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  • Magical Pitchers:

    This is the companion piece to Magical Players. Who do you consider to be "Perfect Pitchers"? Who had the fewest weaknesses?

    Once again, I will not define the criteria for others. You are free to bring your own perspective to define "Perfect Pitchers".

    That is part of the fun. Whatever lessons you learned from the other thread, please apply them here, if you would.

    If you don't see candidates that you would vote for here, simply list them in your posts here. Vote for as many or as few as you feel apply.

    This poll/survey is NOT to be confused with Greatest or Most Valuable. Much more slippery than that.


    Pitchers:

    Pre - 1900: Tim Keefe, John "Monte" Ward, Bob Caruthers, John Clarkson, Jim "Pud" Galvin, Mickey Welch, Sadie McMahon, Jim McCormick, Charlie "Old Hoss" Radbourne, Amos Rusie, Jim Whitney, Larry Corcoran, Al Spalding, Cy Young, Kid Nichols, Charlie Ferguson, Tony Mullane, Bobby Mathews, Tommy Bond, Jim Creighton, Gus Weyhing, Jack Stivetts, Will White

    1900-1930: Christy Mathewson, Rube Waddell, Mordecai Brown, Addie Joss, Ed Walsh, Walter Johnson, Grover Alexander, Eddie Plank, Joe McGinnity, Chief Bender, Ed Reulbach, Nap Rucker, Wilbur Cooper, Deacon Phillippe, Dazzy Vance, Stan Coveleski, Herb Pennock, Carl Mays, Ed Cicotte, Bill Dinneen, Ted Lyons, Eppa Rixey, Vic Willis, Hippo Vaughn, Dutch Leonard, Urban Shocker, Burleigh Grimes, Doc White, Nick Altrock, Sam Jones, Jack Coombs, Joe Wood, Jack Chesbro, Jim Bagby, Bullet Joe Bush, Waite Hoyt, Red Faber, Bob Shawkey, Ray Caldwell, Ray Collins, George Mogridge, Earl Hamilton, George Uhle, Eddie Rommel, Lefty Grove,

    1930-1960: Dizzy Dean, Carl Hubbell, Whitey Ford, Robin Roberts, Wes Ferrell, Bob Lemon, Lefty Gomez, Hal Newhouser, Red Ruffing, Bucky Walters, Early Wynn, Billy Pierce, Warren Spahn, Bob Feller, Don Newcombe, Tommy Bridges, Lon Warneke, Mel Harder, Bob Turley, Harry Breechen and Bobby Shantz.

    1960-1980: Nolan Ryan, Gaylord Perry, Steve Carlton, Sandy Koufax, Juan Marichal, Bob Gibson, Phil Niekro, Jim "Catfish" Hunter, Ferguson Jenkins, Wilbur Wood, Don Drysdale, Tom Seaver, Jim Bunning, Mickey Lolich, Luis Tiant, Sparky Lyle, Tommy John, Jim Kaat, Dave Stieb, Bert Blyleven, Lew Burdette, Curt Simmons, Harvey Haddix, Johnny Antonelli, Vern Law, Bob Purkey, Johnny Podres, Joe Nuxhall, Ron Perranoski, Bob Veale, Dick Ellsworth, Jim Maloney, Chris Short, Bob Friend, Jim Palmer, Milt Pappas, Jerry Koosman, Dock Ellis, Sam McDowell.

    1980-Present: Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Jack Morris, Kevin Brown, John Smoltz, Mike Mussina, Tom Glavine.

