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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Simon: Curt Schilling and 2013: The new Bob Gibson?

Our next guest here on the Tim McCarver Show will be Sal Volatile…and he’s coming on sooner than you think!

ERA+ rates a pitcher’s ERA relative to his peers at the time, making slight adjustments based on the difficulty of pitching in the various ballparks of the era. It allows us to compare Gibson’s 2.91 to Schilling’s 3.46 on an even playing field, since Schilling pitched in an era that was more offensively friendly. Gibson is a 128 ERA+. That’s elite. It’s tied for 13th-best among those who threw at least 2,000 innings since 1920 (or, the Live Ball Era).

It’s the same ERA+ as Tom Seaver. It’s better than that of Jim Palmer, Juan Marichal, Warren Spahn. Bert Blyleven, and plenty of other Hall of Famers. And it’s the same ERA+ as Schilling.

...The point isn’t that Schilling is better than Gibson. By this standard, he isn’t. The point is that Schilling was the Gibson of his time. Since 1969 (the year after Gibson made his last World Series starts), Schilling has those three World Series starts of 74 or better. No one else has as many (for the record, Tom Glavine is the only pitcher since then with a pair of 80s or better, but this piece isn’t about him).

I’m not going to pretend that this is the perfect comparison. As my father pointed out, Gibson won with a combination of power and intimidation. Hitters feared facing him. But what Gibson had in fear factor, Schilling had in another area—precision. He had the second-best strikeout-to walk rate in major league history.

This is not meant to be an advertisement for Schilling’s Hall of Fame candidacy. Nor is it meant to establish who was the better pitcher. We go back to the original fill-in-the-blank, and it will be interesting to see what happens when the Hall of Fame ballots are cast in 2013. Gibson was elected on the first ballot. Schilling … we’ll have to wait and see.

Repoz Posted: January 10, 2012 at 12:44 PM | 82 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, history, sabermetrics

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   1. Dale Sams Posted: January 10, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4033270)
It's never to early to start Schilling.
   2. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: January 10, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4033283)
Gibson is a 128 ERA+. That’s elite. It’s tied for 13th-best among those who threw at least 2,000 innings since 1920 (or, the Live Ball Era).


That's surprisingly low to me. I guess I don't appreciate how different the OPS+ and ERA+ scale are. I would have expected that "13" to be considerably higher.

Just for comparison there are 108 hitters with an OPS+ of 128 or better (6,000 PA minimum). I would have expected that the numbers would have been closer.
   3. The District Attorney Posted: January 10, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4033286)
This comparison is crazy.

Schilling likes to play as a dwarven cleric, while Gibson prefers half-elf mages.
   4. BDC Posted: January 10, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4033289)
Schilling was the Gibson of his time

From 1990 to 2005 (the heart of his career), Schilling was third overall in the majors in CG and sixth overall in shutouts. Excellent, but Randy Johnson was better on both (and when it comes to things like winning three games in a World Series, Johnson wasn't bad either). Greg Maddux also beats Schilling in both CG and SHO.

From 1960 to 1975, Bob Gibson led the majors in both CG and shutouts.

Schilling is closer to being the Gaylord Perry of his time (in a career shorter than Perry's all told, of course). Which is elite company, but the Gibson comparison is a bit hyperbolic.

EDIT: And I guess this would make Greg Maddux the Juan Marichal of his time.
   5. Randy Jones Posted: January 10, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4033291)
That's surprisingly low to me. I guess I don't appreciate how different the OPS+ and ERA+ scale are. I would have expected that "13" to be considerably higher.

Just for comparison there are 108 hitters with an OPS+ of 128 or better (6,000 PA minimum). I would have expected that the numbers would have been closer.


4 or 5 starting pitchers(relievers aren't going to get the 2000 IP) vs 8 or 9 regular hitters...
   6. JJ1986 Posted: January 10, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4033293)
Just for comparison there are 108 hitters with an OPS+ of 128 or better (6,000 PA minimum). I would have expected that the numbers would have been closer.


OPS+ is SLG+ + OBP+ - 100, so basically you're adding the two together. If it was /2 instead, they'd probably be closer.
   7. Bob Meta-Meusel Posted: January 10, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4033297)
It's been said before and I'm sure it'll be said again:
Schilling 216-146, 3261 IP, 128 ERA+
Kevin Brown 211-144 3256.1 IP, 127 ERA+

Schilling has a real shot at getting in.
Brown was one and done.

Now, I know there's a lot of stuff that doesn't show up in the numbers I threw out there(postseason, unearned runs, being all chummy with the media), and almost all of it goes in Schilling's favor, but still... it doesn't seem like enough to make the difference between <5% and >75%.
   8. jacjacatk Posted: January 10, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4033308)
The post-season story and stats are going to be huge between Schilling and Brown, and the ~700 Ks will make a difference (is there anyone with 3000 Ks not in or going in, ignoring the steroids issue?).

Brown probably deserved better, and I guess it's hard to draw the in/out line between him and Schilling logically, but if that's where it ends up I'm not sure it's a travesty.
   9. The District Attorney Posted: January 10, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4033332)
is there anyone with 3000 Ks not in or going in, ignoring the steroids issue?
Well, Javy Vazquez has 2,536...
   10. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: January 10, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4033337)
Also, Brown was listed on the Mitchell Report. There's no evidence (that I know of) that Schilling was a juicer.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: January 10, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4033341)
It’s tied for 13th-best among those who threw at least 2,000 innings since 1920 (or, the Live Ball Era).

It’s the same ERA+ as Tom Seaver. It’s better than that of Jim Palmer, Juan Marichal, Warren Spahn. Bert Blyleven, and plenty of other Hall of Famers. And it’s the same ERA+ as Schilling.


Grrr ... just never a good way to do those comps by setting only a bottom minimum. Yes, Schilling and Gibson had the same ERA+ ... and Gibsong threw 600 more innings. Schilling and Seaver had the same ERA+ and Seaver threw 1500 more innings. That's nearly 50% more IP than Schilling -- it is just silly to compare those two guys by rate stats. In the first 3,239 innings of Seaver's career (22-33), he had a 140 ERA+.

That's surprisingly low to me. I guess I don't appreciate how different the OPS+ and ERA+ scale are. I would have expected that "13" to be considerably higher.

