Does he belong in the Hall of Fame? 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 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