Baseball - Your Top-5 Starting Rotation w/ One Closer and Three Honorable Mentions

kelly_bkelly_b Posts: 1,194 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate
edited February 8 in Off Topic

After some discussion w/ a few board members, we've come to the decision that we will not restrict this list to being era-specific, though you can def use that in your calculus for why you include a certain pitcher. Current pitchers cannot be included because their career is still in progress. I also advise striking steroid pitchers (Clemens for example) from the list, but if you think he still belongs, that's cool. We can also provide brief explanations as to why we chose who we did to spark some debate. This was INCREDIBLY difficult to compile w/ plenty of room for debate. You also get three honorable mentions and one closer.

WARNING: W-hitey is a no-no word here....


Please no political content here. Thanks.

My list is in no particular order:

  1. Greg Maddux - The ultimate pitcher's pitcher and to keep his ERA where he did during the steroid era was nothing short of a baseball miracle. Also winning over 300 games in that era makes him a shoe-in to my mind.
  2. Walter Johnson - I don't think I have to qualify this decision.
  3. Sandy Koufax - This was debatable in my mind, but I firmly believe that he would have even better numbers than he did if it weren't for his arthritis. I also need a LH at this point.
  4. Cy Young - This seems obvious but it wasn't as easy of a choice as you might think. 511 Wins, 20 game winner 15 times, 30 game winner 5 times. But like W Johnson, it was a different time in baseball. You have to pose those hypothetical questions in your mind about eras, but I can't exclude him or Johnson based on when they played.
  5. W.hitey Ford - 33 straight scoreless innings in the WS.

CLOSER: Mariano Rivera

Honorable Mentions:

  1. Bob Gibson - There are times when I think he belongs on the list above. He was scary as hell and just as clutch. He also had the greatest single season performance of any pitcher in history, '68 and still holds the WS single game strikeout (17) record to this day.
  2. Nolan Ryan - Pure power and more no-no's than anyone, but never won the Cy. I expect to get catch some heat (pun intended) for not putting him in my list above.
  3. Phil Niekro - Bias admitted, but his uniqueness and durability makes me include him. I still think he had the best knuckleball ever and another example of a pitcher's pitcher.

Okay - I know I've left off some vital names (Mathewson, Seaver, et al) but this is for fun and debate. Hope everyone enjoys...spring is right around the corner guys. CHOP CHOP.

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Comments

  • TMazz2009TMazz2009 Posts: 234 ✭✭✭ Junior

    1. Greg Maddux....no need to say more. Guy was a dominant force in the middle of the steroid era.

    2. Walter Johnson....dude threw a million innings a season with a concrete block for a ball. Need to examine some remains as he can't be human.

    3. Cy Young...seriously? The award is named after him.

    4. Randy Johnson....maybe last 300 game winner...5 Cy Youngs....led league 9x in strikeouts...highest strikeouts ratio per 9 inning of any pitcher in history with 1500 innings pitched.

    5. Pedro Martinez....had the nastiest stuff I have ever seen with my own eyes. 4th highest winning percentage ever, 2.93 career era is 6th lowest of pitchers with 2500 innings pitched. His strikeout ratio vs 9 innings pitched is 2nd only to Randy Johnson among pitchers with 1500 innings pitched. Only pitcher ever to record 3k strikeouts in less than 3000 innings pitched. 3 time Cy Young winner....5 times lowest era throughout the season in MLB....won the pitching Triple Crown in 1999. And oh yeah did this in the steroid era.


    Closer....The Sandman....only choice here.

    Honorable Mentions....

    1. Bob Gibson....another intimidating figure...lowered the mound becuase of this guy. Pure force that was absolute clutch in his biggest moments.

    2. Christy Mathewson....3 complete game shutouts in 1905 WS for the Giants....2x won pitching Triple Crown

    3. Sandy Koufax...arm issues hurt his final stats but any one who has seen him throw was in awe.

    As you can tell, I am a little biased to the live ball and steroid era....not to mention the bats these guys use nowadays. The game changes for sure but hitters today are way more advanced top to bottom than they were 50-60 or even 80 years ago.

  • MeR3htidMeR3htid Posts: 1,682 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    Off topic question I guess and I'm quite sure I wont get a response, but if u had a Prime Pedro Martinez, Prime Randy Johnson and Prime Curt Shilling in the same rotation together for say 10 seasons even with Bobby Cox as Mgr. and a decidely above average lineup anchored by Chipper and Andruw Jones for MOST if not all of that run how many World Series would that team win?

  • BankwalkerBankwalker Posts: 2,359 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    Already happened, just different HOFers. One! You would win ONE WS with those guys and Bobby Cox.

