Adam Morris of Lonestarball just tweeted something that made my mind reel for a few seconds:
No starting pitcher who debuted in the majors after 1967 has been elected to the Hall of Fame.
Nolan Ryan’s first game was in 1966. Since then the only arguable exception is Dennis Eckersley, but he obviously wasn’t inducted on the strength of his starting pitching.
This speaks mostly to a period of good-but-not-great pitchers who came up after the Tom Seaver/Phil Niekro/Nolan Ryan/Don Sutton crowd. Guys like Jack Morris. Dave Stieb. Dennis Martinez. An untold number of guys who were drafted and began their development in the early 70s environment in which 275 innings was the expectation, not grounds for a union grievance. How many Hall of Fame arms were blown up during that time?
Whatever the cause, it will end soon. Bert Blyleven should be in by now and we shouldn’t even be talking about this, but he may very well make it next year. We’re a couple years away from Maddux, Glavine, Randy Johnson and the giant clusterf— that will be Roger Clemens’ eligibility period.
Between Ryan and those guys, though: no one, and that’s interesting if for no other reason than it made me think of why it was the case in the first place.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.