Posts Tagged ‘All-Time’

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In an attempt to get back to the old ways here at CSP, here’s the return of one of the old Monday regulars in ‘The Lineup’ series, which is a rundown of any category that may come to mind to kick off the week. Let’s see how it goes…

Left-handers have a special place in society as a whole, but especially in baseball. They are seen as both the exception to the rules and a necessary part of the mix of any successful team. They are an exclusive fraternity amongst the upper rungs of the game’s history as well, where there have been dozens of dominant righty, it is a more rare occasion when a “southpaw” takes the lead and command of the game.

Yet when they do, it is truly a special event to watch. In today’s game such an event is occurring, as Clayton Kershaw is the reigning top gun in the game, at the prodigious age of only 25. Joined by the likes of Cliff Lee, Chris Sale, Cole Hamels and David Price among others, there is a steady undercurrent of great and accomplished left-handed hurlers across today’s game.

However, on the occasion of the election of Tom Glavine to the Baseball Hall of Fame, it seems as good of a time as any to take a look at who are at the summit of the mountain of lefties in the game’s history. And considering the path those pitchers paved, that is no easy task to boil down.

And that’s exactly why I’m throwing my hat into that arena here. So with no further delay, the ten greatest left-hander pitchers in Major League Baseball history….

10. CC Sabathia: The current game’s greatest workhorse, the Indians, Brewers and Yankees have enjoyed jumping on CC sizable back and enjoying the ride. He has topped 200 victories in an era where career wins totals are shrinking regularly and has never had a sub-.500 record or failed to reach double digit victories in any season. The 2007 Cy Young winner has topped 200 innings in each of his last seven seasons.

9. Eddie Plank: First great lefty in the game’s history, Plank was the first to win both 200 and 300 games before finishing with 326 total during his career. He won over 20 games eight times, and only once had an ERA over 3.00—and never after the second of his 17 seasons. He had 1.32 ERA lifetime in the World Series and his 66 shutouts are the most by a lefty ever.

8. Whitey Ford: The Ace during the Yankees most successful run in their storied history, Whitey is one the great winners of all-time. A winner of 15 or better games during nine of his 16 seasons and owner of a 236-106 career record, he has the highest winning percentage in MLB history at .690. He won 10 World Series games in his career, the most ever.

7. Carl Hubbell: While his consecutive strikeouts of Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin in the 1934 All-Star Game is his most known claim to fame, the New York Giants ace accomplished far more than that. Owner of the one of the greatest out pitches of all-time via his screwball, Hubbell was a frustrating matchup for the National League of the 1930’s. From 1933-38, he topped 20 wins each season, and won in double digits for 15 straight years.

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6. Tom Glavine: The smooth consistency of Glavine was the perfect complement to the scientific dominance of Greg Maddux and the overpowering effort of John Smoltz. The two-time Cy Young winner forced his issue with a pinpoint command of the outside part of the plate, as well as a change-up he could use at any point in an at-bat. Five times he topped 20 wins and was the MVP of the Atlanta’s lone World Series victory.

5. Steve Carlton: “Lefty” long-stood as the preeminent power southpaw in the game’s history. After being foolishly cut loose by the Cardinals after an early career contract dispute, Carlton took his near un-hittable slider to Philadelphia where he won 241 of his 329 games, as well as four Cy Young Awards. His 4,136 strikeouts were second best ever at the time of his retirement.

4. Warren Spahn: A 17-time All-Star and winningest lefty of all-time, Spahn was the picture of durability both in regard to longevity and effectiveness. After a three-year military stint, his career in earnest began at age 25 and from that point on he won at least 20 games in 10 seasons, while regularly taking the ball nearly 40 times a year. He is the greatest old age pitcher ever, notching 82 of his 372 victories after his 40th birthday, including one of his two no-hitters post 40.

3. Sandy Koufax: He is the owner of perhaps the greatest stretch in the history of pitching, as from 1961-1966, Koufax was as good as anybody that ever picked up a ball. It was a seven year stretch where his average season was a 22-8 record with a 2.18 ERA and 286 strikeouts. During the run, he had seasons of 25, 26 and 27 wins and struck over 300 batters in three separate seasons. He tossed three no-hitters and a Perfect Game as well during the run, before his career ended at the age of 30 due to a debilitating elbow injury.

2. Randy Johnson: The Big Unit is simply the most intimidating and unique presence in the history of the game. His combination of top shelf heat and a 6’10” frame which ended up delivering it nearly halfway to the plate from his hand to the catcher was a nearly impossible problem to solve. Add in one of the most brutally unfair sliders, as well as his late career two-seam fastball/change-up combo, and there is legit reason to offer that the five-time Cy Young winner, and author of over 4,888 thousand strikeouts is the most difficult hurler to solve in history.

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1. Lefty Grove: The Philadelphia A’s ace broke in 1925, and cross his 17 year career he established himself as one of the finest pitchers of all-time, and definitely the class of all southpaws ever. The first pitcher to ever win MVP, he won 20 plus games seven consecutive seasons, with highs of 31 and 28 in 1931 and ’30, respectively. His career record of 300-141 gives him the eighth highest win percentage all-time, yet no pitcher ahead of him was within 60 victories of his total.

While he only had a one pitch arsenal, his fastball was both hard enough, and smart enough, to see him lead the American League in strikeout in each of his first seven years. He also won eight ERA titles, and on six separate occasions he won 75% of his starts, while taking mound at least 39 times during those campaigns.

Follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan. Follow my columns at I70 Baseball and The Sports Fan Journal for more in-depth content.

