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Here are the top Yanks not in Hall of Fame

@BryanHoch
November 20, 2020

A pair of stellar lifetime Yankees have highlighted the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s most recent classes, with Mariano Rivera becoming the first unanimous inductee in 2019 and Derek Jeter receiving 396 of 397 possible votes a year later, easily clearing the 75% threshold required for induction. The selections increased

A pair of stellar lifetime Yankees have highlighted the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s most recent classes, with Mariano Rivera becoming the first unanimous inductee in 2019 and Derek Jeter receiving 396 of 397 possible votes a year later, easily clearing the 75% threshold required for induction.

The selections increased the Yankees flavor that has long been present in the hallowed hamlet of Cooperstown, N.Y., located approximately 180 miles northwest of Yankee Stadium. Jeter will be the 21st inductee to sport a Yankees logo on his plaque, and the 57th player, manager or executive to reach Cooperstown after spending at least part of his career with the Yankees.

“It probably means a little bit more to me than maybe some other people, because I grew up a Yankee fan,” Jeter said. “It's the only organization I ever wanted to play for.”

With the 2021 Hall of Fame ballot having been released, we thought it would be a good opportunity to examine the best Yankees not currently in Cooperstown:

Hall of Fame coverage

1) Alex Rodriguez (117.5 bWAR with Mariners, Rangers and Yankees from 1994-2016)
A-Rod completed his 22-year career with 696 home runs, fourth all-time behind Barry Bonds (762), Henry Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714). A three-time American League Most Valuable Player who collected 3,115 hits, Rodriguez was a 14-time All-Star, 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner and two-time Gold Glove winner. He played a dozen seasons in pinstripes beginning in 2004, compiling a .283/.378/.523 slash line with 351 homers, 1,096 RBIs, a 136 OPS+ and 54.0 bWAR while winning his only World Series title in 2009.

Rodriguez will debut on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2022, a candidacy that presents an opportunity for voters to weigh his stellar stats against a suspension related to performance-enhancing drug use that cost Rodriguez the entire 2014 season. Rodriguez has said he hopes Bonds and Roger Clemens, a pair of contemporaries whose careers include similar PED stains, will gain Hall entry in order to improve his candidacy.

2) Roger Clemens (138.7 bWAR with Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees and Astros from 1984-2007)
A seven-time Cy Young Award winner, the “Rocket” won 354 games over his 24 seasons in the Majors, registering 4,672 strikeouts. On the numbers alone, Clemens would be a slam-dunk candidate, but he was named several times in the Mitchell Report following the ’07 season. Clemens’ best showing thus far on the Hall ballot was in 2020, when the hard-throwing righty appeared on 61% of ballots cast.

Clemens has consistently and adamantly denied using PEDs, including with the Yanks from 1999-2003, during which he helped the club to two World Series championships and four pennants. Clemens returned to New York for a half-season in ‘07, and he was 83-42 with a 4.01 ERA (114 ERA+) across his Bronx tenure, winning the AL Cy Young Award in 2001. His career ERA+ of 143 ranks 12th all-time and would be sixth among current Hall of Famers.

3) Graig Nettles (68.0 bWAR with Twins, Indians, Yankees, Padres, Braves and Expos from 1967-88)
A slick defender and steady hitter who won two Gold Glove Awards and appeared on six All-Star teams, “Puff” helped the Yankees to titles in 1977 and ’78. Nettles’ glovework in Game 3 of the 1978 Fall Classic against the Dodgers remains one of the game’s most memorable defensive exhibitions, and he was the MVP of the 1981 AL Championship Series against the Athletics.

Nettles batted .248/.329/.421 with a 110 OPS+ across his career, and his batting average would be the lowest of any Hall of Famer. However, at the time of his retirement, Nettles’ 390 career homers ranked third among third basemen, behind only Mike Schmidt and Eddie Mathews – both of whom are now in Cooperstown. Nettles appeared on four Hall ballots; his best showing was 8.3% in 1994.

4) CC Sabathia (62.0 bWAR with Indians, Brewers and Yankees from 2001-19)
A six-time All-Star who won the 2007 AL Cy Young Award, Sabathia transformed from a fireballing ace into a cerebral stalwart over the course of his Yankees career, which opened with a World Series championship in ’09. Sabathia pitched to a 251-161 record and a 3.74 ERA (116 ERA+) across his 19 seasons, collecting 3,093 strikeouts -- Randy Johnson and Steve Carlton are the only lefties with more.

Sabathia won 134 games with New York, with whom he earned honors as the MVP of the ’09 ALCS. Sabathia won’t be eligible for the Hall until 2024, but he is one of 14 pitchers with 250 or more wins and 3,000 or more strikeouts. Clemens is the only other pitcher in that group who is not already in the Hall.

5) Andy Pettitte (60.7 bWAR with Yankees and Astros from 1995-2013)
One of the most reliable big-game performers of his era, Pettitte was a three-time All-Star and a five-time World Series champion with the Yankees, with whom he joined Jeter, Rivera and Jorge Posada as members of the “Core Four.” Pettitte pitched to a 256-153 record with a 3.85 ERA (117 ERA+) across his career, which included a three-year detour with the Astros from 2004-06.

He is among six pitchers to win 250 games and are not in the Hall, and that figure does not include his 19 postseason victories, most all-time. On the flip side, Pettitte’s career ERA would be the second-highest in the Hall, behind Jack Morris’ 3.90. This will be Pettitte’s third year of eligibility; he appeared on 11.3% of ballots cast in 2020. Pettitte faces a long climb, but his October accolades should encourage voters to keep him in the mix for years to come.

Honorable mentions: Willie Randolph (65.9 bWAR with Pirates, Yankees, Dodgers, Athletics, Brewers and Mets from 1975-92); Tommy John (62.1 bWAR with Indians, White Sox, Dodgers, Yankees, Angels, Athletics from 1963-89); David Cone (61.6 bWAR with Royals, Mets, Yankees, Red Sox from 1986-2003); Bernie Williams (49.6 bWAR with Yankees from 1991-2006); Ron Guidry (47.8 bWAR with Yankees from 1975-88); Thurman Munson (46.0 bWAR with Yankees from 1969-79); Jorge Posada (42.7 bWAR with Yankees from 1995-2011); Don Mattingly (42.4 bWAR with Yankees from 1982-95);

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.