Thursday, February 25, 2021

WHY I THINK JIMMY RYAN SHOULD BE IN COOPERSTOWN

 WHY I THINK JIMMY RYAN SHOULD BE IN COOPERSTOWN 

By- Damien 



Jimmy Ryan was easily one of the best hitters in all of baseball in the 1880’s and 1890’s, perhaps the absolute best. He is the owner of a .308 lifetime batting average and averaged 132 runs scored for every 162 games in which he played. Also an outfielder and occasional pitcher, Ryan ranks ninth in career double plays turned in the outfield and third in outfield assists. Another of Ryan’s skills was his base stealing ability, as he stole well more than 400 bases over his career. Jimmy Ryan started his career with the Chicago White Stockings in 1885 with a .462 average across three games. He batted .306 in 1886 and in 1888 led the NL in five different offensive categories and started a three year streak in which he batted a combined .331, leading the MLB in home runs in 1888. In 1888, he also went 4-0 on the mound with an ERA of 3.05. Ryan slipped to .277 in 1891 and failed to hit .300 again until 1894 (although he was always missing by a few points), when he batted  a resounding .357 at the age of 31. After that he put together five more consecutive .300 seasons including to at .323 and .317, but in 1900 he was limited to 105 games and another .277 season. Ryan spent the 1901 season entirely in the minors, but tore up the league’s pitchers enough for the AL Washington Senators to give him a job in 1902, despite his age. Ryan had one last fine season for them that year, hitting .320 in 120 games, and retired after the 1903 season, his best defensively. Jimmy Ryan was a great hitter, a dependable fielder, a fine base thief, and a good pitcher when called upon. He was such a good hitter and combined so many other essential skills into his game that he is an obvious Hall of Famer. 


LIFETIME STATISTICS 

Games career: 2,014 season high: 144 in 1898 

At Bats career: 8,172 season high: 576 in 1889 

Hits career: 2,513 season high: 187 in 1889 led NL: 182 in 1888 

Doubles career: 451 season high: 37 in 1894 led NL: 33 in 1888 

Triples career: 157 season high: 17 in 1897 

Home Runs career: 118 season high: 17 in 1889 led NL: 16 in 1888 

Runs career: 1,643 season high: 140 in 1889 

Runs Batted In career: 1,093 season high: 89 in 1890 

Stolen Bases career: 419 season high: 60 in 1888 (Ryan’s stolen base total for 1885 is unavailable.) 

Walks career: 804 season high: 70 in 1889 

Strikeouts career: 491 season high: 62 in 1889 

Batting Average career: .308 season high: .357 in 1894  

On Base Percentage career: .375 season high: .422 in 1894 

Slugging Percentage career: .444 season high: .516 in 1889 led NL: .515 in 1888 

Total Bases career: 3,632 season high: 297 in 1889 led NL: 283 in 1888, 297 in 1889 

Sacrifice Hits career: 65 season high: 10 in 1896 and 1897 (Ryan’s sacrifice hit totals from before 1894 are unavailable.) 

Fielding Percentage career: .910 season high: .970 in 1903 (the league fielding percentage was .919) 

Double Plays career: 88 season high: 19 in 1889 led NL OF: 9 in 1889 (Ryan also played 29 games at shortstop in 1889, turning ten double plays) 

Putouts career: 3,811 season high: 288 in 1903 

Assists career: 603 season high: 133 in 1889 led NL OF: 34 in 1888 


DID YOU KNOW? 

