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  #1  
Old 06-09-2018, 05:19 PM
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Default Best Season ever by a ML pitcher?

I saw a couple of Greg Maddux beauties with Atlanta, and I'm a tad bias because of T206s, but my vote goes to Jack Chesbro in 1904. He was 41-12 with a 1.74 ERA. He pitched an incredible 455 Innings with 48 complete games. He also only allowed 4 HR's for the entire season.....

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Old 06-09-2018, 05:51 PM
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Walter Johnson in 1913. 36-7 1.14 ERA 11 shutouts ERA+ 259 WHIP .78.
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Old 06-09-2018, 05:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMIZ5290 View Post
I saw a couple of Greg Maddux beauties with Atlanta, and I'm a tad bias because of T206s, but my vote goes to Jack Chesbro in 1904. He was 41-12 with a 1.74 ERA. He pitched an incredible 455 Innings with 48 complete games. He also only allowed 4 HR's for the entire season.....
Definitely hard to top that.
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Old 06-09-2018, 06:18 PM
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Walter Johnson in 1913. 36-7 1.14 ERA 11 shutouts ERA+ 259 WHIP .78.
How does that mind-boggling season compare with Gibson's 1.12 or the season Pedro was something like 2 runs better than the next guy in ERA?
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Old 06-09-2018, 06:19 PM
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Pedro Martinez in 1999 and 2000, during the height of the steroid era.

When guys like Richard Hildago and Brett Boone were putting up Mike Trout like offensive stats, 150 lb Pedro dominated them all.

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Old 06-09-2018, 06:23 PM
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Steve Carlton's 1972 season is also always in the running when this topic comes up -- 27 wins on a team that won only 59 games.
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Old 06-09-2018, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMIZ5290 View Post
I saw a couple of Greg Maddux beauties with Atlanta, and I'm a tad bias because of T206s, but my vote goes to Jack Chesbro in 1904. He was 41-12 with a 1.74 ERA. He pitched an incredible 455 Innings with 48 complete games. He also only allowed 4 HR's for the entire season.....
I would vote for the 1908 season for Ed Walsh:

40-15 with a 1.42 ERA. 464 innings pitched with 42 complete games and 6 saves. 269 K's against only 56 walks. 11 shutouts and a WHIP of 0.86. Only gave up 2 gopher balls for the season too...
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Old 06-09-2018, 06:32 PM
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Tough to beat Ed Walsh or Chesbro... Koufax had a few amazing years (obviously).

How about his 1965 stats:

