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Lefty Grove vs. Warren Spahn

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  • Lefty Grove vs. Warren Spahn

    Here are two of the greatest lefties ever. One, Grove, won 300 games, had an ERA of 3.06 and had black/grey ink of 111/319. Spahn, wasn't too shabby either--he won 363 games, had an ERA of 3.09 and had black/grey ink of 101/374.

    But which one was better?
    27
    Lefty Grove
    92.59%
    25
    Warren Spahn
    7.41%
    2

  • #2
    I hate to argue against Spahn but I have Lefty Grove as the greatest lefty of all-time.

    I am, however, completely willing to listen to arguments against that idea.
    “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

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    • #3
      Lefty Grove number one with Randy Johnson number two.
      "(Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning." -- Connie Mack

      "I have the ultimate respect for Whitesox fans. They were as miserable as the Cubs and Redsox fans ever were but always had the good decency to keep it to themselves. And when they finally won the World Series, they celebrated without annoying every other fan in the country."--Jim Caple, ESPN (Jan. 12, 2011)

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      • #4
        Spahn pitched a lot more, but the ERA+ advantage for Grove is massive...148 to 119. Spahn only had 2 single seasons where he came close to matching 148 (granted those 2 seasons were well above 148)..and his third highest was 125. After those top 2 seasons of Spahn's, Grove was on a whole different level.

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        • #5
          While Spahn was consistant and an obvious HOFer, Grove was fantastic. Grove is an elite pitcher. It's Grove easily.
          This week's Giant

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

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          • #6
            My arguments on Lefty Grove:

            1. Led the league in ERA 9 times
            2. in strikeouts 7 years in a row
            3. Led the AL in Winning Percentage 5 times (the most for any pitcher in any league in ML history)
            4. won back to back pitching Triple Crowns
            5. he has the highest winning percentage among 300-game winners (.680).
            6. Led the AL in wins 5 times.
            7. Won 20 games 7 times.

            My Arguments on Warren Spahn:

            1. He won 20 games or more 13 times
            2. led or tied the NL in strikeouts 4 times
            3. led the league in ERA 3 times
            4. His 63 shutouts are the most for a pitcher after WWII
            5. Pitched 2 no hitters after the age the age of 38.
            Last Player to hit for the Cycle: Matt Kemp, San Diego Padres (August 14, 2015)

            Last Pitcher to throw a Regular Season No-Hitter: Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals 2-0 (October 3, 2015)

            Last Pitcher to throw a Postseason No-Hitter: Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies 4-0 (October 6, 2010)

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            • #7
              We are comparing a very good pitcher to a near immortal.

              If anyone can convince me that Spahn was better, then I'm going to take up a new interest.
              "It's better to look good, than be good."

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              • #8
                --Well Spahn was very good for a very long time. You could make a reasonable arguement that he had a more valuable career than Grove. You would have a much harder time arguing that he was better though.

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                • #9
                  Some sick ERAs by Grove while pitching for the most part in a heavy-hitting era. It's possible he could have won up to 5 CYA's had they been around.
                  "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

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                  • #10
                    Well, a glance at my avatar would confirm that I'm biased. But I recognize Grove's greatness. The one thing I'd like to point out about Spahn is his 63 complete game shutouts, almost twice as many as Grove's 35.

                    Well, two things. Spahn came up for a cup of coffee in 1942, then missed the next three years fighting WWII. His amazing career would have been even more so if not for his military service.
                    They call me Mr. Baseball. Not because of my love for the game; because of all the stitches in my head.

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                    • #11
                      Kudos to anyone who will attempt the daunting pro-Spahn argument. Alas, it is not I. Spahn was fantastic in his time, plus he missed war years. However, Spahn himself said that missing those seasons benefited him.

                      Grove was masterful. Only Carl Hubbell came close, and he is still a large distance away. Batters flailed against Grove's fastballs, which he broke in many ways. In fact, Grove may have been one of the earliest known users of the cutter. Add in the curves and sailers, and I can tell you I'd rather face the reliever (if he came in).

                      The sailer? That was Grove's description for what is now the slider.

                      After WWII, hitting broke off as the dominant force. We know that story. Before that oft-used mark, batters hit against the same pitchers throwing the same stuff every year: fastball, curveball, sometimes a forkball, sometimes a changeup. Excluding the few oddballs with unique stuff, batters dealt with very general variations of pitches (this is an educated guess based on my readings of 1920s-1930s pitchers and the monstrous league offenses each year).

                      One of the major contributors to the reintroduction of the pitching era was the slider. By the early 1940s, it was really catching on. Guys like George Uhle, Red Ruffing, and George Blaeholder had been enjoying its successes since the mid or late 1930s. Soon enough, Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, Dick Donovan, Mel Harder (he may have started earlier), Johnny Allen (same), Larry Jansen, Johnny Sain, Jim Konstanty (a specialist of the slider), Dick Radatz and others were throwing it. Why not? It was a relatively easy pitch to master along with effective movement; the perfect addition to the traditional fastball/curveball/changeup repertoire.

                      Every pitching coach must have realized the power of this pitch. A speedy breaking ball that stays on the same plane with a quicker break into the lower strike zone? A pitch that is less likely to hang than those loopy curves? Any serious professional needs it! According to Bob Feller, "It was the slider which was of the greatest help to me in 1946 when I established a strikeout record of 348 for a season. I used it in many spots where I had used a curve before." Ted Williams said the most difficult pitch to hit was the slider because even when he knew it was coming, he had trouble getting the good part of the bat on it.

                      The slider became such a force that it was very much exploited. Sal Maglie said, "All pitchers today are lazy. They all look for the easy way out, and the slider gives them that pitch."

                      Jim Konstanty, once a failed starter, used his "pet pitch" along with a palm ball to win the 1950 MVP. One contemporary (the name escapes me) believed in hitting chin music over a Konstanty slider.

                      Perhaps Grove's success can be attributed to the "sailer," or at least some variation. Maybe he had its beginnings when he switched to a dominant ace in 1926. Maybe some of its essence was there to help him win 31 games. Maybe he perfected it like the others by the mid-1930s after adjusting to a tough Fenway Park in 1935. Whatever the case, I believe that pitch in however many variations helped bring him to immortality. Grove was ahead of many others of his time by implementing the advantage pitch that had yet to be exploited.
                      "Allen Sutton Sothoron pitched his initials off today."--1920s article

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                      • #12
                        Lefty Grove by far. It's a no brainer. But feel free to patrocinate Spahn if you may.
                        "I am not too serious about anything. I believe you have to enjoy yourself to get the most out of your ability."-
                        George Brett

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ol' aches and pains View Post
                          Well, a glance at my avatar would confirm that I'm biased. But I recognize Grove's greatness. The one thing I'd like to point out about Spahn is his 63 complete game shutouts, almost twice as many as Grove's 35.

                          Well, two things. Spahn came up for a cup of coffee in 1942, then missed the next three years fighting WWII. His amazing career would have been even more so if not for his military service.
                          He "could" have conceivably finished with 6000 innings and 400 wins, kind of a modern version of Cy Young. That would be if he developed a little quicker which I think he would have.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by brett View Post
                            He "could" have conceivably finished with 6000 innings and 400 wins, kind of a modern version of Cy Young. That would be if he developed a little quicker which I think he would have.
                            Spahn himself said that entering the army saved his career. Pitching experience still came his way during that time without the Major League workload that can hurt developing rookie arms. Just food for thought.
                            "Allen Sutton Sothoron pitched his initials off today."--1920s article

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                            • #15
                              Grove led the 1930s in wins with 199, while Spahn led the 1950s with 201.
                              Last Player to hit for the Cycle: Matt Kemp, San Diego Padres (August 14, 2015)

                              Last Pitcher to throw a Regular Season No-Hitter: Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals 2-0 (October 3, 2015)

                              Last Pitcher to throw a Postseason No-Hitter: Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies 4-0 (October 6, 2010)

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