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Gooden '85 vs. Koufax '65

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  • Gooden '85 vs. Koufax '65

    Koufax's '65 is real good and hard to top. But, it is just not up to par with Gooden in '85. Let me start with the obvious things. Koufax's ERA+ of 160 is just not in the same league as Gooden's 227. 67 points of ERA+ is HUGE. Both their teams did just about the same (the Dodgers in '65 won 97 games and the divsion, the '85 Mets won 98 games but lost the divsion), and Gooden has an .857 winning percentage compared to Sandy's .765. 92 points of winning percentage is pretty big too.

    So, what can put Sandy over the top? Innings pitched? Maybe. Koufax did pitch 335 innings. Gooden pitched 276. But this difference is really insignificant, a product of their eras. Gooden's era was more of a hitter's environment. A hitter's environment makes is harder for a pitcher to last long because he needs to face more batters and throw more pitches. Koufax was still a workhorse in that environment, though, leading the league by 27 innings over the next best man. But, there were tons of pitchers in that league pitching lots of innings. Nine pitchers topped Gooden's 276 which was good enough to lead the league in 1985. It was much easier to pitch lots of innings. However, Gooden's 276 innings is certainly not as good as Koufax's performance still. He was only one and 2/3 innings ahead of the next best man, and 4 pitchers were within 5 innings of his mark. Gooden probably would have been able to pitch 290 or so innings in 1965.

    Another factor is their home park. Koufax had a 1.38 ERA at home, a 2.72 ERA on the road. Huge difference. That's a 130 ERA+ on the road. Koufax's innings advantage is also somewhat a factor of the park. He averaged 8.5 innings per start at home and 7.87 on the road. Using that number in conjunction with his starts, he would have pitched about 322 innings if all his starts were on the road.

    Gooden was basically the same pitcher at home and on the road. At home, he was 13-2, 1.50 ERA. On the road, he was 11-2, 1.56 ERA.

    ERA+ isn't everything, I know. Let's look at some DIPS elements.

    Gooden, 1985
    HR/9-0.43
    XB/9-3.48
    K/9-8.72
    BB/9-2.24

    Koufax, 1965
    HR/9-0.69
    XB/9-4.91
    K/9-11.38
    BB/9-1.90

    Even with no adjustment for era, Gooden is significantly better in HR/9 and XB/9. Koufax is slightly better in K/9 and BB/9. Overall Gooden probably wins this comparsion, EVEN WITH NO ERA ADJUSTMENT.

    When putting all this together and adjusting for era, Gooden comes out with a 2.35 DIPS ERA, Koufax is at 3.39.

    Greatness? No doubt Koufax was great, but Gooden's season, even if it wasn't clearly better, still has to be more amazing. The guy was 21 for crying out loud. No one, ever, probably in any sport, has had that kind of dominance right away. That was a truly great performance. Definitely more amazing than Koufax, simply because of the age differences, not to mention that it was clearly better as well.

    So, how can you favor Koufax?

    I figure rather than talk about it too much on the Member's Opinions Discussion, we give it its own thread and its own poll.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    --------------Dwight Gooden, Mets' P, 1984-88.
    --------------------------BB Reference Data
    49
    Dwight Gooden, 1985
    57.14%
    28
    Sandy Koufax, 1965
    42.86%
    21
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-29-2006, 05:06 PM.

  • #2
    I have to agree with you, Chris. Koufax had more great years, but Gooden's '85 is truly one of the special seasons of all time. He was also awesome the year before in his rookie season, striking out 276 in 218 IP! Man! Given those first two years, you'd think he would've been the greatest ever!
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    • #3
      I have to go with Gooden's '85, especially since he didn't have the mound advantages that Koufax had.

      However, I think Koufax's '66 and '63 were arguably better than his '65 campaign (especially his '66 campaign). Why did you pick '65?

      Comment


      • #4
        I would have to go with Doc's 1985 campaign. I mean, really, how hard would it be to win 24 games all coked up?
        I'm a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech and a Hell of an Engineer!

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        • #5
          Here are a few points that may have lent support to the argument for Koufax. I'm aware that Complete Games (along with other era specific categories) should be rendered irrelevant without the appropriate adjustments, but to me, a pitcher has to be pretty special to not only be so durable as to start and complete so many games as he did, but to utterly dominate along the way. We all know the mound advantages Sandy had, but with all due respect to Doc's season, I wonder if he could have maintained the same level of success under the same workload as Sandy's.

          WHIP
          Koufax .855
          Gooden .965

          WHIP+
          Koufax: 148
          Gooden: 136

          Batting Average Against
          Koufax .179
          Gooden: .201

          On-Base Average Against:
          Koufax: .227
          Gooden: .254

          % of Games Completed
          Koufax: 27/41= 65.9%
          Gooden: 16/35= 45.7%

          K/BB Ratio
          Koufax: 5.38
          Gooden: 3.88

          % of team's games won
          Koufax: 26/97= 26.8%
          Gooden: 24/98= 24.5%

          PostSeason:
          Koufax: 2-1 0.38ERA 2SHO 24.0IP 29K World Series Champion/MVP
          Gooden: None

          Also, let's not forget that Sandy's perfecto was in September of that year, and that he obliterated Rube Waddell's post-1900 record for strikeouts as well. While probably classified as intangibles, they really put the feather in his cap to a truly outstanding season.

