Jeff Bagwell waited seven years before garnering the votes to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Tim Raines was in his 10th and final year on the ballot before he was elected. This weekend, Bagwell and Raines will join Ivan Rodriguez, enshrined in his first year of eligibility, as
Jeff Bagwell waited seven years before garnering the votes to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Tim Raines was in his 10th and final year on the ballot before he was elected. This weekend, Bagwell and Raines will join Ivan Rodriguez, enshrined in his first year of eligibility, as the latest Hall of Famers elected by the veteran members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Their waits are over. Others, however, remain on the outside despite having Hall of Fame-worthy credentials. Here are five still waiting for a place in Cooperstown:
Walker is a puzzle, and not merely because he never has received the 75 percent vote support needed for enshrinement. He hasn't even received 23 percent in any of the seven years he has been on the ballot; his support has ranged from 10.2 percent in 2014 to 22.8 percent in '11.
Whether Walker is evaluated by traditional numbers or analytics, the argument for his enshrinement is solid. Take his home runs (383), doubles (471), triples (62), RBIs (1,311), walks (913) and runs scored (1,355), and only five players in history have reached those levels -- Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial, Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams. Throw in Walker's 230 stolen bases, and he is in a category all his own. Oh, and don't forget seven Gold Glove Awards.
Walker's 72.6 career WAR is the highest of any right fielder not enshrined in the Hall of Fame. And Walker's career WAR is just below the average Hall of Fame right fielder's number of 73.2. His seven-year peak 44.6 WAR is above the average seven-year peak for the 24 right fielders in the Hall of Fame (43.0).
Yes, Walker did play at Coors Field, but he had only 31 percent of his career at-bats there. Plus, in a comparison of his road stats to Hall of Famers, he would be:
• Tied for 88th with Billy Williams and Max Carey with a .278 average
• 36th in home runs with 168
• 33rd in stolen bases with 109
• 66th with 564 RBIs
• Tied with Paul Waner for 50th with a .370 OBP
• 36th with a .495 slugging percentage
• Tied for 34th with Willie Stargell with an .865 OPS
Hoffman is second on the all-time saves list with 601, a success ratio of 88.7 percent, just behind former Yankee Mariano Rivera, who is the career saves leader with 652 and had a success ratio of 89.1 percent. The fact that he came up nine votes shy of the 75 percent support needed for election last winter, in his second year on the ballot, speaks well of his eventual enshrinement.
Guerrero would be in the same territory as Hoffman. The power-hitting outfielder was a first-time candidate a year ago, and he came up only 19 votes shy of joining Rodriguez as a first-year inductee.
Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds
Statistically, Clemens and Bonds should be no-brainers, but there are questions about performance-enhancing drugs. The bottom line is they were the elite pitcher and hitter of their era, putting stats together that rank among the elite in the history of the game.
Clemens ranks eighth all-time with 354 wins, 10th among pitchers who have been Hall of Fame eligible with a .658 career winning percentage, and his 3.12 ERA ranks 45th all-time, and ninth among pitchers since 1969, when the mound was lowered five inches to a 10-inch height to try to improve offense.
Bonds is the game's all-time leader in home runs, with 762, and he ranks fifth with 1,996 RBIs and a .607 slugging percentage. He is the all-time leader in both walks, with 2,558 -- 368 more than Rickey Henderson, who is second -- and intentional walks, with 688, more than twice as many as Jose Pujols, who is second on the list with 306.
Tracy Ringolsby is a national columnist for MLB.com.