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Is CC Sabathia now a Hall of Fame lock?

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CC Sabathia further solidified himself as a great in the game of baseball on Wednesday, joining the short list of pitchers (17) with 3,000 strikeouts in his career. Also, he’s only the third left-handed pitcher to join the club, following Randy Johnson (4,875) and Steve Carlton (4,136).

Does that make Sabathia a Hall of Fame lock?

With Harold Baines getting the nod from the Veterans Committee, yes, Sabathia is a lock. Craig Biggio being elected by the Baseball Writers Association of America in 2015, again yes, he should get in. Biggio was a good player over his 20-year career, maybe very good, but definitely not on the level of Sabathia. And when comes to Baines, it’s not even close.

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Up until those two were immortalized by the baseball world, Sabathia might not have been as surefire a lock. And he’s still by no means a guaranteed first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, despite what the YES Network might lead you to believe.

Over his 19 years, Sabathia has won 247 games, struck out 3,002 and posted a 3.69 ERA. First off, a 3.69 ERA does not seem Hall of Fame worthy. As much as the 247 wins don’t seem to be either, the goal posts have been moved every which way on that conversation. He did win a Cy Young but has only been named an All-Star six times. You’d think a player in the modern age that’s been around as long as Sabathia would’ve received that honor more, especially since the fans aren’t the ones who select pitchers.

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The biggest thing going against Sabathia is one of his contemporaries: Johan Santana. The Twins legend lasted 12 years in the bigs but was among the absolute best in the game for seven seasons. Santana went off the ballot after his first year of eligibility in 2018. Sabathia hung around much longer than Santana did, but he was a shell of his old self in four of the five seasons previous to 2019.

There’s certainly something to be said for Sabathia’s ability to stay in the game as long as he did, but Santana won two Cy Young’s, finished in the top-five twice and was a four-time All-Star.

If it came down to just these two pitchers to get in, Sabathia has the edge. It’s definitive, but by no means was Sabathia that much better. And if Santana couldn’t even hang on the ballot past his first year of eligibility, how can Sabathia be a stone-cold lock?

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