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Last night one of the great shooters in NBA history, Ray Allen, broke the league’s record for most three pointers made in a career. Without a doubt, Allen is one of the great marksmen in NBA history & now sits comfortably on top of career list for what should be the forseable future. With him continuing to shoot away for a few more years, he’ll stretch the distance out between the competition, with the closest active to him being Jason Kidd, who is well into the decline of his playing days, sitting 800 3’s behind the now runner up, Reggie Miller.

This achievement made me think about the history of the game & it’s significance. There have been a lot of great marksmen over the years. Guys that can hit a variety of great shots, and are legendary scorers because of it. However, who are the best of the best at pulling up for the bonus point? Not just the guys who are put in the game to chuck the 3 ball & that’s it, but the guys who are in the starting five and can really knock it down while clocking starter minutes. 

Looking at the names for this list, I had to think about a whole plethora of shooters & scorers. You’d be a fool to not consider Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant & Allen Iverson as among the great shooters in the game, those guys fill up the sheet from outside the rim better than nearly anyone to do it. But while they could knock down the 3 (and Kobe even shares the single-game record for doing it with 12), that’s not WHAT they do, but what they can do. If this was just a pure scorers list, they’d each be in the top five easy.

This list is about the most consistently accurate & natural shooters from deep ever. In undertaking this convo, it is important to consider the “what if” factor as well, as some of the game’s greatest shooters never benefitted from the three point line, which debuted during the 1979-80 season. So many of their shots counted for less than they would now, despite them still launching them. They will be considered too, and what their potential could have been.

Here are the CHEAP SEAT’s honorees as the best “GAME” distance shooters of all-time:

10. Steve Nash: The two-time MVP gets much deserved respect for his uncanny play creating, but he is also among the best deep shooters of all-time. He’s 9th in career 3’s landed and has hit at a 43% clip for his career. His ability to stop at full speed and sink the deep ball is second to none in the game currently.

9. Mitch Richmond: He played on some some bad squads in his career, which was based in Sacramento & Golden State mostly, but he was one of the most feared scorers in the game still, while everybody in the gym knew who, and how, he was gonna make his money. Shot 45% from the field for his career.

Mitch Richmond

8. Drazen Petrovic: One of the biggest, and most tragic, “what if” stories in sports history. Before he was killed in car accident in 1993, the 6’5 guard had the best shot not only in the NBA, but in international play as well. For the Nets he hit on 44% of his threes & over 50% of his shots overall, before even seeing his prime.

7. Dirk Nowitzki: In keep with the international flavor, Dirk stands in as the best international shooter ever. Standing at seven feet, he revolutionized what tall shooters can do, while still being the only one that can do it. Has hit 37% of his threes over his career & connected on 41% during his MVP run in ’06-’07.

6. Dale Ellis: He is remembered mostly for being the best off the bench gun in league history for the Nuggets, Spurs, Bucks & Mavs, but he did his most devastating work during his first tour with Seattle. Ellis was no more devastating than in 1988-89, when he started all 82 games and hit on an amazing 47% of his three’s, in route to a 27.5 points a night. Currently is tied for the 4th most 3’s in history with 1,719.

5. Larry Bird

Larry Bird
Bird needs no introduction. His legend looms larger than anybody before, or after, on this list. He connected on 649 threes in his career, which places him at 129th all-time, well after many of the great shooters in league history.

However, it’s not that he’s overrated as a deep shooter, more so it’s because he simply didn’t have to take a ton of them because he could score so easily from so many other places. Don’t under sell his total, as he hit 37% for his career & was highlighted by a four-year stretch of connecting on over 40% from ’85-’88.

4. Glen Rice: Even in the one of the deepest talent pools in league history in the mid-90’s, Rice could make claim to being top gun. Across his entire 15-year career, he only connected on less than 38% of his deep balls ONCE. That’s outstanding considering he play at least 77 games a season from 1989 to 1998. That’s devastating consistency.

3. Jerry West

Jerry West
What couldve been in this case is scary. Jerry West, who played his entire career as a jump shooting two guard, scored 25,192 points while averaging 27 points across his 14-year career, while never shooting one three pointer. Well, that’s not completely true, because he shot them, they just all counted as two regardless.

As a 47% shooter for his career, what The Logo could have done with the extra stripe could still have him amongst the top three scorers in league history more than 30 years after he took his last shot.

2. Ray Allen: As mentioned earlier, Ray is the standard bearer in three pointers landed. Across his career he has netted .398% of threes he’s attempted. That’s saying something because he’s taken the second most ever. He is far more from just a shooter, despite having the best shooting form of anybody to ever pick up a ball. He is one of the most slept on scorers of any era, and is finally getting his due. A sure fire Hall of Famer long before he hit his record 2,561st bomb.

1. Reggie Miller

Reggie Miller
If Reggie Miller’s role in the game is marginalized by the fact he doesn’t have the three point record any longer, then clearly whoever condemns him never saw him shoot. Flat out, there is no better in-game long distance shooter than him ever.

Miller was an assassin, and was the focus of the entire opposition’s defense every time out. He was the game’s best shooter in an era where he matched up against the greatest guard play in NBA history. He landed .395% of his threes for his career, and in his prime from 1994 to 2000, he only didn’t shoot 40% from behind the line once.

Do I think Ray Allen is a better player, with a more complete resume? Yes, I do. However, what separates Reggie from him, and always will, is that Reggie walked on the floor with a much bigger target on him than Ray ever has, and he still lived up to nearly ever moment as the main attraction.

And that makes him the G.O.A.T. of all “GAME” shooters in my book. (more…)