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4's vs. 13's

March 27, 2009

Pardon the interruption, there was some retirement issues to tend to. But we’re back with the ‘Greatest Pitchers of the Modern Era Bracket’, bringing you the No. 4’s vs. the No. 13’s. To get you up to speed, here are the results from the No. 3’s vs. the No. 14’s:

Nolan Ryan (96 percent) over Dean Chance (4 percent)

Pedro Martinez (92 percent) over Bob Welch (8 percent)

Whitey Ford (67 percent) over David Wells (33 percent)

Sandy Koufax (97 percent) over Rick Reuschel (3 percent)

Here are the winners from the No. 1’s vs. the No. 16’s, and the No. 2’s vs. the No. 15’s.

Now comes the next round (with guest commentator, resident bracketologist, Kirk Minihane supplying the particulars for each match-up):

Cy Young Region

4. Fergie Jenkins vs. 13. Frank Viola

Jenkins won 20 games seven times in his career, including six straight seasons (1967-1972). Pretty impressive, even more so when you realize he spent the majority of his career pitching in hitters’ parks (12 of his 19 seasons in Wrigley or Fenway). Five top three Cy Young finishes. Viola won a Cy Young in 1988 after a 24-7 season with the Twins and was a real solid pitcher for a nine-year stretch (won at least 13 games in each season from 1984-92, including five seasons with at least 16 wins). A nice career, but he just wasn’t in Jenkins’ class.

[poll id=”13″]

Walter Johnson Region

4. Gaylord Perry vs. 13. Milt Pappas

The first pitcher to win a Cy Young in both leagues, Perry used that spitter to win 314 games. For an idea of how the game has changed, look at the number of complete games Perry had each season from 1969-1976: 26, 23, 14, 29, 29, 28, 25, 21. Johan Santana has nine in his career. Milt Pappas is best known as the guy traded to the Reds for Frank Robinson but he had a decent career, winning 209 games. Problem is that he never won 20 and his best career Cy Young finish was ninth in 1972. Big edge to Perry here.

[poll id=”14″]

Lefty Grove Region

4. Tom Glavine vs. 13 Larry Jackson

Over 300 wins and six top three finishes in Cy Young voting (two wins) for Glavine. He also led the league in wins five times. And he was a horse, placing first or second in the NL in starts eight times. Jackson chalked up a bunch of 16-18 win seasons in the 1960s, and even had a 24-win season in 1964. He just didn’t pitch long enough 12 seasons as a starter to have any chance against Glavine.

[poll id=”15″]

Christy Mathewson Region

4. Juan Marichal vs. 13. Mike Cuellar

I guess I can see how Marichal never won a Cy Young Award, but how is it possible that he never received a first-place VOTE? Six 20-win seasons, five top-three finishes in ERA, even led the league in WHIP twice. How about his 1968 season? Thirty-eight starts, 30 complete games, 26 wins and a 2.43 ERA (granted it was the Year of the Pitcher, but still). Cuellar was a very good pitcher for a decade or so and won 20 games four times with those great Baltimore teams of the 1970s. Not a Marichal, but probably the best pitcher out of the four 13 seeds here.

[poll id=”16″]

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Rhayader permalink
    March 27, 2009 12:37 pm

    Hey Curt, glad to see the bracket back in business. Again, congrats on your fantastic career and thanks for all the great memories. I’ll be arguing for your induction into the HOF every chance I get from here on out.

    Man, that 90’s Braves pitching staff was something huh? I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz are the last legitimate 300 win careers for a long time, if not ever (am I forgetting anybody here?).

    Think about that rotation. Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Steve Avery. Just completely ridiculous. That they only ended up winning a single series is pretty surprising.

  2. Rhayader permalink
    March 27, 2009 12:57 pm

    Oh my bad, Smoltzy is only at 210 wins right now. As much as I’d love to see him put another 90 in the books for the Sawx, I doubt it will happen.

    Still though, that rotation must have been one of the greatest ever assembled. There were plenty of great 1-2 duos — Koufax/Drysdale, Schilling/Johnson, etc etc. But they had first-ballot HOF’ers going out 3 of every 4 nights, and a bona fide all-star going the fourth night.

  3. Barry Bonds permalink
    March 27, 2009 1:09 pm

    Wasn’t Gaylord Perry a cheater?

  4. Rhayader permalink
    March 27, 2009 1:37 pm

    @Barry Bonds: Hah, good point, he absolutely was. The man turned doctoring baseballs into an art form by his own admission.

    We can’t be as upset about that as the steroids though (for some reason). Also OK: cortisone shots, decades of amphetamine use and huge arm and leg pads for batters.

  5. PerryC permalink
    March 27, 2009 4:38 pm

    I was going to disagree with the 13 seed for Cuellar, but then I realized that still makes him one of the top 50 pitchers. So I can live with a 13 seed.

  6. March 28, 2009 1:06 am

    With regards to future 300 win pitchers, I would figure CC Sabathia has the best chance right now with 117 wins through his 27-year old season.

  7. Jeff Mills permalink
    March 28, 2009 12:47 pm

    Here’s a name that doesn’t get much mention anymore: J.R. Richard. Richard didn’t have a long career which was unfortunately cut short by a stroke, but during his prime he was one of the best and most intimidating pitchers I’ve ever seen. He walked a lot of batters, but he also struck out a lot of them, too. IMHO the 1980 Houston Astros would have defeated the Phillies in the NLCS and faced the Royals in the World Series had Richard not suffered a stroke in July of that year. The Astros had Nolan Ryan, but they also had J.R. Richard and those two were scary to face.

  8. andrew permalink
    March 29, 2009 9:31 pm

    hey curt, your favorite pitcher in mlb the show:07 your cutter is impossible to hit

  9. wesB permalink
    March 30, 2009 9:10 am

    Hey curt thanks for all them great years good luck with retirement still gonna be strange this oct. when the sox are playing not having 38 on the hill. that Braves rotation was sick I was still a small kid but can remember the post season the year they won the series amazing its a shame Avery couldnt have had the success Smoltz and Tom G had he had some good stuff for a few years there.

  10. Chuck C permalink
    March 30, 2009 9:35 am

    Mike Cuellar for Curt Blefary ranks up there with some of the all-time not good Astros trades (along with Schilling for Grimsley).

    Fun fact – Blefary was subsequently dealt to the Yankees the very next year for a WAY over the hill Joe Pepitone, who was sold to the Cubs in the middle of that season. So Mike Cuellar, good enough to rank in this pitchers bracket among the all-time greats, was essentially dealt away for a full decent season of Curt Blefary and half a season of washed up Joe Pepitone.

  11. Joel permalink
    March 30, 2009 9:47 am

    Hey Curt,
    Great job on the pitching bracket!
    Will we see a Schilling/Mussina matchup in a later post?

    Thank you for all your tremendous contributions to Boston, the Red Sox, and the game of baseball.

  12. Mike D permalink
    March 30, 2009 6:28 pm

    You’re a fraud!

  13. Chris Fiorentino permalink
    March 31, 2009 9:11 am

    it is simply amazing to me how a guy like Gaylord Perry gets a pass when his cheating directly affected every single game he pitched. I mean, it wasn’t like Barry Bonds was Popeye…he ripped open a can of Spinach when the game was on the line and stroked a 500 foot home run because “he eats me spinach”.

    Now, don’t take what I am about to say to mean I support what the steroid guys did. I don’t. I am simply comparing what they did to what Gaylord Perry did. Perry cheated DURING THE FREAKING GAME!!! He used any substance possible to get an unfair advantage. Yet his cheating is glorified…it is laughed about…oh he did this or he did that…HA HA HA. It is truly pathetic, and it is the most hypocritical thing about baseball and anyone who sits there with a straight face and says anything about steroid users should have looked at Gaylord Perry’s “Hall of Fame” worthiness as well.

  14. Gabrielle permalink
    April 3, 2009 10:52 am

    Uh oh. Rangers/Stars owner Tom Hicks is in trouble. Look here:

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