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Baseball Hall of Fame: The Best Candidates

Who are the best players not in the Baseball Hall of Fame, who should be admitted? Who are the top candidates for the Hall of Fame? I have included players with known steroid "issues" in a separate category at the bottom of this page. Personally, I think they should all be judged on what they did on the field because the Hall of Fame is far from a company of angels. Some of the best players were of questionable character and actions, including three of the biggest names: Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby and Cap Anson. Perhaps put an asterisk by their names, but keeping great players out of the HOF because of "morals" makes no sense to me, considering some of the players who are already in. In any case, here are my rankings, for whatever they're worth. For people in a hurry, I will start with my top ten picks in each category. I will then provide more details, reasons, and perhaps some rationalizations ...

Top Ten Regardless of ERA and Eligibility: Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre, Derek Jeter, Curt Schilling, Larry Walker
Top Ten "Snubs" Who Should Be Elected: Bad Bill Dahlen, Jim McCormick, Ted Simmons, Kevin Brown, Lou Whitaker, Bobby Grich, Jim Glasscock, Kenny Lofton, Scott Rolen, Reggie Smith
Top Ten Young Guns: Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw, Mookie Betts, Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger, Aaron Judge, Francisco Lindor, Jose Altuve, Kris Bryant, Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado
Short and Sweet (*): Smoky Joe Wood, Thurman Munson, Dizzy Trout, Bret Saberhagen, Dale Murphy, George Foster, Charlie Keller, Pete Browning, Mike Donlin, Benny Kauff

(*) By "Short and Sweet" I mean players who had shorter careers with super-high peaks. Why not induct the very best players with shorter careers, since that's already been done with players like Dizzy Dean, Sandy Koufax, Ralph Kiner, Hack Wilson, Hank Greenberg, Joe Gordon, Earle Combs, George Wright, Ross Youngs, Kirby Puckett, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella and Monte Irvin?

Needless to say, in a few years Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw will head this list. For now I have a separate category for younger players where I rank them within their age groups by the WAR they've accumulated. Trout is so far ahead of everyone in his age group that he seems to be playing an entirely different game, on some planet where the laws of gravity don't apply. At the tender age of 27 he's already passed 180 hall-of-famers in WAR, usually in half the playing time or less. So it should come as no surprise that none of Trout's peers are remotely close to him. And Trout keeps widening the gap, with one 10-WAR season after another. Recently, I've been amused to hear alleged "experts" talk about Trout being in a "slump" in 2019. They must not comprehend statistics like OBP, OPS+ and WAR, because Trout's worst "slump" is better than nearly everyone else's best season ever. From what I've read, he's never gone more than two games without getting on base. What sort of "slump" is that? If we factor intentional bases on balls into his OBP, he's getting on base every other plate appearance. That's Babe Ruth and Ted Williams territory. But in any case, I'm going to start off with eligible players, players who should be eligible aside from highly dubious "morality," and superstars who will be retiring soon. Then I will get to Mr. Trout and explain why my WAR-per-age analysis makes me suspect he's an alien ...

(#1) Pete Rose is the all-time leader in games played, winning games played, plate appearances, at-bats, hits and times on base. Anyone who thinks he "wasn't dynamic" hasn't been paying attention. Rose's WAR7 puts him squarely between Al Simmons and Ralph Kiner, and ahead of Goose Goslin, Tim Raines, Billy Williams, Joe Medwick and Willie Stargell. If they were dynamic players, as they obviously were, then quite obviously Rose was too. Yes, he gambled. So did Rogers Hornsby. Yes, Rose was a bad boy at times. Ty Cobb was worse. Keeping Rose out of the HOF at this point is a triumph of hypocritical puritanism over common sense. Rose was super-productive in his time, He did exactly what he was supposed to do, which was get on base and set the table for the Big Red Machine's stable of sluggers. He scored LOTS of runs: 2,165 to be exact. He had more total bases than Gehrig, Foxx, Ott and Mantle. Hell, he finished just 47 total bases short of Babe Ruth. Who cares if anyone likes him? Lots of people didn't like Cobb and he was the first player elected to the HOF. Let him in!

(#2) Shoeless Joe Jackson. Ditto the argument above. Shoeless Joe Jackson has the second-highest OPS+ and WAR per 162 games among right fielders, trailing only Babe Ruth. He compares with Tris Speaker, who conspired with Ty Cobb to fix at least one game, in order to split an end-of-year player bonus. The Hall of Fame is not a Hall of Angels. Let him in!

(#3) Albert Pujols should be a "mortal lock" as a first-ballot inductee into the HOF. He has 100 career WAR to go with a glittering 148 OPS+. Even in his declining years with bad wheels The Machine continues to crank out 20-30 homers and 80-100 RBI per year. Pujols compares with Jimmie Foxx, Mike Schmidt and Frank Robinson as an all-time slugger. Pujols is still active.

(#4) Adrian Beltre was one of the most productive third basemen of all time: 91.5 WAR, 3,166 hits, 477 homers, 1,707 RBI, 116 OPS+. Beltre was also exceptional defensively, with five Gold Gloves. He compares with Ron Santo but played longer and had more HR and RBI. He also compares favorably with a recent inductee, Chipper Jones. Beltre will become eligible in 2024.

(#5) Derek Jeter should be inducted quickly, probably on the first ballot, when he becomes eligible in 2020. With 72.4 WAR, a .310 career batting average and 3,465 hits, not to mention a clean slate and considerable popularity, a first-ballot induction seems likely. Jeter compares with Barry Larkin and Robin Yount and certainly merits induction, although his 115 OPS+ is not going to challenge Honus Wagner, Arky Vaughn, Ernie Banks or his former teammate Alex Rodriguez for primacy among slugging shortstops.

(#6) Curt Schilling has the stats: 79.5 WAR, 216-146, 3.46 ERA, 127 ERA+. Will Schilling's great postseason record (11-2, 2.23 ERA) sway voters in his favor? His ERA+ ties him with Bob Gibson and Tom Seaver, but Schilling has been "controversial" and may be penalized by the moralists. Schilling finished highest among non-electees in the 2019 HOF voting with 60.9%, so his chances remain strong.

(#7) Larry Walker could and did rake: 72.6 WAR, .313/.400/.565/.965, 141 OPS+. Walker slashed well above the average HOFer. Hell, his .565 slugging percentage is second only to Babe Ruth among right fielders. Should Denver's mile-high air be counted against him, when left-handed hitters thrive in Yankee Stadium? What about Fenway Park and its fabled Green Monster? The three players with the highest home OPSes—Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Jimmy Foxx—played in those parks. And please keep in mind that Walker's "sky-high" OPS+ is adjusted for the ballparks he played in, as is his WAR. There is disagreement, however, as to whether such adjustments account for the entire "thin air effect." On the other hand, Walker slashed a very healthy .286/.386/.518/.905 on the road during his "rocky" years, and there are many HOFers below his road levels. There are also HOFers with similar home/road splits, such as Hank Greenberg and Chuck Klein. Is it fair to penalize Walker when other great hitters have taken advantage of their home parks? There is also the point that Walker was so much better than all the other hitters who could have taken similar advantage of Coors Field. According to Bill James, the player Walker most resembles is Duke Snider. He also compares with Lloyd Waner, Sam Thompson and Sam Crawford. Furthermore, Walker had nearly the same WAR as Reggie Jackson, in 3,400 fewer plate appearances!  He was a five-time all-star and three-time batting champion who won seven Gold Gloves and the 1997 National League MVP award. A true five-tool player, he also had 230 steals. Walker was named on 54.6% of 2019 ballots; that was quite a surge from 34.1% in 2018, so he's still in the running. But in his ninth year of eligibility, he's starting to run short on time.

(#8) Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown in 2012 and was even better the following year. With 69.5 WAR and a 150 OPS+, he compares with the great Johnny Mize; in fact they're "slash twins" at this point. Cabrera is still active but has slipped a bit in these rankings due to reduced performance.

(#9) Scott Rolen has been vastly underrated: 70.0 WAR, .281/.364/.490, 316 HR, 1,287 RBI, 122 OPS+. Rolen produced HOF-level offense for a third baseman, and eight Gold Gloves. A top-ten third baseman according to WAR, he and Ron Santo are nearly identical "slash twins." Offensively, Rolen's OPS+ is higher than that of a number of HOF third basemen: Brook Robinson, Pie Traynor, Freddie Lindstrom, George Kell, and Jimmy Collins. It's hard to understand why Rolen doesn't have more votes. He was at 10.2% in 2018 and 17.2% in 2019, so he's trending positive but has a lot of ground to make up.

(#10) Carlos Beltran also has the stats: 69.6 WAR, 2,725 hits, 435 homers, 119 OPS+, and 316 steals with the highest success rate of all time for players with more than 300 steals. Beltran and Andre Dawson are "slash twins." But Beltran also compares with players who haven't made it yet, like Scott Rolen and Bobby Grich. Beltran will become eligible in 2023. Beltran will become eligible in 2024.