-nicknamed “Pony” 

-struck out only five times across the entire 1902 season 

-became the first of two players ever to both pitch and hit for the cycle in the same game on June 28, 1888 (Larry Twitchell also did so on August 15, 1889) 

-led the NL with a home run percentage of 2.9 in 1888 and with 652 plate appearances and 62 extra-base hits in 1889 

-led NL outfielders in games (136) in 1897 

-batted .250 with a double and a stolen base in the 1886 World Series 

-hit five home runs off of Hall of Famer John Clarkson, four off of both Amos Rusie and Kid Nichols, three off of Tim Keefe, two each off of Hoss Radbourn, Mickey Welch, Pud Galvin, and Bill Dinneen, and one each off of Vic Willis, Jack Chesbro, Tony Mullane, Doc White, Clark Griffith, and Eddie Plank

-went 2-1 on the mound in 1887 and led the NL in games finished in 1886 and 1888 with five each season 

-finished second in the 1888 NL batting race in 1888 (.332) to Hall of Famer Cap Anson (.344) 

-was the oldest player in the NL in both 1902 and 1903 

-ranks 37th in career runs scored and 45th in triples


Sunday, February 21, 2021

WHY I THINK BOBBY GRICH SHOULD BE IN COOPERSTOWN

 WHY I THINK BOBBY GRICH SHOULD BE IN COOPERSTOWN 

By- Damien 



Bobby Grich was an unusual talent at second base. He didn’t have much consistency at the plate but he had a ton of power, drew a lot of walks, and played great defense. Grich also showed that he had skills to bunt and steal bases. From 1970 through 1986 Grich showed the Orioles and the Angels that he very well may have been the best second baseman in all of baseball. Bobby Grich started his career with the Orioles in 1970 for 30 games as a 21 year old shortstop. He would not become a regular second baseman until 1973, when he became an asset to perhaps the best defensive infield in history. Grich, shortstop Mark Belanger, and Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson combined to win 28 Gold Gloves, and four time winner Grich proved worthy to play in that infield. He was an all-star by 1972 and good for 19 homers by 1974. Grich signed with the Angels in late 1976 after two quality seasons for the Orioles and slumped, batting .243 in 52 games in 1977. He was a regular again in 1978 and caught fire in 1979, batting .294 with 30 home runs and 101 RBI’s to finish eighth in the AL MVP Award voting. Grich was an all-star again in 1980 and had his best year in the strike shortened season of 1981, batting .304 with 22 home runs and 61 RBI’s. He became the first second baseman to lead the AL in homers since Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie hit 14 in 1901, and the first to lead the AL in slugging percentage since 1945. He slumped to .261 and 19 homers in 1982 but had another great season in 1983, batting .292 with 16 longballs. He had one last good season in 1984 at the age of 35 but was barely better than average in 1985. He resigned with the Angels for the 1986 season and batted .268 with nine homers in 98 games. That year the Angels almost made the World Series, and Grich hit a go ahead home run in Game 5 of the ALCS against the Red Sox. He announced his retirement after Game 7. Bobby Grich was a great power hitter, an amazing fielder, and a unique talent who really should have been elected to the Hall of Fame as soon as he was eligible. 


LIFETIME STATISTICS 

Games career: 2,008 season high: 162 in 1973 led AL: 162 in 1973 

At Bats career: 6,890 season high: 582 in 1974 

Hits career: 1,833 season high: 157 in 1979 

Doubles career: 320 season high: 31 in 1976 

Triples career: 47 season high: 7 in 1973 

Home Runs career: 224 season high: 30 in 1979 led AL: 22 in 1981 

Runs career: 1,033 season high: 93 in 1976 

Runs Batted In career: 864 season high: 101 in 1979 

Stolen Bases career: 104 season high: 17 in 1973 and 1974 

Walks career: 1,087 season high: 107 in 1973 and 1975 

Strikeouts career: 1,278 season high: 117 in 1974 

Batting Average career: .266 season high: .304 in 1981 

On Base Percentage career: .371 season high: .414 in 1983 

Slugging Percentage career: .424 season high: .543 in 1981 led AL: .543 in 1981 

Total Bases career: 2,919 season high: 287 in 1979 

Sacrifice Hits career: 107 season high: 19 in 1978 

Fielding Percentage career: .983 season high: .997 in 1985 led AL 2B: .995 in 1973, .997 in 1985 

Double Plays career: 1,428 season high: 132 in 1974 led AL 2B: 130 in 1973, 132 in 1974, 122 in 1975 

Putouts career: 4,882 season high: 484 in 1974 led AL 2B: 431 in 1973, 484 in 1974, 423 in 1975, 389 in 1976 

Assists career: 5,891 season high: 509 in 1973 led AL 2B: 509 in 1973, 453 in 1974, 484 in 1975 


DID YOU KNOW? 

