On January 8, 2014 the Baseball Writers Association of American (BBWAA) and the Veterans Committee will give out keys to the most important shrine in all of baseballdom. It is difficult to argue that baseball's Hall of Fame is not the most exclusive of any of America's big four sports. This year, baseball fans will get to see one of the most talent-laden ballots in many years. But which players should get in during this competitive year? For the purposes of this article, I will only be examining the pitchers who are up for induction.
Let's see what we've got!
Pros: If you looked at Clemens's stats without looking at all the other intangibles, he would be one of the greatest pitchers in history. Clemens has 354 wins (ninth all-time), 4672 strikeouts (third all-time) and career pitching WAR of 139.4 (third all-time). Along with these amazing stats he has a record seven Cy Young Awards, two World Series Rings and the 1986 MVP award. (Fun fact! In 1986, the season in which he won the Cy Young and MVP, Clemens started the infamous Bill Buckner game against the Mets in game six of the World Series).
Cons: Simply put, Clemens career is tainted by performance enhancing drugs.
Verdict: No one really knows how the PED users will fare when they come knocking on the Hall of Fame's door. Clemens received 37.6 percent of the vote last year and there is no way he's jumping to the required 75 percent for the 2014 vote. So far Clemens has fared better than other PED users such as Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGuire. If a PED user makes it in, it will be Clemens, but for now, it's too early to call.
Pros: While his career numbers are overshadowed by Maddux, Glavine was able to put together a historic career as Atlanta's second starter. Glavine is a member of the exclusive 300 win club and has a World Series ring and two Cy Young Awards to his name. (Fun fact! Glavine was drafted in the fourth round of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings).
Cons: Much like Mussina and Morris, Glavine's 3.54 ERA is very high for Cooperstown. In addition, his five seasons with the Mets at times looked very ugly as his ERA hovered around 4.00.
Verdict: Despite a few rough patches near the end, Glavine accomplished no easy task in entering the 300 win club. My guess is that he makes it in this year. If not 2014, I expect he'll be in by 2017 at the latest.
Pros: John is really the only player nominated by the Veterans Committee really deserving a Hall of Fame spot this year. Over a lengthy 26 year career, he earned an impressive 288 wins, a solid 3.34 ERA, and three pennants. Perhaps most importantly, the surgery which has been named after him has saved the careers of hundreds of athletes. Shouldn't that be worth something!? Well the BBWAA didn't think so.
Cons: For 26 seasons in the MLB, his stats are not phenomenal. John was always very good, but he was never great. Lastly, even with three pennants and solid postseason performances, John was never able to earn a World Series ring.
Verdict: He'll get in. He's waited long enough.
Pros: There is so many great things that you can say about Maddux over a tremendous career. The fact that he finished his career with 355 wins (eighth most in history) in a five-man rotation era is staggering. A World Series ring, four consecutive Cy Young Awards, and a plethora of Gold Gloves only help the case of one of the ten greatest pitchers in MLB history.
Cons: There is really nothing to say here, other than a few sub-par years at the end of his career, Maddux was a consistent horse.
Verdict: Enters Cooperstown with flying colors.
Make sure to check out: Analyzing the Pitchers of the 2014 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot: Part 2