There are two main reasons why Garciaparra isn’t in the Hall of Fame. First of all, his brilliance came before the Red Sox started winning World Series titles. As a result, he never received the respect that he deserved. He batted a .372 average in 2000. For those keeping records, that’s the highest average by a right-handed batter in the post-war era. There’s no surprise that he’s a six-time All-Star.
Another reason why he has yet to enter the hallowed halls of Cooperstown is because of those PED accusations that he is unable to shake. Of course, they remain allegations but it definitely hasn’t helped his case. Garciaparra had six great seasons in MLB when he really was one of the best players in the sport. However, it seems like the Hall of Fame has passed him by.
Beltre, like many of his contemporaries, is unable to shake the feeling that he used PEDs for an unfair advantage. Although, it’s possible to argue that because so many MLB stars used them, it just created a level playing field. However, Beltre was one of the best players in the league during his time with the Dodgers, Mariners, and finally the Texas Rangers. His resume speaks for itself.
A four-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner, Beltre was a superb all-around player. However, the reason he isn’t in Cooperstown is because of the final years of his career. After a decline in performance, he turned up to preseason training more muscular and in better condition than before. Suspicions instantly arose although nobody has ever been able to prove anything. But it kept him out of the Hall of Fame.
A phenomenal presence for both the Minnesota Twins and the New York Mets, Santana was an excellent player. He posted the only no-hitter in Mets’ history but somehow is not in the Hall of Fame. Considering his many other achievements, this seems bizarre. The Venezuelan was a brilliant pitcher but somehow the voters haven’t considered him ready for a place in Cooperstown.
A four-time All-Star, Santana won Gold Glove and two AL Cy Young Awards. Meanwhile, he did enough to enshrine himself in the Twins’ franchise Hall of Fame but hasn’t convinced the masses that he deserves a place in the national annals. Only time will tell if he makes it, but the problem for many athletes is that fans quickly forget about them. Let’s hope that’s not the case with Santana.
Foster is definitely one of the best players not to be in the Hall of Fame. Some players don’t have a high enough percentage to deserve a place in Cooperstown, but Foster’s list of achievements should surely be enough. However, it looks like it is never going to happen. A five-time All-Star and two-time All-Star with the Cincinnati Reds, Foster was one of the franchise’s most important players throughout the ’70s.
Despite this, he has yet to receive baseball’s highest honor. Sure, his numbers declined dramatically when he joined the New York Mets, but he surely did enough in Cincinnati to prove his worthiness. Foster lasted for four seasons on the Hall of Fame ballots but it seems like he will never make it. Is that fair? No, probably not, but that’s the way it works. At least he has a place in the Reds’ own Hall of Fame.
Davis had an outstanding career with the Cincinnati Reds. The power-hitting outfielder was unbelievable in 1986. He stole 80 bases along with 27 home runs. Then, he continued his brilliance up until 1990. A two-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winner, and a two-time Silver Slugger winner, he has all the accolades to deserve a place in Cooperstown. And he even won a World Series ring.
But it looks like he has missed his chance of selection. Colon cancer and kidney problems affected his career throughout the ’90s, although he did bounce back to have the best statistical year of his career in 1998 with the Orioles. Fans of a certain generation will agree that he was one of the best baseball players that they had ever seen. However, memories are short.
For three years from 2002-2004, Gagne was the best closer in the game. A Cy Young Award winner, he was also a three-time All-Star. During that period he set a major league record by converting 84 consecutive save opportunities. However, he’s also a self-confessed drug cheat.
After the release of the Mitchell Report, Gagne openly admitted to cheating. He took HGH to stimulate the repair of his knee. But that also kills his chances of being a future Hall of Famer. All those numbers mean nothing when you’ve tried to exploit the system.
‘Big Papi’ has always denied knowingly taking steroids. But that just doesn’t cut it. Ranked 17th on baseball’s all-time home run list, he’s also a 10-time All-Star, a three-time World Series champion, and a seven-time Silver Slugger winner. Those are magnificent accolades.
