Cooperstown Chronicles – Tommy John
Three hundred wins is the magic number for a pitcher to join the Hall of Fame. If you go slightly below that mark you’ll find Tommy John.
Most young fans know his name for the surgery that has he made famous, but Tommy John was a heck of a pitcher too. He won 288 games (5th most among lefties) at a .555 winning percentage and a 3.34 ERA over a career that spanned 26 years. He also had a 6-3 record with a 2.65 ERA in postseason play. Tommy was a four-time All-Star and won the Hutch Award and the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award. He was in the top 10 in ERA and wins six times, Win-Loss % 10 times (led the league in ’74), Walks/9 innings pitched 12 times, Complete Games 4 times, and Shutouts 7 times (led the league three times). He injured the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm in 1974, and after a revolutionary surgical operation he was able to pitch until he was 46. For the amount of victories, the brilliant control he exhibited over his lengthy career, as well as his lasting mark on the game with the surgery he helped coin I believe Tommy John is overdue induction into baseball’s hallowed Hall.
UPDATE: Upon further review I just don’t think Tommy John cuts it. He was solid, but never one of the very best. His win total is impressive, but not quite enough to merit induction.