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mrdeltoid

20 Greatest Pitchers List is an OUTRAGE!!

21 posts in this topic

I would like to preface this by opposing the idea that one can't compare eras. I believe you can. Before 1969 the mound was 6 inches higher, the strike zone was from letters to knees, and the farther back in time you go, the balls weren't as lively, lighting was poor, or there were no lights way back, and the bats certainly weren't as good. Could you imagine Randy Johnson pitching from a mound 6 inches higher with a letters to knees strike zone? So, I think this list is completely bogus. In my opinion, the greatest pitcher of all time is Pedro Martinez. Take a look at this list and and what your take is.

RANKED: The 20 Greatest Pitchers Of All-Time – New Arena

newarena.com/mlb/ranked-the-20-greatest-pitchers-of-all-time/
20. Mariano Rivera Team: New York Yankees Innings Pitched: 1283.2 Saves: 652 Strikeouts: 1173 WHIP: 1.000 ERA: 2.21 Some baseball purists will insist that a...

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Rather than compare eras, I think players have to be judged by their own time.

I don't agree with Sandy Koufax at No. 1, if only because his career was cut short by the age of 30, and his period of dominance lasted only about six seasons. 

I don't know if Pedro is No. 1, but I think he belongs in any top five. He was at his peak at a time when bulked-up hitters were slamming 60 and 70 homeruns a season. He's also one of the few pitchers who made the transition from the NL to the AL seamlessly. At a time when the league average ERA was almost 5.00 (1999), his was barely 2.00. 

I'm not a fan of including active players in these lists, either, which is why I wouldn't include Kershaw. Let him finish his career, then have history judge him as it may. I'm also not sure about Drysdale in the Top 20, although an argument can be made that he might be the greatest No. 2 pitcher of all time. He did have the luxury of pitching behind Koufax, which meant in many cases, he wasn't going head-to-head with the other team's ace. A great pitcher, to be sure, but I'm not sure he's top 20 material.

Instead of Kershaw and Drysdale (maybe the author of this piece is a Dodger fan), I'd go with Bob Feller and Grover Cleveland Alexander. Different eras, to be sure, but they still stood out during their time. A lot of people would probably think Nolan Ryan belongs, but until he reached national monument status later in his career, he was more or less a hard-throwing underachiever. He led the league in strikeouts a number of times, but also in walks. 

I obviously didn't have the privilege of seeing a lot of these guys firsthand, and others I only caught at the end of their careers. From the context of seeing someone for the entirety of their career, I thought Greg Maddux was the greatest pitcher I ever saw. Didn't have electric stuff, but just pinpoint control. Batters were practically behind in the count before they even dug in against him.

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59 minutes ago, mdrunning said:

Rather than compare eras, I think players have to be judged by their own time.

I don't agree with Sandy Koufax at No. 1, if only because his career was cut short by the age of 30, and his period of dominance lasted only about six seasons. 

I don't know if Pedro is No. 1, but I think he belongs in any top five. He was at his peak at a time when bulked-up hitters were slamming 60 and 70 homeruns a season. He's also one of the few pitchers who made the transition from the NL to the AL seamlessly. At a time when the league average ERA was almost 5.00 (1999), his was barely 2.00. 

I'm not a fan of including active players in these lists, either, which is why I wouldn't include Kershaw. Let him finish his career, then have history judge him as it may. I'm also not sure about Drysdale in the Top 20, although an argument can be made that he might be the greatest No. 2 pitcher of all time. He did have the luxury of pitching behind Koufax, which meant in many cases, he wasn't going head-to-head with the other team's ace. A great pitcher, to be sure, but I'm not sure he's top 20 material.

Instead of Kershaw and Drysdale (maybe the author of this piece is a Dodger fan), I'd go with Bob Feller and Grover Cleveland Alexander. Different eras, to be sure, but they still stood out during their time. A lot of people would probably think Nolan Ryan belongs, but until he reached national monument status later in his career, he was more or less a hard-throwing underachiever. He led the league in strikeouts a number of times, but also in walks. 

