It’s hard to blame the BBWAA for not voting for a man with a career 204-150 record, 3.48 ERA, and zero dominant seasons after the age of 30 to be in the Hall of Fame. Overall, his career numbers come up short.
But, Orel should really be in the Hall of Fame anyway – on the basis that he earned three straight Cy Young awards. In actuality, he won just once for his historic 1988 season when he shutout opponents for 59 consecutive innings (and probably should have been MVP). But Hershiser was also the National League’s best pitcher in both 1987 and 1989.
In both those seasons, Hershiser led the league in Wins Above Replacement and innings pitched, putting up ERA’s of 3.06 and 2.31 respectively. In both seasons, his Win-Loss percentage was only .500, due to poor performance by teammates. Also in both seasons, he saw his award given to closers who pitched under 100 innings.
If he receives those well-deserved Cy Youngs, Hershiser goes from “solid pitcher with dominant shutout record” to “3-time Cy Young winner.” Only Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson have ever won as many as three consecutive Cy Young awards.
He’s still a better candidate than Jack Morris though.