Carnac wrote:Maddux is one of the top pitchers of all-time. But, Walter Johnson was better.
Pitching catagories led league in (# of times)
ERA Johnson 5 times, Maddux 4 times
ERA+ Johnson 6 times, Maddux 5 times
Whip Johnson 6 times, Maddux 4 times
Wins Johnson 6 times, Maddux 3 times
K/BB Johnson 9 times, Maddux 3 times
In addition Johnson's win % above team win % was .100, Maddux .069 through the 2005 season. Didn't bother to look up difference from 06-08, but I assume it came down a little because his record was 37-38.
In every measure comparing the pitchers to their peers, Johnson is better. Many other stats I chose not to use because that would favor Johnson by a wider margin than is reasonable.
Maddux was indeed a great pitcher, but not Johnson's equal.
Maddux's prime at least equals the prime of Johnson, if it does not surpass it. His best years are arguably better than Johnson's best if you go by ERA+.
Maddux best single season Era+: 271. Maddux second best single season ERA+: 262
Johnson best single season Era+: 259. Johnson second best single season ERA+: 242
The fact that Johnson happened to lead the league in ERA one more time than Maddux does not necessarily make him the better pitcher. If you include times finished in the top 2 in ERA than Maddux and Johnson both have 7.
Additionally the fact that Johnson had a higher winning percent against his own team than Maddux does mean anything. The reason the Braves were great was because that team had 3 hall of fame pitchers and often had one or two other pitchers having very good years. Johnson on the other had was the often the only good player on player on those Senator teams, occasionally he one of his teammates would have a winning record, but none of those pitching staffs had anyone the equal of Smoltz or Glavine.
"I do not think baseball of today is any better than it was 30 years ago... I still think Radbourne is the greatest of the pitchers." John Sullivan 1914-Old athletes never change.