26-8 with 27 Complete games, 335 IPs, 2.04 ERA, 8 shut outs, 382 Strikeouts, plus he threw a perfect game that year.
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Old 06-09-2018, 06:34 PM
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Any Tobacco-era pitcher with good seasons is more impressive, to me, than pitchers today. Half the league was batting above .300 back then, with several guys putting up .400+ for BA.
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Old 06-09-2018, 06:49 PM
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Any Tobacco-era pitcher with good seasons is more impressive, to me, than pitchers today. Half the league was batting above .300 back then, with several guys putting up .400+ for BA.
Yes but they weren't hitting home runs.
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Old 06-09-2018, 06:52 PM
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Yes but they weren't hitting home runs.
Very true, but what's the trade off between consistently moving the line along, and hitting HRs but striking out 200+ times a year?
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Old 06-09-2018, 07:01 PM
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How does that mind-boggling season compare with Gibson's 1.12 or the season Pedro was something like 2 runs better than the next guy in ERA?
Gibson was 22-9 with 13 shutouts and .853 WHIP. Pedro only started 29 games and pitched less than 220 innings. Johnson pitched 346 innings and won 7 more games than Pedro pitched. Pedro isn't in the discussion with guys that pitched 50%+ more innings.
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Old 06-09-2018, 07:41 PM
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The average starting pitcher in 68 had a sub 3.00 ERA, and the mound was lowered the next year and pitchers hit. I think I would take Pedro.
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Old 06-09-2018, 08:01 PM
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The assertion that half the hitters of the deadball era hit .300 is not correct. For example, during the great Ed Walsh season of 1908, there were only three .300 hitters in the American League - Cobb, Crawford and Gessler. People see the great batting averages of players like Cobb and Wagner, and assume there were lots of players in their day who had high averages. Not true. It is a testament to their greatness that they outhit the league average by a wide margin season after season. Some of the lowest league averages in baseball history occurred during the deadball era. Hard as this may be to believe, we tend to underestimate the greatness of Cobb and Wagner, and Speaker and Lajoie as well.
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Old 06-09-2018, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
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The assertion that half the hitters of the deadball era hit .300 is not correct. For example, during the great Ed Walsh season of 1908, there were only three .300 hitters in the American League - Cobb, Crawford and Gessler. People see the great batting averages of players like Cobb and Wagner, and assume there were lots of players in their day who had high averages. Not true. It is a testament to their greatness that they outhit the league average by a wide margin season after season. Some of the lowest league averages in baseball history occurred during the deadball era. Hard as this may be to believe, we tend to underestimate the greatness of Cobb and Wagner, and Speaker and Lajoie as well.
I stand corrected. Thank you.
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Old 06-09-2018, 08:12 PM
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Would it be better to break this up into eras?
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  #17  
Old 06-09-2018, 08:16 PM
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In regards to Koufax's 1965 season. He was also the winning pitcher in the All-Star game. In the World Series, he won games 5 and 7 with complete game shutouts. He was truly Mr. October!
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Old 06-09-2018, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
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Would it be better to break this up into eras?
Agreed. It’s way too difficult to compare players from the different eras. In a lot of respects it’s almost like two different games altogether.
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Old 06-09-2018, 08:45 PM
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You could argue that it's even more than two eras when it comes to pitching. The deadball era was just that. The ball was soft, pitchers were allowed to score, scuff and dirty it up which not only allowed them to put more english on their pitches, but it made the ball much more difficult to see for hitters.

Then there's the first several decades of the liveball era in which pitchers still had a higher mound, but also still pitched complete games for the most part. Then the mound was lowered and relief pitchers and righty-lefty specialism became the norm. Then the steroid era came along. And since the mid-aughts or so, since the testing has taken over, we're in a new era.

So it could be argued that there is a pre-MLB era of before 1900 or so, the deadball era of the beginning of the 20th century through the early 20s when the ball was changed. The 20s through the 60s, where while there were certainly changes in the game, the pitchers were still expected to pitch complete games and the ball was roughly the same. Then the lowering of the mound at the end of the 60s and the growth in popularity of the reliever. And then the late 80s through the early aughts would be the steroid era.

Sheesh, that was a mouthful. But if you're going to be totally fair and impartial about the greatest pitchers of all time, the parameters of their eras are important.
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Old 06-09-2018, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rats60 View Post
Walter Johnson in 1913. 36-7 1.14 ERA 11 shutouts ERA+ 259 WHIP .78.
+1. Best season ever. My second choice would be Maddux in 1995 or Gooden in 1985.
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  #21  
Old 06-09-2018, 09:04 PM
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Gibson was 22-9 with 13 shutouts and .853 WHIP. Pedro only started 29 games and pitched less than 220 innings. Johnson pitched 346 innings and won 7 more games than Pedro pitched. Pedro isn't in the discussion with guys that pitched 50%+ more innings.
I believe Gibson had a stretch in 1968 whete he gave up only 2 earned runs in 98 innings. That’s absolutely unfathomable!!!!

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Old 06-09-2018, 09:06 PM
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I believe Gibson had a stretch in 1968 whete he gave up only 2 earned runs in 98 innings. That’s absolutely unfathomable!!!!
And knowing how Gibson was, he was probably pissed off that he allowed those.
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Old 06-09-2018, 09:07 PM
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Ron Guidry 1978 in the discussion
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  #24  
Old 06-09-2018, 09:18 PM
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I believe Gibson had a stretch in 1968 whete he gave up only 2 earned runs in 98 innings. That’s absolutely unfathomable!!!!
Those 2 runs were scored on a wild pitch that was catchable and a bloop double. In addition to 13 shutouts, Gibson pitched 11 games where he allowed only 1 run including 2 where the run was unearned.

