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1971: The year the Baltimore Orioles got 81 Wins & 70 Complete Games from 4 pitchers

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  • 1971: The year the Baltimore Orioles got 81 Wins & 70 Complete Games from 4 pitchers

    Can it be almost a half-century since the Baltimore Orioles had four twenty games winners who accounted for 81 Wins and 70 Complete Games? Mark this as one of the most Unbreakable records, like Paul Krause's 81 Career Interceptions in the NFL, Robert Parish playing 1,611 games in the NBA, The Detroit Red Wings making the playoffs for 25 straight years, Wayne Gresham scoring almost 900 goals in the NHL, Joe DiMaggio's 56 game Hitting streak, or Cy Young's 511 Pitching Wins.
    The game of baseball has evolved with the introduction of the Pitch Count being of supreme importance thereby nearly eliminating the Complete Games statistic. This year there were two twenty game winners in he major leagues (Houston's Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole) and in some recent years no one has reached 20 Wins.
    The Orioles went 101-57 in 1971 (It's sort of a modern day record that they had plenty of rainouts that year and 4 games were never made up). The era of the four man pitching rotation would soon draw to a close, but not before the 1971 Orioles pitching staff would leave their mark. Here's some of their stats:

    LHP - Dave McNally 21-5 2.89 earned run average. He reached his 20th win on reached on September 21 and added a 21st win on September 28, the next-to-last day of the season.
    LHP - Mike Cuellar 20-9 3.08 E.R.A. Got his 20th win in the first game of a September 24 double header.
    RHP - Pat Dobson 20-8 2.90 E.R.A. Got his 20th win in the second game of the September 24 double header.
    (Possibly another record for the Orioles with two of their pitchers reaching the 20 Wins milestone on the same day).
    RHP - Jim Palmer 20-9 2.68 E.R.A. He Reached the 20 Wins mark in his last regular season start on September 25.

    Relievers: The bullpen accounted for only 20 wins and 22 Saves, with Eddie Watt being the pitcher most frequently used by the Orioles as their Closer:

    Eddie Watt 11 Saves (3-1); Pete Richert 4 Saves (3-5); Tom Dukes 4 Saves (1-5); Grant Jackson 1 Save (4-3); Dick Hall 1 Save (6-6); Dave Leonard 1 Save (2-3); Dave Boswell 0 Saves,(1-2); Jim Hardin 0 Saves (0-0); Orlando Pena 0 Saves (0-1)

    The Orioles lost the '71 World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates in seven exciting games. I will always remember it as the Battle of two superstars, the Pirates' Roberto Clemente versus the Orioles' Frank Robinson, with both having outstanding series at the plate. Game seven was decided by one run, with the Orioles having the tying run on third base when the final out was made on a slow roller (actually better described as a swinging bunt,. with the batter out at first by half a step. Had he been safe the score would have been tied, with the Orioles having a chance to win it in the bottom of the ninth or the game going into extra innings.

    Unfortunately, three of the starting pitchers are now deceased. with Jim Palmer, age 74, the only survivor.
    Here are the starting pitchers lifetime records:

    Jim Palmer 268-152. Palmer was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York in 1990 after spending his entire career as an Oriole.
    Mike Cuellar 185-130
    Dave McNally 184-119
    Pat Dobson 122-129.

    Last edited by 1954 Phils; 11-30-2019, 11:00 PM.

  • #2
    Most overrated staff ever. All four pitchers were good but the Orioles led the AL in runs scored by 41 runs despite only playing 158 games. And they had an incredible defense. Here are the ERA+ for the four starting pitchers.

    Jim Palmer 126 ERA+
    Dave McNally 117 ERA+
    Pat Dobson 116 ERA+
    Mike Cuellar 109 ERA+

    That is not impressive at all. Wilbur Wood, who won 22 games with a 1.91 ERA, 189 ERA+, probably wins 30 games had he pitched for this Orioles team.
    Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 12-01-2019, 04:43 AM.
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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    • #3
      69-71 Orioles were pretty similar to the 88-90 A's. 3 straight dominant seasons with 3 straight world series appearances and should have won all 3 but only ended up with 1 that is pretty forgettable. Remembered more for the ones they lost. Especially the first one.

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      • #4
        Unreal........... I just love alternate universe of BBF

        Every post has been a trashing of the 71 Oriole staff.

        Yeah, that's why we have never seen anything like the 71 Orioles, before or since. They were really crappy.

        The ninrods here are comparing staffs with 5 man rotations and infinitely less CGs to this Oriole staff. morans

        This week's Giant

        #5 in games played as a Giant with 1721 , Bill Terry

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        • #5
          Reminds me of the 1951 Indians. 79 wins and 69 Complete Games from Wynn, Lemon, Garcia, and Feller. Garcia was the only one to win less than 20 games, with 17. These four pitchers had ERA+ that ranged from 126-108.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by JR Hart View Post
            Unreal........... I just love alternate universe of BBF

            Every post has been a trashing of the 71 Oriole staff.

            Yeah, that's why we have never seen anything like the 71 Orioles, before or since. They were really crappy.
            No one said they were crappy. Posters have pointed out that by numbers that mean more than wins, their staff was not historically great. As the OP itself points out, only one of the starters made the HOF. Three of the Braves's starters did.

            The 1977 Dodgers were the first team with four players with 30 or more HR. That doesn't mean that those four players were historically great, that this was the best heart-of-the-lineup ever. None of them has made the HOF. Of course, a lot of teams have done this since, but only in our recent, high offense era. If not for this era, that Dodgers team would stand alone, but it still wouldn't make their players historically great.

            The ninrods here are comparing staffs with 5 man rotations and infinitely less CGs to this Oriole staff. morans
            The 1980 A's?

            More recent staffs have not had a lot of CGs, because the game is different now. I could just as well point out that 2018 Cleveland is the only team in history to have four pitchers with > 200 Ks (not even one pitcher on the 1971 O's reached 200). That doesn't mean this is the greatest power-pitching staff ever. They had the advantage of playing in an era when strikeouts are very high (though conversely, when IP are lower).
            Last edited by Stolensingle; 12-02-2019, 12:43 AM.

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            • #7
              1920 white sox had a 4 man rotation which won 87 games with 100 complete games.

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              • #8
                Hopefully, that staff wasn't throwing too many games.

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                • #9
                  Perhaps I should be saying, they didn't fix too many games.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Stolensingle View Post

                    No one said they were crappy. Posters have pointed out that by numbers that mean more than wins, their staff was not historically great. As the OP itself points out, only one of the starters made the HOF. Three of the Braves's starters did.

                    The 1977 Dodgers were the first team with four players with 30 or more HR. That doesn't mean that those four players were historically great, that this was the best heart-of-the-lineup ever. None of them has made the HOF. Of course, a lot of teams have done this since, but only in our recent, high offense era. If not for this era, that Dodgers team would stand alone, but it still wouldn't make their players historically great.



                    The 1980 A's?

                    More recent staffs have not had a lot of CGs, because the game is different now. I could just as well point out that 2018 Cleveland is the only team in history to have four pitchers with > 200 Ks (not even one pitcher on the 1971 O's reached 200). That doesn't mean this is the greatest power-pitching staff ever. They had the advantage of playing in an era when strikeouts are very high (though conversely, when IP are lower).
                    Great post, but a bit too much logic and too many facts. Try to use more hyperbole and mischaracterize what others are saying.
                    My top 10 players:

                    1. Babe Ruth
                    2. Barry Bonds
                    3. Ty Cobb
                    4. Ted Williams
                    5. Willie Mays
                    6. Alex Rodriguez
                    7. Hank Aaron
                    8. Honus Wagner
                    9. Lou Gehrig
                    10. Mickey Mantle

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JR Hart View Post
                      Unreal........... I just love alternate universe of BBF

                      Every post has been a trashing of the 71 Oriole staff.

                      Yeah, that's why we have never seen anything like the 71 Orioles, before or since. They were really crappy.