Among designated hitters, he is the all-time leader in MLB history for home runs (485), RBIs (1,569), and hits (2,192). However, Oritz was one of 104 players who reportedly tested positive for PEDs when MLB surveyed all of baseball back in 2003. Overall, that’s what’s holding him back.
The 2005 All-Star Game MVP looked like he had a decent shot at the Hall of Fame. A six-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, he also played in a remarkable 1,152 consecutive games. The Dominican shortstop played for six teams, most notably the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles.
But then he had to go and ruin it all by lying to Congress. On August 17, 2013, MLB suspended Tejada for 105 games for violating MLB’s drug policy. It was the third-longest suspension of all-time. That’s what happens if you’re one of the faces of the Mitchell Report. We don’t feel sorry for him.
Moyer is one of only 29 players in baseball history to have appeared in MLB games in four decades. His longevity is absolutely astounding. He is the active pitching leader in virtually every category. The former Mariner has 269 wins and nearly 2,500 strikeouts. He also holds the Major League record for most home runs allowed with 522.
But a single All-Star appearance in 25 years says a lot. Usually, the Hall of Fame s less interested in the length of your career and more about the numbers. His ERA of 4.25 is much too high for the Hall. While he has been consistently very good, he’s never been elite. In short, he’ll have to settle for the Mariners’ Hall of Fame.
Abreu has a compelling case to be in the Hall of Fame. He slashed .291/.395/.475 in his career. Abreu had 2,470 hits and stole 400 bases. He played in more than 150 games in 13 consecutive seasons (1998-2010), while his 1,990 games in right field rank 11th on the all-time list.
Are they the greatest numbers by a right fielder? No, but Cooperstown has been more generous to lower-ranked players than him. Unfortunately, Abreu played during the steroid era. Despite being a two-time All-Star, he never had a top-10 MVP finish so it will be tough to make the Hall.
Giambi effectively replaced Mark McGwire with the Oakland Athletics. Too bad he decided to follow in his footsteps too closely. The five-time All-Star hit excellent numbers in his prime but suffered a dip in the middle of his career. There was only an outside chance of him making the Hall of Fame anyway.
But the Balco Scandal really killed his chances. Giambi openly admitted to using several steroids throughout his career including HGH. Furthermore, he apologized to the public and urged his fellow professionals not to take banned substances in the future.
One of the rare few to get a free pass for PED use from fans, Pettite still isn’t in the Hall of Fame. A member of the ‘Core Four,’ the pitcher helped the New York Yankees to four championships in the ’90s. Among Yankees pitchers, Pettitte ranks first in strikeouts, third in wins, and is tied for first in games started.
He also won the most games of any pitcher in the 2000s. But he admitted to using human growth hormone to help recover from an elbow injury. Pettite’s connection to the Mitchell Report makes it unlikely he’ll need to book tickets to Cooperstown anytime soon.
One of those players who just falls short, Dunn was the 50th player in MLB history to get 400 home runs. He finished his career with an at-bat per home run ratio of 14.89, according to Baseball-Reference, placing him 11th all-time. Dunn is in the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame but he’s unlikely to make the national edition anytime soon.
Ranked third on the all-time strikeout list at the time of his retirement, with 2,379, Dunn has the fourth-most Golden sombreros at 19. He also holds the American League record for most strikeouts in a season with 222, which he set in 2012. He’s listed for the 2020 installment, but can he get enough votes?
A Houston Astros legend, Oswalt is a perfect example of a player who had a very good career that falls just short of brilliance. Unfortunately for him, this makes it highly unlikely he’ll see the Hall of Fame. A two-time All-Star, he never won a Cy Young Award.
While he does have excellent numbers for the Astros, his overall statistics simply don’t do it. Oswalt was dominant in his 20s and has a great strikeout-to-walk total. However, that just doesn’t cut it when we’re talking about the elite. If there was a second-tier Hall of Fame, he would be the perfect fit.
