Michael Hoban, Ph.D
Part 2 - The Players
3000 Hits – All Have Hall of Fame Numbers
500 Home Runs – Sammy Sosa, Odd Man Out
300 Win Shares - The New “Rule of Thumb”
“All In” – Starting Pitchers and the Hall of Fame
The 21st Century Hall of Famers
The 2015 BBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot
“All In” - Starting Pitchers and the Hall of Fame
Michael Hoban, Ph.D.
With the induction of Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez into the Hall of Fame in 2015, every starting pitcher in the second half of the 20th century (until the present) who posted HOF numbers and has been eligible is now in Cooperstown (with the exception of Roger Clemens).
Let me be a bit more precise. According to the CAWS CAREER GAUGE, every starting pitcher (except Clemens) whose career began after World War II and who posted HOF numbers during his career and has been eligible has been elected to the Hall of Fame.
There are a total of nineteen (19) starting pitchers in this time-frame who have posted HOF numbers during their careers. Seventeen are now in the Hall of Fame (Roy Halladay is not yet eligible).
According to the CCG, a starting pitcher has Hall of Fame numbers if he satisfies one of the following criteria:
1. He has a CAWS career score of 230 or
2. He has 300 career win shares or
3. He attained a CAWS score of 180 in fewer than 2400 innings.
(I do not include here those pitchers such as Dennis Eckersley, Hoyt Wilhelm and Goose Gossage who are usually viewed as relievers.)
Here are the starting pitchers whose careers began after World War II who satisfy one (or more) of these criteria. There have been nineteen (19) such pitchers and all have been elected to the Hall (with the exception of Clemens and Halladay).
The Post-WWII Starting Pitchers who have Hall of Fame Numbers – Who are in the Hall
Bold = Hall of Famer
CV = Core Value (sum of win shares for 10 best seasons)
CAWS = Career Value = CV + .25(CWS – CV)
CWS CV CAWS
Tom Seaver (1967-1986) 388 255 288
Greg Maddux (1986-2008) 398 246 284
Gaylord Perry (1962-1983) 369 243 275
Bob Gibson (1959-1975) 317 258 273
Steve Carlton (1965-1988) 366 240 272
Phil Niekro (1964-1987) 374 235 270
Robin Roberts (1948-1966) 339 246 269
Jim Palmer (1965-1984) 312 252 267
Fergie Jenkins (1965-1983) 323 233 256
Randy Johnson (1988-2009) 326 230 254
Bert Blyleven (1970-1992) 339 218 248
Juan Marichal (1960-1975) 263 229 238
Tom Glavine (1987-2008) 314 203 231
Jim Bunning (1955-1971) 257 221 230
Don Drysdale (1956-1969) 258 221 230
Nolan Ryan (1966-1993) 334 191 227
Don Sutton (1966-1988) 319 187 220
Pedro Martinez (1992-2009) 224 200 206
Sandy Koufax (1955-1966) 194 190 191
As you can see, Nolan Ryan, Don Sutton, Pedro Martinez and Sandy Koufax each fell short of the CAWS benchmark of 230 but qualified under another of the three benchmarks.
Here are a few other starting pitchers from this period who are in the Hall of Fame but who do NOT have obvious HOF numbers according to the CCG.
Whitey Ford (1950-1967) 261 202 217
Catfish Hunter (1965-1979) 206 184 190
Jack Morris (1977-1994) 225 172 185
In addition to the nineteen starting pitchers above who are already in Cooperstown, there are only two others from this period who did post HOF numbers during their careers - but who are not yet the Hall of Fame. Here they are.
The Two Starting Pitchers with HOF Numbers – Not Yet in the Hall
Roger Clemens (1984-2007) 432 260 303
Roy Halladay (1998-2013) 226 199 206
Like Sandy Koufax and Pedro Martinez, Roy Halladay satisfied (after thirteen seasons) the CAWS benchmark of a score of 180 or better with fewer than 2400 innings pitched. Only a handful of modern pitchers have accomplished this. And all who have been eligible are in Cooperstown.
For those of you who are inclined to ask “What about so and so?” I am listing here a number of outstanding retired starting pitchers from this period who fell short of posting HOF numbers according to the strict benchmarks of the CAWS Career Gauge.
Some Good Starting Pitchers Who Do NOT Have Hall of Fame Numbers
Luis Tiant (1964-1982) 256 198 213
Mike Mussina (1991-2008) 270 186 207
Billy Pierce (1948-1964) 248 193 207
Curt Schilling (1988-2007) 252 191 206
Jim Kaat (1959-1983) 268 181 203
Tommy John (1963-1989) 289 165 196
Jerry Koosman (1967-1985) 240 181 196
Mickey Lolich (1963-1979) 224 179 190
Jack Morris (1977-1994) 225 172 185
Vida Blue (1969-1986) 202 178 184
David Cone (1986-2003) 205 173 181
Orel Hershiser (1983-2000) 210 171 181
Jamie Moyer (1986-2010) 224 149 168
Andy Petitte (1995-2010) 206 149 163
In 2018, the Veterans Committee elected Alan Trammell and Jack Morris to the Hall of Fame. Alan Trammell has HOF numbers and deserves to be in Cooperstown.
But, as you can see from this list, Jack Morris’ numbers are nowhere near HOF credentials. In fact, as you can see, (on this list alone) there are nine pitchers with better career numbers than Morris – although all fall short of HOF credentials. Jack Morris was a good, solid pitcher – but not a Hall of Famer.
One would hope that the members of the committee would do their homework somewhat better than this.
Michael Hoban, Ph.D is Professor Emeritus of mathematics at the City University of N.Y. He has been an avid baseball fan for over 60 years and has become a serious baseball analyst, since joining SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) in 1998. He is the author of five baseball books including: DEFINING GREATNESS: A Hall of Fame Handbook (Booklocker, 2012) BASEBALL'S COMPLETE PLAYERS (McFarland: 2000) and FIELDER'S CHOICE (Booklocker: 2003).