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Greatest Pitching Season Ever

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  • #31
    Originally posted by [email protected]
    Now I'm walking into court, once again with a real winner. I'm smiling with the confidence of an attorney who has all the cards in his hand. My Walter Johnson 1913 case is a slam dunk, sure thing.

    He won everything there was to win, MVP, set a record of 56 consecutive scoreless innings, winning streaks of 16, 12 and 10 in the same year, amazing ERA, ERA+, didn't commit an error on defense, 36-7, 11 Shutouts.

    Don't let me lose, Fever. Keep an open mind. History is on our side.

    Bill Burgess
    Unless they want to go by quality of league improving, why worry what the polls say if you know you're right? Walter had quality AND quantity, and Pedro had, uh, quality. And ERA+ already takes into account the differences in parks
    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


    • #32
      Fever Brothers,

      Even though most of us have formed a concensus that ERA+ should form the original presumption, while always balanced against the volume of inninings worked, we must always strive to keep the overall balance of a pitcher's season formost in mind.

      The keyword to remember is balance. And that should take in all the stats, awards, deft era adjustments, etc.

      Balance, balance, balance. And that evaluation isn't always as easy as it sounds.



      • #33
        I too considered Carlton in '72, and Pedro in 2000 was just above and beyond.

        But I think the Train in '13 was abover and beyonder.
        Thank you Fever friends for allowing these new words into our vocabulary.
        "Someone asked me if I took steroids. I said, 'No. I had a contract with Wheaties.'"
        --Bob Feller


        • #34
          Originally posted by csh19792001
          Looks like an outstanding list, Dave. I really like your methodology. A breath of fresh air here.

          Wilbur Wood's season invariably gets lost in the shuffle- that happens to knuckleballers quite a bit I've noticed.

          And good to see Pedro NOT being overrated, as so many "only rate stats matter" people here never fail to do- while neglecting that the guy he's usually being compared to threw well over 300 innings and completed a majority of his games- contributing far more overall, and having far less no decisions (putting the game in someone else's hand). And many of these were post 1960 pitchers- many of them pitching in the 60's and 70's, when the game was arguably stronger than it was in 2000.

          In other words, a seemingly complete failure to understand that, with pitching, quality is in large part of a function of quantity.


          So you think that Red Faber and Vida Blue were as good as Pedro Martinez has ever been? Can't say I agree. I must say that I'm one of those "statheads" who thinks that Pedro's a phenom.

          I'm unsure as to who's the guy he's usually compared to is - do you mean Sandy Koufax?

          I also do not see how this particular stat is very good. It takes PR and then divided them by the league ERA. Why? The league ERA is already part of the PR equation; no need to put it in again, and right in the place where it can do the most damage. So pitchers from high ERA eras just get an arbitrary kick right in the teeth here - a big fat number in the denominator for no reason at all. This stat seems to be rather biased against pitchers from the 90's and 30's (notice that Lefty Grove - arguably one of the three greatest pitchers of all time - has his greatest seasons devalued) and heavily favors pitchers from the deadball era and the 60's. Those pitchers had enough advantages to begin with; they don't need more.

          Chris and Bill, on the topic of balance:

          You are underestimating Pedro's value. Take a look at my post in this thread with the best PR+ single seasons. I agree with your assessment that value is a balancing act between both quality and quantity. I believe that when the quality is so mind-numbingly high, it can, to an extent, make up for less-than-spectacular quantity. Pedro was 7nth in the league in IP that season, not great, but not as bad as you think either. And the quality of his work was insane. I really don’t think that you’ve taken the time to appreciate what he did that year.

          Yes, Walter has Pedro beat on quantity - even after taking into account era factors, and the difficulty in racking up IP's now vs. then - Walter still has Pedro beat for quantity. I concede that point.

          Bill, you said it's a balancing act between quantity and quality. You are correct. We have to balance Walter's superior quantity with Pedro's superior quality. And make no mistake - Pedro's quality was better. Quite a bit. Here is why.

          Following are the best seasons ever in WHIP. Take a look at the other years on that list. Examine them carefully, note the era. Except for Greg Maddux – another guy who deserves a little more respect around here - they are all deadball or second deadball era (60’s) pitchers. Guys who threw off of 15 or 18 inch mounds to Pedro’s 10. You understand the physics involved here in hitting a batted ball off a raised surface. Guys who pitched in pitcher’s ballparks to Pedro’s Fenway. Guys who faced all natural hitters who never touched a weight. (And you know as well as I do that Barry was far from the only juicer in baseball in 2000). And there’s Pedro, the littlest guy on the field, standing up to these bodybuilder-type hitters.