I obviously didn't have the privilege of seeing a lot of these guys firsthand, and others I only caught at the end of their careers. From the context of seeing someone for the entirety of their career, I thought Greg Maddux was the greatest pitcher I ever saw. Didn't have electric stuff, but just pinpoint control. Batters were practically behind in the count before they even dug in against him.

That’s an excellent post. You make many good points. Especially the one about judging the players against the rules and competition of their time. By those standards Feller is a good choice. I always found this subject fascinating. Baseball IS the thinking mans game. The way that I compare pitchers when deciding GOAT, I ask two questions, how did they fare in their own era, and how would they fare in the other era. I divide it between pre - 1969, and post - 1968. I factor in the fact that the more years you go back before 69, the more rules and conditions favor the pitcher. Imagine a pitcher from the dead ball era , when they used the same ball all game, with that letters to knees strike zone, on a mound 6 inches higher in poor lighting and heavy bats, pitching to McGuire in the mid 80s! If you used that standard who would you choose? And thanks for a well thought out post.B)

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Kershaw in the Top 10 and Ryan nowhere on the list?

Stupid.

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40 minutes ago, Thirteen said:

Kershaw in the Top 10 and Ryan nowhere on the list?

Stupid.

To me, Ryan shouldn't be on that list. Hall of Famer, sure, but I just don't consider him one of the top 20 of all time. 

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11 hours ago, mrdeltoid said:

That’s an excellent post. You make many good points. Especially the one about judging the players against the rules and competition of their time. By those standards Feller is a good choice. I always found this subject fascinating. Baseball IS the thinking mans game. The way that I compare pitchers when deciding GOAT, I ask two questions, how did they fare in their own era, and how would they fare in the other era. I divide it between pre - 1969, and post - 1968. I factor in the fact that the more years you go back before 69, the more rules and conditions favor the pitcher. Imagine a pitcher from the dead ball era , when they used the same ball all game, with that letters to knees strike zone, on a mound 6 inches higher in poor lighting and heavy bats, pitching to McGuire in the mid 80s! If you used that standard who would you choose? And thanks for a well thought out post.B)

One of my secret wishes has always been to go back in time and witness in person some of the old-time immortals such as Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Napoleon Lajoie, Tris Speaker, etc. How good were they, really, and could they duplicate their careers in the modern era?

I agree that pitchers of the early 20th century pretty much had things their own way. Not only was the ball much less lively (a result not because of inferior construction, but due to the practice of keeping one ball in the game for as long as possible), but the foul strike rule, implemented by the National League in 1901 and by the American League two years later. That certainly made things easier on pitchers.

What's interesting, however, is that, since the beginning of professional baseball in 1976, league averages for hitters has always been right around .260. For example, league averages soared in 1894 when the mound was moved back to its present distance of 60 feet, six inches (even ol' Denton True saw his ERA climb to 3.94 that year), but in just two years, there was a regression to the mean. Ty Cobb's .366 career batting average is even more remarkable when you consider that, for the large part of his career, the league batting average hovered somewhere around .240.

I like the comparison you used regarding players' performance in different eras, and on the surface, Christy Mathewson or Walter Johnson facing Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire would appear to be a classic mismatch favoring the latter two, but would it really be so? While homerun hitters of the deadball era were guys like Homerun Baker (who hit 96 for his entire career), Bonds and McGwire also had the luxury of playing not only in an era of expansion (and as a result, expansion pitching), but unlike a century ago, baseball now has to compete with the likes of football, basketball and soccer to attract young athletes. Not so over a hundred years ago.

I also wonder how well modern-day hitters would fare in a time when illegal pitches such as the shine ball, the emery ball, and of course, the spitter were de riguer for virtually every major league pitching staff. How well could they hit such pitches? One area in which I think modern hitters would have been severely disadvantaged in earlier times was the very liberal and accepted use of brush back pitches. Today, a pitcher gets a warning if he comes within sniffing distance of a hitter, but it was all part of the game back then. With their tendency to crowd the plate and dive out over the plate for pitches, today's hitters would have been in danger of getting killed in earlier times.

