Atlanta Braves pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux were inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame yesterday. Both won over 300 games (Maddux, 355; Glavine, 305). But if you would have looked at their stats after their first two seasons in the majors, you would have never thought that they would eventually be enshrined in baseball’s hall.
Maddux, who made his MLB debut in 1986 with the Cubs, was 2-4 his first season in the majors and had a less-than-impressive 6-14 record his second year. Glavine, who debuted in 1987 with Atlanta, had a 2-4 record his first season (same as Maddux) and a 7-17 record the following year (those 17 losses that year were the most in Glavine’s career).
Maddux’s 8-18 record after his first two seasons and Glavine’s 9-21 record after their first two years certainly did not shout “Hall of Fame” careers. But when looking at the records of other Hall of Fame pitchers after their first two years, we see some similar results. Of the 30 Hall of Fame pitchers who finished their careers after 1950, 15 had a win-loss percentage over .500 their first two seasons. Thirteen, however, were under .500 after their first two years (two were exactly at .500).