(#11) Chase Utley 65.4 WAR, .275/.358/.465/.823, 117 OPS+, and 154 steals with a phenomenal success rate. Utley's 49.3 WAR7 puts him ninth in the second base ranks, just behind Rod Carew and just ahead of Ryne Sandberg. Utley's 5.47 WAR per 162 games is better than that of Ryne Sandberg, Rod Carew, Robinson Cano and Charlie Gehringer. Utley will become eligible in 2024.

(#12) C. C. Sabathia: 63.5 WAR, 251-157, 3.71 ERA, 117 ERA+. With 3,052 strikeouts, Sabathia is one of only three lefties with more than 3,000 and that may add to his appeal for HOF voters. While Sabathia's 3.71 ERA seems high, in ERA+ and wins he compares with Robin Roberts, Jim Bunning, Eppa Rixey and Red Ruffing. Sabathia is still active but has said that he will retire at the end of the 2019 season.

(#13) Andruw Jones 62.8 WAR, .254/.337/.486, 434 HR, 1,289 RBI, 152 steals, 111 OPS+. Andruw Jones offers stellar defense with ten Gold Gloves and considerable power, but did his offense fizzle out too soon? He started to struggle as a hitter at age 30 and would never again reach 20 homers or 50 RBI afterward. Will voters remember his struggles and lackluster .254 career batting average more than his glory years? Jones's 46.5 WAR7 is ninth all-time among centerfielders, putting him not-so-far behind Joe DiMaggio and Duke Snider. That is a high peak, indeed.  But Jones was only at 7.5% in the 2019 voting, so he will need voters to look deeper into his resume to have a fighting chance.

(#14) Todd Helton has a brilliant resume: 61.2 WAR, .316/.414/.539/.953, 369 HR, 1,406 RBI, 133 OPS+. All the numbers are there, but are they enough to overcome the Denver "thin air" stigma? Helton's 46.5 WAR7 puts him in the top ten at first base, meaning he had a super-high peak. (That's quite a coincidence that Andruw Jones and Todd Helton ended up side-by-side in my rankings, and had exactly the same WAR7!) Helton was a three-time Gold Glove winner who finished with the second-most assists and third-most double plays turned by firstbasemen in MLB history. He compares with Jeff Bagwell, Roger Connor, George Sisler and Willie McCovey. Bill James says Helton should be in the Hall of Fame, even accounting for the "Denver effect." Helton was on 16.5% of ballots in his first year of eligibility. He is in a similar situation to Larry Walker's and what happens to Walker over the next two years could tell us more about Helton's chances.

(#15) Ichiro Suzuki could certainly hit and run: 59.3 WAR, 3,089 hits, 509 steals, .311/.355/.402/.757, 107 OPS+. Suzuki's slash line doesn't absolutely scream HOF, in my opinion. But the batting average, hits, steals and ten Gold Gloves could get him admitted. And it doesn't hurt his case that he's an iconic player—a Japanese superstar who was the AL MVP in his rookie season, then went on to set the all-time record for hits in a single season with 262. Suzuki may leapfrog several players above him on this list. In fact, I might place him right after Jeter in terms of performance, popularity and "star appeal." Suzuki will become eligible in 2025.

(#16) Joey Votto is still building his resume, but it already looks HOF-worthy: 58.8 WAR, .308/.424/.524/.948, 152 OPS+. Votto should be destined for the HOF with that stellar slash line. His 152 OPS+ is higher than that of Honus Wagner, Nap Lajoie, Ralph Kiner, and most of the HOF. It's also higher than all his contemporaries other than Mike Trout, and that includes Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera. Votto is still active.

(#17) David Ortiz could slug with the best of them: 55.4 WAR, 541 HR, 1,768 RBI, 141 OPS+. He averaged 36 homers and 119 RBI per 162 games. Ortiz compares with Frank Thomas, Willie McCovey and Tony Perez as a power-hitting RBI man. Ortiz will become eligible in 2022.

(#18) Jeff Kent was a premier slugger at second base: 55.4 WAR, .290/.356/.500/.855, 377 homers, 1,518 RBI, 123 OPS+. Kent compares well with a number of HOF second basemen, including Joe Gordon, Babe Herman, Bobby Doerr, Nellie Fox, Tony Lazzeri and Johnny Evers. Among second basemen, Kent holds the record for home runs, is second only to Rogers Hornsby in slugging percentage, and is third in RBI behind only Hornsby and Nap Lajoie. Kent was on 18.1% of ballots in 2019, in his sixth year of eligibility, so he has a lot of ground to make up.

(#19) Joe Mauer could really rake for a catcher: 55.0 WAR, .307/.390/.443/.833, 126 OPS+. As a catcher, the position where he had his best years, Mauer compares with Bill Dickey, Mickey Cochrane, Gabby Hartnett and Ernie Lombardi. Mauer will become eligible in 2024.

(#20) Omar Vizquel: 45.3 WAR, .272/.336/.352, 2,877 HITS, 1,445 RUNS, 82 OPS+. Vizquel offers great defense with 11 Gold Gloves and the hits and runs help, but a lackluster OPS+ hurts his case. Vizquel was named on 42.8% of 2019 HOF ballots, and that was up from 37.0% in 2018, so he seems to be trending positive.

(#21) Billy Wagner 28.1 WAR, 422 saves, 2.21 ERA, 187 ERA+ Wagner's 187 ERA+ is better than every HOF reliever not named Mariano Rivera. His 422 saves are sixth best in MLB history. Among pitchers with at least 800 innings, Wagner’s strikeout rate of 11.9 per nine innings and his opponents' batting average of .187 are the best ever. Since relief pitchers can't be judged by WAR, Wagner should appear much higher on this list, probably around #14 with Todd Helton because Wagner was at 16.7% of the vote in 2018, in a virtual tie with Helton.

Top Newly Eligible Players in 2020

(#1) Derek Jeter (72.4 WAR, 115 OPS+)
(#2) Bobby Abreu (60.0 WAR, 128 OPS+)
(#3) Jason Giambi (50.5 WAR, 440 homers, 139 OPS+, 21st all-time in secondary average at .429)
(#4) Cliff Lee (43.5 WAR, 143 wins)
(#5) Paul Konerko (27.7 WAR, 439 homers)
(#6) Adam Dunn (17.4 WAR, 462 homers, 14th all-time in secondary average at .450)

Only Jeter seems likely to make the HOF, but there have been surprises in the past.

The Best Hall of Fame Candidates by Position, Regardless of Era

Catcher: Joe Mauer (55.0), Ted Simmons (50.3), Wally Schang (48.0), Gene Tenace (46.8), Thurman Munson (46.1), Bill Freehan (44.8), Jorge Posada (42.8)
First Base: Albert Pujols (100.1), Miguel Cabrera (69.4), Todd Helton (61.2), Keith Hernandez (60.4), Joey Votto (58.9), John Olerud (58.2), Will Clark (56.5)
Second Base: Lou Whitaker (75.1), Bobby Grich (71.1), Willie Randolph (65.9), Chase Utley (65.4), Ian Kinsler (57.0), Jeff Kent (55.4), Dustin Pedroia (51.7)
Shortstop: Bill Dahlen (75.4), Derek Jeter (72.4), Jim Glasscock (62.0), Bert Campaneris (53.1), Jim Fregosi (48.7), Vern Stephens (45.5), Dave Concepcion (40.1)
Third Base: Adrian Beltre (95.6), Scott Rolen (70.0), Graig Nettles (68.0), Buddy Bell (66.3), Ken Boyer (62.8), Sal Bando (61.5), Darrell Evans (58.8), Dick Allen (58.7)
Left Field: Pete Rose* (79.7), Sherry Magee (59.3), Indian Bob Johnson (57.3), Lance Berkman (52.1), Minnie Minoso (50.5), George Foster (44.2), Charlie Keller (43.1)
Center Field: Mike Trout** (150 est.), Carlos Beltran (69.6), Kenny Lofton (68.3), Willie Davis (60.7), Jim Edmunds (60.4), Andruw Jones (62.8), Johnny Damon (56.0)
Right Field: Shoeless Joe Jackson (62.2), Larry Walker (72.6), Dwight Evans (67.1), Reggie Smith (64.6), Bobby Abreu (60.0), Ichiro Suzuki (59.4), Bobby Bonds (57.9)
Designated Hitter: David Ortiz (55.4), Jose Cruz (54.4), Jack Clark (53.1), Fred McGriff (52.6)
Starting Pitcher: Curt Schilling (79.5), Jim McCormick (76.2), Rick Reuschel (69.5), Kevin Brown (67.8), Tony Mullane (66.5), Luis Tiant (66.0), Clayton Kershaw (65.3)
Relief Pitcher: Billy Wagner (27.7), Joe Nathan (26.7), Dan Quisenberry (24.7), Francisco Rodriguez (23.9), Jonathan Papelbon (23.5), John Franco (23.4), Craig Kimbrel (20.1)

* Pete Rose could make the Hall of Fame at five different positions: first, second, third, left or right. He played at least 500 games at each position and was an all-star at all five. He also played center at times, and he was baseball's last player-manager.

** Although Mike Trout is still a relative babe in the woods, having just completed his age 26 season in 2018, he has already passed most Hall of Fame centerfielders in WAR and seems destined to challenge Willie Mays for all-time supremacy at the position.

These are other fan favorites according to Ranker and other sources. Please note that the "fan favorites" tend to favor players for larger-market cities like New York, Los Angeles and Detroit. Some of the higher-WAR players have been linked to PEDs, and that has kept them out HOF to date. Fan favorites include: Barry Bonds (162.8), Roger Clemens (139.2), Alex Rodriguez (117.8), Rafael Palmeiro (71.9), Manny Ramirez (69.4), David Cone (62.3), Mark McGwire (62.2), Tommy John (61.5), Gary Sheffield (60.5), Andy Pettitte (60.2), Bret Saberhagen (58.8), Sammy Sosa (58.6), Robin Ventura (56.1), Orel Hershiser (56.0), Jim Wynn (55.9), Chet Lemon (55.6), Vada Pinson (54.3), Ron Cey (53.8), Jerry Koosman (53.6), Dwight Gooden (52.9), Cesar Cedeno (52.8), Norm Cash (52.0), Jim Kaat (50.4), Fred Lynn (50.2), David Wright (50.4), Bernie Williams (49.6), Mickey Lolich (48.0), Ron Guidry (47.8), Dale Murphy (46.5), Vida Blue (45.1), Gil Hodges (44.8), Jack Morris (43.4), Tony Oliva (43.1), Don Mattingly (42.4), Fernando Valenzuela (41.4), Andy Messersmith (40.1), Albert Belle (40.1), Dave Parker (40.1), Maury Wills (39.7), Kirk Gibson (38.4), Roger Maris (38.2), Steve Garvey (38.1), Don Newcombe (37.6)

Other Considerations for this List

Still in contention, based on the 2019 HOF voting: Curt Schilling (60.9%), Roger Clemens (59.5%), Barry Bonds (59.1%), Larry Walker (54.6%), Omar Vizquel (42.8%), Manny Ramirez (22.8%), Jeff Kent (18.1%), Scott Rolen (17.2%), Billy Wagner (16.7%), Todd Helton (16.5%), Gary Sheffield (13.6%), Andy Pettitte (9.9%), Sammy Sosa (8.5%), Andruw Jones (7.5%)

Highest WAR of unelected players regardless of PED and eligibility issues: Barry Bonds (162.8), Roger Clemens (139.2), Alex Rodriguez (117.8), Albert Pujols (100.1), Adrian Beltre (95.6), Pete Rose (79.7), Curt Schilling (79.5), Jim McCormick (76.2), Bill Dahlen (75.4), Larry Walker (72.7), Derek Jeter (72.4), Rafael Palmeiro (71.9), Bobby Grich (71.1), Scott Rolen (70.2), Miguel Cabrera (69.7), Carlos Beltran (69.6), Rick Reuschel (69.5), Mike Trout (69.5 and climbing rapidly), Manny Ramirez (69.4), Zack Greinke (69.2), Robinson Cano (68.6), Kenny Lofton (68.3), Graig Nettles (68.0), Kevin Brown (67.8), Dwight Evans (67.1), Justin Verlander (66.9), Tony Mullane (66.5), Buddy Bell (66.3), Luis Tiant (66.0), Willie Randolph (65.9), Clayton Kershaw (65.6), Chase Utley (65.4), Reggie Smith (64.6), C.C. Sabathia (63.5), Ken Boyer (62.8), Andruw Jones (62.8), David Cone (62.3), Shoeless Joe Jackson (62.2), Mark McGwire (62.2), Jim Glasscock (61.6), Sal Bando (61.5), Tommy John (61.5), Todd Helton (61.2), Tommy Bond (60.9), Charlie Buffington (60.7), Willie Davis (60.7), Wes Farrell (60.7), Gary Sheffield (60.5), Jim Edmonds (60.4), Keith Hernandez (60.4), Andy Pettitte (60.2), Bobby Abreu (60.0)

Newbies eligible in 2020 or soon thereafter who are not on the list: Bobby Abreu (60.0), Mark Buehrle (59.2), Tim Hudson (58.1), Jason Giambi (50.5), Torii Hunter (50.1), Cliff Lee (43.5), Rafael Furcal (39.4), Eric Chavez (37.5), Josh Beckett (35.6), Alfonso Soriano (28.8), Paul Konerko (27.7), Adam Dunn (17.4)

Still active: Albert Pujols (100.1), Mike Trout (70.4), Miguel Cabrera (69.7), Zack Greinke (69.5), Robinson Cano (68.8), Justin Verlander (67.1), Clayton Kershaw (66.0), C.C. Sabathia (63.7), Max Scherzer (60.0), Cole Hamels (59.7), Joey Votto (59.4), Ian Kinsler (57.4), Evan Longoria (53.5), Dustin Pedroia (51.7), Felix Hernandez (50.4), Curtis Granderson (47.5), Ryan Braun (47.2), Jon Lester (45.5), Ben Zobrist (45.1), Chris Sale (44.5), Troy Tulowitzki (44.2), Andrew McCutcheon (43.7), Paul Goldschmidt (41.5), Buster Posey (41.4), Josh Donaldson (41.4), David Price (40.2), Brett Gardner (40.1), Yadier Molina (39.2), Russell Martin (37.5)

The Hall of Fame's Near Misses since 1980

These are the HOF voting percentages for notable players no longer eligible for "regular" HOF election who received more than 1% of the votes in the years they dropped out. In many cases the percentage is the player's highest vote count, when I was able to determine it, but it was not a perfect process. However, I believe the results show roughly which players came the closest to being enshrined and compare them to other great players who didn't get as much "love" from voters. It's hard to understand how Gil Hodges could get 63.4% of the HOF votes, for instance, while Lou Whitaker got only 2.9% and was ineligible after the first year. It seems playing in New York or Los Angeles may be a factor, as noted below ...

Gil Hodges (63.4%) *LA*
Tony Oliva (47.3%)
Roger Maris (43.1%) *NY*
Steve Garvey (42.6%) *LA*
Maury Wills (40.6%) *LA*
Fred McGriff (39.8%)
Harvey Kuenn (33.9%)
Tommy John (31.7%) *LA*
Luis Tiant (30.9%)
Jim Kaat (29.6%)
Don Mattingly (28.2%) *NY*
Ken Boyer (25.5%)
Mickey Lolich (25.5%)
Dave Parker (24.5%)
Mark McGwire (23.7%)
Dale Murphy (23.2%)
Lew Burdette (23.2%)
Minnie Minoso (21.1%)
Elston Howard (20.7%) *NY*
Dick Allen (18.9%)
Rafael Palmeiro (17.6%)
Dave Concepcion (16.9%)
Dick Allen (16.7%)
Curt Flood (15.1%)
Orel Hershiser (11.2%) *LA*
Vada Pinson (10.9%)
Bernie Williams (9.6%) *NY*
Albert Belle (7.7%)
George Foster (6.9%)
Thurman Munson (6.5%) *NY*
Ken Griffey Sr. (4.7%)
Graig Nettles (4.7%) *NY*
Fred Lynn (4.7%)
Keith Hernandez (4.3%)
Bobby Bonds (4.2%)
Juan Gonzalez (4.0%)
Lou Whitaker (2.9%)

Others with more than 1% of votes: Michael Young, Lance Berkman, Miguel Tejeda, Roy Oswalt, Johan Santana, Jamie Moyer, Johnny Damon, Jorge Posada, Jim Edmonds, Nomar Garciaparra, Carlos Delgado, Hideo Nomo, Moises Alou, Kenny Lofton, Sandy Alomar, Julio Franco, David Wells, Vinny Castilla, Tim Salmon, Kevin Brown, Tino Martinez, Andres Galarraga, Robin Ventura, Mark Grace, David Cone, Matt Williams, Mo Vaughn, Paul O'Neill, Bret Saberhagen, Jose Canseco, Will Clark, Dwight Gooden, Willie McGee, Ozzie Guillen, Hal Morris, Jim Abbott, Darryl Strawberry, Fernando Valenzuela, Joe Carter, Dennis Martinez, Dave Stieb, Darryl Kile, Dave Stewart, Ron Guidry, Lance Parrish, Tom Henke, Rusty Staub, Dwight Evans, Kirk Gibson

Special Cases—Let Them In!!!