    Negro Leagues:
    Robert Leroy "Satchel" Paige, 1926-1967
    "Smokey Joe" Williams, 1905-1932
    Wilbur "Bullet Joe" Rogan, 1917-38
    "Cannonball" Dick Redding, 1911-38
    Dave Brown, 1918-1925
    Andrew "Rube" Foster, 1902-1926
    Bill Foster, 1923-38
    Ray Brown (1930-1948)
    365
    Walter Johnson
    9.59%
    35
    Christy Mathewson
    7.95%
    29
    Pete Alexander
    5.21%
    19
    Cy Young
    7.67%
    28
    Lefty Grove
    5.75%
    21
    Warren Spahn
    3.29%
    12
    Satchel Paige
    5.21%
    19
    "Smokey Joe" Williams
    1.37%
    5
    Roger Clemens
    8.49%
    31
    Greg Maddux
    6.30%
    23
    Pedro Martinez
    5.75%
    21
    Sandy Koufax
    4.93%
    18
    Nolan Ryan
    1.92%
    7
    Bob Feller
    1.10%
    4
    Dazzy Vance
    0.55%
    2
    Rube Waddell
    0.82%
    3
    Randy Johnson
    3.01%
    11
    Bob Gibson
    5.48%
    20
    Juan Marichal
    2.19%
    8
    "Bullet Joe" Rogan
    0.27%
    1
    Bob Feller
    1.10%
    4
    Charlie "Old Hoss" Radbourne
    0.82%
    3
    Amos Rusie
    0.82%
    3
    Mordecai Brown
    0.27%
    1
    Tom Seaver
    5.48%
    20
    Tim Keefe
    0.55%
    2
    Kid Nichols
    2.74%
    10
    Dizzy Dean
    0.27%
    1
    Carl Hubbell
    1.10%
    4
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-19-2006, 08:50 PM.

  • #2
    There's basically four things I look for in a pitcher, if I'm going to be calling him a perfect pitcher. These four things are not in order:

    1. Endurance. The guy has to be able to stick late in games, pitch a lot of innings, be a horse.

    2. Dominance. The guy has to be able to blow people away with his strikeout pitch, and has to be able to go long stretches where he's just absolutely unhittable.

    3. Control. The guy has to be able to place his pitches exactly where he wants them.

    4. Diversity/creativity. The guy has to have an assortment of pitches that he can call on at will when his main pitch isn't working, or when a particular batter happens to have figured it out.

    I believe there's only one pitcher in major league baseball history who fulfills all four criteria... though I certainly could be wrong in this.

    Roger Clemens could be a horse, and he had a nice assortment of pitches to fall back on, but his best pitch (his splitter) was never really the best pitch in the game... he didn't quite have the dominance aspect I look for in a pitcher.

    Walter Johnson could be a horse, and his fastball certainly was one of the most dominant pitches of his day. But when his fastball wasn't working, he didn't have a lot to fall back on.

    Nolan Ryan pitched a ton of innings, certainly had the dominance factor, and could fall back on his curve when his fastball wasn't biting. But he didn't have that much in the way of control.

    Lefty Grove, similar to Johnson, didn't have a wide assortment to fall back on when his fastball wasn't there.

    I have to give an honorable mention to Pedro Martinez. He didn't have the endurance, but he also wasn't as fragile as people say he was, finishing in the top 10 in innings every year during his 97-00 run of ridiculousness. He certainly had the dominance factor, and had outstanding control. His big strenght, though, was in his pitch diversity. After Randy Johnson left for Houston, Pedro had the best fastball, curveball, AND change in the American League. I don't think any other pitcher in history had three pitches, each of which were the best one out there.

    The guy I will give a nod to is Christy Mathewson. He was one of the best control pitchers of all time, could pitch till nightfall every night, and had one of the nastiest pitches of all time in his fadeaway. Even better, he'd only throw that pitch 12-15 times a game, and had awesome stuff on his second and third pitches. Christy Mathewson had everything you could ever want in a pitcher (how many other pitchers could lead their league in K's five times and BB rate 7?).

    Topping him, though, has to be Satchel Paige. By all accounts, he had literally dozens of pitches, pitched several times a week, and could strike guys out like nobody's business. Amazing. No weaknesses.

