So let me get this straight, on the eve of the Hall of Fame votes being revealed...people are arguing back and forth about whether or not Bert Blyleven, Jack Morris or Tommy John deserve to enter the hallowed Hall?!?
Makes sense to me. Sure, put them in...but only AFTER you open the doors for Luis Tiant
I know, I know...no one is REALLY arguing John's name right now and Tiant isn't eligible until the verteran's committee gets ahold of him, but I digress. Let's look into some stats, ladies! And first, let me dispell the rumors that Tommy John belongs. He doesn't.
HOWEVER, he is about as deserving as Blyleven..if not moreso. Sure, the Dutchman is fifth All-Time in strikeouts (3701) and it isn't likely someone will get near 3500 any time soon (Greg Maddux is closest with 3169)...BUT, you give a number of players that many innings and Blyleven is merely a footnote. Ks is about ALL that Blyleven has going for him. He's got 287 wins (John has 288), but he also has 250 losses. 250 losses...fuck, he's in the top ten! However, it should be noted that the only player that has more losses (254) is Jack Powell and he, too, is not in Cooperstown...never will be.
Blyleven had one season with 20 wins...and he was 20-17 that year! Fuck, Dave Stewart did 20 Ws four years in a row! For the record, John did it 3 times between 1977 and 1980...a period where he won 80 games. Not too shabby.
Enter Jack Morris.. monster 'stache and all!
Morris was a gamer from the word "go". Top 5 in Cy Young voting five different times. He won 20 plus three times and had the most wins in the 80s with 162. Later in his career, Morris pitched one of the more memorable World Series games in the last 20 years...possibly the most memorable if not for Curt Schilling's bloody sock.
Look it up, kids...it was one for the ages.
What separates Morris from the herd is a quote I found online. He once told a female reporter..."I don't talk to women unless they're on top of me or I'm on top of them."
So...that leaves El Tiante and I'll make it short and sweet. He should've been the first Cuban in the Hall of Fame (Jose Canseco should've been the second, but Tony Perez SOMEHOW beat them both to it). Okay, it boils down to the Big Red Machine versus steroid abuse versus, simply, being Luis Tiant.
The line on Tiant is impressive...229 and 172 over 19 seasons (one could argue he only pitched 15 COMPLETE seasons) and notched a .571 winning percentage. By comparison, Blyleven only won 53% of his games...as did Robin Roberts, a Hall of Famer. Tiant had four seasons with more than 20 victories and from 1973-1976, he had 80 wins. Unlike Blyleven...Tiant had a period where he WAS a dominant pitcher.
An interesting side not, his first start was a shut out versus the Whitey Ford and the Yankees in 1963! In 1968...batters hit .168 against Tiant. This was also the same season his ERA was a mind boggling 1.60.
Tiant was a character...and the Hall loves a good character. If it wasn't for character, does a guy like Ozzie Smith make it in?
Probably not...cue the flip. Yippeeee!