Cliff Lee has had a September to remember

12 Comments

Phillies starter Cliff Lee shut out the Braves through seven innings tonight, but an equally-dominating performance by Braves starter Kris Medlen and an eighth-inning solo home run by Chris Johnson left him the tough-luck loser. Lee struck out 13, walked none, and allowed just three hits over eight innings, but the Phillies’ offense just couldn’t figure Medlen out.

In 39 innings over five starts this September, Lee has compiled a 1.85 ERA with 54 strikeouts and one walk. It is the 48th time since 1901 a pitcher has struck out at least 54 batters in a month in five or fewer starts; the 12th time it has happened in September/October specifically. It is also the 62th time since 1901 that a pitcher has walked one or none in a month in at least five starts; the 17th in September/October specifically. Lee is the first to strike out 50-plus and walk one or fewer in a month.

Lee finishes the season 14-8 with a 2.87 ERA in 222.2 innings along with 222 strikeouts and 32 walks.

Mariano Rivera elected to Baseball Hall of Fame unanimously

Elsa/Getty Images
19 Comments

Former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera deservingly became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously, receiving votes from all 425 writers who submitted ballots. Previously, the closest players to unanimous induction were Ken Griffey, Jr. (99.32% in 2016), Tom Seaver (98.84% in 1992), Nolan Ryan (98.79% in 1999), Cal Ripken, Jr. (98.53%), Ty Cobb (98.23% in 1936), and George Brett (98.19% in 1999).

Because so many greats were not enshrined in Cooperstown unanimously, many voters in the past argued against other players getting inducted unanimously, withholding their votes for otherwise deserving players. That Griffey — both one of the greatest outfielders of all time and one of the most popular players of all time — wasn’t voted in unanimously in 2016, for example, seemed to signal that no player ever would. Now that Rivera has been, this tired argument about voting unanimity can be laid to rest.

Derek Jeter will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time next year. He may become the second player ever to be elected unanimously. David Ortiz appears on the 2022 ballot and could be No. 3. Now that Rivera has broken through, these are possibilities whereas before they might not have been.

Another tired argument around Hall of Fame voting concerns whether or not a player is a “first ballot” Hall of Famer. Some voters think getting enshrined in a player’s first year of eligibility is a greater honor than getting in any subsequent year. I’m not sure what it will take to get rid of this argument — other than the electorate getting younger and more open-minded — but at least we have made progress on at least one bad Hall of Fame take.