Kenny Lofton / Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kenny Lofton / Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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