On The Bubble Good Enough For The Hall?
Greatness and dominance over a decade should be rewarded with a trip to Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Curt Schilling was clutch. Curt Schilling led his teams to World Series victories. Curt Schilling was key to the Boston Red Sox 2004 ALCS comeback after having a tendon in his ankle sutured to the skin. His Game 6 performance with blood oozing through sock is legend: One run on four hits in seven innings and the third-consecutive win by a Sawx team that had fallen behind 3-0 in the series.
Regardless of that, when I started writing this, I was completely unsure as to whether he belongs in the Hall of Fame. Sure, he had a fantastic run of dominance into three seasons. For his career he averaged nearly a strikeout-per-inning and had a total of 83 complete games.
There is no doubting his durability, but is his 3.46 earned-run average questionable? Maybe in other times, but now that we know injectors and pill-poppers were at the dish when he was at the mound, it looks pretty damn good and with more than 200 wins pitching in the steroid era, I’m more inclined to give him the nod.
The same goes for Mike Mussina, who was dominant for more than a decade. But, despite his longevity, he fell just short of 300 wins, which is the benchmark for pitchers in the hall.
So, I say, screw the benchmark. Give him credit for not going the Bert Blyleven route of getting five wins a year for the last four years of his career to reach 300. Instead, credit Mussina who hung up his spikes when he felt like he had given all he could give.
Compared, Schilling‘s ERA is better, and his strike-out-to-inning ratio is also better. Schilling had three Cy Young-runner-up seasons. Mussina had nine top-six cy young seasons.
Also in the picture, you have to consider Roy Oswalt. He had six top-five Cy Young award seasons in 10 years. And, if you think a Hall-of-Famer is someone who dominated for a decade, how much more dominant do you need?
Oswalt’s career was cut short due to injury and his final four seasons are reflective of that. So, should we penalize him for not retiring the second he got hurt? Would we have not voted Kirby Puckett in if he’d played another five years after being injured?
Simply put, in the early part of the 2000’s Oswalt was as feared and respected as any pitcher in the game. Yes, his 163 wins are a little light, but consider 142 of them came in nine seasons. And the total is just two shy of the great Sandy Koufax, who pitched in 12 big league seasons.
Finally, there’s Roy Halladay: two Cy Young seasons, eight All-Star games, more than 200 wins. He was an ace, as were the other three. Sure, he gets more credit for the number of wins he accrued each season then some people would like, but his ERA is better than both Schilling’s and Mussina’s, and is almost identical to Oswalt.
What’s a hall-of-famer? Somebody who dominates, who’s feared, who repeatedly meets and exceeds expectations of excellence, who fans get excited about seeing for a decade or more because they don’t want to miss a chance at seeing greatness.
All four of these men meet that criteria, I believe. I think all four should take their places in Cooperstown.