Just for comparison there are 108 hitters with an OPS+ of 128 or better (6,000 PA minimum). I would have expected that the numbers would have been closer.


Ahh, the old OPS+ trap. We all fall into this one from time to time.

Remember, OPS+ = OBP+ + SLG+ - 1. So if league average is 330/420 and you are 363/462 then your OPS+ is 120 (10% better at both OBP and SLG) ... but that means your actual OPS is only 10% better than league average, not 20%. It doesn't always work out that neatly but, as a rough guide, an OPS+ of (100 + X) means you are (X/2)% better than average in OPS terms.

So a 128 ERA+ means your ERA is 28% better than average (kinda, the definition of ERA+ doesn't actually work that way either!) so the equivalent OPS+ would be more like 156. In the live ball era there are 14 batters with 6000+ PA and an OPS+ of 156 or better compared to 16 pitchers (4 way tie at #13) with an ERA+ of 128 or better.

The 128 OPS+ then is roughly a 114 ERA+. There are 79 pitchers with 2000+ IP and a 114 or better ERA+, short of the 108 hitters you found with a 128 or better OPS+ but closer. (And of course there are 8-8.5 hitters vs. 3-5 starters -- in the liveball era, 293 pitchers have hit the 2000 IP mark and 495 hitters who have hit the 6000 PA mark).

So if we made those "equivalent" the corresponding PA cutoff is 7240 (Vern Stephens, 1 ahead of Mark McLemore!) Using that cutoff, you get 12 hitters of 156 or better and 83 of 128 or better which are quite close to the pitching numbers.

Oops, I didn't do "live ball" but from 1901

EDIT: Ignore that oops! I was a good boy and re-did stuff for the live ball era, plugged in new numbers, forgot to take out my caveat!
   12. jacjacatk Posted: January 10, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4033345)
Vazquez is 3-4 years away from 3000 Ks, and current rumor has it he's retiring. But, yeah, I'd say there's a decent chance he could get to 3000 if he decided to keep playing and he's definitely not going to sniff the HOF without another 10 or so solid seasons.
   13. The George Sherrill Selection Posted: January 10, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4033357)
nevermind
   14. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: January 10, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4033358)
forgot to take out my caveat!


And for this error I dismiss all that you say!!!

Seriously, thanks for the info (and #6 as well). It was one of those things where I hadn't really given it a ton of thought, just had a mental generality in place.
   15. tfbg9 Posted: January 10, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4033359)
He had the second-best strikeout-to walk rate in major league history
(from TFA)

Well, Schilling had the best in my book, because I can't credit Tommy Bond, whose 10 year career ended in 1884.
   16. PhillyBooster Posted: January 10, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4033363)
Comparisons based on ERA+ are designed specifically to minimize the greatness of Curt Schilling. To be specific, among all regular starting pitchers in the history of Major League Baseball, with any sort of longevity (say, 200 games started), Curt Schilling has the record for lowest percentage of runs being "unearned."

Curt Schilling gave up 1318 runs, of which 1253 were "earned" and 65 were "unearned." (95.4% earned)

Bob Gibson gave up 1420 runs, of which 1258 were "earned" and 162 were "unearned." (88.5% earned)

Kevin Brown gave up 1357 runs, of which 1185 were "earned" and 172 were "unearned." (87.3% earned)

Schilling gave up fewer ground balls that his infielders could boot behind him, striking out more and giving up more homers. His mix of skills led to a larger percentage of the runs he allowed being marked as "earned", but not giving up unearned runs was part of his skill set. And is it exactly the skill that he had that is excluded in comparisons of ERA+.
   17. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: January 10, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4033369)
"Designed specifically to minimize the greatness of Curt Schilling" implies that people in the anti-Schilling camp are intentionally choosing evidence that makes Schilling look bad. I would rather say that most people haven't considered that even within a single era, pitchers can vary that much in ratio of earned runs to unearned runs.

I never would have thought of comparing Brown to Schilling in terms of unearned runs, unless I'd been poring over the numbers for a while.
   18. Rally Posted: January 10, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4033370)
an RA+ measure would be preferable to ERA+. But dammit, we need someone (Forman) to calculate that!
   19. SoSH U at work Posted: January 10, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4033374)
an RA+ measure would be preferable to ERA+. But dammit, we need someone (Forman) to calculate that!


Yeah, I've been wondered for awhie why that hasn't become readily available.

   20. Walt Davis Posted: January 10, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4033376)
#3 and the first bit of my post: Meant to add that of course Seaver and Gibson are not exactly borderline HoFers so the fact that Schilling doesn't really compare to them does not mean he doesn't belong. It just means it's a comparison that would give the appearance that you're trying to tilt the tables in Schilling's direction.

I find the question of how to adjust for starter usage across eras very difficult. How much, if any, of the difference in career IP do we brush away as "era context"? Gibson threw 600 more innings but that's because Schilling was never asked to throw those extra innings -- maybe because his arm would have fallen off (advantage Gibson), or maybe because each inning was tougher to pitch in Schilling's day (so we adjust it out somehow) or maybe because he just wasn't given the opportunity.

That question is made more difficult because the 60s-70s studs are fairly unique in history in terms of combining in-season and long-term durability. It was clearly possible in Schilling's era to amass large career IP totals -- Maddux, Clemens, Johnson, Glavine and Moyer all over 4000 IP -- but the number of 3000+ IP pitchers and maybe especially in the upper 3000s in the 60s-70s dwarfs the number in the recent era (despite fewer teams and generally fewer starters).

Gibson does have 46 more starts and that explains about half the difference in IP and so I don't consider that era difference. But if you write off the other 300 IP to an era adjustment, the Schilling-Gibson comparison isn't far off. And even if you don't, I can see comparing them in terms of quality as long as you adjust for quantity. Gibson in his first 3340 had a 134 ERA+ so he still wins the ERA+ battle.

If you take Schilling's best 10 year stretch (95-04), he had 2100 IP and a 140 ERA+. Gibson's best stretch of roughly 2100 IP appears to be 65-72 with a 142 ERA+ which, given it includes his ridiculous 1968, is not necessarily better than Gibson. Seaver's best seems to be 68-75 with 2200 of 145 ERA+. So, again, quality comparisons seem legit. Some other best 2100 IP stretches:

Pedro 96-05: 177
Maddux 92-00: 176
Johnson 95-04: 172
Clemens 90-98: 159
Brown 93-03: 143
Smoltz 95-07: 140 (includes closer time)
Mussina 92-01: 131


Which is both Schilling's other "problem" and the other era contextual challenge. In ERA+ terms you didn't see stretches like those put up by the big 4 back in Seaver/Gibson days. I didn't do a thorough search, but I think those two are the tops of their era (or at least nobody significantly tops them).* Was it "easier" to be a "quality" pitcher in Schilling's era? Certainly there's evidence that it's easier to put up good ERA+/OPS+ numbers in high offensive contexts (greater variance not controlled for in ERA+/OPS+) but I don't think it's anywhere close to 30 points worth.

If you look 1960 to 1985, 2000+ career IP, Seaver has the best ERA+ at 128. Do that for 1986-2011 and you get 4 guys who beat him plus two active pitchers (Oswalt and Halladay).

Anyway, real differences in quantity favoring previous eras, possibly differences in quality favoring the current era. To me there's no obvious way to adjust for that. Durability is incredibly important but were the earlier guys actually more durable? Quality is incredibly important but are the more recent guys actually better? Or do you figure they're really all "equal" and pitchers have to trade off quantity for quality?

Easiest thing to do is just let WAR sort it out. :-)

*Possibly Carlton if you took best seasons without requiring consecutive.
   21. Randy Jones Posted: January 10, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4033379)
Also, haven't error rates been generally declining across the board since like the 20's? If you are going to give Schilling extra credit for giving up a lower percentage of UER than Gibson, shouldn't you adjust for the error rate?
   22. PhillyBooster Posted: January 10, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4033385)
I was certainly not intimating that anyone was trying to intentionally minimize Schilling. Maybe my phrasing was bad. My intent was merely to point out that among Schilling's accomplishments, one of them is "Highest ER/R Percentage in History." I think it is a legitimate skill, and it is also the one exact skill that is omitted from a comparison of two pitchers' ERA+.

On the other hand, if I were a person whose sole goal in life was to decrease the perceived value of Curt Schilling as much as possible without actually lying about the numbers, there would be few better ways to accomplish that goal than to push ERA+ as the relevant stat of comparison.
   23. SoSH U at work Posted: January 10, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4033387)
Also, haven't error rates been generally declining across the board since like the 20's? If you are going to give Schilling extra credit for giving up a lower percentage of UER than Gibson, shouldn't you adjust for the error rate?


That's where the usefulness of RA+ would come in. Schilling's historically low UER rates are a significant issue when comparing him to Brown.* Not so much against Gibby.

* FTR, it's also not a big deal when comparing him against the other pitcher from the era that frequently gets lumped in with Schilling and Brown, Mussina. Moose also had very low UER rates.


   24. OMJ, urban D machine Posted: January 10, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4033391)
The post-season story and stats are going to be huge between Schilling and Brown, and the ~700 Ks will make a difference (is there anyone with 3000 Ks not in or going in, ignoring the steroids issue?).


Almost Blyleven, ugh.

   25. PhillyBooster Posted: January 10, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4033395)
Also, haven't error rates been generally declining across the board since like the 20's? If you are going to give Schilling extra credit for giving up a lower percentage of UER than Gibson, shouldn't you adjust for the error rate?

Probably, to some degree, but I think there's a little bit of chicken and egg going on here. Error rates have been declining, but concurrently strikeout rates and home run rates have been increasing. Very few errors are recorded on home runs, and if you can strike out more hitters, there's less of a chance of an early inning error turning in to an unearned run.

So, you may be able to do it, but it would be difficult to untangle how much of Schilling's advantage on Gibson is due to fewer errors being committed league wide, and how much is due to Schilling's extra 1.4 K/9 (or do you adjust for the current era's higher K rate too?).

In comparing Schilling to Kevin Brown, none of the above applies.
   26. GuyM Posted: January 10, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4033401)
So a 128 ERA+ means your ERA is 28% better than average (kinda, the definition of ERA+ doesn't actually work that way either!) so the equivalent OPS+ would be more like 156.

This is incorrect. Both metrics correspond to runs (scored or allowed), so they are in fact generally comparable. But B-REf has a weird way of calculating ERA+, so that a 128 ERA+ really means Gibby and Schilling allowed 22% fewer runs than average. So really a 128 ERA+ equals an OPS+ of 122, not 156.

The fact is simply that pitchers vary less than hitters do. Albert Pujols creates runs at a rate about 70% higher than the average hitter. No pitcher has ever given up only 30% as many runs as average (the equivalent ERA+ would be 333).
   27. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 10, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4033406)
Playoffs might add something to Curt's HOF chances.

Playoff Win Percentage - 3rd (2nd among starters, 1st among starters with more than 50 innings)
Playoff Wins - 5th
Ring - 3
Bloody Socks - 1

Edit: I also think Curt and Dave Stewart are the only guys with any appreciable number of starts to win more than half of their starts. Curt was 11/19, Dave was 10/18, so Curt probably has the highest win to start ratio among any playoff pitchers with a significant number of wins.
   28. Rally Posted: January 10, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4033411)
So really a 128 ERA+ equals an OPS+ of 122


If I remember the calculation right, it would be more accurate to say "The league allows 28% more earned runs than Schilling".
   29. PhillyBooster Posted: January 10, 2012 at 03:13 PM (#4033418)
The fact is simply that pitchers vary less than hitters do. Albert Pujols creates runs at a rate about 70% higher than the average hitter. No pitcher has ever given up only 30% as many runs as average (the equivalent ERA+ would be 333).

That can't be right. In 1920, Babe Ruth had an OPS+ of 255. Under your analysis, what would the correspondingly good pitcher's ERA+ have been? Units between 100 and 0 have to be more valuable than units between 100 and 255 (or infinity).
   30. GuyM Posted: January 10, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4033432)
If I remember the calculation right, it would be more accurate to say "The league allows 28% more earned runs than Schilling".

Exactly. Which means Curt allowed 22% fewer runs than average. Hence the conclusion that a comparable OPS+ would be 122 (i.e. 22% better than league average).

That can't be right. In 1920, Babe Ruth had an OPS+ of 255. Under your analysis, what would the correspondingly good pitcher's ERA+ have been? Units between 100 and 0 have to be more valuable than units between 100 and 255 (or infinity).

