Pitchers Bracket Challenge: The ultimate underdogs
Welcome to the 38 Pitches Pitchers Bracket Challenge …
Here is the premise: We have taken what we deem the top 64 pitchers in the post-World War II era, seeded them, and sorted them into four regions/brackets. Every few days we will post some of the match-ups along with a bit of commentary, along with a poll for you to vote on who should advance.
Today we start with the No. 1 vs. the No. 16 seeds:
Cy Young Region
1. Greg Maddux vs. 16. Jerry Koosman
My Take: My odds on favorite to be in the final pairing vs. a very good LHP. Koos had a very nice career. (Did you know he made three World Series starts and was 2/3 of an inning pitched from three complete games? That’s impressive.) He won 222 games, but just barely finished as a .500 pitcher. He’s taking on my pick (all things taken into account) as the guy that should be recognized as the best ever.
Walter Johnson Region
1. Warren Spahn vs. 16. Tim Hudson
My Take: Warren Spahn, Randy Johnson, Steve Carlton Carlton? Someday Tom Glavine? All arguably the best left-handed starting pitchers ever. Spahn with 363 wins … damn! And 382 CAREER COMPLETE GAMES. (Ya the game hasn’t changed much!) Could be, and in some circles is, considered the best ever. Tim Hudson, man I thought he was going to be a huge winner and stud when I first saw him. Hopefully getting healthy and back on track, but already with a fantastic lifetime win-loss percentage. No matter when his career ends he’s going to have had a good one, but he’s not Warren Spahn.
Lefty Grove Region
1. Steve Carlton vs. 16. Steve Rogers
My Take: Considering where he played and what he did there, could be a Final Four candidate. A true horse and stopper. His 27-10 season was the benchmark used for great pitchers on bad teams. Four thousand-plus punch-outs, four Cy’s, never dominated in the postseason (except for 13 IP in the ’83 NLCS) like you would have thought, but one of the greats of all time. He goes up against a career Expo. A great guy, but not really deserving of a vote in this match-up. Surprised to see top five Cy finishes. I don’t remember him being that good, but his 82 season was pretty impressive.
Christy Mathewson Region
1. Tom Seaver vs. 16. Don Gullett
My Take: One of the first modern era guys I remember hearing about being a true power pitcher, along with Nolan Ryan. His career numbers don’t seem to reflect that as much as I expected with 1100-plus fewer strikeouts than IP. But what a career. Three Cy’s, two runner ups and three other top five finishes means he was the best, or near best, in his league eight of 13 years from 1967 to ’80. His ‘drop and drive’ was rampantly taught as I was growing up. Then some folks finally realized that was something very unique to him and his mechanics/body. Definite first round mismatch. Seaver should garner 100 percent of the votes. Don had a very good career featuring a win-loss percentage of .686 and an 8-3 postseason win-loss record, but Seaver is a legit Elite 8 candidate.