The Finalists: Quiz

OK, so you have probably heard — there are 12 finalists on what the Baseball Hall of Fame is calling the Expansion Era Ballot. These are players, managers and executives who contributed during what the Hall (naturally) calls the Expansion Era — from 1973 to the present. Only problem is, that’s not really the Expansion Era. There was no expansion in 1973. There was expansion in 1969, of course, and expansion in 1961 and 1962. There was even expansion in 1977.

What happened in 1973? Oh yeah: They should instead call it the “Designated Hitter Era.”

Anyway, there will be a 16-member panel that will vote on the players — 75% (12 out of 16) are needed for Hall of Fame induction. It’s a good panel with Hall of Famers (Rod Carew, Carlton Fisk, Whitey Herzog, Tommy Lasorda, Joe Morgan, Paul Molitor, Phil Niekro, Frank Robinson), a few executives (Blue Jays president Paul Beeston, former Orioles president Andy MacPhail, Phillies president and CEO David Montgomery, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf) and writers who have closely observed the game (Elias’ Steve Hirdt, San Francisco Chronicle’s Bruce Jenkins, BBWAA secretary/treasurer Jack O’Connell and longtime Fort Worth Star Telegram writer Jim Reeves).

Quickly, the 12 people on the ballot are:

Players (6): Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Dave Parker, Dan Quisenberry, Ted Simmons.

Managers (4): Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, Billy Martin, Joe Torre.

Executives (2): George Steinbrenner and Marvin Miller.

And so, because I’m crazy, I’m going to go through the 12 candidates one at a time (well, I’m going to do the managers all at once and maybe the executives too).

And I’ll start with the man whose appearance on this ballot makes me what to cry with happiness, an old friend, Dan Quisenberry.

Dan Quisenberry

Summary: Outstanding relief pitcher for the Kansas City Royals from from 1979 to 1988. Finished his career with short and mostly unfulfilling stints in St. Louis and San Francisco. … Famous for his submarine pitching delivery and his wit. Among his many famous quotes: “I have seen the future and it is much like the present, only longer.”

The quick case: Won Rolaids Fireman of the Year five times, tied with Mariano Rivera for the most ever. … He set the Major League record with 45 saves in 1983. That record was broken, but he set another record that year that still stands and will almost certainly NEVER be broken — 35 of those saves lasted more than one inning … Led the league in saves five times in six years and finished top three in the Cy Young voting four years in a row. … One of the great control pitchers in baseball history, he had just 92 unintentional walks in more than 1,000 innings.

The history: Quisenberry got just 18 votes his one year on the BBWAA ballot — 119 fewer than his contemporary Bruce Sutter, even though they were equals as pitchers. I think Quiz was hurt by his relatively low career save total (244), and the quirky way he went about doing his job.

Comparable Hall of Famer: Bruce Sutter

Right up front: I do claim to be unbiased or even-handed when it comes to Quiz. I was beginning to know him when he died — I met him at a poetry reading. We were friends. I am still friends with his wife Janey and their now grown-up children, Alysia and David. I believe Dan Quisenberry was a wonderful man and a fantastic pitcher and it would be one of the great days of my life if he was elected into the Hall of Fame. He has his case. I have written many times: Quiz was every bit the pitcher that Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter was, even if they did it in very different ways.

Let me talk about something else. Start with a fun little thought experiment: Think for a moment about the sport that you love the most and have played the best. It really doesn’t matter what sport it is. For the example, I’ll choose tennis. I was never a good tennis player. But I probably was better at tennis than anything else when I was in high school.

OK, now, here’s the fun part: You get to infuse yourself with as much athletic ability and talent as you want. You keep your own personality, but you get to be the ideal version of yourself in that sport. Who are you? In my case, I’m Roger Federer. Hey, why not? I try to play Federer’s game 75 bajillion levels below Federer himself. Of course I am not comparing myself. I’m saying that my tennis game at the nth power is not Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic or Pete Sampras or Andre Agassi or John McEnroe. It’s Roger Federer. That’s the unattainable height above my game.

