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Pitchers bracket challenge: Just like old times

March 16, 2009

So we have our winners from the first match-ups — the 16’s vs. the 1’s — and there were no surprises:

Greg Maddux (91 percent) over Jerry Koosman (9 percent)

Warren Spahn (96 percent) over Tim Hudson (4 percent)

Steve Carlton (98 percent) over Steve Rogers (2 percent)

Tom Seaver (97 percent) over Don Gullett (3 percent)

While most of the No. 15’s vs. the No. 2’s figure to stay true to form, there is some potential for some shock-waves (especially in the Christy Mathewson Region). Here they are (Note: Polls will close at 10 p.m. Wednesday Thursday)

Cy Young Region
2. Jim Palmer vs. 15. Dave McNally

My Take: Three Cy’s, two seconds, a third and a second in the MVP, a .638 lifetime winning percentage, and a 2.86 CAREER ERA! Spent entirely with ONE team in the American League. Decent post-season numbers, but I am amazed at the average to what could be labeled real bad K/BB ratio. Never gave up a grand slam. Said he would, and did, walk a hitter with the bases loaded rather than pitch to a threat in that situation. Still managed a sub 3.00 ERA in the AL. Not sure how incredible that sub 3 is compared to the era’s league wide ERA, but this is another mismatch, and also our first match up of real teammates. Oh, and Palmer was an eight-time 20-game winner! McNally was a much better pitcher than I knew about. Won 20 four consecutive years and ended his career with a won-loss percentage over .600. Three consecutive top five Cy finishes put him on track for a real nice career. Palmer should win this walking away.

[poll id=”5″]

Walter Johnson Region
2. Bob Gibson vs. 15. Chuck Finley

Think intimidator, or fastball, and Gibson’s name comes to mind. I had the pleasure of sitting down and doing an interview with him for the Sporting News back in the ’90’s and he struck me as an incredibly kind and honest man. Said he never intentionally tried to hit anyone, but never worried if he did. Told me Frank Robinson was someone he may have hit more than anyone, and he tried NOT to ever hit him, because Frank would ALWAYS hit a HR off him after he did. Had 3,117 career K’s and one of the best post season careers in the game’s history. Completed an astounding 255 of his 482 career starts! How about this post season line: Games started, 9; ERA, 1.89; IP,  81; Hits, 55; Walks, 17; Strikeouts, 92. ALL OF THAT added up to a win-loss record of 2-1!! This guy basically made nine starts and threw nine complete games worth of innings. His 1968 season of 1.12 ERA in 304 innings is one of the top three pitching lines in the games
history. Getting seeded against Gibby is a no-win really. Finley was barely 20 games over .500 and struggled for the most part in the post season. Nice career with 200 wins though.

[poll id=”6″]

Lefty Grove Region
2. Randy Johnson vs. 15. John Tudor

I remember Jon Tudor growing up, as the first ‘thumber’ that I ever watched dominate. His changeup was incredible and throwing 10 shutouts in a career is a nice feat, much less a season. But matching up against
a guy that will likely retire as the top left-handed power pitcher in history just isn’t fair. RJ will retire with 300 wins, over 4000 strikeouts, and five Cy Young award. The most dominant lefty to ever pitch in my opinion. Tudor was an awesome guy, but this is a mismatch.

[poll id=”7″]

Christy Mathewson Region
2. Roger Clemens vs. 15. Dave Stewart

Clemens had 354 career wins, seven Cy’s, 12 Top 10 Cy finishes, an MVP, seven Top 10 MVP finishes, more than 4,000 strikeouts and some of the greatest numbers ever vs. 168 career wins? Total mismatch? No way. For me everything done after the 1992 goes out the window. In my opinion he cheated, and I think he cheated up until he retired. No one is more upset about that than I am, but that’s what I believe. Add to this that Stewart owned Clemens in head to head, Stewart was a post season stud, and had four Top 4 Cy finishes as well. I don’t think this is the walk it might appear. If it were me, everything from the day of admission or the day someone is caught cheating goes out the window. He hasn’t been caught, he hasn’t admitted, but I believe he did do what people are claiming he did, and while it sucks, it’s what I
go on.

