Some Excellent 1980s Pitchers Who Aren’t in the Hall of Fame

If you followed baseball in the ’80s, it’s probably at some point occurred to you that the decade had a lot of very good, occasionally great starting pitchers who aren’t in the Hall of Fame now and are very unlikely to ever be inducted. They’re overshadowed by younger pitchers (for the most part) whose careers typically began in the ’80s but had their best years in the ’90s: Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, and Randy Johnson; and by older pitchers, such as Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, and Jim Palmer, who had the bulk of their career in the ’70s.

They were durable, sometimes won Cy Youngs, were often in the World Series, but either never became major stars or lost a lot of their fame after retirement. This casually assembled list of 23 ’80s pitchers with about 150 wins to 250 wins in their career is not a referendum on Jack Morris’ Hall of Fame candidacy; it’s just an attempt to group together some fine pitchers who made up a lot of the starting talent in a decade that lacked clearly great starters pitching in their prime.

Bob Welch
Fernando Valenzuela
Orel Hershiser
Dave Stewart
Rick Reuschel
Rick Rhoden
Mike Moore
Mark Langston
Bret Saberhagen
John Tudor
Charlie Hough
Rick Sutcliffe
Frank Viola
Teddy Higuera
Mark Gubicza
Frank Tanana
Jimmy Key
Bruce Hurst
Dennis Martinez
Joe Niekro
Jerry Reuss
John Candelaria
Mike Flanagan

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Published in: on November 10, 2012 at 6:50 am  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Absolutely astounded you didn’t include Dave Stieb. Highest WAR of any ’80s pitcher by a wide margin, six All Star games (two-time starter), and second most wins in the decade (140, behind Morris’ 162).

  2. That was deliberate. I wanted to avoid the Stieb-Morris debate as much as possible, because the post is “not a referendum on Jack Morris’ Hall of Fame candidacy.” No slight intended against Stieb at all. There is a post elsewhere on the blog on some of his near no-hitters: http://miscbaseball.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/nolan-ryan-dave-stieb-and-the-near-no-hitters-of-1989/

  3. Where is Sandy Koufax mentioned anywhere?

  4. That’s a fine list. I would add Dwight Gooden and David Cone as well. I also was wondering why you didn’t add Stieb, but then I saw your reply to another person in the comments section. I actually think the era 1978-’91 was a very underrated era in baseball history. There are several guys who played in those years for whom a legit case can be made that they should be in The Hall (though perhaps only two or three were pitchers.)
    Cheers, Bill


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