3) David Cone
A five-time All-Star with a Cy Young on his resume, why didn’t David Cone last longer on the Hall of Fame ballot? His career started off so well with the Mets in the 1980s and continued throughout the 1990s. He wasn’t just a clinger for those New York Yankees teams in the Dynasty Era who happened to pitch a perfect game. Cone finished fourth in the 1998 Cy Young race while winning a league-best 20 games.
A career record of 194-126 with a 3.46 ERA, one could say he was a few wins shy of hitting a milestone with an ERA a bit too high for Cooperstown. For the era he played in, those numbers are more than acceptable.
Cone was on the 2009 Hall of Fame ballot. This was the year Rickey Henderson went in and Cone received 3.9% of the vote to fall short. Several other Mets were one and done that same year. Mo Vaughn, Jay Bell, and far more notable, Jesse Orosco, all got fewer votes than Cone.
The lack of huge strikeout numbers or eye-popping ERAs beyond his breakout 1988 season, voters clearly viewed Cone a rung below many of his contemporaries. Five World Series wins with two different teams didn’t seem to add much to convince anyone he should’ve been on the ballot longer.