Hall of Fame announcement to be made today at 1:00 E.T./ 12:00 C.D.T.
7 Former Cubs on the Hall of Fame Ballot
The results of the Hall of Fame balloting will be announced today and there are 7 former Chicago Cubs on the Ballot: Lee Smith, Andre Dawson, Bruce Sutter, Rich ‘Goose’ Gossage, Rick Aguilera, Gary Gaetti and Doug Jones. In order to be elected a player must obtain 75% of ballots cast from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). A player may remain on the ballot for a maximum of 15 years and must obtain votes on at least 5% of ballots to remain on the ballot.
Could four of the seven former Cubs actually join Ryne Sandberg in the Hall of Fame? Let’s take at look at their numbers and what some experts had to say.
Lee Smith – One of the big questions that have been brought up lately is how many of the relievers belong in the Hall of Fame? I believe Lee Smith does. Smith is responsible for 549 wins in his Major League career (71 wins and 478 saves). Smith is the Major League All Time Leader in saves with 478. When Lee Smith was a closer a save was much tougher to achieve. In today’s game a closer only throws 1 inning, in Smith’s day it was not uncommon to have a 2-3 inning save. Lee Smith pitched in the big leagues from 1980 to 1997. He pitched for the Cubs from 1980 to 1987, the Boston Red Sox from 1988 to 1990, the St. Louis Cardinals from 1990 to 1993, the New York Yankees in 1993, the Baltimore Orioles in 1994, the California Angles from 1995 to 1996, the Cincinnati Red in 1996 and the Montreal Expos in 1997. During his 8 seasons with the Cubs, Smith had a 40-51 record, a 2.96 ERA and 180 saves in 458 games. Smith’s career numbers are 71-92, a 3.03 ERA and 478 saves in 1022 games.
Rich ‘Goose’ Gossage – I do not know why Gossage is not already in the Hall of Fame. Talking about dominance. I remember watching him with the Yankees and when he came in the game, you knew it was over. Gossage dominated the closer’s role, in my opinion, from 1978 to 1987. Gossage did pitch for the Cubs in 1988 and I remember being so excited to see him in a Cubs’ uniform, but by the time he arrived in Chicago he had become only a shell of his former self and in 46 games with the Cubs, Gossage had a 4-4 record, a 4.33 ERA and only 13 saves. Gossage pitched in the Majors from 1972 to 1994. He pitched for the White Sox from 1972 to 1976 and started 29 games for the White Sox in 1976 and threw 15 complete games. From Chicago, Gossage went to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1977, the New York Yankees from 1978 to 1983 where he enjoyed most of his success. Gossage had a career record with the Yankees of 41-28, a 2.03 ERA and 150 saves. In 1978, he was 13-5, with a 2.27 ERA and 22 saves in 57 games. He was responsible for 35 wins….amazing! After New York, Gossage went to the San Diego Padres from 1984 to 1987, the Cubs in 1988, back to the Yankees in 1989, the San Francisco Giants in 1989, the Texas Rangers in 1991, the Oakland A’s from 1992 to 1993 and finished with the Seattle Mariners in 1994.
Rich ‘Goose’ Gossage’s Career Stats – Article from MLB.com
Bruce Sutter – I did not really start following the Cubs until 1981, so most of my memories of Bruce Sutter is with the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs traded Sutter to the Cardinals on December 9, 1980 for Ken Reitz, Leon Durham and a player to be named later. When the Cubs traded Sutter, Lee Smith took over. Sutter won the 1979 National League Cy Young Award while a member of the Cubs. Like Gossage, I remember Sutter being dominant at his position and I do not understand why he is not in the Hall of Fame. Sutter pitched in the Majors from 1976-1986 and 1988. Sutter is known for inventing the split fingered fastball. Sutter pitched for the Cubs from 1976 to 1980, the St. Louis Cardinals from 1981 to 1984 and the Atlanta Braves from 1985 to 1986 and 1988. In Sutter’s 5 seasons with the Cubs, he was 32-30 with a 2.42 ERA and 133 saves. He finished his career with a 68-71 record, a 2.83 ERA and 300 saves in 661 games.
Rob Dibble’s article on why Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter and Rich Gossage should be in the Hall of Fame. I agree with Dibble, the closer position has changed over the years; all 3 of these pitchers should join Dennis Eckersley (2004) and Rollie Fingers (1992) in the Hall of Fame.
Rick Aguilera – Aguilera pitched in the Major Leagues from 1985 to 2000. He pitched for the New York Mets from 1985 to 1989, the Minnesota Twins from 1989 to 1994 and again from 1995 to 1999, the Boston Red Sox in 1995, the Cubs from 1999 to 2000. While a member of the Cubs his numbers were: 1999 – 6-3 / 3.69 / 44 games / 8 saves 2000 – 1-2 / 4.91 / 54 games / 29 saves. In Aguilera’s career he was 86-81, with a 3.57 ERA with 318 saves in 732 games (89 starts).
Doug Jones – Jones pitched in the Majors from 1982, 1986 to 2000. He pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1982 and again from 1997 to 1998, the Cleveland Indians from 1986 to 1991 and 1998, the Houston Astros from 1992 to 1993, the Philadelphia Phillies in 1994, the Baltimore Orioles in 1995, the Cubs in 1996, and the Oakland A’s from 1999 to 2000. With the Cubs in 1996, Jones was 2-2, a 5.01 ERA with 2 saves in 28 games. His career numbers were 69-79, a 3.30 ERA and 303 saves.
Gary Gaetti – Gaetti provided a big spark to the 1998 Chicago Cubs and helped them win the Wild Card that season. Because of that, Gaetti will always have a special place in Cubs’ History. Gaetti played in the Majors from 1981 to 2000 with a majority of his success being while he was a member of the Minnesota Twins from 1981 to 1990. Gaetti played for the California Angels from 1992 to 1993, the Kansas City Royals from 1993 to 1995, the St. Louis Cardinals from 1996 to 1998, the Cubs from 1998 to 1999 and the Boston Red Sox in 2000. Gaetti played 150 games for the Cubs and had a .262 avg., with 17 home runs and 73 RBI’s. Gaetti even pitched 1 inning for the Cubs in 1999. For his career Gaetti finished with a .255 avg., 360 home runs and 1341 RBI’s.
Gary Gaetti’s Career Stats
Link to the Hall of Fame section on MLB.com
To me Andre Dawson, Lee Smith, Rich Gossage and Bruce Sutter should be in the Hall of Fame. The numbers are there, they were dominant at their position during their era and they helped make the game what it is today. I would imagine, or hope, that Andre Dawson and Lee Smith would go in the Hall of Fame as Chicago Cubs and it would be great to see them on that podium.
As soon as the announcement is made, the CCO will post who got the call from the Hall.