For the live ball era, I would take Koufax's 1965 season when you factor in his World Series MVP performance.
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Old 06-09-2018, 09:27 PM
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The Big Unit's 372 K season.
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Old 06-09-2018, 09:46 PM
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How has nobody brought up Lefty Grove in 1931?? The absolute height of the hitters' era, he goes 31-4!
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Old 06-09-2018, 09:53 PM
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Those 2 runs were scored on a wild pitch that was catchable and a bloop double. In addition to 13 shutouts, Gibson pitched 11 games where he allowed only 1 run including 2 where the run was unearned.

For the live ball era, I would take Koufax's 1965 season when you factor in his World Series MVP performance.
Here is my issue with Post-1990 great starting pitchers. They seldom finished what they started. Not to say that’s their fault because the game has changed to a relief pitcher fest. Consider as great as Pedro’s 1999 & 2000 seasons were, he only completed 12 games out of 58 starts, or a meager 21% of his games. Make no mistake about it, the TOUGHEST outs in baseball are the final 3-6 outs, and starting pitchers simply don’t have to get them anymore. Those are the outs that cause the most stress on the arm (in any tight ball game), and at this juncture, starters can simply gas up for 6/7 innings and give the ball up to the next guy. In 1968, Gibson completed 28 of his 34 starts and as you stated, gave up 1 or 0 runs in 24 of those 34 starts. You can adjust Pedro’s stats all you want with sabermettics, but even sabermetrics doesn’t measure the superiority of a pitcher that gets all 27 outs. That’s a MAJOR piece of analysis that Bill Jsmes has left on the table. Personally, due to his fragile size, I simply don’t think Pedro could have handled the innings workload of a Gibson, Seaver, Carlton, etc. just my two cents.

With that in mind and as a quick analogy, look how critical a great relief pitcher has been weighted over the past 30+ years. If a legendary pitcher such as Mariano Rivera was so valuable to a team’s success (which he was), then imagine how great pre-1980 HOF pitchers truly were because in reality and by today’s standards, they were literally “saving their own wins”! There is NO substitute for the value of a starting pitcher who completes what he starts which is why comparing starters from the past 30+ years versus their pre-1990 (give or take) peers is becoming a near-imposdible comparison.

Last edited by Vintageclout; 06-09-2018 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 06-09-2018, 10:02 PM
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The game has changed. Judgments have been made that for the most part a team is better off using the bullpen even when the starter is going strong. It's not the pitchers' fault or a case of they don't make em like they used to. If the great pitchers of today had lived earlier, they would have been pitching complete games. Maybe someone like Pedro who was unusually small for a flamethrower is an exception, but in general there is no reason at all to suppose pitchers in general were better back then.
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Old 06-09-2018, 10:09 PM
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Piggybacking off of my last post, Pedro Martinez pitched 18 years and averaged only 157+ innings pitched per season. During his sensational 5-year stretch he had one 241 inning season (his most ever), one 230 inning year and 3 seasons with less than 220 innings. Minimal workload for sure for a team’s ace in the A.L. where there is no pinch hitting for a pitcher. Once again, Pedro was a truly spectacular pitcher but I’ll take the “other” spectacular pitcher who either gets me thru 8 innings or completes what he starts. A MAJOR difference between the two.

