MLB Hall of Fame: Breaking down the 2020 ballot

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 02: Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees field a ball against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Five of the 2009 MLB World Series at Citizens Bank Park on November 2, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 02: Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees field a ball against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Five of the 2009 MLB World Series at Citizens Bank Park on November 2, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Cliff Lee – first year on ballot

For a time, Cliff Lee was one of the best pitchers in baseball.

The staff ace of the Indians and the Phillies, he had an impressive run from 2008 through 2013. However, injuries hampered his career before and after that span, keeping him from truly fulfilling his potential. Those injuries essentially ended his career, as he missed the entire 2015 campaign after suffering a partial tear in the flexor tendon of his left elbow. After failing to generate any interest in free agency the following year, retirement was forced upon Lee.

He certainly had a solid career. Lee was a four time All Star, and won the 2008 AL Cy Young award. He won led the league in wins and ERA that season, putting together a truly dominant year. During his 13 years in the majors, Lee posted a 143-91 record, with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.196 WHiP. Over his 2156.2 innings, Lee struck out 1824 batters while issuing only 464 walks.

During his six year run of dominance, Lee was one of the best pitchers in the game. He was a workhorse, consistently leading his teams to the postseason and posting strong results. The problem is that his peak was far too short, and he was unable to remain on the mound long enough to build upon his resume.

Cliff Lee was once one of the best pitchers in the majors. But that is not enough for enshrinement.