I think what's fascinating about baseball is that, while athletes have undoubtedly gotten bigger, stronger and faster over time, all of that has relatively little to do with the ability to put a bat on a ball or throw a perfectly-placed pitch. In other sports, no one in their right mind would ever argue that the 1940 Chicago Bears would be a match for the New England Patriots of today, or that the George Mikan-era Minneapolis Lakers could somehow keep up with Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, but baseball requires a very unique skill set which cannot be found in weight rooms or protein shakes.

Grover Cleveland Alexander vs. Bryce Harper. Or how about Clayton Kershaw vs. Shoeless Joe Jackson? I couldn't guarantee who would win, but I'd damn sure pay to see it.

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, mdrunning said:

One of my secret wishes has always been to go back in time and witness in person some of the old-time immortals such as Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Napoleon Lajoie, Tris Speaker, etc. How good were they, really, and could they duplicate their careers in the modern era?

I agree that pitchers of the early 20th century pretty much had things their own way. Not only was the ball much less lively (a result not because of inferior construction, but due to the practice of keeping one ball in the game for as long as possible), but the foul strike rule, implemented by the National League in 1901 and by the American League two years later. That certainly made things easier on pitchers.

What's interesting, however, is that, since the beginning of professional baseball in 1976, league averages for hitters has always been right around .260. For example, league averages soared in 1894 when the mound was moved back to its present distance of 60 feet, six inches (even ol' Denton True saw his ERA climb to 3.94 that year), but in just two years, there was a regression to the mean. Ty Cobb's .366 career batting average is even more remarkable when you consider that, for the large part of his career, the league batting average hovered somewhere around .240.

I like the comparison you used regarding players' performance in different eras, and on the surface, Christy Mathewson or Walter Johnson facing Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire would appear to be a classic mismatch favoring the latter two, but would it really be so? While homerun hitters of the deadball era were guys like Homerun Baker (who hit 96 for his entire career), Bonds and McGwire also had the luxury of playing not only in an era of expansion (and as a result, expansion pitching), but unlike a century ago, baseball now has to compete with the likes of football, basketball and soccer to attract young athletes. Not so over a hundred years ago.

I also wonder how well modern-day hitters would fare in a time when illegal pitches such as the shine ball, the emery ball, and of course, the spitter were de riguer for virtually every major league pitching staff. How well could they hit such pitches? One area in which I think modern hitters would have been severely disadvantaged in earlier times was the very liberal and accepted use of brush back pitches. Today, a pitcher gets a warning if he comes within sniffing distance of a hitter, but it was all part of the game back then. With their tendency to crowd the plate and dive out over the plate for pitches, today's hitters would have been in danger of getting killed in earlier times.

I think what's fascinating about baseball is that, while athletes have undoubtedly gotten bigger, stronger and faster over time, all of that has relatively little to do with the ability to put a bat on a ball or throw a perfectly-placed pitch. In other sports, no one in their right mind would ever argue that the 1940 Chicago Bears would be a match for the New England Patriots of today, or that the George Mikan-era Minneapolis Lakers could somehow keep up with Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, but baseball requires a very unique skill set which cannot be found in weight rooms or protein shakes.

Grover Cleveland Alexander vs. Bryce Harper. Or how about Clayton Kershaw vs. Shoeless Joe Jackson? I couldn't guarantee who would win, but I'd damn sure pay to see it.

 

 

 

 

 

Absolutely! What I would give for a time machine ! And you’ve touched on my next poll ( looks like you and I are the only participants . What I would like is 4 candidates that YOU would put to choose the pitcher GOAT since we have pretty much named the pros and cons of both eras. 