                      The ninrods here are comparing staffs with 5 man rotations and infinitely less CGs to this Oriole staff. morans
                      I've got to agree with you. A lot of these people just don't get it. I think four 20 game winners is a great accomplishment. Here's a few points I'd like to make.
                      1. I know of no other case in baseball history, where four starting pitchers won 20 games apiece. So it's a very unique accomplishment.
                      2. Even on great pitching staffs, like the Cleveland Indians staff from about 1948 to 1956 someone always has a down year even if the other members of the rotation are among the game's Elite. 3. WAR and other Sabremetrics hadn't even been invented in 1971 or at least they were not in widespread use. You have to judge these pitchers by the standards of their times, with a Major Emphasis on WINS, WINNING PERCENTAGE, INNINGS PITCHED AND COMPLETE GAMES.
                      4. I just don't understand the DETRACTORS.....I can't abide the Posters who have tried to take away or minimalize the high degree of accomplishment that was achieved by these four pitchers. This negativity comes nearly a half-century after the fact!
                      Last edited by 1954 Phils; 12-02-2019, 11:31 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 1954 Phils View Post

                        I've got to agree with you. A lot of these people just don't get it. I think four 20 game winners is a great accomplishment. Here's a few points I'd like to make.
                        1. I know of no other case in baseball history, where four starting pitchers won 20 games apiece. So it's a very unique accomplishment.
                        2. Even on great pitching staffs, like the Cleveland Indians staff from about 1948 to 1956 someone always has a down year even if the other members of the rotation are among the game's Elite. 3. WAR and other Sabremetrics hadn't even been invented in 1971 or at least they were not in widespread use. You have to judge these pitchers by the standards of their times, with a Major Emphasis on WINS, WINNING PERCENTAGE, INNINGS PITCHED AND COMPLETE GAMES.
                        4. I just don't understand the DETRACTORS.....I can't abide the Posters who have tried to take away or minimalize the high degree of accomplishment that was achieved by these four pitchers. This negativity comes nearly a half-century after the fact!
                        What is not to get? Knowledge advances. Most of us now have come to understand that pitcher wins are highly dependent on factors outside the control of the pitcher. A pitcher's run support is a major factor. The fact is that the Orioles had the best offense in AL. As I mentioned previously the Orioles led the AL in runs scored by 41 despite only playing 158 games. The Orioles also had an amazing defense, especially infield defense. This also helps a pitcher. Do you really believe Mike Cuellar was an elite pitcher in 1971? Cuellar was certainly a solid pitcher in 1971 but nothing special really. A 109 ERA+ is not special by any means. He pitched 292 innings and only struck out 124 batters. That's 3.8 K/9. Even for that era that's really low. Also his 3.08 ERA was not elite for 1971. It is only 9% below the AL average. Again Cuellar was a solid pitcher. Any team can use a pitcher like him. But him winning 20 games doesn't mean he was an elite pitcher. Lots of 109 ERA+ pitchers could have won a bunch of games for the 1971 Orioles. As I said before how many games could the 1971 Wilbur Wood have won if he pitched for the Orioles? Probably 30+ wins at least.

                        Not one poster in this thread has said that the Orioles pitchers were bums. They certainly were not.
                        Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post


                          Not one poster in this thread has said that the Orioles pitchers were bums. They certainly were not.
                          Not one teams' starting pitchers have come close to doing what the Orioles starting rotation did in 1971 since then and I'll leave it to the real baseball historian/computer whiz kids to tell me if any team's pitching staff had done something similar in baseball's yesteryears that stretch back to the 1870s. No spurious arguments using Sabermetrics can diminish their accomplishments.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 1954 Phils View Post

                            Not one teams' starting pitchers have come close to doing what the Orioles starting rotation did in 1971 since then and I'll leave it to the real baseball historian/computer whiz kids to tell me if any team's pitching staff had done something similar in baseball's yesteryears that stretch back to the 1870s. No spurious arguments using Sabermetrics can diminish their accomplishments.
                            That is simply your opinion. No one is diminishing their accomplishments. We are putting their accomplishments into historical context and looking much, much deeper than just looking at a spurious stat like pitcher wins.
                            Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 12-03-2019, 05:14 PM.
                            Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                              That is simply your opinion. No one is diminishing their accomplishments. We are putting their accomplishments into historical context and looking much, much deeper than just looking at a spurious stat like pitcher wins.
                              Give me a Warren Spahn or a Justin Verlander every time who WIN GAMES over a Degrom or the Cole Hamels of a few years ago who seem to compile great stats in every category EXCEPT WINS!!
                              Last edited by 1954 Phils; 12-04-2019, 05:12 AM.

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