It’ a fun game to play. If you see yourself as a wide receiver, you might see your ideal self as a tall, fast, unstoppable blur like Andre Johnson or you might see yourself as the relentless Jerry Rice or you might see yourself as the ultra quick, in-and-out Wes Welker. If basketball is your sport than at its highest level you might be Lebron James or Michael Jordan or Larry Bird or Tim Duncan.

And if your sport is baseball and you think of yourself as a pitcher, your ideal self might be a big left-handed fireballer like Koufax or Unit or Kershaw, maybe a right-handed flame thrower like Verlander or Seaver or Pedro, maybe a pitching savant like Maddux or Lee. If you see yourself as a closer, you are probably Mariano Rivera. You might be Trevor Rosenthal too. Who wouldn’t want to throw a 100-mph haze past a hitter, just to know what it’s like?

But the truth is that, every now and again, an athletes comes along who is great, truly great, and in a way that no one had ever envisioned before. The player does not so much reach that height as he/she pulls down the bar to their own abilities. If every great quarterback was 6-foot-4,with a bazooka arm, what fun would it be? So there’s Drew Brees. If every dominant basketball player was a 250-pound giant, with the power of a linebacker and the speed of Usain Bolt, what fun would it be? So there’s Chris Paul. There’s Steph Curry. There’s Muggsy Bogues.

Nobody grows up hoping to be Dan Quisenberry — even Dan Quisenberry didn’t grow up hoping for that. He was a semi-conventional pitcher when he played for the University of La Verne. He was not drafted, of course. He was not viewed as a prospect of any kind even though he pitched well in the minor leagues. How could they view him as a prospect when he offered no tools whatsoever? Think of the conversation.

GM: Tell me about Quisenberry. How’s his fastball?
Scout: Nonexistent. Probably throws 80 mph.
GM: That’s top speed?
Scout: I haven’t seen a faster one. It has some sinking action to it.
GM: OK, how about the curve?
Scout: Yeah, not really.
GM: What do you mean, ‘Not really?’ He doesn’t have a curve?
Scout: He throws one. But, you know, it doesn’t really curve. The less he throws it the better.
GM: Slider?
Scout: Nope.
GM: Change-up?
Scout: Not really, no. They’re all change-ups.
GM: Knuckler? Screwball? Spitter?
Scout: No. No. No.
GM: So what does he throw?
Scout: Well, like I said, that fastball has some sinking action to it.
GM: You’re telling me the guy throw an 80-mph sinker? That’s all he throws?
Scout: Well, sometimes he’ll throw it 75.

So, as a 22-year-old, he pitched in Class A and AA with that repertoire of nothing, and he posted a 2.42 ERA in 52 innings, walking 10 the whole year. The Royals didn’t buy it and sent him back to Class A and AA, and the next year he posted a 1.00 ERA in 54 innings with a .907 WHIP. They didn’t buy it again and sent him back to Class AA, where he has a 1.34 ERA in 74 innings and, again, WHIP less than 1.

Obviously at this point, they didn’t buy it again and sent him back to Class AA for another full season (2.39 ERA, 12 walks and one homer allowed in 64 innings) at which point they must have gotten sick of him in Jacksonville because the Royals FINALLY promoted him to Class AAA. Before the end of that year — Quiz was 26 — the Royals called him to the big leagues. He did not allow a run or walk a batter in his first six appearances. The Royals stuck with him, though Jim Frey famously went to see him pitch in the bullpen, asked him to throw a curve, and then walked away in disgust.

And that was when Quiz got a pitching lesson from Pittsburgh’s submariner Kent Tekulve. Quiz was more of a sidearmer before that — he took on Tekulve’s full submarine style. Tekulve was a sensational pitcher in his own right but he was a bit different from Quiz. He too relied on the sink that came from his submarine style — he forced a lot of double plays and was extremely difficult to hit home runs against. But Tekulve was not as soft-tosser like Quiz. He had a little pop in his pitches. He would get his share of strikeouts, especially in the early years. He would challenge hitters. He would walk quite a few too.

Quiz was different. He learned Tekulve’s motion but brought his own supernatural control and unique ability to avoid mistakes. I do not want to compare the careers of Quiz and Sutter, but it is instructive to see how two men who were so unlike each other could be almost exactly as effective as each other. Remember, they pitched almost exactly the same number of innings:

Sutter stuck out almost 500 more batters than Quisenberry. Hitters batters 37 points worse against Sutter (.267 for Quiz; .230 for Sutter). Sutter threw much harder, he had a nastier out pitch, it’s easy to understand his advantages.

