David Cone: 2009 MLB Hall of Fame Inductee?

michael eisnerCorrespondent IMarch 18, 2008

One of the greatest moments in New York Yankees history took place on July 16, 1999, when David Cone pitched a Perfect Game.

I remember it well.

But am I the only one who remembers just how good his career was?

He won 194 games in his career,just short of 200. He collected 2,668 strikeouts - just short of 3,000. He had a career ERA of 3.46, and had he not hung around for three extra seasons, despite a circulatory problem in his pitching arm, his ERA would have been at least a quarter of a run lower.

Cone won 20 games twice, highlighted by a 20-3 season in 1988 with the Mets. He won 16 games once, 17 games once and 18 games once. He also won 14 games for three seaons in a row.

In 1996, he started only 11 games due to injury and went 7-2 with a 2.88 ERA. Had he been healthy, he surely would've surpassed the 200 win plateau, and possibly would've contended for the American League Cy Young Award.

He won two World Series Rings with the Yankees - 1996 and 1999.

Cone's post-season numbers were simply incredible. He amassed a 8-3 career record which included a 2-0 mark in six World Series starts in which he pitched 29 2/3 innings and let up a stingy 19 hits,

Cone won the AL Cy Young in 1994, finished third in 1988 and fourth in 1995 and 1998. What's incredible about his Cy Young finish in 1994 was that he won 16 out of 23 starts during the strike-shortened season. 

He won two NL strikeout crowns and finished second twice. In all, he had 10 top five finishes.

Cone even finished in the Top 10 in MVP voting twice - once in the AL and once in the NL.

From 1988-1999, Cone was considered by many to be one of the top pitchers in all of baseball. In fact, there are many pitchers currently enshrined in the Hall of Fame who were never considered as good as Cone, including Don Sutton and Phil Niekro, but hung around long around to accumulate statistics including 300 wins, which Cone did not.

There are other pitchers whose candidacy have been gaining steam in recent years, including Bert Blyleven and Jack Morris, neither of which enjoyed the dominance of Cone.

It's safe to say that Cone won't make the cut the first time around, but hopefully he will garner some serious attention in the coming years.