Hall of Fame voting is so wonky these days. The Atlanta Braves had several strong candidates on this year's ballot in Andruw Jones, Billy Wagner, and Gary Sheffield, but none of them were able to garner enough support for induction into Cooperstown. Instead, the 2024 Hall of Fame class will consist of Adrian Beltre, Todd Helton, and Joe Mauer.
All three players deserve recognition, but it is pretty clear that the standards for induction are softening. Beltre was essentially the only lock to get in this year, but both Helton and Mauer had warts on their resumes that would have probably been disqualifying a few years ago. It is great news for fans that just want to see the best players of their generation in Cooperstown, but something doesn't feel quite right when you consider the players that were on the ballot previously and who clearly didn't get the consideration they deserved despite being as good or better than the guys getting in now.
For this exercise, we are going to focus on former Braves players who could be considered Hall of Fame snubs. First, that means that all of these guys are no longer on the ballot, so Andruw and Wagner aren't going to be mentioned as they could still get voted in. They also can't already be in the Hall, so guys like Fred McGriff and Ted Simmons who got put in by committee after falling off the ballot also aren't in play.
Let's take a look at some of the worst Hall of Fame snubs for the Braves especially when you factor in the results of this year's election.
It is hard not to draw some parallels between Joe Mauer's and Dale Murphy's careers. Both started off as catchers before moving off the position and both were carried in their careers by their prowess at the plate. Mauer's career OPS of .827 is slightly better than Murph's .815, but Murph was the better power hitter and played for a bit longer even though he probably shouldn't have.
If one were debating who was the better player in their careers, Mauer does have a significant edge in WAR which could be the difference maker. However, we aren't debating the better player but instead having to wonder why Mauer was a first ballot Hall of Famer while Murph ended up falling off the ballot altogether.
Mauer was the better pure hitter and was aided by strong defensive numbers early in his career, but Murph won back-to-back MVP awards in 1982 and 1983, was a seven time All-Star, and finished his career with 398 home runs in an era where that type of production was very uncommon. Both players are great and both are worthy Hall of Famers with their pros and cons, but Mauer (barely) got in on the first ballot while Murph didn't get in at all. Something definitely seems off about that.