And Quiz? Well, you just have to total up a bunch of little things. They both had good control, but Quiz’s control was historic — he walked 147 fewer batters. Sutter, because of that nasty split-fingered fastball, threw 37 wild pitches. Quiz threw four. Yeah, four. Quiz induced 45 more double-play grounders. He allowed 18 fewer homers. Small things: He hit about half as many batters and committed half as many balks.

When you total it all up — Quiz had the slightly better ERA and slightly higher Baseball Reference WAR. He was just relentlessly useful. He was persistently productive. He never gave anything away.

Everyone has his or her own opinion about what the Baseball Hall of Fame means. I suspect a lot of people here don’t think Dan Quisenberry OR Bruce Sutter belongs in it. That’s not unreasonable. But I’m not actually focused on that point here. I’m thrilled Dan Quisenberry is on this ballot because he never did have his Hall of Fame case properly heard. Quiz was great in a way that nobody imagined a pitcher could be great. He probably did more with his own abilities than any pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball. Maybe there should be a place for that in the Hall of Fame.

Anyway this was the point of the thought of experiment. The first time I met Quiz, we talked a little bit about both being dreamers. And I think that’s true. We both dreamed a bit about what we might have been with unlimited talent. The big difference is this: Quiz also became one of baseball’s great pitchers with his own talent.

43 thoughts on “The Finalists: Quiz

    1. Ian R.

      Arky Vaughan? Larry Doby? Joe Gordon? Most of the Veterans picks have been questionable at best, but there are a few great players whom the BBWAA overlooked.

      Conversely, BBWAA picks like Rabbit Maranville are right down there with the worst the Veterans have selected.

      Reply
      1. invitro

        Are you claiming that BBWAA picks are worse than VC picks? (I think it’s obvious that VC picks, as a group, are much, much worse than BBWAA picks. It is fine for VC to have a few good picks, and BBWAA a few bad ones, and that sentence to still be true.)

        Reply
        1. Ian R.

          Oh, of course not. I even mentioned in my original comment that most of the VC picks are questionable at best.

          The BBWAA picks, overall, are much better than the Veterans picks. It’s worth noting that that’s largely because the BBWAA has thefirst crack at all the greatest players – they never had a chance to vote on Ruth or Mays or Aaron.

          Anyway, my point is that I wouldn’t get rid of the VC because, flawed though it may be, it has honored some clearly deserving players who were overlooked by the writers. I’d rather have a Hall with High Pockets Kelly and Chick Hafey and other weak Veterans choices than one that leaves out Vaughan, Doby and Gordon.

          Reply
    2. SocraticGadfly

      Scott, I’ve already got a post up about the managers, at my blog. Should managers who likely knew about roiding players get same HOF treatment as the players? I say yes, and that TLR for sure, and really, Torre as well, should be kept out for now until what they knew gets as much critical examination as some of the players they managed: http://t.co/cHPxaJQvOj

      Reply
    1. tombando

      As long as you find room for Mssrs Lee Smith, Hoffman, Mike Marshall and Rearden, sure thing. Otherwise this is just like asking Tim McCarver which team he wanted to win the WS….

      Reply
  1. Richie Calabrese

    Torre, Cox, LaRussa, Steinbrenne and Miller are NO BRAINERS in my mind, all of them should easily get in the HOF.

    Martin was one of the best at turning teams around and getting the most outta players. but usually ran outta steam quick but in my mind he should get in. He was Bill Parcells like, won wereverever he went. He might of been a drunk and burnt out his teams almost as fast as he built them

    Simmons I always thought got a raw deal. He played in the golden age of catchers like Bench, Carter, Fisk and Munson and was as good/better hitter then all of them. But wasnt on the big red machine, or have a fisk ’75 world series hr, carters ’86 mets moment… to me simmons belongs in the HOF and so those Thurman for that matter.

    I’d vote for Quiz too.. his peak was only 7-9 years and then fell of the map but it was dominant.

