If Sandy Koufax is a Hall of Famer, Johan Santana Is Too

Ultimately just about every argument in favor of Sandy Koufax’s enshrinement in the Hall of Fame applies in almost equal force to Johan Santana. Both men were the best at their craft, leading their respective leagues in ERA, innings, wins, strikeouts, WHIP on multiple occasions and winning multiple Cy Young awards. Both were forced by injury to stop playing at too early an age.

If you can overlook the brevity of Koufax’s career because of his brilliance, then you might be able to do the same for Santana. Santana actually ranks ahead of Koufax in JAWS — which is Jay Jaffe’s Cooperstown Casebook system which averages total career WAR with WAR7. Koufax is 90th all-time, and Santana is 86th.

Source: Brian Mangan, Good Fundies

3 comments for “If Sandy Koufax is a Hall of Famer, Johan Santana Is Too

  1. Fletcher Rabbit
    December 11, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    An utterly pointless and stupid argument. Santana was a fine pitcher, and was probably headed to the Hall had he not sustained his injuries. One can say the same thing for Vida Blue or Herb Score or Ron Guidry or Doc Gooden or quite a few others. Koufax was the dominant pitcher of his day in a period that included Gibson and Marichal and Drysdale and Ford. Nobody from the 1963-66 period would ever have considered that any of those were superior or equal to Koufax. In the half century since his retirement there have been a few hurlers who had one season the equal of Koufax at his peak. There was one for Bob Gibson, one for Steve Carlton, one for Dwight Gooden, one for Ron Guidry, one for Denny McLain, one for Roger Clemens, and probably one or two others whose memories are skipping my mind. None of them had a four year span like that of Sandy Koufax closing out his career. Even the one “missing” season of 1964 saw him put up numbers that would have won almost any Cy Young award in the past decade, and might even have won him the 1964 trophy if not for that one splendid season of Dean Chance. Santana better than or equal to Koufax? Ridiculous! The only pitchers of the live ball era that rival him are Walter Johnson and Bob Feller; I doubt anyone alive recalls seeing the former throw a pitch, and few under eighty can recall seeing the latter. (By the way, I apologize for not including potentially the great Satchel Paige, whose career sadly falls into a a different category.). We will never see another pitcher the caliber or kind of Sandy Koufax!

    • Name
      December 11, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      Uhhh… Clayton Kershaw has Koufax beat. Easily.

      7 straight years of top 5 Cy Young. Won it 3 out of 4 years from 2011-2014 (and I think he should have beat Dickey in 2012 but Dickey had a better backstory)
      179 ERA+ during those 7 years compared to Koufax’s 167 for his 5 year run.

      Santana is a lot closer than you think. Also had 2 Cy youngs and all top 5 finishes in his year 5 stretch. 157 ERA+ which isn’t that far off from Koufax’s 167, and Santana had to deal with the DH. By far the best pitcher in the mid 2000s, but sadly he played in the media-lacking midwest, which limited his exposure.

      Sometimes the lore of a player gets more and more exaggerated as time goes on

    • Sharklady57
      December 27, 2017 at 10:44 am

      People forget that for the first half of his career, Sandy Koufax was horrible. In his seventh year he turned it around, but still ended up with a 3.52 ERA. It really wasn’t the last five years that he was dominant. You’d think his numbers would have been a lot more watered down.

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