Jump to content

Sign in to follow this  
RedRamage

The Case for Tommy Bridges

Recommended Posts

So right now I'm reading through Detroit: City of Champions - The Players v.I It's a very interesting book. The author wrote a book earlier that covers the 1935-36 sports season in Detroit. This is the first of two books that look more in depth at the players. Lots of really interesting information...

Anyway, long story short, he's got a couple of pages where he makes a case for Bridges to be a HOF pitcher and have his number retired by Detroit.

His case hinges mostly on the fact that Bridges and Newhouser have very similar career numbers. Here's the condensed version:


G W/L ERA Ks BB WHIP
Bridges: 424 194/138 3.57 1674 1192 1.368
Newhouser: 488 207/150 3.06 1796 1249 1.311

Now, I readily admit that I know very little about baseball from this era, so I don't know if there were a lot of extenuating circumstances here. I think the most glaring difference is the ERA. Newhouser is a just over a half point lower than Bridges. In my ever so humble opinion, ERA is the first stat I look at when considering starting pitchers. So a half point here seems like a relatively big deal to me.

It probably isn't quite the same scale, but if we talk about a career .280 hitter vs. a career .330 hitter... that's a big difference. What do you think? Is Bridges worthy of the Hall? Is that half point of ERA too much and therefore he isn't "hall worthy"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just out of curiosity, which makes you say no to Bridges?

For me it is the lack of great seasons.

But Tommy was very good. Better than Morris to be sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bridges had good peak numbers and pretty good longevity, but neither was outstanding enough to get him into the Hall of Fame. He had some great seasons, but not enough of them to override his sub-3,000 innings pitched total.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He missed some of his late career due to the war, so I think he deserves some slack for his lack of innings. He is family (my Grandmother's cousin), so of course I will give my biased opinion that he belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Edited by cruzer1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He missed some time in 44-45 for the war, but he was 37-38 years old then, so I'm not sure how many innings he would have pitched. That might have put him over 3,000. I still don't think I'd put him in, but he's the best Tigers pitcher not in the Hall of Fame

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think on the list of Tigers not in the HOF that have the biggest beef to be in the HOF, it's either Bridges or Freehan that has the best argument. Not that either should be in for certain, but I think they are the two that have the best beef. Then probably Whitaker and Trammell.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Darn it.

I had a huge post looking at the pitchers that were eligible for the HOF when Bridges first received votes and I got what amounts to a time-out error, and the post was lost. For some reason that happens at my work. I wait too long and I am logged out. Honestly, it's one of the reasons I don't post as much as I once do - having to log in all the time.

But basically, what I found was Bridges ERA+ was better than any other pitcher that eventually made the HOF that was on his first ballot. His numbers compare very well with those that made it in. Maybe some beat him on longevity numbers, but his "averages" (like ERA+) was superior to many of those. Those who pitched about what he did, he really looks like a solid HOF candidate.

I also took his numbers and projected his last three full seasons before the war and translated them into two average MLB seasons for those two years he missed. It puts his career numbers somewhere at 214-154 and with a 3.48 ERA and probably an ERA+ of 130 or better. He also probably helps lead the 1944 team to the World Series and certainly wouldn't have hurt the 1945 team's World Series championship.

If he has one really good year (not ridiculous to expect) of 19-9 with an ERA of 140+ during those two seasons, that also enhances his seasons since I only allotted him 10 wins for each of the two seasons above. He gets to 223 wins if that happens, but since it's hard to assume that, I think the 10-8 mark is being safe and fair.

It's also interesting at the time there may have been a backlog of candidates still for the HOF being relatively new at the time. Hank Greenberg made the Hall that same year on his ninth vote. Red Ruffing and Lefty Gomez eventually made it in but were deep into their votes as well.

Look at the 1956 ballot and I think if we went back into time, there was a pretty strong case for Bridges, particularly when you see who is in from that time. He compares very well against Gomez on ERA+ and WAR.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bridges is better than some of those stiffs that the old Vets committees voted in ....

Freehan has a good case.

Whitaker and Trammell should both be in, but I'm saying No on Morris.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×