Who Are The Best Baseball Players Not In The Hall Of Fame?
The National Baseball Hall of Fame, based in Cooperstown, New York, is the official museum in which the greatest Major League Baseball players are honored. Athletes make it into Cooperstown by gaining the votes of an extremely selective committee. It is nearly impossible to narrow down players that deserve to be in the Hall of Fame but are not on the shortlist. In fact, it’s something baseball fans spend hours debating. This article covers the top five baseball players never to receive an induction into the prestigious Hall of Fame.
The Best Baseball Players Not in The Hall of Fame
The list below represents the five best baseball players who are not in the Hall of Fame, from the best on down.
- Pete Rose
- Barry Bonds
- Roger Clemens
- Alex Rodriguez
- Lou Whitaker
1. Pete Rose
Pete Rose is nearly inarguably the best baseball player not enshrined in the Natinoal Baseball Hall of Fame. Rose primarily played first base for the Cincinnati Reds from 1963-1986. Rose was often referred to as “Charlie Hustle” for his speed on the bases.
Most impressively, he holds the all-time MLB hit record, at 4,256 career hits. This statistic alone would surely guarantee him Cooperstown status if not for a betting scandal he was engrossed in during his years as Cincinnati’s manager. When the details of Rose’s gambling on MLB games were revealed, he received a lifetime ban from the Hall of Fame. Rose has appealed for his ban to be lifted, but thus far, his pleas have been denied.
2. Barry Bonds
Another surefire bet for the Hall of Fame, if not for steroid usage, is left fielder Barry Bonds. Bonds was a home run king for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants from 1989-2007.
Although some discredit the record because of the Performance Enhancing Drugs Bonds was using, he still holds the MLB record for most home runs in a season, smacking an outrageous 73 balls out of the park in 2001. More than this, in his career, Bonds hit 762 home runs, also a professional baseball record. 2022 was Bonds’ last year of eligibility for Hall of Fame voting, and he was once again denied the honor.
3. Roger Clemens
Roger Clemens was a Major League Baseball pitcher for 24 years (1984-2007), spending most of his career with the Boston Red Sox. Clemens also pitched for the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, and Houston Astros. Clemens was nothing short of a star, holding not only ninth place on the MLB record list for wins, but also third place for all-time strikeouts (354 and 4,672, respectively).
Clemens also holds the record number of Cy Youngs collected, winning seven of these prestigious awards over the course of his career. Although Clemens was never held legally accountable for denying steroid usage, and although he never tested positive for PEDs, his trainer recorded that the pitcher used them. Seemingly, this accusation has been enough to keep Clemens out of Cooperstown.
4. Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez was a shortstop and third baseman for the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and New York Yankees from 1994-2016. Not only was Alex Rodriguez a star infielder, earning two Gold Gloves, but he was also an incredible hitter. From 2000-2009, Rodriguez hit 435 home runs, leading the MLB for the decade. The only professional baseball player to hit more home runs than this in 10 seasons was Babe Ruth, with 467.
Since A-Rod only retired recently, his name has only been eligible for Hall of Fame ballots twice thus far. However, if the Hall of Fame voters continue their typical trend of denying PED users induction, this 14-time All-Star will never make the cut, as Rodriguez’s biggest scandal (aside from his demeanor) was his being found guilty of using PEDs in 2013.
5. Lou Whitaker
Lou Whitaker is the only player on this list whose lack of Hall of Fame induction is not associated with any scandals. Instead, it unfortunately seems that Whitaker’s legacy as a baseball player is simply underrated. Whitaker was a career-long Detroit Tiger, playing second base from 1977-1995. Whitaker was Rookie of the Year in his 1977 season, and he never really slowed down after that.
He collected 244 career home runs and 1,084 career RBIs. He and teammate Alan Trammell were known for consistently turning double plays. Whitaker was a five-time All-Star, won three Gold Gloves, and won a World Series with the Tigers. However, despite all of that, Whitaker has never been voted into the Hall of Fame, repeatedly being snubbed by the selection committee.