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Saturday, July 22, 2017

20 years ago today: Greg Maddux threw a 76-pitch complete game

He had a cursory reputation.

Only 13 [pitches] were balls. He had six strikeouts. Not only did Maddux not walk anyone, he didn’t get into a single three-ball count all day. He only got two balls against a hitter twice — once in the second inning against Sammy Sosa and in the seventh against Mark Grace.

...Maddux threw seven pitches in the first inning and then seven in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. He really labored in the fourth inning — that was when he surrendered the one run — and threw 12 pitches. 

...There’s even a stat named after him — The Maddux — for when a pitcher throws a shutout with fewer than 100 pitches. Maddux did that 13 times during his career.

Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 22, 2017 at 04:55 PM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: greg maddux, speed-up-the-game

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   1. RMc's Unenviable Situation Posted: July 22, 2017 at 05:55 PM (#5498265)
How to throw a complete game (and a no-hitter!) with no pitches:

1) Go to mouth, umpire calls penalty ball. Do it three more times, walk.
2) Pick runner off first.
3) Repeat 26 times.
   2. Random Transaction Generator Posted: July 22, 2017 at 06:57 PM (#5498305)
How to throw a complete game (and a no-hitter!) with no pitches:

1) Go to mouth, umpire calls penalty ball. Do it three more times, walk.
2) Pick runner off first.
3) Repeat 26 times.


Why are you taking so long?

1) Signal for intentional walk.
2) Pick runner off first.
3) Repeat 26 times.

Now you can have a complete game without ever having a recorded pitch!
   3. Cargo Cultist Posted: July 22, 2017 at 07:03 PM (#5498310)
^^^ RTG wins the thread.
   4. Cargo Cultist Posted: July 22, 2017 at 07:05 PM (#5498312)
Maddux is one of my favorite pitchers of all time. I watched a lot of his games on TBS over the years, and he rarely failed to impress.
   5. Cargo Cultist Posted: July 22, 2017 at 07:13 PM (#5498313)
Cool info: the career leaders in Madduxes (complete game shutouts with under 100 pitches thrown, since 1988):

Greg Maddux 13

Zane Smith 7

Bob Tewksbury 6

Tom Glavine 5

Roy Halladay 5
   6. Walt Davis Posted: July 22, 2017 at 07:40 PM (#5498325)
Glavine and Smith were both full Braves/Mazzone products and Maddux took a big step forward with the Braves. (I had also thought Tewk had come through the Braves at some point but I was wrong.) How many of Maddux's Madduxes came before/after Atl?
   7. spycake Posted: July 22, 2017 at 07:43 PM (#5498329)
Zane Smith had 6 shutouts pre-1988 too, not sure about pitch counts...
   8. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 23, 2017 at 08:43 AM (#5498395)
I'm too lazy to look it up, but I remember Tom Boswell doing a game writeup of an Orioles game where Scott McGregor threw a complete game with under 80 pitches. All I can remember is that it was early in the season and it had to have been sometime between about 1978 and 1984, which is when Boz was the O's beat reporter. Unfortunately BB-Reference doesn't include pitch counts in its game logs from that era, so it's virtually impossible to do a tracer.
   9. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 23, 2017 at 10:47 AM (#5498408)
Well, there's this story, which pretty much fits what you've described, except that he threw 96 pictures - not under 80.
   10. Bote Man Posted: July 23, 2017 at 10:55 AM (#5498411)
except that he threw 96 pictures

How did he get them developed so quickly?? Fotomat wasn't really big on the East Coast until later on.
   11. Cargo Cultist Posted: July 23, 2017 at 11:59 AM (#5498418)
Because they were all framed.
   12. RMc's Unenviable Situation Posted: July 23, 2017 at 12:10 PM (#5498419)
Re 2: That there's a Primey, ya buddy.
   13. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 23, 2017 at 12:33 PM (#5498423)
Well, there's this story, which pretty much fits what you've described, except that he threw 96 pictures - not under 80.

That may have been the one I was thinking of, except I'm almost certain it was near the start of the season, rather than in mid-September, and that the pitch count was extraordinarily low, which for me at the time wouldn't have been 96 pitches, but something in the 70's. The one other point I remember, though, was the mention of the short game time, and the 2:01 for this game fits quite neatly into that memory.

