Last week I took a look at the hitters so now I'll examine the case for the pitchers on the ballot. While I'll agree my system isn't perfect for starting pitchers, I do believe it's close. I'll work on giving it some tweaks during the year in hopes I can perfect it.
Starting Pitchers - Avg HOFSc = 57.76
Roger Clemens (105.65): You can make an argument that Roger Clemens is the greatest pitcher of all time. He won seven Cy Young Awards (most), led the league in ERA seven times, strikeouts five times, shutouts six times, and even won an MVP award. His HOFSc of 105.65 just edges out Cy Young (105.35) for the highest ever. He ranks second all time in career WAR and third for peak. I think we can all agree Roger Clemens was a great pitcher and would be a lock if not for his performance enhancers. I think he'll get in eventually but I'm not sure how long he'll have to wait.
Jack Morris (44.25): Here we go again. Jack Morris was a good pitcher but every time I evaluate him he falls short of Hall of Fame status. He won twenty games twice and threw an incredible game in the 1991 World Series. He also led the league in wild pitches six times.
Aaron Sele (30.70): Sele's an interesting story. When he came to the majors he was seen as the heir apparent to Roger Clemens by Red Sox Nation. When he pitched he was brilliant but injuries kept him off the field quite a bit. I guess management became frustrated by this and traded him to Texas where he promptly won 19 games. The next two years were both excellent but then his career as an effective major league starting pitcher was pretty much over although he held on to a job for seven more seasons.
David Wells (47.05): Wells was a bit of a journeyman pitcher in the mid 90s until he stumbled upon the Yankees. Once there his career really took off. He set a new career high in wins with 16 in 1997 and threw a perfect game. In 1998 he led the American League in winning percentage by going 18-4. Over the next six seasons he won 76 games and was a legitimate #1 starter. Unfortunately it took him too long to become a productive pitcher though he did manage to hang around until he was 44. A fun character but not quite a hall of famer.
Woody Williams (17.80): Woody Williams made his major league debut in 1993 but it took him until he was in his mid 30s to become an above average pitcher. By then he was nearly done. He pitched one World Series game and made one all-star team.
Relief Pitchers - Avg HOFSc = 24.18
Roberto Hernandez (13.75): Roberto Hernandez usurped Bobby Thigpen as the White Sox closer in 1992 and held on to the job until the White Flag Trade in 1997. Despite closing games thru 2002, his days as a shut down reliever ended in 1999 or 2000.
Jose Mesa (13.00): Mesa made his major league debut in 1987 as a starting pitcher and in six games had an ERA over 6.00. The Orioles then banished him to the minors until 1990 when he came up and made seven starts. He spent three more seasons as a starter including one in Cleveland before the Indians decided enough was enough and converted him to a closer. What a good decision. In 1995 and 1997 he helped solidify the bullpen of two World Series teams. After posting a 6.52 ERA with the Phillies in 2003, his career seemed to be over. Somehow he got another chance in 2004 and was very good again. He was a good reliever for a long time.
Lee Smith (23.6): While I was growing up, Lee Smith was considered a great closer because everyone assumed he would set the career saves record. He did but I was never convinced he was a great closer (especially when he gave up that home run to Fred McGriff in the all-star game). Turns out he'd fit right in with the relievers in the Hall of Fame. Personally, I think only two relievers in the hall deserve to be there but that's beside the point. If Smith gets in it won't be a big deal. I'm just not sure he will.
Mike Stanton (11.80): Mike Stanton is second all time in games pitched. The problem with his candidacy is that in 1178 games pitched he threw 1114 innings. Essentially a LOOGY for the majority of his career, Stanton was able to pitch for 19 seasons. I'm not saying LOOGY's are dumb, in fact he's probably the best ever. I just don't see how one can be a legitimate hall of fame candidate. I'm sure he's a nice guy though.
My Hypothetical Ballot
Each year a voter can vote for up to ten (10) players on their ballot. Most years I feel only three or four are deserving but there's starting to be some serious back log due to the writers newfound morality. If I had a vote I'd vote for ten players this time around. Here's my ballot:
- Barry Bonds
- Roger Clemens
- Jeff Bagwell
- Mike Piazza
- Craig Biggio
- Mark McGwire
- Larry Walker
- Tim Raines
- Alan Trammell
- Edgar Martinez