Smoky Joe Wood (39.8 WAR) is seventh all-time with an otherworldly 146 ERA+ and he had a staggering 117 wins by age 25 despite only reaching 200 innings twice. What on earth would he have done if he had been healthy? The mind boggles. Smoky Joe got his nickname because his fastball—said to have been faster then Walter Johnson's (including by the Big Train himself)—sizzled as though burning through the air. The only starting pitchers with a better ERA+ than Smoky Joe are Clayton Kershaw, Pedro Martinez, Lefty Grove, and Walter Johnson. When the first all-star game was organized in 1912 to benefit the family of Adie Joss after Joss's untimely death, Smoky Joe started the game and Walter Johnson relieved him. Let's stick that in our pipes and smoke it. After serious injuries cost him two years and left him unable to pitch, Smoky Joe became an outfielder and hit .283 for the rest of his career. But it understandably took him some time to excel as a batter. He hit .366 at age 31, drove in 92 runs at age 32, then retired. He could have been the greatest pitcher of all time, if he hadn't had such bad luck. But please consider what he did accomplish. How many pitchers could take two years off, then return to the majors to hit .366 and drive in 92 runs? Only a guy named Ruth did anything like that, and he was healthy. What Smoky accomplished was truly incredible. He has more WAR (39.8) than hall-of-famers like Hack Wilson, Harold Baines, Lefty Gomez, George Kell, Roy Campanella, and quite a few others. He only played two full seasons at his best position. When he was able to pitch, he was a superstar for the ages. Let him in!!!

Thurman Munson (46.1 WAR) died prematurely in a plane crash, and compares with a HOF catcher, Roy Campanella, whose career was also cut short. Munson's 5.25 WAR per 162 games is third among catchers, after Johnny Bench and Mickey Cochrane. In his brief career Munson was a seven-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winner, and one-time MVP. Let him in!!!

Bret Saberhagen amassed 58.8 WAR and had a record of 167-117 despite missing large parts of six seasons due to injuries. His glittering 126 ERA+ puts him in a very select group with Bob Gibson (127), Tom Seaver (127), Justin Verlander (126), Lefty Grove (125), Jim Palmer (125), John Smoltz (125) and Dazzy Vance (125). Saberhagen's situation is similar to that of Sandy Koufax, Dizzy Dean and Addie Joss, and Saberhagen has more wins and more WAR, so let him in!!!

For nearly a decade, Dale Murphy (46.5 WAR) was either the best major league player, or one of the very best. He was a two-time NL MVP, a seven-time All-Star, a five-time Gold Glove winner, and the winner of four Silver Sluggers. Other players have been voted into the Hall of Fame for a decade of excellence or less: for instance, Ralph Kiner, Hack Wilson, Joe Gordon, Dizzy Dean, Sandy Koufax, Candy Cummings, Al Spalding, Addie Joss, Amos Rusie, Joe McGinnity, Monte Irvin, Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella. Murphy had more homers and RBI than Kiner and Wilson, and was a better defender and base-stealer. Sandy Koufax was only "the Left Hand of God" for six brilliant seasons. Candy Cummings and Monte Irvin had five superior seasons, Hack Wilson and Roy Campanella six, Amos Rusie and Dizzy Dean seven, Al Spalding and Ross Youngs eight, Addie Joss and Joe Gordon nine, Joe McGinnity and Ralph Kiner ten. Why not be fair and take into account how good Dale Murphy was in his prime?

The same argument can be made for George "The Destroyer" Foster (44.2 WAR), who terrorized NL pitchers for a decade as the cleanup hitter for the fabled Big Red Machine. In 1977, Foster had 52 homers, 149 RBI and 388 total bases. Was he the last major leaguer to hit 50 homers without "special sauce"? Foster was the only NL-er with 50 homers from 1966 until a juiced-up Mark McGwire hit 70 in 1998. For a span of 32 years, with competition like Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Willie McCovey, Mike Schmidt, Dave Kingman and Johnny Bench, only The Destroyer managed the feat, and he followed up with 40 more dingers in 1978. So he hit nearly 100 in a two-year span. Foster is the only NL-er to win three consecutive RBI titles (1976-1978) since Joe Medwick in 1938. For those three years he averaged 40 homers and 130 RBI, during a down time for hitters. Foster was the 1977 NL MVP and finished 1-2-3-6-12 in the MVP voting, so he was no flash in the pan. He also led NL left fielders in fielding percentage four times. If elected, Foster would rank seventh among HOF left fielders in homers (348) and eleventh in RBI (1,239) and slugging percentage (.480). Foster's WAR7 puts him squarely between Willie Stargell and Jim Rice (a very high peak indeed). The last time I counted, there were 32 HOF outfielders who didn't strike me as better than Foster; the majority of them seemed less good. The only slugging RBI types among the left fielders markedly better than Foster, in my opinion, were Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Al Simmons, Goose Goslin, Stargell, Billy Williams and Ed Delahanty. That leaves a sizeable list of HOF left fielders with fewer homers and RBI than Foster, and below him in WAR7. Foster's OPS+ is around the HOF average at a healthy 126. If we give him credit for the fact that he did more in fewer at-bats than most of his peers, he looks even better. Why is Foster a notch below Rice in homers and RBI? Well it was hard for him to play left field when it was being manned by 17-time all-star Pete Rose! The Big Red Machine was blessed with a two-decade unbroken string of excellent outfielders: Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson, Rose, Ken Griffey, et al. When Rose moved to third, Foster was 26 and he only played full-time for ten years. But his 162-game average was 29 homers and 102 RBI. Not many outfielders can say that. Billy Williams averaged 28/96, Carl Yastrzemski 22/90 and Reggie Jackson 32/98. They were great players, and Foster was in the same class for a decade. That should be good enough for HOF enshrinement, since ten stellar years (or fewer) were good enough for the players I mentioned previously. According to the Bill James Hall of Fame Monitor, George Foster is comparable to George Kell, Enos Slaughter, Roger Maris, Tony Lazzeri, Home Run Baker and Tim Raines. According to Baseball Prospectus BWARP, Foster is comparable to hall-of-famers Ernie Lombardi and Charlie Gehringer.

Other "short but sweet" careers of interest ...

Dizzy Trout (49.6 WAR, 3.23 ERA, 124 ERA+, similar in WAR to Sandy Koufax and Ralph Kiner, with a similar short but intense peak)
Charlie Keller (43.1 WAR, 152 OPS+, 5.95 WAR per 162 games, 15th in secondary average, top 25 for AB/RBI, lost four prime years to military/injuries)
Pete Browning (40.4 WAR, .341/.403/.467/.869, OPS+ 163, 258 SB, 954 R, 659 RBI, averaged 5.5 WAR, 225 hits, 131 runs and 90 RBI per 162 games)
Mike Donlin (29.2 WAR, .333/.386/.468/.854, 144 OPS+, 213 SB, 669 R, 543 RBI, averaged 103 runs, 84 RBI and 33 steals per 162 games)
Benny Kauff (29.0 WAR, .311/.389/.450/.838, 149 OPS+, 234 SB, 521 R, 454 RBI, averaged 5.5 WAR, 98 runs, 86 RBI and 44 steals per 162 games)
Tip O'Neill (25.4 WAR, .326/.392/.458/.851, 144 OPS+, 161 SB, 879 R, 757 RBI, averaged 135 runs and 117 RBI per 162 games)
Lefty O'Doul (25.3 WAR, .349/.413/.532/.945, 143 OPS+, 36 SB, 624 R, 542 RBI, didn't really play until age 31 but has the fourth-highest BA of all time)
Sam Mertes (23.3 WAR, .279/.346/.398/.744, 113 OPS+, 396 SB, 695 R, 721 RBI, a great defender who averaged 95 runs, 98 RBI and 54 steals per 162 games)
Bill Lange (23.1 WAR, .330/.400/.458/.858, 123 OPS+, 400 SB, 691 R, 579 RBI, retired at age 28 to marry respectably)

WAR7 Highest Peaks

WAR7 helps us determine which players had the highest peaks. These are the players with the highest peaks at their positions who are not in the HOF and don't have known "PED issues." By comparing total career WAR with WAR7, we can determine the players who not only accumulated a ton of WAR, but who were also the most dynamic at their respective positions during their prime years. The names of the players who did both are bolded below. They deserve strong consideration for the HOF, in my opinion. Minnie Minoso is a good example of an underrated player who had a high peak for his position. According to WAR7, he was comparable to Manny Ramirez and Joe Medwick. That is a high peak, indeed! And Pete Rose's WAR7 tells us that in his prime he compared to Al Simmons, Ralph Kiner and Goose Goslin. Let them both in!

