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The best, eligible Non-Hall of Famers

The best, eligible Non-Hall of Famers

Who are the best players not in the Hall of Fame? The results of this year's election will be announced on Tuesday.

We need some kind of measurement to determine this. So I used the "Win Shares" or WS stat created by Bill James and the "Total Player Rating" stat created by Pete Palmer (it is now called Batting + Fielding Wins or BFW). Both stats attempt to incorporate all aspects of the game, hitting, fielding and stealing. Their methods are somewhat different. Bill James is a consultant with the Red Sox and Pete Palmer is the editor of the Baseball Encyclopedia. I only look at position players here. If I have time I will look at pitchers. I only looked at players who have been retired at least 5 years.

Win Shares

Bill James gives each team 3 WS for each actual win and he allocates them to the players and pitchers based on their performance. I intended to list the 10 best who are not yet in the Hall of Fame. But Rose is not really eligible. So I listed 13. Mullane is not really a position player, getting 348 WS from pitching. Van Haltren got about 40 from pitching.

Rose 547 (13)
Mullane 399 (45)
Dahlen 394 (49)
Darrell Evans 363 (73)
Staub 358 (76)
Magee 354 (84)
Whitaker 351 (88)
Dwight Evans 347 (92)
Van Haltren 344 (96)
D. Allen 342 (97)
Dawson 340 (100)
Leach 328 (117)
Dave Parker 327 (118)

Will Clark had 331 WS (about 115th)

Win Shares per 648 Plate Appearances

A player could rack up a lot of WS if they just kept playing for a long time. So I also determined how players did per 648 Plate Appearances or per season. Kauff does well because of his good seasons in the less competitive Federal League in 1914-15. My complete rankings on this are at

The number in parentheses is where they rank all-time among all players, including Hall-of-Famers.

Joe Jackson 33.48 (9)
Benny Kauff 31.82 (14)
Charlie Keller 30.68 (18)
Dick Allen 30.30 (19)
Wally Berger 27.58 (48)
Dave Orr 27.55 (50)
Pete Browning 27.43 (51)
Al Rosen 27.41 (53)
Gene Tenace 27.09 (57)
Sherry Magee 26.84 (59)
George Gore 26.54 (63)

Joe Jackson is, of course, not actually eligible either, like Rose.

(John McGraw is 56th at 27.16 but is in as a manager)

I think WS has a bias in favor of outfielders. See the link for an explanation. So here are the two best players at each position. The number in parentheses is where they rank at the position. I show their WS per 648 PA if it is not above.

1B Dick Allen (2)
1B Dave Orr (11)

2B Grich 25.94 (6)
2B Doyle 25.37 (8)

SS Dahlen (7) 24.55
SS Vern Stephens (11) 23.72

3B Rosen (4)
3B Groh (7) 25.05

(McGraw is 5th at 3B)

C Tenace (8)
C Haller (11) 25.67
C Freehan (12) 25.08

Tenace was not really a full-time catcher, so I listed 3 here.


Now turning to Palmer's measure. BFW uses zero as the average. So a -1 would mean your team would lose one more game if such a player replaced an average player. A +5 means if you added such a player to your team in place of an average guy you would win 5 more games.

Here are the top players in career BFW

Grich 51.6 (23)
Dahlen 48.5 (26)
Santo 45.3 (30)
Darrell Evans 41.2 (49)
Allen 39.2 (55)
J. Jackson 38.3 (63)
W. Randolph 37.1 (69)
Glasscock 36.6 (72)
Bob Johnson 35.7 (74)
Whitaker 35.6 (76)

TPR or BFW per 648 PA

My rankings on this are at

Grich 4.068 (13)
Santo 3.124 (34)
Dahlen 3.022 (36)
Bob Johnson 2.875 (41)
K. Hernandez 2.637 (48)
Reggie Smith 2.568 (54)
Randolph 2.541 (57)
N. Cash 2.499 (58)
Darrell Evans 2.487 (59)
J. Wynn 2.427 (63)

Wins above replacement level (WARP)

One problem with BFW is that a player is hurt by a -1 season even though he still contributed to his team by being better than the next available option (or replacement).

I also have a list of wins above replacement level that I created myself. In one case, I assumed that -2 TPR (BFW) for a 700 PA season was replacement level. In another case, -3. For each player, I determined how many 700 PA seasons they had (dividing their career PAs by 700), multiplied that by -2 or -3, and then added it to their career. TPR (or now BFW). It is up through 2004. My rankings for this is at

Here are the top players using -3 for WARP.

Dahlen 93.07 (29)
Rose 91.88 (32)
Darrell Evans 87.22 (37)
Grich 86.83 (38)
Santo 85.57 (40)
Palmeiro 84.82 (42)
Whitaker 78.32 (63)
Randolph 77.65 (67)
Trammell 71.88 (80)
Buddy Bell 71.6 (83)
K. Hernandez 71.46 (85)

It seems that the players on these lists tend, for the most part,

-have no big career milestones like 500 HRs, 3000 hits or a career AVG of .300
-were not known for being great at any one thing like alot of HRs or SBs
-did not win alot of awards
-did not consistently lead the league in some category.

These guys were generally very good at all aspects of the game. Maybe they escaped notoriety because they lacked one defining characteristic of excellence. But they helped their teams win, perhaps enough to be in the Hall.

The two players who seem to be most deserving of the Hall of Fame based on all of this are Grich and Dahlen. Their names come up on almost all of the lists I have here. It is impressive that they rank high in lists using both the James method (WS) and the Palmer method (BFW). To me, this raises the possibility that they really were great players.

The only list Dahlen is not on is WS per 648 PAs for all players. But that could be because shortstops generally don't do as well in this (see my link for an explanation). But he is 127th all-time on this (this includes all position players, even those already in the Hall-that is an impressive rank). He also has the highest WS per 648 PAs of any SS not in the Hall who has been retired for 5 years.

Grich is not on the career WS list here. But his career total was 329, tied for 115th all-time through 2001, including pitchers. That is easily good enough for the Hall. He is also not on the WS per 648 PAs here. He is 78th in WS per 648 PAs. That is also very impressive. He also has the highest WS per 648 PAs of any 2B not in the Hall who has been retired for 5 years.