    Parker, Garvey, Conception, and Tommy John are all in the hall of very good but fall short of the HOF.

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  2. Richie Calabrese

    OOPS THAT SHOULD HAVE SAID…
    Martin was one of the best at turning teams around and getting the most outta players. but usually ran outta steam quick but in my mind he should get in. He was Bill Parcells like, won wherever they went, by adapting the talent or lack of talant into winers. Out coaching and out stratergizing oposing coaches turning around losing franchise really fast. and like parcells usually wore out his welcome almost s fast… Just like parcells shoulda been a career NYG, Martin should of been a long time yanks manager instead of on again off again…

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  3. BobDD

    Of the players I think Simmons has a good case and that Quiz and Tommy John could be looked at in greater detail – they probably come down to whether the voter is for a large hall or not.

    I predict 3 managers; not Martin (agree with previous poster on his strong point, but his weak point cancels out much of that). I bet Marvin Miller and the Boss get all the players votes.

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  4. Wilbur

    My sure votes would be for Simmons, Quisenberry, Cox and LaRussa.
    Tommy John, Torre and Parker would get a long look and a possible vote.

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  5. John Leavy

    The player nominees are a less-than-inspiring bunch. There aren’t any no-brainers among the players. I wouldn’t vote for any of them, though I LIKED sevral of them, especially QUiz, and wouldn’t be sorry to see him elected.

    I’d say all four of the managers are worthy- three get in solely as managers, while Torre gets in as both an MVP caliber player and a solid manager.

    I can’t think of a single good thing to say about Marvin Miller, an utterly despicable human being… but he was unquestionably one of the most important figures in baseball history, so I’d have no choice but to hold my nose and vote for the skunk.

    That leaves Steinbrenner. Now, I’m a lifelong Yankee fan who generally liked Steinbrenner, So, would I vote for him? No, but that has nothing to do with his (many) personal flaws or his (many) undeniable sins. I happen to think VERY few owners in ANY sport belong in ANY Hall of Fame, unless…

    1) They were founders or co-founders of their leagues (like George Halas)
    2) They acted as their own GMs or managers and built dynasties (like Connie Mack)
    3) They made huge contributions to the expansion or betterment of the game.

    Even though I liked Steinbrenner, I don’t see that he’s any worthier of the Hall of Fame than contemporaries like Ewing Kaufmann or John Galbreath.

    That said, there are ALREADY owners in the Hall of Fame who are far less deserving than Steinbrenner. If Tom Yawkey is in (for what? What did he ever win? What did he ever accomplish?), hoiw can anyone gripe if Steinbrenner gets in, too?

    Reply
    1. invitro

      “I can’t think of a single good thing to say about Marvin Miller, an utterly despicable human being…”

      What? Why do you say this? My impression of him is that he was a great man in every way. And I’ve read part of Lords of the Realm. Maybe I’ve forgotten something. Well, I just read his wikipedia article, and see nothing untoward. Please share, as I consider Miller to be one of my very dearest personal heroes.

      Reply
    2. Tim

      Agreed with invitro – I don’t know what you think makes Marvin Miller utterly despicable.

      Even if you hate high salaries and free agency (in which case, stop watching sports and solve your contribution to the problem), you’ve got very little gripe against Marvin Miller. For one, he agreed with you that it was outlandish how much players were making by the end of his life. Second, if you’re someone who believes that unions disrupt the free market or some such nonsense, keep in mind that the market wasn’t free pre-Marvin Miller. You had players taking pay cuts just because they had no options — I’m pretty sure this is discussed in The Machine, but it’s been a long time since I read it — http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=860&dat=19750118&id=xlhUAAAAIBAJ&sjid=1o4DAAAAIBAJ&pg=2315,965541

      No market should work that way — Walmart can’t tell their employees “hey, you’re getting 20% taken off your wages, and if you don’t like it, too bad, you’re not allowed to go work in a comparable field of work — you’ll have to become an attorney.”

      Reply
      1. KHAZAD

        In small towns with few options, Walmart actually DOES do that.

        I haven’t been inside a walmart since the 90′s, as a personal protest against this and many other common practices. I am sure they don’t miss my family’s money, but I am still voting with my wallet.

