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.