The Hall of Good: Bob Welch and Dwight Gooden Not Quite Great Enough

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The Hall of Good: Bob Welch and Dwight Gooden Not Quite Great Enough
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Bob Welch wasn't great enough for the Hall of Fame...but he made my Hall of Good!

Somehow, I stumbled upon a blog I started in early January 2007, called the "Hall of Good."

As I read through it, I began to remember the reason why it was started: I wanted to write a piece for each of the pitchers in major league history who started at least 100 games, won at least 100 games and finished their careers with a winning percentage of .500 or better. In addition, they couldn't be Hall of Famers or presently active.

Back then, I thought, "how long could it take?" I planned on making a post every day or two, to cover the 150 or so pitchers I thought would fit the above parameters. Now, with the advent of tools like the Baseball-Reference Play Index, I now know there are, in fact, 370 pitchers who fit the criteria.

Long story short, I made two posts and that was the end of that.

Today, I'm going to post here the two pieces I wrote way back when, for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy. 

 

Doc Gooden

 My first inductee is Dr. K himself, Dwight Gooden. From 1984 to 1991, Gooden was one of the most feared and talented pitchers in the Major Leagues. In that time, he had a record of 123 wins and 53 losses—that's a .699 winning percentage!

"Doc", as he was known, was elected to three straight All-Star games, from 1984 to 1986, with a fourth in 1988 thrown in for good measure. He was the NL Rookie of the Year award winner in 1984, and in 1985 he had one of the greatest seasons by any pitcher in recent history: Leading the league with 24 wins, a 1.53 ERA and 268 strikeouts. He won the pitching Triple Crown, The Sporting News National League Pitcher of the Year, and—best of all—the Cy Young Award.

Not only that, he lost only four games, completed 16 and had eight shutouts. His performance that year is similar to what Bob Gibson did in 1970—only better.

Gooden won at least 15 games six times in his career (six times in seven seasons, actually) and he struck out at least 200 batters four times. He was a Hall of Famer for sure.

But sadly, his career quickly imploded after 1991. Although he won the Silver Slugger award for pitchers in 1992, his career quickly became an example of what drugs and problems with the law can do to a person. In the eight seasons following his amazing run, he went a paltry 71-59. Perhaps one of the few bright spots in the second half of his career was the no hitter he threw on May 14, 1996 against the Seattle Mariners.

Even with his less than stellar performance in the second half of his career, could Dwight Gooden still be a Hall of Famer? My answer: Yes.

According to Baseball-Reference.com, two of the pitchers Gooden compares best with statistically are Hall of Famers Dazzy Vance and Lefty Gomez. Not only that, Hall of Famers Don Sutton, Phil Niekro and Warren Spahn never won as many as 24 games in a single season.

His .634 career winning percentage is better than those of the aforementioned Sutton (.559) and \ Niekro (.537), along with Nolan Ryan (.526) and even the great Cy Young (.618).

Will Doc ever be in the Hall of Fame? Probably not. Should he be? Let's just say, if a guy with a .526 winning percentage could get in, then a guy with a .634 winning percentage might also very well get in.

 

Bob Welch

 My next inductee into the Hall of Good is the formidable Bob Welch, who was one of the most consistent starting pitchers of the late 1980s. During one four-year stretch between 1987 and 1990, he went 76-32—that averages out to be a record of 19-8 each year. Many starting pitchers would pine for numbers like that just once in their careers.

Welch's 17-year career saw two All-Star games (1980 and 1990)—and even better, one Cy Young Award. In 1990, he went 27-6 with an ERA of 2.95—which was a great way to end his truly dominating four-year run. No player has won as many as 27 games since Welch did it 1990.

His success did not carry over after that year, though. In the four years following his Cy Young Award-winning season, he went 35-37. Still—overall in his career, he went 211-146 with a 3.47 ERA. He won at least 15 games six times in his career, and only four times did he allow more hits than innings pitched in a season.

These numbers, if you ask me, should make him more Hall-of-Fame worthy. But sadly, he only got one vote for the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, knocking him off the ballot.

Why in the world would that be? With statistics similar to those of Catfish Hunter and Dazzy Vance—both Hall of Famers—one would think he should have been given many more votes. He never got them though, so now he will have to settle for another Hall—the Hall of Good.

 

Man, the Welch one wasn't written very well. Anyway, I think I'll start up this little project of mine again—but I'll include more than just pitchers who won over 100 games.

Though, once again, I'll probably make two posts, get bored, and ignore it for another four years. 

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