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Gooden '85 vs. Koufax '65

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  • #31
    Well, the voting is very close (19-18) right now, but one wonders how it would be if it were against one of Koufax's other seasons, since there have been several here who have claimed either '63 or '66 to be better.

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    • #32
      Awhile back we had a thread comparing Pedro's 2000 with Doc's 85'. Maybe in part out of nostalgia, and in part to pay it historical creedence, I decided to go back and research Gooden's season, game by game, reading all of the wrapups, columns, and boxes.

      16 complete games and 8 shutouts- Pedro threw half the shutouts and half the complete games (in 6 fewer games started than Gooden). If Pedro had been forced to take on that kind workload, I'm sure his gaudy ERA+ would have taken a huge cut. And that workload was supposedly low, ironically (some felt that Davey Johnson actually coddled Gooden, refusing to put him on a 4 man rotation).

      Gooden won the pitching triple crown that year and at 20, was the youngest ever to win the Cy Young. He could throw his rising fastball in high 90's, and his curveball was so fabulous that they called it "Lord Charley" (a play on Uncle Charlie).

      Gooden only lost one game after May 25th that year. Yet incredibly, in 24 of his starts, he went 8 or 9 innings. That's a guy carrying his team. The most runs he gave up the entire season was a paltry 5.

      I went back through every single wrap-up/boxscore on Proquest and looked at Gooden's campaign in some more depth.

      Highlights:

      April 14th- Gooden threw a 4 hitter.

      April 30th- Another 4 hitter.

      May 10th- 3 hitter, 13Ks and no walks.

      May 30th- 14K's in a 2-1 victory over the Giants. Gooden struck out the side to win the game in the bottom of the 9th.

      June 14th- Gooden threw 147 pitches on a cold night in Montreal only to see the bullpen blow the game in the bottom of the 9th.

      June 19th- Another shutout, 9 strikeouts, no walks, 1-0 win in front of 52,000 at Shea.

      June 30th- Gooden pitches 8 innings, gives up 1 run, but Orosco blows the game in the 11th.

      July 15th- 5 hitter against Houston, wins another 1-0 game with a strikeout to win the game.

      July 30th- Another 5 hitter to win his 10th straight.

      Aug 4th- Set the Mets record with his 11th straight win (breaks Seaver's 1969 mark).

      August 10th- Gooden goes the distance and wins again for his 12th straight, prompting George Vecsey of the NY Times to write and article titled: "Gooden: Death and Taxes".

      August 16th- Gooden pitches a shutout with 16 strikeouts.

      August 25th- Gooden becomes the youngest pitcher in baseball history to win 20 games in one season, winning his 14th straight.

      Hall of Famer Phil Niekro, then 46 and still pitching was quoted in the NY Times on the 26th: "I've never seen a pitcher with a future as bright as Dwight Gooden"

      August 31st- Gooden loses his only game post May 25th, in a 3-2 loss to the Giants.

      Sept 16th- Gooden throws a 2 hit shutout against the Phillies, raising his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 31 innings.

      September 26th- Gooden throws his eighth shutout, running his streak without allowing an earned run to 48 innings.

      October 3rd- Gooden wins his 24th game, going the distance and throwing 146 pitches against the pennant winning Cardinals and their 21 game winner, Joaquin Andujar. The win drew the Mets to within one game of the pennant.

      Dwight goes the last 49 innings of the season without allowing an earned run.

      Originally posted by Edgartohof
      I can understand your stance for Pedro, but Maddux?? He was a workhorse in his prime!!!
      As far as most efficient pitcher ever...I might pick Maddux.

      I'd dredging this post of mine up from the depths here.

      Originally posted by Me
      Maddux led the league in IP in 1991, 92, 93, 94, 95 and finished second in IP 1990 and 1996. His ERA+ over that 7 year run where he pitched more than anyone in baseball, he also maintained an incredible ERA+ of 202!!! During that span he also put up back to back ERA+'s of 259 and 273.

      Maddux is also probably the most efficient pitcher in history among the alltime greats. I came across this in passing.

      Just to show how unique he is....

      Pitches/IP (most efficient=lowest ranked)

      Greg Maddux
      2005- 93rd/94 major league pitchers
      2004- 86/86
      2003-92/92
      2002-85/85
      2001- 84/84
      2000- 87/87

      Contrast that with:

      Pedro Martinez
      2005-92nd out of 94
      2004- 38th out of 86
      2003- 68th out of 92
      2002- 49 of 85
      2001- 58 out of 84
      2000- 83 out of 87
      I think part of the reason that Pedro has incurred far more injuries- and that his career as a great pitcher may now be over at age 35- is because he threw pretty much all out on every pitch, and had fairly high pitch counts (for an awesome pitcher).

