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  #51  
Old 07-11-2020, 07:15 PM
G1911 G1911 is offline
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The players who had to hit against Koufax would tell you just how great he was. This conversation of how great he was reminds me of Sam Neill in "Jurassic Park" trying to deal with the kid who doesn't think the velociraptor was anything to be taken seriously.
Koufax is being taken quite seriously. The issue is that no mathematical argument has him coming out on top; to do so relies on emotional arguments like this one that dismiss stats, the old kind or the new kind. Those looking for some subjective metrics to support their conclusions are never going to buy into the Koufax claim
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  #52  
Old 07-11-2020, 07:21 PM
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Koufax is being taken quite seriously. The issue is that no mathematical argument has him coming out on top; to do so relies on emotional arguments like this one that dismiss stats, the old kind or the new kind. Those looking for some subjective metrics to support their conclusions are never going to buy into the Koufax claim
Stats don't tell everything. Koufax was a formidable, money pitcher. As mentioned by another poster he went the distance and was a champion. The players of his era were in awe of him. And it wasn't a deadball era. It just wasn't a "cough on it and watch it go" era. To dismiss Koufax and other pitchers as having it easy is revisionist history.
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  #53  
Old 07-11-2020, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by tedzan View Post
Hello Mike

Great to hear from you....and, thanks for the compliment.


Regarding Plank, it surprises me that I'm the only one here who regards him as the best Left-handed pitcher. And, I base this on what I read in Connie Mack's biography.
Gettysburg Eddie was one cool guy on the mound who combined his mind with his natural talent to achieve a very effective 17-year career. He had 8 seasons in which he
won 20+ games (26 - 6 in 1912 with an ERA = 2.22 was his best year).

Won-Lost 326 - 194
Career ERA = 2.35

In post #15, I named three Lefty's who were the best with respect to the eras they pitched in. But, if I had to choose only one of them, it would certainly be Eddie Plank.

And for those of you, who get carried away with this ambiguous "new-speak" term, "WAR"....Plank's number (91) is up there with the best of the Southpaw's.


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Love Plank, but about all I see where he outperforms Grove is ERA. He won 26 more games, yet lost over 50 more. Grove also had 8 20-win seasons, including his monster year of 31-4 with an ERA of 2.06. And his WAR is 20 points higher.
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  #54  
Old 07-11-2020, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by jgannon View Post
The players who had to hit against Koufax would tell you just how great he was.
Well, sure. But they're ignoring all the places and times he wasn't great. They're ignoring all the factors that helped make him great - the unique deadness of Chavez Ravine, the gigantic strike zone that coincided with his best run, the height of the mound, and so on. Yeah, it was basically impossible to hit against him under those conditions. But the numbers show he was good - not great, but good - everywhere else.
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  #55  
Old 07-11-2020, 07:44 PM
jgannon jgannon is offline
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Originally Posted by Tabe View Post
Well, sure. But they're ignoring all the places and times he wasn't great. They're ignoring all the factors that helped make him great - the unique deadness of Chavez Ravine, the gigantic strike zone that coincided with his best run, the height of the mound, and so on. Yeah, it was basically impossible to hit against him under those conditions. But the numbers show he was good - not great, but good - everywhere else.
I wonder why all Dodgers pitchers didn't have his numbers...
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  #56  
Old 07-11-2020, 07:44 PM
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Peak it would be Koufax. I think it's very difficult to argue against that..
Why? I consider Grove's peak to have lasted six seasons, Koufax' four. Even if you take a random string of four for Grove, Lefty's ERA+ and WAR blow Sandy's away. Koufax did had more strikeouts, I wonder what Lefty would have done in 1966. Only 3 players hit over .320 in 1966, while in 1931 Grove was pitching against a player coming off of seasons where he hit .381 and .393, and he isn't sniffing the HOF (Babe Herman.)

It's tough to compare across eras, but I think if you move Grove and Walter into the 1960's, NOBODY would touch them.

If WAR is an important stat to you, check this out: out of an 8-season stretch, Grove was the top WAR pitcher for 6 of them. One season he came in second to Carl Hubbell, and in 1934 while Dizzy Dean was tops, Grove's arm went dead. The next season he went from a fastballer to a curveballer and was tops in WAR again. In Koufax' four peak years, he was tops in WAR twice.

Last edited by earlywynnfan; 07-11-2020 at 07:53 PM.
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  #57  
Old 07-11-2020, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by jgannon View Post
Stats don't tell everything. Koufax was a formidable, money pitcher. As mentioned by another poster he went the distance and was a champion. The players of his era were in awe of him. And it wasn't a deadball era. It just wasn't a "cough on it and watch it go" era. To dismiss Koufax and other pitchers as having it easy is revisionist history.
Not saying pitchers had it easy in any era, but that 10-year stretch that coincided with Koufax' dominance is known as the "second deadball era" pretty much universally.
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  #58  
Old 07-11-2020, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by earlywynnfan View Post
Not saying pitchers had it easy in any era, but that 10-year stretch that coincided with Koufax' dominance is known as the "second deadball era" pretty much universally.
Really? Well, that's news to me. Maybe I've been out of the loop. The way I've always seen it, is that that ball was of course much livelier than the dead ball of "The Dead Ball Era". Today's ball is just hopped up. Boring home runs, and the game almost looks like a video game. The only thing that might be exciting about it, to me, is there can sometimes be some excellent infield play.

