The top Giants not in the Hall of Fame

February 1st, 2022

The Giants are well represented in Cooperstown. Sixty players, managers, executives and broadcasters with ties to the New York and San Francisco Giants are members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, including 25 inductees who spent the bulk of their careers with the organization.

But the club has also employed a slew of talented players who, for various reasons, have fallen short in their bids for enshrinement and remain on the outside looking in.

Here’s a look at the best non-active Giants players who are not in the Hall of Fame:

Bonds possesses enough credentials to merit a place in Cooperstown, but his Hall of Fame candidacy has stalled due to links to performance-enhancing drugs. He dropped off the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s Hall of Fame ballot after topping out at 66 percent of the vote in his 10th and final year of eligibility, well short of the 75 percent threshold required for induction. His fate now rests in the hands of the Today’s Game Era Committee, which is due to meet this December to consider candidates who made their greatest contributions to the game from 1988 to 2016.

While entry into the Hall of Fame continues to elude him, Bonds' career numbers easily place him in the upper echelon of hitters in baseball history. A seven-time National League MVP, 14-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove Award winner, Bonds holds Major League Baseball’s all-time records for home runs (762) and walks (2,558) and is the only player to hit 500 homers and steal 500 bases.

After spending the first seven years of his career with the Pirates, Bonds signed with the Giants ahead of the 1993 season and ignited one of the greatest turnarounds in franchise history. His arrival helped turn a 90-loss team into a 103-win team, as he batted .336/.458/.677 with 46 home runs and 123 RBIs to earn the first of five NL MVP Awards in San Francisco. Bonds spent the final 15 seasons of his career with the Giants, hitting .312/.477/.666 with 586 home runs and 1,440 RBIs over 1,976 games.

Kent played for six clubs over his 17-year career in the Majors, but he delivered his most prolific stretch during his stint with the Giants. Acquired in a blockbuster trade that sent the popular Matt Williams to Cleveland in 1996, Kent teamed up with Bonds to form the Giants’ most feared power duo since the Willie Mays-Willie McCovey era.

Kent hit .297/.368/.535 and averaged 29 home runs and 115 RBIs per season over his six years in San Francisco. He earned three straight All-Star nods from 1999-2001 and edged Bonds for the NL MVP Award in 2000, when he hit .334/.424/.596 with 33 homers, 125 RBIs and 7.2 WAR, all career bests. Kent crushed 351 of his 377 career home runs as a second baseman, making him the all-time leader at the position. He has one more year of eligibility on the BBWAA’s Hall of Fame ballot, but he’s lacking serious momentum after drawing only 32.7 percent of the vote in 2022.

Known for his uncommon blend of power and speed, Bonds drew frequent comparisons to Hall of Famer Willie Mays after debuting with the Giants in 1968. A three-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove Award winner, Bonds became only the third NL player to join the 30-30 club when he hit 32 home runs and stole 45 bases for San Francisco in 1969. It marked the first of five 30-30 seasons for Bonds, who fell one homer shy of becoming the first player to have a 40-40 season in 1973.

Bonds hit .273 with a 131 OPS+ and 186 home runs over seven seasons with the Giants before being traded to the Yankees for Bobby Murcer following the 1974 campaign. He is one of two players to log five 30-30 seasons in the Majors, joining his son, Barry.

Drafted with the second overall pick of the 1985 MLB Draft out of Mississippi State, Clark batted .299 with 176 home runs and 709 RBIs over eight seasons with the Giants. “Will the Thrill" earned five of his six career All-Star selections in San Francisco, along with two Silver Slugger Awards and one Gold Glove. He produced one of his best seasons in 1989, when he hit .333 with 23 home runs and 111 RBIs and finished second in NL MVP voting, behind only Giants teammate Kevin Mitchell.

In 2019, Clark learned that he would became only the second Giants player who is not in the Hall of Fame to have his number retired by the club, after Barry Bonds.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable,” Clark said at the time. “It’s something I will never forget. And it is my Hall of Fame.”

The third overall pick of the 1986 MLB Draft out of UNLV, Williams debuted with the Giants in 1987 at 21, though he endured some growing pains before truly establishing himself in the Majors. His breakthrough finally came in 1990, when he hit .277 with 33 home runs and an NL-high 122 RBIs in his first full season as a big leaguer.

Williams then blossomed into a star, earning four All-Star selections and three Gold Gloves over his 10-year tenure in San Francisco. He topped the 30-home run mark four times with the Giants and finished in the top five in NL MVP voting twice. Williams crushed a career-high 43 home runs in 1994, though the season was torpedoed by a players’ strike, robbing him of a chance to chase Roger Maris’ single-season home run record (61). He finished second in MVP voting that year to Jeff Bagwell of the Astros.

Williams spent two more seasons with the Giants before being dealt to Cleveland in exchange for Jeff Kent, Julian Tavárez and José Vizcaíno in a much-maligned trade in 1996. Williams' 247 home runs with the Giants rank fourth in San Francisco history, behind Barry Bonds (586), McCovey (469) and Mays (459).

6) Buster Posey
Posey’s arrival coincided with the beginning of the championship era for the Giants, underscoring the value of the clubhouse leadership he displayed even as a 23-year-old rookie in 2010. He quickly emerged as a franchise cornerstone for the club, winning the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 2012 NL MVP Award. His credentials also include seven All-Star selections, five NL Silver Slugger Awards, an NL Gold Glove Award and the 2012 NL batting title.

Posey’s 1,063 starts behind the plate are the most in Giants history, and he ranks in the top 10 in several offensive categories in the San Francisco era, including batting average (.302), games played (1,371), hits (1,500), doubles (293) and RBIs (729).

Posey likely could have continued to climb the franchise leaderboards, but he decided to step away and retire at 34 despite enjoying a resurgent season for the 107-win Giants in 2021. He ended his 12-year career with a 44.9 career bWAR, the 12th-best mark among catchers in Major League history, so he figures to be a strong candidate to be elected to Cooperstown once he becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame ballot in 2027.