Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Anti HOF: Kent Tekulve

1.3% of the 1995 MLB Hall of Fame vote

Larry David owes Kent Tekulve royalties, not only for ripping off his trademark "look" but also for lifting an uncanny ability to keep adversaries off balance, confused and, at times, angry.

Tekulve slung for the Pirates for just over 11 seasons, from the mid-Seventies to the mid-Eighties. During this time and a few bonus seasons with the Phillies and Reds, he was startling in his resiliency: four seasons of 10+ wins, 10 seasons of 70+ games, seven seasons of 100+ innings (unheard of in modern times for a reliever), nine sub-3.00 ERAs and two different seasons where he garnered MVP consideration. And yet for the era, he is seldom named amongst the fatter, hairier relief pitchers; namely, Bruce Sutter and Rich Gossage.

Tekulve was every bit as obtuse and innovative as these two. Perhaps it’s because he toiled within Pennsylvania state lines for virtually his entire career that his legacy isn’t more widely celebrated. And kidding aside, his appearance may have played a factor, since he visualize more as a scientist than an ass kisser. Whatever the case, one could argue that without Tekulve, we would have never seen other craft non-“traditional” closers get a chance to finish: namely Doug Jones, Keith Foulke and arguably the finest of them all, Mariano Rivera.

Top Baseball-Reference.com comperable of the modern era: Gene Garber

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