HOF ’09: Tommy John

My favorite pitcher growing up was Tommy John. John pitched for my Chicago White Sox. My White Sox team at this time were on the verge of going to Milwaukee. In an effort to keep the Sox in Chicago, we traded him to the Dodgers in exchange for Dick Allen. Attendance was down to nothing, we needed a savior, and that savior was Dick Allen.

So my team was safe in Chicago, but what about my favorite pitcher, Tommy John? Despite the fact that John had a losing record three of his last four years with the White Sox, but then he showed he was a winner with LA. In his first three years with the Dodgers Tommy was 11-5, 16-7, & 13-3, before his arm fell off. He missed the second half of the 1974 season & missed the entire 1975 season, recovering from Tommy John Surgery. John wasn’t the first pitcher to have the procedure to replace a tendon in his throwing arm, but he was the first to have a successful career following the procedure.

It didn’t happen over night, he was 10-10 in 1976. But then he bounced back to have the greatest success of his career. He posted records of 20-7 in 1977 & 17-10 in 1978, before leaving LA for the Yankees. With New York at the age of 36, John pitched more innings than ever before 276′ & 265′ innings, completing 33 games over these two years, with a record of 21-9 & 22-9.

He pitched an incredible 26 years in the major leagues, posting a record of 288-231, working 4,710′ innings, with a lifetime ERA of 3.69. Somehow his longevity may also be working against him, a lot of people remember him as a soft tosser, but nothing could be further from the truth. Sure he got by with guile while battling into his forties, but in his hay day, Tommy John could buzz them by you.

Hall of Fame

 

Hall of Very Good

  Why is he even on the Ballot?

 

While we wait for January 12 ballot results, The Baseball Zealot will be profiling those players who are on the 2009 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.  Read the rest the of the profiles.

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