I'm listening to the HOF induction coverage on MLB Radio. I just thought I'd mention right now that Bruce Sutter's wife is in my thoughts and prayers. I will say another thing about the candidates up for election this past year: Why on earth was Buck O'Neil not elected by the Hall of Fame voters?!?
Aside from Greg Maddux, who pitched the other day, there are a lot of quality pitchers starting on the mound today, and there are some that are not starting today. Baseball Tonight's Steve Phillips talked about them earlier and I thought I would write some of my thoughts about whether they should join the Hall of Fame and enter baseball immortality.
Greg "Mad Dog" Maddux - The former Brave and current Cub pitcher is a guaranteed lock for the HOF with having over 300 wins and 3,000 strikeouts. Additionally, he was a key player with the Braves post-season run from 1993-2003. He has appeared in 8 all-star games and has earned the NL Cy Young award four consecutive times (92-95).
Tom Glavine - Glavine was a key player with the Braves as well. I think he's a lock for the HOF. He's very close to 300 wins but he comes up short in the K column. However, I feel that once he joins the exclusive 300 win club for pitchers, he'll be a lock. He's close to 2,500 strikeouts. He won two Cy Youngs (1991, 1998) and was the 1995 World Series MVP. Without the shadow of a doubt, he's in.
Randy "The Big Unit" Johnson - Johnson is a member of the 4,000 strikeout club which means he'll definitely be a member of the HOF. He's not in the 300 win club yet but he will be eventually. He's at 274 wins right now and with him being on the decline, who knows if he'll get there. As much as I hate the Yankees, there are quite a few players that I root for to do well (Jeter, Rivera, Williams, Johnson, Mussina, and on some days, Alex Rodriguez). He's a ten-time all-star who won a Cy in the AL (1995) and four in the NL (1999-2002)
Mike Mussina - It's hard to say right now whether he has the numbers to enter the HOF. He's got over 2,500 strikeouts and is on pace to get 192 strikeouts this season. However, he just doesn't have enough wins in the win column to be considered there. He's a five time all-star who never won a Cy Young although he's finished in the voting in the top five. I think with three more quality seasons, he'll be elected to the HOF once he gets 3,000 K's but until then, if he were to retire today, he's not getting elected.
Chris Carpenter - I'm a big-time Cardinals fan but Carp is a late bloomer when it comes to putting up the Cy Young numbers. He just won his first NL Cy award last season. He's been selected for two all-star games. He's 31 years old so he might have 9 more quality seasons left in him before he ultimately retires. He's got 95 career wins and is going for his 96th win today. All of that is through 9 seasons. He just passed the 1,000 strikeout plateau this season. He has to keep up what he's been doing for at least 5-9 seasons to get elected in my opinion.
Carlos Zambrano - Putting my hatred of the Cubs aside, Zambrano is a great pitcher. He's not going to be 25 until August and has 59 wins through 5 and a half of seasons. He's a two-time all-star and this has been one of his best seasons. I think that he needs to get out of Chicago and if he pitches for another 10 seasons putting up numbers like he's doing this season, I think he'll get elected.
Johan Santana - At 27 years old, the Twins pitcher already has over 1,000 strikeouts and has won 71 wins in 6.5 seasons. His strikeout numbers are very impressive. He's a two-time all-star and won the 2004 AL Cy Young award. He keeps it up and he's in.
Roy "Doc" Halladay - The Doc is in without a doubt. Eight more wins and he reaches the 100 wins plateau. He'll get 1,000 career strikeouts towards the end of the season, or beginning of next. He's 29 years old and entered his prime in 2002. He's a four-time all-star who won the 2003 Cy Young in the AL. He's putting up Cy numbers again this year. Keep it up, Doc.
Barry Zito - He's a two time all-star who is in his 6th season. He's 3 wins away from 100 wins and entered the 1,000 strikeout column this season. He won the 2002 AL Cy Young. I think he'll get in with ten more quality seasons.
Dontrelle Willis - In less than four full seasons, the 2003 ROY has won 52 games with 545 strikeouts. He's been to a few all-star games early in his career. I think he'll get in eventually if he keeps it up.
Matt Morris - Despite being a two-time all-star and having a great 2001 season, I don't see Morris being enshrined, if ever. Even in his 9th season, he would have to put up numbers like he did in 2001 for the next 6 years, if not more.
Roger Clemens - If he had the run support, he would have added at least 20 more wins to his career but oh, well. He's a Hall of Famer on his first ballot whenever he retires. He has 343 wins, and is en route to his 344th today, with over 4,500 strikeouts. He may be the greatest right-handed pitcher of all-time. Add on to that, a total of 6 Cy Youngs in the AL and one in the NL, as well as the 1987 AL MVP.
Ben Sheets - In six seasons, the Brewer pitcher has 56 wins and 859 strikeouts. He may eventually be a pitcher of HOF caliber but ask me again in five and ten years.
Curt Schilling - He's in. He's going to get 3,000 strikeouts plus in his career. He's in his 19th season right now. Unless he pitchers five more seasons like the way he's pitching now, there's no way he joins the 300 win club but the 3,000 K's is more than enough to guarantee his selection.
John Lackey - Through four and a half seasons, the Angels' pitcher has won 56 games and struck out 684. Ask me again in five or ten years if he's of HOF caliber.
Pedro Martinez - In 15 seasons, the 34 year old has won 205 games and struck out 2,974. He's a lock for sure. He's close enough to 3,000 and he may or may not be joining the 300 win club in his career but he's in for sure. he won one NL Cy and two AL Cy awards with numerous all-star selections.
C.C. Sabathia - Here's a known fact, Sabathia has 74 wins and he's not even 26 yet. That is something that Clemens, Glavine, and Johnson have not accomplished. He has just over 850 career strikeouts and this is in a span of just over five and a half seasons. If you factor his age in, he's a definitive lock in about eight more seasons.
Mark Buerhle - In his 7th season, he is six wins away from 100. He's struck out 792 in his short career. I think in ten more seasons, he'll have the numbers to enter the HOF.
Join me later this week, and I'll discuss active hitters.