Of course, Vazquez is nowhere near Hall of Fame contention right now. But based on the way he was playing for the Pirates, there was genuine hope of him being there one day in the future. After becoming a two-time All-Star in successive years, his ceiling looked high.
But then he had to go and ruin it all by being a child abuser. Police arrested him for having sexual relations with a child and for possessing child pornography. Now instead of building a legacy that could one time see him enshrined as an all-time great, he’s going to spend time behind bars.
‘Big Sexy’ is unlikely to get near the Hall of Fame despite his lengthy MLB career. The Dominican holds the most wins by a Latin American player in league history. He also became the oldest player to hit their first home run when he did so at age 42. He was also the last active player to have played for the Montreal Expos.
However, Colon’s longevity hasn’t come without suspicion. Critics have accused him of using testosterone and other substances to lengthen his career. This hasn’t helped his case for a place in Cooperstown. Many other suspected PED users haven’t made it to the Hall despite having better resumes than Colon.
Before his tragic death, Munson was a Hall of Famer in the making. The former Yankees star died in a plane crash in 1979. A seven-time All-Star, Munson won three Gold Gloves, the 1970 AL Rookie of the Year, the 1976 AL MVP, and two World Series championships.
However, the former Yankees’ captain has failed to get the votes necessary to enter the Hall of Fame. Harsh though it may seem, voters have been unimpressed with his figures. They’re apparently more interested in what was than what could have been.
It’s hardly a secret that Hamilton has had serious issues with drugs throughout his life. They were the main impediment to his career and also the main reason why a Hall of Fame spot looks out of reach for him. Does he deserve to be there? Five All-Stars and three Silver Slugger awards, as well as excellent stats definitely make you pause.
He was also immensely popular, but that doesn’t count for anything when addiction comes into play. In 2019, police arrested Hamilton for alleged child abuse. We don’t think the MLB will be honoring him anytime soon because his record is just too messy.
On paper, it’s bemusing that Schilling isn’t in the Hall of Fame. Of post-19th century pitchers, Schilling has the second-highest JAWS of any pitcher not in the Hall of Fame behind Roger Clemens. In his career, Schilling posted a 3.46 ERA, a 1.137 WHIP, and 3,116 strikeouts with an 8.6 K/9 rate.
However, Schilling has not always made himself popular with management and other players. Furthermore, his political views have ostracized him as well. In short, it’s not just his ability on the field that has been taken into consideration – it’s his personality as well.
Twice suspended for steroid use, the MLB hasn’t forgiven 12-time All-Star Ramirez. The first of those came in 2009 after he had already hit 526 home runs. The second came after he made a desperate attempt to extend his career. If he had just retired in 2008, the chances are he’d eventually be in Cooperstown.
With a career batting average of .315, he’s up there with the best. His 21 grand slams are third all-time, and his 29 postseason home runs are the most in MLB history. Ramirez also won two World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox. Will MLB reconsider one day?
One of baseball’s most powerful and dominant hitters, McGwire did have serious issues staying healthy during his career. But all of a sudden, he became an unbreakable powerhouse. While his career .263 average isn’t too impressive, the .394 OBP and .588 slugging percentage more than makeup for it.
Don’t expect to see his name enshrined in Cooperstown anytime soon though. Like so many players on this list, his alleged PED use keeps him out of the discussion. It’s too bad that it turned out that way because his impact on the sport in the nineties was massive.
One of only six players in MLB history to hit over 600 home runs, Sosa was a megastar in the nineties. He’s also the only man to top 60 home runs in a season on three separate occasions. The Dominican was a seven-time All-Star and a six-time Silver Slugger award winner.
But the Mitchell Report crushed his hopes of becoming a Hall of Famer. One of the most high-profile players implicated by the scandal, he has always denied taking performance-enhancing drugs. But he would do that, wouldn’t he? Cooperstown won’t be opening its doors to him anytime soon.
