Remembering the career of one man not on the Hall of Fame ballot: Brandon Webb
The Hall of Fame ballots sent out this weekend featured a number of all-time greats like Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson. But one three-time All-Star and one-time Cy Young winner was left off.
Before you start filing an online petition, this was no oversight. Because, unfortunately, the man we're talking about pitched only seven seasons instead of the requisite 10 thanks to a series of shoulder injuries. That would be former D-backs ace Brandon Webb.
When he was healthy, few could do much more than roll weak grounder after weak grounder against Webb. In his career, the right-hander went 87-62 with a 3.27 ERA. His 64.2 GB% is also the third-highest since Fangraphs began keeping the stat. In 2004, despite leading the league in losses and playing for a D-backs team that lost 111 games, Webb notched a 3.59 ERA.
In 2006 though, Webb came into his own. The ace won 16 games with a 3.10 ERA in 235 innings. His ERA+ of 152 was the highest in the league and it would earn him his lone Cy Young award with 64% of the vote over Trevor Hoffman.
Webb was even better in 2007. He upped his win total to 18, lowered his ERA to 3.01 and led the league in complete games, shutouts, innings, and ERA+. Along the way he pitched 42 scoreless innings, at the time the longest since Orel Hershiser's record of 59.
Webb was denied his second Cy Young award thanks to his NL West rival, Jake Peavy.
The next season, Webb dominated once again. This time he would win 22 games while posting a 3.30 ERA in 226 2/3 innings. Like the year before, another NL West pitcher would win the award as Tim Lincecum collected his first.
Only 30 years old entering the 2009 season, Webb looked like a good bet to remain dominant well into the next decade. But on Opening Day, he was lifted after pitching only four innings against the Rockies, having surrendered six runs. It would be his last Major League start.
After having shoulder surgery for a fraying labrum, the right-hander sat on the DL for the next two seasons before trying to make a comeback with the Texas Rangers. Still only 32 entering the '11 season, Webb had to go under the knife again -- this time for a rotator cuff injury.
Even though he would never pitch in the big leagues again, he did make one more appearance on the Chase Field mound. After announcing his retirement before the 2013 season, Webb threw out the first pitch on Opening Day for the D-backs. Though the four-year layoff between big league pitches did wreak some havoc on his command.