WHO’S THE GOAT? BASEBALL’S GREATEST, VOLUME 9

Posted: September 23, 2010 by The Cheap Seat Fan in MLB
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There have been generations of great players in Major League Baseball. Since the league’s official inception around 1869 there have been many different eras and changes to the game. It is difficult to place each great player against each other, but here is the CHEAP SEATS take on the greatest players, by position, the game has ever produced. (All stats are current of June 1, 2010)

**STARTING PITCHERS**

The pitcher controls what happens in the game. There is a wide variety of pitchers, with different approaches and arsenals used to guide his team to victory. Over the years the impact, role and ability of the position has changed from one of a workhorse that pitched entire games, multiple times a week, into a more specialized role that works with an entire staff of specialized pitchers as well. However, regardless of era, one thing remains true: the cream always rises to the top. The greats always standout, and of all positions in the game, they do the most at pitcher. Many of the legends of the early part of the game still stand tall, but many have approached since. Lets see how they mix in.

1. Walter Johnson: Washington Senators (1907-1927): 95.5 points

–          417 Wins, 2.17 ERA, 5914 K’s, 3508 Innings, 110 Shutouts, .599 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 2 MVPs, 6 Wins Titles, 12 K’s Titles, 5 ERA Titles, 1 No Hitter, 0 All-Star Games (Presumptive 13 awarded)

Arguably the most dominant power pitcher of all time. His 110 shutouts are the most ever, by over 20. For over 50 years he was the only pitcher with 3,000 strikeouts and lead the league 12 times, including 8 consecutive times, both are still records. He was the all-time strikeout leader for 55 years. One of two pitchers to surpass 400 wins, having over 30 wins in a season twice and 20 twelves times, including 10 seasons in a row. He also lost 65 games due to his team being shutout. His 55.2 consecutive scoreless innings are still an American League record.

"The Big Train" Johnson's blazing fastball secured him as the most dominant pitcher in history.

2. Roger Clemens: Boston Red Sox (1984-2007): 89 points

–          354 Wins, 3.12 ERA, 4672 Innings, 4916 K’s, 46 Shutouts, .658 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 8 Cy Young/MVP, 4 Wins Titles, 5 K’s Titles, 7 ERA Titles, 0 No Hitter, 11 All-Star Games

Dominant pitcher of the last 20 years. One of four players to ever reach 4,000 strikeouts. One of four pitchers to ever win the Cy Young Award in both leagues and the oldest to ever win it at 42 years old. Became the first player to ever record 20 strikeouts in one game in 1986. His 7 seven Cy Young awards are a record.

3. Cy Young: Cleveland Spiders/Boston Red Sox (1890-1911): 82.5 points

–          511 Wins, 2.63 ERA, 2803 K’s, 7355 Innings, 76 Shutouts, .618 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 0 Cy Young, 5 Wins Titles, 2 K’s Titles, 2 ERA Titles, 2 No Hitters, 1 Perfect Game, 0 All-Star Games (Presumptive 14 awarded)

The winningest pitcher of all time, he is the only player to ever pass 500 wins and is 94 victories above the second best total. He won 30 games five times and 20 or more in ten other seasons. His 7,355 innings pitched, 815 starts and 749 complete games are all-time records. Upon his retirement, he had the most strikeouts of all-time. In opposite effect, he also had 316 losses, which are the most ever. The Cy Young Award for pitching excellence was created for him a year after his death.

As the far and away standard for winning, Young's 511 wins are a record the will likely stand forever.

4. Nolan Ryan: Houston Astros/California Angels (1966-1993): 82.5 points

–          324 Wins, 3.19 ERA, 5714 K’s, 5386 Innings, 61 Shutouts, .526 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 0 Cy Young, 0 Wins Titles, 11 K’s Titles, 2 ERA Titles, 7 No Hitters, 11 All-Star Games

The most dominant power pitcher ever and one of the hardest throwers in history. His 7 No-Hit games are the most in history and he threw 12 one-hit games as well, tied for the most ever. His 5,714 strikeouts are the most in history by over 800 k’s. His 383 strikeouts in 1973 are still a single season record. He allowed the least hits per nine innings in history, with only 6.56. He struckout 15 or more batters 26 times in one game, the second most ever. He is characterized by his lack of control totals as well, including 2,795 walks issued and 277 wild pitches, the highest totals in history.

5. Randy Johnson: Arizona Diamondbacks/Seattle Mariners (1988-2009): 81.5 points

–          329 Wins, 3.29 ERA, 4875 K’s, 4135 Innings, 37 Shutouts, .646 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 5 Cy Young, 1 Wins Title, 9 K’s Titles, 4 ERA Titles, 1 No Hitter, 1 Perfect Game, 10 All-Star Games

The “Big Unit” was one of the most intimidating pitchers in history, standing 6’10 and approaching 100 mph often. His five Cy Young Awards are the second most all-time, and he is one of two players to ever get the honor in four consecutive seasons. He had the second most strikeouts of all-time and finished with 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings, the most ever. He is the oldest player to ever throw a Perfect Game, at age 40.

