This month, USA Today is publishing small bios on some of the top Hall of Fame candidates. Because I work for the same company that owns USA Today, I have access to those bios. Although not many of them have significant connections to the Yankees, a few do, so I figured we’d take a look at them as they become available.
Why he should be inducted: The portly left-handed pitcher played for nine different teams over 21 seasons and reached the postseason 11 times. At 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, he was a durable starting pitcher with excellent control. Although he struck out only 5.8 batters per nine innings, he allowed just 1.9 walks per nine over his career. Wells was at his best at Yankee Stadium. He went 45-20 with a 3.70 ERA in home games in the Bronx, including a perfect game with the Yankees on May 17, 1998. He retired with 239 wins, 57th all-time, and posted a .604 winning percentage.
Wells has comparable regular season statistics to Curt Schilling, who is also on the ballot for the first time and undoubtedly will pick up more votes. Wells wasn’t the power pitcher Schilling was and didn’t have the same postseason success, although Wells was hardly a postseason slouch, going 10-5 with a 3.17 ERA and winning two World Series title. A look at their numbers:
Wins — Wells 239; Schilling 216
ERA — Wells 4.13; Schilling 3.46
WHIP — Wells 1.266; Schilling 1.137
Innings — Wells 3,439; Schilling 3,261
Strikeouts — Wells 2,201; Schilling 3,116
Why he shouldn’t be inducted: Wells never won a Cy Young award and was named to just three All-Star Games. He won 20 games just once and his ERA was simply too high for the Hall.
Numbers don’t lie: Wells is the only pitcher in major league history with at least 200 wins, a .600 winning percentage (.604) and an ERA of over 4.00.
Verdict: Even the outspoken Wells would likely agree he will not get in this year, and it’s a long shot that he’ll ever get in.
Content from USA Today; Associated Press photo