Not in the Hall of Fame, But Why Not? – Some Inconsistencies in Statistical Milestones
by Asher B. Chancey, Baseball Evolution
December 31, 2005

Harold Baines – Hits

Harold Baines, assuming for the moment that conventional wisdom is correct, will have the highest number of hits of anyone not in the Hall of Fame other than Pete Rose. He has 2866, and the three players immediately above him are Babe Ruth, Mel Ott, and Frankie Frisch. All three were world class players, which explains the discrepancy. The three directly below him are also in – Jesse Burkett, Brooks Robinson, and Charlie Gehringer. Those three are also spectacular. Nevertheless, Baines has reached a point on the career hits list that only Hall of Famers tread. But, this could also be an indication that guys with 3,000 hits end up in the Hall because they are great players, not simply because they reached the milestone.

Top Five Hits Leaders Among Hall of Fame Eligible Non-Hall of Famers

1. Harold Baines, 2866
2. Andre Dawson, 2774
3. Vada Pinson, 2757
4. Al Oliver, 2743
5. Rusty Staub, 2716

Dave Kingman – Home Runs

Dave Kingman is the first Hall of Fame eligible player on the career home run list not in the Hall of Fame. Three active guys are directly ahead of him – Jeff Bagwell, Gary Sheffield, and Frank Thomas – as well as four guys way ahead of him – Ken Griffey, Jr., Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds – and all seven will be in the Hall. When his other skills, or lack thereof, are considered, Kingman is one of the greatest pure homerun hitters of all time. There is something to be said for hitting 442 homeruns, and he is surrounded on the homerun career leader list by current and future Hall of Famers. Nevertheless, this is another demonstration that success in one category does not get it.

Top Five Home Run Leaders Among Hall of Fame Eligible Non-Hall of Famers

1. Dave Kingman, 442
2. Andre Dawson, 438
3. Darrell Evans, 414
4. Dale Murphy, 398
5. Joe Carter, 396

Harold Baines – Runs Batted In

The six players who rank behind Baines in career RBI are Rogers Hornsby, Harmon Killebrew, Al Kaline, Jake Beckley, Sammy Sosa, and Willie McCovey. The four that rank immediately ahead of him are Goose Goslin, Nap Lajoie, George Brett, and Mike Schmidt. All excellent players, all Hall of Famers. Baines is surrounded on this list by current and future Hall of Famers. It is certainly not difficult to imagine that he belongs in the Hall.

Top Five Runs Batted In Leaders Among Hall of Fame Eligible Non-Hall of Famers

1. Harold Baines, 1628
2. Andre Dawson, 1591
3. Dave Parker, 1493
4. Rusty Staub, 1466
5. Jim Rice, 1451

Andre Dawson – Total Bases

Andre Dawson is 24th in career Total Bases. Of the Top 50 in career Total Bases, only four eligible players are not in the Hall. The nearest to Dawson is Baines, at 29th, and Dawson has 183 more than Baines. Dawson is firmly amongst all time greats in Total Bases, which is a solid measure of overall effectiveness.

Top Five Total Bases Leaders Among Hall of Fame Eligible Non-Hall of Famers

1. Andre Dawson, 4787
2. Harold Baines, 4604
3. Dave Parker, 4405
4. Vada Pinson, 4264
5. Dwight Evans, 4230

Dick Allen – Relative OPS (OPS+)

Dick Allen ranks twentieth all time on the career leaders for relative OPS, or OPS adjusted for league, era, and ballpark. Amongst the players ahead of him are Albert Pujols, who has only been in the league for five years, and Dan Brouthers, Pete Browning, and Dave Orr, who played in the 1800s. Which means that, amongst players who played full careers since 1900, Dick Allen ranks 16th all time. And Dick Allen did some other impressive things in his career - .292 career average, 351 homeruns in 6332 atbats, and over 1000 runs and RBI. In case you think he played a short career for a Hall of Famer, Mark McGwire only had 6187.