Sheffield enjoyed a lengthy MLB career, playing for eight different teams. His longest single spell was with the Florida Marlins. Known for his savage power and pinpoint control, Sheffield was one of the scariest hitters to face in the game. Described as a 38-caliber bullet, it took a brave man to stand in front of him.
With a World Series and nine All-Star awards to his name, you’d think he’d be a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, the Mitchell Report and BALCO Scandal ended his hopes of that ever happening. He’s working as a player agent.
Things didn’t just end badly for Palmeiro, they totally collapsed. A first baseman and left fielder for the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles, he put up some magnificent numbers during his playing days. A four-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner, his place in the Hall of Fame looked inevitable.
But then his banned substance use came back to bite him. In 2005, he told Congress that he never took steroids. However, he was then one of the faces of the Mitchell Report. In short, humiliation was the worst result for him. That’s what you get for being a cheat.
Nicknamed Mr. Clean, many people struggle to find reasons why Garvey isn’t in the Hall-of-Fame. His popularity speaks for itself. He was a 10-time All-Star, a Most Valuable Player, a four-time Gold Glove winner, a two-time All-Star Game MVP, and a two-time MVP of the National League Championship Series.
With 19 seasons and four World Series appearances under his belt, you’d think his Hall of Fame induction would be guaranteed. However, he always falls short in voting. Many cite his lack of 3,000 hits (he had 2,599) and 400 home runs (he hit 272). Oh, and all of those children out of wedlock don’t help either.
The Mitchell Report exposed Clemens just like many of his fellow professionals. First of all, let’s talk about his record. Clemens retired with a 3.12 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP, 4,672 strikeouts, and a record seven Cy Young Awards. Those are definitely Hall of Fame-worthy numbers.
But it’s generally accepted that he was using PEDs late in his career. In short, this allowed him to keep playing later at a high level when he otherwise may not have been able to. That’s simply unacceptable in the realm of fair sports. His bank balance probably helps him sleep easily though.
One of the most high-profile victims of the Mitchell Report, Rodriguez definitely won’t be making the Hall of Fame in this universe. One of the faces of the Biogenesis baseball scandal, Rodriguez admitted to using PEDs during his time with the Texas Rangers.
It was a slap in the face for fans of the youngest ever player to hit 500 home runs. In 2013, the MLB hit him with a 211-game suspension for his involvement in the scandal. Later, they reduced it to 162 games so he missed the entire 2014 season.
A member of the notorious ‘Black Sox,’ ‘Shoeless’ Joe was the only one with a claim to be a Hall of Famer. In 1919, the MLB banned eight Chicago White Sox players for life for conspiring to throw the World Series. His .356 career batting average remains the third-highest in history.
But Jackson got his just desserts. He was a great player, however, he also betrayed the integrity of the game. In the end, he died a broken man after several attempts at literally begging the MLB to let him play again failed. Match-fixing is never a good idea.
Arguably the best player absent from the Hall of Fame, Bonds has achieved so much in the game. But the problem is that his name is now as tainted as the ‘supplements’ so many players took during his era. He received a record seven NL MVP awards, eight Gold Glove awards, a record 12 Silver Slugger awards, and 14 All-Star selections.
But he’s been a central figure in baseball’s doping scandal. In 2007, a court even indicted him for perjury and obstruction of justice. When you factor in his wild performances, you have to wonder if he was always playing cleanly. In sum, many people don’t think so.
Will MLB ever just get over this? Rose is one of the greatest players in the history of the league, but because he gambled on games, he’s never going to make the Hall-of-Fame. It’s a unique case on this list. In short, he’s a three-time World Series champion, 17-time All-Star, and two-time Golden Glove winner.
Those are some outstanding accolades. Meanwhile, his 4,256 hits are an MLB record. But the league effectively banished him from the Hall-of-Fame in 1989 for violating the gambling code. It’s a shame, however, you could also argue that it was self-inflicted. Maybe they’ll one day forgive him.