Yankee starters with 200 wins but no shot at the Hall of Fame

2 10 2015

This continues my series on Yankee starting pitchers.

A few Yankee pitchers are in a zone that mixes pride with frustration. They had distinguished careers, of which they should be proud, ending up tantalizingly close to Hall of Fame consideration.

But they have no shot at Cooperstown.

David WellsCarl MaysSad Sam JonesKenny RogersKevin BrownJoe Niekro, Bobo NewsomRick Reuschel and George Uhle all passed 200 wins but didn’t reach 250, where you get serious Hall of Fame consideration, or 300, where entry is nearly automatic.

With some exceptions, you need special achievements to push you into the Hall of Fame from the low 200s in wins. And these pitchers didn’t have them. They were good and pitched a long time. But not quite long enough or good enough. Most had their best seasons for other teams. I’ll address them in the order of their contributions to the Yankees.

David Wells

Boomer spent four seasons with the Yankees, 1997-98 and 2002-3. His only 20-win season came as a Blue Jay, but his Yankee records were solid: 16-10, 18-4, 19-7 and 15-7. That 1998 season placed him third in the Cy Young Award vote.

He was 6-2 in post-season games for Yankees, and undefeated 4-0 for the 1998 team, including two wins and an MVP Award in the American League Championship Series.

Plus he pitched a perfect game:

Carl Mays

Mays had more 20-win seasons than Wells, including 26- and 27-win seasons for the Yankees in 1920-21. He pitched for the Yankees from 1919-23. I gave the edge to Wells based on post-season performance. Mays was only 1-3 in the 1921-22 World Series.

Mays is remembered primarily for baseball’s most profound on-field tragedy, a pitch that hit Cleveland shortstop Ray Chapman in the head, killing him.

Sad Sam Jones

Jones won 21 games as a Yankee in 1923, but lost 21 in 1925. The Yankees actually finished seventh that year, just two years before the Murderers’ Row team many consider the best ever (Jones moved along to the St. Louis Browns that year). He won 229 games but only spent three years on the writers’ ballot for the Hall of Fame.

Kenny Rogers

Rogers was a mediocre starter for the Yankees when they returned to championship form in 1996, going 12-8 with a 4.68 ERA. He got no decisions in four post-season games. He wasn’t even that good in 1997, going just 6-7.

The Yankees traded him to Oakland for Scott Brosius, a trade that helped both teams.

Rogers pitched better for the A’s, Rangers and Tigers. He pitched better in the post-season, taking a shutout into the eighth inning in a 6-0 win over the Yankees for Detroit in 2006.

Kevin Brown

Brown had his best years with the Texas Rangers (his only 20-win season in 1991), Florida Marlins (a world championship in 1997), San Diego Padres (another World Series, but a sweep by the Yankees) and Dodgers.

Brown joined the Yankees as a free agent in 2004. After a respectable 10-6 season, he slipped to 4-7 at age 40 in 2005 and retired.

He has a reputation for clutch pitching in the post-season, but he was just 5-5, including 1-1 as a Yankee. His post-season loss for New York was Game Seven against Boston in the 2004 League Championship Series, when the Red Sox torched him for five runs in less than two innings.

Maybe I’m wrong about Brown having no shot at the Hall of Fame. He’s ranked 50th all-time by Bleacher Report, ahead of lots of Hall of Fame pitchers. But at least nine Yankee starters belong in Cooperstown before Brown does (presuming that someday players who used performance-enhancing drugs will get in): Roger Clemens, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Allie Reynolds, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, David Cone, Luis Tiant and Jim Kaat. And Wells and CC Sabathia probably will be stronger Hall of Fame candidates than Brown, too.

Joe Niekro

The less-famous of the knuckleballing brothers is not going to join brother Phil in the Hall of Fame. Like Phil, Joe spent time with the Yankees late in his career. He won 11 games over less than two years in pinstripes. Phil had back-to-back 16-win seasons in New York. With 221 wins, Joe had just one year on the Hall of Fame ballot.

Besides, his most famous moment was for cheating:

Bobo Newsom

Newsom had two 20-win seasons but three 20-loss seasons (and a 19-loss season, giving him four years leading his league in losses). He was actually a 200-game winner with a losing record, 211-222.

His half-season with the Yankees was actually pretty good: 7-5, with a 2.80 ERA, in 1947.

Rick Reuschel

Rick Reuschel and his Cub teammates signed this baseball, which my father gave my mother in the 1970s.

Rick Reuschel and his Cub teammates signed this baseball, which my father gave my mother in the 1970s.

Reuschel pitched well for the Cubs and Giants, but was only 4-4 in part of the 1981 season for the Yankees.

 George Uhle

George Uhle finished with 200 wins exactly. As an Indian, he led the league with 27 wins in 1923 and 26 in 1926. But he was largely done when he joined the Yankees in 1933. He won eight games over two years, pitching mostly out of the bullpen.

Other Yankee 200-game winners

These, of course, are not the only Yankees who won 200 games. A bunch of others are covered in previous posts in this series on Yankee starting pitchers:

Source note: Unless otherwise noted, all statistics cited here come from Baseball-Reference.com.

Correction invitation: I wrote this series of blog posts over several months, mostly late at night while unable to sleep while undergoing medical treatment. I believe I have fact-checked and corrected any errors, but I welcome you to point out any I missed: stephenbuttry (at) gmail (dot) com. Or, if you just want to argue about my opinions, that’s fine, too.

