For all the selections good and bad in its history, the National Baseball Hall of Fame remains one of the most exclusive in sports. With just 315 honorees as of this writing, many good players have yet to be enshrined.
Recently, I asked readers to vote online on the 25 best players not in Cooperstown — not 25 players who belong in the Hall of Fame necessarily, just the 25 best players not enshrined. In the end, 467 people participated.
All players retired at least five years were eligible, with a 200-player ballot distributed to voters and write-ins welcome. Next to each player voters selected, they were asked to put a “Y” or “N” signifying if they belonged in Cooperstown. This didn’t affect ranking, with place was determined by total votes. The idea is that a player can be one of the 25 best not enshrined even if they have no business in the Hall of Fame.
The 25 best players not in the Hall of Fame follow. Want to know how your favorite Hall of Fame candidate fared in voting? Be sure to click through to the end for full voting results.
Barry Bonds, 394 votes out of 467
Does he belong in the Hall of Fame? 325 people who voted for him said yes and 69 said no.
It’s beginning to look like the controversial all-time home run leader might get in the Hall of Fame while he’s on the BBWAA ballot. Exit polls for the writers have Bonds at about 50 percent of the vote in this, his fourth year of eligibility. Historically, any player who can get 50 percent of the vote within their first five years is almost certain to go on to draw the necessary 75 percent of the vote. None have had the rumors of steroid use attached to Bonds’ candidacy, though voters are mellowing on this.