Why do they "have to be more valuable?" A pitcher with an ERA of zero would save his team fewer runs than Ruth would add on a per-PA basis. It's not Ruth's fault there is a zero lower bound for pitchers, but no ceiling for hitters. (Although remember that a good starting pitcher will face more batters than a hitter will have PAs, adding to the pitchers' value.)
   31. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 10, 2012 at 03:48 PM (#4033449)
It's been said before and I'm sure it'll be said again:
Schilling 216-146, 3261 IP, 128 ERA+
Kevin Brown 211-144 3256.1 IP, 127 ERA+

Schilling has a real shot at getting in.
Brown was one and done.

Now, I know there's a lot of stuff that doesn't show up in the numbers I threw out there(postseason, unearned runs, being all chummy with the media), and almost all of it goes in Schilling's favor, but still... it doesn't seem like enough to make the difference between <5% and >75%.


Throw in the Mitchell report, add up all those "extras", and it's perfectly understandable that a writer would vote for Schilling but not for Brown. Don't ever underestimate the power of narrative to help or hurt a player's HoF chances, and in this case the narrative takes two roughly equal pitchers' credentials in such diametrically opposing directions that the 70% spread wouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility.
   32. PhillyBooster Posted: January 10, 2012 at 03:52 PM (#4033452)
A pitcher who gets out every single batter in a game will always win as long as they leave him in. A hitter who hits a home run every time he comes to the plate will not always lead his team to victory (and will soon become a hitter who gets an IBB every time he comes to the plate).
   33. GuyM Posted: January 10, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4033470)
A pitcher who gets out every single batter in a game will always win as long as they leave him in. A hitter who hits a home run every time he comes to the plate will not always lead his team to victory

You need to do the math. Let's say your pitcher throws 25 complete games (225 IP) and you win them all (you actually might go into extra innings and lose one of them, but I'm feeling generous). So your pitcher has produced 12.5 wins above average for your team.

Let's say your hitter has 650 PAs, and homers every time. This is very rough, but he would create something like 800 runs above average for your team. That's good for a winning % of about .800, or 48 extra wins.

So your hypothetical hitter is about 4x as valuable as the pitcher. 1920 Ruth wasn't that good, of course, but he may have been just about as valuable as a 0.00 ERA pitcher. Impressive....

   34. salvomania Posted: January 10, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4033537)
Edit: I also think Curt and Dave Stewart are the only guys with any appreciable number of starts to win more than half of their starts. Curt was 11/19, Dave was 10/18, so Curt probably has the highest win to start ratio among any playoff pitchers with a significant number of wins.


Gibson won 7 of his 9 starts---all in the World Series---and all were complete-game wins, including one of 10 innings.

But maybe 7 World Series wins isn't a significant number...
   35. Rally Posted: January 10, 2012 at 05:03 PM (#4033570)
Let's say your hitter has 650 PAs, and homers every time. This is very rough, but he would create something like 800 runs above average for your team. That's good for a winning % of about .800, or 48 extra wins.


More realistic is to compare a hitter who walks every single time. Why would anyone pitch to the guy who always homers?
   36. PhillyBooster Posted: January 10, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4033578)
I don't think anyone is trying to denigrate Bob Gibson in the comparison to Curt Schilling. It is only because no one questions Gibson's status as a (inner circle) Hall of Famer that he can be used as a point of comparison.
   37. GuyM Posted: January 10, 2012 at 05:16 PM (#4033582)
Rally: It wasn't my example!

But OK. Very back of the envelope, I think your 100% BB hitter is about 135 runs above average over 650 PA. (.33 runs per PA, vs. an average of .12. Does that sound about right?) So he's worth 13.5 wins above an average player. Still a little better than a 0.00 ERA pitcher over 225 IP.

Ruth in 1921 had 14 WAR, about 12 wins above average. So he was worth about as much as a "perfect" starting pitcher that year.
   38. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: January 10, 2012 at 05:20 PM (#4033587)
Remember, OPS+ = OBP+ + SLG+ - 1. So if league average is 330/420 and you are 363/462 then your OPS+ is 120 (10% better at both OBP and SLG) ... but that means your actual OPS is only 10% better than league average, not 20%. It doesn't always work out that neatly but, as a rough guide, an OPS+ of (100 + X) means you are (X/2)% better than average in OPS terms.


But run scoring scales as the square of OPS, or if you prefer OBP * SLG, so ignoring the considerations about how the scales work, being 10% better at both OBP and SLG yields a 120 OPS+, but also a 120 ERA+, not 110+.

Now, there are significant value differences because a (starting) pitcher faces batters contiguously, while an individual bats only 1/9 of the time. So the run value of a 150 ERA+ pitcher will be better than the run value of a 150 OPS+ hitter due to this, because he gets to benefit fully from the multiplicative effect while the batter still has to allow his teammates to come to the plate 8 times out of 9 no matter how good he is.
   39. GuyM Posted: January 10, 2012 at 05:29 PM (#4033599)
On the other hand, if I were a person whose sole goal in life was to decrease the perceived value of Curt Schilling as much as possible without actually lying about the numbers, there would be few better ways to accomplish that goal than to push ERA+ as the relevant stat of comparison.

Yes, the best way to libel Schilling is to use a stat where he is the equal of Bob Gibson and Tom Seaver, and ahead of Jim Palmer. Good thinking! Much more damning than talking about wins (216), ERA titles (zero), or CYAs (zero).
   40. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 10, 2012 at 06:00 PM (#4033630)
Is there any doubt that Schilling should and will be elected to the HOF? I'm not seeing the controversy here.
   41. ray james Posted: January 10, 2012 at 06:50 PM (#4033670)
Is there any doubt that Schilling should and will be elected to the HOF? I'm not seeing the controversy here.


Here, not much.

But mainstream people who view stats traditionally look at the 216 wins and ask "Is that all?".
   42. Something Other Posted: January 10, 2012 at 06:58 PM (#4033677)
@41: I think there's been plenty of argument around that. Take away the narrative, and you have a low career win total and a not terribly long career by Hall standards. He got his decline phase out of the way early (52-52 prior to age 30), which is odd, and suggestive, at least as that has been applied to other candidates. Without his age 34-37 seasons he doesn't get close to the Hall. That's his peak. For how many players is that true?

Mike Mussina may have problems getting in, or so I'm told, and he has 54 wins more than Schilling.

I'd vote for Schilling, but I see the negatives.
   43. ray james Posted: January 10, 2012 at 07:34 PM (#4033696)
He got his decline phase out of the way early (52-52 prior to age 30), which is odd, and suggestive, at least as that has been applied to other candidates.


He missed time due to injuries, so a lot of that underperformance was because he was pitching hurt. Carl Hubbell had the same sort of career and Carl Hubbelll is a no-brainer like Schilling (Hubbell's bad years came at the end rather than the beginning but both were best in their early to mid-thirties).
   44. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 10, 2012 at 07:51 PM (#4033707)
Mike Mussina may have problems getting in, or so I'm told


This amazes me. So there are people who would vote for Jack Morris but not Mussina or Schilling?
   45. Mefisto Posted: January 10, 2012 at 07:53 PM (#4033709)
Re UER. Don't all modern pitchers allow a lower percentage of UER generally? After all, UER have been declining since, well, ever, from as high as 30% or so of all runs in the dead ball era to about 7% or less today. Seems like there should be an era (heh) adjustment for that as well.
   46. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: January 10, 2012 at 07:53 PM (#4033710)
But OK. Very back of the envelope, I think your 100% BB hitter is about 135 runs above average over 650 PA. (.33 runs per PA, vs. an average of .12. Does that sound about right?) So he's worth 13.5 wins above an average player. Still a little better than a 0.00 ERA pitcher over 225 IP.

Ruth in 1921 had 14 WAR, about 12 wins above average. So he was worth about as much as a "perfect" starting pitcher that year.


Why are you limiting the guy to 25 starts? Sure, 225 IP is a good benchmark for a league leader, but 25 starts isn't. How about 306 IP (34 complete games) of a 0.00 ERA?
   47. rr Posted: January 10, 2012 at 07:58 PM (#4033711)
Like I said a few months ago (others have said it as well): Schilling actually was what Jack Morris is being sold as. I would vote for Schilling. I doubt that he gets in on the first ballot, though--in part because I think Morris will get in next year. But I think Schilling will get in.
   48. OCF Posted: January 10, 2012 at 08:08 PM (#4033719)
an RA+ measure would be preferable to ERA+. But dammit, we need someone (Forman) to calculate that!

For what it's worth, I've been doing my own home-brew version of RA+ for a few selected pitchers for Hall of Merit purposes. It's pretty much limited to pitchers who are at least HoVG or are particularly interesting for some other reason.

I haven't done career RA+. What I've done is season-by-season RA+; then convert that into a winning percentage (using a sliding exponent), then multiply the winning percentage by IP divided by 9. Then I add up the won-loss records to get a career equivalent W/L. As an optional last step, I can take that career W/L and back-form it into an RA+ like number, but it would be wrong to call that career RA+.

Anyhow, for Schilling, I get a career equivalent record of 227-135. Which back-forms to an RA+ like number of 130, which is very high. Some others: Smoltz 126 (contaminated by his closer work; restricted to his years as a starter it would be 123), Maddux 127 (many more innings of course), Randy Johnson 130, Clemens 138, Mussina 127, Appier 122, Brown 121, Glavine 117. And, of course, Pedro at 151 with no one anywhere close to that.

Gibson's career clocks in at 265-166, which back-forms to a 126 RA+ equivalent. Another way to put that is that the career difference between Gibson and Schilling is 38-31, which is a significant positive for Gibson. However, Schilling's 227-135, taken at face value, is clearly well over the HoM in/out line. The only way to conceivably argue against him for the HoM would be a standard-deviation argument to the effect that his leagues were easier to dominate. My best guess is that even granting that, he's still got room to spare.

Kevin Brown does take a bit of a downgrade if you talk RA instead of ERA - and should. A ground-ball pitcher will generally allow more unearned runs than a fly ball pitcher, so it's a built-in part of his value. But I still have Brown at 224-129 equivalent, and that's also well over the HoM minimum (and he has been elected to the HoM.)

One minor side issue: Schilling has 9.01 IP per decision. That means that my methods give him the same number of decisions as he officially has, but may give other pitchers somewhat fewer decisions because the average may be closer to 8.75 IP/decision. Maddux, for instance, was at 8.67 IP/decision. (Of course, even knocking his equivalent decisions down slightly for that, Maddux is also at an equivalent 344-213 - yeah, I think he's in.)
   49. OCF Posted: January 10, 2012 at 08:22 PM (#4033728)
Schilling actually was what Jack Morris is being sold as.

Schilling, equivalent record: 227-135, with years of 21-8, 20-9, 18-8, 17-8, 19-10, 18-10.

Morris, equivalent record: 226-199, with years of 18-11, 18-11, 18-12, 19-13, 16-11.

Morris's best single season would not be one of Schilling's best six seasons by this measure, and the difference between the career records is 60+ extra career losses for Morris.

And that's in the regular season. The post-season can speak for itself. (Which brings up the perpetual question of what Morris has over Hershiser.)
   50. OCF Posted: January 10, 2012 at 09:17 PM (#4033763)

Apparently, even though there's an edit button, I can't actually edit. In post 48, Brown's equivalent record should be 224-146.
   51. Bob Evans Posted: January 10, 2012 at 09:57 PM (#4033785)
When you're looking at Schilling's record at B-R, it's a good idea to click on "Hide Partial". Just sayin'.
   52. AJMcCringleberry Posted: January 10, 2012 at 10:09 PM (#4033794)
It sucks that Brown and Mussina won't get in, but Schilling and Smoltz will.
   53. Srul Itza Posted: January 10, 2012 at 10:10 PM (#4033795)
Without his age 34-37 seasons he doesn't get close to the Hall. That's his peak.


OMG! Teh Steriods!


EDIT: Come to think of it, doesn't he say that it was because Clemens told him to get serious about working out and being a great pitcher, that he turned his career around.

Conclusion: BURN THE WITCH!
   54. GuyM Posted: January 10, 2012 at 10:12 PM (#4033797)
Why are you limiting the guy to 25 starts? Sure, 225 IP is a good benchmark for a league leader, but 25 starts isn't. How about 306 IP (34 complete games) of a 0.00 ERA?

Well, with 34 complete games he would of course be 17 wins above average. Not sure I understand the point....
   55. Karl from NY Posted: January 10, 2012 at 10:12 PM (#4033798)
(Which brings up the perpetual question of what Morris has over Hershiser.)

1991 Game 7. Seriously. That one game took on a legendary life of its own among the writers. That one game wrote Morris's career narrative. I'd bet a substantial sum that less than a quarter of Morris HOF voters could tell you he went 0-2 in the very next year's World Series.

Hershiser's World Series shutout came in Game 2, and nobody cares about Game 2, especially right after The Kirk Gibson Game. That's their difference.

Postseason statistical performance doesn't matter. Postseason performance only matters in creating Big Moments that give the writers their stories. That's why Schilling will go in, for both The Bloody Sock Series and The Last Night Of The Yankee Dynasty. He could have gone 3-11 for his postseason career and still get the same credit for postseason immortality.

Morris is Don Larsen.
   56. OCF Posted: January 10, 2012 at 10:23 PM (#4033805)
Hershiser's World Series shutout came in Game 2, and nobody cares about Game 2, especially right after The Kirk Gibson Game. That's their difference.

Just to be clear, you're also saying that no one cares about the LCS, right?

It sucks that Brown and Mussina won't get in, but Schilling and Smoltz will.

I'm pretty sure that all four of them are Hall of Merit. We'll be down to at least taking a serious look at some lesser pitchers than those.
   57. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 10, 2012 at 10:34 PM (#4033812)
It sucks that Brown and Mussina won't get in, but Schilling and Smoltz will.
I think it's much more likely that Mussina will be elected than that he won't.
   58. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 10, 2012 at 11:59 PM (#4033861)
I'm pretty sure that all four of them are Hall of Merit. We'll be down to at least taking a serious look at some lesser pitchers than those.


I'll be interested in what you guys do with Kevin Appier and Chuck Finley
   59. OCF Posted: January 11, 2012 at 12:28 AM (#4033875)
Finley's been eligible for a while and draws no support at all. Personally, I see him as being in the same general value neighborhood as Jimmy Key, Dennis Martinez, Frank Tanana, Jim Kaat, and, yes, Jack Morris.

Appier was on the ballots of 6 out of 37 voters in the just-concluded 2012 election, including two 5th place votes. That puts him 37th overall, and behind a number of other backlog pitchers. We elected Cone and left Tiant as the top backlogger. Other pitchers ahead of Appier: Redding (Negro Leagues), Walters, Grimes, Hilton Smith (Negro Leagues), Bridges, Dean, John, Welch. Just behind Appier were Gooden, Lee Smith, and Shocker.
   60. AJMcCringleberry Posted: January 11, 2012 at 12:45 AM (#4033883)
I think it's much more likely that Mussina will be elected than that he won't.

I hope so. I didn't realize he had 270 wins, I'm guessing with people thinking we won't see 300 game winners that will help.
   61. Booey Posted: January 11, 2012 at 12:47 AM (#4033884)
So there are people who would vote for Jack Morris but not Mussina or Schilling?

Does this really surprise you, considering that there are voters who are apparently going to vote for Morris but not Bonds, Clemens, Bagwell, Biggio, Piazza, McGwire, Sosa, Palmeiro, Raines, Trammell, etc? Morris won't be one of the top 15 candidates on next years ballot by any reasonable method of ranking players, yet he may have the best chance of any of them at gaining election. Lame.
   62. Karl from NY Posted: January 11, 2012 at 12:48 AM (#4033885)
Just to be clear, you're also saying that no one cares about the LCS, right?

Pretty much. Schilling is the only player whose career narrative stems from LCS heroics, but of course that Cursebreaking LCS itself became more iconic than most World Series. Nobody* remembers LCS heroics. LCSes can be defined by failure (Grady Little, Bartman, Denkinger, Kenny Rogers walking in the clinching run, Beltran looking at strike three, the 116-win Mariners), but you can't write a success story in the LCS since there's still the WS to play.

*by which I mean the half-paying-attention writers that most of the BBWAA electorate comprises.
   63. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 11, 2012 at 01:01 AM (#4033888)
Finley's been eligible for a while and draws no support at all. Personally, I see him as being in the same general value neighborhood as Jimmy Key, Dennis Martinez, Frank Tanana, Jim Kaat, and, yes, Jack Morris.

Appier was on the ballots of 6 out of 37 voters in the just-concluded 2012 election, including two 5th place votes. That puts him 37th overall, and behind a number of other backlog pitchers. We elected Cone and left Tiant as the top backlogger. Other pitchers ahead of Appier: Redding (Negro Leagues), Walters, Grimes, Hilton Smith (Negro Leagues), Bridges, Dean, John, Welch. Just behind Appier were Gooden, Lee Smith, and Shocker.


This is why I never vote and just appreciate all the work you guys do.
   64. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 11, 2012 at 02:31 AM (#4033923)
Pretty much. Schilling is the only player whose career narrative stems from LCS heroics, but of course that Cursebreaking LCS itself became more iconic than most World Series. Nobody* remembers LCS heroics. LCSes can be defined by failure (Grady Little, Bartman, Denkinger, Kenny Rogers walking in the clinching run, Beltran looking at strike three, the 116-win Mariners), but you can't write a success story in the LCS since there's still the WS to play.


Sub Donnie Moore for Denkinger (whose botch job occurred in the World Series), and you've got a pretty good theory there.



   65. cardsfanboy Posted: January 11, 2012 at 03:25 AM (#4033934)

this is just a silly comparison

Gibson had a 128 over 17 seasons and 3884ip,
Schilling a 128 over 20 seasons and 3261ip..

top 5 seasons
Gibson
258/304
164/314
151/233
148/280
139/278

Schilling
159/168
157/256(led league)
150/226
150/226
143/226


I'll give Schilling credit for the unearned runs, but most of that credit is wiped out by the fact that he didn't ####### complete any games. Yes he's a product of his era, but the point of his era is to convince the pitchers to put it all out there for 7 innings, and accept a reliever.

Of course Bob Gibson after 3340 ip had an era+ of 134.
   66. ray james Posted: January 11, 2012 at 07:35 AM (#4033950)
Schilling led his league in CG 4 times, inclduing an incredible 15 in '98, finished 2nd 3 times and had 3 other top 5 finishes.