Advertisements

Actions

Information

21 responses

12 10 2015
Yankees’ 20-game winners: Mel Stottlemyre, Bob Shawkey, Vic Raschi … | Hated Yankees

[…] in this series on Yankee starting pitchers. So these are the ones who never won a Cy Young Award or won 200 career games or deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, […]

Like

12 10 2015
Yankee pitchers win more championships than Cy Young Awards | Hated Yankees

[…] Yankee starters with 200 wins but no shot at the Hall of Fame […]

Like

12 10 2015
Yankee pitchers who are nearly Hall of Famers: Mussina, Pettitte, Cone, Tiant, Kaat | Hated Yankees

[…] Yankee starters with 200 wins but no shot at the Hall of Fame […]

Like

12 10 2015
Yankee starting pitchers who belong in the Hall of Fame: Reynolds, John and Guidry | Hated Yankees

[…] Yankee starters with 200 wins but no shot at the Hall of Fame […]

Like

12 10 2015
Catfish Hunter and other Yankee pitchers who made the Hall of Fame primarily for other teams | Hated Yankees

[…] Yankee starters with 200 wins but no shot at the Hall of Fame […]

Like

12 10 2015
Yankees’ 300-game winners: Clemens, Niekro, Perry, Johnson | Hated Yankees

[…] Yankee starters with 200 wins but no shot at the Hall of Fame […]

Like

12 10 2015
Yankee starting pitchers in the Hall of Fame: Ford, Gomez, Ruffing, Pennock, Hoyt, Chesbro | Hated Yankees

[…] Yankee starters with 200 wins but no shot at the Hall of Fame […]

Like

12 10 2015
Yankees among the best almost everywhere but starting pitcher | Hated Yankees

[…] Yankee starters with 200 wins but no shot at the Hall of Fame […]

Like

13 10 2015
Yankees who succeeded as starters and relievers | Hated Yankees

[…] Yankee starters with 200 wins but no shot at the Hall of Fame […]

Like

14 10 2015
Yankees who pitched no-hitters: Don Larsen, Allie Reynolds … | Hated Yankees

[…] Both players pitched well for their new teams. I tell more about Wells in my post on 200-game winners without a shot at the Hall of Fame. […]

Like

15 10 2015
Yankee starting pitchers with family connections in baseball | Hated Yankees

[…] by combined wins, the Niekros would be first with Phil winning 318 games, 32 for the Yankees, and Joe winning 221, 14 for the Yankees. That’s 539 combined wins, 10 more than the Perrys (314 […]

Like

16 10 2015
Nicknames of Yankee starting pitchers: Catfish, Babe, Gator, Whitey … | Hated Yankees

[…] on Sad Sam in the posts on Yankee 200-game winners and Yankees who pitched […]

Like

17 10 2015
Yankee starting pitchers with the greatest teammates: Bullet Joe Bush and Mike Torrez | Hated Yankees

[…] Yankee starters with 200 wins but no shot at the Hall of Fame […]

Like

18 10 2015
Other notable Yankee starting pitchers: Al Downing, Don Gullett, Jim Beattie … | Hated Yankees

[…] installment in this series. These guys didn’t make the Hall of Fame, win 300 games (or even 200), don’t have a strong case for the Hall of Fame (or even a long shot), didn’t win a Cy […]

Like

19 10 2015
The Yankees’ 50 best starting pitchers | Hated Yankees

[…] CC Sabathia […]

Like

20 10 2015
Comparing Yankees to other teams in starting pitchers in the Hall of Fame | Hated Yankees

[…] Yankee starters with 200 wins but no shot at the Hall of Fame […]

Like

21 10 2015
Does pitching really win championships? Yes, but … | Hated Yankees

[…] Yankee starters with 200 wins but no shot at the Hall of Fame […]

Like

10 01 2016
Yankees have more borderline Hall of Fame contenders than any other team | Hated Yankees

[…] the Dodgers and Cubs. Mark Grace has no chance and didn’t get a second year on the ballot. Rick Reuschel (a Yankee briefly in 1981) won 214 games but doesn’t have enough other Hall of Fame […]

Like

1 02 2016
Baseball Hall of Fame president is wrong about how ‘very selective’ Cooperstown voting has been | Hated Yankees

[…] For instance, the 1998 Yankees team that won 114 games, swept the Padres in the World Series and generated some best-ever conversation has no players yet in the Hall of Fame. Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are locks for Cooperstown, but they are not eligible yet. And the borderline players on that team are either still awaiting eligibility on the writers’ ballot (Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada), hoping for writers’ election in their last year eligible (Tim Raines) or were rejected by the writers and will never make the Hall or will wait years for Veterans Committee consideration (Bernie Williams, David Cone, David Wells). […]

Like

14 04 2016
Randy Witke

I often wonder if Carl Mays belongs in HOF. Allie Reynolds is one of a handful, headed by Kaat and John and including Morris, Mussina and Tiant. Others just missing HOF status are Kevin Brown, Milt Pappas and Orel Hershiser. Schilling will make it, as will active leaders. Roy Halladay will be
considered. Sorry, Cicotte and Smoky Joe Wood for different reasons. Ferrell and Walters fall short. Many of these aren’t Yankees, of course. Am I missing someone?

Like

14 04 2016
Steve Buttry

Pretty good round-up, Randy. Without doing the research, I’d say Hershiser probably belongs in the Hall of Fame ahead of Don Sutton, another illustration of the Hall voters’ bias favoring longevity over peak performance. You certainly have the Yankees that I think belong there, though I’d favor Cone over Mussina, based on my bias favoring peak over longevity.

I think the fatal beanball worked against Mays, who was borderline anyway. And, as I’ve blogged before, the ’20s are way over-represented in the Hall. Anyone from that era who hasn’t made it yet shouldn’t.

Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: