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The Cliché Thread: Top 15 Pitchers

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  • The Cliché Thread: Top 15 Pitchers

    Well folks, I know listing your top pitchers has long been done here at BBF. But listing players is one of my favorite things. I love all of the opinions, diversity, and controversy. So without further ado, here is my list:

    1) Walter Johnson
    2) Pete Alexander
    3) Cy Young
    4) Roger Clemens
    5) Lefty Grove
    6) Christy Mathewson
    7) Warren Spahn
    8) Sandy Koufax
    9) Greg Maddux
    (Satchel Paige)
    11) Tom Seaver
    12) Randy Johnson
    13) Pedro Martinez
    14) Bob Gibson
    15) Bob Feller
    Last edited by Tyrus4189Cobb; 05-21-2008, 02:34 PM.
    "Allen Sutton Sothoron pitched his initials off today."--1920s article

  • #2
    Clemens 4? Maddux 12? Koufax 8?
    Interesting choices...
    I dont make lists, especially for pitchers since i dont feel qualified enough to make judgements, but those choices seem out of place.

    Comment


    • #3
      1. Walter Johnson
      2. Cy Young
      3. Lefty Grove
      4. Greg Maddux
      5. Pete Alexander
      6. Christy Mathewson
      7. Randy Johnson
      8. Tom Seaver
      9. Warren Spahn
      10.Roger Clemens
      11. Pedro Martinez
      12. Kid Nichols
      13. Bob Feller
      14. Bob Gibson
      15. Carl Hubbell
      1885 1886 1926 1931 1934 1942 1944 1946 1964 1967 1982 2006 2011

      1887 1888 1928 1930 1943 1968 1985 1987 2004 2013

      1996 2000 2001 2002 2005 2009 2012 2014 2015


      The Top 100 Pitchers In MLB History
      The Top 100 Position Players In MLB History

      Comment


      • #4
        Lists are tough, and mine change constantly, but here's mine.
        In order for me to be more fair (as mine keep changing, like I said), these are in no specific order:

        -Walter Johnson
        -Sandy Koufax
        -Warren Spahn
        -Lefty Grove
        -Christy Mathewson
        -Grover Alexander
        -Cy Young
        -Bob Gibson
        -Juan Marichal
        -Carl Hubbell
        -Randy Johnson
        -Bob Feller
        -Mordecai Brown (Yeah, that's right)
        -Roger Clemens
        -Greg Maddux

        By the way, keep in mind this is my list, so don't bother posting and saying, I can't beliveve you chose (blank) over (blank).

        Sorry, but that bugs me.
        “There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil.” Walter Lippmann

        "Fill in any figure you want for that boy (Mantle). Whatever the figure, it's a deal." - Branch Rickey

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by 1905 Giants View Post
          Lists are tough, and mine change constantly, but here's mine.
          In order for me to be more fair (as mine keep changing, like I said), these are in no specific order:

          -Walter Johnson
          -Sandy Koufax
          -Warren Spahn
          -Lefty Grove
          -Christy Mathewson
          -Grover Alexander
          -Cy Young
          -Bob Gibson
          -Juan Marichal
          -Carl Hubbell
          -Randy Johnson
          -Bob Feller
          -Mordecai Brown (Yeah, that's right)
          -Roger Clemens
          -Greg Maddux

          By the way, keep in mind this is my list, so don't bother posting and saying, I can't beliveve you chose (blank) over (blank).

          Sorry, but that bugs me.
          I'm not sure if this falls under the "annoyance" category, but how come no Pedro Martinez? I find him better than Marichal at least.
          "Allen Sutton Sothoron pitched his initials off today."--1920s article

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Tyrus4189Cobb View Post
            I'm not sure if this falls under the "annoyance" category, but how come no Pedro Martinez? I find him better than Marichal at least.
            That doesn't really fall under annoyance, which I reserve more for people who, you know, basically insult your intelligence.

            As for Martinez, I have trouble with his placement. I don't want to walk the well-tread path of he doesn't pitch as many innings as old-school guys or even contemporaries, strong Boston teams, etc. but for some reason Martinez gices me a sort of baseball twitch every time I hear about how great he is. No to fault him or anyone who thinks so, but I just don't know.
            “There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil.” Walter Lippmann

            "Fill in any figure you want for that boy (Mantle). Whatever the figure, it's a deal." - Branch Rickey

            Comment


            • #7
              Not much love for 19th Century hurlers.
              Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by KCGHOST View Post
                Not much love for 19th Century hurlers.
                Tough adjustment to today's game I suppose.

                Radbourn is a personal favorite of mine.
                “There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil.” Walter Lippmann

                "Fill in any figure you want for that boy (Mantle). Whatever the figure, it's a deal." - Branch Rickey

                Comment


                • #9
                  1.Pete Alexander
                  2.Lefty Grove
                  3.Greg Maddux
                  4.Randy Johnson
                  5.Walter Johnson
                  6.Warren Spahn
                  7.Roger Clemens
                  8.Tom Seaver
                  9.Carl Hubbell
                  10.Ed Walsh
                  11.Sandy Koufax
                  12.Christy Mathewson
                  13.Whitey Ford
                  14.Jim Palmer
                  15.Juan Marichal
                  Last edited by The Dude; 05-19-2008, 02:08 PM.
                  AL East Champions: 1981 1982
                  AL Pennant: 1982
                  NL Central Champions: 2011
                  NL Wild Card: 2008

                  "It was like coming this close to your dreams and then watching them brush past you like a stranger in a crowd. At the time you don't think much of it; you know, we just don't recognize the significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought, 'Well, there'll be other days.' I didn't realize that that was the only day." - Moonlight Graham

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by The Dude View Post
                    1.Pete Alexander
                    2.Lefty Grove
                    3.Greg Maddux
                    4.Randy Johnson
                    5.Walter Johnson
                    6.Warren Spahn
                    7.Roger Clemens
                    8.Tom Seaver
                    9.Carl Hubbell
                    10.Ed Walsh
                    11.Sandy Koufax
                    12.Christy Mathewson
                    13.Whitey Ford
                    14.Jim Palmer
                    15.Juan Marichal
                    Is this in order?
                    "Allen Sutton Sothoron pitched his initials off today."--1920s article

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KCGHOST View Post
                      Not much love for 19th Century hurlers.
                      I have always liked Addie Joss. It's his ERA that really sparks it for me.
                      "Allen Sutton Sothoron pitched his initials off today."--1920s article

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        No, I added the numbers for fun ...

                        Yes, it's in order. I've argued for this list (Not this exact one, but very much like it) many times, so I'm not surprised at you being taken aback.

                        Edit: Now that I actually look at the list, that's not the correct one. That is an old list, and not my most recent (May, 2006)

                        Here is my most recent list; I was looking in the wrong place.


                        1-4.
                        Roger Clemens/Walter Johnson, Greg Maddux/Grover Cleveland Alexander

                        5-8.
                        Tom Seaver/Christy Mathewson, , Lefty Grove, Randy Johnson

                        9-15.
                        Carl Hubbell, Warren Spahn, Whitey Ford, Cy Young, Robin Roberts, Juan Marichal, Jim Palmer

                        Let me explain this list:

                        1-4: If I put Clemens or Johnson in first, then the one who isn't in first would be second. The same for Maddux/Grover. If I had Maddux first, then Grover would be second.

                        5-8:Same thing with Seaver and Mathewson. Whoever is ahead, the other is in the slot right behind them.

                        9-15:I feel differently about these guys every day
                        Last edited by The Dude; 05-19-2008, 04:37 PM.
                        AL East Champions: 1981 1982
                        AL Pennant: 1982
                        NL Central Champions: 2011
                        NL Wild Card: 2008

                        "It was like coming this close to your dreams and then watching them brush past you like a stranger in a crowd. At the time you don't think much of it; you know, we just don't recognize the significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought, 'Well, there'll be other days.' I didn't realize that that was the only day." - Moonlight Graham

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          And as for those rankings, here are some of my arguments in the past, of which the best are now lost to the infamous destruction of threads from years ago.

                          On Robin Roberts:
                          Originally posted by The Dude View Post
                          He's the only Post-1920 pitcher to throw 6 Consecutive 300+ IP seasons, and I think he's the only Post-1920 Pitcher to throw 5 consectuve 300+ IP seasons.
                          Now you might say, "Oh, interesting, but what does that have to do with anything."

                          1952
                          1952 ERA Champ in the NL .... Hoyt Wilhelm ... threw 152 Innings. His ERA+ was 152. Roberts was 141. Roberts threw 330 Innings. In fact, of the 3 men that beat him, Bob Rush had an ERA of 143 in 250 IP. The 2nd person in IP that year was Warren Spahn with 290.

                          That means: Roberts was only 11% worse than a guy who threw only 46% of the innings he did, and was 2% worse than a guy who threw 76% of the innings he did.

                          1953
                          1953 ERA Champ in the NL ..... Warren Spahn .... threw 256 innings, with an ERA+ of 188. A great season. Roberts had an ERA+ of 152 in 346 IP. 36% worse in ERA+, 27% better in IP.

                          1954
                          Johnny Antonelli had a 176 ERA+ with 259 IP, Robin Roberts had 136 ERA+ with 337 IP.

                          1955
                          Bob Friend threw 200 IP, with a 146 ERA+, whereas Roberts had a 121 ERA+ and 305 IP. Joe Nuxhall was second that year in IP with 257 IP, but only had a 122 ERA+. 1 point better than Roberts.


                          Say what you want about the rest of his career, but from 1950-1955, Robin Roberts was the best Pitcher in his league every year. He only had 4 other seasons in his career with 200 IP and a plus 100 ERA+, and 2 190 IP, over 100 ERA+ seasons. That's, 6 amazing seasons, 4 very good seasons, and 2 good seasons. And the thing is, he wasn't horrible in most of his other seasons. His WHIP was still in the top 10 from 1956-1960. The problem was, he was pitching less innings than before, therefor all the HR's he gave up caught up to him. He was still just as good a pitcher as he was before.

                          Now I mentioned that I have Roberts as the best pitcher in his league from 1950-1955. That's six years.

                          Only Walter Johnson (9), Lefty Grove (8), and Roger Clemens (7) have more. Randy Johnson, and Pete Alexander each have 6 as well. As for others in my top 10, Maddux has 5, Seaver has 4, Young has 5, and Spahn has 5. Mathewson also has 5, and Hubbell has 4.
                          On Pete Alexander:
                          Originally posted by The Dude View Post
                          Walter Johnson has the most black ink of all time.
                          Who has the second most? Grover Cleveland Alexander does.

                          There's no question that Walter Johnson was a better thrower than Grover. But I think we can make an arguement for Grover being the better pitcher. This is first seen by their career BB/9 IP, in which Grover ranks 33rd all time, leading his league five times, compared to The Train's twice leading his league, and not placing on the top 100.

                          Grover also excells in something I hold very dearly, which is probably due to my yearning for the golden age of baseball which I was sadly born after. What is this I hold dear? Innings Pitched. Yes, Walter Johnson pitched more innings total than Grover. But as some may know and some may not, I am one who tends to go towards peak. And we can see that Pete Alexander leads his league in IP seven times, compared to Walters 5.

                          Now, enough for statistics.

                          A while back there was a theory that someone proposed here on BBF; the theory had a big impact on me. Early I mentioned that there is no doubt that Walter Johnson was the better thrower. This idea was expanded upon in that Walter Johnson had nothing but his fastball. Had Walter Johnson had to pitch 60 years later in a much tougher league, he would have been Nolan Ryan without a curveball. There's no doubt in my mind that his coaches would have tried their hardest to teach Johnson how to throw an off-speed pitch. I am a big LQ guy, so this has a huge sway on my opinion in moving Walter down in my rankings. His domination was just so much though, that even with this theory and LQ adjustments, he still makes my top 10.

