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Best Eligible Non-Hall of Fame Pitchers

Ever since Bert Blyleven was inducted to the Hall of Fame, I've been wondering who the best eligible non-Hall of Fame pitcher is. There are many different metrics you can use in an attempt to measure this. I decided to combine a whole bunch of them and see who the consensus pick is.


Click to behold.

How did I do this?

I took seven metrics—a combination of old school (Wins, for crying out loud!), new school (WAR and wWAR), and those in between (HOF Monitor, HOF Standards, Black Ink, and Gray Ink). All stats were pulled from For each metric, I pulled the Top 30 players not in the Hall of Fame (but have been retired long enough to be eligible).

I did an oh-so-scientific reverse scaling, giving the #1 guy 30 points and the #30 guy one point. I then added up all the scores to see who the consensus pick was.

And this is what I got.


  • Well then. Jim McCormick pretty much aces every single metric. Is it safe to say he should probably be in the Hall of Fame?
  • The top seven pitchers (and eight of the top nine) are from the 19th century. Not sure exactly what to make of that.
  • 297-game winner Bobby Mathews ranks fourth despite no love from WAR or wWAR. I'm guessing those other metrics weigh wins pretty heavily. Well, that and there's no pitcher WAR data for the National Association. Will White also gets no WAR/wWAR love but gets by okay.
  • The top 20th century pitcher is Tommy John. I happen to agree that he should be in the Hall of Fame. I think people lump him in the same group with Jim Kaat too easily because of their similar win totals. This graph shows how the separate. John was the better pitcher.
  • And there's Kevin Brown again. He rates as the #2 modern pitcher despite no love from HOF Monitor, Black Ink, or Wins. He's the #1 modern pitcher (post-1900) by wWAR. And I'm still pretty sure he's the best pitcher not in the Hall. Why not John? I think many of those Ink and HOF metrics are too win-dependent. 
  • Luis Tiant performs quite well despite only ranking in four of the seven metrics. He does well on wins, but doesn't show up on HOF Monitor, Black Ink, or even Gray Ink.
  • Jack Morris does pretty well here. I mean, he wasn't a bad pitcher, but he gets a lot of his rankings from his win total. Of course, he doesn't rank under WAR or wWAR. He also didn't rank in Black Ink. But boy, did he own Gray Ink.
  • Al Spalding, of course, is in the Hall of Fame. But he's not in for his pitching. He's in as a pioneer. This list shows that he's deserving of (at least) a bit of consideration for his pitching days.
  • Rick Reuschel is #1 on the WAR list. He's #8 on the wWAR list. But he doesn't appear anywhere else and drops to 20th.
  • Frank Tanana is just plain weird. He rates pretty well in WAR and wWAR, but the only other appearance he makes is for wins. Kind of an odd combination.

Here's everyone with a score of 10 or more:

Name Score
Jim McCormick 199
Tony Mullane 189
Tommy Bond 146
Bobby Mathews 138
Charlie Buffinton 118
Bob Caruthers 111
Will White 97
Tommy John 94
Gus Weyhing 88
Kevin Brown 80
Luis Tiant 79
Jack Morris 76
Silver King 76
Eddie Cicotte 74
Jim Kaat 69
David Cone 65
Ed Morris 61
Al Spalding* 57
Frank Tanana 54
Rick Reuschel 53
Jerry Koosman 52
Billy Pierce 51
Carl Mays 51
Larry Corcoran 41
Jim Whitney 39
Bucky Walters 36
Paul Derringer 36
Tommy Bridges 36
Bret Saberhagen 34
Ron Guidry 34
Chuck Finley 33
Jack Quinn 33
Dave Stieb 32
Sam Jones 31
Larry Jackson 30
Bobo Newsom 29
Bill Hutchinson 28
Dwight Gooden 28
Wes Ferrell 28
Dennis Martinez 27
Jack Powell 26
Sam McDowell 26
Urban Shocker 26
Mark Baldwin 25
Kevin Appier 24
Lee Smith 23
Sadie McMahon 23
Sam Leever 23
Ed Reulbach 21
Wilbur Cooper 21
Allie Reynolds 20
Deacon Phillippe 20
George Mullin 20
Guy Hecker 20
Orel Hershiser 20
Charlie Root 19
Hippo Vaughn 19
John Franco 19
Claude Passeau 18
Wilbur Wood 17
Dutch Leonard 15
Jesse Tannehill 15
Larry French 15
George Uhle 14
Lew Burdette 14
Lon Warneke 14
Ray Kremer 14
Vida Blue 14
Hooks Dauss 13
Mel Harder 13
Mark Langston 12
Dave Foutz 10
Mickey Lolich 10