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The Periodic Table of Hall of Famers


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What's the sem-plausible case? Top 10 pitcher, I'd agree...but best ever?

4th in career WAR among pitchers.

Cy Young is #1, but played half his career before 1900, and all of his career in the deadball era. So there's the case that he played in a league that wasn't as good as the Japanese Leagues are today, and in a run environment that got easier as he got older. He never faced a single batter who ever hit 25 homers in a season, and only a tiny number of minorities who could pass as white.

Roger Clemens is #2, and some would discount his numbers because of certain enhancements.

Walter Johnson is #3, and he had many of the same issues Cy had, along with the fact that he played the first 13 years of his career in a very, very low-run environment. In '09 he had a 2.22 ERA, but a 109 ERA+. In his 30s, in the higher-run 1920s, he was 120-88 with a 3.33. In Seaver's 30s he was 142-94 with a 3.12.

Basically the argument goes that Seaver is the only guy in the top four in WAR whose numbers can be taken at face value given what we know today. I'd still take Clemens as #1, but Johnson, Seaver, and Lefty Grove all have good arguments for #2. Cy was great, but he just had perfect circumstances.

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