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6's vs. 11's

April 14, 2009

We’re back with more from our Pitchers Bracket Challenge, voting on the best pitchers of the post World War II Era. Comments are once again brought to you by Bracketologist Kirk Minihane:

Cy Young Region

6. Jim Kaat vs. 11. Vida Blue

Kaat won at least 10 games in 15 straight seasons (1962-76) and won 20 three times, including a league-best 25 in 1966. 283 wins and 16 Gold Gloves, but Kaat seems largely forgotten today. Maybe it’s because he stuck around too long at the end of his career (he was a long reliever for his last five years). Blue, of course, is best known for his remarkable 1972 season (24 wins, 1.82 ERA, 301 Ks) that landed him both the CY Young and MVP. The truth is that he had a pretty solid career, finishing in the top 10 in ERA six times and strikeouts seven times. His win totals from 1973-1980? 20, 17, 22, 18, 14, 18, 14 and 14. If you look at the prime of their careers Blue was a slightly better pitcher than Kaat. I guess the question is how much value do you place on the eight or nine average seasons Kaat tacked on.

[poll id=21]

Lefty Grove Region

6. Mike Mussina vs. 11. Mel Stottlemyre

Teacher vs. pupil. To me, Mussina is a Hall of Famer. Forget 300 wins as a standard, in the five-man rotation era 250 wins is the new 300. Mussina finished up with 270, and his career .638 won/loss mark is 38th all time. He never won the CY Young, but finished in the top five six times. (And just to show you how caught up Cy Young voters can get when it comes to wins, look at 2002. Clemens won it, he finished 20-3. Mussina finished fifth, his record was 17-11. ERA? Clemens 3.51, Mussina 3.15. Innings pitched? Clemens 220.1, Mussina 228.0. Walks? Clemens 72, Mussina 42. Complete games? Clemens zero, Mussina four. Shutouts? Clemens zero, Mussina three. First Place Cy Young votes? Clemens 21, Mussina zero. Shameful.)  And how about 11 top tens in ERA for the Moose? Final Four sleeper. Stottlemyre pitched on some terrible Yankees teams in his short (11 year) career. A shame, because he was a terrific pitcher, retiring after the 1974 season with a 2.97 career ERA. Three 20-win seasons, twice led the league in complete games. Nine really good seasons isn’t enough to get past Mussina, however.

[poll id=22]

Walter Johnson Region

6. Curt Schilling vs. 11. Roy Halladay

I’m not sure how to handle this one, so I’ll just present this in defense of Schilling:
Here are the pitchers in Major League history with at least 200 wins, 3,100 strikeouts and a winning percentage of .590
Randy Johnson
Walter Johnson
Greg Maddux
Roger Clemens
Tom Seaver
Bob Gibson
Pedro Martinez
Curt Schilling

The other seven guys are slam-dunk first-ballot Hall of Famers, right (not taking in the Misremember Factor)? Throw in the postseason stuff (11-2, 2.23 ERA) and it’s impossible to doubt Schilling’s credentials as an all-timer. If we do this again in 10 years I wouldn’t be surprised if Halladay was a top-six seed. Four top five Cy Young finishes (with a win in 2003) and two 20-win seasons (and a 19-win season). And his .668 career winning percentage (13th all-time) is even more impressive when you consider that he has never pitched for a playoff team. Halladay did not really begin his career until he was 25, so he’s not going to finish with monster numbers, but he could get to 220 wins or so (he’s 32 years old and has 133 career wins). Tough first rounder for Schilling but he should move on.

[poll id=23]

Christy Mathewson Region

6. Jack Morris vs. 11. Dave Stieb

There is a case for an upset here. Morris had the benefit of pitching for some great teams, which makes it a lot easier to gain a reputation as a “winner”. Stieb was stuck with some lousy Toronto teams for the first four or five years of his career (though they improved greatly in the mid 1980s) and had some seasons that were ignored simply because his won-loss record wasn’t eye-catching. Take 1983. Morris wins 20 games with a 3.34 ERA and finishes third in the Cy Young voting. Stieb wins  17 games (and loses 12) with a 3.04 ERA and doesn’t receive a single Cy Young vote. Career seasons with an ERA 3.25 or under? Morris one, Stieb seven. Morris was more durable (finished with 254 wins in 18 seasons vs. 176 in 16 seasons for Stieb) and is the author of the best big-game performance of the last half-century. But I think Stieb was a better pitcher.