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Old 06-09-2018, 10:13 PM
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I believe that the best modern day season is Greg Maddux's 1995 season. 19-2, 1.63 ERA, 10CG and 3 shutouts, only 23 walks and 1 wild pitch. Pedro Martinez can't hold a candle to that.
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Old 06-09-2018, 10:15 PM
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How about Maddux 1997 when he walked 20 the entire year, 6 intentionally. That is scary good control.
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Old 06-09-2018, 10:17 PM
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On top of that, zero wild pitches in 97
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Old 06-09-2018, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintageclout View Post
Piggybacking off of my last post, Pedro Martinez pitched 18 years and averaged only 157+ innings pitched per season. During his sensational 5-year stretch he had one 241 inning season (his most ever), one 230 inning year and 3 seasons with less than 220 innings. Minimal workload for sure for a team’s ace in the A.L. where there is no pinch hitting for a pitcher. Once again, Pedro was a truly spectacular pitcher but I’ll take the “other” spectacular pitcher who either gets me thru 8 innings or completes what he starts. A MAJOR difference between the two.
True, but Pedro threw an insane amount of strikeouts in those innings. More per 9 innings on average than Bob Gibson or Greg Maddux ever did.
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Old 06-09-2018, 10:36 PM
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True, but Pedro threw an insane amount of strikeouts in those innings. More per 9 innings on average than Bob Gibson or Greg Maddux ever did.
Maddux was never a strikeout pitcher so that’s a given. True about Pedro’s K’s; definitely a sensational ratio. However, my point is when a pitcher is “coddled” like many of the Post-1990 starters, it allows them to unload their best stuff for roughly 7 innings. ZERO concern over pacing themselves for the 9 inning journey. If anyone thinks that is not a HUGE advantage for the Post-1980 pitcher, they are fooling themselves. For example: Watching the Met-Yankee game last tonight, I noticed deGrom finally pitched into the 8th inning. And what happened? Gardner unloaded a 2-rum HR To beat him. Point being deGrom literally NEVER goes past the 7th inning. Welcome Jacob to the world of the pre-1980’s pitcher!
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Old 06-09-2018, 10:43 PM
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That's what made Maddux so enjoyable to watch. He wasn't going to blow you away, he was just going to make you look pitiful as you hit a weak grounder or harmless fly. And by late in the game the strike zone was going to be much wider than the plate.
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Old 06-10-2018, 12:45 AM
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Probably like comparing apples and fish (as opposed to apples and oranges) but someone on this site has to advocate for Old Hoss Radbourn's 1884 season :
59-12 with 441 Ks and he literally carried his Providence team to the NL pennant... Radbourn was the pitching staff down the stretch when the Providence club took over the league lead and won the title.... and then he led them to three victories in the earliest antecedent to the World Series over the American Association NY team (he did not allow any runs).

https://www.baseball-reference.com/p...adboch01.shtml

Really he did probably did pitch the same game that Kershaw does today or even the same one that Koufax, Grove or Walter Johnson did but still....

https://calltothepen.com/2017/12/11/...hoss-radbourn/
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Old 06-10-2018, 01:10 AM
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For live ball I like to consider the postseason too, and Orel Hershiser's 1988 was unwordly. 3 wins and a save in the postseason, the scoreless inning streak, untouchable that year.

Jake Arrieta's 2015 was amazing, and I second the 1978 season for Ron Guidry as being up there.

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Old 06-10-2018, 01:53 AM
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Best ERA+ is a season ever (shown below). Not a perfect indicator, but helps normalize the data across eras (by comparing ERA to others in the same season).

Keefe's 1880 season he only pitched 105 innings, but BP includes pitchers that pitched more innings than the team played games, and the Troy Trojans only played 83 games that season which is why he is on the list.

Pedro's 2000 season tops the list by a decent margin. Leonard's 1914 he went 19-5 with a .96 ERA.

No one in recent memory will have the counting stats that the players in the late 1800's/early 1900's had, as it is a different game today so there's definitely arguments either way. For me, it's Pedro's 2000 season.


Rank Player (age that year) Adjusted ERA+ Year Throws
1. Tim Keefe+ (23) 293 1880 R
2. Pedro Martinez+ (28) 291 2000 R
3. Dutch Leonard (22) 279 1914 L
4. Greg Maddux+ (28) 271 1994 R
5. Greg Maddux+ (29) 260 1995 R
6. Walter Johnson+ (25) 259 1913 R
7. Bob Gibson+ (32) 258 1968 R
8. Mordecai Brown+ (29) 253 1906 R
9. Walter Johnson+ (24) 243 1912 R
Pedro Martinez+ (27) 243 199
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Old 06-10-2018, 04:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Topnotchsy View Post
Best ERA+ is a season ever (shown below). Not a perfect indicator, but helps normalize the data across eras (by comparing ERA to others in the same season).