Last edited by jgannon; 07-11-2020 at 08:29 PM.
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  #59  
Old 07-11-2020, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by jgannon View Post
The players who had to hit against Koufax would tell you just how great he was. This conversation of how great he was reminds me of Sam Neill in "Jurassic Park" trying to deal with the kid who doesn't think the velociraptor was anything to be taken seriously.
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Originally Posted by G1911 View Post
Koufax is being taken quite seriously. The issue is that no mathematical argument has him coming out on top; to do so relies on emotional arguments like this one that dismiss stats, the old kind or the new kind. Those looking for some subjective metrics to support their conclusions are never going to buy into the Koufax claim
ERA Koufax 2.76 Grove 3.06
WHIP Koufax 1.106 Grove 1.278
FIP Koufax 2.69 Grove 3.62
K/9 Koufax 9.3 Grove 5.2
K/BB Koufax 2.93 Grove 1.91
Shutouts Koufax 40 Grove 35
Strikeouts 2396 Grove 2266
No Hitters Koufax 4 Grove 0

All the stats support Koufax except wins which are a team based stat and longevity. Grove played on loaded offensive teams for most of his career. Foxx, Cochrane and Simmons in Philly and Williams, Foxx and Cronin in Boston. From 1958-1966 Koufax had a top 10 offensive player 4 times in 9 years, Wally Moon was 8th in 1958, Tommy Davis 4th in 1962, Maury Wills 5th in 1962 and Jim Gilliam 9th in 1963. Koufax was better than Grove and it is not close.
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  #60  
Old 07-11-2020, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by earlywynnfan View Post
Love Plank, but about all I see where he outperforms Grove is ERA. He won 26 more games, yet lost over 50 more. Grove also had 8 20-win seasons, including his monster year of 31-4 with an ERA of 2.06. And his WAR is 20 points higher.
earlywynnfan

Reprising my earlier post here. Grove and Plank pitched in different eras. And, in my way of thinking, it's almost impossible to compare whose performance was better.
Yes, they both pitched for 17 years. And, both of them had 8 seasons in which they Won 20+ games. Plank pitched twice as many Shut-Out games as Grove, etc., etc.
I could on playing this silly numbers game. But, what matters most is that both these guys were "giants" on the mound in their particular era. Plank with Connie Mack,
and Grove's best years with Connie Mack.

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In the era between WWI and WWII, then my guy is....…





And, in the pre-WWI era, there were no better southpaws than the guy from Gettysburg...…




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  #61  
Old 07-11-2020, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by earlywynnfan View Post
Why? I consider Grove's peak to have lasted six seasons, Koufax' four. Even if you take a random string of four for Grove, Lefty's ERA+ and WAR blow Sandy's away. Koufax did had more strikeouts, I wonder what Lefty would have done in 1966. Only 3 players hit over .320 in 1966, while in 1931 Grove was pitching against a player coming off of seasons where he hit .381 and .393, and he isn't sniffing the HOF (Babe Herman.)

It's tough to compare across eras, but I think if you move Grove and Walter into the 1960's, NOBODY would touch them.

If WAR is an important stat to you, check this out: out of an 8-season stretch, Grove was the top WAR pitcher for 6 of them. One season he came in second to Carl Hubbell, and in 1934 while Dizzy Dean was tops, Grove's arm went dead. The next season he went from a fastballer to a curveballer and was tops in WAR again. In Koufax' four peak years, he was tops in WAR twice.
WAR is garbage. In 1965 Juan Marichal led the NL in bWAR. The only stats he led Koufax in were ERA+ and shutouts. That really has to be a seriously flawed metric when the guy who leads in ERA, FIP, WHIP, H/9, K/9, K/BB,WPA, IP, CG, W-L% and even wins with a pathetic offensive and sets the MLB record for strikeouts in a season and pitches a perfect game is supposed to be the third best pitcher. Marichal didn’t get a single CY Young vote, not even from the SF writers who saw him pitch every game. When your only argument is using made up stats, you have already lost.
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  #62  
Old 07-11-2020, 08:57 PM
G1911 G1911 is offline
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Originally Posted by jgannon View Post
Stats don't tell everything. Koufax was a formidable, money pitcher. As mentioned by another poster he went the distance and was a champion. The players of his era were in awe of him. And it wasn't a deadball era. It just wasn't a "cough on it and watch it go" era. To dismiss Koufax and other pitchers as having it easy is revisionist history.
Many other lefties were formidable. Many other lefties were champions. Many others had batters of their era in awe of them. It was a deadball era, look at the league ERA. It is frequently referred to as the "second deadball era".

It is not revisionist history to say he is not the greatest lefty of all time. He has never been the consensus pick (there isn't a consensus pick at all, really).
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  #63  
Old 07-11-2020, 09:05 PM
G1911 G1911 is offline
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Originally Posted by rats60 View Post
ERA Koufax 2.76 Grove 3.06
WHIP Koufax 1.106 Grove 1.278
FIP Koufax 2.69 Grove 3.62
K/9 Koufax 9.3 Grove 5.2
K/BB Koufax 2.93 Grove 1.91
Shutouts Koufax 40 Grove 35
Strikeouts 2396 Grove 2266
No Hitters Koufax 4 Grove 0

All the stats support Koufax except wins which are a team based stat and longevity. Grove played on loaded offensive teams for most of his career. Foxx, Cochrane and Simmons in Philly and Williams, Foxx and Cronin in Boston. From 1958-1966 Koufax had a top 10 offensive player 4 times in 9 years, Wally Moon was 8th in 1958, Tommy Davis 4th in 1962, Maury Wills 5th in 1962 and Jim Gilliam 9th in 1963. Koufax was better than Grove and it is not close.
Ignoring context completely. All the best pitchers are in the deadball eras, or context matters. Do we really believe the top 30 or so pitchers were in just two short periods of baseball history? You have to completely ignore longevity, and completely ignore context and era in order to come out with Koufax on top. That you are citing that Grove played in an offensive era as a negative is strange. If we are ignoring context and longevity, whichever left had the single greatest season in the deadball era is the permanent best lefty ever. 5 years of Koufax or 9 of Grove? I'm taking 9 of Grove without even having to stop and think. Koufax pitched in an environment perfectly suited for pitchers and was great for 5 years. Grove was great for more than twice as long in a context NOT friendly at all to pitchers.

