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Monday, January 27, 2014

Pedro Martinez

Eligible in 2015

DL from MN Posted: January 27, 2014 at 12:40 PM | 158 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. DL from MN Posted: January 28, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4647279)
Looks most similar to a war credited Bob Feller in my spreadsheet. How does his peak compare to the best peaks?
   2. villageidiom Posted: January 28, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4647287)
I've heard of him.
   3. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:03 PM (#4647299)
Yes.
   4. Famous Original Joe C Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:38 PM (#4647332)
The pitcher most people think Sandy Koufax is.
   5. Chris Fluit Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4647353)
The question isn't "Yes or No?" The question is whether one can make a reasonable case for having Pedro first instead of Randy Johnson.
   6. OCF Posted: January 28, 2014 at 01:02 PM (#4647365)
In RA+ equivalent record formulation, that's 275-162 for Johnson versus 218-96 for Martinez. Turn that into Fibonacci Win Points and it's 287 for Johnson and 273 for Martinez. As for peak - you know, Johnson has a pretty massive peak, too. As always, that doesn't include either defensive support or the pitcher's own hitting. (They were both terrible hitters.) That's close enough to consider the argument.

Two things I intend to do eventually, but probably not this week:

Use some of the newer information in bb-ref to provide an update to the RA+ numbers that does include defensive support, and

Search through what I have on RA+ to find best 2 consecutive years, best 3 consecutive years, 4, 5, 6, 7, and provide some kind of answer to the question that DL from MN asked in post #1. If I go all the way back (as far as I have it, which mostly doesn't include pre-1893), I would expect to see these rankings dominated by Walter Johnson in the early teens. Maybe I'll only go back to 1925 or so.

   7. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 29, 2014 at 11:29 AM (#4647928)
The pitcher most people think Sandy Koufax is.


Koufax was every bit as dominant as Pedro was in his peak.
   8. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: January 29, 2014 at 11:55 AM (#4647941)
Koufax was every bit as dominant as Pedro was in his peak.


Perhaps this argument can be posited in a literal sense, with no context attached. There are more individual games in Koufax's career where the other team was literally unable to do anything against him (get a hit, get a walk, make contact with the ball, etc.)

However, with the addition of context - without which none of us can even make comparative statements about players - I don't know how anybody can say that Koufax was "every bit as dominant as Pedro" was in his peak.

In the broadest possible definition of Pedro's peak, 1997-2003, Pedro averaged an ERA+ of 213, with a peak of 291! He faced 817 batters that year, and 284 of them struck out. 32 of them walked.

He had the lowest ERA in the league, at 1.74. The second-lowest was 3.70. There were only five pitchers in the league with an ERA below 4.11.

His WHIP was .737 - the second-best was 1.187. The difference between #1 and #2 in that category was more than double the difference between #2 and #10.

He gave up 5.3 hits/9 IP. The next best was 7.5. (5.3 is lower than Koufax had in any season - pitching in Dodger Stadium in the 1960s.)
He struck out 284. The second-highest was 212. That's bigger than the gap between #2 and #10.
His K/BB ratio was 8.875. The next highest was 5.355. (Koufax's best season is 5.38.)

You could throw out crazy stats like this all day. This is probably his best season - but he had five seasons with an ERA+ above 200. Koufax never broke 190.

The point here is not that Koufax wasn't a HOF pitcher - the point is that Pedro's peak is much higher than a guy who many consider to be the ultimate "peak pitching" candidate. I'll be 80 years old, and struggling to describe sufficiently how uniquely dominant Pedro was at his peak. None of us have seen a peak as high as Pedro - with context attached, and maybe even without it attached - and it is unlikely we will see another one like it in the next generation.
   9. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: January 29, 2014 at 12:09 PM (#4647946)
The point here is not that Koufax wasn't a HOF pitcher - the point is that Pedro's peak is much higher than a guy who many consider to be the ultimate "peak pitching" candidate. I'll be 80 years old, and struggling to describe sufficiently how uniquely dominant Pedro was at his peak. None of us have seen a peak as high as Pedro - with context attached, and maybe even without it attached - and it is unlikely we will see another one like it in the next generation.


Variance changes with era as well. It was easier to dominate, as a pitcher, in Pedro's time than Koufax's. Especially on a rate basis. And lets not get into the durability debate.

Add to that Pedro's questionable postseason / big game performance, and I think there's a good argument for Koufax. Certainly, for Game 7, even assuming I have a typical bullpen for a 95 win team, I take Koufax over Pedro. If you caught Pedro with his very best stuff he was unbeatable, but if he needed to work . . .
   10. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 29, 2014 at 12:16 PM (#4647951)

Add to that the questionable postseason / big game performance, and I think there's a good argument for Koufax. Certainly, for Game 7, assuming I have a typical bullpen for a 95 win team, I take Koufax over Pedro. If you caught Pedro with his very best stuff he was unbeatable, but if he needed to work . . .


Pedro's defining game is a post-season game when he didn't have anywhere near his best stuff; Game Five against Cleveland. His overall post-season record is very good as well (though not Koufax' of course).
   11. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: January 29, 2014 at 12:19 PM (#4647952)
A game I attended - the best I've ever seen a pitcher pitch in person, and I attended Greg Maddux's masterful 84ish pitch complete game against the loaded late-90's Yankees... 5K in the first 2 innings. 97 fastball with movement, the insane change/fadeaway, had everything working.

By the 6th inning, you could see the velocity numbers inching down. Still, through 6IP, 8K, 1BB and 2 singles (one of which was a real cheapie)

7th inning, obviously laboring, blows up and gives up 3 runs.


If MLB games were 7 innings long, Pedro would've been God. He was damn close as it was.
   12. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: January 29, 2014 at 12:24 PM (#4647957)
Pedro's post season numbers are relatively weak because he made most of his postseason starts after his prime. Even in 2003, he wasn't the pitcher he was in 1997-2000 as evidenced by his significant drop in peripherals other than home run rate. If you go by that admittedly strict definition of prime, he only gave up runs when his team was up by a huge margin.

   13. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: January 29, 2014 at 12:26 PM (#4647959)
Pedro's defining game is a post-season game when he didn't have anywhere near his best stuff; Game Five against Cleveland. His overall post-season record is very good as well (though not Koufax' of course).


Well, its complicated. The only postseason games he pitched at his absolute apex were during the 1999 postseason. He pitched that crazy game against Cleveland, which I agree, was totally awesome. He also pitched that great game in the ALCS game against the Yanks, but that game was over by the 4th, so I'm not sure it belongs in the canon.


But in 2003-2004, he got lit up in the playoffs. Granted, that's not the same Pedro as vintage 1999-2000, but . . . he still performed under his regular season performance.

   14. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: January 29, 2014 at 12:26 PM (#4647960)
Pedro's memory is tarnished by his post 2001 seasons, when he was still a great pitcher but not the force of nature he was for that period from 1999 until his injury in 2001. Post injury Pedro I'd go with Koufax first, but if we're talking pure peak, I'd go with Pedro every single time without hesitation.

I remember seeing him in 2000 on a family trip to Seattle. The Sox scored 4 in the first, and everyone, absolutely everyone in the stadium knew it was over. Pedro tossed a complete game, gave up 2 runs. And it wasn't even close to his most dominant outting, he gave up 2 runs in the 8th and only struck out 7 while walking two and giving up five hits.
   15. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 29, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4647963)
Pedro's defining game is a post-season game when he didn't have anywhere near his best stuff; Game Five against Cleveland. His overall post-season record is very good as well (though not Koufax' of course).


As a Yankee fan, Pedro's defining game was the 1 hit, 17 K masterpeice he threw in Sept. 1999. Again as a Yankee fan I'll always be partial to Guidrys 18 K game vs. the Angels in '78, but Pedro on that day vs. the Yankee's was as unhittable as anyone ever was on a baseball field. The fact that he was facing a team that was in the midst of a dynasty makes all the more incredible.
   16. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 29, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4647964)
But in 2003-2004, he got lit up in the playoffs. Granted, that's not the same Pedro as vintage 1999-2000, but . . .


Which is why I noted his overall record is very good (3.46 ERA in 96 innings). Like all pitchers there were good, bad, very good and very bad and the total body of work is the one to consider. If looking just at his post-season record considering the era it was in I would say very good is a fair description.

None of which changes the fundamental answer that Pedro is a pretty clear HoM/HoF worthy player.
   17. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: January 29, 2014 at 12:38 PM (#4647969)
Pedro is, in my mind, pretty clearly the best pitcher I've ever seen. I understand the durability concerns but there was never a more helpless feeling than seeing P. Martinez where the opposing pitcher's name was from '97-'02. As a Yankee fan, the games I will always remember are the 17K 1 hitter and the Clemens duel. With guys like him having retired I'm now starting to understand why HOF voters often resort to "screw the numbers" because as good as Pedro's numbers are I can't help but feel that they still underrate him. And yes, I know that sounds crazy.
   18. jmurph Posted: January 29, 2014 at 01:05 PM (#4647987)
The post-season talk seems more relevant for guys that are much closer in value: like Schilling and Brown and Mussina and Smoltz. Pedro had a pretty dramatically more valuable career than Koufax, there's not really any way around that.
   19. Baldrick Posted: January 29, 2014 at 01:07 PM (#4647990)
Some people might have had more valuable peaks than Pedro, sure. But I don't think anyone has ever been as good at their peak as he was. Fewer innings, sure. But oh my god what he did in those innings.
   20. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: January 29, 2014 at 01:13 PM (#4647994)
Some people might have had more valuable peaks than Pedro, sure. But I don't think anyone has ever been as good at their peak as he was. Fewer innings, sure. But oh my god what he did in those innings.


Oh yes, definitely. It's one reason why, while I know logically that Clemens and Maddux were superior pitchers, I can't quite see anyone as "greatest pitcher of all time" over Pedro. I'm wrong, because I'm not thinking career length or even much outside of 1999-2000, but that was my teenage years, and no one will ever match it in my mind.
   21. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: January 29, 2014 at 01:24 PM (#4648004)
Oh yes, definitely. It's one reason why, while I know logically that Clemens and Maddux were superior pitchers, I can't quite see anyone as "greatest pitcher of all time" over Pedro. I'm wrong, because I'm not thinking career length or even much outside of 1999-2000, but that was my teenage years, and no one will ever match it in my mind.

Same.
   22. tfbg9 Posted: January 29, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4648022)
Which is why I noted his overall record is very good (3.46 ERA in 96 innings).


And every postseason run he allowed was earned. Which nudges him up a little.
   23. gehrig97 Posted: January 29, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4648076)
Obviously, Pedro didn't rack up the career value of a Clemens, Johnson or Maddux (outside of W. Johnson, Seaver, Grove, who did?) but he was a unique --no, transcendent-- talent. Combine the very best pitching attributes of Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux, and you get 1997-2003 Pedro Martinez. He was also the most entertaining player on the field (I say this as a Yankee fan). I can see both sides of the Koufax/Pedro argument -- to an extent. Koufax's overwhelming edge in volume closes the gap somewhat, but I can't see how any objective analysis puts 1962-1966 Koufax ahead of 1997-2003 Pedro.

The durability issues probably bump Pedro out of the "top-10 of all time" discussion, but if we're talking peak he's simply the most dominant force ever to take the mound. And it's not as if guys were posting seasons of 260 IP in the late 90s/early aughts (Schilling and Johnson aside). David Wells led the AL in IP with 231 in 1999; Pedro was 8th, but only 18 innings behind.

I was an even bigger fan of "Old Pedro" -- he transitioned from the most overpowering pitcher in the world to the smartest. He was an utter joy to watch.

   24. OCF Posted: January 29, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4648103)
I've gone ahead and done one of my projects referred to above. I took my worked out RA+ equivalent records, did some adding, and went through them looking for the best 2 consecutive seasons, best 3 consecutive seasons, and so on through best 10 consecutive seasons. I defined "best" by an old Bill James gimmick stat: Fibonacci Win Points, defined as (wins)*(winning %)+(wins)-(losses), and those are the wins and losses of my equivalent records. No scientific basis, but it does seem to do a good ad hoc job of balancing bulk versus rate - and as many posters above have noted, you can't avoid balancing rate versus bulk when talking about Pedro.

The three most important things this does not take into account: (1) Defensive support (Palmer is definitely overrated below), (2) Pitchers's own offense (You'd have to lower Koufax for that; it matters less for post-90's pitchers), and (3) Relative league strength (I'm a little skeptical of Perry's AL years).

Using consecutive years helps those with a well-defined peak, like Maddux or Martinez, takes a bite out of anyone with a hurt/off year in the middle of their peak, like Gibson, and works strongly against those with widely scattered best years, like Clemens or Carlton.

I also decided to limit this to post-WWII pitchers, defining that in such a way as to wholly exclude both Feller and Newhouser. That lets me duck the questions of wartime competition (Newhouser) or the definition of consecutive (Feller). I also didn't use anyone not yet HoM eligible, so no Halladay, Santana, Kershaw, et al.

It would probably be worth it to repeat this with some other measures, maybe in particular Dan R's $.