Catcher: Joe Mauer (49.0), Thurman Munson (37.0), Buster Posey (37.0)
First Base: Albert Pujols (61.7), Todd Helton (46.5), Joey Votto (46.0)
Second Base: Chase Utley (49.3), Bobby Grich (46.4), Dustin Pedroia (42.4), Ian Kinsler (40.4)
Shortstop: Nomar Garciaparra (43.1), Derek Jeter (42.4), Jim Glasscock (41.0), Jim Fregosi (41.0)
Third Base: Ken Boyer (46.3), Dick Allen (45.9), Sal Bando (44.4), Scott Rolen (43.7), Graig Nettles (42.4)
Left Field: Pete Rose (44.9), Minnie Minoso (39.9), Lance Berkman (39.3), Ryan Braun (39.2)
Center Field: Mike Trout (63.8), Andruw Jones (46.5), Carlos Beltran (44.4), Kenny Lofton (43.4)
Right Field: Shoeless Joe Jackson (52.5), Larry Walker (44.7), Ichiro Suzuki (43.7), Bobby Abreu (41.6)
Ye Olde Starting Pitcher: Jim McCormick (68.7), Tommy Bond (62.7), Charlie Buffington (60.2), Bob Caruthers (55.7), Jim Whitney (54.7), Wes Ferrell (54.7), Urban Shocker (44.8), Nap Rucker (44.8)
Modern Starting Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw (49.6), Curt Schilling (48.6), Max Scherzer (47.2), Zack Greinke (46.9), Justin Verlander (46.0), Wilbur Wood (45.7), Kevin Brown (45.2), Johan Santana (45.0)

If we're going to elect the most dynamic players who accumulated a lot of WAR for their respective positions, according to WAR7 the order would look something like this, leaving aside pitchers of yore: Mike Trout (63.8 and rising), Albert Pujols (61.7), Shoeless Joe Jackson (52.5), Clayton Kershaw (49.6), Chase Utley (49.3), Joe Mauer (49.0), Curt Schilling (48.6), Todd Helton (46.5), Bobby Grich (46.4), Ken Boyer (46.3), Joey Votto (46.0), Dick Allen (45.9), Pete Rose (44.9), Larry Walker (44.7), Carlos Beltran (44.4), Scott Rolen (43.7), Derek Jeter (42.4), Jim Glasscock (41.0), Thurman Munson (37.0).

Bradford Doolittle took the basic premise of WAR7 and extended it to ten years of fWAR because that's time frame for HOF eligibility. It's interesting to see which of Dolittle's "snubs" match my lists ...

Kevin Brown (57.8) --- Agree.
Dwight Gooden (56.3) --- I don't have Gooden this high.
Jim Whitney (55.6) --- It's hard to judge 1880s pitchers.
Dick Allen (55.1) --- Agree.
Jim Edmonds (53.6) --- Agree, but I have Kenny Lofton and Andruw Jones higher.
Graig Nettles (52.9) --- Agree.
Sal Bando (52.6) --- Agree.
Bobby Abreu (52.4) --- Agree, but I have other RF's higher.
Bobby Grich (52.4) --- Agree.
Minnie Minoso (51.4) --- Agree.
Bobby Bonds (51.3) --- I have Bonds slightly lower. 
Mickey Lolich (51.3) --- I have several pitchers ranked higher than Lolich.
Keith Hernandez (51.0) --- Agree, although I have Todd Helton higher.
Wes Ferrell (50.6) --- Agree, at this position.
Bob Caruthers (50.4) --- It's hard to judge 1880s pitchers. 
Rafael Palmeiro (50.3) --- Not on my list due to PED issues.
Sherry Magee (50.1) --- Agree, at his position.
Brian Giles (50.1) --- I have other RF's higher.
Ron Cey (50.1) --- Agree, but I have several 3B's higher.

My biggest "snubs" include "Charlie Hustle" Pete Rose (79.7), "Shoeless" Joe Jackson (62.2), "Bad" Bill Dahlen (75.4), Jim Glasscock (62.0), Larry Walker (72.6), Todd Helton (61.2), Keith Hernandez (60.4), Fred McGriff (52.6), Ted Simmons (50.3), Thurman Munson (46.1), Lou Whitaker (75.1), Bobby Grich (71.1), Scott Rolen (70.0), Ken Boyer (62.8), Dick Allen (58.7), Minnie Minoso (50.5), Dale Murphy (46.5), Kenny Lofton (68.3), Andruw Jones (62.8), Kevin Brown (67.8), Curt Schilling (79.5), Jim McCormick (76.2), Bret Saberhagen (58.8) and "Smoky" Joe Wood (39.8).

Old-Timers Who Deserve Consideration

An asterisk (*) means the player should definitely be in the Hall of Fame, in my opinion. And please keep in mind that WAR undervalues catchers.

* Jim McCormick (76.2 WAR, 265 wins in just ten seasons ... is there anything to discuss, really?)
* Bill Dahlen (75.4 WAR at shortstop is 7th all-time, comparable to Luke Appling, let him in!)
* Lou Whitaker (75.1 WAR at second is 7th all-time, comparable to Frankie Frisch, let him in!)
* Bobby Grich (71.1 WAR, at second is 8th all-time, 5.7 WAR per 162 games, comparable to Ryne Sandberg)
* Scott Rolen (70.2 WAR at third is 7th all-time, 5.6 WAR per 162 games, let him in!)
Rick Reuschel (69.5, 214-191, 3.37 ERA, 114 ERA+)
* Kenny Lofton (68.3 WAR, 1,528 runs, 622 steals, 5.5 WAR per 162 games, he compares favorably with Tim Raines)
Graig Nettles (68.0 WAR, but he only hit .248 with 110 OPS+ and just 32 steals ...)
Dwight Evans (67.1 WAR, eight Gold Gloves, 127 OPS+, he compares favorably with a number of HOF right fielders)
Buddy Bell (66.3 WAR, 109 OPS+, six Gold Gloves, he compares with Graig Nettles in this list)
Reggie Smith (64.6 WAR, 137 OPS+, Gold Glove, but lower counting numbers)
Ken Boyer (62.8 WAR, 116 OPS+, five Gold Gloves, he compares with Bell and Nettles in this list)
David Cone (62.3 WAR, 194-126, 3.46 ERA, 121 ERA+)
Sal Bando (61.5 WAR, 119 OPS+, he compares with Bell, Nettles and Boyer)
Jim Edmonds (60.4 WAR, eight Gold Gloves, .527 slugging, 132 OPS+, his WAR is higher than 8 HOF centerfielders)
Keith Hernandez (60.4 WAR, eleven Gold Gloves, 128 OPS+, but light on homers and RBI for first base)
Bret Saberhagen (58.8 WAR, 167-117, 126 ERA+, despite missing large parts of six seasons due to injuries)
Dick Allen (58.7 WAR, his 156 OPS+ is the ninth-highest since 1947, comparable to Dave Ortiz)
Eddie Cicotte (58.4 WAR, 209-148, .238 ERA, 123 ERA+)
"Indian" Bob Johnson (57.3 WAR, 139 OPS+, drove in 100+ runs eight times despite debuting as a 27-year-old rookie)
Orel Hershiser (56.0 WAR, a shooting star, perhaps, but an intensely bright one for six years)
Vada Pinson (54.3 WAR, 2,757 hits, 1,365 runs, 305 steals, 256 homers, Gold Glove defense)
* Ted Simmons (50.3 WAR, 118 OPS+, Simmons has more WAR than seven HOF catchers)
Dizzy Trout (49.6 WAR, 3.23 ERA, 124 ERA+, Trout is similar in WAR to Sandy Koufax and Ralph Kiner, with a similar short peak)
Dale Murphy (46.5 WAR, a two-time MVP, seven-time all-star, five Gold Gloves)
Vern Stephens (45.4 WAR, 119 OPS+, a superior RBI man at shortstop with 130+ ribbies in his prime)
George "The Destroyer" Foster (44.2 WAR, 126 OPS+, was he the last player to hit 50+ homers honestly?)
Darryl Strawberry (42.2 WAR, 138 OPS+, 335 homers, 221 steals, 23rd in secondary average at .420)
Dave Concepcion (40.1 WAR, he compares well with half the current HOF shortstops and won five Gold Gloves)

Other HOF Candidates: Kevin Brown (67.8), Tony Mullane (66.5), Luis Tiant (66.0), Willie Randolph (65.9), Jim Glasscock (61.7), Tommy John (61.5), Willie Davis (60.7), Wes Farrell (60.7), Andy Pettitte (60.2), Sherry Magee (59.3), Darrell Evans (58.8), Urban Shocker (58.3), John Olerud (58.2), Tim Hudson (58.1), Bobby Bonds (57.9), Chuck Finley (57.9), Will Clark (56.5), Jim Wynn (55.9), Ron Cey (53.8), Bert Campaneris (53.1), Jack Clark (53.1), Dwight Gooden (52.9), Cesar Cedeno (52.8), Fred McGriff (52.6), Stan Hack (52.6), Babe Adams (52.2), Norm Cash (52.0), Minnie Minoso (50.5), Gil Hodges (44.8), Jorge Posada (42.8), Babe Herman (40.3), Steve Garvey (38.1), Cecil Cooper (36.0), Ted Kluszewski (32.4), Riggs Stephenson (32.1), Lee Smith (28.9), Don Baylor (28.5), Joe Carter (19.6), Dan Quisenberry (his 5.98 WAR per relief appearance over 162 games is highest of the 43 non-Hall of Famers with at least 200 career saves)