-set the MLB record for fielding percentage by a second baseman in both 1973 and 1985 

-was a six time all-star 

-won the AL Silver Slugger for second basemen in 1981 

-also finished ninth in the AL MVP Award voting in 1974, 14th in both 1972 and 1981, and 19th in 1973 

-hit three straight home runs in one game in 1974 

-led the MLB with 20 hit by pitch in 1974 

-hit three doubles and three home runs in five ALCSes 

-was declared the AL Player of the Week on September 16, 1984 

-led the AL in home run percentage in 1981 (6.3) 

-led AL second basemen in games in 1973 (162), 1974 (160), and 1979 (153) 

-his 132 double plays at second base in 1974 are the 20th most of all time, and his 130 in 1973 rank 26th 

-his 484 putouts at second base are the second most of all time, his 431 in 1973 rank 38th, and his 423 in 1975 rank 48th 

-ranks 50th in career assists 

-among MLB second basemen, ranks 22nd in career games, 12th in double plays, 17th in putouts, and 19th in assists 

-was inducted into the Angels Hall of Fame in 1988 as the first inductee and into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 1998


Thursday, February 18, 2021

WHY I THINK CARL MAYS SHOULD BE IN COOPERSTOWN

 WHY I THINK CARL MAYS SHOULD BE IN COOPERSTOWN 

By- Damien 



The only reason why Carl Mays is not in Cooperstown is on account of the tragic event that occured on August 16, 1920. Mays was pitching for the Yankees against the Indians’ shortstop Ray Chapman, when he unloaded a submarine pitch - some say that it was an illegal spitball - headed for Chapman’s head. Chapman, known to lean over the plate, took a little too long to dodge the ball and was hit in the head by the pitch. He died the next day. That was the only time that a player died as a direct result of an injury suffered in an MLB game. The tragedy and the following controversies clouded the memory of Mays’s incredible pitching over fifteen seasons, and how his fastballs and curves made him one of the very best pitchers of the era. He was also one of the finest hitting pitchers ever with a lifetime .268 mark and a great fielding pitcher, with a career fielding percentage 14 points above the league average. Carl Mays started his career with the Red Sox in 1915, leading the league in saves and games finished as the best reliever in the AL. He got a job as a starter in 1916 and was lights out, as he had a combined 2.10 ERA, two World Series rings, and two 20 win seasons from 1916 through 1919. The live ball era kicked into effect in 1920 and Mays won 26 games, most of them before the Chapman tragedy, and led the Majors with 27 wins in 1921. He was an ace starter on the first Yankee dynasty that came almost entirely from the Red Sox, who sold off their whole star studded lineup to New York. Mays won 13 in 1922, went 5-2 in 81 ⅓ innings in 1923, and was sold to the Cincinnati Reds for the 1924 season. He gave the Reds their money’s worth that year with a 20-9 mark but was only available for 51 ⅔ innings in 1925. Mays enjoyed one last fine season in 1926 when, at the age of 34, he won 19 games and topped the 280 inning marker for the fifth time in his career. He stuck around through 1929, producing a 13-10 record and a better than average ERA of 3.97, before retiring. Carl Mays was a great pitcher, a fine hitter, and a good fielder whose overall record and talents as a pitcher were indeed worthy of election to the Hall of Fame. I offer my sincerest prayers and condolences for both Chapman and Mays.  


