Has it really been that long since Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano pitched in the big leagues? Oof, has it really been 14 years since they were a couple young 20-somethings leading the Cubs to the playoffs in 2003?
The Hall of Fame released its ballot today for next year’s class, and Wood and Zambrano appear for the first time. Here are the fourteen players returning on the ballot, as well as the new names, from the Hall of Fame’s website:
Hoffman and Guerrero figure to get in this time around, and others will see their vote tally tick up. My position is that Bonds and Clemens should be in, and you can read that post there if you want the rationale. I’m a bigger Hall guy, and I can also be persuaded that Martinez, Mussina, Schilling, Ramirez, Walker, and Sheffield all belong, too. For me, Sammy Sosa falls just short.
Among the new entries, Chipper Jones and Jim Thome are no-brainers to be elected on their first try. I think Andruw Jones gets in eventually, but not right away. The same might be true for Scott Rolen.
As for the Cubs two new guys, neither Kerry Wood nor Carlos Zambrano will be Hall of Famers, even as we’ll remember their performances with the Cubs very fondly. In the Cubs’ postseason years of 2003 and 2004*, Wood and Zambrano combined for 16.5 WAR.
Wood, 40, finished up his career with a 3.67 ERA over 1380.0 innings, and was worth 23.7 WAR. Zambrano, 36, had a nearly identical 3.66 career ERA, but over 1959.0 innings. He was worth 30.6 WAR. At their best, Wood struck out everyone and Zambrano was an elite contact manager.
*Yes, I’m trolling you. Sorry. I’m unkind.