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  • Where do you rank Sandy Koufax?

    I would like to apologize in advance if this topic has already been discussed a thousand times. I am still somewhat new here, and I would not be surprised if a lot of old-timers here see this thread and go, "Here we go again. Let's talk about Rabbit Marranville- Sandy Koufax has been done to death."

    Nevertheless, I think that the most intriguing pitcher in baseball history is Sandy Koufax. I am sure that I am not the only one who has played the "what if" game in terms of his health. But Koufax DID have a great career. He had perhaps the best prime years of any pitcher in baseball history. But, of course, he had to retire just as he was getting going.

    As is, where do you rank him? Clearly, this seems to be a question as to how much you consider longevity to be a factor in determining one's greatness. I believe that it is important, but I think that I rate it not nearly as heavily as a lot of people here. I think Koufax is somewhere between 6-10 all-time. What do you think?

    Mark
    40
    1-5
    10.00%
    4
    6-10
    15.00%
    6
    11-15
    12.50%
    5
    16-20
    32.50%
    13
    Outside of Top 20
    30.00%
    12

  • #2
    Koufax just did it

    ....when i was a kid (about 8yrs old) back in 1963, all i remember was all us kids trying to pitch just like Sandy. We were all trying to get that high over the shoulder delivery, trying to get some kind of movement on the ball as it crossed the plate...some of us had some success and were able to blow away batters...others didn't and had to settle for other positions. Koufax turned me on to Dodger blue, and to this date, still follow with passion their activities.

    Comment


    • #3
      1.Greg Maddux
      2.Walter Johnson
      3.Roger Clemens
      4.Satchel Pagie
      5.Lefty Grove
      6.Cy Young
      7.Pete Alexander
      8.Bob Gibson
      9.Tom Seaver
      10.Warren Spahn
      11.Bob Feller
      12.Christy Mathewson
      13.Robin Roberts
      14.Smokey Joe Williams
      15.Pedro Martinez
      16.Juan Marichal
      17.Gaylord Perry
      18.Randy Johnson
      19.Carl Hubbell
      20.Sandy Koufax
      21.Dazzy Vance
      22.Fergie Jenkins
      23.Jim Palmer
      24.Whitey Ford
      25.Nolan Ryan

      Koufax is overrated by the casual fan, but I feel his overratedness can be overstated. He was legitimately one of the top 3-5 pitcher of all time in his peak. I give a slightly bigger weight to peak in my system, so he ends up at 20th despite being way behind guys like Jenkins and Ryan in career value.

      Koufax's 1966 season, IMO, is one of the top 5 pitching seasons of all time. Off the top of my head, the only ones I'd say are ahead of it for certain is Dwight Gooden in 1985, Walter Johnson in 1913, Lefty Grove in 1931, and Steve Carlton in 1972.

      Comment


      • #4
        Sandy Koufax is my favorite all-time player but I have a hard time ranking him in the Top Twenty due to his short career.
        Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Pghfan987
          I would like to apologize in advance if this topic has already been discussed a thousand times. I am still somewhat new here, and I would not be surprised if a lot of old-timers here see this thread and go, "Here we go again. Let's talk about Rabbit Marranville- Sandy Koufax has been done to death."

          Nevertheless, I think that the most intriguing pitcher in baseball history is Sandy Koufax. I am sure that I am not the only one who has played the "what if" game in terms of his health. But Koufax DID have a great career. He had perhaps the best prime years of any pitcher in baseball history. But, of course, he had to retire just as he was getting going.

          As is, where do you rank him? Clearly, this seems to be a question as to how much you consider longevity to be a factor in determining one's greatness. I believe that it is important, but I think that I rate it not nearly as heavily as a lot of people here. I think Koufax is somewhere between 6-10 all-time. What do you think?

          Mark
          I think you talk about Koufax in the same light as Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Bob Feller, and others in that class. He was THAT good.