Kershaw > Koufax. Spahn > Koufax. Johnson > Koufax.

ERA+
Grove 148
Koufax 131

ERA crowns
Grove 9
Koufax 5

FIP crowns
Grove 8
Koufax 6

WHIP crowns
Grove 5
Koufax 4

Strikeout Crowns
Grove 7
Koufax 4

Innings Pitched
Grove 3,940
Koufax 2,324

WAR
Grove 106.7
Koufax 48.9

Last edited by G1911; 07-11-2020 at 09:06 PM.
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  #64  
Old 07-11-2020, 09:30 PM
jgannon jgannon is offline
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Many other lefties were formidable. Many other lefties were champions. Many others had batters of their era in awe of them. It was a deadball era, look at the league ERA. It is frequently referred to as the "second deadball era".

It is not revisionist history to say he is not the greatest lefty of all time. He has never been the consensus pick (there isn't a consensus pick at all, really).
Low E.R.A. doesn't mean the ball was dead. If you miss the ball completely, it doesn't matter how live or dead it is! But as pointed out earlier by rats60, there were a lot of great hitters in the N.L. who hit a lot of home runs, and hit for high averages. And if the league E.R.A. was low during that time, I'd like to see how some of today's hitters would have fared against the likes of Koufax, Gibson, etc. Maybe the the E.R.A. would have been even lower!

Again, my original advocating for Koufax was not to definitively say he was the greatest lefty of all time. It's really impossible to say who was "the best". Why do we have to have a "best" anyway? At any rate, you have the different eras and so many different factors affecting how the players performed. I just think there was a bit of disparagement toward Koufax on the thread, and that Koufax wasn't getting his due.

Last edited by jgannon; 07-11-2020 at 09:34 PM.
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  #65  
Old 07-11-2020, 09:30 PM
BlueDevil89 BlueDevil89 is offline
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You'd be hard pressed to find a pitcher lefty or righty who had as good a season as this man did in 1972...and with a team that won only 59 games no less.

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  #66  
Old 07-11-2020, 09:33 PM
G1911 G1911 is offline
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Low E.R.A. doesn't mean the ball was dead If you miss the ball completely, it doesn't matter how live or dead it is! But as pointed out earlier by rats60, there were a lot of great hitters in the N.L. who hit a lot of home runs, and hit for high averages. And if the league E.R.A. was low during that time, I'd like to see how some of today's hitters would have fared against the likes of Koufax, Gibson, etc. Maybe they the E.R.A. would have been even lower!

Again, my original advocating for Koufax was not to definitively say he was the greatest lefty of all time. It's really impossible to say who was "the best". Why do we have to have a "best" anyway? At any rate, you have the different eras and so many different factors affecting how the players performed. I just there was a bit of disparagement toward Koufax on the thread, and that Koufax wasn't getting his due.
The term is not one I created; it has been referred to by countless other by this monikers. The 60's, especially the NL, was a pitcher dominated league. Are we really going to dispute this and its affect on stats? I'd love to hear a fact based argument that the 60's NL was a hitter's or balanced era.

It is hardly disparagement to say he is not the best lefty ever.
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  #67  
Old 07-11-2020, 10:07 PM
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The term is not one I created; it has been referred to by countless other by this monikers. The 60's, especially the NL, was a pitcher dominated league. Are we really going to dispute this and its affect on stats? I'd love to hear a fact based argument that the 60's NL was a hitter's or balanced era.

It is hardly disparagement to say he is not the best lefty ever.
I've heard guys say, and I quote, "I think Mickey Mantle might have even been able to play today". Maybe i'm a little out of step with modern thinking. But to me, pitcher dominated doesn't mean a dead ball. I'd say it was a fair ball. And it was a better game when the runs were actually earned, instead of given out like Hostess Twinkies via the hopped up ball. Today's small parks and players wearing enough protective equipment to make a football player blush also favor the batter. Brushing back batters is not a part of the game the way it was. You do make a good point a couple posts back, that if a pitcher does well in this environment, that is to his credit. But today's pitchers only go 6 or 7 innings. Koufax went out there and pitched complete games through pain. You say there were other formidable pitchers. Not many like Koufax. He was one of baseball's greatest pitchers. That's why he was elected to the Hall of Fame despite his brief peak. His greatness was undisputed and universally recognized. There was enough of a consensus then.
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  #68  
Old 07-11-2020, 10:49 PM
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Big Unit, no question. Regular season dominance aside, He put the Diamondbacks on his back and carried them to a World Title against the early 2000’s Yankees. The freakin Diamondbacks!
.....and he basically did what he did his entire career against Juicers.

Last edited by thecomebacker; 07-11-2020 at 10:53 PM.
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  #69  
Old 07-11-2020, 11:03 PM
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I agree with taking the playoffs (and titles) a lot more into consideration too.

This obviously greatly favors Koufax. In addition to the other numbers and WS championships mentioned, he gave up just one earned run each in his only playoff losses. Unreal. Lefty Grove was great in the postseason too.

On the flip side, Randy Johnson had the one dominating run for two playoff series and got the one ring from it. Other than that, he struggled badly in the postseason and went 2-9. Carlton would labor in the playoffs and walk some guys that he normally wouldn't, and was 6-6 with a 3.26.

And naturally Kershaw's awful playoff troubles don't need further mention.

Then there's Spahn, who naturally was the exact same guy in the playoffs as otherwise. That guy was a robot set to win 6 of every 10 games and give you a 3.00 ERA, regardless of what planet he was on.
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  #70  
Old 07-11-2020, 11:03 PM
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I've heard guys say, and I quote, "I think Mickey Mantle might have even been able to play today". Maybe i'm a little out of step with modern thinking. But to me, pitcher dominated doesn't mean a dead ball. I'd say it was a fair ball. And it was a better game when the runs were actually earned, instead of given out like Hostess Twinkies via the hopped up ball. Today's small parks and players wearing enough protective equipment to make a football player blush also favor the batter. Brushing back batters is not a part of the game the way it was. You do make a good point a couple posts back, that if a pitcher does well in this environment, that is to his credit. But today's pitchers only go 6 or 7 innings. Koufax went out there and pitched complete games through pain. You say there were other formidable pitchers. Not many like Koufax. He was one of baseball's greatest pitchers. That's why he was elected to the Hall of Fame despite his brief peak. His greatness was undisputed and universally recognized. There was enough of a consensus then.
There was a consensus that he was deserving of the hall of fame, and was a great pitcher. That has nothing whatsoever to do with this discussion. Nobody is arguing against that position. Yes, my position is that there are other formidable pitchers. Is this a controversial statement? Koufax is not in a league of his own.
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  #71  
Old 07-12-2020, 01:55 AM
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I wonder why all Dodgers pitchers didn't have his numbers...
Why didn't Sandy put up a 1.37 ERA anywhere he pitched more than twice except Dodger Stadium? Of all the ballparks he pitched in 5 or more times, why did he have an ERA over 3.50 in almost half of them (6 of 13)? Did he just not try as hard at Crosley Field?
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  #72  
Old 07-12-2020, 02:08 AM
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WAR is garbage. In 1965 Juan Marichal led the NL in bWAR. The only stats he led Koufax in were ERA+ and shutouts. That really has to be a seriously flawed metric when the guy who leads in ERA, FIP, WHIP, H/9, K/9, K/BB,WPA, IP, CG, W-L% and even wins with a pathetic offensive and sets the MLB record for strikeouts in a season and pitches a perfect game is supposed to be the third best pitcher. Marichal didn’t get a single CY Young vote, not even from the SF writers who saw him pitch every game. When your only argument is using made up stats, you have already lost.
It's all about where you pitched. Marichal put up a nearly identical ERA (2.13 vs 2.04) in a ballpark that was WILDLY more favorable toward hitters (ballpark rating of 109 for pitchers vs 91 for Dodger Stadium). And he did without giving up twice as many runs on the road as he did at home like Koufax (Koufax ERAs: 1.38/2.72, Marichal's: 2.53/1.75 - yes, he was better on the road).

I don't like WAR but sometimes the weirdness does have an explanation.
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  #73  
Old 07-12-2020, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by GaryPassamonte View Post
Warren Spahn won 363 games, most by a modern day pitcher. He also lost 3 years to military service. It's possible he would have won 400 games. He had thirteen 20 win seasons. I realize today's metrics don't value wins, but Spahn was incredible. He wasn't flashy. Maybe that's why he gets so little support.
I have to agree with this. Spahn is easily my choice. Not to take anything away from Koufax but longetity had to bear some weight. You could possibly add 50 more wins in the 3 years Spahn lost to military service. I realize Koufax was dominating in his years played but I like Spahn's overall body of work.
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  #74  
Old 07-12-2020, 08:07 AM
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i think this thread has got me thinking more about Spahn, especially with those missed prime years.
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  #75  
Old 07-12-2020, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Tabe View Post
Well, sure. But they're ignoring all the places and times he wasn't great. They're ignoring all the factors that helped make him great - the unique deadness of Chavez Ravine, the gigantic strike zone that coincided with his best run, the height of the mound, and so on. Yeah, it was basically impossible to hit against him under those conditions. But the numbers show he was good - not great, but good - everywhere else.
gg

Hahaha. Koufax was good not great. What a joke. Evidently you never saw him pitch.
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  #76  
Old 07-12-2020, 03:41 PM
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You can't assume all those extra wins from the missed military service for Spahn though.

He still ended up logging about 5200 innings. Without the military service, his arm could've easily worn down a few years earlier.
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  #77  
Old 07-12-2020, 05:27 PM
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Whitey Ford had a better career ERA than Koufax, better WAR, and better win loss differential.
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Old 07-12-2020, 05:51 PM
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gg

Hahaha. Koufax was good not great. What a joke. Evidently you never saw him pitch.
He's saying he was good, not great, on the road. Looking at his road statistics, if Koufax was great on the road, there are a LOT of great pitchers. His numbers outside of LA are not particularly impressive, in the context of league averages.
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Old 07-12-2020, 06:05 PM
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He's saying he was good, not great, on the road. Looking at his road statistics, if Koufax was great on the road, there are a LOT of great pitchers. His numbers outside of LA are not particularly impressive, in the context of league averages.

Name another pitcher who retired with 27 wins and 27 complete games in his last year. He decided not to risk any more injuries to his left arm. The guy was getting better every year. You guys get carried away with those crazy stats. By the way since he was ONLY a GOOD pitcher, name five other pitchers who you deem better. Be careful.
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Old 07-12-2020, 06:59 PM
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Default Who would you want to see pitch?