   The next poll will be on hittters GOAT. Hint: the pre - 1969 era hitters get the nod on this one. 😉

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15 hours ago, mdrunning said:

To me, Ryan shouldn't be on that list. Hall of Famer, sure, but I just don't consider him one of the top 20 of all time. 

Ryan's issues were that early in his career, he threw a ton of walks but also played on a lot of bad to mediocre teams.  But in his prime, for just the sheer intimidation factor and dominance in regards to the amount of hits he gave up per innings pitched(opposing batting average), not to mention his strikeout total, he would be in my Top 20. PItchers with that kind of stuff don't come around too often.  And like you, I'd rather not compare eras because today's hitters try so desperately to get themselves out. If players would have approached hitting the same way when Ryan was in his prime, he would have had over 400 strikeouts several times. 

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2 hours ago, mrdeltoid said:

Absolutely! What I would give for a time machine ! And you’ve touched on my next poll ( looks like you and I are the only participants . What I would like is 4 candidates that YOU would put to choose the pitcher GOAT since we have pretty much named the pros and cons of both eras. 

   The next poll will be on hittters GOAT. Hint: the pre - 1969 era hitters get the nod on this one. 😉

You mentioned a time machine...I found this video last week unintentionally and it had me completely mesmerized.  

 

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55 minutes ago, jamesdean said:

You mentioned a time machine...I found this video last week unintentionally and it had me completely mesmerized.  

 

WOW! Just WOW!! I didn’t realize Ruth had such a closed stance. That was awesome. Thanks JD!😎

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, mrdeltoid said:

WOW! Just WOW!! I didn’t realize Ruth had such a closed stance. That was awesome. Thanks JD!😎

Your welcome.  I figured a lot a guys on here would love this! 

Here's the boxscore from that game.  Too bad they didn't film Ruth's HR in the 7th inning. 

https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA193104140.shtml

 

Edited by jamesdean

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Posted (edited)

21 hours ago, mrdeltoid said:

Absolutely! What I would give for a time machine ! And you’ve touched on my next poll ( looks like you and I are the only participants . What I would like is 4 candidates that YOU would put to choose the pitcher GOAT since we have pretty much named the pros and cons of both eras. 

   The next poll will be on hittters GOAT. Hint: the pre - 1969 era hitters get the nod on this one. 😉

There are a lot of pitchers who would have a strong case for making such an elite group, and even then, I doubt if the selections would be anywhere near unanimous.

1. Walter Johnson - You just can't ignore those 417 wins, most of which came while playing for godawful teams. I'm not going to take up time and space reciting all of his career numbers, but let's just say that, for the most part, they simply boggle the mind. Twelve consecutive seasons of 20 wins or more, 11 seasons with an ERA below 2.00, and 110 shutouts, a record that may never be broken. Because he played for mostly lousy teams, not only does the Big Train hold the major league record for most 1-0 wins (38), but also 1-0 losses (26). Had he played for just decent clubs for much of his career, that award for pitchers might have a different name. 

2. Cy Young - Well, they did name the award after him, and he did win 511 games, a record that will almost certainly never be broken. His 749 career complete games isn't in much peril, either. Despite claims that the era in which he pitched somehow invalidate his accomplishments somewhat, most modern metrics demonstrate that ol' Denton True was an all-time great. He was also, despite rule and style changes of the time, one of the few pitchers to transition from the 19th to the 20th century and still dominate, something which many of his contemporaries were unable to do.

3. Greg Maddux - Arguably the greatest control pitcher ever. I obviously never saw Christy Mathewson, but Maddux was the modern day version of Matty (or is it the other way around?). The first pitcher to ever win four consecutive Cy Youngs, posting a 1.98 ERA and 75 wins over that span. At a time when homeruns were beginning to rule and ERA's were soaring upward, Maddux not only thrived, but completely dominated. Still the only pitcher to record over 300 wins, over 3,000 K's and less than 1,000 walks.

