Based on my rankings of the 200 greatest major league baseball players ever, here would be the best non Hall of Famers. I'm only including those who are eligible for the HOF already but haven't gotten in. So no Bonds/Clemens yet. A year from now, when we're debating the next group (Bagwell's new next year, he's inexplicably avoided all the steroid talk, we'll see if that holds) consider these thoughts.
Advanced defensive metrics continue to evolve, enough that there was a piece on espn.com this week arguing that Jeter was now the second greatest SS ever (behind Wagner, obviously - ARod was considered a 3B, the argument was largely that Jeter had passed Ripken. If you don't count ARod/Ripken/Yount/Banks given how much of their careers were at other spots, I still have Jeter 12th all time. The difference is solely in defensive valuation) my working plan is to reconsider my list after the 2010 season, that will be the earliest I will get to it. For now, I am entirely satisfied.
Clemens and Bonds are in my top ten players ever; they are not eligible for the HOF yet.
Maddux is in my second ten. ARod/Randy Johnson in my third. Glavine/Thomas/Pedro/Pudge in my 4th.
Bagwell, Smoltz in my 5th. But then....
2B Bobby Grich
-48th best player ever. 5th best second baseman ever. As under appreciated as any major professional sport athlete ever. And he's the reason why when sportswriters say "you know a Hall of Famer when you hear his name, he doesn't require thought" - they're wrong. If sportswriters missed on a guy when he played because they were too locked into misguided ways of thinking about baseball, he will never get the level of attention he deserved. Someone should write a great Bobby Grich book, or a book about Bobby Grich guys - guys who were hidden in plain sight - there was greatness and no one noticed. There's really no dispute about the composition of the 4 best second basemen ever (Lajoie, Hornsby, Collins, Morgan), I can't think of anyone who makes an argument to the contrary, the only debate is over the order in which they should be ranked.
Griffey, Pujols, Rivera all come before...
SS Barry Larkin
-57th best player ever. Behind Wagner/ARod/Ripken/Ozzie/Vaughan/Yount/Davis on my all time SS list. If you want to rank ARod/Ripken/Yount at other positions, that would make Larkin 6th. Yes, he should have gotten in this year. Yes, he will get in.
Manny's turn comes. Then Lou Whitaker (62) who doesn't make the starting snub lineup because of Grich. Then Bill Dahlen (66) who is behind Larkin on the HOF snub list. Palmeiro's spot comes up; he's never going in, so he'll be the first baseman on the all time snub team forever, probably. But not yet, as he's not eligible.
3B Edgar Martinez
With a career of virtually no defensive value, Edgar Martinez is still a hall of famer (74th best player ever). And right behind him
LF Tim Raines
-Raines is the 75th best baseball player ever. Grich is off the ballot, but Larkin/Edgar/Raines should have gotten in last week.
Mussina is in the next group - I'm betting he doesn't get in, so he will become the best pitcher never to make it if that's the case. Rose is next (79th) I assume he goes in one day even though he's ineligble currently so not on this list. Then come Thome and Rolen, who will both be fence candidates (Thome gets in eventually if everyone decides he was clean, Rolen probably doesn't). Then comes Sheffield, Trammell (89th), and Chipper. Sheff probably does not get in, Chipper does. Trammell and Whitaker maybe get in from the veteran's committee one day.
Robin Ventura (91) will never come close. Then comes Schilling, who will probably get in. Then Santo (97) who the Vets committee will put in. Then Biggio, who I think probably has to wait for the veteran's committee.
P Bert Blyleven
I like Blyleven less than other performance analysts (102 overall, 28th best pitcher ever) but he's still a Hall of Famer and the best eligible pitcher never to make it. Probably he gets in next year.
Robby Alomar (104) is next. Then Piazza, who makes it if the writers give him a pass on the steroids. Kevin Brown is next and has no chance. Then Kent - who probably makes it eventually. Edmonds is next, I don't see him getting in.
1B Mark McGwire
(118). He'll lose his spot on the all-snub team to Raffy when he becomes eligible, but Mac's a HOF'er, sure.
Vlad's next, he probably makes it. Then Trevor Hoffman...that will be curious...I don't know honestly, I'm gonna say he gets in. Jack Glasscock (130) should have the HOF plaque that draws the most giggles from the Cooperstown tourists. Dick Allen, completely coincidentally (138) is next on the list of snubs. Bobby Abreu comes next, he won't make it. John Olerud and Willie Randolph (143, 144) should (but won't, obviously) both just make the HOF slipping right over the border. Bernie Williams isn't eligible yet, but once he becomes eligible he'll be snubbed.
C Joe Torre
Then Wes Ferrell, (150) who was better than his brother Rick, who is in the HOF. Then Jeter, who will be in almost unanimously. Then the no-chance guys: Saberhagen (153), Stan Hack (155) another snubbed Cub 3b. Then Darrell Evans (156) Only a few left, my HOF cut off is coming soon. Keith Hernandez (159) makes it, so does Bucky Walters (160) and Graig Nettles (162). Jorge Posada should get in, I don't know if he does or not.
That's it. Carlos Beltran has more he needs to do. As do Tejada and Helton and if somehow Andruw Jones could find one more big spurt (and Brian Giles too) they'd be worth discussing. All the other active players are further off the pace (or should be considered such, Santana's gonna make it; watch Berkman and Oswalt.)
So - that means I have 24 HOF Eligibles who should be in the HOF:
Grich, Larkin, Whitaker, Dahlen, Martinez, Raines, Trammell, Ventura, Santo, Blyleven, Alomar, McGwire, Glassock, Allen, Olerud, Randolph, Torre, Ferrell, Saberhagen, Hack, Evans, Hernandez, Walters, Nettles
24 men. (yes, I could find 24 current non deserving HOF'ers to swap out in their place if that's the game we're playing) who deserve to be in Cooperstown.