                          There is also another part to Grover that I believe we must examine, and that is his ERA+. It's top 25 all time, but it's still less than Walters. Why? Simple. He pitched in Bakers Bowl. Just like it helped Chuck Klein and Cy Williams, it destroyed Grover Alexander (top 10 in home runs allowed 4 seasons there). In my opinion, ERA+ can't do enough justice for Pete. In fact, when Pete left Phillie to go to Chicago, his ERA+ jumps from an average of 150 to 168 before he hits his decline. Now, when your ERA+ jumps from moving to Wrigley Field, one of the worst pitching parks, you know that Bakers Bowl was horrible to Pete Alexander. It's in my opinion, that had Pete Alexander pitched in Griffith Stadium, his ERA+ would have been far better.

                          That's my reason for having Pete above Walter and No.1.
                          On Alexander and Maddux:
                          Originally posted by The Dude View Post
                          It's tough in my opinion, really to rank Maddux. I think there's enough data to suggest that his 1994/1995 campaigns were really that good (career high's in CG's and a K/9 far surpassing anything he's thrown), but I still have doubts just becuase it didn't happen, which is just like I have trouble ranking NeL players. I like to root things in statistics, and then see what could be behind that. If someone says to me "Greg Maddux' 1994 season was the best ever.", I'd look at it and say "Maybe.". There's just not enough there for me to clearly state yes, he was.

                          But, I would say that even without a full season, those two are some of the best ever. But with giving Maddux that credit, I don't see how we can't give credit to Grover for 1918. We can say sure, Maddux may have been bad in 1994-1995, we just didn't get to see him fall off the planet in late 1994 and early 1995. But would you really believe me if I said he was only bad at those times? I think it's highly unlikely that Alexander would have had a sub-par year. I think it may have actually gone on to be his best ever.

                          To be honest, there's really very little difference between Maddux and Alexander and keeping them from bieng tied or in reverse order. This season depending on the outcome for Maddux, will probably move him to no.1. Lefty Grove should be a few spots lower. I'm very lazy on updating my rankings when my opinion changes.




                          On Seaver and Mathewson:
                          Originally posted by The Dude View Post
                          I look at Tom Seaver and Christy Mathewson as the same pitchers almost. High strikeout guys who pitched a lot of innings with good control. The only difference is their league quality.

                          Mathewson was pitching against far better pitchers than Cy Young was in the American league. Joe McGinnity from 1901-1904 was in the running with Mathewson for the best pitcher in the National League. As soon as McGinnity subsided, Mordecai Brown took his role in giving Mathewson competition. And after Brown, there was Pete Alexander. Both Brown and Mathewson were the aces on their staffs and led their teams to four world series each, Mathewson winning one and Brown winning two.

                          I have Christy Mathewson as being the best pitcher in his league 5 times.
                          Here's what I have for best NL pitchers from 1903-1911.

                          1903-Joe McGinnity (1)
                          1904-Joe McGinnity (2)
                          1905-Christy Mathewson (1)
                          1906-Moredecai Brown (1)
                          1907-Christy Mathewson (2)
                          1908-Christy Mathewson (3)
                          1909-C.Mathewson(4)/M.Brown(2)
                          1910-Christy Mathewson (5)
                          1911-Grover Alexander (1)
                          1912-Grover Alexander (2)

                          You can see that Mathewson ended up being the best more often than his biggest rival, Mordecai Brown.

                          For league quality adjustments, I find myself not downgrading Mathewson as much as I do Walter. There's the normal league quality adjustment, but for Mathewson, he had such a good repertoire with his fastball, slowball, and screwball, that I don't think the Walter arguement applys here.


                          Like I said a little bit ago, I see Seaver and Big Six as the same guys, just 70 so years apart.

