Examining Hall of Fame case of former Padres closer Huston Street
Only 12 players who have ever suited up for the San Diego Padres have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and only three of them (Trevor Hoffman, Tony Gwynn, Dave Winfield) were inducted with Padres caps on their plaques. The 2023 ballot may not give the Padres a chance to add to that lineage.
In addition to former Padres slugger Gary Sheffield, who has had to work hard to overcome allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs, closer Huston Street, who was excellent on some bad teams, is on the ballot.
Relief pitchers face incredibly long odds to make the Hall of Fame, as a far superior pitcher in Billy Wagner has been locked out of Cooperstown for a very long time thanks to explanations from writers that defy logic. Street could be headed down that same, uh…street if past voting trends hold.
The odds of Street making the Hall of Fame, let alone getting the requisite 5% needed to stay on the ballot, are slim. However, if you look at the numbers, Street might have a better case than you would think. His years in San Diego are the main reason why.
Will former Padres closer Huston Street make the Hall of Fame?
While he pitched more games with the Oakland Athletics than he did for any other team and made the playoffs with the Los Angeles Angels, Street’s best statistical years came with the Padres. Street, who has a 2.95 ERA with 324 saves in his career and a 141 ERA+, posted a 2.03 ERA in parts of three years with San Diego.
Street made two All-Star teams in three seasons with the Padres and had at least 16 saves in 10 consecutive seasons. Injuries ruined his career, as he pitched just 30 games after starting his age-32 season in 2016. A few more standout seasons would have made his case much more compelling.
Street never threw too hard, with his fastball sitting in the low 90s. What made him so lethal was a slider that ranks as one of the best this game has ever seen and an ability to induce week contact. Voters love to harp on how good a player was in weakprime, and Street had a half-decade where he was as effective as anyone.
Street is likely not going to be inducted into Cooperstown, but that shouldn’t mask the fact that he is one of the best relief pitchers the Padres ever had and a perennially underrated player for years. Hopefully, enough voters recognize his quality and keep him on the ballot.