There is no set criteria to make the Hall of Fame in any sport. As long as you are among the best at what you do for an extended period of time, a case could certainly be made for inclusion. Dan Quisenberry certainly fit that criteria, ranking as possibly the best closer in the game from 1980 through 1986, putting together a 44-40 record with 224 saves and a 2.48 ERA. He made three All-Star teams, finished in the top five in the Cy Young vote five times, and was even as high as third in an MVP vote in 1984.
Quisenberry also compared favorably to a player already in the Hall in Bruce Sutter. In Sutter’s run of dominance from 1977 through 1984, he compiled a 52-57 record with 250 saves and a 2.52 ERA. Those numbers are fairly similar to what Quisenberry was able to put together during his peak. In fact, Sutter’s inclusion to the Hall was one of the arguments for why Quisenberry should get in.
Yet, there were striking differences. Sutter was credited with ‘discovering’ the splitter, using that pitch to amass his save total while striking out almost eight batters per nine innings during his career. With his thick beard and splitter that fell of a table, Sutter, along with Rich Gossage, were the prototypical feared closers of the day. Dan Quisenberry, meanwhile, looked more like a high school science teacher, and relied upon impeccable command and his submarine delivery, getting the opposition to pound the ball into the ground.
Perhaps that, in part, is what has kept Quisenberry from the Hall. The Veteran’s Committee named the inductees from the Expansion Era ballot today, putting in three managers in Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa. Quisenberry was also on a very strong ballot, with the likes of George Steinbrenner and Marvin Miller still unable to gain entry. The ballot itself may have been another hurdle for Quiz.
Yet, does anyone really go to the Hall of check out the managerial section? Unless they have reanimated Earl Weaver and Ron Luciano, having them engaged in an eternal argument, would anyone even blink an eye? Yes, it would be nice to see a lineup filled out by Connie Mack or Leo Durocher, but no one pays for entrance to see the manager section. And we will just avoid umpires being inducted.
In the end, Dan Quisenberry missed out on the Hall yet again. However, his being included on the Veteran’s ballot can give us hope that maybe someday, he can get his due in Cooperstown.