Adam: He is worthy of first ballot induction in my opinion. He won 373 games with a career ERA of 2.56 (the end of his career did not help this number). He led the league in wins six times, first in WAR five times (six times if it is just WAR for pitchers), led the league in complete games six times, led the league in shutouts seven times, led the league in strikeouts seven times and a four time league leader in ERA+. He stacks up with the handful of pitchers deemed the greatest of all time.
Rich: I have Alexander ranked in my top-10 pitchers of all-time (he is eighth) so I understand his greatness. However, I needed to draw a line somewhere on the ballot (especially with over 80 pitchers listed on the ballot). I ended up voting for six pitchers in total on this ballot (Gibson, Koufax, Walter Johnson, Lefty Grove, and Christy Mathewson – all of whom I have ranked higher than Alexander, and Cy Young, whom I have ranked 11th all-time among pitchers, but he’s Cy freaking Young). Alexander (and a couple other pitchers) just missed my cut. If I voted for seven pitchers, Alexander would have gotten the nod.
Adam: He just flat out belongs in my book. 311 wins, 231 complete games, 61 shutouts, career ERA of 2.86 and 3640 strikeouts. Rookie of the year, 12 time all-star, top-3 in WAR five times and three Cy Young awards. Led the league in wins three times and strikeouts six times. Many of the Met teams he played on in his first 10 years were not very good (minus the one 100 win season). He succeeded despite all that.
Rich: I have Seaver ranked in my top-10 all-time starting pitchers (ahead of Cy Young who did get my vote), but like I stated with Grover Alexander, there are so many great pitchers that could have been inducted in the inaugural class, that someone had to miss the cut. I know I’ve used this excuse for almost every player I didn’t vote for, but it’s still a good excuse – Seaver just missed the cut.
Adam: Flashy? No but the man had a Cy Young award, 363 career wins, 382 complete games, top-5 in MVP voting four times, top-5 in WAR for pitchers 12 times led the league in wins eight times, top-3 in the league in innings pitched 14 times with a 3.09 ERA. If he didn’t hang on the last four years there would be no question. One of the best all-time in my book.
Rich: Spahn may have been one of the greatest lefties in baseball history, but his “low” ERA+ of 118 and a K/BB ratio under 2 to 1 is why I have him ranked out of my top-10 all-time for starting pitchers and why he just misses the cut here.
Up next: Catchers