Veterans can give Reynolds his due
Overshadowed Yanks great considered for Hall Class of '09
NEW YORK -- It was after the days of Babe Ruth, but still too early for Mickey Mantle or Roger Maris, when Allie Reynolds first showed up in the Bronx. In the years that followed, legends such as Joe DiMaggio and Phil Rizzuto hurtled through the primes of their careers, scooping up credit for the Yankees teams that won five straight World Series titles, and six in seven years. But it was Reynolds, too, who remained a cog through it all.
The anchor of those Yankees pitching staffs in the late 1940s and early '50s, and of the Indians' staffs in previous years, Reynolds never garnered quite the same acclaim as some of his more legendary teammates. But he may yet stand beside them in Cooperstown.
Reynolds will be considered for the Class of 2009 at the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. Any player receiving at least 75 percent of the vote from the Committee, which consists of the 64 living Hall of Famers, will be enshrined at the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2009. Results from the Veterans Committee vote will be announced Monday from baseball's Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.
The other members of the pre-1943 Veterans Committee final ballot are Bill Dahlen, Wes Ferrell, Joe Gordon, Sherry Magee, Carl Mays, Vern Stephens, Mickey Vernon, Bucky Walters and Deacon White.
Much of Reynolds' appeal to the Veterans Committee will be the fact that during his Yankees tenure, he won six World Series titles in eight seasons -- just one fewer than Ruth or Mantle. Add those years to his time in Cleveland, and Reynolds won at least 11 regular-season games for 12 straight years, finishing with 182 victories and a 3.30 ERA.
Pitching in the era before the Cy Young Award, Reynolds twice finished in the top three in MVP voting. He set a Major League record by throwing two no-hitters in 1951, a year before producing 20 wins, 160 strikeouts and a 2.06 ERA -- all career bests.
Yet Reynolds is perhaps best known for what he did in the playoffs, pitching two World Series shutouts, winning seven games and racking up four saves. He posted a 2.79 career Series ERA, and even hit .308 in postseason play.
The fact that Reynolds reached the Majors at the relatively old age of 25 served to limit his career to 12 full seasons, hindering his chances during his first cycle through the Hall of Fame balloting process. Reynolds received a high of 33.6 percent of the vote in his first dozen years on the ballot, less than half the total required for election.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.