Question: What's it like trying to hit off of Sandy Koufax?

Answer: "Ever try drinking coffee with a fork?"
--- Willie Stargell

Besides believing Koufax was the best lefty ever (with Grove an extremely close 2nd ), if I could choose to see only one pitcher, out of all those mentioned pitch a ballgame, Koufax would be the clear and easy choice.
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Old 07-12-2020, 07:27 PM
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Mickey Lolich deserves honorable mention. He was the American League all time left handed strikeout king for decades until CC Sabathia took over. His 1968 World Series performance is legendary with 3 complete game wins, 2 hits including the only homer of his career and he beat Bob Gibson on the road in game 7 with a complete game on 2 days rest!!! In the bottom of the 6th with the score tied 0-0 he picked Lou Brock and Curt Flood off first base. Incredible performance!
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Old 07-12-2020, 07:31 PM
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Default Best Southpaws of all-time

1. Grove
2. Kershaw
3. Johnson
4. Carlton
5. Koufax
6. Spahn

Grove - 9 ERA titles is sheer dominance over an extended period of time - no questions asked.

Kershaw - possibly on pace to be the best ever but still falls somewhat short to Grove. His WHIP; K/BB & ERA numbers are incredible.

Johnson - took him a while to figure it out, but when he did, his peak value numbers are top 5-10 of all-time for ALL pitchers

Carlton - great longevity & peak value but a few inexplicable very poor seasons (including 20 losses) place him a notch below Johnson

Koufax - best peak value lefty of all-time but 5 dominating seasons just doesn’t cut it with regard to being the best ever. You can say all you want IF he had longevity he would be the best ever.....true. But, if my aunt had balls, she would be my uncle. “IFs” simply don’t cut it in the world of rankings.

Spahn - VERY underrated. Most southpaw wins of all-time. Issue with Spahn is he could not dominate a lineup at the level of the 5 pitchers above him.
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Old 07-12-2020, 07:57 PM
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Why didn't Sandy put up a 1.37 ERA anywhere he pitched more than twice except Dodger Stadium? Of all the ballparks he pitched in 5 or more times, why did he have an ERA over 3.50 in almost half of them (6 of 13)? Did he just not try as hard at Crosley Field?
I agree. Another thing is that Koufax' best 5 years were right after expansion, when 4 new teams were frankensteined together with guys who otherwise wouldn't have been in the Big Leagues.

From 1962-1966, Sandy was 17-2 against the Mets, and 14-2 against the Colts/Astros, for example. He was aided elsewhere by the general watered-down talent level the expansions had across the leagues.

I'll go with Grove as the best all-time. But if I was a team owner and could have any lefty for his entire career, I'd take Spahn and sleep well at night.

Last edited by Mark17; 07-12-2020 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 07-12-2020, 08:45 PM
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Question: What's it like trying to hit off of Sandy Koufax?

Answer: "Ever try drinking coffee with a fork?"
--- Willie Stargell

Besides believing Koufax was the best lefty ever (with Grove an extremely close 2nd ), if I could choose to see only one pitcher, out of all those mentioned pitch a ballgame, Koufax would be the clear and easy choice.
Yogi Berra, when informed that Koufax was 25-5 during the regular season in 1963: "How the hell did he lose five?"

Gene Mauch when asked if Koufax was the best lefty he ever saw: "The best righty too".

Hank Aaron: "You talk about the Gibsons the Drysdales and the Spahns. And as good as those guys were, Koufax was just a step ahead of them.

John Roseboro: "I think God came down and tapped him on the shoulder and said, 'Boy, I'm gonna make you a pitcher.' God only made one of him."

Andy Etchebarren: "See, you need a certain amount of time for the eye to see what it sees and what it needs to tell the brain what it needs to be told, and then your hands gotta move. And that is all taking place in less than a second. With Koufax, your eyes couldn't tell your brain to react in time."

On Koufax's fastball seeming to rise and accelerate just before it got to the plate, umpire Doug Harvey: "I don't know why or how. In thirty-one years, I've never seen anybody else who could do that...Nobody's ball did what Koufax's ball did."

Stan Musial: "Rose up just before it got to the plate."

Carl Erskine: "It reaccelerated. It came again."

On Koufax's curve ball, Jim Wynn: "A mystic waterfall."

Orlando Cepeda: "It sounded like a little tornado. Bzzzzzzz. And it looked like a high fastball. Then it dropped ---BOOM---in front of you. So fast and noisy, it scared you."

These quotes are from Jane Leavy's book on Koufax.

I just don't buy the idea that his road record disqualified him from being considered great. The way some people are talking, it seems like it was a moral outrage that his E.R.A wasn't below 0.00 on the road.

In 1962, his season ended early. Yeah, his home E.R.A was significantly lower at at 1.75 compared to his road E.R.A at 3.53. But he only played half a season.

In 1963 the split was 1.38 at home and 2.31 away. 2.31 is an E.R.A most pitchers would kill for.

1964: 0.84 (astounding) to 2.93. With that 2.93 I guess they should have shipped him down to the minors.

1965: 1.38 to 2.72. Another horrible year.

1966: 1.52 to 1.96. His arthritic elbow was what probably got the away number down below 2.00. Let's face it, Koufax probably knew someone in management who let him hang on to his job.