Best 2 consecutive years:

Gibson 51-18
Martinez 41-7
Koufax 51-22
Maddux 38-8 (both years were strike-shortened)
Clemens 43-13
Johnson 43-14
Marichal 47-20
Roberts 51-25
Seaver 45-19
McLain 48-25
Guidry 41-16
Palmer 47-24
Perry 49-27
Gooden 40-15

Best 3 consecutive years:

Martinez 61-13
Gibson 72-29
Koufax 69-29
Maddux 59-17
Roberts 75-38
Johnson 63-23
Seaver 66-28
Clemens 60-22
Perry 73-39
Marichal 66-31

Best 4 consecutive years:

Martinez 82-19
Koufax 94-38 (figures that this is Koufax's best list)
Johnson 85-30
Maddux 80-25
Roberts 97-51
Seaver 86-39
Gibson 87-41
Marichal 88-45
Palmer 90-49
Perry 92-54

Best 5 consecutive years:

Martinez 92-22
Maddux 97-30
Koufax 107-46
Johnson 101-40
Roberts 118-63
Seaver 107-49
Gibson 108-51
Clemens 98-44
Brown 93-42
Marichal 104-57

(Continued in another post)
   25. OCF Posted: January 29, 2014 at 03:35 PM (#4648108)
Best 6 consecutive years:

Maddux 117-39
Martinez 108-28
Johnson 119-46
Seaver 126-60
Koufax 123-58
Clemens 119-54
Roberts 137-78
Gibson 124-61
Palmer 123-69
Perry 132-84

Best 7 consecutive years:

Maddux 139-47
Martinez 124-32
Seaver 144-69
Clemens 138-62
Gibson 144-73
Johnson 124-48
Palmer 143-78
Roberts 151-89
Koufax 134-67
Perry 151-98

Best 8 consecutive years:

Maddux 155-61
Martinez 139-41
Seaver 164-80
Johnson 142-54
Gibson 160-84
Palmer 165-90
Clemens 149-72
Marichal 159-95
Roberts 160-97
Schilling 137-66

Best 9 consecutive years:

Maddux 171-67
Martinez 156-49
Seaver 183-89
Johnson 155-60
Palmer 185-103
Gibson 180-96
Clemens 163-77
Perry 187-122
Schilling 150-73
Marichal 170-105

Best 10 consecutive years:

Maddux 189-76
Seaver 203-100
Martinez 169-59
Palmer 200-108
Johnson 167-68
Gibson 192-105
Clemens 171-78
Perry 206-137
   26. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 29, 2014 at 03:39 PM (#4648112)
Besides Pedro's supernatural numbers, the other thing that sticks out is Roberts should have been payed double time. Jeez, I wonder why he wasn't the same after that run.



edit: I posted after the 5 yr. run.
   27. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 29, 2014 at 03:51 PM (#4648126)
I posted #26 after the 5yr. run. was posted.
   28. OCF Posted: January 29, 2014 at 03:54 PM (#4648131)
Mickey: the total number of decisions in each case is just IP/9. Even as the number of complete games has changed drastically over the years, starting pitchers still tend to get one decision per 8.5-9 innings pitched, so it still works. Yes, Roberts pitched a whole lot of innings at his peak.
   29. alilisd Posted: January 29, 2014 at 04:49 PM (#4648186)
It was easier to dominate, as a pitcher, in Pedro's time than Koufax's.


In what way?
   30. tfbg9 Posted: January 29, 2014 at 04:54 PM (#4648191)
In what way?


A higher % of batters swung from the heels?
   31. OCF Posted: January 29, 2014 at 05:07 PM (#4648201)
I think that the ease of domination after about 1990 is a fairly direct consequence of the reduction in number of IP per game and per season for top starters. That's a good reason for not using pure rate statistics (post #8 above seems to be entirely rate statistics) but also finding a way to assign some value to IP as well. I've tried to maintain that link to usage, but there would be be many other ways of doing the same thing.

Using RA+ equivalent records, for instance, we wind up comparing a 4-year Martinez 82-19 to a 4-year Koufax 94-38, so the difference between them is 12-19 (actually it rounds to 13-19). That's maybe a hair below replacement, but the difference is not large - and there's no reason to trust it as particularly meaningful. It was surely harder for Koufax to maintain his per-batter effectiveness over that substantially larger number of batters than it was for Martinez to maintain his effectiveness - but Koufax did pitch to that many more batters. It's not easy to see just where the tradeoffs and balances truly lie.
   32. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: January 29, 2014 at 05:18 PM (#4648210)
It was surely harder for Koufax to maintain his per-batter effectiveness over that substantially larger number of batters than it was for Martinez to maintain his effectiveness

How do we know this is true? ISTM that Koufax gets too much yearly IP credit because his IP totals are being compared to Pedro's when really shouldn't we just compare both guys to their contemporaries? It's just not at all useful to me to say well Koufax pitched 100 more innings than Pedro so obviously what he was doing was much harder if Pedro's IP total still ranks just as high/nearly as high as the IP leaders of his day as Koufax against his. And this is without getting into the issue of quality of hitters faced.
   33. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: January 29, 2014 at 05:20 PM (#4648211)
Man, Pedro looks pretty great even over ten best consecutive years. The dominance over a five straight year span is crazy.
   34. Danny Posted: January 29, 2014 at 06:41 PM (#4648269)
He had the lowest ERA in the league, at 1.74. The second-lowest was 3.70. There were only five pitchers in the league with an ERA below 4.11.

For a cherrypicked comparison, Greg Maddux had a 1.62 ERA in 550 IP from July 31, 1993 through April 22, 1996. Among NL pitchers who pitched 400+ innings in that span, the next best ERA were Andy Ashby and Pedro at 3.53. Maddux threw 80 more IP than any other NL pitcher over that span (Glavine was second with 470 IP).
   35. DL from MN Posted: January 29, 2014 at 06:51 PM (#4648276)
The takeaway from those lists for me is nobody mentions Greg Maddux as the best "peak" pitcher ever but he's right up there with Gibson, Koufax and Pedro.
   36. OCF Posted: January 29, 2014 at 06:59 PM (#4648281)
And might well have looked even better had he gotten 33-34 starts in each of 1994 and 1995. That didn't happen because of the strike.
   37. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 29, 2014 at 10:59 PM (#4648396)
I remember seeing him in 2000 on a family trip to Seattle. The Sox scored 4 in the first, and everyone, absolutely everyone in the stadium knew it was over. Pedro tossed a complete game, gave up 2 runs. And it wasn't even close to his most dominant outting, he gave up 2 runs in the 8th and only struck out 7 while walking two and giving up five hits.


Holy ####, I was at this game, too. The night before the game had gone something like 14 innings, and the bullpens were totally shot. The Sox didn't need 7 scoreless innings with 12 Ks, they needed exactly what they got: solid work for 9 innings -- some ground balls, some short innings, and an opportunity to stay close and win.

Pedro was the great genius of the sillyball era, a player who seemed to be taking dictation from God Himself when he was on the mound, and for about a five year period his every outing was an excitement not to be missed. He had three pitches that would have been most pitchers' out pitch (lightning-fast fastball, big bendy curve, a changeup he could pull the string on like nobody's business.)

It helped that he was funny-looking, with his greasy jheri-curl and freakish fingers that bent backwards; it helped that he was eccentric and goofy off the mound but tough as nails on it. He almost never issued an IBB -- though he often drilled nearly half as many as he walked; once he hit 14 batters and walked only 32; another time he hit 15 and walked 40. It's fairly clear that he used chin music where other guys issued intentional walks.

The list of players I'll tell my kids about is long, but it begins, and chiefly consists of, Pedro. He lacked the durability of Maddux or Clemens; he couldn't hold it together into his 40s the way Johnson did. But god damn. Pedro Martinez. Am I right?
   38. Textbook Editor Posted: January 29, 2014 at 11:02 PM (#4648399)
I was an even bigger fan of "Old Pedro" -- he transitioned from the most overpowering pitcher in the world to the smartest. He was an utter joy to watch.


I got to take TE, Jr. to see Pedro pitch in person just once, this game, when he was 4 years old, and it was fantastic. He's 8 now but he still remembers it. One of his last great outings. I am very thankful that one day TE Jr. will be able to tell his grandkids he saw Pedro pitch.
   39. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: January 29, 2014 at 11:12 PM (#4648405)
The list of players I'll tell my kids about is long, but it begins, and chiefly consists of, Pedro. He lacked the durability of Maddux or Clemens; he couldn't hold it together into his 40s the way Johnson did. But god damn. Pedro Martinez. Am I right?


Bingo. There is nobody alive today who can say they've seen something like Pedro at his peak. If Juan Marichal had pitched in Chavez Ravine in 1965-1966, is it even clear that Marichal wouldn't have put up the same or better numbers?
   40. God Posted: January 30, 2014 at 12:39 AM (#4648438)
I used to live about 4 hours away from Boston, and even though I don't give a crap about the Red Sox, from 1999-2002 I used to keep track of their rotation and make a point of driving to Fenway whenever possible if Pedro was pitching. I probably attended about 10 or 12 of his starts during his peak and boy am I glad I did. This kind of thing would be way more difficult now; back then, Red Sox games never sold out way ahead of time and sometimes didn't sell out at all.
   41. dave h Posted: January 30, 2014 at 12:58 AM (#4648445)
I was in California during Pedro's peak, and I made sure that whenever the Sox were in town for either the Angels or Dodgers I made it to Pedro's start. I like to keep score anyway, but there was always a little extra excitement hoping that would be the day he threw a no-hitter. I like baseball a lot but I think I like it at least a little more because of Pedro.

Even my oldest son didn't get to see him pitch, but he got the next best thing: I named him after Pedro (my wife liked the name Peter regardless).
   42. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 30, 2014 at 01:19 AM (#4648458)
I saw Martinez in Montreal, Boston, New York and Baltimore. I was at the park for the peak game of Pedro's 1999 season and for the only bad game of Pedro's 1997 season. I expect to go the rest of my life without seeing his like again, although baseball always rewards and surprises you.
   43. Squash Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:32 AM (#4648468)
I will echo that peak Pedro was probably the greatest pitcher I have ever seen or expect to see. The fastball, the change, the curve, the movement, the location.
   44. bobm Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:40 AM (#4648469)
How do we know this is true? ISTM that Koufax gets too much yearly IP credit because his IP totals are being compared to Pedro's when really shouldn't we just compare both guys to their contemporaries? It's just not at all useful to me to say well Koufax pitched 100 more innings than Pedro so obviously what he was doing was much harder if Pedro's IP total still ranks just as high/nearly as high as the IP leaders of his day as Koufax against his. And this is without getting into the issue of quality of hitters faced.

Here's games started data for each peak period from a previous thread.

From 1963 to 1966, sorted by greatest Games Started
Rk       Player  GS % of Leader GS
 1 Don Drysdale 164           100%
 2  Jim Bunning 154            94%
 3 Sandy Koufax 150            91%


From 1997 to 2000, sorted by greatest Games Started
   Rk         Player  GS % of Leader GS
    1    Kevin Brown 136           100%
 3(T)    Greg Maddux 135            99%
 7(T)  Randy Johnson 133            98%
   15  Roger Clemens 129            95%
24(T) Pedro Martinez 122            90%

   45. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 30, 2014 at 06:13 AM (#4648478)
Pedro might not have been the greatest pitcher, but he was the most awesome pitcher.
   46. villageidiom Posted: January 30, 2014 at 08:38 AM (#4648488)
It was easier to dominate, as a pitcher, in Pedro's time than Koufax's.

In what way?


Beats me. Variance is descriptive, not determinative. Wider variance does not mean it was easier to do; it just means that it had been done.

What we think we know about Pedro's era is that Ks were easier, but so were pretty much every category that was positive for hitters.Home runs. Doubles. Walks. HBP. Fielding might have also been worse. Given a pitcher can shut down offense, yes, it's easier for him to be better than the league by historic proportions because the league is so much worse. But in that era it's not a given that a pitcher can shut down offense, as that was the hardest era in which to do it.
   47. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 30, 2014 at 09:03 AM (#4648492)
For an organization that has so long been marked by sluggers the Red Sox had a wonderful run from 1984-2004 of truly elite pitchers with Roger and Pedro. Like that wasn't great enough the two guys were pretty different, Roger was a blunt instrument while Pedro was more artistic so we got to see two very different styles of greatness.
   48. Moeball Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4648748)
I will echo that peak Pedro was probably the greatest pitcher I have ever seen or expect to see. The fastball, the change, the curve, the movement, the location.


I think it's been discussed in previous threads about a survey of MLB players back around 2001 - hitters were asked to vote for the "nastiest" pitch they had ever tried to hit against.

Two pitches tied for the most number of votes at the time - Mariano's cutter and Trevor's changeup.

Randy Johnson actually had two separate pitches get votes - his fastball and his slider.

But Pedro actually had three different pitches get some votes - and both his fastball and his changeup got votes which is just sick! Hitters just had no chance against him in his prime.

That being said, the "peak" argument re: Pedro vs. Koufax is really kind of an apples vs. oranges thing as far as I can tell. Pedro put up Koufax-type ERAs from 1997-2003 - except he wasn't pitching in a great pitcher's park like Dodger Stadium during a great pitching-dominant era like the 1960s - he was pitching in hitter's parks such as Fenway during an era where hitting went wild. I really don't think Koufax could have put up the numbers he did from '62-'66 under the kind of conditions that were peak sillyball era.

