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Saturday, December 6, 2008

2009 Hall of Fame Candidate - Dan Plesac

Here's one of the pitfalls of the Hall of Fame ballot. Only when voting for the Hall can a pitcher who played well for 18 years in over 1000 games all of a sudden become a punchline. Dan Plesac? In the Hall of Fame?? Harrumph! Take that wretch away and throw him in the stocks for daring to compare himself to Royalty! Poor Dan. A mere mortal knocking on the door of the Immortals. He didn't even knock himself, it's just the rules - 10 years in the league, five years after you retire, someone knocks for you. We all know Dan's not getting in, and might not even get a single vote, but that doesn't mean he wasn't a good player, even when he took over the LOOGY role the second half of his career. Here's the stats:

Record: 65-71
Saves: 158
Games pitched: 1064
Innings pitched: 1072
Strikeouts: 1041
Career ERA: 3.64 (League ERA: 4.24)

Solid career, he was a good closer for a few years and then became a solid set up guy. In 12 of his 18 seasons his ERA was better than the league average. His strikeout/walk ratio was about 2.5 to 21 and his WHIP wasn't too bad. Dan was a solid player that could contribute to any team in the league. Not a Hall of Famer, but that's ok.

Dan does illustrate one thing about this year's Hall class... Just how badly Lee Smith is getting slighted. It is damn hard to be a closer. Dan Plesac was one of the hot young closers in the league in the late '80s, saving 124 games in 5 years from '86-90. He then flamed out, was even used as a starter by Milwaukee and only had 34 saves the rest of his career. Dan managed to become a solid set up guy though and went on to have a long career unlike many other closers who flamed out early. Lee Smith was a lights out, slam the door guy for fourteen straight seasons. Lee will get his own post though. Dan, you had a good career and it looks like you've picked up with a broadcasting gig. Good job Dan. Try to strive for that Ford Frick award in your new job.

Prediction: Sadly, no votes for Dan.

Rookie card: 1986 Topps Traded, among others.
This card: 2001 Topps


Scott C. said...

I agree with you about Lee Smith. I did a HOF post on Green Monster the other day and his was definitely a HOF career. You're right though, sometimes it takes a contemporary, a guy like Plesac to put it into perspective.

deal said...

He's a good guy who played in a lot of cities - that will probably earn him a vote somewhere.

Plesac was the last Phillie ever to pitch in Veteran's Stadium. It was also Plesac's last pitch as he retired at the end of the 2003 season.

Joey said...

Plesac was a part of several of my fantasy league bull pens so I always remember him in a good light. The hall is not where he belongs but he was a productive Major Leaguer that many pitchers would trade places with.

Nice post by the way.

Jeffrey Wolfe said...

Thanks for this post on Plesac he deserves it. In his brief time with the Pirates he was a stand up guy and a real pro helping the younger guys he know would take his place.