Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
February 13, 2007
BASEBALL: Koufax by a Nose

One of the cool things about the expansion of David Pinto's database back to 1957 - you can now compare home/road splits back to the 60s. So, when outside of Dodger Stadium, was Sandy Koufax the best pitcher in baseball in 1963-66?

Yes, but not by really so much. Koufax had a 1.31 ERA at home in those years, but on the road his ERA was 2.44 to Marichal's 2.52 and Bob Veale's 2.63, and 10 other pitchers clocked in between 2.71 and 2.99.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:41 PM | Baseball 2007 | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

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Posted by: J. Mark English at February 13, 2007 11:09 PM

But he still was the best of that period. Interesting; I wasn't sure he'd come out on top. I thought it might be Maloney (whose ERAs were inflated by Crosley), but no: Koufax beats him in ERA and manages to throw 100 extra innings, even with the missed starts in '64.

He really was the best of his era. The "problems" start to show up when you do cross-generational studies. Dodgers Stadium or no, the 60's kept his ERAs down significantly. And then you have to consider the lack of innings over his career.

I just can't consider him with Johnson, Clemens, Grove, Seaver, Alexander, Maddux, and a few of the upper, upper echelon guys. Carlton, Young, Matthewson, & Spahn are interesting, because they threw many, many more innings, but weren't as effective as Koufax.

I wonder if Dazzy Vance isn't the best comparison? Or Pedro, assuming he doesn't manage to throw another 750-1000 innings at this point (which I'd like, but don't expect!).

Posted by: Mike at February 14, 2007 9:28 AM

Crank, I really enjoy seeing these scenerios you present and appreciate the time you spend on them.

I find many of the names on this list suprising. Horlen, Peters, Pizarro and many others I remember watching, following and collecting their baseball cards. I don't remember being impressed with their achievements at the time. Raw numbers are hard to argue with though.

Posted by: maddirishman at February 14, 2007 11:16 AM

Sure, if you frame the period as Koufax's four best years, he not surprisingly ranks #1. Here are the best pitchers of the whole decade, minimum 500 IP: link. Some might object to Hoyt Wilhelm atop this list (and Ron Perranoski at #4), so just make the minimum 600 IP and #1 is Bob Gibson.

Posted by: Steve at February 14, 2007 12:50 PM

I don't mind Wilhelm and Perranoski being included on the list, just as today we include Rivera and Hoffman with the great pitchers of our era. If they pitched today, both would be considered elite closers. If you check their K9, HR9 and other relevent stats they match up well with their peers.

Posted by: maddirishman at February 14, 2007 2:03 PM
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