On the other hand - if Pedro had been transported to Dodger Stadium in the '60s - I think he would have had even lower ERAs than Koufax - but I don't think even under those conditions that Pedro would have been able to put up 300+ innings in a season like Koufax did 3 times in a four year period. I just don't think Pedro had the durability to do that.
   49. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4648756)
I think the argument about variance is that there are upper and lower bounds to performance. e.g., if the league ERA is 3.00, it's simply not possible to have an ERA of 0.50, and therefore Koufax could never put up the same kinds of ERA+ numbers that Pedro did. No idea if that's true.
   50. villageidiom Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4648771)
I think the argument about variance is that there are upper and lower bounds to performance. e.g., if the league ERA is 3.00, it's simply not possible to have an ERA of 0.50, and therefore Koufax could never put up the same kinds of ERA+ numbers that Pedro did. No idea if that's true.
One can say the universe is expanding. One cannot say that a consequence is that it is easier to reach the end of the universe.
   51. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:46 PM (#4648775)
On the other hand - if Pedro had been transported to Dodger Stadium in the '60s - I think he would have had even lower ERAs than Koufax - but I don't think even under those conditions that Pedro would have been able to put up 300+ innings in a season like Koufax did 3 times in a four year period. I just don't think Pedro had the durability to do that.

This presumes that getting through '60s lineups requires as many pitches/much work as getting through late 90s-early 00s lineups. From '97 to '00 Pedro finished 4th, 6th, 8th, 7th in his league in IP. From '63-'66 Koufax finished 3rd, too far down to be ranked, 1st, 1st. Koufax was more durable at his peak, but focusing on the OMG300!!! makes the gap seem bigger than it is IMO. Pedro wasn't throwing 300 innings but no one else was either. Prime Koufax wouldn't be throwing 300 innings in '97-'02 either.
   52. OCF Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4648786)
I don't think that's true, Yearrgghhhh. In fact, I think that's backwards. I remember doing a scan for particularly high ERA+ numbers and they were common, and put up by all kinds of pitchers, including one-year wonders, in low scoring eras like the 1900's. Bob GIbson managed an ERA+ of 258 (RA+ 232) in 1968, which was an extreme low-offense year. Whereas there are very few ERA+ in the 1930's greater than about 180 by anyone not named Lefty Grove. What happened after 1990 was a qualitatively different phenomenon in which high ERA+ became common in a high-offense era. As I said above, I think the biggest factor there was the reduction in IP that accompanied the increasing specialization of pitchers.
   53. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 30, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4648789)
You're probably right. I'm just relaying the argument that I've heard.
   54. alilisd Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4648812)
I think that the ease of domination after about 1990 is a fairly direct consequence of the reduction in number of IP per game and per season for top starters.


It's certainly one of the big differences between the eras Koufax pitched in and the one Martinez pitched in. Thanks.
   55. tfbg9 Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4648813)
This is the only time I saw Pedro pitch live. He went 8, and gave up 1 run, K'd 6, walked nobody:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BAL/BAL200304050.shtml


Bob GIbson managed an ERA+ of 258 (RA+ 232) in 1968



OCF: where are you getting the RA+ stats from?
   56. OCF Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:18 PM (#4648821)
I've been computing them myself. And I'll have to say that the park factor in that calculation is from a fairly old book and may not match the park factor you'll find on bb-ref, so a re-computation might come out slightly different.
   57. tfbg9 Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4648824)
OK, thanks. I have been pining for a clickable stat table/list with RA+...sigh.
   58. Ron J2 Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:41 PM (#4648842)
#1 I've just started rebuilding Dale Stephenson's peak lists.

By WAR and excluding (for now) the pitchers before 1920 I get Pedro as the #4 peak. He's got better rate stats (a 218 ERA+ over a 5 year stretch) than anybody, but Lefty Grove, Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson had pretty damned good rate stats (184, 181 and 187 ERA+ respectively in their 5 best years) and pitched more.

Grove and Clemens also dominate in what I call extended prime -- ie sustained excellence. Both have 10 seasons with 7+ WAR. So far I've only found 4 other pitchers who pitched in the lively ball era and had 5+ 7 WAR seasons. Johnson (with 7), Pedro, Greg Maddux and Robin Roberts (with 5 apiece). Tom Seaver had 12 seasons of 5+ WAR but "only" 4 with 7+. Clemens leads the lively era with 14 seasons of 5+ WAR.
   59. AROM Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:42 PM (#4648844)
I think the argument about variance is that there are upper and lower bounds to performance. e.g., if the league ERA is 3.00, it's simply not possible to have an ERA of 0.50, and therefore Koufax could never put up the same kinds of ERA+ numbers that Pedro did. No idea if that's true.


I think that's it. When these pitchers were on their game, nobody could square the ball against them whether it was Dodger Stadium 1966 or Fenway 1999. Your only realistic hope was to get a bloop, maybe a weak hit grounder too slow for an infielder to handle. Then use one run strategies - bunt, steal, hit & run. Say you manage one run doing that against either. Then Pedro's day shows he was 4 runs better than average, Koufax only 2 runs better.

Pedro's still better by rate no matter how you slice it. As for volume of pitching, look at pitches thrown instead of innings. Pedro in 1966 could have probably gotten more innings out of the same number of pitches.

Tough call. I don't expect this debate to ever be settled definitively, once you really start to grok all the things you have to adjust for to make a comparison.

   60. OCF Posted: January 30, 2014 at 03:51 PM (#4648854)
But 1-run strategies require multiple successful acts. Wouldn't a dominant low-WHIP pitcher (especially one with a lot of K's) take a particularly large toll on the success of that? The scarcer hits and walks become, the larger the occasional HR looms. And for a low-WHIP pitcher who also manages to suppress the HR, there really is no floor to ERA or RA.

Bob Gibson threw 13 complete game shutouts in 1968. His ERA restricted to those games was zero. No pitcher in 1999 was going to hang that many zeros on the line.
   61. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 30, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4648883)
At no point during the 1997 or 2000 seasons (not game, inning or individual pitch) was Pedro Martinez's ERA over 2.00.
   62. alilisd Posted: January 30, 2014 at 04:22 PM (#4648884)
Tough call. I don't expect this debate to ever be settled definitively, once you really start to grok all the things you have to adjust for to make a comparison.


Yes, this is where I always end up. Glad someone as smart and as knowledgeable as you also feels this way.
   63. theboyqueen Posted: January 30, 2014 at 04:49 PM (#4648907)
Pedro's performance in the 1999 all star game against that NL lineup of roided-up freaks is definitely one of the coolest things I have ever seen on a baseball diamond. Many of the other coolest things are also courtesy of Pedro. He and Rickey Henderson are my favorite players of all time.
   64. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: January 30, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4648912)
At no point during the 1997 or 2000 seasons (not game, inning or individual pitch) was Pedro Martinez's ERA over 2.00.


