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Gooden '85 vs. Koufax '65

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  • DoubleX
    replied
    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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  • 538280
    replied
    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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  • Bill Burgess
    replied
    I will second Minstel's good job, Chris!

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  • Minstrel
    replied
    Great post on Maddux, csh19792001. And the post on Gooden was also interesting, thanks.

    Leave a comment:


  • csh19792001
    replied
    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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  • Edgartohof
    replied
    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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  • Minstrel
    replied
    He included strikeouts per nine and walks per nine.

    Hits per nine and WHIP aren't "DIPS elements," since DIPS (defense independant pitching stats) doesn't believe most pitchers have a large effect on controlling batting average on balls in play (BABIP). The extreme form of DIPS claims pitchers really only have control over walks, strikeouts and homers and the fate of balls put in play is mostly up to the fielders and fortune.

    Of course, examinations of DIPS theory has determined that pitchers with extreme movement can exhibit better control over BABIP. Both Gooden and, of course, Koufax had great movement in their curveballs...so it would be interesting to see if they had control over their BABIP (compared to, say, teammates who had the same home park and defense) from year to year. If so, hits and WHIP would be more telling.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bill Burgess
    replied
    Originally posted by 538280
    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
    You forgot:
    Hits/9 innings
    SO/9 innings
    BB/9 innings
    Whip
    Adj. Whip

    All these things go to make a bigger, more revealing

    Leave a comment:


  • Minstrel
    replied
    Originally posted by 538280
    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.
    I largely agree with your post, and do agree with your conclusion that Gooden's '85 was better, but I don't agree that Koufax was only "slightly better" in K/9. A nearly 2.5 K/9 difference is huge. It's the difference between an average K/9 (6.0) and an elite one (8.5).

    When you combine that with Koufax's lower walk rate, you have a massive difference in K/BB ratio: 6 versus 3.9.

    3.9 is great, 6.0 is pretty absurd.

    But anyway, that's before era effects, so it's really a minor point, since Gooden had the better DIPS ERA.

    Leave a comment:


  • mwiggins
    replied
    And in regards to Koufax's '66 vs. '65 season. It appears the main reason his ERA was better in 1966, despite less dominance, was the fact that in 1966 he allowed a .147 BA and .417 OPS against with RISP; compared to .195 BA and .566 OPS against. His BABIP was MUCH better in 1966 (.186 vs. .264), so his better performance in 1966 with RISP could be partially better luck.

    His HR/9 was also better in 1966, .53 vs. .69, which would have somewhat offset the higher whip and less K's.

    Leave a comment:


  • AlecBoy006
    replied
    Koufax. Simply cause he helped the Dodgers win it all that year.

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  • cjedmonton
    replied
    Don't take my lack of response as a concession to your vehement defence of Gooden. I just don't have the time or inclination to volley facts and opinions back and forth, especially when it's apparent that the validity of my remarks are promptly swept under the rug to make room for your counterpoints.

    I've said what I had to say, and am as convinced that Sandy had a more dominant overall season than Gooden (as great as his '85 was) as you are certain that Gooden had the superior year. In the end, I can sleep well at night knowing this.


    NOTE: Thanks for mentioning Baseball Prospectus. I hadn't visited that site in quite some time, but when I did, I found something interesting.

    There is an advanced pitching statistic entitled "Stuff". To quote:
    "Stuff is a rough indicator of the pitcher's overall dominance, based on normalized strikeout rates, walk rates, home run rates, runs allowed, and innings per game. "10" is league average, while "0" is roughly replacement level".

    Here are the scores:

    Gooden: 41
    Koufax: 45

    A huge lead? No, but it's good enough for nearly 10% in favor of Koufax. Just an observation from a source I normally wouldn't have turned to for support, being a "simpler, the better" kinda guy.
    Last edited by cjedmonton; 02-23-2006, 08:16 PM.

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  • 538280
    replied
    Originally posted by cjedmonton
    Curiously, here is how our duo fared after running their seasons through my evaluation formula. Yes, I've said it 100 times that it's flawed. Virually every measure of "greatness" inherently is, due to the subjective nature of the term "greatness".

    Nonetheless,

    Gooden: 244.375
    Koufax: 360.145

    Where did Koufax gain his advantage? A couple of key areas:

    Winning a Cy Young, when only one was awarded for both leagues
    Do you honestly think Gooden wouldn't have done the same?

    Finishing as the runner-up in the N.L. MVP race
    That's nice, but back in Koufax's day when there was only a MLB wide CYA I'd think the writers would be far more willing to give a pitcher MVP votes than they are nowadays.