          Southpaw Legacy
          Last edited by cjedmonton; 02-20-2006, 04:58 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by torez77
            I have to agree with you, Chris. Koufax had more great years, but Gooden's '85 is truly one of the special seasons of all time. He was also awesome the year before in his rookie season, striking out 276 in 218 IP! Man! Given those first two years, you'd think he would've been the greatest ever!
            Unfortunately, the heavy workload in 1984-85 destroyed Gooden's arm. After 1985 he was never the same.
            Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules
              Unfortunately, the heavy workload in 1984-85 destroyed Gooden's arm. After 1985 he was never the same.
              Something tells me that it wasn't just the "heavy" workload that ruined Gooden's career.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by DoubleX
                Something tells me that it wasn't just the "heavy" workload that ruined Gooden's career.
                Drugs played a relatively minor role but even if he didn't have the drug problem it wouldn't have mattered. The Mets were stupid for blatanty overusing Gooden.

                age 19: 218.0 IP, 7 CG, 137 ERA+
                age 20: 276.3 IP, 16 CG, 226 ERA+
                age 21: 250.0 IP, 12 CG, 124 ERA+
                age 22: 179.7 IP, 7 CG ,119 ERA+
                age 23: 248 IP, 10 CG, 101 ERA+
                age 24: 118.0 IP, 0 CG, 113 ERA+
                age 25: 232.0 IP, 2 CG, 98 ERA+

                By age 25 he had four seasons of over 232.7 IP plus a 218 IP season at age 19. And it was all down hill from there. At age 25 he was an average pitcher. He went 19-7 but he allowed 229 hits in 232.7 IP and had a 98 ERA+.

                We had a discussion about this before.

                http://www.baseball-fever.com/showthread.php?t=35346
                Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by sschirmer
                  I would have to go with Doc's 1985 campaign. I mean, really, how hard would it be to win 24 games all coked up?
                  I'm more critical of Gooden for this than Straw...I mean, as a starting pitcher, you only have to be sober every fifth day.
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                  • #10
                    I agree with DoubleX. I think Sandy's '63 '64' and '66 were each slightly better than '65. While '65 is known for the 382 K's, the other 3 years, he had a better ERA and ERA+.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cjedmonton
                      Here are a few points that may have lent support to the argument for Koufax. I'm aware that Complete Games (along with other era specific categories) should be rendered irrelevant without the appropriate adjustments, but to me, a pitcher has to be pretty special to not only be so durable as to start and complete so many games as he did, but to utterly dominate along the way.
                      Gooden, for his era, actually completed a more impressive number of games than Koufax.

                      In the 1985 season, there were 4206 total starts, and 627 complete games. The CG% was 14.9%. Gooden's CG% was 45.7%. So, he had a "relative CG%" of 307.

                      In 1965, there were 3246 total starts, and 739 complete games. That's a 22.8 CG%. Koufax's CG% was 65.9%. That makes a 289 "relative CG%".

                      Gooden's CG performance was more impressive for his era.

                      Originally posted by DoubleX
                      However, I think Koufax's '66 and '63 were arguably better than his '65 campaign (especially his '66 campaign). Why did you pick '65?
                      I chose '65 because that was the season Bill Burgess was claiming was the best ever by a pitcher.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 538280
                        I chose '65 because that was the season Bill Burgess was claiming was the best ever by a pitcher.
                        '66 was better
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                        • #13
                          I was just wondering if you would include postseason performance, because if you do, then '65 is definitely bolstered.

                          In the 1965 World Seried, Sandy Koufax started 3 games, pitched a total of 24 innings, giving up one 1 - yes, read that - 1 Earned Run, and striking out 29, and ended up with an ERA of 0.38!!!!! And to think that he only won 2 of his games . He threw down 2 complete game Shutouts, and only gave up 1 run in a 6 inning masterpiece, yet still lost that game. And in the end, he won the World Series.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Edgartohof
                            I was just wondering if you would include postseason performance, because if you do, then '65 is definitely bolstered.

                            In the 1965 World Seried, Sandy Koufax started 3 games, pitched a total of 24 innings, giving up one 1 - yes, read that - 1 Earned Run, and striking out 29, and ended up with an ERA of 0.38!!!!! And to think that he only won 2 of his games . He threw down 2 complete game Shutouts, and only gave up 1 run in a 6 inning masterpiece, yet still lost that game. And in the end, he won the World Series.
                            You can include postseason performance if you want to.

                            So far we have had six people vote for Koufax, and seven for Gooden. I have already provided reasoning for Gooden in the first post. I'd be interested to hear the case for Koufax. Anyone willing to step up to the plate?

                            And Bill, where are you? It was because of you that I started this thread.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 538280
                              I chose '65 because that was the season Bill Burgess was claiming was the best ever by a pitcher.
                              Ah...Where did Bill do that? I'm curious to see his reasoning.

                              I tend to think that '66 is hands down Koufax's finest year, so I can't see his '65 being the best ever by a pitcher. I'm also hesitant to put any year from that period by any pitcher (such as Gibson's '68) as the best pitching year ever.

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