  • MeR3htidMeR3htid Posts: 1,682 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    I say somewhere between 3 and 5 World Series Titles would b expected and likely with 3 studs like Martinez> Smoltz, Randy Johnson> Glavine and and Schilling and Maddux probably a push, I'd say 3 because Chipper Jones (Mr. Brave himself for my $$$) said POWER ARMS win in the Playoffs and he faced enough of every kind of arm to b especially qualified to know. So yeah if U REALLY had 3 dominant starters that stayed together that long u luck into 3 even if I was the Mgr. know what Im sayin??? Just sayin... 😎😎😎

  • kelly_bkelly_b Posts: 1,194 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    I looked very closely at both Pedro and R Johnson as well. How could you not? This is a nearly impossible task, but a lot of fun. As for that question @MeR3htid (don't worry about it being off-topic; part of this thread is for back and forth debate anyway - no worries) I would say that it would depend on our offense. I also think that, while Cox was one of the greatest regular season managers of all-time, he wasn't the best post-season manager. In fact, he could be a liability at times. I'm a believer in who has the "hot-hand," and too often I saw him go with a standard lineup as opposed to who was tearing it up at the plate.

  • kelly_bkelly_b Posts: 1,194 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    BTW - I like the new board but I miss the edit button (or am I not seeing it) because it kept me from multi-posting, but @TMazz2009 - I'm also biased against the steroid/live ball era. It's funny though, because as far ass PED's are concerned, I know Willy Mays (and a lot of other players) used amphetamines. Granted, they don't do what steroids did and didn't almost ruin the game, but they did have an impact.

  • TNDawg71TNDawg71 Posts: 668 ✭✭✭✭ Senior


    Maddux

    Seaver

    Gibson

    Spahn

    Pedro

  • christopheruleschristopherules Posts: 2,998 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    @kelly_b flawless sir. I cannot argue with your OP. This collection of yours is supreme. I would’ve picked exactly this same grouping. These men truly were the “Master’s of the game” WOW!

  • christopheruleschristopherules Posts: 2,998 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    @MeR3htid Maybe 6, or perhaps 7 WS titles with that lineup IMO. Dang.

  • PTDawgPTDawg Posts: 870 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    In no particular order:

    - Matthewson

    - Gibson

    - Johnson, Walter

    - Maddux

    - Pedro


    Honorable mention: Seaver

    Closer: The Eck. The mustache pushes him past Rivera for me.

  • BankwalkerBankwalker Posts: 2,359 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    I’m staying away from guus like Walter Johnson, Cy Young, and Christy Matthewson. Too hard to compare such vastly different eras when scouting and player development severely limited the ability of teams to field the very best possible hitters on the planet. How many Hank Aarons could have been playing MLB in those days but for a few unfortunate rules that kept blacks out of the game.

    My Five:

    Greg Maddox

    Roger Clemens

    Randy Johnson

    Sandy Koufax

    Bob Gibson - the mound was LOWERED in his prime, in 1969. Gibson’s 1968 season is one of the most dominant on record.

    Closer - Dennis Eckersley was unhittable by anyone not named Kirk Gibson.

  • AnotherDawgAnotherDawg Posts: 1,084 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    Agree with @christopherules, you set the bar pretty high @kelly_b. Hard to argue with your choices.

    I think Maddux, Koufax, Cy Young, and Walter Johnson are automatic.

    I think the 5th spot is open to debate, and you can certainly make a case for Gibson, Ryan, Spahn, Martinez, or Randy Johnson.

    Others that deserve mention are Bob Feller, Juan Marichal, Steve Carlton and Dwight Gooden (before the fall).

  • AnotherDawgAnotherDawg Posts: 1,084 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    EDIT (above): I left out Mathewson, who probably has as much claim to the 5th spot as anyone.

  • BankwalkerBankwalker Posts: 2,359 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    Great call on Steve Carlton. Dwight Gooden had no longevity but was as good as anyone for a brief stint.

  • AnotherDawgAnotherDawg Posts: 1,084 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    I also forgot to mention closer.

    Rivera is the obvious choice based on numbers, and Eckersley's combined career as a starter and a closer is mind-blowing. Makes sense that those are the top two in discussion above:

    Honorable mentions:

    Bruce Sutter defined the position in the 1980's, when my baseball fever was at its peak.

    Craig Kimbrel is on pace to break Rivera's records if he stays healthy.

    Harvey Haddix started closing games long before it was cool.

    ---

    Love this thread.

  • donmdonm Posts: 8,209 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    who can forget Haddix’s 12 perfect innings

  • DGDinNYCDGDinNYC Posts: 263 ✭✭✭ Junior

    This is a great thread. So many deserving names. Man gonna, try and break it up.

    1- Walter Johnson- Turn of the Century

    2- Bob Gibson - "Glory Days"

    3- Koufax- "Glory Days"

    4- Martinez- Modern Day

    5- Maddux- Modern Day


    Closer- Think you have to go Rivera but I want to say Eckersley from when I was coming of age


    Honorable Mention:

    1- Scherzer- plays for my favorite team headed to the HOF

    2- Cy Young- Feels wrong to leave him out

    3- Satchel Paige- Greatest pitcher from the Negro Leauges

  • AnotherDawgAnotherDawg Posts: 1,084 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    @DGDinNYC, Satchel Paige is a great great call.

