Baseball has always been a game of number and that is one of the reasons the game is so great and loved by many, but one topic that can make for some interesting conversations is who is the best player not in the Hall of Fame?
Most MLB fans will automatically think of Pete Rose, but 'Charlie Hustle' made some big mistakes with gambling on baseball and it's very doubtful that the former player/manger will ever get his bust in Cooperstown.
Players need to have made a big difference in the game and not just for a few years, but over a long career. Tim Raines did just that with 2,605 career hits, which ranks in the top 100 of all-time and fifth in baseball history with 808 career stolen bases. Raines hit .294 for his career over 23 years in the game and was the type of player that could beat you with speed on the bases or in the field. With 170 career homers and a seven year stretch where he stole 50 or more bases in a year, this former player is probably the best candidate to get the nod for those not yet in baseball's Hall of Fame.
Dick Allen was a player that dominated the league during his 15 year career, but his brashness towards fans and the media have likely kept the former Philadelphia Phillies All-Star out of Cooperstown. Allen had a big bat for his time period with 351 career homers, but he also hit for a .292 career average, making him one of the top offensive talents in the game. Allen won the 1964 Rookie of the Year with Philadelphia and an MVP award in 1972 with the Chicago White Sox, but despite all his accolades on the field, he is more remembered for his off field antics and that could keep this terrific player from taking his place among the greats of the game.
Cal Ripken redefined the role of an offensive shortstop in the 80's and 90's and made the game look simple, but another player that produced terrific offensive and defensive stats was Detroit Tigers Alan Trammell. With 20 years in the MLB, all with Detroit, Trammell hit .285 for his career with 185 homers and 1,003 RBI, but in the field is where this smooth fielding shortstop shined the most with four gold gloves and six All-Star game appearances. Despite playing in Ripken's shadow for his entire career, Trammell had an outstanding career and is worthy of a spot in baseball's Hall of Fame.
How can a pitcher win 288 games in his career and not be in the Hall? Well that's the question surrounding Tommy John who pitched 26 years in the Majors with six different ball clubs and one of only two pitchers who is not active to have that many victories and not be in Cooperstown. John led the league in shutouts three times, had a career ERA of 3.34, and was one of the most durable players to ever put on a baseball uniform.
Of course there are several other players deserving of a place in the Hall of Fame, but these men proved themselves over a long career and made the game of baseball what it is today and at some point in time the game will need to recognize these men for their accomplishments and put them in Cooperstown where they belong.