Just to reiterate, there were other great lefties who you could make a case for as being the all-time best lefty. I'm just arguing against the idea that Koufax was just good. He was great. He was recognized as such by his peers, and his record speaks for itself.
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Old 07-12-2020, 08:58 PM
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Name another pitcher who retired with 27 wins and 27 complete games in his last year. He decided not to risk any more injuries to his left arm. The guy was getting better every year. You guys get carried away with those crazy stats. By the way since he was ONLY a GOOD pitcher, name five other pitchers who you deem better. Be careful.
If the Dodgers had any kind of offense, Koufax would have won ~35 games in 1966. He only gave up 4 earned runs twice in 41 starts, in a loss and a no decision. In 3 other no decisions, he gave up 1, 1 and 2 earned runs. In his 8 other losses, the Dodgers scored a total of 6 runs, less than one run per game. He was pretty good on the road, with a sub 2 ERA and sub 1 WHIP. No other lefty has had a season like that. 1963 was another season Koufax should have won 30 games. He went 25-5 and he had 5 no decision where he gave up 0 or 1 runs, but got no support. I can only name one pitcher better than Sandy Koufax, his name is Walter Johnson.
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Old 07-12-2020, 09:03 PM
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Both Koufax and Spahn pitched in "pitchers parks" (County and Dodger Stadium) the majority of their careers so that helps and somewhere I recall reading that the mound at LAD was unusually high in the 60s. Both fantastic however.
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Old 07-12-2020, 09:22 PM
G1911 G1911 is offline
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Originally Posted by cammb View Post
Name another pitcher who retired with 27 wins and 27 complete games in his last year. He decided not to risk any more injuries to his left arm. The guy was getting better every year. You guys get carried away with those crazy stats. By the way since he was ONLY a GOOD pitcher, name five other pitchers who you deem better. Be careful.
You obviously did not read the post you are replying too. I clarified another poster had quite explicitly said he was only good, not great, on the road. The statistics bear that judgement out. Road splits are crazy stats? We are supposed to only judge off a players last season? My list of 5 better lefties is the first reply to this thread.

Be careful? Why do I need to be careful? What’s the threat here exactly?
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Old 07-12-2020, 09:35 PM
Topnotchsy Topnotchsy is offline
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Kershaw is 49.6 innings behind Koufax.
To match Koufax he would have to do the following over his next 49.6 innings.
Lose 13 games
Give up 39 hits and walk 240 batters.
31 of those hits need to be HR's
Give up 96 Earned Runs, resulting in a nifty 17.12 ERA

And he'd still have more wins and strikeouts than Koufax. Keep in mind the difference of eras too. Koufax played in a pitching era and Kershaw in a hitter's era.
Same number of Cy Young Awards. Kershaw has 7 top 5 finishes in the award voting, Koufax has 4.

Maybe we tend to honor the baseball from the past more because we dig vintage baseball cards. But the numbers don't lie, Kershaw is better than the left arm of God.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/p...ershcl01.shtml
https://www.baseball-reference.com/p...oufasa01.shtml
That's silly, and not simply as other people have mentioned (because of the Postseason). It's silly because we all know that Koufax's career averages are not spectacular because for the first half of his career, he was mediocre. Koufax wasn't "The Left Arm of God" for his entire career. No one argues that he was. For 5 seasons he was truly spectacular.

That does nothing to take away from what Kershaw has done in his career. I think he deserves the Koufax comparisons. But comparing career totals misses the story with Koufax in my opinion.
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Old 07-12-2020, 09:54 PM
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You obviously did not read the post you are replying too. I clarified another poster had quite explicitly said he was only good, not great, on the road. The statistics bear that judgement out. Road splits are crazy stats? We are supposed to only judge off a players last season? My list of 5 better lefties is the first reply to this thread.

Be careful? Why do I need to be careful? What’s the threat here exactly?
Be careful who you say is better because you don't want to look like a fool. I rest my case with the players you named.
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Old 07-12-2020, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgannon View Post

These quotes are from Jane Leavy's book on Koufax.
Where are the quotes about trying to hit Koufax in 1961?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgannon View Post
I just don't buy the idea that his road record disqualified him from being considered great. The way some people are talking, it seems like it was a moral outrage that his E.R.A wasn't below 0.00 on the road.
Nah, just trying to offset the overwrought hyperbole about Koufax. Thing is, no one is willing to explain why he was SO MUCH better at Dodger Stadium if he was truly so great?

If Koufax was so completely unhittable, why was he awful at the LA Coliseum? Careful - if you're not allowed to attribute his success to his ballpark, you don't get to blame his failures either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgannon View Post
In 1962, his season ended early. Yeah, his home E.R.A was significantly lower at at 1.75 compared to his road E.R.A at 3.53. But he only played half a season
False. He missed about 1/3 of the season, maybe less, making 28 starts. And he pitched in late September & October.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgannon View Post
In 1963 the split was 1.38 at home and 2.31 away. 2.31 is an E.R.A most pitchers would kill for.
Yep, 2.31 is really good.

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Originally Posted by jgannon View Post
1964: 0.84 (astounding) to 2.93. With that 2.93 I guess they should have shipped him down to the minors.
2.93 sounds really good. Except the entire staff combined had a 2.95 all year. So he was staff-average on the road. And, while 2.93 is good, it was hardly great for the time. Wouldn't have made the top 10 in the NL, for example.

So, Koufax defenders, please explain:

1) his high ERA in 6 of 13 ballparks he pitched in?

2) why his consistent success only started when the NL expanded, the strike zone expanded, and Dodger Stadium opened? And, if it was just "well, he started throwing strikes", how do you reconcile that with the expansion of the strike zone?

