Examining the Hall of Fame case for Los Angeles Dodgers legend Orel Hershiser

28 Apr 1991: Pitcher Orel Hershiser of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws the ball during a game against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn /Allsport
28 Apr 1991: Pitcher Orel Hershiser of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws the ball during a game against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn /Allsport /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 3
Next
Orel Hershiser, Baseball Hall of Fame, Los Angeles Dodgers
LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 28: Former Los Angeles Dodgers player Orel Hershiser throws the ceremonial first pitch prior to Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Orel Hershiser’s career compares to other Baseball Hall of Fame starters

Despite all of the setbacks, Orel Hershiser has a career 56.0 rWAR, which is 83rd all-time among primary starters and tied for 231st all-time. That’s above modern Hall of Fame starters Jim Kaat, Sandy Koufax, Bob Lemon, Jack Morris, and Catfish Hunter and just below Hall of Fame starter Whitey Ford (58.0).

Hershiser’s career 112 ERA+ is equivalent to Nolan Ryan’s and above other HOF starters Don Sutton, Kaat, Early Wynn, Morris, and Hunter.

Hershiser’s WAR7 (his WAR in his best seven MLB seasons) is 40.1, which is 98th all-time among starters. However, it is ahead of likely future Hall of Famer C.C. Sabathia and HOFers Bob Lemon, Early Wynn, John Smoltz, Whitey Ford, and many other current HOFers.

His JAWS (which balances WAR and WAR7) is 48.1, which is 84th among primary starters. That puts him just ahead of Sandy Koufax (47.4), which is a great comparison since both were Dodgers and both had their career significantly impacted by injuries.

At each of their peaks, Koufax was the more dominant pitcher but Hershiser had a longer career.

But Koufax made it into the Hall of Fame on his first ballot in 1972. Hershiser got 11.2 percent of the vote on his first ballot in 2006 and he fell off the ballot in 2007 after he received just 4.4 percent of the vote.

However, Hershiser does have a legitimate shot at making the Hall of Fame. The first season he was eligible, Hershiser made it onto the Today’s Game Era Committee ballot. Players on the ballot have to be retired for at least 15 seasons so the first time that Era Committee voted while he was eligible was in 2017. He didn’t get a ton of votes (fewer than five but the exact number is unknown) but he made the ballot again in 2019.

dark. Next. The HOF case for former Dodgers SP Tommy John

He could be on the ballot again in the 2022-2023 offseason, when the Today’s Game Era Committee meets again. More people will be up for consideration on it but considering that the committee has inducted four people in the last two times they’ve voted, Orel Hershiser could have a legitimate shot into the Hall of Fame in the near future.