But what really makes me think it was another game was the opponent, which wasn't the Yankees but a more run-of-the-mill secondary team. And it was also a home game, not a road game, because I remember picking up the paper and wishing I'd decided to take the ride up to Baltimore instead doing something else. McGregor was always my favorite O's pitcher from that era.
   14. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 23, 2017 at 02:03 PM (#5498438)
I think I found the game, but Boswell didn't write about it; Jane Leavy did. June 24, 1980, McGregor threw a 4-hit, 0-walk shutout of the Blue Jays, winning 1-0. It was described as "fewer than 80 pitches."
   15. Shock Posted: July 23, 2017 at 02:49 PM (#5498445)
One of Halladay's was a 99-pitch 10-inning effort. Against the 2003 Tigers, who were ... a below-average team.
   16. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 23, 2017 at 04:55 PM (#5498484)
I think I found the game, but Boswell didn't write about it; Jane Leavy did. June 24, 1980, McGregor threw a 4-hit, 0-walk shutout of the Blue Jays, winning 1-0. It was described as "fewer than 80 pitches."

I think that probably is the game I'm thinking of,** and I appreciate the effort, but although I've been a Post subscriber for the past 26 years, getting logged onto their archives requires the patience of Job, and their customer service number has bankers' hours. The Post is great in many ways, but their archives compared to the Times PDF version is strictly third world. With the Times once you're logged in that's it, and you can access everything going back to 1851 in a matter of a few seconds. With the Post it's not that easy, and you can't log into that ProQuest page without a separate ProQuest account.

** I thought it was Boswell, but that's probably because I associate the O's beat reporting back them almost exclusively with him. But the other markers you mention all line up with my memory, including the game time of 1:51. If I can ever get through to the right person on Monday I'll login and confirm it.
   17. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: July 23, 2017 at 05:02 PM (#5498488)
1.1 Doug Glanville - Ball, Ball in play (groud out to P)
1.2 Shawon Dunston - Ball in play (foul out to 2B)
1.3 Mark Grace - Ball, Foul, Called Strike, Called Strike (K looking)

2.1 Sammy Sosa - Called Strike, Ball, Ball, Ball in play (ground out SS)
2.2 Dave Clark - Called Strike, Strike Swinging, Ball, Strike Swinging (K swinging)
2.3 Ryne Sandberg - Called Strike, Ball, Ball in play (groud out to 3B)

3.1 Tyler Houston - Ball in play (single to short LF)
3.2 Scott Servais - Ball in play (weak ground out to SS)
3.3 Geremi Gonzalez - Called Strike, Foul, Ball in play (weak ground out to 3B)
3.4 Glanville - Callled Strike, Foul, Foul, Strike Swinging (K swinging)

4.1 Dunston - Ball in play (single to CF between 2b and SS)
4.2 Grace - Called Strike (Dunston steals 2B), Foul, Ball in play (ground out to 2B, Dunston to 3B)
4.3 Sosa - Ball, Called Strike, Ball in play (ground out 2B, Dunston scores)
4.4 Clark - Strike Swinging, Called Strike, Foul, Called Strike (K looking)

5.1 Sandberg - Ball in play (ground out to 2B)
5.2 Houston - Called Strike, Strike Swinging, Strike Swinging (K swinging)
5.3 Servais - Called Strike, Strike Swinging, Strike Swinging (K swinging)

6.1 Gonzalez - Called Strike, Ball, Ball in play (single to CF between 2B and SS)
6.2 Glanville - Ball in play (4-6-3 double play, Gonzalez out at 2b)
6.3 Dunston - Called Strike, Ball, Ball in play (pop fly out to short RF/deep 2B)

7.1 Grace - Strike Swinging, Ball, Called Strike, Ball, Ball in play (pop fly out to shallow LF)
7.2 Sosa - Ball in play (Fly out to CF)
7.3 Clark - Ball in play (Pop fly out to SS)

8.1 Sandberg Ball in play (line drive single to LF)
8.2 Houston - Called Strike, Throw to 1B, Foul, Ball in play (Line out to CF)
8.3 Servais - Called Strike, Ball, Ball in play (Line out to CF)
8.4 Jose Hernandez (RP) - Called Strike, Ball in play (runner going, ground out to P)

9.1 Glanville - Called Strike, Ball in play (Pop fly out to 1B)
9.2 Dunston - Called Strike, Ball in play (Pop fly out to 2B)
9.3 Grace - Ball, Foul, Ball in play (Line drive double to LF)
9.4 Sosa - Ball in play (ground out to 2B)
   18. asinwreck Posted: July 23, 2017 at 05:15 PM (#5498500)
A Maddux-Buehrle matchup would end before gametime.
   19. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 23, 2017 at 05:21 PM (#5498504)
A Maddux-Buehrle matchup would end before gametime.