[poll id=”8″]

37 Comments leave one →
  1. Eileen permalink
    March 16, 2009 10:01 pm

    What are you doing at sea?

  2. March 16, 2009 10:40 pm

    Roger Clemens was the best, whether he cheated or not. They let him pitch, and he pitched the best. No one stopped him at the time. Sure you can say, I don’t want a cheater on my team and blah blah blah, he was still the best.

  3. March 16, 2009 10:48 pm

    If you get rid of Clemens’ numbers, you have to get rid of the numbers for the at bats of anyone who faced him, as if they didn’t exist. It’d be completely different if he were suspended in 1992, and not allowed to pitch those games, then he wouldn’t have those numbers. The league failed here, but instead of this witch hunt, should accept what happened as what happened, and move forward. I’m glad they’re cracking down on it and now have a testing program in place. If say, Pujols for example, gets caught taking anabolic steroids, he’ll be suspended 50 games. That doesn’t mean all of his numbers beforehand and all of his numbers after the suspension shouldn’t count, it only means that he won’t be able to accumulate statistics for those 50 games. That’s the way it works.

  4. Tim permalink
    March 17, 2009 12:40 am

    If Roger beats Dave Stewart this time, that’d be a first. I voted for the upset, not because of the hard time Clemens has been getting lately, but just to mirror the baseball heartbreak of my high school years.

  5. Greg permalink
    March 17, 2009 12:51 am

    here’s the thing about Clemens. First off, do I believe he cheated ever since 1992? No. Do I believe he cheated? Absolutely. (Probably from around 1997) But my biggest contention, and the thing that I struggle with the most in terms of who to believe, what records should stick, and what should be done is this: one, I would have to guess that more hitters were juicing then pitchers, and as a result, sure Clemens was juicing, but so was most of the league, so should all of the records be stricken? and because there was no testing and no absolute proof, how can we eliminate them, and if we do, how can we keep peoples like Maddux, Glavine, Randy, Curt, etc. Because, at this point I wouldn’t be surprised to see anyone, sadly, including Mad Dog and Tommy G, because that’s just what it seems to be. And being that the hitters were doing it too, he was just playing on a level playing field (which, presumably makes what Maddux, Glavine, Unit, Curt, Moose, etc that much more unbelievable because they were playing on a slanted field and still managed to DOMINATE).

    And to answer the question: Clemens career 1985-1996 is still better than Stewarts, with the exception being that Stewart had 2 rings in that period and Clemens 0.

  6. Andy permalink
    March 17, 2009 1:44 am

    If Pujols was taking steroids it would be a travesty. If I was a player I would be pissed. It’s not just statistics that change. Pujols has averaged 40 home runs a year. If he was using steroids then there would be lots of pitchers who have given up home runs to him that they might not normally have given up. Regular season home runs are one thing. Pujols has 13 postseason home runs too. Those count way more. Pitchers giving up those home runs would be receiving less money in their next deal because of the damage done to them by someone who was cheating.
    Clemens has over 4000 strikeouts. How many batters did he blow one past because he was juicing? I consider using steroids to be tantamount to theft. He wasn’t the best, his steroids were the best. And because of that he was making money that should have been allocated to clean players.

