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Manny Ramirez is now eligible for the Hall of Fame on the ballot sent out on Monday, but Cooperstown’s doors almost surely will remain closed to one of the greatest hitters in baseball history. His multiple suspensions for running afoul of MLB’s PED policy all but ensure that he won’t be enshrined.

Ramirez’s likely exclusion from the Hall will put him in impressive company in Red Sox history with a group of players who performed at a Hall-caliber (or near-Hall-caliber) level but to this point have not been welcomed into Cooperstown.

So where does Ramirez rank among the best Red Sox players who, to this point, have not been enshrined? We’ll limit this group to players who spent a minimum of four years with the Red Sox, thus skipping someone like Bob Johnson (whose introduction to Fenway Park as a 38-year-old during World War II resulted in one of the greatest Red Sox seasons you’ve never heard about) and David Cone (who joined the Red Sox for their train wreck of a 2001 season).

Red Sox players who have been snubbed by the Hall of Fame
*WAR as calculated by Baseball-Reference.com
Player Average OBP Slugging HR OPS+ WAR* Sox WAR
Manny Ramirez .312 .411 .585 555 154 69.2 33.2
Dwight Evans .272 .370 .470 385 127 66.9 66.2
Reggie Smith .287 .366 .489 314 137 64.5 34.2
SOURCE: Baseball-Reference.com
Pitcher Record ERA Strikeouts K/9 ERA+ WAR* Sox WAR
Roger Clemens 354-184 3.12 4672 8.6 143 139.4 81.3
Curt Schilling 216-146 3.46 3116 8.6 127 80.7 17.8
Luis Tiant 229-172 3.30 2416 6.2 114 66.1 36.4
SOURCE: Baseball-Reference.com



Tiant was very good in an era that was heavy on pitching greatness, with a peer group heavy on 300-game winners making it impossible for him to merit a place in the Hall despite seasons of brilliance.


Smith emerged as a 22-year-old cornerstone of the Impossible Dream Team in 1967 and spent the next 15 years as a reliably terrific hitter who also brought considerable defensive value to the table in both centerfield and later in right. Yet the baseball world failed to appreciate his consistent excellence, as Smith fell off the ballot in his first and only year of voting, receiving just 0.7 percent of the vote.


Evans had the misfortune of spending both his playing career and Hall of Fame candidacy in times when both on-base percentage and defense were significantly underrated. That cost him a lot of money and awards recognition during his career as well as any shot at the Hall after it. Evans spent just three years on the ballot before dropping off with 3.6 percent of the vote in 1999. With the benefit of hindsight and growing recognition of the value of his strike zone management and an improved ability to quantify his defensive impact, his oversight in voting appears egregious. Many believe that his total impact exceeded that of former teammate Jim Rice.



He is one of six players in big league history with career marks of at least a .300 average, .400 OBP, .500 slugging mark, and 500 homers. The others: Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Frank Thomas, Ted Williams, Mel Ott. (Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial, and Chipper Jones just missed the cut.) Without any PED suspensions, Ramirez would sail into the Hall. With two PED suspensions, he’s a central figure in baseball’s unofficial Hall of Infamy.


Schilling was certainly one of the greatest postseason pitchers ever, but he was just as clearly one of the most dominating pitchers of his era, and his outstanding numbers would be even more impressive if he’d played in either a favorable park for pitchers or if he’d been backed by quality defenses rather than porous ones. Whereas players like Evans and Smith had careers that typically fell in the middle of players who were and weren’t enshrined, Schilling spent most of 16 years pitching at a level that was considerably better than his peers, and better (relative to his league) than the majority of starting pitchers who are in the Hall.



By the time Clemens arrived at the “twilight of his career” with the Red Sox in 1996, his career WAR had already exceeded what Tiant and Schilling would produce over the course of their entire careers. Clemens, of course, then went on to add to his credentials over the subsequent 11 years with the Blue Jays, Yankees, and Astros, eventually surpassing everyone except Walter Johnson in career WAR. While that “second career” seemingly propelled Clemens into the inner sanctum of the Hall, in the end, because it looks like that run was fueled by PEDs, it has instead excluded him from it.

Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexspeier.