Bret Saberhagen was sitting on top of the world in 1985. He was 21 years old, won the Cy Young Award. In addition, he pitched in two World Series games, game 3 and game 5. He gave up 1 run in game 3 to get the Royals first victory of the series. He bettered that with a shutout in game 7 to give the Royals their first ever World Championship. He had a great career but would never reach that peak in baseball again. All at the age of 21.
Bret would be an easy hall of famer except for arm injuries. You probably could say that for a lot of pitchers, but Saberhagen is really close to a Hall of Famer.
Saberhagen had challenges putting two great years together. We used to joke it was an odd numbered year, so Saberhagen was going to have a great year. After injuries in 1986, he came back with a great year in 1987. After pitching just average in 1988, Saberhagen had arguably his best year winning his second Cy Young Award in 1989. He had an off year in 1990 and came back with a very good year in 1991.
However then he went off track, having two injury filled years, before pitching outstanding with Mets in his third year in New York, 1994.
After that Saberhagen wasn’t the same. I believe the injuries he has had through the years hurt him. However, he was about to gut it out and had two decent seasons with the Red Sox In 1998 and 1999. The Red Sox went to the post season both years. He wasn’t the same pitcher, but he could help his team to the playoffs. I believe in part as he was a very smart pitcher. He knew how to keep the hitters off balance.