LIFETIME STATISTICS 

Games Pitched career: 490 season high: 49 in 1921 led AL: 49 in 1921 

Starts career: 325 season high: 38 in 1921 

Complete Games career: 231 season high: 30 in 1918 and 1921 led AL: 30 in 1918 led NL: 24 in 1926 

Shutouts career: 29 season high: 8 in 1918 led AL: 8 in 1918, 6 in 1920 

Games Finished career: 124 season high: 27 in 1915 led AL: 27 in 1915 

Wins career: 207 season high: 27 in 1921 led AL: 27 in 1921 

Losses career: 126 season high: 14 in 1919 and 1922 

Winning Percentage career: .622 season high: .750 in 1921 led AL: .750 in 1921 

ERA career: 2.92 season low: 1.74 in 1917 

WHIP career: 1.207 season low: 1.060 in 1918 

Innings Pitched career: 3,021 ⅓ season high: 336 ⅔ in 1921 led AL: 336 ⅔ in 1921 

Strikeouts career: 862 season high: 114 in 1918 

Strikeouts Per Nine Innings career: 2.6 season high: 3.6 in 1919 

Walks career: 734 season high: 84 in 1920 

Strikeouts Per Walk career: 1.17 season high: 1.75 in 1924 

Saves career: 31 season high: 7 in 1915 and 1921 led AL: 7 in 1915 and 1921 

Fielding Percentage career: .968 season high: .993 in 1917 led AL P: .992 in 1920 

Double Plays career: 59 season high: 10 in 1926 

Putouts career: 174 season high: 22 in 1917 

Assists career: 1,138 season high: 122 in 1918 led AL P: 118 in 1917, 122 in 1918, 94 in 1922 led NL P: 94 in 1924, 117 in 1926 


DID YOU KNOW? 

-cousin of Joe Mays 

-nicknamed “Sub” 

-refused to pitch on Sundays 

-pitched three innings without allowing an earned run to win his MLB debut 

-pitched seven innings while only allowing one earned run in his final MLB game 

-pitched two complete game wins on August 30, 1918, by the scores of 12-0 and 4-1

-finished 22nd in the NL MVP Award voting in 1926 

-allowed the fewest home runs per nine innings in the NL in 1926 (0.1) 

-went 3-4 with a 2.35 ERA in four World Series, including 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA in the 1918 Series 

-batted as high as .406, .353, and .343 in three different seasons 

-hit one of his five career home runs off of Urban Shocker and one off of Lefty O’Doul 

-had a .363 career caught stealing percentage at pitcher, more than twice as high as the league average 

-among MLB pitchers, ranks 13th in career assists 

-also played 12 games as a pinch hitter


Sunday, February 14, 2021

WHY I THINK BILL MADLOCK SHOULD BE IN COOPERSTOWN

 WHY I THINK BILL MADLOCK SHOULD BE IN COOPERSTOWN 

By- Damien 



Bill Madlock was a very good overall hitter, but he was primarily valuable for his four Batting Titles. Who wins four Batting Titles and doesn’t receive serious Hall of Fame consideration? Apparently Madlock. He had some home run potential in his bat, some stolen base potential on the basepaths, great postseason numbers, and was always very hard to strike out, but was actually not that impressive defensively at third base. Madlock also had a bad reputation for being impatient with sportswriters, which is probably what has kept him out of Cooperstown for all these years. Bill Madlock started his career with the Rangers in 1973, batting .351 in 21 games. He was traded to the Cubs with Vic Harris for Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins in a move that proved okay for both teams. Madlock batted .313 in 1973 to finish third in the Rookie of the Year Award voting. He then captured his first two Batting Titles. Madlock was traded to the Giants for the 1977 season with a .337 lifetime batting average and a 15 homer season, so the Giants expected one of the best players in baseball. Madlock batted over .300 in each of the next two seasons, hitting another 15 home runs in 1978, but split the 1979 season between the Giants and the Pirates. He was traded after batting only .261 in 69 games, but hit .328 for the Pirates for the remainder of the season to help them win the World Series. He batted .375 with five walks in the Series win over Baltimore to cap the decade. Madlock also swiped a career best 32 bases that season, showing off some speed to go along with his consistency. He slumped a little in 1980 but returned in 1981 to lead the MLB in batting during the strike shortened season. Madlock batted .319 with 19 home runs and 95 RBI’s in 1982 and captured his final Batting Title in 1983, but hit a sharp decline in 1984, batting a career worst .253. He started splitting seasons and produced better after that, even hitting 17 home runs in his final season of 1987, but was never again a Hall of Fame calibre player. In the 1985 NLCS, however, he batted .333 with a double, three home runs, and seven RBI’s, proving that he was still a valuable player and a clutch postseason performer. He was out of the Big Leagues by 1988 as a free agent when nobody picked him up. Bill Madlock was a great hitter, a fine baserunner, and a FOUR TIME BATTING CHAMPION. His case shouldn’t be that hard to evaluate, and he should have been inducted into the Hall of Fame at least 25 years ago. 


