With the 2020 MLB Hall Of Fame class of baseball stars being announced this week I wanted to highlight a couple of players who have been so far overlooked and certainly deserve a spot in Cooperstown.
For the purposes of this article, I will avoid players who have been left out due to scandals such as Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe Jackson or Barry Bonds.
Our 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame Picks
Curt Schilling SP (1988-2009)
Schilling falls almost into the category of being left out due to scandal, but his offenses were mostly related to his attitude and comments made about the league. He was never under suspicion of PEDs and yet, despite a stellar career, is still on the outside looking in. His statistics should be enough for the Baseball Writers Association to forgive his controversial statements and vote him in sooner than later.
This will be the eighth season in which Schilling is eligible for baseball’s greatest honor and it’s hard to imagine how he can make it another year without getting the nod. Over his decades-long career, Schilling had only 216 wins during the regular season, but it’s his postseason numbers that really put him over the top. He went 11-2 with a sparkly clean 2.23 ERA in October action, won MVP awards in both the National League Championship Series and the World Series and is a three-time champion. He also led the MLB in wins, innings, and strikeouts… twice. Only Roger Clemens has a better WAR than Curt Schilling does as far as non-HOF pitchers go.
His omission is really just a product of the behind the scenes politics, but it’s likely they are just letting Curt sweat it out and will eventually do the right thing. While his comments cost him a job in the broadcast booth, they should not keep him out of Cooperstown for much longer. He did receive 60% of votes just a year ago so maybe 2020 is the year he gets over the 75% threshold
Billy Wagner RP (1995-2010)
Wagner’s big issue with getting enough votes for the 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame seems to be a product of his postseason record. Those numbers, in case you were wondering, consist of a 1-1 record and an ERA over 10 in 14 games. But when you look at his 16 years of work in the regular season, his case for inclusion is really quite overwhelming.
As a relief pitcher, very few have seen more success than Wagner, who ranks sixth all-time in saves with 422. John Franco is the only player ahead of his that doesn’t have a HOF bust, and one could argue he belongs on this list too. Wagner maintained a 2.31 ERA for the better part of two decades which is second only to Mariano Rivera (2.21) when looking at retired members of the 200 save club. Still not convinced? Ok, consider this.
When ranking pitchers with at least 800 innings, Wagner’s 11.9 K/9 rate and opponent batting average of .187 are best in history. And it’s really not even close. Billy The Kid has done more than enough to earn a spot in the Hall. While he won’t be earning that spot in 2020, he has five more years of eligibility and saw his votes grow from 16% to 32% since last season.