Does he belong in the Hall of Fame? Ron Guidry

Posted: 9th November 2010 by Graham Womack in Ron Guidry

Claim to fame: Guidry was among the best pitchers of the 1970s and ’80s, going 170-91 with a 3.29 ERA in his 14-year career. Playing solely with the New York Yankees, Guidry won 20 games three times, took home five Gold Gloves, and swept the American League Cy Young Award in 1978 with his 25-3, 1.74 ERA season. His career was short by Cooperstown standards, with just six seasons with at least 30 starts, though Guidry made the most of his time: His home page on Baseball-Reference.com lists his 162-game averages as 17-9, a 3.29 ERA, nine complete games, and three shutouts.

Current Hall of Fame eligibility: The Hall of Fame announced on Monday that Guidry is among 12 candidates for the Veterans Committee to consider at the winter meetings in December. Guidry appeared on the Cooperstown ballot for the Baseball Writers Association of America from 1994 through 2002, never receiving more than 10 percent of the vote.

Does he belong in the Hall of Fame? Before I start, let me offer something to anyone reading from Baseball Think Factory expecting a column on Rafael Palmeiro. I announced in a forum discussion following my piece on Will Clark last week that I’d write about Palmeiro today, but that was before I knew the Veterans Committee would have an announcement. After reading it, I knew the Dirty Dozen would delay Palmeiro at least a week.

Besides Guidry, the 11 other candidates are:

  • Vida Blue
  • Dave Concepcion
  • Steve Garvey
  • Pat Gillick
  • Tommy John
  • Marvin Miller
  • Al Oliver
  • Ted Simmons
  • Rusty Staub
  • George Steinbrenner

Looking at the list, I think two men have a strong shot of getting in, whether it’s deserved or not: Steinbrenner, who died earlier this year and should get a boost in the sympathy vote; Garvey, for reasons I explained in June. Martin and Miller should get in, but probably won’t, at least not this year– they’re too polarizing of figures. I could possibly make a case for John, but I’ll hold off on that for now.

The accomplishment for Blue, Concepcion, Gillick, Oliver, and Staub is making the ballot. Same goes for Simmons, who’s revered in the baseball research community but hasn’t gotten his due elsewhere. It’s not to say these players are undeserving (in fact, I recently said I’d vote for Oliver) they just don’t seem like the best players not in Cooperstown. That may be because, under new rules, this election is strictly for those players, the press release notes, “whose most significant career impact was realized” between 1973 and 1989. It’s why Dick Allen, Gil Hodges, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Ron Santo, and many others are nowhere to be found on this ballot. The stipulation seems arbitrary and contrary to the committee’s official goal of helping overlooked players, but I’m not sure the old methods were better.

But if this is what it takes to get Guidry on the ballot, perhaps it’s okay. His short career could get him pushed aside amidst bigger names, which may have been what happened to him on the writers ballot, though Guidry’s career compares favorably to Dizzy Dean, Sandy Koufax, and Rube Waddell, other aces who shined briefly. Guidry’s also probably better than most Yankee pitchers in Cooperstown, for whatever that’s worth. His career WAR of 44.4 might seem unimpressive, but for pitchers this committee could have considered, only John (who played twice as long), Jerry Koosman, Steve Rogers, and Luis Tiant rank higher. I think Tiant deserves a nod too, but that’s for another time.

So Guidry has my vote. It will be interesting to see how many he gets.

Does he belong in the Hall of Fame? is a Tuesday feature here.

Others in this series: Al OliverAlbert BelleBert BlylevenCecil TravisChipper JonesDan QuisenberryDave ParkerDon Mattingly,Don NewcombeGeorge SteinbrennerJack MorrisJoe CarterJohn SmoltzKeith HernandezLarry WalkerMaury WillsMel HarderPete BrowningRocky ColavitoSteve GarveyThurman MunsonTim Raines, Will Clark

  1. Douglas Heeren says:

    As much as I like Ron Guidry, he is not a hall of famer. Tommy John is just because he really had two careers(pre and post surgery), and his numbers speak volumes. Garvey makes me puke and I hope he never gets in. I would vote for Staub or Al Oliver before Garvey.

  2. vinnie says:

    Here’s an interesting link that helps shed light on your subject.
    http://gator-hall.blogspot.com/#url

  3. Bruce says:

    And let’s not forget that Guidry also had one of the best seasons any pitcher ever had. I think “longevity is overrated. I doubt any pitchers palying today (because of changes in the game) will ever win 20 three times. And very arguably, Guidry’s career was shortened by Billy Martin, who generally misused pitchers. He overworked Guidry

  4. G Hawkins says:

    Guidry was one of the most feared pitchers in the AL from 1977 to 1986. He had the numbers to win three Cy Youngs ( and won one more than Nolan Ryan who was in the AL until 1981 and one of his contemporaries ), and had a phenomenal winning percentage, to me Guidry gets in. The best players during that 10 yr era were Schmidt , Rice, Reggie Jackson, Parker, Carew, Guidry, Carlton and Goose Gossage. Ask the hitters of that era and they will tell you the three pitchers they most feared were Guidry, Ryan and Carlton.