        Reply
  6. Jack

    I would be interested to see a post about the notable names not included on this list, and any possible rationale for why Concepcion is more worthy of consideration than the likes of Lou Whittaker and Dwight Evans.

    Reply
    1. el Aguila

      Lou Whitaker is still not eligible; players must have been active no later than 1992 to be eligible for this round of voting, and Whitaker played until 1995. He’ll be eligible the next time it rolls around in 2017.

      Reply
  7. Anon

    I never knew about Quiz’s numbers in the minors. Kind of makes you wonder what if with the 76-78 Royals. They lost the LCS 3 years in a row to the Yankees:
    - 1976: a game 5 walkoff Chambliss HR, plus 2 big runs in the top of the 9th in game 1 in a 4-1 loss. Andy Hassler ( a starter), pitched in relief in the series coming into Game 5 on 1 day rest and giving up 2 runs in the Chambliss walkoff game.
    - 1977: a 1 run 8th and a 3 run top of the 9th by the Yankees in Game 5 to lose 5-3 plus a big top of the 9th run in game 4 in a 6-4 game. Dennis Leonard (1 day rest after a CG) & Larry Gura (0 days rest) both pitched in the 9th in that Game 5 loss, retiring nobody and giving up those 3 runs that lost the series.
    - 1978: a 4 game series with the bullpen coughing up the lead in the bottom of the 8th in game 3

    The relief ERA for the Royals by year in the LCS:
    1976 – 2.52
    1977 – 3.65
    1978 – 7.56

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  8. Richard Aronson

    ” what to cry” should be want to cry.

    I am generally opposed to Veteran’s Committees. The worst of the Hall of Fame, the ones who belittle the HoF and lead to marginal HoFers at best getting inducted because of comparisons with Veterans Committee selections, start with cronyism and Veterans Comittee.

    That said, I am not very bothered by this particular lineup. Lasorda, for example, would often bat Mike Scioscia second. Clogged the bases, yes. But that’s better than clogging the dugout.

    I would not be offended if any of those managers was selected. Martin’s career looks worse than it was because divisional play had just started, and most of his admittedly less talented teams lost in the playoffs. He’s the weakest of the four. The other three could manage my team, no complaints.

    I would not be bothered by either executive. I think their influence on baseball has been historic. Miller unshackled the chains that forced ballplayers to be arbitrarily owned by whatever team chose them. I’m all for competitive balance, and players were mostly well paid, but still: what if you had allergy problems (like Burt Hooton) but were mostly forced to play wherever. Steinbrenner embraced the spirit of free agency more than any other owner, and showed that it was possible to spend more and make money. Maybe you had to be in New York to do so, but the Dodgers (generally not big free agent buyers in the O’Malley years) generally outdrew the Yankees.

    Joe spoke lovingly of Quiz. I’ll say that sometimes it takes a Bill James to come along to finally realize just how good a player was. It’s a shame for Quiz that it didn’t happen when he was still HoF eligible. Every year that goes by makes him look better and better. Heck, his career was shortened because Moneyball had not yet come along; do any of us doubt that he wouldn’t have been an effective pitcher if he’d come up as many as five years earlier? He had ONE minor league stop with an ERA above 2.45; one. That was his last one, a half season in Omaha, and they decided they had to try the junkballer who just got people out and he came to Kansas City and lowered his ERA over AAA. Of his first nine seasons, his worst ERA+ was 130, and that year he finished fifth in the CYA and eighth in the MVP balloting. That was his WORST year. He fell apart pretty quickly after that. Compare Quiz to Mo, the greatest of them all, and two things leap out: Mo had a lot more strikeouts. Quiz pitched a lot more innings. In Quiz’s five best seasons (by CYA votes) he had at least 128 IP. Rivera topped out at 80.

    In today’s baseball, the Red Sox or the A’s or somebody would have given Quiz a try a few years earlier, and his career would have been longer. But then, let’s be fair: Quiz didn’t last all that long. Rivera came up just one year younger and became the best closer of all time. Quiz burned out. Would modern medicine have mattered? And just because you’re not as good as the best ever doesn’t mean you aren’t darned good. So no, I won’t be bothered at all if Quiz goes into the HOF from this committee.

