Dunno, but I do know of two that stalled…and they were well past 3rd base.
That’s quite a list of pitchers. Obviously tilted to the first part of the post-1961 period owing to the factors cited in the preamble. But, why such outstanding pitchers, as opposed to a more typical assortment of hurlers?
Here is my hypothesis. I welcome your feedback (not that I have to invite you, but go ahead and poke as many holes as you like). So, here goes.
1. This group will be allowing fewer runs (even a lot fewer runs) than “average” and “below average” pitchers in any era. Don’t think there should be much debate on this point.
2. The defense behind this group will play better than the defense behind an average or below average pitcher. Why? Fewer base runners, fewer pitches, fewer balls in play, balls in play not hit as hard, pitchers (probably) working faster – all these factors suggest less pressure on the defense and, ergo, less likelihood of committing errors that lead to unearned runs.
3. Factor #1 will be more pronounced than factor #2. That is, while the defense will play better behind this group, it’s not like they’re going to commit only half as many errors as they would behind a below average pitcher. However, a top rank pitcher may very well allow runs at a rate only half that of a below average pitcher, and perhaps 2/3 the rate of an average pitcher.
4. Taking the 3 points together, the reduced absolute number of unearned runs allowed that is expected for this group (point 1 and 2) will still be a larger proportion of their much lower total runs allowed (point 1 and 3), than would be the case for less skilled pitchers (i.e. the great majority of major league pitchers).
So, there’s the hypothesis. It would be great if I could get stats on errors committed behind pitchers (point 2), but I don’t know where those figures might be. I expect the rest of the argument should be fairly self-evident. But, if I’m wrong, please let me know.