      So not only did Maddux rarely throw as hard as his body would allow, but he was clearly one of the most efficient pitchers in history. Might be THE most efficient. That's the reason he was able to throw so many innings.

      It reminded me, actually, of some passages from the Reed Browning's Cy Young biography regarding Cy's approach to pitching, talking about efficiency and style in pitching. Although Young had a dizzying array of deliveries (motions) and requisite pitches, he considered his fastball was his best pitch. Young could grip the ball in such so when he released it, it would have a "hop" on it, as did Koufax's.

      Young did avow throughout his career and afterwards, though, that control ("command" in the parlance of his times) and keeping his pitch count down made him who he was. Browning writes:

      "It is important to recall that a low bases on balls measures far more than simply s pitcher's capacity to avoid giving batters unnecessary admission to the base path. For Cy Young, the ability to put any of his pitches exactly where he wanted meant that he could place pitches where batters were known to have weaknesse, that he could work the corners and keep away from the middle of the plate, and that he could stay ahead in the count. Moreover, it meant that he was not confined to a single delivery even when faced with a tight situation."

      Young himself noted after he had retired:
      "If a pitcher can get through a game throwing 125 balls, and it takes some other pitcher (far more) it stands to reason that the one who can get through with (signficantly less) effort should last much longer."

      Browning continues:

      "Above all, Cy Young was a close student of the game of baseball. He watched players closely and studied their actions and choices and actions. He engaged in shop talk with John Clarkson, Nig Cuppy, Bill Dineen, Kid Nichols, Addie Joss, Joe Wood, and we can assume many others.

      "He also had a good memory for indexing batters strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies. He watched how batters stodd in the box and adjusted to their plans. He moved his fielders about in accordance with his knowledge of batters' proclivities."


      He trained himself to be an oustanding fielder, learning how to pounce on bunts, to cover first on grounders to first baseman, and other tricks of the trade in an era when coaches as we know them did not exist.

      So in short, Young was an incredibly efficient, cerebral pitcher who kept utilized his defense, mastered the hitters he faced, and kept his pitch counts and strain on his arm as low as possible.

      Doesn't all of that sound just like Greg Maddux, who was dubbed "The Professor"?

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      • #33
        Great post on Maddux, csh19792001. And the post on Gooden was also interesting, thanks.
        "In the end it all comes down to talent. You can talk all you want about intangibles, I just don't know what that means. Talent makes winners, not intangibles. Can nice guys win? Sure, nice guys can win - if they're nice guys with a lot of talent. Nice guys with a little talent finish fourth and nice guys with no talent finish last." --Sandy Koufax

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        • #34
          I will second Minstel's good job, Chris!

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          • #35
            Originally posted by [email protected]
            You forgot:
            Hits/9 innings
            SO/9 innings
            BB/9 innings
            Whip
            Adj. Whip

            All these things go to make a bigger, more revealing
            I already gave SO/9 and BB/9, and no, hits/9 and WHIP did not serve to the point I was making. That was about DIPS (defense independant pitching stats). I was trying to get a reading on pitching performance independant of defense. Hits allowed per innings is not a good way to evaluate a pitcher, once the ball is hit by the batter the defense has just as much (or probably more) to do with whether it is an out or a hit than the pitcher. A pitcher can certainly control the fate of a batted ball to an extent, and that is why you should look at a player's BABIP (I like to do it compared to the team BABIP, so that way the ability of the defense is taken care of).
            Last edited by 538280; 12-30-2006, 06:44 AM.

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            • #36
              I think one of the most valuable things a good pitcher can do is eat innings at a high level of performance - that's what makes Koufax's '66 so impressive to me; the fact that he could maintain a 190 ERA+ in 323 innings is amazing and extremely valuable to his team. On the other hand, Gooden's 226 ERA+ in 277 innings are nothing at all to sneeze at. I do wonder if Gooden could have stayed at or above 190 like Koufax had he had to pitch 55 more innings like Koufax. I think, barring a huge drop off, Gooden probably could have stayed at or around 190, so I guess I'd give the slight edge to Gooden (plus he didn't have the mound advantages).

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