Adam McCalvy reports that the Miller Park Walk of Fame is maintaining its high standards — no one will be inducted this year. With Milwaukee Brave Lew Burdette being inducted last year, this means that the Walk has gone without an inductee in three of the past four years. Former Brewers ace Teddy Higuera came the closest to being inducted, gaining 61% of the vote, but that actually represents a decrease in support compared to last year.
I’m appreciative of the fact that the Walk of Fame is selective. Only 16 people have been inducted since the park opened, 11 of them players. But Teddy Higuera deserves induction. This isn’t even a debate. He’s simply the best pitcher the Brewers have ever had.
He’s the franchise’s all-time leader in Baseball Reference’s version of Wins Above Replacement, 4.5 wins better than Ben Sheets. He ranks third in club history in ERA, but has the best mark among pitchers who threw over 1000 innings. If “regular” wins are your thing, he ranks third on the Brewers’ career leaderboard, and is one of only three Brewers to ever win 20 in a season (and no one has done it since he did in 1986). He was runner-up for the AL Rookie of the Year in 1985, finishing behind Ozzie Guillen. A year later, he finished second in the Cy Young voting to some guy named Roger Clemens, and actually posted a higher rWAR than the Rocket. He was the first Brewer to post back-to-back 200-strikeout seasons, and held the single season punchout mark until Ben Sheets had his phenomenal 2004 season.
This is a slam-dunk, no-question “yes” vote for me. Higuera eventually needs to be in the Walk of Fame. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it will happen anytime soon.