Over the weekend, the Minnesota Twins celebrated their Hall of Fame weekend. On Saturday, Michael Cuddyer was inducted, and then Sunda it was Andy MacPhail’s turn. The fun part about the Hall of Fame (baseball’s or the Twins) is the conversation that it can create.
While watching Bartolo Colon on Sunday, the name of Johan Santana was mentioned. Of course, I mentioned about how Colon ‘stole’ the 2005 Cy Young from Santana. As baseball conversations tend to do, it shifted again, this time to a comparison between Johan Santana and Sandy Koufax.
Koufax, of course, was a Hall of Famer. He was one of baseball’s greatest pitchers ever for a six year period in the early 1960s. His full career went 12 years, but his final six seasons were incredible. He retired while at the top of his game. He was just 30 years old and coming off a great season in which he won his third Cy Young Award. However, he had chronic arthritis in his left arm. He feared it would become increasingly worse until he eventually couldn’t use his left hand.
Santana was a Rule 5 pick for the Twins. He spent a couple of seasons in the early ‘90s working primarily out of the Twins bullpen. But he had an eight year stretch where no one in baseball was as good.His final five seasons with the Twins, and his first year as a member of the Mets were six incredible seasons.
So, how do the careers, and those “peak seasons” of Johan Santana and Sandy Koufax match up? Let’s find out.Gregory Fisher, USA Today Attachments: