Skip to comments.All-Time All-Stars: Part II (Thomas Sowell)
Posted on 07/06/2012 11:08:24 AM PDT by jazusamoEdited on 07/06/2012 12:19:40 PM PDT by Sidebar Moderator. [history]
Trying to choose the greatest pitcher of all time is at least as difficult as trying to choose the greatest hitter of all time. In both cases, the best we can do is narrow down the list.
Outside a charmed circle of five batters, no one had both a higher lifetime batting average and a higher lifetime slugging average than any of those five. In alphabetical order, they are Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. There are other batters whose lifetime records came close, including Barry Bonds, Jimmie Foxx and Hank Greenberg. But close cannot define the greatest.
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Of course, we don’t know how Hank Greenburg would have done if he got to have Lou Gehrig in the on deck circle.
We also don’t know if Babe Ruth could have either pitched or hit a good slider.
I know which side of a wager on that issue I would take.
But even if he couldn’t he would have led the league in total home runs for the next 50 or 60 years. Just as he did in the pitching category.
And the funny part is if you had to pick him out as one of the greatest athletes of all time, you couldn’t because he looked like anything but. Barrel-chested, bandy legged with short arms hardly a near-Greek God like many of today’s guys.
Anyone who pitched largely in the dead ball era, as did Johnson, will obviously have his shutouts and ERA magnified. Pitchers who excelled in a more hitter friendly era (Grove and Spahn are the first two that come to my mind) are always going to be underrated based on those numbers.
A more fun question is "Who's the best player you ever saw?" As far as pitchers go, for me it's Bob Gibson, hands down.
A great pitcher.
For me, it's Pedro Martinez.
I agree with you different eras. Also, Sowell is living in pre-sabermetrics era. I would rate Marichal and Koufax ahead of Gibson, although Gibson’s 1968 season was the greatest season ever by a pitcher.
If Cy Young won 511 games, it is probable that he pitched well into older age. It is also probable that his efficiency was reduced as he got older. So his 2.63 includes many games when he wasn't at his best. We should therefore then take a comparable number of his early years and use that ERA if we are to compare him with some of the short timers.
It was great indeed. Mrs jimfree was in HS in St Louis that glorious year. As a straight A student she got comp tickets from time to time and went with her Dad to see some Cardinals. I don’t remember if she actually saw a Series game in 68 but I believe she saw Gibson perform. I’ll have to ask her this evening.
A more fun question is “Who’s the best player you ever saw?” As far as pitchers go, for me it’s Bob Gibson, hands down.
A great pitcher.
For me, it’s Pedro Martinez.
Gazing into my crystal ball, I see that Notary Sojac is 10-15 years older than Hemingway’s Ghost.
Me too. Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax.
But no team, not now, not ever, had the starting rotation my Orioles had back in the early 70s with 4 20 game winners.
Best I ever saw live was Roger Clemens, although that night Bo Jackson took him deep (over the Green Monster).
Hell, my dog can tell you who the greatest baseball player of all time is
I second that.
Gibson OWNED the plate
And let’s not forget Shoeless Joe Jackson, with a lifetime batting average of .356, third behind Cobb and Hornsby. Shoeless Joe hit .411 in his rookie season, something we’re not likely to see again.
Speaking of eras, Gibson played during the modern day dead ball era of the late sixties with high mounds...etc...that magnified his pitching performances.
That said, Gibson was still one of the best I've seen.
Yes he did, can't argue with that. But having watched him pitch a couple of times from a seat behind the plate at Wrigley, frankly I don't know how anyone ever had the nerve to get in the batter's box against him, dead ball, juiced ball, whatever.
The big change is not the ball or the mound, but the fact that pitchers aren't allowed to intimidate any more.
I’m not going to state who I think was the greatest bb player of all time, but all the young fans today should be aware that nobody has ever hit baseballs as far as Ruth hit them. A writer named Bill Jenkinson documented Ruth’s clouts for 1921 in a book called “The Year Ruth Hit 104 Homeruns.”
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