The Three Greatest Baseball Players Who Aren’t in the Hall of Fame

The Baseball Hall of Fame has 312 members, 217 of which are former major league players. It has the greatest baseball players ever, such as Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Sandy Koufax, as members. Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is the greatest honor a Major League Baseball player can receive. However, for various reasons, some of the best players are not in the Hall of Fame. If it hadn’t been for the scandals they were involved in, each of these players would easily have made it into the Hall of Fame.

roger clemens hall of fame
Image Credit: Wikimedia

First on the list is Roger Clemens. He won a record 7 Cy Young awards and had the 3rd most strikeouts of any pitcher in baseball history at 4,672. He was notorious for his 98 MPH fastball, which earned him the nickname “Rocket”. He played with the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros. He once struck out a record 20 batters in a game! Batters were extremely intimidated by him throughout his career, which ended in 2007, when he was 45 years old. As one of the most fearsome and successful pitchers in MLB history, it seems like Roger Clemens would obviously be in the Hall of Fame.

However, Roger Clemens was involved in baseball’s infamous steroid scandal. His trainer Brian McNamee testified before Congress that he had injected Roger Clemens with anabolic steroids late in his career. Roger Clemens denied this under oath, which led to him being indicted for perjury. Brian McNamee actually saved the waste from an HGH injection of Roger Clemens, which contained his DNA, because his wife repeatedly warned him that he would be in trouble at some point. Fortunately for Roger Clemens, the perjury proceedings were ruled a mistrial due to prosecution misconduct! Roger Clemens would have been in prison otherwise. He still got 45.2% in the last Hall of Fame vote (out of 75% needed), but due to the prejudice baseball lovers have against steroids, he may not ever get in.

barry bonds
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The second baseball great who should be in the Hall of Fame, but isn’t, is Barry Bonds. Many people wouldn’t say this, but I believe he is the greatest hitter in the history of Major League Baseball. He is the all-time home run king with 762 home runs, and holds the MLB record for career walks with 2,558 and intentional walks with 688. This says a lot about his career: Barry Bonds was so powerful and such a home run threat that pitchers dared not face him. He holds the single-season home run record at 73. He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Francisco Giants. He won a record 7 MVP awards.

Barry Bonds holds some of the most important MLB records and will for a very long time. However, Barry Bonds used steroids and had an unfair competitive advantage over other MLB players. His success is not talked about very often, the way it would be if someone playing fairly had broken such records. Like Roger Clemens, he was involved in the federal investigation into MLB steroid use and was indicted for perjury for supposedly lying to a grand jury. The charge was dropped. Both Bonds and Clemens most likely perjured themselves and are lucky to not have gone to jail! Bonds had 44.3% in the 2016 Hall of Fame voting, so he still stands a chance to get in, despite the loathing that some baseball fanatics have for him.

The final baseball great who did not make into the Hall of Fame is Pete Rose. He is the all-time MLB record holder for hits, with 4,256. He also holds the MLB record for singles, games played, at bats, and plate appearances. He spent most of his career playing for the Cincinnati Reds, along with 5 seasons for the Phillies. He has three World Series rings. He had a scrappy and competitive playing style. The enthusiasm he displayed got fans excited and inspired his teammates. He would dive to bases, sliding headfirst and scraping his arms. His intensity was unique; he would sometimes sprint to first base after getting walks. He was made a manager of the Reds while he was still playing, so he would both manage games and play in them!

I truly believe Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame, because his offense did not give him a competitive advantage. Pete Rose bet on baseball games during his career, including ones that he both played in and ones that he managed. He claims that he never bet against the Reds, only for them, and the official investigation yielded no evidence that he bet against the Reds. Pete Rose has been permanently put on baseball’s ineligibility list and unless he is taken off, will never reach the Hall of Fame.

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