    Finally, one of the other players is not like the others. One of them, in my mind, is clearly a Hall of Famer. Jack Morris has a career bRef WAR of 43.8. He may make the HoF in this, his last year of eligibility. He is considered to be the best pitcher not touched by steroids who is eligible but not elected. Tommy John has a career WAR of 62.3. His career WAR before Tommy John surgery was 31, almost as good as Morris’s total career, and after the surgery was 31.3. Morris has 254 career wins. John has 288, and that’s with a year missed and pitching mostly for lousy teams before his surgery, Morris has 92 playoff innings pitched with an ERA of 3.80. John has 88 playoff innings pitched with an ERA of 2.65. Of course, Morris first pitched in the postseason at age 29; John didn’t get his first shot until he was 34, and still pitched far more effectively. And Jack Morris surgery has extended how many careers? Tommy John surgery has won more Cy Young Awards than any pitcher, and he was the pioneer of medical history that has so helped this game.

    Historically, John finished 48th in WAR for pitchers (better, actually, when he stopped; he’s dropped a few places since then), 26th in Wins and Shutouts, 21st in assists, 20th in IP, 8th in games started. He pitched and fielded effectively for a very long time, and as even more effective in the postseason. Morris? He’s 32nd in strikeouts, behind John in everything else. To me, the one go-to stat for pitchers is ERA+. Park adjusted, era adjusted, it just shows how good you were. John: 111. Morris: 105. John pitched better, longer, for worse teams, won more games, was better in the post-season, a medical pioneer. Would John be the worst pitcher in the HoF? No, but he’d be one of the worst. Morris, however….

    I like all the other players, but consider them all too flawed for my HoF. An argument can be made that none of them would be the worst HoFer, because of past Veterans Committees. But I think John and Quisenberry really did fall through the cracks. If my daughter’s life were on the line, I’d be comfortable handing the ball to John with Quiz ready to come in for the long save. I wouldn’t be comfortable handing the ball to career postseason ERA of 3.80, even if he did have one great game. I’d rather hand it to Koufax than Don Larsen, even though Larsen is the won with the World Series perfect game. One game should not a HoF make.

    So: two execs, three managers, two players. Seven of these twelve reach my HoF standard.

    Reply
  9. wordyduke

    I would not want a Hall of Fame that was based solely on some computer’s evaluation of numbers, and would therefore start with Bonds and Palmiero and quickly dismiss Quiz. (Which is not to say that I might not favor one or both of them, after considering everything.)

    But if a good case can be made statistically, then my questions are, “What did he do with his raw talent? (Did he waste too much of it? Did he prostitute it?) What kind of man was he?”

    One vote for Quisenberry here.

    Reply
    1. el Aguila

      As they were over the age of 65 when they retired, they were eligible for the next round of post-1973 voting, which is this one.
      So they kind of “have” to be on the ballot.

      Reply
  10. Mark Daniel

    Well, Whitaker played until 1995, so he hasn’t been retired 21 years yet. But Dwight Evans has, and so has Keith Hernandez. I’m not sure why they hand picked a short list. It seems arbitrary.

    Reply
      1. Jack

        Thanks, I did not see the 21 years retired requirement in the initial listing. That does seem fairly arbitrary in itself – 15 years would be more sensible to me, given the normal BBWAA process, especially for a guy like Whitaker who fell off the ballot in his first year. Grich (mentioned above) is another good call. Tiant seems at least as worthy as some of these guys, too, although he did rack up around 1/3 of his rWAR prior to 1972.

        Reply
        1. Ian R.

          Remember, there’s a 5-year waiting period before the 15-year BBWAA voting process. The 21 year wait ensures both have passed.

          Torre et al. don’t have to wait because they’re over 65.

          Reply
    1. invitro

      Thanks for posting. I didn’t know about the retired-21-years rule.

      I would pick Marvin Miller only. He is an easy, clear, obvious slam-dunk choice. I am stingy on managers being in the HoF until some method is developed to objectively evaluate them. As others have pointed out, the players are not the best available ones of their era.

      I predict Cox, Torre, and maybe La Russa make it.

