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Postby bellings » Thu Dec 21, 2006 11:26 am

It's just so hard because everyone has different criteria. For instance, Johan Santana is currently one of the best pitchers ever. And I mean "ever". Yes, I know that he doesn't have the career numbers, but that's not what I'm talking about. What Johan has done over the past 3 years is virtually unmatched by modern day pitchers, with Pedro being the obvious exception (probably old school Maddux as well.) But that's some pretty elite company. We get all hung up on career numbers, when clearly Johan is one of the greatest pitchers ever to take the mound, even if he doesn't keep this up for 10 more years.

It's similar to what's going on with LT in football. All of the purists won't even put him in the top 5 best running backs ever because of career numbers, but with the way he is destroying records, his current playing ability is as great as any past or present NFL player, whether or not his decline is slow enough to put up enormous career numbers.
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Postby mak1277 » Thu Dec 21, 2006 11:40 am

bellings wrote:It's just so hard because everyone has different criteria. For instance, Johan Santana is currently one of the best pitchers ever. And I mean "ever". Yes, I know that he doesn't have the career numbers, but that's not what I'm talking about. What Johan has done over the past 3 years is virtually unmatched by modern day pitchers, with Pedro being the obvious exception (probably old school Maddux as well.) But that's some pretty elite company. We get all hung up on career numbers, when clearly Johan is one of the greatest pitchers ever to take the mound, even if he doesn't keep this up for 10 more years.

It's similar to what's going on with LT in football. All of the purists won't even put him in the top 5 best running backs ever because of career numbers, but with the way he is destroying records, his current playing ability is as great as any past or present NFL player, whether or not his decline is slow enough to put up enormous career numbers.


By this logic, is Kurt Warner one of the best QB's in NFL history? I think sustained performance deserves recognition and "credit" in this type of discussion.
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Postby thedude » Thu Dec 21, 2006 11:54 am

bellings wrote:ItFor instance, Johan Santana is currently one of the best pitchers ever. And I mean "ever". Yes, I know that he doesn't have the career numbers, but that's not what I'm talking about. What Johan has done over the past 3 years is virtually unmatched by modern day pitchers, with Pedro being the obvious exception (probably old school Maddux as well.) But that's some pretty elite company. We get all hung up on career numbers, when clearly Johan is one of the greatest pitchers ever to take the mound, even if he doesn't keep this up for 10 more years.



I disagree when you adjust for era, what Johan Santana has done the last three years has been done by a few dozen pitchers before. Randy Johnson has had longer streaks of dominance. Carl Hubbell had a better streak of dominace. Tom seaver had a similar run, so did dutch leonard.

Santana putting together a few very good seasons, and he probably will make the hall of fame. But it isn't that uncommon for a domiant pitcher to string togther a few years.

Pedro's run of dominace was much better.
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Postby thedude » Thu Dec 21, 2006 11:56 am

mak1277 wrote:
bellings wrote:It's just so hard because everyone has different criteria. For instance, Johan Santana is currently one of the best pitchers ever. And I mean "ever". Yes, I know that he doesn't have the career numbers, but that's not what I'm talking about. What Johan has done over the past 3 years is virtually unmatched by modern day pitchers, with Pedro being the obvious exception (probably old school Maddux as well.) But that's some pretty elite company. We get all hung up on career numbers, when clearly Johan is one of the greatest pitchers ever to take the mound, even if he doesn't keep this up for 10 more years.

It's similar to what's going on with LT in football. All of the purists won't even put him in the top 5 best running backs ever because of career numbers, but with the way he is destroying records, his current playing ability is as great as any past or present NFL player, whether or not his decline is slow enough to put up enormous career numbers.


By this logic, is Kurt Warner one of the best QB's in NFL history? I think sustained performance deserves recognition and "credit" in this type of discussion.


And Hack Wilson and Roger Maris are two of the best hitters in history.
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Postby suppasonic » Fri Dec 22, 2006 6:35 pm

thedude wrote:
suppasonic wrote:Yes. I think if you have the best 3 years ever at your position, even with little longevity (See: Koufax), you deserve higher then guys who pitched decently for a very long time.


Expect Koufax had 6 great years, which still don't put him in my top 15.


