More from the fertile mind of Joe Posnanski:
So, here’s something fun: I broke down the pitchers in the Hall of Fame by the year they were born ...
My idea, though, was more to get a sense of what historically makes a Hall of Fame pitcher. That is to say: Where must a pitcher rank in his era to be a Hall of Famer
Sorry. Back to pitchers. I’m about to give the most amazing fact you will read today, maybe the most amazing fact you will read this week assuming that you stay shut in your house and turn off all communication methods. Are you ready for this? Because this thing absolutely blew me away. Are you ready? Here we go:
Pitchers in the Hall of Fame born 1900 or before: 31.
Pitchers in the Hall of Fame born after 1900: 31.
Think about that now. We are talking about 1900 here. There are exactly as many people in the Hall of Fame born in the 50 or so years leading up to 1900 as in the 110 years since. It’s crazy, right?
Of course, this is partially an optical (or auditory?) illusion. Nobody born in the last 50 years is in the Hall of Fame yet, for obvious reasons — their time has not come up yet. So it’s kind of a trick … after all it’s not quite as impressive to say:
Pitchers in the Hall of Fame born 1900 or before: 31
Pitchers in the Hall of Fame born between 1901-1960: 31.
Far more incredibly (as Joe points out), "there is only one starting pitcher in the Hall of Fame born between 1951 to 1960, and it took one hell of an effort to get Bert Blyleven voted in."
Because it's what he does, Joe goes on to discuss essentially all of the pitchers: the Hall of Famers and the notable non-Hall of Famers (and even the Hall of Meriters) born in each decade. And the truth is that other than Blyleven, there just weren't any starters born in the 1950s who screams out HALL OF FAME. A lot of voters do like Jack Morris, while some of the cognoscenti prefer Dave Stieb. But it just happened to be a relatively barren decade, and fooling around with the numbers just isn't going to change that.
The Hall of Fame is far from perfect. There are too many hitters from hitters' eras, too many pitchers from pitchers' eras, and vice versa (you know what I mean). But most of the damage was done by the Veterans Committee from the 1960s through the 1980s, and the Veterans Committees have lately been reined in.
Of course, thanks to steroids and sanctimony, the whole thing's about to achieve a completely new level of weirdness. Oh, well. At least Joe and I will have plenty to write about.