I had great seats for a White Sox home opener in Buehrle's prime. Unbelievable day for early April, sunny and around 70, we were in about the fourth row behind third base. One of the rare occasions where I wouldn't have minded a lazily paced game. Of course Buehrle shuts out Cleveland on, I think, two hits and the whole affair is over in two hours.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: July 23, 2017 at 06:38 PM (#5498534)
Wow, Tyler Houston and Scott Servais in the lineup on the same day. That's good managing! (More likely desperation)
   21. Lassus Posted: July 23, 2017 at 07:57 PM (#5498554)
Has there ever been a recorded CG with FEWER pitches?
   22. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 23, 2017 at 07:58 PM (#5498556)
Wow, Tyler Houston and Scott Servais in the lineup on the same day. That's good managing! (More likely desperation)


Be nice. Tyler Houston broke up the no-hitter!
   23. OCF Posted: July 23, 2017 at 08:13 PM (#5498566)
How far back can you find pitches logged? I was trying to find how many pitches were thrown (on both sides) in this game, duration 1:42, and couldn't figure out where to find that.
   24. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 23, 2017 at 08:17 PM (#5498570)
Has there ever been a recorded CG with FEWER pitches?


Red Barrett has the major league record: a 58-pitch complete game in 1944. (Time of game: 1:15.)

Aaron Cook had a 74-pitch, 9-inning complete game in 2007. Carlos Silva had a 74-pitch CG in 2005.

75-pitch complete games were thrown by Andy Ashby (1998) and Bob Tewksbury (1990).

There are a couple of eight-inning complete games in the 70-75 range.

Of course, all of these are taken from the subset of games that have pitch counts.

On the other end, the record appears to be Juan Marichal's 227 pitches in the 16-inning duel with Warren Spahn. Nolan Ryan had 235 pitches once... but it was a no-decision.
   25. Batman Posted: July 23, 2017 at 08:22 PM (#5498571)
Big deal. Maddux threw a complete game on 58 pitches in 76 minutes earlier that year. But he cheated by controlling the weather.

Also in that game, Fernando pitched a CG by only getting 13 outs. More surprisingly, Fernando was still pitching in 1997.
   26. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili (TeddyF.Ballgame) Posted: July 23, 2017 at 09:02 PM (#5498586)
Even more miraculous than McGregor's masterpiece was Shawon Dunston seeing three whole pitches in a single at-bat.
   27. Cargo Cultist Posted: July 23, 2017 at 09:42 PM (#5498605)
Even more miraculous than McGregor's masterpiece was Shawon Dunston seeing three whole pitches in a single at-bat


I would have to see the video or I could never believe it happened. That would be as freakish an occurrence as him making a good throw to first base.
   28. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: July 23, 2017 at 09:55 PM (#5498608)
Seeing that would top witnessing Paul Bako draw 4BBs in a game, which I managed to do.
   29. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 23, 2017 at 11:10 PM (#5498635)

Red Barrett has the major league record: a 58-pitch complete game in 1944. (Time of game: 1:15.)


I wonder about that. You never hear about pitch counts for any games from before the TV age, except for that one Red Barrett game. I can't help but thinking it's not very "official."

On the other hand, he faced 29 batters, gave up two singles, and didn't strike out or walk anyone. So it's plausible.
   30. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: July 24, 2017 at 12:37 AM (#5498649)
Maddux-Buehrle matchup would end before gametime.

Mulder-Buehrle once finished a game so quickly the crowd had to wait around an hour or more for it to be dark enough to start the scheduled fireworks show.
   31. jacjacatk Posted: July 24, 2017 at 12:47 AM (#5498651)
On the other end, the record appears to be Juan Marichal's 227 pitches in the 16-inning duel with Warren Spahn. Nolan Ryan had 235 pitches once... but it was a no-decision.


Nolan Ryan pitched a 13 inning ND in June of 1974 in which he faced 58 batters, walking 10 and striking out 19. That's a minimum of 97 pitches for just those 29, and 232 if he threw just 4 pitches/batter (which seems unlikely given that he was BBing or King like 41% of the hitters he faced that season).

   32. SandyRiver Posted: July 24, 2017 at 08:43 AM (#5498669)
My non-trusty memory includes the reading about a 70-pitch cg by the Yanks' Ralph Terry, early 60s, game outcome unknown (and no corroboration.)
   33. T.J. Posted: July 24, 2017 at 12:06 PM (#5498809)
Against the 2003 Tigers, who were ... a below-average team.