Johnson's size and arsenal made him among the most intimidating players ever.

6. Warren Spahn: Milwaukee Braves (1942-1965): 80.5 points

–          363 Wins, 3.09 ERA, 2583 K’s, 5243 Innings, 63 Shutouts, .537 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 1 Cy Young, 8 Wins Titles, 4 K’s Titles, 3 ERA Titles, 2 No Hitters, 14 All-Star Games

Won the most games of any left-handed pitcher in history. He won 20 games in 13 seasons, and reached his record setting total despite losing three full seasons to military service. He led or shared the lead National League lead in wins for five straight seasons, from ages 36 to 40. Once threw 201 pitches in 14 inning complete game loss in 1963 at age 42.

7. Christy Mathewson: New York Giants (1900-1916): 80 points

–          373 Wins, 2.13 ERA, 2502 K’s, 4780 Innings, 79 Shutouts, .665 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 0 Cy Young, 4 Wins Titles, 5 K’s Titles, 5 ERA Titles, 1 No Hitter, 0 All-Star Games (Presumptive 10 awarded)

Third most wins of all-time, noted for his tremendous screwball. Most wins in National League history with 373. Won 30 games four times and 2o games13 different times respectively. Third most shutouts of all-time. Had five season with a sub-2.00 ERA. One of the great postseason pitchers ever, with a 0.97 ERA and 5 wins in 11 games.

8. Pete Alexander: Philadelphia Phillies/Chicago Cubs (1911-1930): 76.5 points

–          373 Wins, 2.56 ERA, 2198 K’s, 5190 Innings, 90 Shutouts, .642 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 0 Cy Young, 6 Wins Titles, 6 K’s Titles, 4 ERA Titles, 0 No Hitter, 0 All-Star Games (Presumptive 12 awarded)

His hold the National League record for shutouts and is tied for third most wins of all-time. Had six consecutive seasons with an ERA under 2.00 from 1915-20. His 28 wins as a rookie are still a record 99 years later. His 16 shutouts in 1916 are a Major League record. In 1926, he pitched two complete game wins in the World Series and pitched the last three inning of game 7 to win the series.

9. Greg Maddux: Atlanta Braves/Chicago Cubs (1986-2008): 73.5 points

–          355 Wins, 3.16 ERA, 3371 K’s, 5008 Innings, 35 Shutouts, .610 Win%

–          18 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 4 Cy Young, 3 Wins Titles, 0 K’s Titles, 4 ERA Titles, 0 No Hitter, 8 All-Star Games

One of the great control pitchers in history. Walked less than 2 batters per game for his career. One of two players to win four consecutive Cy Young Awards (1992-1995), with a 1.98 ERA during that stretch. The only pitcher in history to win 15 games for 17 consecutive years. One of 10 players with 300 wins and 3,000 strikeouts.  His 18 Gold Gloves are the most ever of any player.

Maddux's amazing control and intellect made him the most consistent pitcher in history.

10. Lefty Grove: Philadelphia A’s/Boston Red Sox (1925-1941): 73 points

–          300 Wins, 3.06 ERA, 2266 K’s, 3940 Innings, 35 Shutouts, .680 Win%, 55 Saves

–          0 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 1 MVP, 3 Wins Titles, 7 K’s Titles, 9 ERA Titles, 0 No Hitter, 6 All-Star Games (Presumptive 5 awarded also)

One of the most dominant and successful pitchers of all-time. He won over 25 games every season from 1930-32, and had two seasons with winning percentages over .884. He twice struck out the side on nine pitches, and is the only player to do it twice in one season. Led the American League in strikeouts in each of his first seven years.

11. Tom Seaver: New York Mets (1967-1986): 72.5 points

–          311 Wins, 2.86 ERA, 3640 K’s, 4782 Innings, 61 Shutouts, .603 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 3 Cy Young, 3 Wins Titles, 5 K’s Titles, 3 ERA Titles, 0 No Hitter, 12 All-Star Games

Five-time 20 game winner. His 19 strikeout game in 1970 tied the all-time record at the time, and he set another record in the process by striking out 10 batters in a row to end the game. Had 10 consecutive 200 strikeout seasons from 1968-76 and won 20 games four times. His 98.8% vote to the Hall of Fame is the highest ever.

12. Steve Carlton: Philadelphia Phillies (1965-1988): 70.5 points

–          329 Wins, 3.22 ERA, 4136 K’s, 5217 Innings, 55 Shutouts, .574 Win%

–          1 Gold Glove, 2 World Series, 4 Cy Young, 4 Wins Titles, 5 K’s Titles, 1 ERA Title, 0 No Hitter, 10 All-Star Games

Has the fourth most strikeouts of all-time and held the all-time record between 1982-84. His 144 pickoffs are the most in history. He won over 23 games four times and had four seasons of over 275 strikeouts. His 1972 season is one of the greatest of any pitcher, winning 27 games, with 30 complete games, a 1.97 ERA, 310 strikeouts in 346 innings. Remarkably he won 46% of the Phillies’ total games himself.