[poll id=24]

24 Comments leave one →
  1. brett baldwin permalink
    April 15, 2009 12:20 am

    i like how you pitched here but you talk too much

  2. inchcape permalink
    April 15, 2009 1:41 am

    Wow. You are full of yourself. You are not a Hall of Famer’s boot shiner.

  3. Rhayader permalink
    April 15, 2009 6:58 am

    Wow Curt, that’s one hell of a list to be on. Interesting though that 5 of the 8 names on it played the bulk of their careers in the hitter-friendly “steroids era”. I think the postseason numbers make the case in the end; pure domination on the most intense, most mistake-punishing stage in the world. Sounds like HOF stuff to me.

    I like the Blue-Kaat upset, although it looks like I may be outvoted. I’m one of those “better to burn out than fade away” guys I guess.

  4. Starks permalink
    April 15, 2009 7:32 am


    you could not hold Roy Halladay’s jock strap. You were a decent pitcher but nowhere near a hall of famer. Your A game against Halladay’s A game is no contest. Give me Halladay any day of the week. Not hating, and I have nothing against you, well yea I do, but still Im being realistic here.

  5. Derek permalink
    April 15, 2009 7:44 am

    Hey inchcape….Schilling is not writing the commentary……

  6. oneblankspace permalink
    April 15, 2009 8:03 am

    Kaat holds the record for most years between his first and second appearance in the World Series (1965-82). He was also the last of the pre-Minnesota Senators active in the Majors.

    Morris no-hit the White Sox in his second start of the 1984 season in a nationally televised game. Stieb took a no-hitter into the ninth at Comiskey in August of 1985, and finally got a no-no in 1990 in Cleveland. Both finished with only one in their careers.

  7. Rhayader permalink
    April 15, 2009 8:07 am

    To people like brett baldwin and inchcape: read the %$#!@$article, particularly the second sentence. “Comments are once again brought to you by Bracketologist Kirk Minihane.”

    So yeah, stop pretending like this is Curt writing here.

  8. Ryan permalink
    April 15, 2009 8:09 am

    You REALLY need to be a lot more carful here. I have a very, very hard time believing that *the* Curt wrote this post. It would be extremely arrogant, and just odd with all of the third person references. I love Curt. Anyone who says he talks too much is a clown. There is nothing wrong with people speaking their mind in America…. but I just don’t believe he wrote this. And whoever did is making him look like an ass.

  9. Branden permalink
    April 15, 2009 9:36 am

    Hahaha…to the previous commenters: Kirk Minihane wrote the commentary, not Schill…wake up!

  10. Justin permalink
    April 15, 2009 10:08 am

    I’ve got to admit, I voted for Halladay. Not because of your numbers versus his, but if he wasn’t stuck in Toronto his hole career, he could be the best pitcher of our generation. Aside from Pedro in his prime and Johan Santana, Roy has been dominant for years.

    I’m convinced he could’ve won 6 or 7 Cy Young Awards playing for a contending club.

  11. Mitch Williams permalink
    April 15, 2009 11:02 am

    If this was a bracket for windbags, Schilling would tear through the tournament like the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers.

  12. April 15, 2009 11:45 am

    Kaat’s 16 gold glove’s makes him a clear superior to Vida Blue.

    Curt, you’re definitely a HOFer. That’s a short list of 200 W’s & 3100 K’s. I’ve also noticed you’re tied for #9 in ERA+ from 1969-2008 among starters. That’s quality pitching there, measured against your peers in a hitters era. I don’t know what some of these commenters think that means.

  13. BCC permalink
    April 15, 2009 1:40 pm

    Apparently others either missed or don’t believe that “Comments are once again brought to you by Bracketologist Kirk Minihane”

  14. Zach R permalink
    April 15, 2009 2:56 pm

    Halladay draws a rotten matchup in this one, because he’s a stud too.

    Curt I know the comments aren’t yours but don’t ever change. So many of us love getting a player’s perspective on a regular basis.