                          Whereas Mathewson had McGinnity, Brown, and Grover, Seaver had Gibson, Carlton, and Niekro. Gibson, Carlton, and Niekro were all high quality pitchers for their time, Gibson had a great peak, Niekro had a great long career, and Carlton was a mix of both.

                          1969-Tom Seaver (1)
                          1970-Tom Seaver (2)
                          1971-Tom Seaver (3)
                          1972-Steve Carlton (1)
                          1973-Tom Seaver (4)
                          1974-Phil Niekro (1)
                          1975-Tom Seaver (5)
                          1976-Randy Jones (1)
                          1977-Phil Niekro (2)
                          1978-J.R. Richard (1)
                          1979-Phil Niekro (3)
                          1980-Steve Carlton (2)
                          1981-Fernando Valenzuela (1)
                          1982-Steve Carlton (3)
                          1983-Steve Carlton (4)

                          Here you see Seaver was the best five times in his league. Ironically, the same as Big Six.

                          In my opinion, winning 30 games in Matty's time is equivalent to winning 20 games in Seavers time. Matty won 30 games four times and Seaver won 20 games five times. Now, I understand that some people might not agree with that adjustment. But I believe that Seaver was the bigger achiever when it comes to that.

                          Once again going back to my earlier statement: Seaver and Big Six were the same player, but 70 or so years apart.

                          Seaver had 4 ERA+ titles, Big Six had 5. Seaver had 5 K titles, Big Six had 5 K titles. Seaver had 3 WHIP titles, Big Six had 4 WHIP titles. Both were main stays in the top 10 in IP.

                          However, Seaver is 16th all time in IP, Matty is 17th. A dead baller behind a liveballer.

                          Now you might say "Well of course, Seaver pitched three more seasons." Let us not forget that Mathewson pitched in a time when 300+ innings was the norm for great pitchers. Plus, Seaver earns bonus points for throwing 20 seasons and still being better than the league in all but two seasons. How many great pitchers put up 230, 230, 230, and 170 IP, and 103, 105, 136, and 103 ERA+'s in their last four seasons? Very few.

                          Like I said earlier: Big Six = Seaver. Seaver = Big Six.

                          However, Seaver deserves a LQ adjustment and a boost for pitching so well at the end of his career.
                          AL East Champions: 1981 1982
                          AL Pennant: 1982
                          NL Central Champions: 2011
                          NL Wild Card: 2008

                          "It was like coming this close to your dreams and then watching them brush past you like a stranger in a crowd. At the time you don't think much of it; you know, we just don't recognize the significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought, 'Well, there'll be other days.' I didn't realize that that was the only day." - Moonlight Graham

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I don't feel qualified to rank guys I never saw so I'll stick with pitchers from 'my' era, basically the late 50s until now.


                            1) Sandy Koufax
                            1a) Bob Gibson

                            the rest, only vaguely in order:
                            Warren Spahn
                            Roger Clemens
                            Tom Seaver
                            Steve Carlton
                            Randy Johnson
                            Jim Palmer
                            Juan Marichal
                            Greg Maddox
                            Pedro Martinez
                            Whitey Ford
                            Robin Roberts
                            Nolan Ryan
                            Don Sutton
                            Fergie Jenkins

                            I saw a couple of great pitchers only at the end of their careers, Early Wynn and Robin Roberts. I wanted to pick Mariano Rivera but I didn't know who he would replace.
                            1966 1970 1983

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Walter Johnson
                              Christy Mathewson
                              Pete Alexander
                              Lefty Grove
                              Cy Young
                              Greg Maddux
                              Randy Johnson
                              Tom Seaver
                              Pedro Martinez
                              Sandy Koufax
                              Warren Spahn
                              Addie Joss
                              Tim Keefe
                              Kid Nichols
                              Bob Gibson


                              * I just choose to keep Clemens off my list due to the controversy...

                              I'd probably rank him in the top 10 if I ranked him...
                              "There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.
                              ~~Al Gallagher


                              God Bless America!

                              Click here to see my baseball tribute site!

                              Click here to see the best pitcher NOT in the HOF!

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