Since I got asked, five pitchers better than Koufax (in no order):

1) Walter Johnson
2) Lefty Grove
3) Tom Seaver
4) Pedro Martinez
5) Roger Clemens

Last edited by Tabe; 07-12-2020 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 07-12-2020, 10:29 PM
G1911 G1911 is offline
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The Koufax argument is:

You must ignore context of era.

You must ignore home/road and context of ballpark.

You must ignore longevity.

You must ignore half of a players career if it doesn’t support your argument.

Fantasies of things you think could happen but did not are better evidence than things that actually did, and verifiably did, happen.

You must ignore new stats since none of them help Koufax’s case.

You must ignore the old stats that also do not help Koufax’s case.

If you don’t follow these principles, you are a fool and need to “be careful”. The passion for ones favorite ball players is admirable, but the logic of this argument has run off any rails in the ballpark of reason.
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Old 07-12-2020, 10:47 PM
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[quote=Tabe;1998311]Where are the quotes about trying to hit Koufax in 1961?

Where are the quotes from any player that Koufax was easy to hit off of in their ballpark?.... or that he was just a "good" or "typical" pitcher when he pitched outside of dodger stadium?

"Wooohoooo.... we get to face that "staff average" guy, Koufax... Yipeeee!!!
--- Nobody

The Anti-Koufax Arguement:
Ignores that most Hall of Famers would say Koufax was the greatest lefty they had ever seen or played against. This includes HOFers who were still alive in the early to mid 1960's who had faced great pitchers from the past. THAT is the greatest compliment there is. Statistics can be bent and used in many different ways. Sometimes you have to look at other measures. JMO
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Old 07-12-2020, 11:18 PM
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Anyone who can hit hit a flying bird, gets my vote. The Big Unit Randy Johnson would do well in any era of baseball

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Old 07-13-2020, 01:06 AM
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Deleted (posted twice somehow)

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Old 07-13-2020, 01:07 AM
jgannon jgannon is offline
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Where are the quotes about trying to hit Koufax in 1961?


Nah, just trying to offset the overwrought hyperbole about Koufax. Thing is, no one is willing to explain why he was SO MUCH better at Dodger Stadium if he was truly so great?

If Koufax was so completely unhittable, why was he awful at the LA Coliseum? Careful - if you're not allowed to attribute his success to his ballpark, you don't get to blame his failures either.


False. He missed about 1/3 of the season, maybe less, making 28 starts. And he pitched in late September & October.


Yep, 2.31 is really good.


2.93 sounds really good. Except the entire staff combined had a 2.95 all year. So he was staff-average on the road. And, while 2.93 is good, it was hardly great for the time. Wouldn't have made the top 10 in the NL, for example.

So, Koufax defenders, please explain:

1) his high ERA in 6 of 13 ballparks he pitched in?

2) why his consistent success only started when the NL expanded, the strike zone expanded, and Dodger Stadium opened? And, if it was just "well, he started throwing strikes", how do you reconcile that with the expansion of the strike zone?



Regarding your saying that Koufax didn't play only 1/2 a season in 1962: he only appeared in 3 games in September, going 2/3 of an inning on 9/21, 2 innings on 9/23, and 5 innings on 9/27. He lost a game and his E.R.A was 8.22 for the month. Sounds like maybe he wasn't quite himself after having crushed the artery in the palm of his throwing hand. The 8.22 may have had a little to do also with raising his overall season E.R.A. Just like the E.R.A he got for the one appearance he made in October, which was 27.00 for one inning pitched in a game he got tagged for a loss.

So, after July he pitched a grand total of 8.2 innings. So, I'll stick with his pitching a 1/2 season.

You also say that the Dodgers team E.R.A. was 2.95 for the year in 1964. Without Koufax's 1.74 E.R.A added into the mix, the team's E.R.A. would have been somewhat higher, I imagine. If somebody can calculate that that would be good. I don't know just how much higher it would be.

Regarding Koufax's early career, he was of course, a bonus baby, and he didn't get a lot of playing time. He didn't get that all important time to develop in the minors. It also wasn't in Walter Alston's interest to experiment with a rookie when he had an established staff, was fighting for the pennant, and was working under one-year contracts. Jackie Robinson didn't like Alston and thought he was dumb for using Koufax so sporadically, especially after showing occasional flashes of brilliance. But Koufax obviously had some kinks to work out.

The mound had been mandated set to 15 inches in 1950, so that had been in place for some time. Did the expanded strike zone help Koufax? Yeah, I'm sure. But two things: the strike zone between 1963-1968 from the top of the shoulders to the knees, was also the strike zone from 1887-1950. The strike zone was changed from 1950-1963 to be from the armpits to the top of the knees. People here are acting as though 1963-1968 was the exception to the rule. At that time, 1950-1963 was the exception to the rule. After 1968, that strike zone was reinstated, this time with the lowered mound. But Koufax enjoyed the same strike zone as Lefty Grove and Walter Johnson, although pitching mounds during Grove and Johnson's time weren't uniform, in that back then it was stipulated that they could be "no more than" 15 inches.

And did Dodger Stadium help Koufax? I'd say yeah, it had to help. It had generous enough foul territory near the plate, and the hitting background wasn't supposed to be good (at least back then). But I think you are over-attributing his success to a ballpark. No other Dodger pitcher dominated the way Koufax did after he found his groove, although Drysdale of course was a great pitcher. Koufax DID start throwing strikes, with a legendary fastball as attested to by players like Hank Aaron in my previous post, as well as his 12 to 6 curve ball also attested to. Again, maybe the return to the larger strike zone helped Koufax. But every other major league pitcher was working with the same strike zone, and nobody put up Koufax's numbers. Give the man his due.