Keefe's 1880 season he only pitched 105 innings, but BP includes pitchers that pitched more innings than the team played games, and the Troy Trojans only played 83 games that season which is why he is on the list.

Pedro's 2000 season tops the list by a decent margin. Leonard's 1914 he went 19-5 with a .96 ERA.

No one in recent memory will have the counting stats that the players in the late 1800's/early 1900's had, as it is a different game today so there's definitely arguments either way. For me, it's Pedro's 2000 season.


Rank Player (age that year) Adjusted ERA+ Year Throws
1. Tim Keefe+ (23) 293 1880 R
2. Pedro Martinez+ (28) 291 2000 R
3. Dutch Leonard (22) 279 1914 L
4. Greg Maddux+ (28) 271 1994 R
5. Greg Maddux+ (29) 260 1995 R
6. Walter Johnson+ (25) 259 1913 R
7. Bob Gibson+ (32) 258 1968 R
8. Mordecai Brown+ (29) 253 1906 R
9. Walter Johnson+ (24) 243 1912 R
Pedro Martinez+ (27) 243 199
ERA+ is a bad measure to use. It assumes that the level of pitching is equal. The pitching in the AL in 2000 was pretty bad. Looking at the top 10, there are no other Hofers anywhere to be found with only Clemens as a decent starting pitcher. In 1968, there were 10 more Hof pitchers in the NL along with Gibson. The league ERA was lower not only because of the higher mound, but because of the high quality of pitchers in the league. Same with Koufax in 1965, 10 other Hof pitchers in the NL.
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Old 06-10-2018, 04:57 AM
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Joe Wood, 1912. 34 and 5 regular season, 3 and 1 World Series. 10 shutouts.
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  #41  
Old 06-10-2018, 06:06 AM
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Ron Guidry went 25-3 in 1978. What a shutdown season he had. From my personal standpoint, he gets the award for my lifetime.
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Old 06-10-2018, 06:32 AM
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How come no one is mentioning Denny Mc Lain in 1968??

31 - 6. 1.96 ERA and 280 K's.

Plus win in game 6 of series.

The ONLY pitcher to win 30 games since 1934!
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Old 06-10-2018, 09:57 AM
Topnotchsy Topnotchsy is offline
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Originally Posted by rats60 View Post
ERA+ is a bad measure to use. It assumes that the level of pitching is equal. The pitching in the AL in 2000 was pretty bad. Looking at the top 10, there are no other Hofers anywhere to be found with only Clemens as a decent starting pitcher. In 1968, there were 10 more Hof pitchers in the NL along with Gibson. The league ERA was lower not only because of the higher mound, but because of the high quality of pitchers in the league. Same with Koufax in 1965, 10 other Hof pitchers in the NL.
That's definitely an interesting thought. I'm curious (genuinely... not being sarcastic) how you are separate external factors from the quality of the players.

The reason I say this is because looking at the late 90's and early 00's, I feel like many of the best pitchers in that era are getting the short end of the stick because we compare their ERA and other stats to eras without steroids and other factors.

Just looking at the 2000 Cy Young Award race, you had Tim Hudson, Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina. Only Mussina will likely make the Hall (and of course there's Pedro), but IMO when taking era into account, all 3 had a reasonable (albeit not overwhelming) case. In the NL that season players getting Cy Young votes include Randy Johnson, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Kevin Brown. The first 3 are already enshrined, and IMO Brown deserved much more serious consideration.

We have the steroid era and we have an era where the mound was higher among other factors, and our basic metrics to compare players (wins, ERA etc) don't consider any difference in eras. Given this, it is not a surprise to me that the 60's had way more HOF pitchers.