    Complete and utter dominance in the World Series
    That's definitely a point in his favor, but it can be way overstated. Gooden never got a chance to do the same.

    Winning at least 1/4 of his team's wins (tougher to accomplish than you might think)
    Eras need to be taken into consideration here. IN the 60s, when pitchers pitched way more innings and had a four man rotation, it was easier to do this. As it is, Gooden won 24.48% of his team's games. Given their respective eras, that's probably more impressive than Koufax's percentage.

    The Perfect Game
    That's nice, but it really shouldn't have any extra impact other than the impact it already has on the pitcher's stats.

    Outrageous strikeout, WHIP, and BAA totals, among others
    Koufax's performance in those areas was only barely better than Gooden's relative to league.

    Pacing the National League in 9 key categories
    Gooden would have led in everything too if John Tudor wasn't having another season for the ages the same year. Koufax didn't have a pitcher like that to compete with.

    Now, to respond to your comments:

    "I'm not using ERA+ as everything. What about those DIPS elements I used? What about the fact Koufax's ERA just about doubled on the road? What about the defensive independant ERA?"

    I never said you personally were using ERA+ as everything. That was just an example of what I've observed in general when folks start talking about so and so being the best. The fact that Koufax's ERA nearly doubled on the road doesn't detract from the fact that he still went 12-5. We all know by now that Koufax's 1965 concedes ERA/ERA+ to Gooden's 1985...one of the very few areas he does concede to Doc. We all know that there is much, much more to the story than just that, though.
    But I think you're missing the point. Doesn't the fact Koufax's ERA on the road nearly doubled suggest he may have been tremendously helped by Dodger Stadium? It's not just ERA he did much better at home with, either.

    Admittedly, I don't dabble in DIPS with my evaluation formula (it would be WAY too tedious given the number of southpaws I evaluate!). However, it's a fairly comprehensive criteria set that encompasses most every important area of a pitcher's season/career without delving too deep in the world of sabermetrics.
    Does it make era adjustments, I must ask? Because if it doesn't then it is just ridiculously biased towards Koufax.

    Having said that, the DIPS elements you brought up were a wash in my book (2 for Gooden, 2 for Koufax). I don't consider a comparison of the marginal lead b/w categories and/or eras as a fair assessment. For example, when we're dealing with HR/9, sure, Gooden held a 1/4 home run per 9 IP advantage...20 years after Koufax. What does that really mean,anyway? That gap is so insignificant that it hardly warrants mentioning, to say nothing that the context was never addressed. On the other hand, a 2.5+ strikeout per 9 inning advantage over an entire season is substantial. Ask anyone. Those are more tangible numbers on a game to game basis than ones that require the equivalent of 4 complete games to amount to a 1 unit lead (1 home run more/less every 36 innings).
    The 1/4 HR/9 difference is huge really. It's a huge lead when speaking in the small scale of pitcher's HR rates. Not to mention the differences in era, since more HRs and extra base hits were hit in Gooden's era.

    And Koufax may have "won" two of the categories, but just sqeaked by on both. Gooden beat him solidly in his two "wins".

    Either way, these numbers are meaningless without some rigorous statistical modelling, taking into account all relevant parameters (something I know I haven't conducted, and I don't get the impression you have either). For every DIPS category Gooden surpasses Koufax with, there are others that Koufax surpasses Gooden with.
    The "rigorous statistical modeling" has already been done for us by the folks at Baseball Prospectus, with their defensive independant ERA. Gooden comes out at 2.35, Koufax at 3.39. Not even close.

    In summary, here is what I understand from your defence of Gooden:

    1. He accompished his amazing season at such a young age. That's great, but I consider Koufax's achievement even more remarkable given the immense pain he was enduring after each and every start. 1965 was the beginning of the end for this legend's career, yet you would never know it by looking at the finished product.
    I have no doubts Koufax was going through great pain. But, does that make it more amazing than a guy having one of the best seasons of all time for a pitcher at age 21, the age when most are just out of college? Not to me. Maybe you think differently, but I don't see how you can.

    2. Gooden pitched in a hitter's era. If Koufax is oft-penalized for having Dodger Stadium as his home park and having pitched during the 60's, why should Gooden's inferior raw numbers (save for ERA/ERA+) be bolstered? Sounds like a double standard to me. I fully realize the importance of diserning b/w key differences within the game during different periods in history, but I wish there was a more concrete way to boil down the numbers in a relatively era-neutral manner
    They should be bolstered because he performed better relative to league. Koufax played in much more favorable conditions. In order to get a better idea of how good they really were we must strip them of statistics conclusive of the environment and use ones that tell us more about their actual performance relative to others in the same conditions. The way to "boil down the numbers" is to compare them to the league average.