Future Hall-of-Fame Candidates, by Age

Based on my "age analysis" below, I will go out on a limb and predict which active players have the best chance to be elected to the Hall of Fame, starting with the "most confident" and working my down:

Absolute Locks: Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander
Should Be Locks: Adrian Beltre, Miguel Cabrera, Max Scherzer
They Have the Stats: Ichiro Suzuki, Joey Votto, Joe Mauer, Zack Greinke, Robinson Cano, C. C. Sabathia
On the Bubble?: Ian Kinsler, Evan Longoria, Buster Posey
On Track But Need to Keep Producing: Chris Sale, Nolan Arenado, Andrelton Simmons, Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt, Jose Altuve, Andrew McCutcheon, Cole Hamels
Contenders: Yadier Molina, Madison Bumgarner, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Josh Donaldson, Jason Heyward, Lorenzo Cain, Craig Kimbrel
Young But Immensely Talented: Mookie Betts, Manny Machado, Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger, Francisco Lindor
Promising But Behind Schedule: Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Bryce Harper, J.D. Martinez, Jose Ramirez, Javier Baez, Yasiel Puig
Derailed by Injuries: Dustin Pedroia, Troy Tulowitzki, Giancarlo Stanton, Justin Upton
Slowing Down Too Soon? Felix Hernandez
Possibilities?: Ryan Braun, Curtis Granderson, Ben Zobrist, Brett Gardner, Nelson Cruz

I think it's too soon to have confidence in Bryce Harper. He's had one transcendent MVP season, mixed with a number of average seasons. Can he put everything together for a number of years? That remains to be seen. Cody Bellinger certainly has the talent to be all hall-of-famer, but it's too soon to say. Aaron Judge has had a late start and reminds me of George "The Destroyer" Foster, the dominant slugger of his day, who didn't play enough to make the HOF.

I have noticed that a "differential" between career WAR and player age seems to be a rough indicator of which players are making the most rapid progress, as long as we keep in mind that there is going to be a "curve" as players get older. I have bolded the numbers that stick out within particular age groups. Mike Trout's 42.3 differential at age 27 is the most stunning, by far. Is he an alien from the Land of Perfect Baseball? These calculations were done on June 21, 2019, as an experiment of sorts. They suggest that it's rare for a player to exceed his age by 10 WAR before his 30th birthday (Trout, Betts, Stanton, Sale). From age 31 to 36, a handful of the very best players will come close to doubling their ages (Kershaw, Greinke, Cabrera, Verlander, Cano). But in a generation from age 25 to 45, not including known PED users, so far there have only been four "outliers" who seem able to challenge 100 WAR: Albert Pujols, Adrian Beltre, Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout. And Trout is literally flying in another dimension. He has already passed Kershaw despite being four years younger, and is now generating WAR at several times Kershaw's current rate. Trout has already generated 70% of Pujols' WAR, and will probably pass him around his age 30 season. At that point, if he's still playing, Pujols will be 42 years old. So, in effect, Trout will have "spotted" the greatest player of the previous generation 10 to 12 seasons. That is truly unfathomable!

The results below also illustrate that player "rivalries" with Trout fall far short of being materially true. An MVP season is typically around 8 WAR. Trout is at least four MVP seasons better than the best players under age 30. If Trout keeps having 10-WAR seasons, it's impossible for anyone to catch him even if they somehow managed to string together some 11- and 12-WAR seasons. And it's not just his peers that Trout is leaving far behind. In middle of his age 27 season, Trout had already passed 180 hall-of-famers in career WAR, many of them in one-half to one-third the playing time. Here are some of the baseball immortals whose career WAR Trout passed in around one-third the playing time: Lloyd Waner, Pie Traynor, "Wee" Willie Keeler, Joe Medwick, Harmon Killebrew, Yogi Berra, Max Carey, Bill Dickey, Gabby Hartnett, Enos Slaughter, Orlando Cepeda, Tony Perez, Willie Stargell, Luis Aparicio and Sam Rice.

Francisco Lindor (25.9 WAR at age 25) = 0.9
Addison Russell (12.5 WAR at age 25) = -12.5
Luis Severino (11.8 WAR at age 25) = -13.2
Joey Gallo (8.3 WAR at age 25) = -16.7

Mookie Betts (38.3 WAR at age 26) = 12.3
Manny Machado (35.7 WAR at age 26) = 9.7
Bryce Harper (27.7 WAR at age 26) = 1.7
Jose Ramirez (22.2 WAR at age 26) = -3.8
Javier Baez (14.8 WAR at age 26) = -11.2
Gary Sanchez (10.8 WAR at age 26) = -15.2
Blake Snell (9.8 WAR at age 26) = -16.2

Mike Trout (69.3 WAR at age 27) = 42.3 = This is insane!
Christian Yelich (31.1 WAR at age 27) = 4.1
Kris Bryant (23.6 WAR at age 27) = -3.4
Aaron Judge (14.4 WAR at age 27) = -12.6

Nolan Arenado (36.1 WAR at age 28) = 8.1
Yasiel Puig (19.0 WAR at age 28) = -9.0

Giancarlo Stanton (39.7 WAR at age 29) = 10.7
Andrelton Simmons (35.9 WAR at age 29) = 6.9
Freddie Freeman (35.9 WAR at age 29) = 6.9
Jason Heyward (35.4 WAR at age 29) = 6.4
Jose Altuve (35.0 WAR at age 29) = 6.0
Madison Bumgarner (34.5 WAR at age 29) = 5.5
Anthony Rizzo (31.0 WAR at age 29) = 2.0
Anthony Rendon (23.6 WAR at age 29) = -5.4

Chris Sale (44.7 WAR at age 30) = 14.7
Elvis Andrus (31.3 WAR at age 30) = 1.3
Starling Marte (27.7 WAR at age 30) = -2.3

Clayton Kershaw (65.7 WAR at age 31) = 34.7 = Another alien?
Paul Goldschmidt (41.3 WAR at age 31) = 10.3
Justin Upton (35.1 WAR at age 31) = 4.1
J.D. Martinez (22.0 WAR at age 31) = -9.0
Craig Kimbrel (20.1 WAR at age 31, with 333 saves, a 1.91 ERA and 212 ERA+ should be judged on those criteria)
A.J. Pollock (19.5 WAR at age 31) = -11.5

Andrew McCutcheon (43.7 WAR at age 32) = 11.7
Buster Posey (41.2 WAR at age 32) = 9.2
Brandon Crawford (22.8 WAR at age 32) = -9.2
Charlie Blackmon (17.5 WAR at age 32) = -14.5

Evan Longoria (53.2 at age 33) = 20.2
Felix Hernandez (50.5 at age 33) = 17.5
Josh Donaldson (41.0 WAR at age 33) = 8.0
David Price (39.5 WAR at age 33) = 6.5
Lorenzo Cain (35.0 WAR at age 33) = 2.0
Jake Arrieta (26.0 WAR at age 33) = -7.0
Chris Davis (14.4 WAR at age 33) = -18.6

Max Scherzer  (58.8 WAR at age 34) = 24.8
Troy Tulowitzki (44.2 WAR at age 34) = 10.2

Zack Greinke (69.1 WAR at age 35) = 34.1
Cole Hamels (59.4 WAR at age 35) = 24.4
Joey Votto (58.8 at age 35) = 23.8
Joe Mauer (55.0 WAR at age 35) = 20.0
Dustin Pedroia (51.7 WAR at age 35) = 16.7
John Lester (44.9 WAR at age 35) = 10.0
Brett Gardner (38.9 WAR at age 35) = 4.9
Hanley Ramirez (37.9 WAR at age 35) = 2.9
Alex Gordon (36.5 WAR at age 35) = 1.5
Brian McCann (32.0 WAR at age 35) = -3.0
Howie Kendrick (31.5 WAR at age 35) = -3.5
Jacoby Ellsbury (31.1 WAR at age 35) = -3.9

Miguel Cabrera (69.8 WAR at age 36) = 33.8
Robinson Cano (68.9 at age 36) = 32.9
Justin Verlander (66.6 WAR at age 36) = 30.6

Mark Buehrle (59.2 WAR at age 36) = 23.2
Yadier Molina (38.9 WAR at age 36) = 2.9
Russell Martin (37.7 WAR at age 36) = 1.7

Ian Kinsler (57.7 WAR at age 37) = 20.7
Adam Wainwright (38.8 WAR at age 37) = 1.8
Jose Bautista (35.9 WAR at age 37) = -1.1
Brandon Phillips (31.0 WAR at age 37) = -6.0

C.C. Sabathia (63.4 WAR at age 38) = 25.4
Curtis Granderson (48.8 WAR at age 38) = 9.4
Ben Zobrist (45.1 WAR at age 38) = 7.1
Nelson Cruz (34.9 WAR at age 38) = -3.1

Albert Pujols (100.0 WAR at age 39) = 61.00 = The greatest player of his era, until Trout
Adrian Beltre (96.6 WAR at age 39) = 56.6
Tim Hudson (58.1 WAR at age 39) = 19.1
Torii Hunter (50.1 WAR at age 39) = 10.1

Ichiro Suzuki (59.4 WAR at age 45) = 14.4

HOF Candidates Derailed by Injuries

An asterisk (*) means the player should definitely be in the Hall of Fame, in my opinion. And please keep in mind that WAR undervalues catchers.

