Tommy John • LHP • Candidate

83rd in JAWS (62.0 career/34.7 peak/48.4 JAWS)

Teams: Indians 1963 • White Sox 1964-71 • Dodgers 1972-74, ’76-78 • Yankees 1979-82, ’86-89 • Angels 1982-85 • A’s 1985
Stats: 288-231 • 3.34  ERA • 111 ERA+ • 4,710.1 IP • 2,245 SO
Rankings: 6x top 5 ERA • 6x top 10 W • 4x All-Star • 4x top 10 WAR • 4x top 10 IP
All-time: 8th GS • 20th IP • 26th SHO
Voting: BBWAA 2009 (15th, 31.7%)

John pitched more seasons in the majors than anyone except Nolan Ryan. That’s thanks to his role as the recipient of the most famous sports medicine procedure of all time, the elbow ligament replacement surgery performed by Dr. Frank Jobe in 1974 that is now named for John. His biggest years came after the surgery; from 1977-81, he placed in the top five in Cy Young voting three times, won 20 or more games three times and pitched in three World Series for the Dodgers and Yankees, though all on the losing side. Despite that modest peak, he’s more a compiler than a star. A groundballer who didn’t miss many bats (just 4.3 K/9), he had just four seasons of 5.0 WAR, and never led his league in any triple crown category. While he came close to 300 wins, he surpasses only Don Sutton’s peak WAR and Early Wynn’s career WAR among the 24 members of the 300 win club. Given that he topped out at 31.7% of the vote, you’d have to apply an extremely large bonus for the surgery to make the case that he merits enshrinement. Considered on the 2011 and 2014 Expansion Era Committee ballots, he’s up again in 2018, but the Hall’s decision to honor him in tandem with Dr. Jobe in 2013 may be as close as he ever gets.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s