4. Bob Gibson - You know you're good when you're legislated against, and even though baseball's awful offensive season of 1968 probably would have resulted in some changes regardless, Gibson's sublime season at least served to hasten such moves. Gibson's 1968 season is arguably the greatest all-time for any player--pitcher or hitter--in the history of the game : 1.12 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and 5.8 hits allowed per nine innings. At the beginning of September that year, his ERA was 0.99. When he wasn't terrifying throwing off that high mound, he was just damn good the rest of the time with six consecutive 20-win seasons, which could have been seven had he not suffered a broken leg in 1967. Gibson's postseason dominance is the stuff of legend as well.

Also considered: Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Bob Feller, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Sandy Koufax, Lefty Grove, Warren Spahn, Steve Carlton, Satchell Paige, Tom Seaver, Roger Clemens.

 

 

 

Edited by mdrunning

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12 hours ago, mdrunning said:

There are a lot of pitchers who would have a strong case for making such an elite group, and even then, I doubt if the selections would be anywhere near unanimous.

1. Walter Johnson - You just can't ignore those 417 wins, most of which came while playing for godawful teams. I'm not going to take up time and space reciting all of his career numbers, but let's just say that, for the most part, they simply boggle the mind. Twelve consecutive seasons of 20 wins or more, 11 seasons with an ERA below 2.00, and 110 shutouts, a record that may never be broken. Because he played for mostly lousy teams, not only does the Big Train hold the major league record for most 1-0 wins (38), but also 1-0 losses (26). Had he played for just decent clubs for much of his career, that award for pitchers might have a different name. 

2. Cy Young - Well, they did name the award after him, and he did win 511 games, a record that will almost certainly never be broken. His 749 career complete games isn't in much peril, either. Despite claims that the era in which he pitched somehow invalidate his accomplishments somewhat, most modern metrics demonstrate that ol' Denton True was an all-time great. He was also, despite rule and style changes of the time, one of the few pitchers to transition from the 19th to the 20th century and still dominate, something which many of his contemporaries were unable to do.

3. Greg Maddux - Arguably the greatest control pitcher ever. I obviously never saw Christy Mathewson, but Maddux was the modern day version of Matty (or is it the other way around?). The first pitcher to ever win four consecutive Cy Youngs, posting a 1.98 ERA and 75 wins over that span. At a time when homeruns were beginning to rule and ERA's were soaring upward, Maddux not only thrived, but completely dominated. Still the only pitcher to record over 300 wins, over 3,000 K's and less than 1,000 walks.

4. Bob Gibson - You know you're good when you're legislated against, and even though baseball's awful offensive season of 1968 probably would have resulted in some changes regardless, Gibson's sublime season at least served to hasten such moves. Gibson's 1968 season is arguably the greatest all-time for any player--pitcher or hitter--in the history of the game : 1.12 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and 5.8 hits allowed per nine innings. At the beginning of September that year, his ERA was 0.99. When he wasn't terrifying throwing off that high mound, he was just damn good the rest of the time with six consecutive 20-win seasons, which could have been seven had he not suffered a broken leg in 1967. Gibson's postseason dominance is the stuff of legend as well.

Also considered: Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Bob Feller, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Sandy Koufax, Lefty Grove, Warren Spahn, Steve Carlton, Satchell Paige, Tom Seaver, Roger Clemens.

 

 

 

Those are 4 excellent choices. Of those 4 I would move Johnson and Maddux to the next round. Young , although mind boggling numbers, I can’t ignore his era, especially the beginning of his career. Gibson on the the other hand, in the era he pitched, would be my hands down winner, and first guy I’d hire if I was a GM back then. That said, he benefited from the high mound and rules more than most. Other than Drysdale, no other pitcher depended more on intimidation. Even Jim Palmer said if he had to pitch with today’s strike zone, he would’ve been not much more than average. I feel that Gibson would be in the same boat. It gives me a great idea though; what about a “ If you could have any pitcher on your team for 1 year “category ? I love it. 