          The advantages of the other guys on this list are so overwhelming: no body armor on hitters. Freedom to throw at hitters’ heads without repercussions. Expanded strike zones. Dead, inert balls. Poor visibility in the center field batter’s eye (Fenway has perhaps the best visibility in the league). No laser eye surgery for hitters. No batting machines for hitters.

          Before you say that today’s hitters are free swingers – check the walk rates for the deadball and second deadball (60’s) era. Today’s hitters draw more walks than in those eras. Whether its due to better discipline, or simply the smaller strike zone today’s hitters enjoy, does it matter for this discussion? The effect on a pitcher’s WHIP is equally damaging, either way. I can’t even imagine how many STD’s beyond the mean Pedro is here. His very presence on this list of raw, unadjusted numbers is an anachronism, a massive anomaly. Imagine if Ty Cobb’s unadjusted slugging average made the top 10 of all time. Shall we judge Brady Anderson as the greater slugger than Ty Cobb? Brady hit 50 HRs one year, Ty never came close. Do you believe that such raw, unadjusted stat comparisons are valid? I don't. Era factors make the comparison invalid. Yet, even with odds stacked against him in a completely unfair comparison, Pedro's WHIP still tops the list. Mind-boggling.

          Yes, Pedro has one chink in his armor – his stamina is not that of a true workhorse. That is a strike against him. NOW. You take that and weigh it against every disadvantage I’ve written above. Truly an historic season, not a flawless one, but still remarkable. Oh, and his fielders were better, with better gloves to boot. But obviously, that slick fielding was not enough to compensate for all the other factors I've listed, yes? Because BA and walk rates were higher in his era than in those of the other pitchers on this list.

          I hardly think it's a coincidence that all those great pitching years were all clustered around the same time periods. Do you? You don't REALLY think that do you? I mean, I don't think they are; and I don't think that all these 50-HR years we've been having lately are just a coincidence, either.

          1. Pedro Martinez (28) .737 2000 R
          2. Guy Hecker (26) .769 1882 R
          3. Walter Johnson+ (25) .780 1913 R
          4. Addie Joss+ (28) .806 1908 R
          5. Greg Maddux (29) .811 1995 R
          6. Charlie Sweeney (21) .817 1884 R
          7. Ed Walsh+ (29) .820 1910 R
          8. Christy Mathewson+ (28) .828 1909 R
          9. George Bradley (27) .837 1880 R
          Christy Mathewson+ (27) .837 1908 R
          11. Tim Keefe+ (23) .838 1880 R
          12. Pete Alexander+ (28) .842 1915 R
          Mordecai Brown+ (31) .842 1908 R
          Dave McNally* (25) .842 1968 L
          15. Henry Boyle (23) .853 1884 R
          Bob Gibson+ (32) .853 1968 R
          17. Sandy Koufax+* (29) .855 1965 L
          18. Juan Marichal+ (28) .859 1966 R
          19. Ed Walsh+ (27) .860 1908 R
          20. Denny Driscoll* (26) .866 1882 L
          Last edited by Metal Ed; 04-28-2005, 10:15 AM.


          • #35
            >>>>If you assume the quality of the game is virtually the same in today vs. 1913,

            Do you believe that assumption is valid?


            • #36
              Question. I'm confused as to WHIP. Metal Ed gives a top 10 list for WHIP, but it does not conform to my Total Baseball figures.

              Total Baseball lists a figure called Ratio - Rat. It is (H + W/G.). Why are these figures in conflict? Does this figure change? Are they further indexing it to ballpark too? I'm confused. Help! SOS! Could some nice person straighten me out on this, cause I'd really like to get the genuine, authentic figures.



              • #37
                WHIP? Here is what it appears to me. It appears that Total Baseball is using the raw figure. It adds hits allowed to walks allowed and then divides the combined figure by their games. Games is arrived at by dividing their winnings worked by 9.

                But . . . others appear to use a different version of WHIP. It appears to me that they are taking the raw figure and dividing it by the league average WHIP for that yr., thus expressing it as a % of 1.000.

                At least that is what it looks like to me now. And I would think that the second WHIP version would be a much more relevant stat, thereby eliminating the era bias.

                Where is the website where we can get all the yearly WHIPS? My form chart in my post #27 needs a whole lot more of them. Can anyone help me out here?

                Last edited by Bill Burgess; 04-29-2005, 07:36 AM.


                • #38
                  --Bill, the ratio figure used by TB gives hits+BB per 9 IP. WHIP is actually hits + BB per IP. If you multiply WHIP by 9 that should give you the ratio number provided in TB (or divide ratio there by 9 if its WHIP you want/need).
                  --I don't really like WHIP that much anyway. You see it tossed around here sometimes as if it is as important as ERA+ or a vital end game rating stat for pitchers. What it really represents is pitcher OBP. A single or walk are equal to a HR allowed in WHIP. Like OBP for batters it is an important indicator of ptcher performance, but used in isolation can give you some very flawed rankings. It is basically a component of ERA and should not be used as a substitute.


