3 Braves Hall of Fame snubs that look more egregious after 2024 election

The standards for the Hall of Fame are changing in front of our eyes. Here are some former Braves who failed to get into Cooperstown who would be strong candidates now.

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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.

Dale Murphy

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.

Kenny Lofton

In terms of all-time Hall of Fame snubs, Kenny Lofton ranks pretty highly up there for the sheer lack of support he received at all. Over the course of his 17 year career in the big leagues, Lofton accumulated 68.4 rWAR while slashing .299/.372/.423 with a staggering 622 stolen bases.

The end result? Just one year on the ballot as he somehow only received 3.2% of votes when he first joined the ballot back in 2013. Despite having a career WAR higher than both Helton and Mauer and his numbers comparing favorably to other Hall of Famers, Lofton was a one-and-done.

The biggest issue Lofton had back then was the ballot itself. This was around the period of time when a lot of the best players ever who also had steroid allegations/insinuations against them were on the ballot. With each voter only getting a max of 10 votes, Lofton simply got lost in the shuffle especially since he didn't have any MVP awards or big power numbers to bolster his candidacy.

It is no wonder that Lofton has been put off by the whole process. Here is a guy that was clearly one of the better players of his era albeit with a somewhat atypical skillset and he could barely muster any votes while guys like Omar Vizquel and Bobby Abreu have been able to hang on the ballot for years? If Lofton were eligible for the ballot these days, he would probably be one of the favorites to get in which is a shame even if he shouldn't ever have been considered a lock.

Tim Hudson

Finally we come to Tim Hudson who put up quite the career mostly with the Athletics and Braves. He played for 17 years and amassed 222 wins, 57.9 rWAR, a career 3.49 ERA, four top six Cy Young finishes, and three All-Star appearances. He may never have been the best pitcher in the league while he was playing, he was often in the conversation and his extended excellence is rare from pitchers in the modern era.

One reason that Hudson fell off the ballot in his second year of eligibility is that the standard for induction for starting pitchers has been the one standard that has failed to soften much in recent years. Voters look for counting stats milestones like 300 wins and 2,500 strikeouts that are getting more and more rare as pitchers are just managed differently in this day and age. It isn't all that dissimilar to comparing pitchers to the guys that were throwing 300+ innings at the turn of the century while pitching every three days. It is just a different world now.

Should Hudson be in the Hall of Fame? That is uncertain. What we do know is that his career WAR is better than Hall of Famer pitchers Whitey Ford, Sandy Koufax (although he is a special case), Jim Kaat, and Hoyt Wilhelm. Even though Hudson's numbers are borderline to be sure, he should have gotten more consideration than he did. Given how a lot of votes were cast this year, it is hard to understand why he didn't hang around on the ballot at the very least.

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