Baseball Hall of Fame: Which New York Mets have been snubbed?

Keith Hernandez, New York Mets, MLB

When the National Baseball Hall of Fame announces its class of 2021 on Tuesday night, not one Mets legend is expected to make the cut – again.

The New York Mets don’t have many Hall of Famers. Since coming into existence in 1962, elite players have been hard to come by for the Mets.

No player in franchise history has ever won a National League Most Valuable Player award. They’ve always had pitching, but outside of Tom Seaver and Jacob deGrom those elite starters have burned quickly.

Even still, there are quite a few players in franchise history who clearly deserve to be enshrined, but have been denied the right. The eras committee’s ballots could change that down the line, but for now, the New York Mets are home to some of the worst Baseball Hall of Fame snubs of all-time.

Billy Wagner

The only conceivable reason Billy Wagner isn’t already in the Hall of Fame is his save count. He’s sixth all-time on the list with 422 saves. All of his other numbers are second only to Mariano Rivera.

His ERA is a sterling 2.31, his FIP 2.73, and 1,196 strikeouts. Wagner’s also a seven-time All-Star and received Cy Young votes in two years.

Wagner is just pure and simple one of the most dominant closers the game has ever seen. Some will say he blew too many saves or didn’t save the biggest games, he never won a World Series.

Still, when you’re numbers say your as dominant as anyone to ever play it’s hard to say they shouldn’t be inducted.

Unlike the others on our list, Wagner will likely get into the Hall of Fame sometime soon. His votes have been trending north over the past few years and he’ll likely finish around or over 50 percent on the ballot this year. It may take a few more years yet, but when all is said and done Wagner will likely be inducted one day.

Keith Hernandez

It’s a flat out joke that Keith Hernandez isn’t already enshrined. The former New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, and Cleveland Indians first baseman is among the greatest to ever play his position.

Hernandez’s 11 gold gloves are the most won by a first baseman in MLB history. He’s a five-time All-Star, and won an MVP award in 1979.  Keith’s 60.3 career rWAR is 20th all-time, and the only players above him on the list not in the Hall of Fame are either still playing, have a history of steroid use, or are currently on the ballot. Meanwhile, seven players with fewer rWAR at the position have already been inducted.

The Baseball Hall of Fame has had no problem inducting defensive superstars before, even ones who struggle offensively. Hernandez was among the best offensive first baseman of his generation though, even without the prototypical home run power.

Keith Hernandez hasn’t been on the Modern Baseball Committee ballot yet. That’s a shame. He’s one of the greatest first basemen to ever play and he deserves to be enshrined. Hopefully, one day this wrong will be corrected.

Gil Hodges

Another horrible mistake that needs to be corrected. Gil Hodges can’t stack up to the numbers of modern players. His WAR numbers aren’t phenomenal and his numbers don’t track well across eras.

That said, Hodges was without a doubt one of if not the best first baseman of his generation. Hodges made eight All-Star teams, won three gold gloves, and received MVP votes in nine seasons.

He a star during the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s. Then he became one of the best managers in baseball when he retired.

Hodges shocked the world by winning a World Series with the New York Mets less than 10 years after the franchise came into existence.

The Golden Era committee failed to nominate Hodges twice before already. He has another chance this year when the newly revamped Golden Days committee votes. He’s not considered likely to be elected.

John Franco

For whatever reason, the voters for the Baseball Hall of Fame hate relief pitchers. Unless they are historically dominant they don’t even get a second glance. Even under those rules, it’s a shock that John Franco hasn’t been elected.

When Franco retired in 2004 he did so with the second-most saves in MLB history. Only Lee Smith had more. Smith was also refused election, though that was later corrected by an era committee.

Franco now sits fifth on the list. He’s since been surpassed by Hall of Fame closers Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman. Former New York Mets’ closer Francisco Rodriguez also passed Franco.

For his career, Franco has 424 saves, a 2.89 ERA, 3.45 FIP, and 975 strikeouts.

No, he isn’t in the same tier as Hoffman and Rivera who are arguably the two greatest closers of all-time. Still, there’s nothing separating Franco from the like of Lee Smith, Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, or Goose Gossage.

In fact, Franco has a better ERA than any of those four. His strikeout numbers may not pop the eyes like some on that list, but he delivered less runs and more saves than most on that list.

Franco’s fate is in the hands of the Today’s game committee. They’ll convene in 2022 to vote for the 2023 Hall of Fame. It’s doubtful Franco gets much consideration, but his numbers are more than good enough to stand among the greatest that ever played.

Jeff Kent

The lack of love Jeff Kent gets on the ballot is crazy. He has his flaws for sure. He was a pretty terrible fielding second baseman for starters. Still, his offensive output should well outshine anything else.

Kent was the best offensive second baseman of the late 1990s and 2000s. Kent was a six-time All-Star, won an MVP, and received MVP votes in six other seasons.

Kent has the most home runs ever hit by a second baseman, the third most RBI, and the fifth most doubles. There’s a strong argument to be made that Kent is the best offensive second baseman in MLB history.

Despite that, Kent has yet to reach even 20% on the Hall of Fame ballot. It’s impossible to see voters changing their minds and eventually electing Kent on the modern ballot.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will announce its 2021 induction class at 6:00 PM EST on MLB Network. As we look forward to the possibility of a new class of Hall of Famers, ESNY is looking back at some notable Mets and Yankees whose cases for induction are worthy of another look.

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