Friday, July 24, 2009

Mark Buehrle, Hall of Famer?

No, I'm not advocating or even predicting that Mark Buehrle will one day make the Hall of Fame. But with yesterday's perfect game, it's the perfect time to point out that he is on a Hall of Fame track.

Yes, he is on a Hall of Fame track, even though he's never really been an ace and has never struck fear into the hearts of opposing batters and managers.

So how is it possible? Because there are two ways to get into the Hall as a pitcher:

1. Dominate in your 20s, like Sandy Koufax, Dizzy Dean, Don Drysdale, and many others.

2. Be a workhorse in your 30s and 40s, like Early Wynn, Don Sutton, Phil Niekro, and many others.

Rare pitchers do both: Roger Clemens, Tom Seaver, Greg Maddux, etc. Those are the true greats of the game, the inner-circle Hall of Famers. The other guys are mostly outer-circle Hall of Famers (not Koufax and Dean, but the other guys).

Buehrle clearly did not dominate in his 20s, but he did win 122 games before turning 30. And he did it without missing time due to a major injury. From age 22 on, he has started at least 30 games per season every year. He's solid, dependable, and good.

And because he has good command of his pitches, he's the kind of player who could continue as an effective pitcher for a very long time. If he does that--if he wins 12-17 games per year for the next decade, he'll probably end up with 300 victories, or close to it. And that will make him a strong Hall of Fame candidate.

Will he? I have no idea. An errant line drive could end things suddenly. Or he could blow up like Barry Zito. But if the Mark Buehrle of the next decade pitches anything like the Mark Buehrle of the last decade, he can start preparing his induction speech.

(I'm not the only person to think of this. After writing this, I Googled "Mark Buehrle Hall of Fame" and found these others making the argument here and here and probably elsewhere.)

4 comments:

Jabril said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jabril said...

Interesting post on Buehrle. I thought that, because of your interest in blogging, you might be interested in a site called timelines.com.

At timelines.com we are trying to create a kind of used generated history by linking events into time line and where no event is too small or too big. Because you like baseball I thought you might be interested in the general baseball time line we are developing (http://timelines.com/topics/baseball) and a time line I'm working on of all the perfect games in Major League history (http://timelines.com/topics/perfect-game).

Check out the site when you have some time and feel free to create some events which you can use to link back to your blog. And also, If you would like to use some of the already existing time lines feel free to link to them from your blog.

Again, please take a look at the site when you can and let me know what you think. Thank you.

Stephen said...

Interesting article. Its always fun to try and ID future HOF'ers so early in their careers. Besides 300 wins, other "lock markers" for HOF pitchers are 100+ games over .500.

Buehrle could make the Hall, if he stays healthy and pitches long enough. Another interesting guy to look at is Jamie Moyer. He just keeps rolling along.

Of course all of this assumes that Blyleven doesn't block the door. 288 wins, all those strikeouts and 60 shutouts. Can anyone under 285 wins who is not 100 games over .500 get in before Blyleven moves out of the way?

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