* Smoky Joe Wood is seventh all-time with a 146 ERA+ and had 117 wins by age 25. After a serious injury cost him two years, he became an outfielder and hit .283 for his career. He hit .366 at age 31, drove in 92 runs at age 32, then retired.
Bret Saberhagen (58.8 WAR, 167-117, 126 ERA+, but missed large parts of six seasons due to injuries)
Dave Stieb (56.8 WAR but virtually done by age 32)
Will Clark (56.5 WAR, 137 OPS+ despite missing large chunks of eight seasons)
Dwight Gooden (52.9 WAR, 194-112, 111 ERA+, his best years were over by age 25 due to injuries and drug abuse)
David Wright (50.4 WAR, 137 OPS+)
* Thurman Munson (46.1 WAR, died prematurely in a plane crash, his 5.25 WAR per 162 games is third among catchers, after Johnny Bench and Mickey Cochrane)
* Charlie "King Kong" Keller (43.1 WAR, 152 OPS+, 5.95 WAR per 162 games, 15th in secondary average, lost a prime year to the military and three others to injuries)
Albert Belle (40.1 WAR, 144 OPS+, he hit 30 or more homers eight times and drove in 100+ runs nine times before retiring at age 33 with an arthritic hip, his .564 slugging percentage is the 13th highest of all time)
Dave Parker (40.1 WAR, 121 OPS+, the Cobra had a stellar career despite drug, weight and injury issues)
Tony Oliva (40.1 WAR, 131 OPS+, arguably the best hitter in baseball from 1964-1971, Oliva had eight knee operations)
Roger Maris (38.2 WAR, 127 OPS+, derailed by injuries, he had his last all-star season at age 27 and tailed off from there)
Tony Conigliaro (still fourth in homers through age 22 with 104, behind only Mel Ott, Eddie Mathews and Alex Rodriguez)
Eric Davis (in a 162-game stretch between 1986-87, he slashed .308/.406/.622 with 47 homers and 98 steals in 110 attempts!)
Nomar Garciaparra (perhaps the best shortstop of his generation when healthy)
Don Mattingly (a sure HOFer except for serious back problems that began at age 28 and forced him to retire at age 34)
J. R. Richard (felled by a stroke that ended his career at age 30)
Grady Sizemore (he showed tremendous promise in his brief career)

The most underrated players not in the Hall of Fame ...

The "most unknown" or "least appreciated" player is listed first ...

Catcher: Wally Schang, Gene Tenace, Bill Freehan, Thurman Munson, Ted Simmons, Jorge Posada
First Base: John Olerud, Will Clark, Todd Helton, Keith Hernandez, Fred McGriff
Second Base: Bobby Grich, Willie Randolph, Lou Whitaker, Jeff Kent
Shortstop: Bill Dahlen, Jim Glasscock, Jim Fregosi, Bert Campaneris, Dave Concepcion
Third Base: Buddy Bell, Scott Rolen, Dick Allen, Graig Nettles, Ken Boyer, Sal Bando
Left Field: Sherry Magee, Indian Bob Johnson, Reggie Smith, Charlie Keller, George Foster
Center Field: Willie Davis, Jim Wynn, Kenny Lofton, Jim Edmunds, Andruw Jones, Johnny Damon
Right Field: Dwight Evans, Bobby Abreu, Larry Walker, Tony Oliva, Roger Maris, Bobby Bonds
Designated Hitter: Jose Cruz, Gary Sheffield, Albert Belle, Lance Berkman
Starting Pitcher: Jim McCormick, Rick Reuschel, Kevin Brown, Tony Mullane, Luis Tiant
Relief Pitcher: Billy Wagner, John Franco, Francisco Rodriguez

Candidates with Steroid Issues, or Possible Issues

The players below are listed in the order that I rank them for inclusion in the HOF. I am not a fan of PEDs or players using them, but as I explained above, I can't see banning one player for life when someone who did far worse things soaks up the glory. I say let them all in, if they deserve it, and perhaps put an asterisk after their names if it can be proved that they cheated. If cheating can't be verified, "innocent until proven guilty" should apply. And what happens if someone elected to the HOF turns out to have cheated? That seems likely to happen, sooner or later.

Barry Bonds (162.4 WAR, 762 HR, 1,996 RBI, 182 OPS+)
Roger Clemens (139.2 WAR, 354-184, 4,672 SO, 3.12 ERA, 143 ERA+)
Alex Rodriguez (117.7 WAR, 696 HR, 2,086 RBI, 140 OPS+)
Rafael Palmeiro (71.6 WAR, 569 HR, 1,835 RBI, 132 OPS+)
Manny Ramirez (69.2 WAR, 555 HR, 1,831 RBI, 154 OPS+)
Robinson Cano (68.8 WAR, .303/.353/.491/.844, 126 OPS+)
Mark McGwire (62.2 WAR, 583 HR, 1,414 RBI, 163 OPS+)
Gary Sheffield (60.3 WAR, 509 HR, 1,676 RBI, 140 OPS+)
Andy Pettitte (60.2 WAR, 256-153, 3.85 ERA, 3,316 IP, 117 ERA+)
Sammy Sosa (58.4 WAR, 609 HR, 1,667 RBI, 128 OPS+)
Jason Giambi (50.5 WAR, 440 HR, 1,441 RBI, 139 OPS+)
Curtis Granderson (47.4 WAR, 339 HR, 920 RBI, 114 OPS+)
Miguel Tejada (47.3 WAR, 307 HR, 1,302 RBI, 108 OPS+)
Ryan Braun (46.6 WAR, 331 HR, 1,083 RBI, 136 OPS+)
Jose Canseco (42.2 WAR, 462 HR, 1,407 RBI, 132 OPS+)

Players in my Previous Top Tens who are now in the HOF

Mariano Rivera definitely deserves to make it on the first ballot, being the all-time saves leader with 652, not to mention having a 2.21 ERA and all-time-best 205 ERA+. He compares to anyone, but no one compares to him.
Chipper Jones could be a first-ballot inductee, with strong stats for a third baseman: 85.0 WAR, .303/.401/.529, 468 HR, 1,623 RBI, 141 OPS+. He compares with Eddie Matthews.
Mike Mussina had a 3.68 ERA, which is on the high side for the HOF, but 270 wins and 83.0 WAR help his case. He compares with Ted Lyons.
Jeff Bagwell 79.9 WAR, 149 OPS+, 1,517 runs, 1,529 RBI, 449 homers, 202 steals, eleven consecutive seasons of ~5 WAR or higher, a no-brainer for the HOF.
Jim Thome should be a lock for the HOF, with 612 homers. His stats are impressive: 72.9 WAR, .276/.402/.554, 612 HR, 147 OPS+.
Alan Trammell 70.7 WAR, .285/.352/.415/.767 with 236 steals. Trammell ranks 9th among HOF shortstops in WAR and definitely belongs in the HOF.
Tim Raines 69.4 WAR, 1,571 runs, 808 steals, 123 OPS+, seven-time all-star, one of the top lead-off hitters of all time, should be a sure HOFer.
Roy Halladay should be a lock for the HOF with 64.3 WAR and such a high peak with 50.6 WAR7. He won two Cy Young awards and his 131 ERA+ is in the top 30 for starting pitchers.
Vladimir Guerrero 59.3 WAR, .318/.379./.553/.931, 449 HR, 1,406 RBI with a 140 OPS+. Guerrero has been knocking on the door and seems primed to enter.
Trevor Hoffman was knocking on the door with 74% of the vote in 2017, with great stats for a reliever: 601 SAVES, 2.87 ERA, 141 ERA+. Hoffman ranks second in all-time saves and vastly eclipses the relievers currently in the HOF: Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Rich Gossage, Bruce Sutter, Hoyt Wilhelm.

Players that I had on the Bubble who are now in the HOF, with my comments ...

Edgar Martinez 68.3 WAR, .312/.418/.515/.933 147 OPS+. Martinez slashes great, but spent a lot of time at DH and had only 309 HR and 1,261 RBI.
Jack Morris fails to excite with 43.4 WAR, a 3.90 ERA and 105 ERA+, but 254 wins gives him a case, and he had 14 years with 10+ wins.

High-WAR players no longer eligible in 2019 ...

