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  • Koufax and Guidry

    Take a look and tell me why Koufax lives on Olympus and Guidry needs a ticket to get in
    Gid 170-91 era 3.29 26 shutouts
    1978 was as dominating as any season anytime 25-3 1.74 with 9 shutouts
    done vs a dh using AL
    3 time 20 plus lifetime 3 to 1 K to BB ratio CY Young and ML Player of the year winner
    Koufax 165-87 era 2.76 40 shutouts in the high mound no dh NL
    Best year 25-5 1.88 11 shutouts
    3 time Cy Young MVP
    3 20 plus seasons
    3 to 1 K to BB ratio
    These two guys are pretty darn close especially when you take the DH of Guidrys era vs the lack of offense in Koufax salad days
    Gid also cost himself a few wins in his prime by hitting the pen during the season when the Yankees needed it

  • #2
    They pitched almost the same amount of innings, yet Koufax has a 131 ERA+ compared to 119 for Guidry. That's a sizeable gap. Guidry's '78 was definitely memorable and perhaps better than anything Koufax did, but Koufax's peak from '61-'66 is hard to match by anyone, and Guidry doesn't really come close. When you take their best 5 seasons, Koufax goes up to a whopping 168, while Guidry is at 146 (which is very good, but doesn't blow you away like Koufax). Plus, keep in mind that Koufax's peak consists of consecutive years, Guidry's are scattered more throughout his career. Furthermore, Guidry never pitched more than 273 innings in a year, while Koufax topped 300 three times, making him even more valuable at his best. Koufax also won 3 Cy Youngs and an MVP award compared to 1 Cy Young for Guidry.

    But I think the thing that really separates the two is how their careers played out. Guidry hung on struggled to stay on the field during the last few years of his career, finally calling it quits at 37. Koufax walked away, due to injury, at just 30 and after one of the best seasons of all time and the best 5 or 6 year stretches of all time. I think that really captures the imagination - wondering what could have been had Koufax's arm been able to hold up. Had Koufax pitched perhaps just 15-20 years later, advances in surgery and conditioning probably would have extended his career, certainly beyond just 30. So for Koufax, it's really how dominating he was by such a young age and how good he was when he walked away at such a young age.
    Last edited by DoubleX; 02-07-2008, 09:09 AM.

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    • #3
      --I would take Guidry's 1978 season over any Koufax season. Sandy had several seasons clearly better than any other Guidry season though. Koufax beats him on peak, prime and career. Guidry is not as far from the Hall as many would think though. He is probably better than Lefty Gomez and Herb Pennock, two Yankee lefthanders in the Hall (or Yankee righthanders Chesbro and Hoyt for that matter). You could make a reasonable arguement that Guidry is the second best pitcher in Yankee history (after Ford). I'm not sure I'd buy that argument, but it isn't unreasonable.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by lovethegame View Post
        Take a look and tell me why Koufax lives on Olympus and Guidry needs a ticket to get in
        Because Koufax's prime is one of the greatest peak values of any pitcher's career. So much so that the lackluster first-half of his career is carried not just to the Hall of Fame, but into the Top 20 all-time greatest pitchers. Guidry, on the other hand, didn't have nearly as a good a peak nor for nearly as long and likewise had a relatively lackluster other half to his career. Guidry, at his best, simply wasn't that rare a performance. Koufax, at his best, could be argued as the greatest pitcher ever.

        Neutral W-L
        161-91 Koufax
        153-108 Guidry

        Koufax's 161 NW were the 7th highest total during his career (1955-1966) and his NW% of .639 was easily the highest during that span among pitchers with at least 100 decisions. Guidry's 153 NW were good for 16th during his time (1975-1988), but among pitchers with at least 100 decisions, his NW% of .586 ranks a mere 17th. Guidry earned 8 fewer NW than Koufax in a career that lasted 4 years longer. The difference between a .639 team and a .586 team, I might point out, is 9 games in the standings.

        ERA+
        In a 12-year career, Koufax put up a 131 ERA+ in 2,324-1/3 innings. That was the 4th highest ERA+ of that time span among pitchers with 100+ decisions. Career-wise, Guidry's 119 career ERA+ in 2,392 innings (over 14 years), is only the 21st highest such mark among similar pitchers. There's really no comparison.

        Even during their peak years, Guidry's 123 ERA+ (1977-1985) can't touch Koufax's. Among pitchers with 100 decisions or more during that time, Guidry's ERA+ was good enough for 10th best during the best years of his career.

        Versus Their Peers
        From 1977-1982, Guidry was arguably the best pitcher in the game; Steve Carlton being the only other one with a legitimate claim to that title. For the first three years of that span, Guidry was clearly the best pitcher in the game; streching his peak to 5, 6 or 7 years though and Carlton's argument is equally valid.

        Sandy Koufax, on the other hand, wasn't just the best pitcher in the game for six years, but from 1961-1966 he put together what is arguably the greatest prime of any pitcher in history. Koufax's ERA+ during those six seasons was 21 points higher than the next best guy! That's dominance!


