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Diamondbacks on the 2021 Hall of Fame ballot

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This, at least, shouldn’t take long

New York Yankees v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Randy Johnson is the only player to enter the Hall of Fame wearing a Diamondbacks hat, and that’s a situation which is not likely to change any time in the near future. [Bonus point if you can name the other player voted into Cooperstown to have played for the Diamondbacks. Answer at the end] But in previous years, we have at least had a selection of players with Diamondbacks connections to talk about. Last year, for example, there were seven in total, though only one of those received more than a couple of votes, with the rest failing to qualify. This time round, however, there is just one new D-back on the ballot, along with the one carried forward from 2020. But let’s discuss... at least the new one.

Curt Schilling

Dead horse

Yeah, I’m not going to get into this. I will say he came closer last year than ever. getting mentioned on 70% of ballots, and needing only another twenty to qualify. Events since - which, I repeat, we are not going to get into - probably mean it won’t be this year. The Hall of Fame tracker currently has him at 74.8%, right on the cusp of the necessary 75%. But this does typically over-estimate numbers, due to its reliance on those who publicly declare ballots. Last year, for example, it had Schilling at 73.7%, 3.7% higher than he eventually received. If the same applies, he’ll fall short. Next year would be his last on the ballot; I think he’ll make it in, but let’s just say, forgetting his Twitter password wouldn’t hurt...

Dan Haren

The only new name is Haren, who had a solid 13-year career in the majors. Were he to make it, there would be an interesting discussion over which cap he would have on. Dan spent three seasons apiece with the D-backs, Angels and Athletics, and his numbers with each were impressively consistent:

  • Arizona: 37-26, 3.56 ERA, 87 starts
  • Oakland: 43-34, 3.64 ERA. 102 starts
  • Los Angeles: 33-27, 3.52 ERA, 78 starts

In terms of bWAR, we got the best of him, Haren being worth 13.1 wins, compared to 11.4 for the Athletics, and a surprisingly-low 6.5 with the Angels. However, we did pay rather more for his services than Oakland. Being in the National League (which used to let pitchers hit - kids, ask your parents!), we also got the best of Dan’s competence at the plate. There, he was considerably better than the average pitcher, being worth 2 bWAR as a hitter over his 229 plate-appearances. Over three years here, his line was .265/.285/.382 for a .667 OPS. That’s basically indistinguishable from Chris Owings, who had a .669 OPS with Arizona, in over 2,100 PA.

He was an All-Star with Arizona in both 2008 and 2009. The latter was likely his best season, making 33 starts with a 3.14 ERA and coming fifth in the Cy Young voting that year. [Which sounds a lot better than the equally-true statement, “He got one third-place mention.”] Both times, he led the league in strikeout to walk ratio; in 2009, Haren struck out 223 while walking only 38, a career-high ratio of 5.87. His WHIP of just a hair above one (1.003) was also the best in the NL. But overall, it’s hard to make a case for Haren being among the greatest of all time. That fifth-place was his highest Cy Young finish. and he only had two seasons worth five or more bWAR.

The tracker still hasn’t seen Haren mentioned on a ballot, and it seems almost inevitable that he’ll be one and done, and might well be part of the nil points contingent. Finally, taking a quick look at the 2022 ballot, Diamondback names which might potentially join Schilling are not much of a crop either. Javier Lopez and Michael Bourn are the only couple of players who seem to have much of a shot, on a quick glance at possible contenders. We’ll see if anyone is elected this year: right now, the tracker suggests we could be induction-less for the first time since 2013.

The player in the Hall of Fame, besides the Big Unit, to have pulled on a D-backs jersey, is... second-baseman Roberto Alomar, who appeared in 38 games for the 2004 team. He was inducted in 2011, with a Blue Jays cap on his plaque.