I'm just not sure how much of that is tied to the players and how much is tied to the circumstances.
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Old 06-10-2018, 10:10 AM
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Am I right that the only HOF starting pitchers with a rookie card from 1969 through 1983 are Jack Morris, himself a dubious selection, and Bert Blyleven? If so that's kind of strange, for a 15 year period, no?
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Old 06-10-2018, 10:26 AM
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Pedro Martinez in 1999 and 2000, during the height of the steroid era.

When guys like Richard Hildago and Brett Boone were putting up Mike Trout like offensive stats, 150 lb Pedro dominated them all.
I was going to say Pedro as well. Lights out and even in the toughest division during the era
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Old 06-10-2018, 10:50 AM
Topnotchsy Topnotchsy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter_Spaeth View Post
Am I right that the only HOF starting pitchers with a rookie card from 1969 through 1983 are Jack Morris, himself a dubious selection, and Bert Blyleven? If so that's kind of strange, for a 15 year period, no?
I feel like the standards for the HOF (300 wins, low ERA) have not done a great job of being adjusted for era.

Obviously some eras had better pitchers than others, but there are a couple of eras that seem incredibly underrepresented.
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Old 06-10-2018, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Topnotchsy View Post
That's definitely an interesting thought. I'm curious (genuinely... not being sarcastic) how you are separate external factors from the quality of the players.

The reason I say this is because looking at the late 90's and early 00's, I feel like many of the best pitchers in that era are getting the short end of the stick because we compare their ERA and other stats to eras without steroids and other factors.

Just looking at the 2000 Cy Young Award race, you had Tim Hudson, Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina. Only Mussina will likely make the Hall (and of course there's Pedro), but IMO when taking era into account, all 3 had a reasonable (albeit not overwhelming) case. In the NL that season players getting Cy Young votes include Randy Johnson, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Kevin Brown. The first 3 are already enshrined, and IMO Brown deserved much more serious consideration.

We have the steroid era and we have an era where the mound was higher among other factors, and our basic metrics to compare players (wins, ERA etc) don't consider any difference in eras. Given this, it is not a surprise to me that the 60's had way more HOF pitchers.

I'm just not sure how much of that is tied to the players and how much is tied to the circumstances.
Well those pitchers had to pitch to Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Willie Mccovey, Orlando Cepeda, Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Lou Brock, Willie Stargell, Richie Allen, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Eddie Mathews (1965), Frank Robinson (1965) and Johnny Bench (1968). Even on steroids, there wasn't more talent in the 90s or 2000s.
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Old 06-10-2018, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter_Spaeth View Post
Am I right that the only HOF starting pitchers with a rookie card from 1969 through 1983 are Jack Morris, himself a dubious selection, and Bert Blyleven? If so that's kind of strange, for a 15 year period, no?
Actually between 1971 and 1987, there is only one, Jack Morris, who was elected by the veterans committee. He has the highest ERA of any pitcher in the HOF and many feel he doesn't belong.
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Old 06-10-2018, 11:28 AM
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Actually between 1971 and 1987, there is only one, Jack Morris, who was elected by the veterans committee. He has the highest ERA of any pitcher in the HOF and many feel he doesn't belong.
Well, but for steroids, Clemens obviously is in. In any case, any thoughts on why there is such an apparent dearth of pitchers over such a long period?
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Old 06-10-2018, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Topnotchsy View Post
I feel like the standards for the HOF (300 wins, low ERA) have not done a great job of being adjusted for era.

Obviously some eras had better pitchers than others, but there are a couple of eras that seem incredibly underrepresented.
I feel like the 50s and 60s had the best players and into the 70s, but the talent has been on the decline. My reasoning is that at this time baseball was the National pastime and #1 sport in our country. In the 70s, the NFL took over from MLB and a lot of talent was siphoned off. Then in the 80s with Magic, Bird and Jordan the NBA rose up to challenge MLB for #2, siphoning off more talent. Some of that has been off set by foreign players, but not enough. We are seeing a bump in talent in recent years, but I don't think we will ever see the talent level of the post war baby boomer era when baseball was king.
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