    I do also have to award an asterisk for Mo Rivera. He only fits one of my criteria, but his dominance is so overwhelming that I have to make a note of it. He's unique in baseball history in his ability to not even bother trying to fool hitters. While he might not be the perfect pitcher, his cutter is probably the perfect pitch... throw it all the time, every time, for a decade, and nobody can figure out how to hit it.
    "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

    Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

    Comment


    • #3
      I like your definitions El Halo, except I would want an extension on your "dominance" qualification. I think true dominance can come in different forms, not being exclusively defined by strikeouts.

      To me, Maddux's other skills warrant him having the "dominance" factor. His ability to think along with the hitter; understanding the art of pitching, and his unbelievable control with multiple pitches allowed him to dominate without striking guys out.

      Much like a certain martial art (I believe its the one Steven Segal knows), is centered around using your opponents own aggression/momentum against himself, Maddux knew how to do the same with the hitters of this era. I'm not arguing for Maddux over Christy, just making a simple point that you probably already understand very well.

      Comment


      • #4
        I want to add Dizzy Dean to the list.
        PS I did vote

        Comment


        • #5
          Funny, El Halo

          You just described Cy Young, yet probably didn't vote for him

          Comment


          • #6
            I voted for Walter Johnson, because I feel he was the most magical. He was a perfect pitcher, even though not as complete as Matty. He didn't have to be as complete, at least not in his day.

            If he pitched today, maybe he'd need another pitch. But I rate him in his own day.

            Bill

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Sultan_1895-1948
              I like your definitions El Halo, except I would want an extension on your "dominance" qualification. I think true dominance can come in different forms, not being exclusively defined by strikeouts.

              To me, Maddux's other skills warrant him having the "dominance" factor.
              Sorry; disagree. Maddux is David Wells with a better defense behind him. His one defining characteristic should probably be "not dominant." Can't stand the guy.
              "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

              Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ElHalo
                Sorry; disagree. Maddux is David Wells with a better defense behind him. His one defining characteristic should probably be "not dominant." Can't stand the guy.
                A defense that "improves" his ERA+ from 110 to 139. I didn't know he had Ozzie AND Brooks AND Maz AND Keith AND Bench AND Willie behind him. Another one for the ElHalo archives
                Mythical SF Chronicle scouting report: "That Jeff runs like a deer. Unfortunately, he also hits AND throws like one." I am Venus DeMilo - NO ARM! I can play like a big leaguer, I can field like Luzinski, run like Lombardi. The secret to managing is keeping the ones who hate you away from the undecided ones. I am a triumph of quantity over quality. I'm almost useful, every village needs an idiot.
                Good traders: MadHatter(2), BoofBonser26, StormSurge

                Comment


                • #9
                  I went with Walter Johson. He has the 2nd most wins ever, and a nice low era of 2.17. Also a pretty good strike out pitcher, ranking 9th all time. This is also while playing on pretty bad teams with the Senators. Probably the most dominant pitcher of a time with a lot of great pitchers. Also look at his his Black ink, Grey ink, Hof Moniter, and Hof Standers on baseball referance.

                  Black Ink: Pitching - 150 (1) (Average HOFer ~ 40)
                  Gray Ink: Pitching - 420 (2) (Average HOFer ~ 185)
                  HOF Standards: Batting - 1.0 (3736) Pitching - 82.0 (2) (Average HOFer ~ 50)
                  HOF Monitor: Pitching - 365.0 (1) (Likely HOFer > 100)
                  Overall Rank in parentheses.

                  A great pitcher and I think the best of all time.
                  go sox.

                  Pigskin-Fever

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ElHalo
                    Sorry; disagree. Maddux is David Wells with a better defense behind him. His one defining characteristic should probably be "not dominant." Can't stand the guy.
                    Maddux' DERA is only .07 higher than his NERA. 3.49 to 3.56. The Braves' defense was good, but never great. Maddux was helped a little by his defense, but nowhere near as much as guys like Palmer.
                    By the way , Wells' DERA is 4.11, almost a 1/2 run higher than Maddux.
                    Last edited by Bothrops Atrox; 03-20-2006, 06:42 PM.
                    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


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ElHalo
                      Sorry; disagree. Maddux is David Wells with a better defense behind him. His one defining characteristic should probably be "not dominant." Can't stand the guy.
                      lol, gee, you're not letting personal feelings get in the way are you?