I’ll be back with my four picks for you to pick apart and choose Two.B)

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18 hours ago, mdrunning said:

There are a lot of pitchers who would have a strong case for making such an elite group, and even then, I doubt if the selections would be anywhere near unanimous.

1. Walter Johnson - You just can't ignore those 417 wins, most of which came while playing for godawful teams. I'm not going to take up time and space reciting all of his career numbers, but let's just say that, for the most part, they simply boggle the mind. Twelve consecutive seasons of 20 wins or more, 11 seasons with an ERA below 2.00, and 110 shutouts, a record that may never be broken. Because he played for mostly lousy teams, not only does the Big Train hold the major league record for most 1-0 wins (38), but also 1-0 losses (26). Had he played for just decent clubs for much of his career, that award for pitchers might have a different name. 

2. Cy Young - Well, they did name the award after him, and he did win 511 games, a record that will almost certainly never be broken. His 749 career complete games isn't in much peril, either. Despite claims that the era in which he pitched somehow invalidate his accomplishments somewhat, most modern metrics demonstrate that ol' Denton True was an all-time great. He was also, despite rule and style changes of the time, one of the few pitchers to transition from the 19th to the 20th century and still dominate, something which many of his contemporaries were unable to do.

3. Greg Maddux - Arguably the greatest control pitcher ever. I obviously never saw Christy Mathewson, but Maddux was the modern day version of Matty (or is it the other way around?). The first pitcher to ever win four consecutive Cy Youngs, posting a 1.98 ERA and 75 wins over that span. At a time when homeruns were beginning to rule and ERA's were soaring upward, Maddux not only thrived, but completely dominated. Still the only pitcher to record over 300 wins, over 3,000 K's and less than 1,000 walks.

4. Bob Gibson - You know you're good when you're legislated against, and even though baseball's awful offensive season of 1968 probably would have resulted in some changes regardless, Gibson's sublime season at least served to hasten such moves. Gibson's 1968 season is arguably the greatest all-time for any player--pitcher or hitter--in the history of the game : 1.12 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and 5.8 hits allowed per nine innings. At the beginning of September that year, his ERA was 0.99. When he wasn't terrifying throwing off that high mound, he was just damn good the rest of the time with six consecutive 20-win seasons, which could have been seven had he not suffered a broken leg in 1967. Gibson's postseason dominance is the stuff of legend as well.

Also considered: Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Bob Feller, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Sandy Koufax, Lefty Grove, Warren Spahn, Steve Carlton, Satchell Paige, Tom Seaver, Roger Clemens.

 

 

 

1.Pedro Martinez : 219 W - 100 L ERA 2.93 WHIP 1.05  K 3,154 

2.Tom Seaver : 311W - 205 L, ERA- 2.86, WHIP - 1.12, K - 3,640

3.Jim Palmer : 268W - L152,  ERA - 2.86,  WHIP - 1.18, K - 2,212

4.Randy Johnson : 303W - L166 ERA - 3.29 WHIP - 1.17 K 4,875 

These are my guys and here's my choice technique : First I'll talk about the era in which they pitched. I would only put 2 in the top ten from pre -1969 and they would have to have crazy stats. The reason I didn't choose any from that group is because you took the only 2 I would put there. I must compliment you on your tastes. lol  So I consider how I believe they would fare in the other era. Among the 4 I did choose and I took into consideration the "steroid era" in which Pedro and Randy pitched in. Ok, so having said that, of all the stats, I consider ERA as THE most important stat. Even more so than wins, as the pitcher has no control over run production of their own team. After that, WHIP. Those two stats can tell you pretty much how good a pitcher is.  Wins and losses is the only stat that gives the post 1968 pitchers the advantage, and I say that because they really only need to pitch 6 innings and there's a good chance they get a win. Back in the day, pitchers had to pitch a crazy amount of innings to build a good win loss record as they didn't have the luxury of having a long man, set up man, Lhand/Rhand man and a closer to rely on. Strike outs comes in last. They're fun, but I don't care how the pitcher gets the out, just as long as he gets it.

