Certain statistical milestones warrant an automatic trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame. We know the numbers; 3,000 Hits, 500 Home Runs, 300 Wins, etc. These are the players who led in specific statistics not yet elected to the Hall of Fame; most for the same reason, controversy.
Batting Average – Joe Jackson .355
“Shoeless” Joe Jackson is third on the all-time batting average list. The Black Sox Scandal in 1919 when the World Series was fixed has led to his banishment from baseball. There have been pushes to have him reinstated and then elected, but nearly 100 years have already passed and it does not look like it will happen anytime soon.
Hits – Pete Rose 4,256
Another legend left out of Cooperstown because of what he did off the field involving baseball is Pete Rose. Rose is the all-time hits leader behind no one else. His betting on baseball while managing the Cincinnati Reds had him famously banned from the sport. Like Jackson, many believe enough time has passed and that Rose should be elected. Not on Rose’s side is the fact that players linked to steroids have had an impossible time getting elected. Baseball is a stubborn sport and not willing to compromise.
Home Runs – Barry Bonds 762
Yet another all-time leader in a category, this time with home runs, is Barry Bonds. Unlike the others already mentioned, Bonds is not banned from baseball. This still does not help his Hall of Fame cause as for two years straight he has not come close to receiving enough votes. Of all the sacred records in sports to break, Bonds had to break a favorite. Spiteful writers will do everything in their power to prevent him from ever reaching Cooperstown.
Wins – Roger Clemens 354
Continuing the trend of controversial modern players is Roger Clemens. The hard throwing and well-traveled pitcher ranks 9th on the all-time career wins list, only one behind 2014 Hall of Fame inductee Greg Maddux. Clemens suffers from a poor media image and an even poorer attitude. The day Clemens gets into the Hall of Fame is the day Bonds does and after that it’s fair game for everyone else.
WAR Position Players – Barry Bonds 162.5
The Stat Junkies love the statistic known as Wins Above Replacement (WAR) which allegedly measures overall skill. Of course, Barry Bonds the keeper of many records is second on the list only behind Babe Ruth, a Hall of Famer. The amazing statistics put up by Bonds will forever be shadowed by his alleged steroid use.
WAR Pitchers – Roger Clemens 139.4
Like Bonds, Clemens ranks near the top on the all-time list. Only Cy Young and Walter Johnson finished their careers with a higher WAR than Clemens did.
Had these players avoided gambling, cheating, and breaking the rules they would be in the Hall of Fame. For Bonds and Clemens their numbers would not be as high. What good is a record if there is an asterisk next to it?