Ron Guidry: Hall-of-Fame or Not?

Some of these guys on the Veteran’s Committe Ballot, I look at and say “Of course. Hall-of-Famer” or “Really? THIS guy on the ballot?” This is one of those in the middle for me. I can’t make much of a decision on this one.

Why he belongs:

1978. The pitcher went 25-3. That’s an .893 Winning percentage. That’s good enough for #6 on the All-time list for a single season. And nobody higher than him has 20 wins. If that’s not good enough for you, he had 16 complete games and 9 shutouts, a 1.74 ERA, beating the second place pitcher by nearly half a run.  In the playoffs, he was great, 5-2 and a 3.01 ERA, including being 3-1 in the World Series with a 1.69 ERA. 5 Gold Gloves is also pretty impressive. Only 9 pitchers have reached that mark. He finished in the Cy Young voting 6 times.  4 of those times, he was in the top 5, including winning it in 1978.

One thing stands out to me. His career winning percentage is .651. That means that he gave your team the best bet for winning. This is good for #26 on the all-time list. This is better than Letfy Gomez, Dizzy Dean & Jim Palmer. To me, wins and winning percentage still mean something. He finished in the top 10 in ERA 6 times, leading twice. Top 10 in wins 7 times, leading twice. Top 10 in Winning percentage and strikeouts 7 times each.

Why he doesn’t belong:

Guidry was magic for a few years. I guess what kills him is he wasn’t so much magic after those years. He finished his career with 170 wins, good enough for #178 on the All-Time list. If the wins make him eligible, then Tim Wakefield and Jamie Moyer are leaping for joy right now. His career ERA was 3.29, good enough for #287 on the all-time list. His innings pitched were #260. His complete games were tied for #424. Shutouts were #161. None of those numbers really stand out to me. To me, a Hall-of-Famer is higher than that in comparison to other players.

4 All-Star games are good, but don’t scream out to me Hall-of-Famer. Also, according to http://www.baseball-reference.com, comparative players include Lefty Gomez, Sandy Koufax (!) and Roy Halladay. But remember, Halladay’s career isn’t over, neither is CC Sabathia’s or Roy Oswalt’s.

The other damning stain on his career is the previous Hall-of-Fame voting. The year he received the highest percentage of votes was 2000.  Carlton Fisk & Tony Perez were elected that year. Guidry received 8.8% of the vote, good enough for 17th place that year. Only the top 6 are now in the Hall-of-Fame (Fisk, Perez, Rice, Carter, Sutter & Gossage). That means that 11 players deserved to get in the Hall-of-Fame more than Guidry. Those 11 players should be elected before him, according to the voters. What’s changed?

I’m still in the middle. Yes, Guidry had some great years, but I don’t know if he was THAT great.

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One Response to Ron Guidry: Hall-of-Fame or Not?

  1. Tony says:

    Arm troubles are what ultimately derailed him, and he started experiencing arm trouble as early as 1981, and it ultimately led to his decline. I think had it not been for that, he would have easily surpassed 200 wins. For 8 seasons (1978-1985), he won 138 games and lost only 60, not counting the postseason. That is an average of just over 17 wins a season, and just over 7 losses. He was a dominating pitcher in his heyday, and he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. His number is retired by the Yankees, which is no small honor. I say he should be put in- there are pitchers in the Hall of Fame now that were not as dominant as Guidry once was, and I do think there are pitchers in the HOF now that should not be in while Guidry is not.

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