13. Sandy Koufax: Los Angeles Dodgers (1955-1966): 68.5 points

–          165 Wins, 2.76 ERA, 2396 K’s, 2324 Innings, 40 Shutouts, .527 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 3 World Series, 4 Cy Young/MVP, 3 Wins Titles, 4 K’s Titles, 5 ERA Titles, 3 No-Hitters, 1 Perfect Game, 6 All-Star Games

After a mediocre start, he had one of the greatest stretches in the history of pitching from 1961-66. He had three seasons over 300 strikeouts, including 382 in 1965, second best season total ever. He was the first pitcher to throw four no-hitters and is one of two post-World War II hurlers to have 3 season of 25 wins. He had four seasons with a sub-2.00 ERA. After arthritis forced him to retire in his prime at 30 years old, he became the youngest player ever elected to the Hall of Fame at 36.

No pitcher ever had a stretch has dominant as Koufax from 1961 t0 66, including 3 No-Hitters and a Perfect Game.

14. Bob Feller: Cleveland Indians (1936-1956): 65.5 points

–          266 Wins, 3.25 ERA, 2581 K’s, 2581 Innings, 44 Shutouts, .621 Win%

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 0 Cy Young, 6 Wins Titles, 7 K’s Titles, 1 ERA Title, 3 No-Hitters, 8 All-Star Games

He consistently surpassed 100 mph with his fastball, being reported at high marks of 107 mph. “Rapid Robert” threw the only opening day No-Hitter in history. He was the first pitcher to win 20 games before turning 21 years old. Had 12 one-hit games, tied for the most all-time. He is one of two pitchers to record as many strikeouts as his age in one game, when struck out 17 in 1936. Lost four and half years to World War II service.

15. Jim Palmer: Baltimore Orioles (1965-1984): 60.5 points

–          268 Wins, 2.86 ERA, 2212 K’s, 3948 Innings, 53 Shutouts, .638 Win%

–          4 Gold Gloves, 3 World Series, 3 Cy Youngs, 3 Wins Titles, 0 K’s Titles, 2 ERA Titles, 1 No-Hitter, 6 All-Star Games

The only pitcher to win a World Series game in three different decades. A eight-time 20 game winner, in his 20 year career he never surrendered a grand slam or back-t0-back home runs. Threw 20 complete games in four different seasons and was a member of the 1971 Orioles rotation that featured four 20-game winners.

Left On Deck: Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Whitey Ford, Early Wynn

-Rubric-

Wins: 400 & above: 10 pts, 399-350: 9 pts, 349-330: 8 pts, 329-300: 7 pts, 299-280: 6 pts, 279-250: 5 pts, 249-230: 4 pts, 229-200: 3 pts, 199 & below: 2 pts

ERA: 2.10 & below: 10 pts, 2.11-2.40: 9 pts, 2.41-2.70: 8 pts, 2.71-2.90: 7 pts, 2.91-3.10 pts: 6 pts, 3.11-3.30: 5 pts, 3.31-3.50: 4 pts, 3.51-3.70: 3 pts, 3.71 & above: 2 pts

Strikeouts: 5000 & above: 10 pts, 4999-4000: 9 pts, 3999-3500: 8 pts, 3499-3000: 7 pts, 2999-2500: 6 pts, 2499-2000: 5 pts, 1999-1750: 4 pts, 1749-1700: 3 pts, 1699 & below: 2 pts

Innings Pitched: 6,000 & above: 10 pts, 5999-5550: 9 pts, 5499-5000: 8 pts, 4999-4500: 7 pts, 4499-4000: 6 pts, 3999-3500: 5 pts, 3499-3000: 4 pts, 2999-2500: 3 pts, 2499 & below: 2 pts

Shutouts: 80 & above: 10 pts, 79-70: 9 pts, 69-60: 8 pts, 59-50: 7 pts, 49-40: 6 pts, 39-30: 5 pts, 29-20: 4 pts, 19-10: 3 pts, 9 & below: 2 pts

Win Percentage: .680 & above: 10 pts, .679-.650: 9 pts, .649-.630: 8 pts, .629-.610: 7 pts, .609-.590: 6 pts, .589-.570: 5 pts, .569-.550: 4 pts, .549-.530: 3 pts, .529 & below: 2 pts

-Accolades-

Gold Glove-.5 point

World Title-.5 point

Cy Young/MVP-2 points

Wins Leader-1 point

Strikeout Leader-1 point

ERA Leader-1 point

No Hitter-3 points

Perfect Game-4 points

All-Star Game-1 point

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