While most focus on the lack of inductees in this year’s baseball Hall of Fame class, the most perplexing result was the single vote somebody cast for Aaron Sele. In a 15 year big league career, Sele was fantastically mediocre, going 148-112 with a 4.61 ERA and was named to a grand total of two all-star teams.
However, Sele is not that unusual. In just the last 20 years, there were 26 players with less impressive careers than Aaron Sele, who posted a career 17.5 Wins Above Replacement (WAR). The worst was Dante Bichette who received three votes in 2007 despite a career WAR of just 3.0 (for comparison, Mike Trout had a 10.7 WAR this year).
There can be a lot of reasons for voting for such mediocre players. Maybe the player was a friend of the writer. Maybe he helped the writer by showing up to a charity event or signing a lot of baseballs. Or maybe the writer just wanted to acknowledge a nice guy. But with 10 spots on the ballot, a vote for a mediocre player is not taking a vote away from a deserving player.
Here are the 26 players that received at least one Hall of Fame vote in the last 20 years with a career WAR less than 17.5 (number of votes in parentheses)…
Data via Baseball-Reference.com. Catchers were omitted as WAR does not accurately reflect a catcher’s defensive ability.
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