Perhaps we should have asked the question in other terms. Yes, there is no doubt. Herb Score, Tony Conigliaro and Bo Jackson should have been in the Major League Hall of Fame, had it not been fate that affects everything, including baseball.
Even because of their status as champions of the American League, as well as the presence of their formidable group of starting pitchers, the Cleveland Indians were forced during spring training of the 1955 season to take a detailed look at a young left-handed pitcher named Herb Score.
They really had no choice. Score came from winning 22 games with the AAA Indianapolis of the American Association, with 330 strikeouts, surpassing the mark of 48 years of the circuit. Manager Al Lopez and the Indians had no regrets.
Score won sixteen games, anesthetized 245 batters in 227 acts, and was named Rookie of the Year in the American League. One afternoon, after a game against the Red Sox, Score had 16 strikeouts. At the end of the game, Boston offered a million dollars for his contract through Joe Cronin, the team's general manager. As expected, there was no agreement.
The story repeated itself in the following season. Score won twenty games and led the AL with 263 strikeouts in 249 innings and five shutouts. He had shown that he was a genuine representative of the starting pitching staff where Bob Lemon, Early Wynn, Mike Garcia and Bob Feller excelled.
Entering the 1957 campaign, Score won two of his first five starts. However, when he started against the New York Yankees on May 7, the world fell on him.
He dominated Hank Bauer with a grounder to shortstop for the first and put Gil McDougald on a two-ball, two-strike count. The next shipment, McDougald returned it in the direction of the mound. The ball crashed into the pitcher's face, over his right eye. He did not pitch again for the rest of the season.
The score didn't return until 1958. The first start against the Kansas City Athletics was disappointing. In three innings, he gave up four hits, allowed three runs, struck out six batters and walked four. It was like starting over.
In the following seasons after the accident, Score only had eleven wins, and on April 18, 1960 he was sent to the Chicago White Sox by fellow pitcher Barry Latman. A change suggested by his first manager Al Lopez, who he thought could win him back.
Lopez had noticed that every time Score threw the ball, he turned his face the other way, but he had always made that move, even in his prime. That was the reason why he was always a mediocre fielder. That was the reason for the pitch received by the Yankees in 1957, concluded the pilot.
Hence he did not try to correct the dangerous habit. She overlooked the detail. For six weeks he seemed on the way to overcoming his difficulties but they decided to send him to the minors.
He was between San Diego and Indianapolis, where he had a hopeful record of 10 and 7 that excited the White Sox to invite him to training camp in 1963. But nothing they saw excited them. On April 7 they returned him to Indianapolis and he did not return to the majors.
Unbeknownst to him at the time, on May 4, 1962, Score made his final big-time appearance against the Red Sox in Boston. In two innings as a reliever, he gave up three hits and one run.
only eight years
Herb Score's major league career spanned eight seasons between 1955 and 1962, with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox. He left a balance of 55 wins and 46 setbacks, with an ERA of 3.36 in 858 chapters.
Already retired as an active baseball player, in the mid-60s, Score became a radio and television commentator on the Cleveland Indians circuit, with whom he also spent his free time to offer advice to the team's pitchers.
In the late 90s, he was in a car accident that would render him useless. On November 11 he passed away at the age of 75.