      (I am getting excited for the BBWAA ballot!)

      Reply
  11. KHAZAD

    I don’t think Quiz quite gets his due because of his short prime, (1980-85) but what a prime it was! One thing that often goes unnoticed was that he pitched at least 128.1 innings in every full season (1981 was a severely strike shortened season) during that stretch.

    It is also difficult to compare him using batting average, as you somewhat noted above. An example of this is that during that 6 years, he gave up only 57 unintentional walks (about 1 out of every 50 batters he faced) and hit only 3 batters, adding only 60 baserunners to his total. But he ERASED 115 baserunners (via GIDP, CS, and Pickoffs not counted as caught stealing) during that time, which is like taking away a net of 55 baserunners who got a hit.

    In Sutter’s prime, (which was a couple of years longer- 8 years) he allowed 177 extra baserunners by unintentional walk or HBP, but erased only 96, basically adding 81 more baserunners to his hits.

    Even though it took the Royals until he was 27 to actually break camp with him, I wonder if a pitcher like him could ever make it today. There is too much reliance on the radar gun, and I often wonder if there are some quality pitchers who never even get a second look because scouts look at the miles per hour on their fastball and just pass.

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  12. Frank

    I just want to point out that in fact I did grow up hoping to be Quisenberry. Not Quiz; Quisenberry. I wish this column would have come out last week, I would have rocked a mustache for Halloween and gone around tossing candy at children with a sweet submarine style.

    And although I am in the major minority on this blog, it should be noted that the HOF is a stupid waste of time argued about by dorks who hang out in their mom’s basement.

    Reply
    1. KHAZAD

      I had a sweet submarine sinker in those days, and one that rose as well. I was a conventional pitcher in games, but I always worked on those on the side, and sometimes pulled them out with a 2 strike count in a big moment in the game. Seeing me suddenly turned into Quisenberry with no warning was sometimes enough to freeze the batter by itself, and if not, they usually swung and missed anyway. It was my secret weapon.

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  13. Gene

    I would rather see any of the players or managers in ahead of Steinbrenner or Miller. Who ever played in the backyard and pretended to be Marvin Miller. I remember looking at each of the mentioned players baseball cards and thinking, ” This guy must be good”. Who wouldn’t rather see a flawed, but at times, awesome player like Dave Parker in the HOF rather than some lawyer?

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  14. TWolf

    As a Royals fan, I would like to see Quisenberry elected to the Hall of Fame. However, to be objective, I don’t believe that he merits it because his period of peak performance (1980-1985) was relatively short and his postseason performance was subpar. The following is a short summary of his post season performances.

    He pitched well in the 1980 ALCS (one win and one save) although he was very lucky that
    Rick Cerone’s bases loaded line drive went directly to shortstop U. L. Washington and Reggie Jackson was doubled off second. If the ball had gone through, we might not remember George Brett’s three run homer off Goose Gossage.

    In the 1980 World Series he appeared in each of the six games in which the Royals lost to the Phillies 4-2. Quisenberry won game three and saved game four However, he lost game two in attempting to protect a two run lead and lost game five in attempting to protect a one run lead.

    In the 1984 ALCS in which the Royals were swept by the Tigers, he lost game two in extra innings.

    In the 1985 ALCS against the Blue Jays, he saved game six and protected a lead in game seven. However, he lost and blew a lead in game two and blew a save in game 4.

    In the 1985 World Series win over the Cardinals, he was the winning pitcher in the Royals’ come-from-behind victory in game six (the Denkinger game). However, in game one, he gave up a late run to the Cardinals which extended a 2-1 lead to 3-1. Dick Howser lost so much confidence in him that in game two (a 4-2 ninth inning loss) he did not bring him in to relieve Charlie Liebrandt until it was too late and Liebrandt had surrendered a 2-0 lead. The Royals
    were fortunate in the 1985 World Series win that they got three complete game victories from Bret Saberhagen and Danny Jackson.

    For relief pitchers who pitched extensively in the post season, Quisenberry’s post season pitching was clearly not as good as hall-of-famers Rollie Fingers, Rich Gossage, Dennis Eckersley, or future hall-of-famer Mariano Rivera.

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