                      Did I explain myself good enough in the original post? Hmmmm, thought for sure you would understand that part of the game EH. It's not about how good his defense is; it's about him being able to dominate without striking guys out. About him having great control with a number of pitches, and being smart enough to use those pitches at proper times. Using the hitters aggressiveness against them; rolling over on a 2-1 two-seamer, or popping up a changeup. Guess we disagree then, but I think dominating can come in that form just as much as blowing it by guys.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sultan_1895-1948
                        lol, gee, you're not letting personal feelings get in the way are you?

                        Did I explain myself good enough in the original post? Hmmmm, thought for sure you would understand that part of the game EH. It's not about how good his defense is; it's about him being able to dominate without striking guys out. About him having great control with a number of pitches, and being smart enough to use those pitches at proper times. Using the hitters aggressiveness against them; rolling over on a 2-1 two-seamer, or popping up a changeup. Guess we disagree then, but I think dominating can come in that form just as much as blowing it by guys.
                        But don't forget, that many people here don't believe a guy like Maddux is capable of causing somebody to "roll over" on a ball. Any contact that is made, whether with a ball over the heart of the plate, or down and tailing away, has an equal chance of becoming a hit. A ball high and tight in on the hands has just as good of chance of becoming a hit as a hanging curveball belt-high. Don't forget, if a ball goes over the fence at 400 ft., it is due to the pitcher mistake. If the ball hits the top of the wall for at 399 ft. for a double, it is "hit luck." In fact, pitchers who don't throw a lot of strikeouts should just toss the ball right down the middle and hope "hit luck" is on their side. Nevermind the fact that this would also imply that a batter's average would also be just as much of a victim of hit luck. Therefore, a non-strikout pitcher like Tom Glavine has just been extremely lucky year after year after year for 15 years. Maybe he and Maddux should have stopped pitching years ago and moved to Vegas.
                        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


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ElHalo
                          There's basically four things I look for in a pitcher, if I'm going to be calling him a perfect pitcher. These four things are not in order:

                          1. Endurance. The guy has to be able to stick late in games, pitch a lot of innings, be a horse.

                          2. Dominance. The guy has to be able to blow people away with his strikeout pitch, and has to be able to go long stretches where he's just absolutely unhittable.

                          3. Control. The guy has to be able to place his pitches exactly where he wants them.

                          4. Diversity/creativity. The guy has to have an assortment of pitches that he can call on at will when his main pitch isn't working, or when a particular batter happens to have figured it out.

                          I believe there's only one pitcher in major league baseball history who fulfills all four criteria... though I certainly could be wrong in this.
                          Jim,
                          Very nice post, but I don't think you've done all of your homework.

                          Cy Young: A Baseball Life by Reed Browning

                          Here is a link.

                          One of the best baseball books I've read. I could never do the man or the work justice here; his mastery deserves all 320 pages.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Imapotato
                            Funny, El Halo

                            You just described Cy Young, yet probably didn't vote for him
                            LOL, JT. I hadn't even seen this. Kudos. :o

                            Have you gotten a chance to read Browning's biography?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ElHalo
                              Sorry; disagree. Maddux is David Wells with a better defense behind him. His one defining characteristic should probably be "not dominant." Can't stand the guy.
                              You can't stand his style and it clouds your judgement of how incredible his career was. That you can't stand Maddux doesn't make him any less dominant in reality.

                              Maddux led the league in IP in 1991, 92, 93, 94, 95 and finished second in 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 also the most efficient pitcher in history among the alltime greats. I came across this in my research of his career.

                              Just to show how unique he is....

                              Pitches/IP (most efficient=lowest ranked)

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

                              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

                              Comment

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