Minnesota Twins: Trying to process Johan Santana and the Hall of Fame

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 14: Johan Santana
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 14: Johan Santana /

This Minnesota Twins fan is struggling with Johan Santana going one and done on the Hall of Fame ballot and these are the reasons why.

The Minnesota Twins have had a series of Hall of Fame celebrations this past year. The first one came in the form of World Series hero Jack Morris being selected to the Hall of Fame by way of the Modern Era Committee. Then secondly and very recently, fan favorite slugger Jim Thome was voted into the Hall of Fame.

Lurking to steal the joy from the celebrations of those two former Twins entering the Hall of Fame remains one big let down for Twins fans at the hands of Hall of Fame voters. That comes in the form of newly selected Twins Hall of Fame member Johan Santana.

In all honesty, this fan often doesn’t pay that close attention to Hall of Fame decisions, but this one is different. Santana played a major role on the teams that brought me into the type of fandom that made me want to write and talk about the team in this type of a forum. Really, in short, this one gets personal and is a little hard to swallow as this beloved Twin goes one and done with seemingly hardly even a shot.

The first admission that needs to be made is that Sanatana’s career lacked the longevity that usually warrants Hall of Fame consideration. He will never be able to match up with the best in innings pitched, strikeouts, or even WAR. In those 12 seasons, Santana was able to put together some impressive seasons and ended with career numbers of a 3.20 ERA, 8.8 K/9, and a 136 ERA+ over 2,025.2 innings for a 51.4 career WAR.

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While Santana’s career may have been short, in that span he was clearly one of the most dominant pitchers in the game. When looking at WAR from 2000-2010, Santana was third among all pitchers during that span with a 50.5 WAR just behind Hall of Famer Randy Johnson (51.5 WAR) and late Roy Halladay (53.8 WAR).

Another stat that treats Santana favorably is ERA+. ERA+ takes a pitcher’s ERA and attempts to even out any variance that could pop up due to park factors and reflects how a pitcher’s performance lines up with the rest of the league. It also to an extent can help us try to see how a pitcher’s performances might translate across eras and compare with pitchers in those other places in time. Santana’s ERA+ of 136 places him 20th all-time in MLB history.

That along with the often used comparison of Santana and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax starts to build quite a solid argument that there should have been stronger support of Santana. That is all I really wish could have happened, Santana to have received just a little more support. Support that would have resulted in a few more years of Santana on the ballot would have satisfied me. That way Santana could have at least be thrown around in Hall of Fame discussion a little longer to see just how far his decade of dominance could or should carry him in the selection process.

Next: Is a 5th year the difference that will help the Twins land Darvish?

Maybe it is just my heart hurts and I am not thinking clearly. I mean I (and so many of you) have had to endure the ups and downs of the “Minneapolis Miracle” and then the Philly game from a football perspective. I am still waiting for something to happen or not happen with Yu Darvish and now this with Santana. Johan Santana deserved to be in the Hall of Fame discussion longer, that is what my heart says and my head is telling me that I am not too crazy for believing that after looking through the nubmers again.