    3. Gooden was equally effective at home as he was on the road. Again, a terrific conversation piece, but ultimately, isn't the goal to reach the World Series? The Mets were a very strong team that year, yet they fell short. In my opinion, Gooden should neither be praised nor penalized for having his masterpiece season in a non-playoff year on such a strong team. We're not talking about Lefty Carlton's '72 Phillies, here. It was what it was. Koufax, on the other hand, not only steamrolled the competition during the regular season (as did Doc), but he led his team into the post-season, and was absolutely instrumental in taking home the ultimate prize. That fact cannot be overstated enough. The goal is to win, and Koufax did just that...with an authority that has not been seen more than a handful of times in the Fall Classic's 100+ year history. Gooden can never claim such a performance on the biggest stage of them all.
    The only reason Koufax made the postseason and Gooden didn't was because his team was better, and the other teams in the divsion weren't as good. The driving force behind the Dodgers winning and the Mets not wasn't because Doc just wasn't as good as Sandy. I can't believe you could really believe that.

    Koufax does deserve some credit for his postseason performance, but as I said it can be taken way too far. It really is just one game after all, and it wasn't Gooden's chance he didn't get the same opportunity.

    Leave a comment:


  • cjedmonton
    replied
    Curiously, here is how our duo fared after running their seasons through my evaluation formula. Yes, I've said it 100 times that it's flawed. Virually every measure of "greatness" inherently is, due to the subjective nature of the term "greatness".

    Nonetheless,

    Gooden: 244.375
    Koufax: 360.145

    Where did Koufax gain his advantage? A couple of key areas:

    Winning a Cy Young, when only one was awarded for both leagues
    Finishing as the runner-up in the N.L. MVP race
    Complete and utter dominance in the World Series
    Winning at least 1/4 of his team's wins (tougher to accomplish than you might think)
    The Perfect Game
    Outrageous strikeout, WHIP, and BAA totals, among others
    Pacing the National League in 9 key categories (ERA/Wins/Win%/WHIP/Strikeouts/Innings/Complete Games/Batting Average Against/K BB Ratio).


    Now, to respond to your comments:

    "I'm not using ERA+ as everything. What about those DIPS elements I used? What about the fact Koufax's ERA just about doubled on the road? What about the defensive independant ERA?"

    I never said you personally were using ERA+ as everything. That was just an example of what I've observed in general when folks start talking about so and so being the best. The fact that Koufax's ERA nearly doubled on the road doesn't detract from the fact that he still went 12-5. We all know by now that Koufax's 1965 concedes ERA/ERA+ to Gooden's 1985...one of the very few areas he does concede to Doc. We all know that there is much, much more to the story than just that, though.

    Admittedly, I don't dabble in DIPS with my evaluation formula (it would be WAY too tedious given the number of southpaws I evaluate!). However, it's a fairly comprehensive criteria set that encompasses most every important area of a pitcher's season/career without delving too deep in the world of sabermetrics.

    Having said that, the DIPS elements you brought up were a wash in my book (2 for Gooden, 2 for Koufax). I don't consider a comparison of the marginal lead b/w categories and/or eras as a fair assessment. For example, when we're dealing with HR/9, sure, Gooden held a 1/4 home run per 9 IP advantage...20 years after Koufax. What does that really mean,anyway? That gap is so insignificant that it hardly warrants mentioning, to say nothing that the context was never addressed. On the other hand, a 2.5+ strikeout per 9 inning advantage over an entire season is substantial. Ask anyone. Those are more tangible numbers on a game to game basis than ones that require the equivalent of 4 complete games to amount to a 1 unit lead (1 home run more/less every 36 innings).

    Either way, these numbers are meaningless without some rigorous statistical modelling, taking into account all relevant parameters (something I know I haven't conducted, and I don't get the impression you have either). For every DIPS category Gooden surpasses Koufax with, there are others that Koufax surpasses Gooden with.

    In summary, here is what I understand from your defence of Gooden:

    1. He accompished his amazing season at such a young age. That's great, but I consider Koufax's achievement even more remarkable given the immense pain he was enduring after each and every start. 1965 was the beginning of the end for this legend's career, yet you would never know it by looking at the finished product.

