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Looking at the Hall-of-Fame Ballot: LaTroy Hawkins

LaTroy Hawkins pitched in a grand total of 33 games for the Yankees and he didn’t do well. He had a 5.71 ERA as a Yankee. Enough said about that.

LaTroy Hawkins got a bum rap as a Yankee. He was issued uniform #21 and the fans didn’t like that so they booed him. #21 wasn’t retired. It had been Paul O’Neil’s number – and for that reason it was supposed to be unworn for a period of time (that still, perplexingly, exists). The fan’s reaction to Hawkins wearing #21 was unfair and made no sense. “Welcome to New York. We’re going to give you a hard time because of the uniform number you were issued.” I have to wonder if Yankees fans will ever let a player wear #21. (It’s time to move on from this already.)

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As with the other former Yankees on the Hall-of-Fame ballot, we need to determine if LaTroy Hawkins belongs in the Hall-of-Fame.

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The Good

Quick Quiz – How many seasons did LaTroy Hawkins pitch?

If you said, “21,” you’re correct. I must be honest, I didn’t think he spent that long in the Major Leagues. That, alone, is an accomplishment.

Unfortunately, the fact that he was a big leaguer for so long is the bulk of LaTroy Hawkins’ case for the Hall-of-Fame.

The Bad

LaTroy Hawkins never won a major award. He was never an All-Star.

LaTroy Hawkins was a starting pitcher for three seasons. He never won more than 10 games in a season. He was a closer for a time. He never saved 30 games in a season – though he did save 23+ in a season three times.

Hawkins’ lifetime record was 75-94, 4.31. He saved 127 games in his career. He was a good enough pitcher. For the bulk of his career, he ate up the middle innings well enough.

Similar Players

Of the players most similar to LaTroy Hawkins is a collection of sometimes closers and middling middle relievers. This list consists of David Weathers, Mike Timlin, Dan Spillner, Jose Mesa, Branden Looper, Michael Jackson, Julian Tavarez, Greg Harris, Paul Quantrill, and Kyle Farnsworth.

None of those players will reach baseball’s most hallowed halls.

And neither will LaTroy Hawkins.

I just wish New York treated him better.

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