That's actually not true. In 1997, in his first start, he gave up a HR in the 5th inning with 1 out, putting his ERA at 2.08 {(1/4.333)*9 = 2.077} for the next 3 pitches until he got the second out of the inning.
   65. theboyqueen Posted: January 30, 2014 at 04:59 PM (#4648914)
I was an even bigger fan of "Old Pedro" -- he transitioned from the most overpowering pitcher in the world to the smartest. He was an utter joy to watch.


I'm pretty sure he was always the smartest but with the stuff he had at his peak the most intelligent approach was obviously just to blow people away.

I also love hearing Pedro speak, whether in English or Spanish. I can't think of any sports figure that comes across as a genuine genius in quite the same way, and the fact that he is an uneducated "jock" from the Dominican Republic just makes it all the more cool.
   66. tfbg9 Posted: January 30, 2014 at 05:13 PM (#4648929)
One of my favorite Pedro Martinez things ever happened in his 2004 WS start. Just after Manny threw Larry Walker out at the plate to end the inning, Petey, who was backing up the play behind home strolled past Walker, who was on his elbows and knees, head down, exasperated in the dirt. Pedro casually brushed the dust off Larry's butt with a few back and forth smacks from his glove, and then continued on towards the Red Sox dugout.
   67. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 05:22 PM (#4648933)
Yeah, if we start getting into his personality/off the field stuff then the gap between him and every other pitcher ever becomes unfathomably large. I shudder to think how strongly I would feel about him if he were a Yankee.
   68. AROM Posted: January 30, 2014 at 05:43 PM (#4648946)
But 1-run strategies require multiple successful acts.


Sometimes they don't require "beating" the pitcher. Vince Coleman can make weak contact, beat the throw to first, steal 2 bases, and score on an out. He can do this just as well against Pedro or Sandy as he can against an average pitcher. Well, sort of. The last part involves a hitter avoiding the K. The steal 2 bases part - Pedro was pretty easy to run on if I remember correctly.

As for degree of difficulty, say it's 20% tougher to pull this off against an ace than against an average pitcher. It's probably 500% tougher to pull off a 5 run inning where everyone crushes the ball when you're facing an ace pitcher at his best.
   69. tfbg9 Posted: January 30, 2014 at 05:43 PM (#4648948)
He had that little mini-Pedro guy he carried around with him for a while as well.
   70. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 30, 2014 at 05:48 PM (#4648952)
I just watched a clip of that 1999 AS game. I'd almost forgotten on some level that he was throwing 96-97 because I'd gotten used to the late career Pedro. Those pitches are just ridiculous.
   71. tfbg9 Posted: January 30, 2014 at 06:22 PM (#4648969)
Those pitches are just ridiculous


The fastball seems to corkscrew, the curve is like its on a rollercoaster, and the change is...what? Whiffle-bally? It just drops in a way that seems to defy science. Some people have speculated that he permanently damaged himself in that Hubble-like display of giant-slaying.
   72. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 30, 2014 at 06:23 PM (#4648970)
At no point during the 1997 or 2000 seasons (not game, inning or individual pitch) was Pedro Martinez's ERA over 2.00.

That's actually not true. In 1997, in his first start, he gave up a HR in the 5th inning with 1 out, putting his ERA at 2.08 {(1/4.333)*9 = 2.077} for the next 3 pitches until he got the second out of the inning.


SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP YOU GRIMY SON OF A BITCH
   73. tfbg9 Posted: January 30, 2014 at 06:30 PM (#4648975)
That's actually not true. In 1997, in his first start, he gave up a HR in the 5th inning with 1 out, putting his ERA at 2.08 {(1/4.333)*9 = 2.077} for the next 3 pitches until he got the second out of the inning.


SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP YOU GRIMY SON OF A #####


Haha, yes. BBTF, where no nit goes unpicked.
   74. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: January 30, 2014 at 06:41 PM (#4648985)
Vince Coleman can make weak contact, beat the throw to first, steal 2 bases, and score on an out.


This kid really makes things happen out there!
   75. villageidiom Posted: January 30, 2014 at 06:44 PM (#4648987)
I think that's it. When these pitchers were on their game, nobody could square the ball against them whether it was Dodger Stadium 1966 or Fenway 1999. Your only realistic hope was to get a bloop, maybe a weak hit grounder too slow for an infielder to handle. Then use one run strategies - bunt, steal, hit & run. Say you manage one run doing that against either. Then Pedro's day shows he was 4 runs better than average, Koufax only 2 runs better.
This argument suggests Pedro (and I suppose Koufax) was impervious to the offensive environment. As you note, this is probably not resolvable any time soon, but I tend not to buy it. It's like we're talking relativity theory and Pedro is the lightspeed constant, pitching equally well in any era, and bending time and space as you try to approach him. I am open to the argument, but I don't yet find it persuasive.

EDIT: And if Pedro is to pitching what the speed of light is to the laws of motion and space-time, I guess that kinda resolves the Hall of Merit question.
   76. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: January 30, 2014 at 06:55 PM (#4648992)
Haha, yes. BBTF, where no nit goes unpicked.


Well, he said at no point, not even for a single pitch. That's a nit that's begging to get picked.
   77. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 30, 2014 at 07:03 PM (#4648998)
Misirlou is 130% right; I was the nit wit and I got exactly what I deserved.
   78. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 30, 2014 at 07:06 PM (#4649001)
If Pedro Martinez's skill is analogous to the speed of light, but he pitches lights out baseball, does the universe collapse upon itself?
   79. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: January 30, 2014 at 07:12 PM (#4649011)
I can't be 130% right. By definition, 100% is the most I can be.
   80. Publius Publicola Posted: January 30, 2014 at 07:20 PM (#4649021)
For an organization that has so long been marked by sluggers the Red Sox had a wonderful run from 1984-2004 of truly elite pitchers with Roger and Pedro.