    So there you have it. Thoughts and comments are not only welcome, but encouraged!:)

 

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On 4/8/2018 at 2:53 PM, Thirteen said:

Kershaw in the Top 10 and Ryan nowhere on the list?

Stupid.

I can't take this list seriously without Ryan. Didn't he throw like seven no hitters or something in that neighborhood?

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I have no problem with that list. All of these evaluations are subjective, and when you're comparing players across almost a hundred fifty years of baseball, it's basically impossible to get it right.

With that said, I think that Pedro probably should be higher, Kershaw is just fine where he is, and Nolan Ryan should probably be in the top 20.  However, I really think it's silly that they're comparing players from the dead ball era two players now. Something tells me that if Cy Young pitched in the major leagues today, he would get shelled, and that if you transported Randy Johnson back to the 1920s, it would be called the Randy Johnson award.  All you can do is compare players to their peers.  Everything else is a futile exercise, not to be taken seriously.

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5 hours ago, bmore_ken said:

I can't take this list seriously without Ryan. Didn't he throw like seven no hitters or something in that neighborhood?

Quite honestly, I have to agree with the exclusion of Ryan. 

Again, I have no problem with him being in the Hall of Fame for the simple reason he belongs there. I just don't think he rates among the 20 best of all time.

I know it's a strange thing to say about the all-time strikeout king, but what separates the immortals from Nolan Ryan is they threw more strikes than he did. Walter Johnson led the AL in strikeouts 12 times, but never in walks. Tom Seaver led the NL in strikeouts five times, but never in walks. The same for Christy Mathewson. Roger Clemens led the AL in strikeouts five times, but again, he never led the league in walks. Ryan led his league in strikeouts 11 times, but also led his league in walks eight times. He was a workhorse, a flamethrower, and could be absolutely terrifying to opposing hitters, but that still doesn't make him an all-time top-20 pitcher.

Ryan does have the distinction of being the first $1 million dollar per year ballplayer, when he signed with Houston in 1980 for three years and $3.1 million. When the contract was announced, jaws dropped all over baseball because no one considered Nolan Ryan to be worth that kind of money. At the time, he was more or less considered a hard-throwing underachiever.

 

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6 hours ago, mrdeltoid said:

1.Pedro Martinez : 219 W - 100 L ERA 2.93 WHIP 1.05  K 3,154 

2.Tom Seaver : 311W - 205 L, ERA- 2.86, WHIP - 1.12, K - 3,640

3.Jim Palmer : 268W - L152,  ERA - 2.86,  WHIP - 1.18, K - 2,212

4.Randy Johnson : 303W - L166 ERA - 3.29 WHIP - 1.17 K 4,875 

These are my guys and here's my choice technique : First I'll talk about the era in which they pitched. I would only put 2 in the top ten from pre -1969 and they would have to have crazy stats. The reason I didn't choose any from that group is because you took the only 2 I would put there. I must compliment you on your tastes. lol  So I consider how I believe they would fare in the other era. Among the 4 I did choose and I took into consideration the "steroid era" in which Pedro and Randy pitched in. Ok, so having said that, of all the stats, I consider ERA as THE most important stat. Even more so than wins, as the pitcher has no control over run production of their own team. After that, WHIP. Those two stats can tell you pretty much how good a pitcher is.  Wins and losses is the only stat that gives the post 1968 pitchers the advantage, and I say that because they really only need to pitch 6 innings and there's a good chance they get a win. Back in the day, pitchers had to pitch a crazy amount of innings to build a good win loss record as they didn't have the luxury of having a long man, set up man, Lhand/Rhand man and a closer to rely on. Strike outs comes in last. They're fun, but I don't care how the pitcher gets the out, just as long as he gets it.

    So there you have it. Thoughts and comments are not only welcome, but encouraged!:)

 

Of the four you listed, Pedro and the Big Unit were on the cusp of making my top four. In fact, if we were to do an all-time position-by-position team, Johnson and Sandy Koufax would be my candidates for the lefthanded SP.

