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More on Maddux and Pedro

More on Maddux and Pedro
Apr. 28, 2009 (Kansas City Star delivered by Newstex ) --

This is a continuation of the the discussion: Who had the best seven-year pitching stretch in Baseball history, Greg Maddux (1992-98) or Pedro Martinez (1997-03)?

The argument could be framed many different ways ? you can go with different lengths of time (best 10-year stretch or best 5-year stretch or whatever), or you could simply pick the pitcher who had the best seven seasons (not consecutively), but Im sticking with this one.

There are other arguments for the greatest stretch in pitching history. For instance, there was Sandy Koufax ? I dont think he can quite stretch it out to seven years, but he did have a remarkable six-year stretch from 1961-66 ?

Koufax (1961-66): 129-47, .733%, 2.19 ERA, 35 SHO, 1,713 Ks, 412 BBs, 3 Cy Young Awards, MVP, 156 ERA+.

Thats awfully good, of course, but Koufax had many advantages. He was pitching in the best pitchers park in Baseball. He was pitching off a very high mound. He was pitching during an extreme low-run environment ? thats why his 2.19 ERA over six years comes out to a 156 ERA+. Truth is his BEST ERA+ for a single season was 190, which is remarkable, but is not as good as either Madduxs or Pedros entire seven year stretch.

Roger Clemens had a couple of terrific stretches in his amazing career, but no six or seven year stretch that quite gets him into this conversation.

Here are a few others for comparison ?

Tom Seaver (1969-75): 136-71, .657, 2.46 ERA, 1918 ip, 1724 Ks, 530 walks, 146 ERA+.

Jim Palmer (1969-75): 129-65, .665, 2.47 ERA, 1840 ip, 1125 Ks, 602 walks, 141ERA+.

Walter Johnson (1910-16): 199-100, .666, 1.56 ERA, 2,485 IP, 1722 Ks, 472 walks, 188 ERA+.

Carl Hubbell (1931-37): 147-73, .668, 2.54 ERA, 2,022 IP, 998 Ks, 352 walks, 147 ERA+.

Lefty Grove (1926-32): 161-59, .732, 2.64 ERA, 1,928 IP, 1,293 Ks, 526 walks, 165 ERA+.

Pete Alexander (1911-17): 190-88, .683, 2,492 IP, 1,403 Ks, 555 walks, 143 ERA+.

Christy Mathewson (1905-11): 192-72, .727, 2,211 IP, 1,245 Ks, 370 walks, 154 ERA+.

Randy Johnson (1995-02): 143-44, .765, 2.61 ERA, 1,763 IP, 2,416 Ks, 541 walks, 177 ERA+.

Bob Gibson (1964-70): 138-72, .657, 2.52 ERA, 1,954 IP, 1,698 Ks,

So, you can see that:

1. Madduxs 191 ERA+ and, especially, Pedros 213 ERA+ over seven seasons are historically insane.

2. Even the greatest pitchers in Baseball history rarely managed a .700 winning percentage over a six or seven year period (in Units case, because of injuries, thats actually an eight-year period). Madduxs .706 winning percentage is preposterously good. Pedros .766 winning percentage might be the best ever over a 7-year-period.

3. Maddux was a bulldog, but even so his 1,675 innings over seven years looks like kids play when you go back to the 1970s (with Palmer and Seaver) or way back to Walter Johnson, Lefty Grove and so on. Of course, two of Madduxs seasons were shortened by the strike.

Pedros 1,408 innings is a full season less than Maddux.

Now, here are a few more things to look at when comparing Pedro and Maddux.

? Maddux made 34 more starts and pitched 267 more innings ? basically, one full season. This is because Pedro was hurt much of the 2001 season and because he averaged 30.5 starts per year in his other six. Maddux averaged 32 starts over all seven years, and about 35 starts a year in seasons not affected by the strike.

? The Cubs/Braves record when Maddux started a game was 146-80, a .646 winning percentage. That includes non-decisions and everything else. His teams won at a .590 winning percentage when he did not pitch. So, over a 162-game season, Madduxs teams would win 96 games when he was not on the mound. With Maddux on the mound they would win 105 games. For this little experiment, that would make Maddux a plus-9 pitcher.

The Expos/Red Sox record when Pedro pitched ? again, including no-decisions ? was 138-63, an insane .687 winning percentage.

His teams won at a .517 clip when he was not pitching. So, over a 162 game season, Pedros teams would win 84 games. With Pedro on the mound, they would win 111.

That makes Pedro a plus-27 pitcher. Which is plain sick. He turned the 1986 Cleveland Indians into the 1954 Cleveland Indians whenever he pitched. He turned the 2005 New York Mets into the 1986 Mets. He turned the 1985 Baltimore Orioles into the 1970 Baltimore Orioles.

Theres no wrong conclusion here. I think we are talking here about the two best primes in Baseball history, and they happened to come around the same time which is quite remarkable. Im the worlds biggest Maddux fan, and I think he has some very real advantages. I think Pedro in his prime is the best pitcher who ever lived.

Newstex ID: KC-3053-34496440

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: April 29, 2009

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