                  • #39
                    It's so interesting to read all this learned baseball knowledge but to me the bottom line is 27 wins on a stiff team that won 59 games .Remember winning 59 games means this juggernaut LOST 103!


                    • #40
                      --You are correct 714. Carlton 72 is one of, and arguably the, best season of all time. By far the best season left off the ballot, which is why it got all three "other" votes cast so far. Three write ins on such a lengthy ballot is pretty impressive. I suspect that season would have even more supporters if not for the unfortunate oversight in leaving it off.


                      • #41

                        Yes, Geoff did commit an oversight in overlooking Steve Carlton's great 1972 season. But . . . it did not get overlooked in my Form Chart in post 27. There are few ways to show how he overcame a bad team, or maybe a fair team with no other pitchers any good.

                        There is a stat which measures how well your team did without you. I forget what it is called, but it is discredited, due to teams which have many great pitchers, such as the 1927 Yankees.

                        Below is what I had to say about it a long time ago

                        "Of what real value can it have, since it so utterly favors pitchers on weak teams (Young, Johnson, Alex, Carlton, Vance), while it makes pitchers on strong teams (Matty, Brown, Ford, Grove, Pennock, Hoyt, Shawkey) appear good only due to team strength. Team WPCT minus the pitcher's W-L PCT. gotta go, guys."

                        Bill Burgess
                        Last edited by Bill Burgess; 04-29-2005, 08:38 AM.


                        • #42
                          --The 72 Phillies were an all around awfull team apart from Carlton. It wasn't a team that had a decent lineup, but lousy pitching. They scored almost 200 less runs than the division winning Pirates, averaging only 3.28 runs per game.
                          --They were no great shakes defensively either. The IF was fairly solid, but the OF was as bad as any ever assembled. Luzinski manned LF (enough said), Willie Montanez was stationed in CF (and switched to 1B where he was better suited the next season) with Bill Robinson, Roger Freed, Ron Stone and Joe Lis all auditioned in RF (and occasionally CF/LF) with less than satisfactory results. A sore armed Tim McCarver started the year as their catcher, but was replaced by journeyman John Bateman (who except for being fat and slow was okay I guess). The Phillies addressed their defensive problems the next year with rookies Mike Schmidt (who was not yet a ML hitter) and Bob Boone and the acquistion of a real CF in Del Unser.


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by leecemark
                            --You are correct 714. Carlton 72 is one of, and arguably the, best season of all time. By far the best season left off the ballot, which is why it got all three "other" votes cast so far. Three write ins on such a lengthy ballot is pretty impressive. I suspect that season would have even more supporters if not for the unfortunate oversight in leaving it off.
                            Again, I apologize for the oversight. Wish I could edit these polls, but I can't. I used the "Greatest Pitching Seasons" website for reference, as well as one that was mentioned on the other thread before I posted the ballot.

                            Even if it was on the ballot, I doubt it would beat Johnson's 1913 or Pedro's 2000. Statistically, it wasn't anywhere close to those two seasons, and the Senators weren't the easiest team in the world to win for, either. Overall, I don't think Carlton's 72 is as impressive as those two seasons, and there are others on the ballot that might be more impressive as well.
                            Red, it took me 16 years to get here. Play me, and you'll get the best I got.


                            • #44
                              Walter Johnson


                              • #45
                                --Sorry if it seems like we're beating up on you for the oversight. I'm really just trying to make points for Carlton. I agree that the quanity/quality combo of Johnson season and the astounding quality of Martinez are hard to beat. To get Carlton to the top of the heap you have to take a more creative approach than just throwing the raw or adjusted numbers out there to speak for themselves.
                                --In comparison with Johnson you can argue than Carlton's IP were more impressive in the context of his time than Johnson's in his. In fact, nobody has equaled Carlton's IP since that season. You obviously are going to point out that Carlton was working against a much more evolved and competitive league. The arguement that Johnson also had to overcome a bad team doesn't fly here. Over the course of his career, Johnson did have below average support (although not nearly as much as people seem to think). For this single season comparison, however, Johnson's team was the second best in the league while Carlton's was the worst.
                                --For the Martinez comp, the quantity of their work is exhibit a. The difference between Lefty and Pedro's workload is at least as vast as the difference between their ERA+. There are several mitagating factors in regards to their ERA+ as well. The teams behind you do effect your era and Martinez had a better one. Carlton was also competing with the deepest field of starting pitchers of all time. There were more high quality pitchers working the NL of 1972 than the AL of 2000 and they were pitching a MUCH higher percentage of the available innings. That makes it much harder to finish at astronomical levels above the league average.


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