After Allen, the next seven eligible players are in the Hall.

Top Five Relative OPS Leaders Among Hall of Fame Eligible Non-Hall of Famers
1. Dick Allen, 156
2. Charlie Keller, 152
3. Jack Fournier, 142
4. Frank Howard, 142
5. Kevin Mitchell, 142

Bert Blyleven – Strikeouts

This is an easy one, because most non-baseball writers are aware that Blyleven probably belongs in the Hall. The career strikeouts leaders are ALL current or future Hall of Famers. Of the Top 15, only Blyleven is not in the Hall, or will be in the Hall soon (Clemens, Johnson, Maddux, Martinez). Blyleven ranks fifth all time in strikeouts, ahead of Seaver, Sutton, and Perry, and is one of eight players to top Walter Johnson. This is but one element which indicates Blyleven’s Hall worthiness.

Top Five Strikeouts Leaders Among Hall of Fame Eligible Non-Hall of Famers

1. Bert Blyleven, 3701
2. Mickey Lolich, 2832
3. Frank Tanana, 2773
4. Jerry Koosman, 2556
5. Jack Morris, 2478

Tommy John – Wins

Tommy John debuted with the Cleveland Indians in 1963 at the age of 20. 150 years later, John retired at the age of 46 with 288 wins. John encountered a bit of trouble in 1974 when he had ligament replacement surgery, the surgery which now bears his name. Of course, we never give credit for injuries, and if he had not have had the surgery, he would not have lasted nearly as long as he did. So, never mind that.

Tommy John had three seasons of 20 or more wins, and has the most wins of any eligible player not in the Hall with 288. Fact is, John was not a great pitcher, and the Hall is at least in theory reserved for great players. John had some good seasons, but his ERA was never significantly better than the league and his K/BB ratio only occasionally approached 2.5/1, a solid not great ratio. John never put it all together in a single great season, let alone several great seasons, meriting Hall of Fame consideration.

Top Five Wins Leaders Among Hall of Fame Eligible Non-Hall of Famers

1. Tommy John, 288
2. Bert Blyleven, 287
3. Jim Kaat, 283
4. Jack Morris, 254
5. Jack Quinn, 247

Bert Blyleven - Shutouts

Bert? Is that you again? Why are you on this list twice? Is it because you have 60 shutouts, and any player with 60 or more shutouts is in the Hall of Fame? Or is it because you are ninth in Major League history in shutouts, and the only eligible player in the Top 25 not in the Hall? Whatever it is, it seems like you have some pretty Hall worthy stats, and yet . . .

Top Five Shutouts Leaders Among Hall of Fame Eligible Non-Hall of Famers

1. Bert Blyleven, 60
2. Tommy John, 46
3. Doc White, 45
4. Babe Adams, 44
5. Milt Pappas, 43

Lee Smith - Saves

Now, it is no surprise that relievers do not get elected to the Hall of Fame based on consistent standards or criteria - how else do we explain the inclusion of Rollie Fingers and the exclusion of Dan Quisenberry. But isn't it even just the slightest bit awkward that the all time leader in saves is not in the Hall?

I am not sure how we judge these things - I know Rollie and Dennis are in, and they have both won MVPs, while Willie Hernandez is not in, despite his MVP. I know that Mariano Rivera will be in one day, because of his dominance, post-season success, and Yankee-ness, though I wonder about Trevor Hoffman, the current number two and ostensible all time leader to be.

All I know is that Lee Smith is the All Time leader, and by a lot at this point, and should be considered if anyone should. Smith's period of effectiveness as a closer is abnormal by today's standards, and his saves totals are abnormal by any standard.

Top Five Saves Leaders Among Hall of Fame Eligible Non-Hall of Famers

1. Lee Smith, 478
2. Jeff Reardon, 367
3. Tom Henke, 311
4. Rich Gossage, 310
5. Jeff Montgomery, 304