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Echoing  a bit, if there are 5 games on, but you could only watch one of peak Pedro, Maddux, Randy Johnson, Clemens or Koufax* pitch, which do you pick?
This game, from the 1999 ALCS, is my most impressive Pedro pitching performance, even though it came in relief. Bonus points to anyone who can name the Red Sox starter in that one.
I'm not seeing why the asterisk was applied to Koufax
Prime Pedro had a curve like Aaron Sele, a fastball like Dave Stewart, a changeup like Tim Lincecum, a cutter like Roy Halladay, and a few bonus secondary pitches, each thrown at different speeds and to different locations. Take any of these other all-time greats, and they are all-time greats: what was his 8th-best out pitch?
Martinez's standing in baseball history is about breadth and beauty. Nothing like it.
The pissed off hitters that just couldn't make hard contact.
Also, what about Kershaw?
Pedro would make you know he was better. Maddux just was too smart for hitters. And that drove them more nuts.
Stan Musial used to say Spahn could stick you with a "comfortable oh-fer". You'd be able to make contact against him, but everything you hit went straight to a fielder. You'd think you hit the ball decently that day but the box score would just show you went "oh fer four".
So is there a "pure peak" argument to be made that slots Pedro above the other three top pitchers of his era -- something a little bigger than "in any one game at his peak" and more like a 3 or 5 year run, or would you be left with pointing at 1999 & 2000 and that's it?
Looking at Pedro's whole career sort of misses the point. With Pedro it's really about peak and IP. Pedro had 7 years, 1997-2003, where he *averaged* 201 IP and a 213 ERA+. Randy Johnson never had a season with an ERA+ better than 200, but during his peak he typically pitched a lot more than 200 IP. Maddux's best 7 years were a 190 ERA+, again with more IP. Clemens had a funky shape to his career so it's harder to do that kind of comparison in a way that is fair to either of them.
You'd have expected a pitcher as great as he was through age-33, to stick around for another 10 years of above average pitching.
If you drew up a plan for the perfect pitcher, wouldn't it be Pedro?
Supposedly at least once Dean told every batter (truthfully) what he was going to throw -- and won the game.
This game, from the 1999 ALCS, is my most impressive Pedro pitching performance
I've never heard that about either of them, but Paige supposedly had a routine where he'd remove all of his fielders (except his catcher) at the start of an inning, and then proceed to strike out the side.
The absolute best pitching I ever saw in person, though, was this game in 1985.
Not to take anything away from Pedro, but I think some of you folks should have watched Maddux a little more often than you obviously did.
Oddly enough, Pedro never made an overwhelming impression on me in person. In Texas over the years he was 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA; certainly OK, but nothing to write home about, and I never saw a very distinguished start from him there. Clemens and Johnson were much more memorable. Just an artifact of perspective.
(Now someone will tell me that per b-r they never actually faced each other.)
Seasons of 200+ ERA+
Yeah, but in reality, there's no difference between a 200 ERA+ and a 180.
That's the problem with ERA+ as a scale. The 25 pts. from 100 to 125 mean A LOT. The 25 pts. from 175 to 200, not so much.
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