Does he belong in the Hall of Fame? Allie Reynolds

Claim to fame: Reynolds won 180 games and made five All Star teams in his 13-year career and helped pitch the New York Yankees to six World Series titles between 1947 and 1953. He’s one of the most prominent, eligible Yankees not in the Hall of Fame, and that might be enough for the Veterans Committee, which has a history of making questionable picks of former Bronx Bombers from Tony Lazzeri to Phil Rizzuto to Joe Gordon.

Current Hall of Fame eligibility: Reynolds made 13 appearances on the Baseball Writers Association of America ballot for Cooperstown between 1956 and 1974, peaking at 33.6 percent of the vote in 1968. He can now be enshrined by the Golden Age sub-portion of the Veterans Committee which considers players who made their greatest contribution between 1947 and 1972.

Does he belong in the Hall of Fame? For lifetime stats, Reynolds doesn’t come anywhere close to Cooperstown. He made the majors at 25 and even playing through World War II, his career was relatively short. His 180 wins and 29.0 WAR would place him near the bottom of enshrined pitchers, and there are plenty of hurlers with better numbers who haven’t been honored from Tommy John to Rick Reuschel to Luis Tiant and many others.

But that might not matter for the Veterans Committee. If Reynolds had played his entire career where he started, Cleveland, he might have no more of a chance of getting into Cooperstown than Mel Harder, but his image is forever married to his time in pinstripes. And the Hall of Fame isn’t just about stats, it’s about honoring baseball’s lore. Reynolds was a vital member of a storied franchise during one of its best runs, and while I’m not arguing this is enough to merit him a plaque (because it shouldn’t be), I wouldn’t be surprised if he is enshrined sometime in the next ten or 20 years.

Reynolds looks like a logical next Yankee for the Veterans Committee, depending on one’s view of John, Tommy Henrich, or Thurman Munson, among a handful of others. The Veterans Committee hasn’t enshrined anyone since reforming a few years ago, but traditionally has had a slow uptake on tabbing players. Lazzeri was selected in 1991, 52 years after his last game; Gordon went in 59 years after retirement, Rizzuto 38. Having last played in 1954, Reynolds is about at the same point.

Of course, if Reynolds is enshrined, a lot of writers and baseball researchers will bemoan the Hall of Fame once more for disregarding statistical merit. I doubt Cooperstown will care.

All of this is not to knock Reynolds, who accomplished much in his time in the majors. A few months back, in preparing to write one of these columns about John Smoltz, I emailed one of the regulars here. He replied:

How about comparing him to Allie Reynolds, who in a shorter career and more modest numbers was a precursor? Only he was used as both a starter and reliever in some of the same seasons, which might lead you to look into how Casey handled his pitching staffs. Everything you said about Smoltz had been said about Reynolds.

That has to be good for something.

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

Others in this series: Adrian Beltre, Al OliverAlbert Belle, Barry Larkin, Bert Blyleven, Billy Martin, Cecil TravisChipper Jones, Closers, Dan Quisenberry, Darrell Evans, Dave ParkerDon Mattingly, Don NewcombeGeorge Steinbrenner, George Van Haltren, Harold Baines, Jack Morris, Jim Edmonds, Joe Carter, Joe Posnanski, John Smoltz, Juan Gonzalez, Keith Hernandez, Ken Caminiti, Larry WalkerMaury WillsMel Harder, Moises Alou, Pete Browning, Phil Cavarretta, Rafael Palmeiro, Roberto Alomar, Rocky Colavito, Ron Guidry, Ron Santo, Smoky Joe Wood, Steve Garvey, Ted Simmons, Thurman MunsonTim Raines, Will Clark

7 Replies to “Does he belong in the Hall of Fame? Allie Reynolds”

  1. The Chief was a great pitcher, whose career numbers fall short of what’s needed for the HOF. He was a great starting pitcher ,and as you mentioned, then a great swingman for those great 50’s Yankee teams. He retired when he was still a very effective pitcher; I’m not sure why.

    Another forgotten great Yankee of that era is Gil McDougald, the ultimate utility infielder. His hitting numbers were killed by playing in Yankee Stadium, yet he still put up repectable to good hitting numbers, and was still a Gold Glove-level fielder at all three infield positins.

  2. I saw him pitch in St. Louis one time when he couldn’t find the plate. The next time I saw him pitch was in Chicago and he looked like Feller, flames and a good curve. As I remember, old Allie was an average hitter for a pitcher. His fastball was real straight, don’t think he had huge K numbers for a guy that threw as hard as he did,

  3. Lets look at the ten comparable players according to baseball reference. The first two that come up are Lefty Gomez and Bob Lemon, two Hall of Famers. Very interesting

  4. of course reynold’s numbers aren’t hall of fame. we who saw him consider him the premier money pitcher of his era. that ’49 series against a power dodger lineup stands out: 2 bloop hits in 12 1/3 innings. and how many times did he face ted williams. modern pitchers don’t know what they missed.

    things change. in the original ’36 hall of fame voting, ty cobb got the most votes. where do they rank cobb today. cobb got more votes than babe ruth(tied with honus wagner).

  5. Reynolds won the biggest games (pennant races and World Series) on the biggest stage (New York) for baseball’s greatest franchise (Yankees) during an unmatched era of excellence, including 5 consecutive World Series championships 1949-53. During that stretch he accounted for 6 wins and 4 saves in the 20 World Series games the Yankees won to earn those championships. Counting his appearance in the Yankee’s 1947 World Series championship, Reynolds registered 7 World Series victories! One out of a handful of pitchers to hurl two no-hit/no-run games in a single season, Reynolds never won fewer than 11 games in a major league season. In a 12-year career, Reynolds ended on a high note as he posted an impressive 13-4 win-loss record for the Bronx Bombers in his final season. During his Yankee tenure, Reynolds won 131 games and lost only 60 for a 0.686 percentage record, that exceeded the Yankee’s 0.635 percentage by 0.051. In sum, Reynolds was the best of the best thereby helping his team win 6 pennants and 6 World Series championships. He is worthy of strong consideration for the Hall of Fame.

  6. When you pitch for the premier team in baseball for that era and have not only a winning record but are central in helping win pennant and world series games – plus his two no hitters in the same season as a bonus – you need to be inducted into the HOF.

  7. Reynolds occupies the center of the page for the great Yankee Teams 1947-1954. His 7 World Series wins are matched only by Red Ruffing, Bob Gibson, and exceeded only by Whitey Ford who played in 11 world Series compared to 6 for Allie. Reynolds was a combination starter/reliever and recorded four World Series saves. The 5 consecutive pennants and World Series won by the 1949-1953 Yanks has never been equaled to date and look every bit as difficult to equal as Dimaggs 56 game streak. Baseball is more than counting a pitcher’s wins etc. It’s more about critical games and the timing of great performances in those games and seasons. Reynolds belongs in the Hall!

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