Reasons why Jim Edmonds isn't in the Hall of Fame

While many think Jim Edmonds should be in the HOF, 429 voters of the 440 disagreed.
Houston Astros vs St. Louis Cardinals - July 16, 2005
Houston Astros vs St. Louis Cardinals - July 16, 2005 / G. N. Lowrance/GettyImages

Two of the cornerstones of the Cardinals teams over the last few years have been Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. Both are borderline Hall of Fame players. Both should be on the ballot, but how hard will it be for them to get in? Will they be snubbed?

Mason Kieth in January wrote why he feels Cardinals legend Jim Edmonds is one of the biggest snubs in MLB Hall of Fame history. 

If you grew up in St. Louis and watched Edmonds play, I can understand how you can feel that way. His highlight reel catches were legendary and, with Pujols and Rolen, made up the MV3. Edmonds made four All-Star teams, winning eight Gold Glove Awards (including six straight) and one Silver Slugger Award, and placed in the MVP voting six times. He was fun to watch. All of those reasons are why he was a no-doubt entry into the St. Louis Cardinals HOF. But what happened with the MLB voting? He garnered only 2.5 percent of the vote on the first ballot, making him a one-and-done candidate.

 First the rules. To be enshrined, a player must receive at least 75% of the voters’ ballots. Currently, if a player is on fewer than 5% of the ballots or has been on the ballot 10 times without being elected, the committee removes them from the ballot. 

Next, should he be on the ballot at all? Absolutely.

 In 2016, there were 32 players on the ballot. Randy Winn, Mark Grudzielanek, and Troy Glaus all played for the Cardinals, made it on the ballot, and got no votes at all. David Eckstein got two votes. Mark McGwire received 12 percent of the vote and because it was his tenth year, he is no longer eligible. Larry Walker only got 15 percent of the vote and it took him until 2020 to be elected. 

There were 440 ballots handed out to baseball writers in 2016. Each writer can select up to ten players from the list and the average usually is somewhere around seven or eight on each ballot turned in. A player needed to be selected on 330 ballots to make it. Only two players met that threshold. Ken Griffey, Jr and Mike Piazza. Everyone except 3 voters checked the box for Griffey. Piazza got 365 votes. That meant for most voters, you have five to seven choices left to make. 

Nine players on this ballot, besides Griffey and Pizza, eventually got voted into the HOF. Billy Wagner was on this ballot and this year fell just 5 votes short. Gary Sheffield also just fell short of getting in. For those writers who don’t think steroids should be a problem, there were many votes cast for Shilling, Clemens, Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa. 

There are numbers one can look at to see if Edmonds was just overlooked. WAR (wins against replacement) is something that is becoming the gold standard for measuring a player’s worth. Edmonds was 60.4 which is very good. On the ballot, however, that was only good enough for 13th place. WAR7, which is his best seven years, he ranked 13th. JAWS, which is the Jaffe WAR Score system, combines WAR and WAR7 and looks at the position played and he comes in 12th on that list. 

When ranking against current HOFers, he matches up this way. 

Gray Ink Batting - 60 (546th), Average HOFer ≈ 144

Hall of Fame Monitor Batting - 89 (217th), Likely HOFer ≈ 100

Hall of Fame Standard Batting - 39 (182nd), Average HOFer ≈ 50


 Center Field (15th): 60.4 career WAR | 42.6 7yr-peak WAR | 51.5 JAWS | 4.9 WAR/162

 Average HOF CF (out of 19): 71.7 career WAR | 44.7 7yr-peak WAR | 58.2 JAWS | 5.4 WAR/162

In every category, he comes up short. 

One thing mentioned every time you read something about Edmonds not making the HOF is his fielding. During his playing time, both Bernie Williams and Andruw Jones had a better fielding percentage than he did. They just didn’t have the web gem moments he had.

Looking back, it was an exceptionally strong ballot. One that had eleven HOFers and six other deserving candidates, (if it wasn’t for steroids). Add two more that just missed, and that is nineteen legitimate players he had to compete with. His stats, as good as they were, just didn’t match up.

Looking at the ballot, I am not sure what my votes would have been. What I am sure of, however, is my biggest snub for the HOF is not Jim Edmonds. It’s Curt Flood.