LIFETIME STATISTICS 

Games career: 1,806 season high: 154 in 1979 and 1982 

At Bats career: 6,594 season high: 568 in 1982 

Hits career: 2,008 season high: 182 in 1975 

Doubles career: 348 season high: 36 in 1976 

Triples career: 34 season high: 7 in 1975 

Home Runs career: 163 season high: 19 in 1982 

Runs career: 920 season high: 92 in 1982 

Runs Batted In career: 860 season high: 95 in 1982 

Stolen Bases career: 174 season high: 32 in 1979 

Walks career: 605 season high: 56 in 1976 

Strikeouts career: 510 season high: 53 in 1985 

Batting Average career: .305 season high: .354 in 1975 led NL: .354 in 1975, .339 in 1976, .341 in 1981, .323 in 1983 

On Base Percentage career: .365 season high: .413 in 1981 

Slugging Percentage career: .442 season high: .500 in 1976 

Total Bases career: 2,913 season high: 277 in 1982 

Sacrifice Hits career: 36 season high: 9 in 1978 and 1987 

Fielding Percentage career: .955 season high: .974 in 1978 

Double Plays career: 313 season high: 49 in 1978 

Putouts career: 1,694 season high: 234 in 1978 

Assists career: 3,025 season high: 300 in 1978 


DID YOU KNOW? 

-nicknamed “Mad Dog” 

-his four Batting Titles are the most of any player not in the Hall of Fame, and he was the first to win multiple Batting Titles each for two different teams 

-was a three time all-star (in 1975, 1981, and 1983) and the game’s MVP in 1975 (1-for-2, two RBI’s) 

-his four Batting Titles were the record for a third baseman until Hall of Famer Wade Boggs topped it in 1988 

-went 6-for-6 on July 26, 1975 

-hit three home runs in one game on June 28, 1987 

-finished sixth in the NL MVP Award voting in 1976, eighth in 1983, 11th in 1982, 12th in 1975, 17th in 1981, and 18th in 1979 

-led the NL in hit by pitch in 1976 (11) 

-finished second in the 1982 NL Batting race behind Al Oliver (.331) 

-won three career Player of the Week awards 

-hit two home runs each off of Jim Kaat and Phil Niekro and one each off of John Franco and Tom Seaver 

-ranks 47th in career games at third base 

-also played 61 games at first base, 184 at second base, 64 as a DH, 89 as a pinch hitter, and one as a pinch runner


Friday, February 12, 2021

The 15 Best Bets Among Active Starting Pitchers To Someday Make It To Cooperstown

 The 15 Best Bets Among Active Starting Pitchers To Someday Make It To Cooperstown 


In a very pitcher-friendly era, I would like to point out the best of the times. I hope that all will agree with my list. 


Number 15: Corey Kluber (98-58, 3.16 ERA, 4.99 K/BB) 


Kluber is going to have a hard time making it to the Hall of Fame. He has earned only 98 wins at 34 ½ and was selected to only three all-star teams. Kluber does have great rate statistics, such as 9.8 K/9 and 7.8 H/9. He does have two Cy Young awards and an ERA Title, but with a poor 2019 season and one inning in 2020, I think it’s safe to say that Kluber will not be a Hall of Famer. 


