Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Little Prespective on Hall of Fame "Stats"

I was listening to another argument about who should and shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame recently, after the news broke that Ron Santo was going to be inducted. It reminded me of something I noticed a few years back when I added this guy's card to my 1961 Topps set:

This card was printed about midway through Sandy Koufax's career. He had six major league seasons behind him, and six more before he called it quits after the 1966 World Series. Now, take a look at the back of this card:

Halfway into a Hall of Fame career, Sandy Koufax had a losing lifetime Win/Loss record. He was 36-40, despite playing on two teams that won the World Series. This isn't the stat line you expect to see in the middle of what we now consider an illustrious career.

Of course, it was what Koufax would do over the next six years (129-47, two more World Series rings, 3 seasons with 300+ strikeouts, 3 unanimous Cy Young awards, 4 no-hitters including one perfect game) that would get him into Cooperstown. Few dispute that he wasn't the most dominant pitcher in baseball between 1961 and '66, but the career stats shown above aren't what you'd expect to see out of a top-notch performer midway through a career.


  1. Put Garvey in the HOF-more consistent, more records held and what he did for the Pads in 84? Don Sutton got in. If Santo is a HOFer than you gotta start adding guys like Rusty Staub, Boog Powell and Dave Parker. Heck, Carney Lansford was a good third baseman and a better hitter than Santo too...should he be in the Hall?

  2. The point of my post wasn't to question whether Santo should have been elected to the Hall of Fame. Actually, I quit caring about who got in or didn't a long time ago. I just thought it was interesting that a player considered the most dominating of his era had never even had a career W/L average above .500 at the halfway point in his career.

    If I were a kid in 1961, I'd probably consider him to be an underachiever...a lot of potential but not a lot of actual proof.