Here's to the players who fell off the 2024 HOF ballot

January 24th, 2024

The National Baseball Hall of Fame welcomed three players on Tuesday: Adrián Beltré, Joe Mauer and Todd Helton. That trio as well as manager Jim Leyland will be inducted into Cooperstown July 21.

However, that leaves 23 players on the 2024 Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot on the outside looking in, and nine of them fell off the ballot. But similar to those who are up for an Academy Award, it's an honor just to be nominated.

Let's use this space to honor those who won't be coming back to the BBWAA ballot by pinpointing a season, a game, a play, an achievement or a fun fact that demonstrates the impact they had on baseball

Each player is listed alongside their year on the ballot and career bWAR.

(10th year, 60.5)
Sheffield made a furious late charge to get into the Hall as his voting percentage went from 13.6% to 63.9% in five years, but he fell shy of the 75% threshold necessary for election.

Owner of one of the game's most identifiable and mimicked batting stances, Sheffield's pre-pitch bat waggle resembled a rattlesnake that was ready to strike. And he did so for 2,689 hits and 509 home runs during his 22-year career. The ease with which he waved the bat like a wand and then blistered pitch after pitch was something to behold.

One great example of Sheffield's strength and skill was his four-hit, two-homer performance against the Padres on April 10, 1994. He finished a single shy of the cycle and tallied 13 total bases, his single-game career high. Despite playing only 87 games for the Marlins during that strike-shortened year, Sheffield collected 27 homers and 44 extra-base hits.

(1st year, 46.2)
Colon's shocking home run in 2016 is probably the moment that comes to mind first when people think of Colon. But we already covered that here, and that kind of overshadows how amazing Colon was on the mound that season.

Eighteen years after making his first All-Star team, Colon made it back to the Midsummer Classic for the fourth time at 43 years old. He finished that season with a 117 ERA+ over 192 1/3 innings. In the past 90 years, only one other pitcher had a better ERA+ at such an advanced age while tossing at least 190 innings: 45-year-old Phil Niekro in 1984.

Five days before he went deep in San Diego, Colon threw eight shutout innings against the Braves in arguably his best start of the year.

(1st year, 44.5)
If there is anything you remember from Holliday's 2007 season, it probably has nothing to do with how he paced the Majors in extra-base hits (92) and total bases (386), or that he led the National League in average (.340), hits (216) and RBIs (137). No, all of that is secondary to Holliday winning the NL Wild Card tiebreaker versus the Padres with a head-first dive into home plate. Did Holliday actually touch it? Sure.

(1st year, 43.5)
González's 2009 season still stands as one of the very best seasons by a Padres position player in the franchise's 55-year history. He clubbed 40 homers, led the Majors with 119 walks, notched a career-best 162 OPS+ and matched his career high with a 6.9 bWAR. Only two Padres have surpassed that OPS+ and bWAR in a single season: Dave Winfield in 1979 and Ken Caminiti in his 1996 NL MVP year.

(1st year, 36.7)
No player on this list is associated more with a single play than Bautista and his game-changing, bat-flipping, earth-shaking homer against the Rangers in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS. Yes, the bat flip is cool and all, but when you combine it with how Rogers Centre erupts and how the TV cameras quake amid the raucous scene, it all contributes to this play being seared into our memory banks ad infinitum.

(1st year, 37.5)
Reyes was MLB's preeminent speedster during his career. Although he was near the end of his big league road in 2017, he had one week during the middle of that season that perfectly encapsulated his special skills. In the span of five days, he recorded a walk-off hit on an infield single, two triples in the same game, and his 500th career stolen base.

(1st year, 32.0)
Mauer will be celebrated next summer in Cooperstown, but let's also give Martinez his flowers as one of the top offensive catchers in recent memory. He recorded a 120 or better OPS+ as a primary catcher six times between 2004-10. The only backstops with more such seasons since the 1950s are Hall of Famers Johnny Bench (seven), Ted Simmons (eight) and Mike Piazza (10).

(1st year, 30.7)
They don't make pitchers like 2011 James Shields any longer. His 11 complete games for the Rays that season not only led the league, they are the most by any pitcher this century. No one has exceeded six complete games since Shields' standout year, so it seems like he will hold the top spot on that 21st-century leaderboard for a long, long time.

(1st year, 28.4)
A four-time Gold Glover, Phillips played with supreme flair in the field. The behind-the-back flip from second base became his trademark move. We'd love to present a full list of his fantastic flips, but since we have space for only one, let's look back at this barehanded gem against the Pirates in 2016. And since this was 2016, the man known as Dat Dude punctuated the play by showing off his dab. What a time to be alive.