Number 14: Gerrit Cole (101-55, 3.19 ERA, 4.31 K/BB) 


One of the best pitchers today, Gerrit Cole is a strikeout machine and a consistent winner. He won the 2019 AL ERA Title and led the MLB with 326 strikeouts that year. His momentum is for him, as he had a strong 2020 season, but Father Time is not. He has only 101 wins at age 30, and the lost 2020 season probably cost him at least 15 more wins. His 3.19 ERA is not as low as expected, either, although he has allowed an average of 7.7 hits per nine innings and has struck out 10.1 per nine. We will have to wait and see for his bid at Cooperstown. 


Number 13: Chris Sale (109-73, 3.03 ERA, 5.37 K/BB) 


Here is another starting pitcher with a lack of counting statistics past age 30 that really hurt his Hall of Fame case. Sale is 31 ½ and has only 109 lifetime wins. He does have two league strikeout crowns, 2,007 whiffs in his career, seven all-star selections, and the highest strikeout to walk ratio in baseball history, but he is going down quickly and will need to have a little luck if he wants to make the Hall of Fame. 


Number 12: Jacob deGrom (70-51, 2.61 ERA, 4.79 K/BB) 


Another one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball today, deGrom has rate statistics that rank among the top handful of pitchers in history: 2.61 ERA, 1.047 WHIP, 10.5 K/9, 7.2 H/9. He has two Cy Young Awards, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an ERA Title at his disposal. The problem is, deGrom is 32 ½ years old, and only has 70 career wins and 183 starts. Losing this season hurts, especially for a pitcher who needs counting statistics to guarantee a plaque. If he can pitch productively well into his 40’s, he will probably find himself in Cooperstown. However, the fewest wins in history for a starting pitcher to make the Hall of Fame is 150, accomplished by Dizzy Dean, and he pitched in the heaviest hitting period that the game has ever seen. 


Number 11: Stephen Strasburg (112-59, 3.19 ERA, 4.49 K/BB) 


Stephen Strasburg is still a great pitcher who last had a Hall of Fame worthy season in 2019. He is a fine strikeout pitcher with an amazing winning percentage, a Silver Slugger award, and the 2019 World Series MVP Award. Strasburg is going to have to work around a 3.19 ERA and 112 wins at 32 ½, which is a very tall order for any pitcher seeking Cooperstown. His reputation and solid win percentage may be enough to secure him a plaque with a couple more quality seasons. 


Number 10: Madison Bumgarner (120-96, 3.20 ERA, 4.14 K/BB) 


“Madbum” is a very famous big-game pitcher whose postseason efforts (8-3, 2.11 ERA) are among the best in history. In Game 7 of the 2014 World Series, he pitched five shutout innings to preserve a 3-2 lead and earn the greatest save of all time. His regular season numbers are tricky, however, as he is 31 ½ and has only 120 lifetime wins. He has good rate statistics, three World Series rings with the Giants, and is one of the greatest hitting pitchers of all time, so he may have a shot at Cooperstown once he retires, especially if he produces a few more great seasons. 


Number 9: Adam Wainwright (167-98, 3.38 ERA, 3.10 K/BB) 


Adam Wainwright has been pitching since 2005, pitching well since 2006, and pitching at a Hall of Fame level since 2008. He started out as a reliever, but was converted to a starter in 2007. He has a long and storied career, with a 2006 World Series ring with the Cardinals, two Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger award, and three all-star selections. He was struggling with his ERAs from 2016 through 2019, but had another great season in 2020. For the first decade of his career, “Waino” was one of the best pitchers in baseball. He is currently 39, but if he can pitch as well as he did this season for a few more full seasons, he will probably find himself in Cooperstown. If he can’t, however, his fewer than 170 wins and 3.38 ERA are not going to cut it. 


Number 8: David Price (150-80, 3.31 ERA, 3.76 K/BB) 


David Price is going downhill and does not have the counting statistics that are typically looked upon as Hall of Fame worthy. He has one Cy Young Award and two second place finishes, plus two ERA Titles, strong rate statistics, and a fine season in 2018 at the age of 33, but he is 35 now and is losing opportunities to construct a very good Hall of Fame case. His 2018 season was his first really good season since 2015, when he captured his second ERA crown. His awards and achievements make him a legitimate candidate with a few more quality seasons, but so far, his overall numbers fall short as of now. 