Complaining about Schilling not completing games is sort of like complaining about Cobb not having that many homers.

Criminy, cfb. Get a grip. You stil that upset about '04?
   67. Tom Nawrocki Posted: January 11, 2012 at 09:52 AM (#4034005)
Nobody* remembers LCS heroics. LCSes can be defined by failure (Grady Little, Bartman, Denkinger, Kenny Rogers walking in the clinching run, Beltran looking at strike three, the 116-win Mariners), but you can't write a success story in the LCS since there's still the WS to play.


Robin Ventura, Aaron Boone, Steve Garvey, Livan Hernandez, Francisco Cabrera, Johnny Damon, Chris Chambliss.... maybe those are the guys the asterisk is referring to.
   68. Rally Posted: January 11, 2012 at 10:04 AM (#4034014)
"Complaining about Schilling not completing games is sort of like complaining about Cobb not having that many homers."

I like that analogy. Well done.
   69. cardsfanboy Posted: January 11, 2012 at 09:39 PM (#4034725)
Schilling led his league in CG 4 times, inclduing an incredible 15 in '98, finished 2nd 3 times and had 3 other top 5 finishes.

Complaining about Schilling not completing games is sort of like complaining about Cobb not having that many homers.

Criminy, cfb. Get a grip. You stil that upset about '04?


no, but it's silly to compare guys who complete games in era+ to those who don't. It's a lot easier to pitch 7 innings of baseball than 9 innings. When you tire out you allow more runs, it's pretty common sense. It's why regardless of what the stat guys say, nobody who has "watched" the game thinks Pedro's best year ranks with Gibson's best year. I mean sure if Gibby only had to pitch 7 innings per start, his era might have improved even more.

I don't honestly care about 2004... The Cardinals have won more world series since then than any other team in baseball.
   70. Sunday silence: Play Guess How long season lasts Posted: January 12, 2012 at 01:37 AM (#4034882)
I agree with 69. As saber people, people tend to emphasize that which is quantifiable and sort of gloss over what is not totally quantifiable. Here, it is obvious that the ability to pitch more innings is obviously valuable, at least to the pitching staff over the course of a season if nothing else.

THere has to be value to that and yet no one has yet quantified "innings eating" that I know of. Doesnt mean I dont like Schilling, just the comparison. ANd yet as saber nerds, we tend to tacitly accept these arguments about ERA+ and comparing Schilling to Gibson without enough skepticism. I get that ERA+ is measuring something, just not everything.

A perfect example of Einstein's quote that not all things that matter can be counted. In this case, we know that eating innings counts, just not sure how much.
   71. cardsfanboy Posted: January 12, 2012 at 02:06 AM (#4034887)
I've tried to quantify innings pitched relative to era+ and failed miserably...
I mean I would love some stat that is based upon innings pitched per start, games started per season, normalized for season, and then to come up with average runs allowed per reliever or even starter past innings pitched per start to come up with a true runs allowed average. (and even there it doesn't fully capture the value of a great starter that completes game, as a starter that complete games, means that the best relievers are saved for the next start.)

and no, I'm not talking about War which is utterly useless as a pitcher evaluation tool

Again, anyone that claims Pedro Martinez 2000 where he pitched 217 innings with a 291 era+ is on par with gibson's 68, of 258 era+ over 304 ip, really should get their head examined. Or at least, rent a forklift to get them out of their mom's basement. (I mean Gibson literally threw 4 fewer shutouts that season than Pedro did in his entire career)
   72. tfbg9 Posted: January 12, 2012 at 08:49 AM (#4034950)
Well, how many pitches per 9 innings did Ol' Primatine Mist average in '68, vs. how many for Petey in '00?
   73. Howie Menckel Posted: January 12, 2012 at 08:52 AM (#4034953)

Gibson pitching complete games you'll credit and say it cost him to pitch so deep into games, but no mention of Schilling often pitching to a DH instead of a pitcher, or Gibson getting to pitch to 145-pound, pencil-necked shortstops (and often similar centerfielders, not to mention sluggish catchers).

Interesting cherry-pick.
   74. Something Other Posted: January 13, 2012 at 03:31 AM (#4035904)
no, but it's silly to compare guys who complete games in era+ to those who don't. It's a lot easier to pitch 7 innings of baseball than 9 innings. When you tire out you allow more runs, it's pretty common sense. It's why regardless of what the stat guys say, nobody who has "watched" the game thinks Pedro's best year ranks with Gibson's best year. I mean sure if Gibby only had to pitch 7 innings per start, his era might have improved even more.
I'm still surprised that on this kind of site people talk about innings pitched (not just you, cfb, but practically everybody). Given how much the BB has been emphasized, and adding in the different run scoring environments across history, and the DH, shouldn't we be going by pitches thrown? I can't find the data for the number of pitches thrown in an average game in 1965, but I'm pretty damned sure it's less than the number thrown in an average game in 1995.

If Gibby was completing games in 110 pitches, and 110 only got Schilling through 7 innings, why should we be dinging Schilling for that?

BBRef is down at the moment, but I wouldn't be all that surprised to learn that Gibson threw FEWER pitches in a 250 inning season than Schilling did in a 230 inning AL season. Maybe even in a 220 inning AL season.

edit: I don't know how to get the number of pitches thrown, but when Gibson's brilliant 1968 gets put into Coors in the year 2000, he loses a whopping FORTY INNINGS pitched.
   75. Qufini Posted: January 13, 2012 at 05:40 AM (#4035913)
I mean I would love some stat that is based upon innings pitched per start, games started per season, normalized for season, and then to come up with average runs allowed per reliever or even starter past innings pitched per start to come up with a true runs allowed average. (and even there it doesn't fully capture the value of a great starter that completes game, as a starter that complete games, means that the best relievers are saved for the next start.)


Jack Morris thanks you.

