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January 17, 2014

Raising Aces

Classic Deliveries: Hall of Fame Inductees 1980-89

by Doug Thorburn


Five pitchers were elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA during the 1980s, a number that feels light when one considers the half-dozen arms that were elected in the first five years of the '90s. But the five-pack fairly represents the average induction rate for the four-decade period from 1970-2009. For all the talk about how the modern era is underrepresented in the Hall, it is worth noting that the BBWAA elected just 0.32 pitchers per year from 1936-69 (11 total arms) but has enshrined 0.58 pitchers per year since 1970 (26 total, including the 2014 inductions of Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine).

The Hall of Fame class of the '80s included some of the great names from an earlier era of baseball, such as Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale, as well as Hoyt Wilhelm, who was the first pitcher to gain election primarily for his work as a reliever. The decade also saw an infusion of eccentricity, personified by the gravity-defying delivery of Juan Marichal and the game's first free agent, Catfish Hunter. Let's dive into the mechanics of the pitchers who were elected by the BBWAA to enter the hallowed halls of Cooperstown from 1980-89.

First, some rules regarding the Mechanics Report Cards in this exercise:

1) There will be no grades offered for repetition. Repetition is extremely volatile and dynamic over time, and to place a repetition grade on a pitcher's entire career would be nearly impossible.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: I... (01/17)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Raising Aces: Classic ... (01/10)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Raising Aces: Classic ... (01/24)
Next Article >>
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