Number 7: Cole Hamels (163-122, 3.43 ERA, 3.34 K/BB) 


Cole Hamels will be best remembered for his postseason efforts with the Phillies. He won a ring in 2008, and won both the NLCS and World Series MVP awards. He is a four time all-star with an outside shot at 3,000 strikeouts (he currently has 2,560, in itself an impressive total), but his win total and career ERA are not Hall of Fame worthy, and he appears to be going down at the age of 37. 


Number 6: Felix Hernandez (169-136, 3.41 ERA, 3.14 K/BB) 


King Felix has been a dominant pitcher on some terrible Mariners teams throughout his career. The six time all-star has a 2012 Cy Young Award, a second place finish in 2014, two ERA Titles, and a perfect game to his credit. Hernandez is not a quality pitcher anymore at 34 ½ and will need to get better if he wants to get the 476 strikeouts that he needs to automatically earn a plaque. If he can’t, he can kiss Cooperstown goodbye. 


Number 5: Jon Lester (193-111, 3.60 ERA, 2.86 K/BB) 


Jon Lester is 37 years old, and he is looking down the road to retirement. The five time all-star will almost assuredly reach 200 wins, and still has a decent shot to reach 3,000 strikeouts, and he went 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA for the World Series winning Cubs of 2016, their first title since 1908, ending the longest championship drought in American sports history. He was the 2016 NLCS MVP and has two more rings with the Red Sox. Other than his monumental 2016 season, he really makes a small mark on baseball’s 150+ year history, and he would not be a Hall of Famer without it, but the 2016 Cubs were such a big deal that Lester will probably see himself in Cooperstown someday. 


Number 4: Zack Greinke (208-126, 3.37 ERA, 3.98 K/BB) 


Zack Greinke is 37 years old and still a top pitcher. He had an off season in 2020 (who didn’t), but had an amazing season in 2019. The six time all-star has over 200 wins and nearly 3,000 strikeouts, two ERA Titles (including a 1.66 mark in 2015), a 2009 Cy Young Award, and a second place finish in 2015. He also has two Silver Sluggers and six Gold Gloves to his credit. His career statistics and awards make Greinke look like a lock for Cooperstown. The Hall of Fame will be calling Greinke before too long after he retires. 


Number 3: Max Scherzer (175-93, 3.21 ERA, 4.34 K/BB) 


At 36 ½, Scherzer is still one of the best pitchers in baseball. His strikeout numbers are insane. He also has only allowed 7.5 hits per nine innings across his career. “Mad Max” is a consistent winner, a seven time all-star, a three time Cy Young Award winner. Scherzer’s case is simple, strong, and obvious. He’s a future Hall of Famer. 


Number 2: Justin Verlander (226-129, 3.33 ERA, 3.54 K/BB) 


Verlander is about to turn 38 years old, but he is still the best pitcher in the American League. He is the only player in history other than Don Newcombe to win the Rookie of the Year Award, a Cy Young Award (he has two), and a league MVP Award. He is an eight time all-star with a Triple Crown win in 2011, over 3,000 lifetime strikeouts, and a career 7.6 hits per nine innings ratio. Needless to say, Verlander is Hall of Fame worthy. 


Number 1: Clayton Kershaw (175-76, 2.43 ERA, 4.32 K/BB) 


Clayton Kershaw is 32 ½, but he has the best rate statistics out of anyone on this list by far. He has better counting statistics than most on this list as well. Three Cy Young Awards, a MVP Award, five ERA Titles (the most in NL history), a Triple Crown, and eight all-star selections certainly state Kershaw’s Hall of Fame case loud and clear. He posted a 2.16 ERA this season and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Even from a die-hard Giants fan, Kershaw is the top pitcher in baseball today and will probably be a first ballot Hall of Famer.