Smokey Joe Wood: What's with the Hype?

Ryan SmithCorrespondent IDecember 7, 2008

Joe Wood was no doubt a great pitcher, but he's not in the Hall of Fame because technically he only had seven successful seasons in the majors. Sure, he could’ve been great if he hadn’t blown his arm, but there have been so many sob stories in baseball, it’s not even funny.

Dick Allen could’ve hit 400 or 500 home runs and would have reached at least 2,000 hits if racists and cruel fans hadn’t harassed him.

Also, in the guy’s other articles he states that no starting pitcher other than Pedro Martinez should be put in the Hall of Fame before Wood. What about Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Curt Schilling, and Randy Johnson?

I bet you that every single baseball fan in the nation will say that Maddux is better than Wood. Maybe if Wood’s career would’ve lasted longer he would’ve won more games than Maddux. But nowadays it is a lot harder to win 20 games a year and back than they would win 25 or 30.

And then there’s ERA. Wood undoubtedly was great at preventing runs, but back then, a bunch of pitchers were. Nowadays, the lowest ERA in the league will be around 2.50.

In 1910, Wood had an ERA of 1.68. He was EIGHTH in the American League. Seven players, including three players from the Philadelphia Athletics, had a lower ERA. Ed Walsh, the pitcher with the lowest all-time ERA, led the league with a 1.27 ERA.

Plus, they didn’t use the same type of ball that pitchers use now. Not many home runs were hit back then. Balls are hit a lot harder now and big flies are common. Maybe that’s why Wood only allowed 10 home runs in his career.

Oh, and we can’t forget about strikeouts. Everyone knows that Randy Johnson is second on the all-time strikeout list. Where’s Wood? He’s tied for 437th. He never led the league even though he struck out more than 200 batters twice.

Wood was a great pitcher. He may one day be in the Hall of Fame, and I want him to be. But right now, what can you do?