3 Red Sox players being screwed out of their rightful spot in the Hall of Fame

The Baseball Hall of Fame and their voting process is an inexact science at best. There are plenty of deserving players who have yet to be inducted, and some undeserving ones who have made it to Cooperstown. Let's take a look back on some great Red Sox performances of the past, and wonder why they aren't currently Hall of Famers.
Minnesota Twins V Boston Red Sox
Minnesota Twins V Boston Red Sox / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 3
Next

No. 3: Luis Tiant

Luis Tiant's career in terms of statistics was a blind spot for me before I set out on this piece. I knew he was a very good pitcher: he was a part of the 1975 rotation with Bill Lee, and he had a wind-up that seemed like he was going to corkscrew himself into the ground. However, once I looked at his actual stats a bit, the fact that he hasn't made his way to Cooperstown is shocking. Even Tony Oliva agrees.

Throughout his career, Tiant performed as one of the top pitchers in the MLB. I want to pinpoint in on his 1968 season, while he pitched for Cleveland. In 1968, Tiant went 21-9, led the American League with 9 shutouts, an ERA of 1.60, and a (retroactive) ERA+ of 186, while striking out 264 batters as well for a Cleveland team that won 86 games. Tiant was named an All-Star and finished 5th in MVP voting, a year that would usually result in more fanfare.

However, 1968 was the "Year of the Pitcher", and no one could overlook Denny McLain's 31 wins for Detroit when it came time to vote for the Cy Young and MVP awards (even though Tiant generated more WAR than McLain in 1968). The MLB was flush with amazing pitching talent in the 1960s and 1970s, so it was easy for Tiant to get lost among guys like Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Sandy Koufax, a young Nolan Ryan, Gaylord Perry, Fergie Jenkins, Tom Seaver, etc. (that list could be 20 names long, that's how deep the pitching talent was). However, Tiant was still able to put up some great stats and be able to establish himself as a top talent.

By the end of his career, Tiant had racked up 66.1 WAR, 229 wins, 2,416 strikeouts, and an ERA+ of 114, which places him as a really good pitcher throughout the entirety of his 19-year career. I think Tiant has the same issue as Evans, where he falls just short in some of those traditional counting stats for the older baseball writers to vote for him, and also just short in the advanced metrics for the new-age baseball writers to push for Tiant to make it into the Hall retroactively.

However, I think that marrying the two viewpoints should make people realize that Tiant was a Hall of Fame-caliber player. Hopefully he ends up as being picked by the Veterans' Committee, because El Tiante has earned it.

manual