Pedro is a guy who I definitely believe would have thrived in any era, so kudos on that choice. Had he pitched over 100 years ago, he would have fit right in because he wasn't afraid to come inside, something that was commonplace back then. Even though he would have faced great hitters back then, what he wouldn't have had to pitch against were juiced sluggers who could swing with one hand and send the ball out of the park. Tim Kurkjian once noted that Pedro's 1999-2000 seasons might be the greatest back-to-back years in baseball history. At that time, the American League ERA was 4.89 for those two years, while Pedro's was 1.90. And he accomplished that pitching half his games in a bandbox in Boston. Maybe the reason I didn't include him was his absolute prime was rather short-lived. 

Randy Johnson, well, he would have been the righthanded version of Walter Johnson, only taller. He would have scared the living hell out of everyone in any era from Ty Cobb (who, by the way, never hit Walter Johnson very well) to Ted Williams to Tony Gwynn. (And, of course, Jon Kruk.) If the Unit could have not waited until he was almost 30 to truly get his act together, his career numbers might be beyond belief.

Palmer surprised me a bit, if only because he doesn't have that single eye-popping stat beside his name. He didn't throw seven no-hitters, he didn't have 5000 K's (in fact, he accomplished much of what he did with rather pedestrian strikeout numbers), and he didn't reach 300 wins. But he was arguably the best pitcher in baseball during the 1970s, which given the fragility of pitcher's arms, is a helluva long time.

I think Palmer tends to get overlooked a bit because he not only played on very good teams for much of his career, but he also had the luxury of having three of the greatest defenders of all-time--Brooks, Belanger and Blair--at their respective positions, and another, Bobby Grich, who Bill James ranks among the top 20 defensive second basemen of all time. Palmer is kind of like what Wayne Gretzky was to hockey or Oscar Robertson to basketball in that he didn't have one skill which stood out from all the others. He just did everything well. (Now, if only he could have won that final game against Milwaukee in 1982. . .B))

Like Palmer, Seaver didn't lead the league in any statistical category that would catapult him to the forefront of people's minds, but he did for the Mets what Babe Ruth did for the Yankees--he made them relevant. In fact, along with Pete Rose, you could argue that he was the face of the National League during the 1970s. One thing I didn't realize about Seaver was that, when he retired, he ranked 14th overall in ERA at 2.81 of pitchers with at least 3,000 career innings. Of the 13 ranked ahead of him at the time, only one, Whitey Ford, did not pitch in the deadball era. I'm still not sure if I would put Seaver in my top 5 or 10, but I also must confess not knowing how favorably he stacked up against some of baseball's immortals.

I actually weighed strikeouts rather heavily when considering both Cy Young and the Big Train. Yes, homeruns were rarer than spotted owls during their time, but so were strikeouts. Wielding those heavy bats and choking up considerably, players back then didn't swing from their heels, and as a result, they didn't strike out much. In 1907, the year Walter Johnson broke in with Washington, the Cleveland Naps led the American League with 577 K's in 150 games. By comparison, in 2017 the Tampa Bay Rays led the American League with 1,538 strikeouts in 162 games. Cy Young led the fledgling American League in strikeouts with just 158 in 1901 (over a 140-game schedule), when the league average was just 436. Compare that to Chris Sale in 2017, who struck out 308 hitters against a league average of 1,370.

Of all the pre -World War II pitchers, the Big Train was far and away the strikeout king. Only two men even came within 1,000 strikeouts of his career marks. One was Cy Young, who retired the all-time leader in K's until passed by Johnson, and Tim Keefe, a 19th-century pitcher who played when the mound was only 45 feet from home plate. In the context of the time, both Johnson and Denton True got a lot of their outs the hard way.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Another reason this list can't be taken seriously:

Quote

14. Warren Spahn

Teams: Boston Braves, Milwaukee Braves, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Houston Astros

Edited by Thirteen

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