          However, I think one of the more intriguing things about him was his lack of longevity. He was in the major leagues about half of his short career and could not harness his talent at all. So to have about five tremendous years that made such an indelible impression on people that he became a legendary Hall of Famer, well, that's what legends are made of.

          There are other famous people who made this kind of impact and were destined for much more until they were taken from us prematurely through either injury or death. How about James Dean and Buddy Holly? How would we feel if James Dean followed up his three movie roles with box office flops? Or if Buddy Holly never had another hit and turned to drugs?

          How would we reflect differently on Sandy Koufax's career if he continued pitching and finished up with five more mediocre seasons? It's possible that a Hall of Fame voter would look back on a 15-year career, and say, "No. Five great years out of 15 isn't good enough to show that you really belong."
          Last edited by CaliforniaCajun; 03-24-2006, 02:21 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by 538280
            1.Greg Maddux
            2.Walter Johnson
            3.Roger Clemens
            4.Satchel Pagie
            5.Lefty Grove
            6.Cy Young
            7.Pete Alexander
            8.Bob Gibson
            9.Tom Seaver
            10.Warren Spahn
            11.Bob Feller
            12.Christy Mathewson
            13.Robin Roberts
            14.Smokey Joe Williams
            15.Pedro Martinez
            16.Juan Marichal
            17.Gaylord Perry
            18.Randy Johnson
            19.Carl Hubbell
            20.Sandy Koufax
            21.Dazzy Vance
            22.Fergie Jenkins
            23.Jim Palmer
            24.Whitey Ford
            25.Nolan Ryan

            Koufax is overrated by the casual fan, but I feel his overratedness can be overstated. He was legitimately one of the top 3-5 pitcher of all time in his peak. I give a slightly bigger weight to peak in my system, so he ends up at 20th despite being way behind guys like Jenkins and Ryan in career value.

            Koufax's 1966 season, IMO, is one of the top 5 pitching seasons of all time. Off the top of my head, the only ones I'd say are ahead of it for certain is Dwight Gooden in 1985, Walter Johnson in 1913, Lefty Grove in 1931, and Steve Carlton in 1972.
            I understand your point of view- many serious fans do share it- that longevity is a requirement for greatness. I know that a lot of people here will think that I must be a "casual fan" because I rate Koufax in the top 10, when the experts KNOW that he does not deserve to be there. When I think of the greatest pitchers of all-time, I imagine that I am filling up a rotation. Koufax would not be one of the top 5, but he would certainly be on my staff.

            I think that Koufax is underrated by experts. Honestly, I never really understood why longevity seems to be the most important factor when comparing great players. I am well aware that Koufax had a shortened career, but I consider Koufax to have been a better pitcher than Spahn, even if his career was half as long.

            It really boils down to one thing: do you value a great, long career, or a spectacular five-year stretch? If a pitcher has a five year peak like Koufax, I tend to rate him higher than a guy who has a great career but was never feared nearly as much (like Spahn.)

            Mark

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by CaliforniaCajun
              I think you talk about Koufax in the same light as Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Bob Feller, and others in that class. He was THAT good.

              However, I think one of the more intriguing things about him was his lack of longevity. He was in the major leagues about half of his short career and could not harness his talent at all. So to have about five tremendous years that made such an indelible impression on people that he became a legendary Hall of Famer, well, that's what legends are made of.

              There are other famous people who made this kind of impact and were destined for much more until they were taken from us prematurely through either injury or death. How about James Dean and Buddy Holly? How would we feel if James Dean followed up his three movie roles with box office flops? Or if Buddy Holly never had another hit and turned to drugs?