All the ballparks were and are different. There are short fences and long fences. Parks where the wind and the sun affect the playing field differently. It's one of the great things about baseball, in my opinion. It can lead to interesting discussions like this. But it's ridiculous to trivialize Koufax's achievements as merely being a product of location. Koufax worked under and worked with the rules, the parks, the hitters, and the style of play extant at that time, and excelled. Those are the facts.

Also, in response to the expanded league: Koufax had to face the great black and Latino players of his era, something the players of previous eras didn't have to contend with, sadly and unfortunately.

Last edited by jgannon; 07-13-2020 at 01:36 AM.
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Old 07-13-2020, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Tabe View Post
Where are the quotes about trying to hit Koufax in 1961?


Nah, just trying to offset the overwrought hyperbole about Koufax. Thing is, no one is willing to explain why he was SO MUCH better at Dodger Stadium if he was truly so great?

If Koufax was so completely unhittable, why was he awful at the LA Coliseum? Careful - if you're not allowed to attribute his success to his ballpark, you don't get to blame his failures either.



WHIP 4th
H/9 1st
K/9 1st
Ks 1st
K/BB 1st
FIP 1st
ERA 7th

Koufax wasn't the best lefty of all time in 1961 but he was one of the best pitchers in baseball. The left field fence at the LA Coliseum was 251 feet from home plate. Dodger Stadium a normal 330 feet and you wonder why Koufax was better in Dodger Stadium? It is common for players to do better in their home park. Sleeping in their own bed vs a hotel, no travel, familiarity with park, fan support, etc. Koufax was no different. Koufax would have been much better 1958-1961 if the Dodgers weren't playing in a football stadium with unusual dimensions, but all you want to do is criticize him for having only 5 years of a home park advantage in LA but his numbers are hurt worse for 4 in the Coliseum.
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Old 07-13-2020, 05:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G1911 View Post
The Koufax argument is:

You must ignore context of era.

You must ignore home/road and context of ballpark.

You must ignore longevity.

You must ignore half of a players career if it doesn’t support your argument.

Fantasies of things you think could happen but did not are better evidence than things that actually did, and verifiably did, happen.

You must ignore new stats since none of them help Koufax’s case.

You must ignore the old stats that also do not help Koufax’s case.

If you don’t follow these principles, you are a fool and need to “be careful”. The passion for ones favorite ball players is admirable, but the logic of this argument has run off any rails in the ballpark of reason.
I haven't ignored any of these. I have addressed them all with fact and stats. However, in order to claim Grove is the best you have ignored on all the stats, ignored all the great Negro League players Grove didn't pitched to and cherry picker made up stats that are seriously flawed..
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Old 07-13-2020, 08:40 AM
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Koufax pitched 12 years. And half of those years were junk. Now if you are stuck on peak value with blinders on, then yes, Koufax is your man. Building a long term team, jeez, hard to go against Grove, Randy Johnson.
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Old 07-13-2020, 09:48 AM
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Give me a break. This type of comparison is just plain silly if you don’t take the eras into account. ERAs in the two pitchers’ eras are so different it’s almost like a different game. And there never was a pitcher’s park like Dodger Stadium in the 1960s.

The clincher for me is the nine ERA titles Grove won. I think that’s the most amazing pitching record in baseball history.
Maybe you can explain how all the great hitters on Grove’s teams enabled him to do that.


Oh yeah, one more thought about those strikeout totals. All Grove did was lead thie league in Ks seven straight years.

Quote:
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ERA Koufax 2.76 Grove 3.06
WHIP Koufax 1.106 Grove 1.278
FIP Koufax 2.69 Grove 3.62
K/9 Koufax 9.3 Grove 5.2
K/BB Koufax 2.93 Grove 1.91
Shutouts Koufax 40 Grove 35
Strikeouts 2396 Grove 2266
No Hitters Koufax 4 Grove 0

All the stats support Koufax except wins which are a team based stat and longevity. Grove played on loaded offensive teams for most of his career. Foxx, Cochrane and Simmons in Philly and Williams, Foxx and Cronin in Boston. From 1958-1966 Koufax had a top 10 offensive player 4 times in 9 years, Wally Moon was 8th in 1958, Tommy Davis 4th in 1962, Maury Wills 5th in 1962 and Jim Gilliam 9th in 1963. Koufax was better than Grove and it is not close.

Last edited by timn1; 07-13-2020 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 07-13-2020, 09:56 AM
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On a purely talent level I still think Waddell was the best lefty to ever pitch. He needed nothing but his arm to propel himself into the HOF. He lacked the mental capabilities to really pitch, but it ultimately didn't matter.

When you put it all together, I don't see how anyone could argue against Randy Johnson. He pitched at the height of the steriod era and against players who were by and large cheating, yet it didn't matter. Imagine him in a clean game. There wouldn't have even been a game.

All due respect to Koufax, but he was no Randy.
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Final Poll!! Vote of the all time worst Topps produced set almostdone Postwar Baseball Cards Forum (Pre-1980) 22 07-28-2015 07:55 PM
Long Time Lurker. First time poster. Crazy to gamble on this Gehrig? wheels56 Net54baseball Vintage (WWII & Older) Baseball Cards & New Member Introductions 17 05-17-2015 04:25 AM
It's the most wonderful time of the year. Cobb/Edwards auction time! iggyman Net54baseball Vintage (WWII & Older) Baseball Cards & New Member Introductions 68 09-17-2013 12:42 AM


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