Schilling wasn't so bad either.
   81. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: January 30, 2014 at 07:27 PM (#4649026)
We one did a fun little exercise figuring all time team seasons based not necessarily on what the player did with the team, but his best season regardless. The Red Sox had I think the most impressive pitching staff: Cy Young, Lefty Grove, Seaver, Roger, Pedro.
   82. DL from MN Posted: January 30, 2014 at 07:28 PM (#4649029)
Pedro is the lightspeed constant, pitching equally well in any era, and bending time and space as you try to approach him


I believe this was the cause of league expansion in 1993 and 1998
   83. OCF Posted: January 30, 2014 at 07:55 PM (#4649039)
all time team seasons based not necessarily on what the player did with the team, but his best season regardless

Since Pete Alexander pitched for the Cardinals near the tail end of his career (and a long way from his peak), that at least gives the Cardinals a start with Gibson and Alexander. But yeah, that Red Sox group is hard to top. (But you've got to admit that "Red Sox" is pretty far from the first thought that comes to mind when you hear "Seaver.")
   84. alilisd Posted: January 30, 2014 at 09:43 PM (#4649070)
So sub in Ruth for Weaver. :-)
   85. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: January 30, 2014 at 09:50 PM (#4649073)
Pedro, Maddux, Koufax, and Kershaw for the Dodgers off the top of my head.
   86. Moeball Posted: January 30, 2014 at 10:26 PM (#4649084)
Further food for thought - does pitching under tough conditions make you better at pitching under tough conditions?

Here's why I ask - for all of the usual comments about Koufax' 5-year peak from '62-'66 (led the league in ERA every year, 3 CY Youngs, etc.), I think there is another less well-known stat that truly describes how incredible he was.

I looked at all his starts from '62-'66 in which the Dodgers scored 2 runs or less for him. Now, I didn't look at the play-by-play breakdowns to see how many runs were scored while he was the pitcher of record or were scored after he left the game; I just looked at all the games he started where the Dodgers had 2 runs or less through 9 innings. I limited the scope of the study to this specifically so I could compare across eras; we don't have PBP data for when Walter Johnson pitched, but we do have box scores and with that I can make the same comparisons whether looking at Walter Johnson or Sandy Koufax...or Pedro Martinez, for that matter.

So - with the criteria being established - from 1962-1966, here's how Koufax did in starts where the Dodgers scored 2 runs or less for him: His W-L record was 27-24. He got shut out 10 times over this stretch, and when you get shut out, it's physically impossible to get a win. He actually had one "no decision" game out of these 10, getting stuck with the loss in the other 9. This means that whenever the Dodgers gave him only 1 or 2 runs to work with, he still had a record of 27-15.

27-15 when only being given 1 or 2 runs to work with. Over a 5-year period. Unheard of.

At first when I saw this I thought - ok, that sounds incredible, but maybe others have done this as well. Maybe all great pitchers have a peak stretch of 5 years where they can get the win almost two thirds of the time even when they only get 1 or 2 runs to work with. Don't they?

They don't.

Koufax is the only pitcher I've seen be able to do this and I've checked all the big names from Cy Young to Roy Halladay, from Walter Johnson to Randy Johnson and everyone in between.

Koufax stands alone.

Getting back to the Pedro-Koufax comparisons, Pedro was a better pitcher overall than Koufax; he had a longer prime than Sandy did, so it's not as easy to just pick his best 5-year stretch. I decided to try to pick his "winningest" stretch, which was from 1998-2002, thinking that he would have the best chance of pulling out the wins under difficult circumstances during that period. I know that leaves out his brilliant 1997 campaign and also his excellent 2003 season; as mentioned above, he had more than a 5-year peak so it's difficult to pick the best 5-year portion.

At any rate, here's how Pedro did from 1998-2002 in starts where his team gave him 2 runs or less of support through 9 innings (his overall record during these 5 seasons was 87-24):

10-21.

That means that whenever he got at least 3 runs of support in a game his record was an astounding 77-3! Almost perfect! I can certainly believe that for a time there the opposing team knew that as soon as the Sox had 3 runs on the board and Pedro was pitching – that meant the game was already over!

The 10-21 record in poor support games included 10 games where Pedro's team got shut out; Pedro got stuck with the loss in every one of those games, so in games where he was given 1 or 2 runs to work with his record was 10-11.

Most surprising were the results in his two winningest seasons: in 1999, when Pedro finished the year with a W-L record of 23-4, he was only 1-4 when given 2 runs or less of support; he got zero runs of support twice which resulted in two of his losses, meaning he was 1-2 when given only 1 or 2 runs of support. Of course, he was a perfect 22-0 when given at least 3 runs to work with!
In 2002, when Pedro went 20-4, he again went only 1-4 in the poor support games, again got shut out twice, again went 1-2 when given only 1 or 2 runs of support, and again was perfect when given at least 3 runs to work with (19-0).

On the up side, in Pedro's historic 2000 season he had an 18-6 record overall; for some reason he had far more poor support starts than in other years (were the Sox really a worse hitting team in 2000?) - his W-L record with 2 runs or less that year was still pretty decent at 4-5 (he went 14-1 when given at least 3 runs of support). He got shut out 3 times that year and took the loss all 3 times, meaning he was 4-2 when given only 1 or 2 runs to work with, which is excellent.

So getting back to my original question - does pitching under tough conditions make you better at pitching under tough conditions?

Koufax had 42 decisions over a 5-year period where he was given only 1 or 2 runs to work with - he had a 27-15 record in those games.

Pedro only had half as many decisions under the same poor run support circumstances over a 5-year period, going 10-11.

My guess is that because Koufax was pitching in Dodger Stadium during the pitching-friendly ‘60s, he got many more "opportunities" to pitch in low-scoring games than Pedro did. If you get more exposure to those kinds of conditions, do you get better at performing under them?

Perhaps if Pedro had pitched in a lot more of those 2-1 or 1-0 type games he might have improved his W-L record in such situations? I don't know. I've looked at pitchers like Tom Seaver and Juan Marichal and Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale who also got lots of practice pitching in low-scoring games in the '60s just like Koufax did, but none of them put up the same kind of W-L record he did in those situations. Maybe Koufax was just some kind of freak! After all, he also added to his legend by doing the same kind of thing in the WS. In 1963 he pitched the clincher against the Yankees, only getting 2 runs to work with but making it stand up in a 2-1 victory. Then in 1965 he topped that, pitching Game 7 against the Twins (on only 2 days rest, no less) and coming away with a 2-0 shutout!
   87. Blackadder Posted: January 30, 2014 at 10:28 PM (#4649085)
Since Pete Alexander pitched for the Cardinals near the tail end of his career (and a long way from his peak), that at least gives the Cardinals a start with Gibson and Alexander. But yeah, that Red Sox group is hard to top. (But you've got to admit that "Red Sox" is pretty far from the first thought that comes to mind when you hear "Seaver.")


The Cardinals also get Carlton. But I think the better way to do this is to consider how well each pitcher actually pitched for the franchise. So Randy Johnson obviously wouldn't make the Yankee team, and Clemens probably wouldn't but Mussina would.
   88. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 30, 2014 at 10:59 PM (#4649099)
Moeball: Bill James went over all this in great detail in the first HOF book--it IS impressive
   89. AROM Posted: January 30, 2014 at 11:45 PM (#4649109)
"This argument suggests Pedro (and I suppose Koufax) was impervious to the offensive environment. As you note, this is probably not resolvable any time soon, but I tend not to buy it. It's like we're talking relativity theory and Pedro is the lightspeed constant, pitching equally well in any era, and bending time and space as you try to approach him. I am open to the argument, but I don't yet find it persuasive."