              How would we reflect differently on Sandy Koufax's career if he continued pitching and finished up with five more mediocre seasons? It's possible that a Hall of Fame voter would look back on a 15-year career, and say, "No. Five great years out of 15 isn't good enough to show that you really belong."
              Ahh that brings me to a point I forgot to mention. The reason I rate Koufax so high is that it was not his fault (at least I don't consider it to be) that he had to leave the game. Had he continued playing and pitched horribly, then I would not have him nearly as high. I am not giving him credit for extra years that he did not pitch, but at the same time, I feel compelled to not punish him for having to have an early exit. I rate him on the career he had, not the one he could have or should have had. Comparing his prime to Feller/Johnson? I can't think of ANYONE I would rather have than a '62 - '66 Koufax, and that makes me put him at least in my top ten. I am in fact penalizing him for a brief career- he is around #9 instead of #4 or so. I just don't penalize him as much as most people here do.

              Mark

              Comment


              • #8
                --Koufax peak is definately top 10, probably even top 5 material. His career totals aren't even top 50 though. I weight more heavily for peak and that gets him into my top 20, but enough guys were close in peak and accomplished twice as much in their career that Koufax doesn't merit top 10 consideration IMO.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 538280
                  1.Greg Maddux
                  2.Walter Johnson
                  3.Roger Clemens
                  I really don't have any idea whatsoever what to say about this. But anyway...

                  1. W. Johnson
                  2. Matthewson
                  3. Grove
                  4. Martinez
                  5. Young
                  6. Alexander
                  7. Clemens
                  8. R. Johnson
                  9. Paige
                  10. Spahn
                  11. M. Brown
                  12. Waddell
                  13. Feller
                  14. Hubbell
                  15. Ford
                  16. Gibson
                  17. Koufax
                  18. Vance
                  19. Maddux
                  20. Joss
                  21. Walsh
                  22. Plank
                  23. Seaver
                  24. Palmer
                  25. Ryan
                  25[A]. Bender
                  "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

                  Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sandy Koufax was a great pitcher. But the length of his career was too short all though he had very good years. I would have him just out of the top 20.
                    go sox.

                    Pigskin-Fever

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      In terms of overall merit value, I have Sandy ranked 4th all-time since 1900...among lefties. Although I can't speak intelligently about righties, my best estimate would have him slotted around 20th overall.

                      My lefty Top 10:
                      Randy Johnson
                      Lefty Grove
                      Warren Spahn
                      Sandy Koufax
                      Steve Carlton
                      Eddie Plank
                      Carl Hubbell
                      Rube Waddell
                      Whitey Ford
                      Hal Newhouser

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Giambijuice posted this in another thread. Sandy was a dandy.

                        http://www.baseball-fever.com/showpo...07&postcount=6
                        Attached Files
                        Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-30-2006, 11:44 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I missed Sandy's career by 15 years, but if I had the ability to go back in time and watch one pitcher pitch in his prime, it would be Koufax. It's amazing how almost every baseball fan in like their 50s that I've talked to in person about baseball, say that Koufax is the best they've seen. I'm sure a lot of that is being a kid when Koufax was amazing, but it's amazing almost universal the opinion has been.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Quick comment. In 1963 Koufax went 9-1 with an ERA of less than 1.00 against Houston and the Mets, two expansion teams that were not even in baseball a few years earlier. I seem to recall that Koufax remained mortal against clubs like Pittsburgh and Cincy. I suspect that if one subtracts his records against the really lousy team of the period then he look a lot more mortal that believed. Pitching is a lot more about defense than one expects.

                            Go ahead, please, someone subtract the Mets and Astros from Koufax's career and then reprint his yearly stats. PLEASE.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Having just tinkered around with my pitchers rankings to reflect about 2 months of BBF posts, Koufax comes in at 21. His career was too dependent on his home park to suit me.

                              Oh, and the answer to why longetivity is important? Because all of these players are great...the ones that are great for 15-18 years are even greater. Denny McLain had a great 2 year run in 1968-69, but he couldn't begin to sniff my top 50. Same for Ron Guidry 77-79(and 81), and a bunch of other guys....not a peak of Koufax' level, but great peaks in other wise mostly ordinary carers.

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