Fred McGriff 52.6 WAR, .284/.377/.509/.886, 493 HR, 1,550 RBI, 134 OPS+ (McGriff's ten year window closed in 2019 with 39.8% of the HOF votes.)
Lance Berkman 52.1 WAR, .293/.406/.537/.943, 144 OPS+, 366 HOMERS, 20th in secondary average at .434 (Berkman could rake but didn't qualify with only 1.2% of votes his first year eligible, in 2019.)
Roy Oswalt 50.1 WAR, 163-102, 3.32 ERA, 2,245 IP, 127 ERA+ (Oswalt has a stellar ERA+ but didn't qualify with only 1.2% of votes his first year eligible, in 2019.)

Other players who didn't make the cut in 2019: Miguel Tejeda, Michael Young, Placido Polanco, Rick Ankiel, Vernon Wells, Jon Garland, Jason Bay, Derek Lowe, John Pierre, Freddy Garcia, Ted Lilly, Travis Hafner, Kevin Youkilis, Darren Oliver

Other high-WAR players no longer eligible from prior years, with a plus sign meaning "let him in!" and an asterisk meaning probable or possible PED issues ...

+Pete Rose 79.7, 118 OPS+, the all-time leader in games, wins, hits and times on base
+Jim McCormick 76.2 WAR, 118 ERA+, 265 wins in ten years
+Bill Dahlen 75.4 WAR, 110 OPS+, 548 steals, great defense
+Lou Whitaker 75.1 WAR, 117 OPS+, three Gold Gloves
*Rafael Palmeiro 71.9 WAR
+Bobby Grich 71.1 WAR, 125 OPS+, four Gold Gloves, 5.7 WAR per 162 games
+Ron Santo 70.5 WAR, 125 OPS+, five Gold Gloves
Rick Reuschel 69.5 WAR, 114 ERA+
+Kenny Lofton 68.3 WAR, four Gold Gloves, 1,528 runs, 622 steals
Graig Nettles 68.0 WAR, 110 OPS+, two Gold Gloves
+Kevin Brown 67.8 WAR, 127 ERA+
+Dwight Evans 67.1, 127 OPS+, eight Gold Gloves
Luis Tiant 66.7 WAR, 114 OPS+
Buddy Bell 66.3 WAR, 109 OPS+
Willie Randolph 65.9 WAR, 109 OPS+
Reggie Smith 64.6 WAR, 137 OPS+
Ken Boyer 62.8 WAR, 116 OPS+
David Cone 62.3 WAR, 121 ERA+
*Mark McGwire 62.2 WAR
Tommy John 61.5 WAR, 111 ERA+
Sal Bando 61.5 WAR, 119 OPS+
Keith Hernandez 60.4 WAR, eleven Gold Gloves, 128 OPS+
Jim Edmonds 60.4 WAR, eight Gold Gloves, .527 slugging, 132 OPS+
Mark Buehrle 59.2 WAR, 214-160, 3.81 ERA, 3,283 IP, 117 ERA+
Darrell Evans 58,8 WAR, 119 OPS+
+Bret Saberhagen 58.8 WAR, 126 ERA+ (Saberhagen dominated when healthy.)
+Dick Allen 58.7, 156 OPS+ (Allen's OPS+ is undeniable.)
John Olerud 58.2 WAR, 129 OPS+
Chuck Finley 57.9 WAR, 115 ERA+
Bobby Bonds 57.9 WAR, 129 OPS+, 461 steals, 332 homers
Frank Tanana 57.1 WAR, 106 ERA+
Will Clark 56.5 WAR, 137 OPS+
Dave Stieb 56.4 WAR, 122 OPS+
Robin Ventura 56.1 WAR, 114 OPS+
Johnny Damon 56.0 WAR, 104 OPS+
Orel Hershiser 56.0 WAR, 112 ERA+
Jim Wynn 55.9 WAR, 129 OPS+
Chet Lemon 55.6 WAR, 121 OPS+
Kevin Appier 54.5 WAR, 121 ERA+
Jose Cruz 54.4 WAR, 120 OPS+
Vada Pinson 54.3 WAR, 111 OPS+
Jerry Koosman 53.6 WAR, 110 OPS+
David Wells 53.5 WAR, 108 ERA+
Billy Pierce 53.4 WAR, 119 ERA+
Bucky Walters 53.4 WAR, 116 OPS+
Jack Clark 53.1 WAR, 137 OPS+
Bert Campaneris 53.1 WAR, 89 OPS+, 649 steals
Dwight Gooden 52.9 WAR, 111 ERA+
Cesar Cedeno 52.8 WAR, 123 OPS+
Norm Cash 52.0 WAR, 139 OPS+
Luis Gonzalez 51.8 WAR, 119 OPS+
Brian Downing 51.5 WAR, 122 OPS+
Johan Santana 51.4 WAR, 139-78, 3.20 ERA, 2,025 IP, 136 ERA+
Toby Harrah 51.4, 114 OPS+
Brian Giles 51.1 WAR, 136 OPS+
Tony Phillips 50.9 WAR, 109 OPS+
+Minnie Minoso 50.5 WAR, 130 OPS+ (Minoso was a rookie at age 25, due to racism?)
Jim Kaat 50.4 WAR, 108 ERA+
Jamie Moyer 50.4 WAR, 269-209, 4.25 ERA, 4,074 IP, 103 ERA+
Kenny Rogers 50.4 WAR, 107 ERA+
+Ted Simmons 50.3 WAR, 118 OPS+ (Simmons has more WAR than seven HOF catchers.)
Fred Lynn 50.2 WAR, 129 OPS+
Mark Langston 50.1 WAR, 107 ERA+
Wilbur Wood 50.0 WAR, 114 OPS+

Other Notable Players: Ellis Burks (49.8), Bernie Williams (49.6), Dutch Leonard (49.0), Mickey Lolich (48.0), Ron Guidry (47.8), Devon White (47.3), Frank Viola (46.9), Matt Williams (46.6), Dale Murphy (46.5), Mark Grace (46.4), Thurman Munson (46.1), Rusty Staub (45.8),  Tony Fernandez (45.3), Vida Blue (45.1), Gil Hodges (44.8), Matt Holliday (44.8), Chuck Knoblauch (44.8), Bill Freehan (44.8), Rocky Colavito (44.5), Carlos Delgado (44.4), George Foster (44.2), Nomar Garciaparra (44.2), Julio Franco (43.5), Tony Oliva (43.1), Charlie Keller (43.1), Dixie Walker (42.7), *Jose Canseco (42.5), Don Mattingly (42.4), Darryl Strawberry (42.2), Curt Flood (41.9), "Sudden" Sam McDowell (41.8), Fernando Valenzuela (41.4), Tim Salmon (40.6), David Justice (40.6), Dave Concepcion (40.1), Dave Parker (40.1), Albert Belle (40.1), Moises Alou (39.9), Reggie Sanders (39.8), Maury Wills (39.7), Lance Parrish (39.5), Boog Powell (39.0), Paul O'Neill (38.9), Juan Gonzalez (38.7), Kirk Gibson (38.4), Roger Maris (38.2), Steve Garvey (38.1), Frank Howard (37.6), Dusty Baker (37.0), Eric Davis (36.1), Dick Groat (36.7), Carl Furillo (35.1), Shawn Green (34.7), Ken Griffey Sr. (34.5), Willie McGee (34.2), Ron Gant (34.1), Bobby Thomson (33.3), Rick Monday (33.1), Rico Carty (32.6), Ted Kluszewski (32.4), Darin Erstad (32.4), Bobby Murcer (32.1), Andres Galarraga (31.7), Marty Marion (31.6), Bill Russell (31.3), Greg Vaughn (30.8), Lew Burdette (28.6), Vic Wertz (27.4), Jackie Jensen (27.9), Elston Howard (27.0), Denny McClain (19.3), Don Larsen (18.4)

For purposes of comparison, here are some HOFers with their career WAR: Lloyd "Little Poison" Waner (24.1), "High Pockets" Kelly (25.2), Jim Bottomley (35.3), Pie Traynor (36.2), Bill Mazeroski (36.2), Roy Campanella (37.0), George Kell (37.4), Lefty Gomez (38.4), Phil Rizzuto (40.8), Catfish Hunter (40.9), Earl Combs (42.5), Rabbit Maranville (42.8), Chuck Klein (43.6), Sam Thompson (44.3), Lou Brock (45.2), Dizzy Dean (45.8), Jim Rice (47.4), Sandy Koufax (48.9), Nellie Fox (48.9), Ralph Kiner (49.4), Tony Lazzeri (49.9)

Related Pages: Baseball Timeline, Weird Baseball Facts and Trivia, Weird Sports Trivia, The Greatest Baseball Infields of All Time, Is Mike Trout the GOAT?, Best Baseball Nicknames, Baseball's All-Time Leaders in WAR per Season, Baseball's All-Time Leaders in WAR7, Baseball Hall of Fame: The Best Candidates, Why Pete Rose Should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame, Big Red Machine Timeline/Chronology

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