Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hall of Fame Worthy? Pt. 15: Smoky Joe Wood

The Hall of Fame has inducted many players who were borderline choices, and many players who deserve induction have been on the outside looking in. I want to look at some players to determine if they deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
"Can I throw harder than Joe Wood? Listen, my friend, there's no man alive can throw harder than Smoky Joe Wood!" - Walter Johnson.

I came across a website recently where a lot of fans were espousing their beliefs that Smoky Joe Wood should be in the Hall of Fame. I have personally never really considered that because his pitching career only lasted seven full seasons and then he attempted a comeback as an outfielder that was ultimately unsuccessful.

Wood was certainly a great pitcher in his time. He finished his career with a record of 117-57, a .672 winning percentage. He also had a career ERA of 2.03, a shockingly low number. Wood was actually a high-strikeout pitcher for a couple of years when that was fairly rare. He struck out 231 in 1911 and 258 in 1912. His other years were more pedestrian. Wood is fifth in career ERA and tenth in career winning percentage.

Wood was certainly a famous player, pitching for the World Champion Red Sox in 1912 and putting together one of the greatest pitching seasons ever that year by going 34-5 with a 1.91 ERA. He went 3-1 in the World Series that year.

Unfortunately, Wood suffered an arm injury that curtailed his pitching career. He was basically done as a pitcher in 1915, though he did pitch well that season. Many of the aforementioned commenters felt that Wood should be in because Sandy Koufax is in. There may be something to that as Koufax had only six great seasons as a pitcher, but Koufax's career as a pitcher last twelve seasons, compared to Wood's eight. I just do not think that is close enough to get Wood in, especially since he was only great for six.

THE VERDICT: I just can not justify putting Wood in with only an eight-year pitching career, no matter how great those years are. His hitting stats were not good and do not rise to the level of getting him in either.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't there a ten year minimum to be Hall eligible?