Every major sport in North America has a Hall of Fame, but none is more exclusive than baseball’s. Located in Cooperstown, New York, the Baseball Hall of Fame only truly selects the best of the best to make it to enshrinement, with writers selecting from a long list of former players each year, but often only getting one or two people selected.
As a result, there have been plenty of great players that have been left out. Unlike the Basketball Hall of Fame where someone that won a single Sixth Man of the Year Award can get in, you need to do a lot to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Here are the five best players that still haven’t been let in. Before we get into the list, some of the other greatest players that aren’t in the Hall of Fame include Curt Schilling, Joe Jackson, Manny Ramirez, and Mark McGwire
5. Alex Rodriguez
Why he should be in: It doesn’t matter what team Alex Rodriguez was playing with during his career, he was one of the best shortstops in the game, and was one of the best players at that position in MLB history. Rodriguez crossed just about every major milestone to get into the Hall of Fame, including knocking out just shy of 700 home runs over his 22-year career while having a .295 batting average.
Why he’s not in the Hall of Fame: Simply put, Alex Rodriguez is one of the few people that actually got caught using performance-enhancing drugs. That alone will likely keep him out of the Hall of Fame for good.
4. Pete Rose
Why he should be in: No player in Major League Baseball history has more base hits than Pete Rose, which alone should get him into the Hall of Fame. Even with that out of play, Rose was still able to lead the Major Leagues in batting average on three different occasions while also winning two Gold Gloves, Rookie of the Year, an MVP Award, and three World Series titles while being named an All-Star 17 times.
Why he’s not in the Hall of Fame: Pete Rose was banned from baseball for life due to gambling on games while he was still a player/manager. The Baseball Hall of Fame followed suit and deemed him ‘permanently ineligible’ to be enshrined.
3. Sammy Sosa
Why he should be in: Sammy Sosa was one of the biggest reasons that people tuned back into baseball following the player’s strike, going toe-to-toe with Mark McGwire in 1998 for the new home run title. Sosa was an MVP with the Chicago Cubs and finished his career with 609 home runs and 1,667 runs batted in while being named an All-Star seven times and winning six Silver Slugger Awards.
Why he’s not in the Hall of Fame: Sosa was one of the many players that were brought in front of Congress during the steroid scandal of the 2000s. Sosa denied taking performance-enhancing drugs, but writers haven’t been convinced and have kept him out of the Hall of Fame.
2. Roger Clemens
Why he should be in: Roger Clemens played with four Major League teams during his 24-season career, including extended stops with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. During that time, Clemens was one of the most dominant pitchers in the Major Leagues, finishing with 354 career wins and 4,672 strikeouts. Clemens won seven Cy Young Awards and an MVP while also adding a pair of World Series titles.
Why he’s not in the Hall of Fame: The story with Clemens is the same that it is for Sosa. There was always the suspicion that Clemens was on PEDs, and he testified that he hadn’t taken any. Even though he was found not guilty of perjury, Clemens has still been left out.
1. Barry Bonds
Why he should be in: Barry Bonds is perhaps the best hitter in Major League Baseball history. He was a 14-time All-Star that won a dozen Silver Slugger Awards across his career with the Pirates and Giants. During that time, Bonds hit a record 762 career home runs with a .298 batting average, but perhaps his most staggering stat is his on-base percentage of .444, which will never be topped in modern baseball.
Why he’s not in the Hall of Fame: Baseball writers simply didn’t like Bonds as the relationship between the two was often contentious. Bonds was also one of the main players in the BALCO scandal and was originally charged with perjury and obstruction of justice in the case, though the charges were dropped.