Every time that team is mentioned, I feel obliged to bring up this statistic: They were 43-119 overall, but 19-18 in one-run games. Useful stat to point out to someone who claims that a team's record in one-run games is a measure of their mental toughness, or says that "A really good team will figure out how to win those one-run games."
   34. Perry Posted: July 24, 2017 at 01:44 PM (#5498928)
Every time that team is mentioned, I feel obliged to bring up this statistic: They were 43-119 overall, but 19-18 in one-run games. Useful stat to point out to someone who claims that a team's record in one-run games is a measure of their mental toughness, or says that "A really good team will figure out how to win those one-run games."


Yeah, it's like Bill James said a long time ago, (paraphrasing) it's not the record in one-run games that's the mark of a good team, it's the record in 4- and 5-run games.
   35. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 24, 2017 at 02:37 PM (#5498965)
#31:
Nolan Ryan pitched a 13 inning ND in June of 1974 in which he faced 58 batters, walking 10 and striking out 19. That's a minimum of 97 pitches for just those 29, and 232 if he threw just 4 pitches/batter (which seems unlikely given that he was BBing or King like 41% of the hitters he faced that season).


That's the game where Ryan threw 235 pitches.
   36. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 24, 2017 at 04:44 PM (#5499051)
Postscript to #16: Much to my dismay, I was just informed by the Washington Post that a 7 day a week print edition subscription doesn't include access to their archives. Un-#######-believable. The Post is a pretty good newspaper, but this is one of the many ways that it's still bush league compared to the NY Times, where print subscribers can access the full archives and stay logged in as long as you keep up your subscription.
   37. Howie Menckel Posted: July 24, 2017 at 10:02 PM (#5499191)
I reiterate my "pshaw" over these MLB hurlers because I saw a high school kid throw about 220 pitches (it was recorded at the time) in a county tournament game in the mid-1980s. 14 innings of scoreless ball. don't remember if he won but I hope so.
   38. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 24, 2017 at 10:50 PM (#5499221)
#31:
Nolan Ryan pitched a 13 inning ND in June of 1974 in which he faced 58 batters, walking 10 and striking out 19. That's a minimum of 97 pitches for just those 29, and 232 if he threw just 4 pitches/batter (which seems unlikely given that he was BBing or King like 41% of the hitters he faced that season).

That's the game where Ryan threw 235 pitches.

BFD, he didn't even finish what he started. A quitter as always. Juan Marichal and Warren Spahn would've laughed at him.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I reiterate my "pshaw" over these MLB hurlers because I saw a high school kid throw about 220 pitches (it was recorded at the time) in a county tournament game in the mid-1980s. 14 innings of scoreless ball. don't remember if he won but I hope so.

So how many games did Rubber Arm Boy go on to pitch in college and OB?
   39. SandyRiver Posted: July 25, 2017 at 09:04 AM (#5499294)
Spahn threw more than 200 as well, not to mention that he was 42, and had the Braves' only EBH. (Later he blamed his being left out there so long for his abrupt fall from competency. However, he was pretty good the rest of that season until his last few starts. IIRC, he would often pitch 5-6 good innings in '64-'65 starts, then get bombed.)
   40. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: July 25, 2017 at 10:07 AM (#5499314)
Every time that team is mentioned, I feel obliged to bring up this statistic: They were 43-119 overall, but 19-18 in one-run games. Useful stat to point out to someone who claims that a team's record in one-run games is a measure of their mental toughness
The problem is, we'd expect this sort of record if these three conditions were true:

1. The 2003 Tigers had very little talent.
2. The 2003 Tigers were extremely mentally tough.
3. A team's record in one-run games is a measure of mental toughness.

So they lost all of the blowouts when they were overwhelmed by raw talent and ability, but when the game stayed tight late their superior mental fortitude allowed them to overcome their athletically gifted but quavering opposition.

(I don't believe this is true, I just don't think the 2003 Tigers can be used to prove the point either way.)
   41. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 25, 2017 at 12:09 PM (#5499406)
Spahn threw more than 200 as well, not to mention that he was 42, and had the Braves' only EBH. (Later he blamed his being left out there so long for his abrupt fall from competency. However, he was pretty good the rest of that season until his last few starts.)

Pretty good, indeed. In his next 10 starts after that 16 inning game, Spahn threw 10 complete games with 89 innings, and went 9-1 with his only loss a 3-1 game in St. Louis. His ERA for that stretch was 1.72. The only sign that the 16 inning game might have taken a toll on him was that after throwing a shutout in his next start on 4 days rest, he then didn't pitch from July 7th until July 25th.

After that 10 game run, in his next 2 appearances he got knocked out early in his worst starts of the year. But he then ended the season with a shutout, a complete game win, and another shutout on the last day of the season.

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