    2. Gooden pitched in a hitter's era. If Koufax is oft-penalized for having Dodger Stadium as his home park and having pitched during the 60's, why should Gooden's inferior raw numbers (save for ERA/ERA+) be bolstered? Sounds like a double standard to me. I fully realize the importance of diserning b/w key differences within the game during different periods in history, but I wish there was a more concrete way to boil down the numbers in a relatively era-neutral manner

    3. Gooden was equally effective at home as he was on the road. Again, a terrific conversation piece, but ultimately, isn't the goal to reach the World Series? The Mets were a very strong team that year, yet they fell short. In my opinion, Gooden should neither be praised nor penalized for having his masterpiece season in a non-playoff year on such a strong team. We're not talking about Lefty Carlton's '72 Phillies, here. It was what it was. Koufax, on the other hand, not only steamrolled the competition during the regular season (as did Doc), but he led his team into the post-season, and was absolutely instrumental in taking home the ultimate prize. That fact cannot be overstated enough. The goal is to win, and Koufax did just that...with an authority that has not been seen more than a handful of times in the Fall Classic's 100+ year history. Gooden can never claim such a performance on the biggest stage of them all.

    In the end, we'll have to agree to disagree. However, I stand by observations and interpretations. I really appreciated reading your insightful commentary, though. I don't post nearly as often as I would like. I look forward to future discussions.

    Best regards,
    Chris
    Last edited by cjedmonton; 02-21-2006, 08:13 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • 538280
    replied
    Originally posted by cjedmonton
    I provided more than a few tidbits in favor of Koufax, although that's certainly not everything there was to say about him in '65. What I've noticed is an overemphasis on ERA+. It's important to note that Koufax's relatively modest ERA+ totals aren't the result of any exaggerated notions of his dominance, but rather, the fact that the ENTIRE league had a significantly lower ERA during that timeframe. I know that the obviousness of that statement should go without saying, especially when we are dealing with comparisons to league averages. But in all fairness to even the elite pitchers of the 50's/60's, how could we expect their ERA to routinely equal or surpass a figure that's 100% (ERA+ of 200) greater than the league average when it's already in the low 3's?

    A quick search reveals that a 200 ERA+ was achieved only 3 times from 1950-1968 (the last year before the mound was lowered). The short list includes Gibson in '68, Chance in '64, and Billy Pierce in '55. In fact, you'd have to go back yet another 20 years to Lefty Grove's '31 masterpiece to find the next one!. 4 times in 38 years. That's pretty astonishing given the number of individual seasons pitched during that timeframe, which easily numbers in the thousands.

    Conversely, in the 20 seasons since Gooden's tremendous campaign, a 200 ERA+ has been reached 11 times, including a run of 4 straight years from '94-'97. That's not to take anything away from those player's accomplishments, but it seems pretty clear that this lofty benchmark is being achieved with much more regularity than ever before...because the league ERAs have risen substantially. While still not an every year occurance, it has become an easier plateau to achieve. By the time 2023 rolls around (to equal the 38 year window I addressed in the last paragraph), I wonder how many more times that will have been achieved? Another dozen or so does not seem like a stretch. God forbid that a league era eventually flirts with 6.00 (Don't laugh, it's not THAT far off!). Does that mean that a 3.00 ERA should be considered as impressive an achievement as other 200+ ERA seasons? Of course not.
    The only reason more superhuman ERA+ have been occuring over the past few years is because of the new ways of really protecting your pitchers. This makes them pitch less innings, and that lets them have a greater level of effectiveness. This stared right about in the mid 1990s.

    Before that (in the 1980s) when pitchers were still pitching quite a few innings it was just as hard to post a 200+ ERA+ as in the 1950-1968 era. In the 18 years after 1968 (1969-1986) there were only two 200+ ERA+ years, those by Ron Guidry in 1978 and Gooden in 1985. Of the top 100 ERA+ years all time, 8 were posted between 1950 and 1968, and 8 between 1969 and 1986.

    Example:
    As a Koufax supporter, I would claim that ERA+, (or any other stat for that matter), should never be used as the be-all-end-all piece of evidence for evaluating a pitcher's career. Therefore, I would remove ERA+ from the argument and see how Gooden fares.

    As a Gooden supporter, I might say that strikeouts are overrated, and that Koufax's lofty '65 totals are excessively publicized, or even unwarranted. I would omit that and see if Koufax's brilliance could still hold its luster.
    I'm not using ERA+ as everything. What about those DIPS elements I used? What about the fact Koufax's ERA just about doubled on the road? What about the defensive independant ERA?

    Leave a comment:

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