With Kenny Lofton receiving a miserable 3.2% of the vote in yesterday’s Hall of Fame balloting, he’s gone from future consideration despite 6 All-Star appearances, 4 Gold Gloves, and 64.9 career WAR (greater than the totals of more than 50 players already enshrined.)
With a hat tip to @phungo2008 for asking the question, here are the players with the highest career WAR totals who fell off the Hall of Fame ballot in their first year of eligibility:
Lou Whitaker (71.4 WAR, 2.9% in 2001) Bill Dahlen (70.9 WAR, 0.4% in 1938) Bobby Grich (67.3 WAR, 2.6% in 1992) Kenny Lofton (64.9 WAR, 3.2% in 2013) Kevin Brown (64.3 WAR, 2.1% in 2011) Willie Randolph (63.0 WAR, 1.1% in 1998) Buddy Bell (61.6 WAR, 1.7% in 1995) Reggie Smith (60.8 WAR, 0.7% in 1988) David Cone (58.8 WAR, 3.9% in 2009) Sal Bando (57.1 WAR, 0.7% in 1987)
A new notes:
- All of these guys fell off the ballot because they didn’t receive 5% of the vote. There are other players with higher WAR totals, such as Ken Boyer and Wes Ferrell, who received less than 5% in their 1st year but didn’t fall off the ballot because the rules were different.
- There are a bunch of 19th-century players, Jim McCormick chief among them, who have enough WAR to qualify but were never listed on any HOF ballot.
- And of course, Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson would make this top 10 but also have never appeared on any HOF ballot.