  7. Jason permalink
    March 17, 2009 3:48 am

    Although I completely understand your point of view, Roger was still one of the top 5 pitchers to ever play the game in my mind. The steroids are a big issue, and maybe if things are proven at some point, I will change my mind, but until then I will keep my opinion. But even if he cheated, I can’t help but think about all of the juiced hitters he may have been facing during that time span. If we go on straight speculation, how does anyone ever get clear of the steroid era. Because I do not know for sure who took roids and who didn’t, I can only judge off of what I saw during that era. I will say this, the pitchers who are percieved to have been clean during the whole steroid era have gained a lot more of my respect. I can only imagine how hard it would have been to stay true to yourself when it seemed like everyone else had an edge on you because of the PED’s. Roy Oswalt said it best when he said he felt personally cheated by AROD, and Ill bet that is how most of the clean player feel. Thanks for the great posts SHIL, keep up the good work.

  8. Scott permalink
    March 17, 2009 4:26 am

    If you decide to throw out Clemens’ numbers, I think it’s justified. He did this to himself. He cheated the game. He cheated the fans. Worst of all, he cheated his legacy.
    Instead of being remembered as one of ( if not THE) most dominant pitchers ever, he’ll be remembered as an exposed cheat, who like Bonds, refuses to come clean.
    You make the argument that the hitters during Clemens’ dominant years were all juicing, but I’m not a big believer in the ” everyone else was doing it” excuse.
    If you get caught throwing eggs at a house, you and only you got caught, and you and only you will get punished, regardless of how many people were commiting the same act or influencing you while unbeknownst to the powers that be.
    You can call the Steroid Era a witch hunt, but I’ve always thought that the only ones who needed to be concerned with witch hunts were the witches
    If you want a dominant pitcher during the Steroid Era, you don’t need to look any further than Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez. Both of those guys put up otherworldly numbers against all the dopers, and did it clean, as far as we know.

  9. Joe permalink
    March 17, 2009 6:23 am

    Roger Clemens could never beat Dave Stewart in the post season. Case closed.

  10. CyekiM permalink
    March 17, 2009 7:52 am

    I agree with you Curt in regards to Clemens!

  11. Rhayader permalink
    March 17, 2009 7:56 am

    Two things. First, I am wondering where Sandy Koufax is. It must be his lack of longevity, because in his prime he would give Gibson or RJ a run for their money. The guy was a flat-out artist on the bump.

    Regarding Clemens, it’s a real tragedy that he had to go the way that he did. I consider the 3 Cy Youngs he won in Boston to be the real deal; it seems most likely that he started to use around the time he stopped being a washed-up, injury prone power pitcher and went to Toronto. The guy basically had 2 careers. Also, it shouldn’t be forgotten that while his buddy Brian was shooting “lidocaine” into his ass, the majority of hitters he was facing were doing the same thing. It doesn’t excuse Roger of course, but it is a testament to his talent. Ultimately I had to vote for the Rocket.

    I’ll be interested to see where this bracket goes.

  12. Scorebrdjason permalink
    March 17, 2009 7:59 am

    As much as I wanted to vote for Dave Stewart and remembering his dominance over the Sox in the late 80’s/Early 90’s, AND Clemens’ scumbag factor, I still had to vote for Clemens…

    We’ll just have to see what he does in the later rounds.

  13. hondo11 permalink
    March 17, 2009 8:00 am

    Curt,I apoligize if this is in any way inappropriate for this forum.I know of your generous reputation in helping others and thought maybe you could do something for this young man and maybe pass the info to someone with the team.You can google the name Anthony DiPonzio and see the numerous stories of this young man.This young officer,a lifelong RedSox fan stopped and questioned some gang members recently in Rochester NY.After letting them go and turning and walking away he was shot in the head.He miraculously lived.He is facing at least a year of rehab at St.Mary’s Brain injury.In the news stories he is often pictured in a RedSox shirt or hat.He is wheelchair bound but is nevertheless throwing out the first pitch at the Rochester Red Wings home opener on 4-11.He was a high School ballplayer who dreamed of being a police officer and shortly after graduating from the academy this happened.I’m sure any small gesture that you or the team could make would lift his spirits.Thank You

  14. Lekker permalink
    March 17, 2009 8:11 am

    I’m not quite sure whats trying to be achieved here, these brackets are so clearly one sided with only one possible winner. Bit like in the WBC where The Netherlands was up against the Dominican Republic and their squad of major leaguers, only one possible winner there too…

  15. Derek permalink
    March 17, 2009 8:12 am

    As an Oakland A I am not sure Dave Stewart was clean….

  16. March 17, 2009 8:35 am

    Roger Clemens was a better pitcher than Dave Stewart with out question, but head to head Stewart had Clemens’ number. So in this head to head match up you have to give the up set to Stewart. I don’t think that this was a random match-up by Curt either. ha ha.

  17. ReluctantMinority permalink
    March 17, 2009 8:53 am

    Clemens vs a 3.95 ERA? Stewart was the beneficiary of some very good teams, and had suspect ERA numbers in the pre-steroid era. The numbers show Stewart was a workhorse, but not an ace. Clemens’ career would have been much different, but he was an ace.

  18. Chris permalink
    March 17, 2009 11:02 am

    I do care of whether or not Clemens cheated, however, even if he did, which I do believe, he is a better pitcher than Stewart was. Clemens gets my vote in this round, but will lose it soon.

  19. Branden permalink
    March 17, 2009 11:15 am

    I like most can’t stand Clemens, and think that people should think very hard before considering him for the hall of fame…but with that being said, I still think he’s one of the best pitchers of all-time…I mean regardless of what he was using, I don’t think you can say he would be a bum or even mediocre player if he never used performance enhancers…So for me, regardless of what he has done, he still deserves to be considered ONE of the best pitchers of all time (just not THE best), and he should definitely be considered better than Dave Stewart, even though I love Dave Stewart…

  20. Rhayader permalink
    March 17, 2009 11:22 am

    @Derek: Yeah good point, Stewart was right there at the steroids mecca in Oak-town. This is what the steroids era has done. Nobody is beyond question.

  21. March 17, 2009 11:38 am

    “I’ve said repeatedly that I think he[Roger Clemens]’s the greatest pitcher that’s ever played.” – Curt Schilling


    Roger’s 2007 stint with the Yankees surely wasn’t that bad, was it?

  22. deramojd permalink
    March 17, 2009 12:19 pm

    If Clemens was cheating between 1992 and 96, he ought to get his money back!

  23. ScottieB permalink
    March 17, 2009 2:24 pm

    “Roger Clemens was the best, whether he cheated or not. They let him pitch, and he pitched the best. No one stopped him at the time. Sure you can say, I don’t want a cheater on my team and blah blah blah, he was still the best.”

    Yankees fan.

  24. March 17, 2009 3:27 pm

    Yankees fan? I don’t associate with any one team, but four of my six favorite players of all time pitched for the Red Sox at some point during their careers. These would be: Schilling, Beckett, Papelbon, and Clemens. My other two favorites would be Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. Clemens is the only one of the six to ever pitch for the Yankees.

  25. Eric Cioe permalink
    March 17, 2009 5:16 pm

    I think it’s dumb to throw out anyone’s numbers because of steroids, but I think reasonable minds can disagree about that.

    But voting for … well, almost anyone over Roger Clemens is just not correct. Let’s just say that his career ended in 1992. Just his numbers up to then make Stewart look dumb. So unless you’re going to really penalize him for taking steroids, I don’t see how Stewart can win. And if you do that, you’re admitting that the contest is one of popularity, not of pitching ability. That’s fine, too.

  26. Zadok F. permalink
    March 18, 2009 11:27 am

    My pick to make the Final Four from this bracket is Greg Maddux. Although I’m going to vote for Randy Johnson.

  27. Lekker permalink
    March 18, 2009 12:02 pm

    looks like the Clemens poll has been hijacked. With all the other polls in the region of 950 to 970 voters, it’s be interesting to see how the Clemens poll looked if only those that voted in the other polls were included also

    Someones skewed the results me thinks…

  28. March 18, 2009 12:44 pm

    Dave Stewart has more votes than anyone other than Clemens so far, so it’s been weighted pretty heavily both ways, or so it seems.