I didn't say impervious. Just that they are less affected by the high offensive environment as an average pitcher. Pedro didn't bend time and space, but his change up did.
   90. Morty Causa Posted: January 30, 2014 at 11:56 PM (#4649112)
From Bill James's HBA:

Over a two-year period, given five or more runes to work with, Koufax was 18-1 (to put it in the parlance of the pool shark, he didn't miss his cherries). However, it doesn't nearly end there: four runs to work with, he was 8-2; three runs--9-0. 9-0!!!, Now, with only two runs scored behind him, Sandy won six and lost only three. But, hold on to your hat because with the bare minimum of support, only one run to work with, Koufax won three our of four decisions. Now, read that again. Bill James called it an absolutely ""unbelievable" accomplishment. He was 18-4, given three or fewer runs to support him. That seventh game of the '65 World Series, when running on empty and throwing mostly just fastballs, where he pitched a two-hit shutout on two-days rest wasn't any fluke. The MAN had 54.5 WAR in an aborted career that spanned only 2300 innings, in which he pitched 137 complete games (how many did Pedro have again?) and 40 shutouts.

EDIT: The Dodgers rode him until he almost dropped, and given the chance, they would have cut him, salted the gash, and rode him some more until he dropped dead. But there was plenty of reason for that attitude.
   91. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: January 31, 2014 at 12:12 AM (#4649117)
But I think the better way to do this is to consider how well each pitcher actually pitched for the franchise. So Randy Johnson obviously wouldn't make the Yankee team, and Clemens probably wouldn't but Mussina would.


Well, yeah. We've done just about every iteration possible. the one I mentioned was merely a goof to see who had the most all time greats play for them at one time or another. So the Mets get Mays, Glavine, and Pedro, the Cubs get Hornsby, Foxx, and Roberts, etc...

Under this scenario, the Mets all time team is composed of a lot of non-Mets seasons, like Piazza, Delgado (or Olerud or Hernandez), Kent, Foster, Mays, Pedro, Santana, maybe Ryan. It's just a goof, but it's fun to play around with.
   92. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: January 31, 2014 at 12:54 AM (#4649128)
I never understood why he didn't get a contract for 2010. He was pretty solid in '09. Maybe he couldn't last a full season anymore, but why wouldn't you give him a shot? Did he get lowball offers that he turned down? I don't remember.

I was disappointed that with his one loss in '09, he lost the distinction of having over 200 wins with under 100 losses.
   93. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: January 31, 2014 at 01:35 AM (#4649135)
I'm guessing that Pedro viewed 2009 as being a last shot at a second ring. He didn't need anything more out of baseball other than that.

Also:

I believe this was the cause of league expansion in 1993 and 1998


Primey.
   94. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 31, 2014 at 03:22 AM (#4649144)
The MAN had 54.5 WAR in an aborted career that spanned only 2300 innings, in which he pitched 137 complete games (how many did Pedro have again?)

Ha ha, yeah, how many did Pedro have again?

Complete games:

1961 NL: 328
1962 NL: 458
1963 NL: 459
1964 NL: 448
1965 NL: 416
1966 NL: 402

1997 NL: 143
1998 AL: 141
1999 AL: 109
2000 AL: 107
2001 AL: 103
2002 AL: 115

Koufax, 1961-66: 115 complete games
National League, 1961-66: 2,511 complete games in 9,352 games (27%)

Martinez, 1997-2002: 31 complete games
NL 1997 + AL, 1998-2002: 718 complete games in 13,596 games (5%)

Peak Koufax pitched an incredible 4.58% of his leagues' complete games, while peak Martinez only had a pathetic 4.32%.
   95. AROM Posted: January 31, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4649184)
Well, yeah. We've done just about every iteration possible. the one I mentioned was merely a goof to see who had the most all time greats play for them at one time or another. So the Mets get Mays, Glavine, and Pedro, the Cubs get Hornsby, Foxx, and Roberts, etc...


Angels have quite the all-time team counting anyone who ever suited up for them. In addition to the big free agent signings who played part of their peaks in Anaheim, you've got guys like Eddie Murray and Frank Robinson.
   96. Morty Causa Posted: January 31, 2014 at 10:42 AM (#4649191)
94:

What's your point? My point was that Koufax pitched a ton more complete games than Pedro did. Is that your idea of a rebuttal of that contention?
   97. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 31, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4649297)
My guess is that because Koufax was pitching in Dodger Stadium during the pitching-friendly ‘60s, he got many more "opportunities" to pitch in low-scoring games than Pedro did. If you get more exposure to those kinds of conditions, do you get better at performing under them?


You are trying to create narrative where non exists. If you pitched in Chavez Ravine during the 60s, you were pitching in the best possible environment to overcome poor run support and get that mythical "pitchers win". It's not just the ultra low scoring environment, but the reluctance to go to relief pitching and "closers" to rob you of well pitched games. They can turn your win into your loss or their win, turn your tie into their win, can turn your loss into a no decision, but can never turn your loss into your win.
   98. villageidiom Posted: January 31, 2014 at 01:44 PM (#4649306)
What's your point? My point was that Koufax pitched a ton more complete games than Pedro did. Is that your idea of a rebuttal of that contention?
Mr. Sensitive,

Thank you for your query.

In GB's response he actually listed the number of complete games for both pitchers, which clearly reinforce your point. As you note, he also provided additional context around those numbers, which seems to suggest that the number of complete games could be a product of era rather than measure of MAN.

We are sorry that this presentation of more information has alarmed you. If your point was truly limited to the counting of complete games, consider it confirmed, and disregard any subsequent discussion as it does not pertain to your point. However, if you wish to consider that other people might have points to make, or to understand why your point is very limited in utility, please return to the offending post so you can gain the knowledge of someone else' complementary point.

We thank you for your time and attention.
   99. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: January 31, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4649332)
Angels have quite the all-time team counting anyone who ever suited up for them. In addition to the big free agent signings who played part of their peaks in Anaheim, you've got guys like Eddie Murray and Frank Robinson.

The A's everyday lineup might win this one:

C: Piazza or Cochrane
1b: Foxx
2b: E. Collins or Joe Morgan
3b: Baker or Bando
SS: Garciaparra
LF: Rickey!
CF: Speaker
RF: Cobb
   100. DL from MN Posted: January 31, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4649334)
Twins get Walter Johnson, Blyleven, Steve Carlton then it drops to guys like Viola and Santana.
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