9 top tens in IP (1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 5, 6, 10)
Innings pitched per start (1979-1994): Morris- 7.14, AL- 6.21

11 top tens in Games Started (1, 1, 2, 2, 4, 4, 5, 5, 7, 7, 10)
Games Started per season (1979-1994): Morris- 32.12, AL median starter- 27.75

10 top tens in Complete Games (1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 6, 8)
Complete Games as percentage of Games Started (1979-1994): Morris- 33.8%, AL- 15.7%
   76. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 13, 2012 at 06:40 AM (#4035920)
1968 pitchers within a run of Gibson's 1.12 ERA:
Luis Tiant 1.60
Sam McDowell 1.81
Dave McNally 1.95
Denny McLain 1.96
Tommy John 1.98
Bobby Bolin 1.98
Bob Veale 2.05
Stan Bahsen 2.05
Jerry Koosman 2.08
Steve Blass 2.12

2000 pitchers within a run of Pedro Martinez's 1.74 ERA:
Kevin Brown 2.58
Randy Johnson 2.64
Jeff D'Amico 2.66
(*closest in AL = Clemens, 3.70)

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

1968 pitchers within 0.33 of Gibson's 0.85 WHIP:
Dave McNally 0.84
Luis Tiant 0.87
Denny McLain 0.90
Dean Chance 0.98
Tom Seaver 0.98
Pat Jarvis 0.98
Bobby Bolin 0.98
Bill Hands 0.99
Jim Perry 1.00
Fritz Peterson 1.02
Gaylord Perry 1.03
Tommy John 1.04
Bob Moose 1.04
Fergie Jenkins 1.04
Juan Marichal 1.05
Jim Nash 1.05
George Brunet 1.06
Jim Hardin 1.06
Stan Bahnsen 1.06
Phil Niekro 1.06
Don Drysdale 1.07
Jim Merritt 1.09
Milt Pappas 1.09
Stan Williams 1.10
Ray Washburn 1.10
Mel Stottlemyre 1.10
Mickey Lolich 1.10
Jose Santiago 1.11
Jim Kaat 1.11
Steve Blass 1.14
Sonny Siebert 1.13
Lew Krausse 1.13
Don Cardwell 1.14
Bob Veale 1/15
Earl Wilson 1.15
Ray Culp 1.15
Mike Cuellar 1.15
Don Sutton 1.15
Ray Sedicki 1.16
Dave Giusti 1.17
Chris Short 1.18
Jim McGlothin 1.18
Joe Coleman 1.18
Ron Reed 1.18
Dick Selma 1.18
Larry Jackson 1.18
Steve Carlton 1.18

2000 pitchers within 0.33 of Martinez's 0.74 WHIP:
Kevin Brown 0.99
Greg Maddux 1.07
(*closest in AL = Mussina, 1.19)
   77. Thok Posted: January 13, 2012 at 07:39 AM (#4035929)
I'm still surprised that on this kind of site people talk about innings pitched (not just you, cfb, but practically everybody). Given how much the BB has been emphasized, and adding in the different run scoring environments across history, and the DH, shouldn't we be going by pitches thrown?


No. Innings pitched is clearly correct. The unit of length of a baseball game is the out, and Innings Pitched measures exactly how many outs a pitcher has at least partial responsibility for.

Pitches thrown will be roughly similar between starters. Much of the difference between good pitchers and bad pitchers is did you get 5 innings or 7 innings from your 100 pitches.
   78. ray james Posted: January 13, 2012 at 07:58 AM (#4035935)
Pitches thrown will be roughly similar between starters.


This is incorrect. Some pitchers are more efficient than others. Schilling was very efficient, because he didn't issue many walks. And there is a difference of eras. If you want to use the complete game argument to say that Gibson was better, than you have to use the same one to say that Gus Weyhing was better than Gibson, because Weyhing completed his games and Gibson didn't (for those who have never heard of Weyhing, his nickname was "old rubber arm". He was 5:10 and weighed 145 pounds.).

The relevant statistic, which several poster have already pointed out, is pitches thrown. Ignoring historical context is silly, cfb knows it's silly, and so I assume he has some other motivation besides logic and reason for making it. Since he's a Cardinals fan, you don't have that far to look.
   79. . Posted: January 13, 2012 at 08:40 AM (#4035948)
Curt Schilling and Pedro were asked to do something different than Mariano Rivera was asked to do, and different than Bob Gibson and Jack Morris were asked to do, and we'll never reach perfection in comparing what they did. In track and field terms, Rivera was a sprinter, Schilling/Padro maybe 800 meter guys, and Morris/Gibson 1500 meter guys. You can't downgrade a 1,500 meter runner for not having splits as fast as Usain Bolt or Michael Johnson.

One thing that can be done is figuring out saves (and blown saves) for starting pitchers and that would be a worthy addition to the historical record. If Mo Rivera can garner a save for success in his first of one inning, Jack Morris or Bob Gibson should get one for the same success in their ninth of nine.

   80. . Posted: January 13, 2012 at 08:56 AM (#4035956)
For example, in the 1983 pennant race, Morris completed all but one of his starts, had 8 saves and 2 blown saves. The saves and blown saves should clearly be part of his record.
   81. Something Other Posted: January 13, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4036393)
Jack Morris thanks you.
And we thank the Jack. He was an extremely durable, slightly above average starting pitcher. He's the wife, a 6, that you come home to at the end of a coke-fueled affair with your hot mistress, and there she is, on the mound, all wound up and ready to go.

The Hall of the Very Good welcomes Jack with open arms.

Pitches thrown will be roughly similar between starters.

This is incorrect. Some pitchers are more efficient than others. Schilling was very efficient, because he didn't issue many walks. And there is a difference of eras. If you want to use the complete game argument to say that Gibson was better, than you have to use the same one to say that Gus Weyhing was better than Gibson, because Weyhing completed his games and Gibson didn't (for those who have never heard of Weyhing, his nickname was "old rubber arm". He was 5:10 and weighed 145 pounds.).

The relevant statistic, which several poster have already pointed out, is pitches thrown. Ignoring historical context is silly,...
ray's correct, and not just 'cause he agrees with me :)

It's better to say that the "unit of length of a baseball game" is a single pitch thrown to a batter. It's a superior way to acknowledge how the game changes, and the dramatically different context in which pitchers pitch. A pitcher pitching in an era where an average of 150 pitches are needed to complete a baseball game is pitching in a very different environment than one where 120 pitches are needed to complete a baseball game. A complete game is a very different beast, depending.

Your argument, just for starters, ignores the DH and its effect on pitchers. That can't be right.
   82. . Posted: January 13, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4036404)
The Hall of the Very Good welcomes Jack with open arms.

So he's got that going for him, which is nice ... but something tells me he'll treasure his induction into the actual Hall of Fame even more.

But we can ask him.

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