Cooperstown Chronicles – Lefty Gomez

Aug 9, 2008

Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

I decided to profile Hall of Famer Lefty Gomez, who was enshrined by the Veteran’s Committee in 1972.

The Numbers
Played 1930-1943 (14 Seasons)
320 Starts
2503 Innings
189 Wins - 102 Losses
.649 Winning Percentage (28th All-time)
3.34 ERA (4.18 League Average)
1.352 WHIP
1468 Strikeouts 
173 Complete Games
28 Shutouts 
9 Saves

Four 20+ Win Seasons
Three Sub 3.00 ERA Seasons

World Series:  6 Rings, 7 Starts, 50-1/3 Innings, 6-0, 2.86 ERA, 31 Ks, 4 Complete Games

1934 Pitching Triple Crown
1937 Pitching Triple Crown
7 All-Star Game Appearances
MVP Votes in 4 Seasons

Top Ten Finishes

Wins - 7 Times (Led league in 1934 & 1937)
ERA – 7 Times (Led league in 1934 & 1937)
Strikeouts – 9 Times (Led league in 1933, 1934 & 1937)
Winning % – 8 Times (Led league in 1934 & 1941)
WHIP - 5 Times (Led league in 1934)
Starts - 6 Times
Innings - 6 Times (Led league in 1934)
Complete Games – 6 Times (Led league in 1934)
Shutouts - 7 Times (Led league in 1934, 1937 & 1938)

Hall of Fame Yardsticks:
Black Ink: Pitching – 46 (28) (Average HOFer ≈ 40)
Gray Ink: Pitching – 182 (53) (Average HOFer ≈ 185)
HOF Standards: Pitching – 34.0 (103) (Average HOFer ≈ 50)
HOF Monitor: Pitching – 127.5 (59) (Likely HOFer > 100)

Talk about a big game Pitcher.  6-0 with a 2.86 ERA in 7 World Series starts.  That’s outstanding.  He failed to reach 200 career Wins, which is likely what kept him out of the Hall for so long.  He did, however, have one of the best winning percentages of all-time and his Adjusted ERA (ERA compared to league average) ranks #66.  He is a two-time winner of the Pitching Triple Crown, which shows his excellence.  He won three All-Star Games as well.  I can totally see why Lefty made the HOF.  

Not only was he a great pitcher, but he was a great character (kind of an early Yogi Berra).  Here’s some of his great quotes (from Baseball Almanac):

“A lot of things run through your head when you’re going in to relieve in a tight spot. One of them was, “Should I spike myself?”

“He (Jimmie Foxx) has muscles in his hair.”

“Hell, Lou (Gehrig) it took fifteen years to get you out of a game. Sometimes I’m out in fifteen minutes.”

“I’d rather be lucky than good.”

“I’m the guy that made Joe DiMaggio famous.”

“I’m throwing as hard as I ever did, but the ball is just not getting there as fast.”

“I talked to the ball a lot of times in my career. I yelled, “Go foul. Go foul.”

“I’ve got a new invention. It’s a revolving bowl for tired goldfish.”

“I want to thank all my teammates who scored so many runs and Joe DiMaggio, who ran down so many of my mistakes.”

“I was the worst hitter ever. I never even broke a bat until last year when I was backing out of the garage.”

“No one hit home runs the way Babe (Ruth) did. They were something special. They were like homing pigeons. The ball would leave the bat, pause briefly, suddenly gain its bearings, then take off for the stands.”

“One rule I had was make your best pitch and back up third base. That relay might get away and you’ve got another shot at him.” Source: Baseball Digest (August 1961)

“The secret of my success was clean living and a fast outfield.”

“When Neil Armstong first set foot on the moon, he and all the space scientists were puzzled by an unidentifiable white object. I knew immediately what it was. That was a home run ball hit off me in 1933 by Jimmie Foxx.”





Baseball Almanac

Past Chronicles
Roberto Alomar
Richie Ashburn*
Earl Averill*
Harold Baines

Albert Belle
Jim Bottomley*
Pete Browning

Jim Bunning *
Bert Byleven
Joe Carter
Orlando Cepeda*
Rocky Colavito
Dave Concepcion
David Cone
Roger Connor*
Larry Corcoran

Mike Cuellar
George Davis*
Andre Dawson
Larry Doby*
Bobby Doerr*
Jimmie Dykes (Player/Manager)
Dwight Evans
Rick Ferrell*
Chuck Finley
Steve Finley
Nellie Fox*
John Franco

Gary Gaetti
Steve Garvey
Luis Gonzalez
Dwight Gooden
Mark Grace
Bobby Grich
Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager)
Ron Guidry
Billy Herman*
Keith Hernandez
Orel Hershiser
Whitey Herzog (Manager)
Gil Hodges
Ralph Houk (Manager)
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Travis Jackson*
Tommy John
Bob Johnson
Addie Joss*
Jim Kaat
George Kell*
George Kelly*
Tom Kelly (Manager)
Chuck Klein*
Jerry Koosman
Bill James & Pete Palmer
Barry Larkin
Tony Lazzeri*
Freddie Lindstrom*
Mickey Lolich
Ernie Lombardi*
Fred Lynn
Sherry Magee

Roger Maris
Billy Martin (Player/Manager)
Dennis Martinez
Edgar Martinez
Bobby Matthews
Don Mattingly
Gene Mauch (Manager)
Bill Mazeroski*
Fred McGriff

Mark McGwire
Bid McPhee
Johnny Mize*
Paul Molitor*
Jack Morris
Tony Mullane
Dale Murphy
Graig Nettles
Hal Newhouser*
Lefty O’Doul
Tony Oliva
Al Oliver

Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso
Dave Parker
Wes Parker
Lance Parrish
Boog Powell
Tim Raines
Willie Randolph
Pee Wee Reese*
Jim Rice
Phil Rizzuto*
Brooks Robinson*
Pete Ro$e
Amos Rusie*
Jimmy Ryan
Ron Santo
Curt Schilling
Red Schoendienst* (Player/Manager)
Ted Simmons
Enos Slaughter*
Lee Smith
Rusty Staub
Dave Stieb
Mel Stottlemyre
Harry Stovey
Sam Thompson
Alan Trammell
George Van Haltren
Arky Vaughan*
Mo Vaughn
Bobby Veach
Frank Viola
Mickey Welch*
Lou Whitaker
Bernie Williams
Vic Willis*
Maury Wills 
Hack Wilson*

* Signifies actual Hall of Famer

. .

4 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Randy Nichols
    August 9th, 2008 at 3:45 pm #

    I found your site on Google and read a few of your other entires. Nice Stuff. I’m looking forward to reading more from you.

  2. LestersLegends
    August 9th, 2008 at 10:01 pm #

    Thanks Randy. If you ever have a guy you want profiled, just let me know.

  3. 2009 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot | Fantasy Sports Blog
    December 8th, 2008 at 9:13 am #

    [...] Ferrell* Wes Ferrell Chuck Finley Steve Finley Nellie Fox* John Franco Gary Gaetti Steve Garvey Lefty Gomez* Luis Gonzalez Dwight Gooden Joe Gordon Mark Grace Bobby Grich Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager) Ron [...]

  4. Cooperstown Chronicles - Stan Coveleski :: Elites TV
    May 13th, 2009 at 12:53 pm #

    [...] Ferrell* Wes Ferrell Chuck Finley Steve Finley Nellie Fox* John Franco Gary Gaetti Steve Garvey Lefty Gomez* Luis Gonzalez Dwight Gooden Joe Gordon Mark Grace Bobby Grich Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager) Ron [...]

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