  29. March 18, 2009 12:58 pm

    Now that I’ve thought about it more, I figure the extra votes in the Clemens/Stewart poll can likely be attributed to the fact that it is fairly close. Since none of the others are, it could be a big factor in whether or not people vote on a poll. In addition to that, a lot of people feel very strongly for or against Clemens, where as a match-up such as Gibson/Finley isn’t likely to generate the same appeal.

  30. PerryC permalink
    March 18, 2009 8:19 pm

    I can’t believe John Tudor is getting so many votes vs. Randy Johnson.

    The $#$@#$ factor must be keeping Johnson’s vote down.

  31. PerryC permalink
    March 18, 2009 8:41 pm


    I am about to indulge in a little over-analysis just to think things through out loud. I promise to return to sanity at the end.

    What are we voting on here?

    Not the HoF with its character clause.

    Curt’s rules say “vote on who should advance.”

    Are we talking a pitcher’s prime or a pitcher’s career?

    Does that mean who would win in a head-to-head? That kind of depends upon who his team mates are and on what point in his career he is at.

    Whose career stats would you most want on your fantasy team? That depends on the era, and anyway I don’t do fantasy teams.

    Who would you most want to have in your rotation? That sounds like pretty good, although that also depends upon a point in time, and there are aspects to that criterion that we can’t really judge. What was he like in the clubhouse? Was he a stopper? But those questions apply to anything but a strictly stat-based approach.

    Whose career would you most like to have had? In that case I think that character question pops up again.

    We’ll just have to trust to our own judgement and make our best guess about who was the better pitcher.

  32. March 18, 2009 11:10 pm

    Come on people, we need to get Dave Stewart the win over Rocket. What kind of fans are we?!

  33. tekcor135 permalink
    March 19, 2009 4:42 am

    The one thing everyone allways seems to forget about the Clemens vs Stewart matchup is that Stewart had a much better team on his side and please don’t bring up the steroids when comparing these 2 Mr Schiling. Clemens was facing the poster boys and grandfather of steroids when he squared off vs Stewart.

  34. RJ51 permalink
    March 19, 2009 12:17 pm

    Correction: RJ will retire with 5,000 K’s. He only needs 211 more. If he stays healthy the rest of the way, he’s got it.

  35. March 19, 2009 12:34 pm

    I thought the polls closed 10 PM last night? Stewart has somehow gained hundreds of votes and almost 5% since then.

  36. Donna permalink
    March 19, 2009 3:18 pm

    As I write this,I am listening to you on the radio,over the computer. I heard everything that you said regarding AIG and the fact that Congress is doing nothing in regards the situation. I agree that Congress is not doing enough,but that does not mean that NOTHING is being done. AIG is based here in New York City(where I am). New York state has the greatest state attorney general and he does not let anything go without a fight. This past Monday he issued a subpoena requesting that AIG turn over all records pertaining to this matter. He is currently investigating whether there is anyway,legally,to stop the bonuses from being allowed to be kept and seeing if there is any way that he can make them give the bonuses back. Certainly the people who no longer work for the company should not be allowed to keep bonus money. If he determines that it cannot be done,that they are entitled to the bonuses,he has stated that he will see to it that a HUGE amount of tax will be charged on the bonus money;they will not get away without penalty. A major investigation is going on here in New York City and the attorney general will not let it rest until he gets answers. So while I agree that not enough is being done in Congress,in Washington,D.C.,that does not mean that nothing is being done. The great state of New York will get it taken care of….

  37. clameater permalink
    March 29, 2009 4:30 pm

    clemens was great, but even with the yankees I always thought he was going to self destruct, ok, ok, I just dont like Roger, saw him once blow away some 10 year old kid while running around with nipper in boston, I wish I could be un-biased but …

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