        These two guys are pretty darn close especially when you take the DH of Guidrys era vs the lack of offense in Koufax salad days
        No, not really. Guidry was the best pitcher in the game for 3 years. Koufax for 6. Koufax's best was considerably better relative to his peers than Guidry's. We can account for the different run scoring environment and Koufax was still head-and-shoulders above Guidry both at their best and throughout their careers.

        Gid also cost himself a few wins in his prime by hitting the pen during the season when the Yankees needed it
        Koufax spent 21% of his games in the pen; Guidry, less than 13%. Koufax relieved in 38 more games than Guidry did. This argument doesn't hold much water.

        The bottom line is the two aren't that similar except in the sense that both were the best pitcher in baseball for several seasons at their best and both had relatively short/unproductive other halves of their careers. Koufax is in the Hall because what he did during his peak was sufficient to catapult him in there. Guidry's peak just wasn't good enough to do likewise.
        "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
        "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
        "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
        "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

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        • #5
          Koufax is just a monstrous presence in the minds of those that saw him pitch. For Guidry to even be mentioned with him is a clear sign of respect for his career. And while it has no bearing on the evaluation of their careers Koufax's performance in the 7th game on 1965 World Series is the stuff of legend.
          Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

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          • #6
            Originally posted by KCGHOST View Post
            Koufax is just a monstrous presence in the minds of those that saw him pitch. For Guidry to even be mentioned with him is a clear sign of respect for his career. And while it has no bearing on the evaluation of their careers Koufax's performance in the 7th game on 1965 World Series is the stuff of legend.
            In that game, Sandy shut out the Twins 2-0, giving up just 3 hits and striking out 10. It’s no small detail to point out that just two days earlier, he had shut out the Twins on 4 hits, again striking out 10.

            While those two games are a testament to his big-game ability, I've always been awed by what he did down the stretch that year, carrying the Dodgers to the pennant:

            9/25/65: Shuts out the Cards, 2-0 on five hits, fanning 12 and pulling the Dodgers within one game of the first-place Giants.

            9/29/65: Just four days later, shuts out the Reds 5-0, yielding just 2 hits and fanning 13, pushing the Dodgers two games ahead of the Giants.

            10/2/65: Three days later, beats the Braves 2-1 to clinch the pennant, yielding just 4 hits and fanning 13.

            Three complete-game “must” wins in 8 days.

            And in a mirror-image performance the following year…

            9/29/66: 4-hits the Cards in a 2-1 win, striking out 13.

            10/2/66: Three days later, beats the Phillies 6-3, striking out 10 and clinching the pennant.

            He was awesome, and it was a privilege to see him pitch.

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            • #7
              Koufax is 12th in Black Ink, Guidry 52nd.
              Koufax is 91st in Gray Ink, Guidry 109th
              Koufax is 48th in HOF standards, Guidry 78th
              Koufax was a 7 time All-Star, Guidry 4
              Koufax was 70th in MVP shares, Guidry 284th
              Koufax was 9th in Cy Young Award Shares, Guidry 15th.
              Koufax won 5 ERA titles, Guidry 2.
              Koufax led in wins 3 times, Guidry 2
              Koufax led in strikeouts 4 times, Guidry 0
              Koufax won the pitching triple crown (ERA, wins, strikeouts) 3 times, Guidry 0

              Guidry was very good. Koufax was better.
              Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
              Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
              A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by lovethegame View Post
                These two guys are pretty darn close especially when you take the DH of Guidrys era vs the lack of offense in Koufax salad days
                Others have replied in terms of ERA+ which is appropriate because ERA is one important element of the opening statement. ERA+ is ERA adjusted at the season level for environmental factor of overall run-scoring. ERA+ 131 means that an average pitcher in his conditions gave up 31% more runs than Koufax; compare 19% more runs than Guidry.

                The only DH effects not covered are
                1.
                long-term effect as a pitcher - the possibility that from year to year Guidry and contemporaries wear out sooner than pitchers before 1972. (The more difficult job within-season, on the other hand, is handled by the comparison to an average pitcher.)
                2.
                effect of batting - Koufax faced some greater chance of injury (eg, hit by pitch) and he was more likely to get tired running the bases. He did reach base 15% of the time!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by leecemark View Post
                  --I would take Guidry's 1978 season over any Koufax season. Sandy had several seasons clearly better than any other Guidry season though. Koufax beats him on peak, prime and career. Guidry is not as far from the Hall as many would think though. He is probably better than Lefty Gomez and Herb Pennock, two Yankee lefthanders in the Hall (or Yankee righthanders Chesbro and Hoyt for that matter). You could make a reasonable arguement that Guidry is the second best pitcher in Yankee history (after Ford). I'm not sure I'd buy that argument, but it isn't unreasonable.
                  I'd probably take Guidry's '78 over Koufax's '66 as well, but it's very close. I think the most valuable thing a pitcher can do is rack up innings, and Koufax did pitch 45 more innings than Guidry that year, so that closes the ERA+ and WHIP gap a great deal to me. Of course, Guidry pitched with the DH and without the mound, so that puts back the gap again to some degree. But when you get to that level of dominance, statistics really just become a thing for aesthetics stake - either way, both Koufax and Guidry were amazing and going to dominate in most every game at a high level in those years - the fact that Koufax could do it for 45 more innings is big for me.