Except that not only are there a lot more good starting pitchers than relievers, and as you know the relief ace is a very modern thing. Since the post-Eckersley explosion of closers, Gagne was clearly the best at his peak. Does that put him over guys that were very good for an entire career like Hoffman or Smith? Of course not. But it sure vaults him ahead of a bunch of pitchers that were above average but not great for a long time.
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Postby Tavish » Fri Dec 22, 2006 7:48 pm

bellings wrote:It's just so hard because everyone has different criteria. For instance, Johan Santana is currently one of the best pitchers ever. And I mean "ever". Yes, I know that he doesn't have the career numbers, but that's not what I'm talking about. What Johan has done over the past 3 years is virtually unmatched by modern day pitchers, with Pedro being the obvious exception (probably old school Maddux as well.) But that's some pretty elite company. We get all hung up on career numbers, when clearly Johan is one of the greatest pitchers ever to take the mound, even if he doesn't keep this up for 10 more years.


Johan has been spectacular, but he is still behind what the other great modern strikeout pitchers have done in both quantity and qualitity.

Johan from 2004 - 2006
ERA+ 182, 153, 161 avg 165
1 Triple Crown
1 Cy Youngs
250 K's per season

Randy Johnson 2000-2002
ERA+ 177, 184, 190 avg 183
1 Triple Crown
3 Cy Youngs
350 K's per season

Roger Clemens 1996-1998
ERA+ 142, 226, 176 avg 181
2 Triple Crowns
2 Cy Youngs
273 K's per season

Pedro Martinez 1998-2000
ERA+ 160, 245, 285 avg 230
1 Triple Crown
2 Cy Youngs
283 K's per season

Then you have guys like Greg Maddux and Kevin Brown who weren't overpowering strikeout guys but put up an ERA+ of around 170 over 3 consecutive seasons.

There is a reason people tend to get hung up on career numbers. Considering a guy who does great things for a couple years as good or better than someone who does it over 15 seasons doesn't make much sense. Dwight Gooden might have looked like the second coming of Walter Johnson but the truly great players go on to prove it over a sustained period of time.
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Postby AcidRock23 » Fri Dec 22, 2006 8:00 pm

thedude wrote:Expect Koufax had 6 great years, which still don't put him in my top 15.


I would think that the no-hitters and accounts of batters who faced him might give him some additonal consideration. :-?

"Among NL pitchers with at least 2,000 innings pitched who have debuted since 1913, he has both the highest career winning percentage (.655) and the lowest career ERA (2.76); his 2,396 career strikeouts ranked 7th in major league history upon his retirement, and trailed only Warren Spahn's total of 2,583 among left-handers. Retiring virtually at the peak of his career, he became, at age 36 and 20 days, the youngest player ever elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame."

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Postby bellings » Fri Dec 22, 2006 11:08 pm

Tavish wrote:Johan from 2004 - 2006
ERA+ 182, 153, 161 avg 165
1 Triple Crown
1 Cy Youngs
250 K's per season

Randy Johnson 2000-2002
ERA+ 177, 184, 190 avg 183
1 Triple Crown
3 Cy Youngs
350 K's per season

Roger Clemens 1996-1998
ERA+ 142, 226, 176 avg 181
2 Triple Crowns
2 Cy Youngs
273 K's per season

Pedro Martinez 1998-2000
ERA+ 160, 245, 285 avg 230
1 Triple Crown
2 Cy Youngs
283 K's per season


Actually, Johan won the Cy in 2004 and 2006, so that's 2 Cy Young, and anyone who knows anything about baseball (which obviously doesn't include baseball writers) would agree that he should have won in 2005 as well. But still, my argument basically holds, because all of those guys are top-10 on the list, but Johan isn't listed.
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Best Ever

Postby bigjimblue » Sat Dec 23, 2006 12:27 am

I just opened an early Christmas present of Bill James rankings:

C Yogi Berra and my favorite, Johnny Bench (Piazza #5)

1B Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx (McGuire, Bagwell and Murray next)

2B Joe Morgan and Eddie Collins (Hornsby, Jackie Robinson and Biggio next)

3B Schmidt and Brett (Eddie Mathews, Boggs and Home Run Baker next)

SS Honus Wagner and Arky Vaughn (Ripken, Yount and Banks next)

LF Ted Williams and my favorite, Stan the Man (Bonds, Ricky Henderson and Yaz next)

CF Willie Mays and Ty Cobb (Mantle, Tris Speaker and DiMaggio next)

RF Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron (Frank Robinson, Mel Ott and Pete Rose next)

P Walter Johnson and Lefty Grove (Spahn #5, Seaver #6, Bob Gibson #8, Koufax #10, Clemens #11, Feller #12, Maddux #14, Carlton #15, Palmer #17, Gaylord Perry #18 and top reliever Eckersley #32)
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Postby TheA'sFatLeadoffMan » Sat Dec 23, 2006 2:01 am

Pedro Martinez only #9, the guy is top 5 hands down IMO
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