Rijo back on Hall of Fame ballot
Hurler received one vote in 2001 following premature retirement
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Former Reds ace Jose Rijo is considered first-time eligible for the Hall of Fame, but oddly enough, this won't really be his first time on the ballot.
After arm injuries sent a then 30-year-old Rijo to a premature retirement in 1995, he appeared on the writers' ballot in 2001 and received one vote. He came out of retirement later that year at age 36 and worked in 44 games over two more seasons for Cincinnati, including nine starts.
In a 14-season career, Rijo finished 116-91 with a 3.24 ERA, with 97 of those victories coming with the Reds. When the right-hander arrived in Cincinnati in 1988 after a trade with the A's, he was just 23, but already had four years logged in the Majors with two teams.
Rijo broke into the Majors as a highly touted 19-year-old prospect with the Yankees in 1984, but he struggled. In December 1984, he was part of a blockbuster seven-player trade that sent Rickey Henderson from the A's to New York.
With Oakland from 1985-87, Rijo didn't have a winning season, but struck out 16 batters in a game on April 19, 1986.
His wildness as a youthful pitcher turned to refinement for the 1988 season, which was the first of five times Rijo surpassed 13 wins for the Reds. In 1990, he went 14-8, but made his lasting impact in the World Series sweep of Oakland by going 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA and winning the Series' Most Valuable Player honors.
Rijo's best statistical season was 1993, when he finished 14-9 with a 2.48 ERA, but led the National League with 227 strikeouts and had the second-most innings completed with 257 1/3. In 1994, he was named to his one and only All-Star Game.
A five-year layoff from 1996-2000 included five arm surgeries, but Rijo was named winner of the 2002 Tony Conigliaro Award for overcoming adversity when he had a 5-4 season. The Reds named him to their Hall of Fame in 2005.
Jose Rijo was always one of my favorite players; I just don't think his accomplishments are good enough to warrant inclusion into the Hall of Fame.