by Harold Friend
When was the last time you heard anyone claim that Allie Reynolds should be in the Hall of Fame? That’s right. Probably never. Allie Reynolds won 182 games, lost 107, and saved 49 over a career that spanned 12 seasons. In each of those years, Reynolds won at least 11 games, or as is stated in the 21st century, he won in “double figures” for twelve consecutive seasons. Reynolds was 7-2 with 4 saves in six World Series (1947, 1949-53), all of which the Yankees won.
Some of Curt Schilling's Accomplishments:
Curt Schilling’s career may be over. If it is, Schilling will have won 216 games, lost 146, and saved 22 over a 20-year career, but he didn’t work much until his third season. Not including his first two seasons, in 18 years, Schilling won at least 20 games three times, and won in double figures ten times. In four World Series (1993 with the Phillies, 2001 with the Diamondbacks, and 2004 and 2007 with the Red Sox), he was 4-1.
When Allie Reynolds pitched for the Yankees, he was clearly the ace of the staff in 1947 and 1952, and the second or third best pitcher behind Vic Raschi and Eddie Lopat in 1949, 1950, and 1951. Curt Schilling was the Phillies’ ace most of his years with the Phillies, but the Phillies pitchers behind Schilling were not close to Raschi or Lopat. When Curt was with the Diamondbacks, Randy Johnson was the ace, and when Schilling joined the Red Sox, there were Pedro Martinez and Josh Beckett.
There is no question that in his peak seasons, which interestingly occurred in the latter part of his career, Schilling was dominating, but he had many earlier seasons in which he was pedestrian. It doesn’t matter if Schilling is considered better than Allie Reynolds or if he were the ace when on the same staff as Johnson and then Pedro and Beckett. Neither Schilling nor Reynolds belongs in the Hall of Fame, which leads to Mike Mussina.
Schilling has won at least 20 games three times, Reynolds won 20 games in 1952, and Mike has yet to do so. Mussina has won in double figures 17 of his 18 Major League seasons. Over a 162 game schedule, Baseball-Reference estimates that he averages 17-9, compared to Reynolds’ 16-9 and Schilling’s 14-9, but games won is not one of the better statistical measurements of a pitcher’s effectiveness. Mussina is 260-149 with no saves. In the World Series, he is 1-1.
Allie Reynolds pitched two no-hitters in 1951. He led the American League in ERA once, in strikeouts twice, in shutouts twice, and in adjusted ERA once. He would have won the Cy Young Award in 1952, but it wasn’t created until 1956. Curt Schilling led his league in wins twice, in winning percentage once, and in strikeouts twice. Mussina led the league in wins once, in winning percentage once, and in shutouts once.
Mussina and Ted Lyons:
Mussina is tied in career wins with Hall of Famer Ted Lyons, who pitched for the Chicago White Sox from 1923-1946. Lyons won at least 20 games twice, but from 1931-1946, he won as many as 15 games only once, usually winning between 10 and 14 games. Mussina was Lyon’s equal, but it is wrong to conclude that since Lyons is in the Hall of Fame, Mussina should be in the Hall of Fame. Lyons does not belong.
Tommy John won 288 games in a 26-year career. He had three 20 win seasons, led the league in winning percentage once, in shutouts three times, and being the league’s oldest player twice. Bert Blyleven had 287 wins, but he won at least 20 games only once. He led the league in strikeouts once, and in shutouts three times. Finally, Jim Kaat won 283 games over a career that spanned about 25 seasons, although Kaat hung on too long. He led the league in wins once, and in shutouts once. All three were fine pitchers, but they dominated for a brief time.
Sandy Koufax Provides Perspective:
Sandy Koufax pitched for only 12 seasons. Because of the bonus rule in effect when he signed with Brooklyn, Koufax could not be sent to the Minors. The result was that he worked only about 100 innings in his first two seasons, but later, Koufax dominated. He won three Cy Young Awards when only one was given for both leagues, one MVP, led the league in ERA five consecutive seasons, in wins three times, in winning percentage twice, in strikeouts four times, in shutouts three times, and adjusted ERA twice.
A Fair Comparison:
Is it fair to compare Reynolds, Schilling, and Mussina to Koufax? You bet it is when one is discussing the Hall of Fame. Koufax dominated on the mound, which translated into fantastic statistics, and it must be remembered that Juan Marichal was in the league when Koufax had his dominating seasons. Neither Reynolds, Schilling, nor Mussina came close to Koufax’s domination, which is why they are not Hall of Famers.