  • DGDinNYCDGDinNYC Posts: 263 ✭✭✭ Junior

    I would have loved to see the numbers he would have put up with a full career in the majors.

  • TMazz2009TMazz2009 Posts: 234 ✭✭✭ Junior

    Love the Paige shout out. Would have loved to see him get in a full career in the majors. Same for Josh Gibson who did so legendary things hitting for power.

  • kelly_bkelly_b Posts: 1,194 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate
    edited February 9

    Agree w/ everyone about Paige. Great call @DGDinNYC. Also happy to see the inclusion of Spahn and Haddix slipped right by me. Kudos. I'd considered Eck as well but I think it was - for me - Rivera, wow. He threw such a HEAVY ball. Wonder who has broken more bats than anyone else? @Bankwalker - If Doc hadn't have had his addiction problems he would have been very high because for those few years, that kid was unhittable. So sad about him and Straw. I guess you guys have seen that documentary about them meeting...seems like Gooden is still struggling but Straw has started an outreach program. @christopherules - thx, but I gotta say, any of these choices are almost automatically interchangeable.

  • AnotherDawgAnotherDawg Posts: 1,084 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    That documentary is good but also hard to watch, given how much Doc is still struggling. We may be reading his obituary some day soon.

    Over time he'll be nothing but a footnote in baseball history, but for one brief shining moment, he was the best I ever saw.

  • kelly_bkelly_b Posts: 1,194 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    Yeah, some of those diner scenes were tough to watch, true.

  • volatilisvolatilis Posts: 110 ✭✭✭ Junior

    Maddux

    Pedro

    Cy

    Johnson

    Jim Palmer

    closer: By the numbers? Hands down, Mariano. Trevor Hoffman an easy 2nd.

    Great topic. Too bad it can't speed up Aug 31!!!

  • WCDawgWCDawg Posts: 11,602 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    Starters

    Greg Maddux

    Tom Seaver

    Christy Matthewson

    Lefty Grove

    Sandy Kofax

    Bench

    Randy Johnson

    Warren Spahn

    Jim Palmer

    Closer

    Mariano Rivera



  • WCDawgWCDawg Posts: 11,602 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate
    edited February 9

    Also my opening day starter would be Lefty Grove.

    I once did research with every 300 game winner to see which had the biggest percentage difference between their career ERA and their contemporaries in the league and years they pitched, Grove came out #1. He also has the best winning percentage among all 300 game winners.

  • WCDawgWCDawg Posts: 11,602 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    A fun bit of trivia. Phil Niekro pitched the only shutout for a 300th win since 1891.

  • KaseyKasey Posts: 5,810 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    Ok I like this topic, but I'm only going with guys I saw play in the modern era. And I'm not going to pick Greg Maddux. He was great for sure, but I always felt like Glavine and Smoltz had an extra gear in the postseason Maddux never seemed to have.

    1. Pedro Martinez (98-02)
    2. Madison Bumgarner (12-15)
    3. John Smoltz (91-95)
    4. Dave Stewart (88-93)
    5. Jack Morris (88-92)

    Closer: There is only one...Mariano Rivera. He is the only closer, everyone else just saves games.

  • dawghousedawghouse Posts: 703 ✭✭✭✭ Senior

    A bit off topic but if you had one pitcher to pick and you only need to base it on one of that pitcher's seasons (not career) who would it be? I'm not jumping to mlb.com to review stats because I know who was the most dominant I ever saw in my lifetime -- a young Doc Gooden. He was simply untouchable with an electric fastball that had a ton of movement, and then he would make your knees buckle with a big looping curve that he threw consistently for strikes.

    Best pitcher over a career that I saw in my lifetime? Hands down Mad Dog.

  • kelly_bkelly_b Posts: 1,194 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate
    edited February 10

    @WCDawg - Love that stat about Niekro. And for whatever reason (BOARD STUFF) the spoiler alert didn't work on my end.

    @Kasey - Is Bumgarner still active? Or did he retire and I missed it? Don't worry. I ain't getting uptight. :)

    @dawghouse - Extremely tough call and Doc is right up there. One game based on one season...I considered Smoltz' '96 season, plus his post-season success is undeniable, but that spans his career. I'm going to stick with Gibson.

    One other thing: RIP Frank Robinson - a true gamer and yet another who'll be missed. Just to remember him by the numbers: https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/robinfr02.shtml

    But he was more than just a great HOF player. He carried the mantle for Robinson (his first year was Jackie's final) with grace and dignity, and honesty. He has his point of view and whether you agree w/ it or not, he demanded respect both for his on-field performance and his life.

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