  15. rjrvt permalink
    April 15, 2009 3:21 pm

    Jack Morris is one of (if not the only) pitcher in this era with 200+ wins and a WHIP under 1. Also, Jim Kaat won a number of Gold Gloves and was an excellent fielder and hitter for a pitcher.

  16. Jeff Mills permalink
    April 15, 2009 11:27 pm

    I just want to say that I think the baseball media and the Hall of Fame writers get way too caught up in numbers. It’s so hypocritical for them to consistently preach about baseball being a “team game” and “not about individual numbers” yet when they will deny a guy from getting into the Hall of Fame because he “only” won 283 games and not 300.

    IMHO the criteria for the Hall of Fame should be that you were among the best players in the game during the time that you played. And, yes, numbers do matter, but should Dale Murphy be denied the Hall of Fame because he was a couple of homers short of 400? The man was one of the best players in the game during the 1980s, consistently playing 150-155 games a year, perennial Gold Glover, etc. I bet that if Dale Murphy played in New York or Los Angeles that he wouldn’t have a problem getting in.

    And why does everyone think Trevor Hoffman is a first-ballot HOFer yet not Lee Smith? For crying out loud, Lee Smith owned the record that Hoffman broke. I’m not taking anything away from Trevor Hoffman. He should be a Hall of Famer, but so should Lee Smith and he should get in before Trevor.
    So should a lot of guys who are consistently passed over year after year.

  17. VJ in Okinawa permalink
    April 16, 2009 7:10 am

    I think both Curt and Mike Mussina get in. Although Curt has 3 rings to Mike’s zero.

  18. PhilM permalink
    April 16, 2009 5:09 pm

    Thanks for setting this up: I’m really enjoying the bracket idea! It’s also fun to see if the “wisdom of crowds” will win out, or if some carefully-placed commentary will sway votes. But what’s with the twice as many votes cast in the Schilling-Halladay matchup? Is “someone” stuffing the ballot box??

  19. PerryC permalink
    April 17, 2009 8:30 pm

    I am a big fan of Mike Mussina and think he deserves to be in the HoF with Curt. Darn shame Moose never got a ring. Glad he went out on a high note with a 20-win season, although it would have been cool to see him get in the HoF as the only starter never to win 20 and would have been cool to see him stick around to pick up 300, which I am sure he could have done if he wanted.

    I recommend John Feinstein’s book Living on the Black if you want some insight into two future HoFers. I’d be interested in Curt’s reaction to the book.

  20. Ryan permalink
    April 20, 2009 9:15 am


    It clearly says that this post is “By Curt Schilling” … yes, it is clarified elsewhere, but is is really that difficult to say who the post is actually written by?

    This is really emberassing and pathetic.

  21. April 20, 2009 8:55 pm

    Game 7 of the World Series? I want Schill on the mound.

    I was a big O’s fan so I loved Moose. I was furious when the O’s let him get away (it’s one big reason I’m not an O’s fan anymore), and then they even had the chutzpah to sell Moose T-shirts saying “Two teams, one class act”. Not worth signing, but worth selling T-shirts of.

  22. April 21, 2009 3:53 pm

    Check out this link to learn more about the future of pitching. This Motion Image Tracking machine is like taking an MRI of a pitchers delivery. Enjoy!

  23. shelly permalink
    April 21, 2009 5:21 pm

    I think Curt is great. I am glad that he is staying in the Boston area and is raising his family here. As far as the HoF, he should be voted in, his stats back that up.

  24. Derek McCarthy permalink
    April 22, 2009 4:35 am

    First off let me start by saying in a MLB filled with Men who have stats on top of stats to determine who they think the best pitchers are, I feel the number 1 stat off all in which especially nowadays is rear to find is a pitcher who you can count on and know every 5th day will go out there and leave his heart soul and in this case a bloody sock on the mound.Yes there have been more talented and stat wise better pitchers out there with better ” Stuff ” But to have a pitcher that is a student of the game and has the knowledge of every hitters hot and cold, strenths and weaknesses and to have a heart and determination as big as Clemens injected ass or big papi’s breakfast. Schilling is my number 1.

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