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                  • #10
                    the point about Gids pen outings is that he did it during his peak years to benefit the team.
                    Koufax did his when he was coming up and couldn't get the ball over the plate.
                    Gid lost starts in years he won 18 and 17 games.
                    2 more twenty win seasons may very well change the look at him
                    Koufax like Jim Brown quit on top and never looked back thus leaving the taste of brilliance in our minds

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                    • #11
                      It's silly to assert that Guidry is in the same class as Koufax. He's not, and for all of the reasons suggested.

                      That Guidry wasn't as good as Koufax doesn't mean he wasn't a legit HOFer. Despite his shortened career, he was truly a great pitcher. His case for the HOF is, IMO, better than the cases for Jim Rice and Andre Dawson, and I would have put Guidry in the HOF before Sutter and Gossage.
                      "I do not care if half the league strikes. Those who do it will encounter quick retribution. All will be suspended and I don't care if it wrecks the National League for five years. This is the United States of America and one citizen has as much right to play as another. The National League will go down the line with Robinson whatever the consequences. You will find if you go through with your intention that you have been guilty of complete madness."

                      NL President Ford Frick, 1947

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                      • #12
                        --Guidry made the majors very late for a pitcher of his talent, being 26 years old before he stuck in the majors. He was a very good pitcher his first year and had his historically great season in his second. If he could have just had some decent years at 23/24/25 that could have put him over the hump for the Hall of Fame. Anyone know why he didn't get a shot earlier?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by lovethegame View Post
                          the point about Gids pen outings is that he did it during his peak years to benefit the team.
                          Koufax did his when he was coming up and couldn't get the ball over the plate.
                          Gid lost starts in years he won 18 and 17 games.
                          2 more twenty win seasons may very well change the look at him
                          Koufax like Jim Brown quit on top and never looked back thus leaving the taste of brilliance in our minds
                          Did he do it to benefit the team, or was he injured? I'm asking, I don't know.

                          The reason I'm speculating some sort of injury is because all of his bullpen sessions in 1980 came consecutively. He made a start on August 18 and again on September 16, with no starts in between but 8 relief appearances in between

                          Anyone know why he was used in the bullpen during that time?

                          He only had three relief appearances in 1979, the year he won 18 games, and had a win in one of them, so it is a stretch to say he would have won 20 without the relief appearances.

                          It is a stretch in 1980, too. He missed about 5 starts during the peirod he was relieving, during which time he got 1 win. He had 17 total wins. So with no relief appearances, he would have had to have won 4 of his 5 starts to get to 20 wins. Possible, but you can't assume he would have had it.

                          You also say that Koufax had his relief appearances while coming up. Guidry had 22 of his first 24 appearances of his career in relief. He only had 21 reliefe appearances after that, 8 consecutively as mentioned above. Koufax also had 21 relief appearances during the last 7 years of his career, but you are correct that most were before he started dominating.

                          I just don't see this relief angle making a difference in the comparison

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                          • #14
                            --In 1980 Guidry moved to the bullpen when Goose Gossage got injured. The Yankees had a surplus of SP (or thought they did anyway) and nobody else they trusted to close. Guidry volunteered to fill the gap. Probably not the best choice for him or the team, although they did end up winning the division so maybe not.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by leecemark View Post
                              --Guidry made the majors very late for a pitcher of his talent, being 26 years old before he stuck in the majors. He was a very good pitcher his first year and had his historically great season in his second. If he could have just had some decent years at 23/24/25 that could have put him over the hump for the Hall of Fame. Anyone know why he didn't get a shot earlier?
                              I checked his minor league career. He was drafted at age 20 in 1971. Just looking at his minor league record he had a very good strikeout rates but his walk rates were completely awful. I suspect that is what kept him back.


                              BB rates (BB/9)
                              1971- 5.17
                              1972- 6.82
                              1973- 6.24
                              1974- 6.19
                              1975- 5.37
                              1975- 5.17 (With the Yankees, 10 G)

                              But then in 1976 his walk rates dropped dramatically. He must have made some adjustment that got his walk rates under control.

                              1976- 2.25
                              1977- 2.78
                              1978- 2.37
                              1979- 2.70
                              1980- 3.28
                              1981- 1.84
                              1982- 2.80
                              1983- 2.16
                              1984- 2.04
                              1985- 1.46

                              Here is his career (minor and major league) line.

                              http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...n-Guidry.shtml
                              Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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