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11-22-2002, 10:28 PM
Posted By: <b>Ben</b><p>It's pretty much a consensus that these three pitchers were the greatest of their era, and likely, the greatest of all-time. My question to you is, in general, who the favorite amongst vintage collectors and why? <BR><BR>In my novice opinion, Mathewson is the hobby favorite. I may be wrong, but it seems as though Matty makes the most appearances on vintage cards, and Johnson makes the least. Could that be the reason why it seems that Matty is favored over Johnson? Or do people really think that Matty was the better player? That's a really tough call, strong arguments could be made for all 3 as being the greatest ever. Personally, I'd put Cy young on top simply because of is incredible longevity and astounding win total.<BR><BR>All of this is obviously pure speculation on my part, but this is a subject I've always wondered about, and I thought it may spark some interesting discussion.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>

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11-22-2002, 10:51 PM
Posted By: <b>Brian H</b><p>I'm not sure what your definition of vintage is but I think it would be fair to say that Pete Alexander, who began his career as Matty was winding down his and Johnson was in his prime, was at least Matty's equal.<BR>Also, Lefty Grove is considered by many the greatest pitcher period -- with only his realtively short career holding him back. <BR>In terms of card appearances (on "T" cards at least) Matty, who played in New York and was just coming off his prime is on more cards. Johnson was just coming into his own at this time and he played for the lowly Senators not the mighty Giants. Young, by the time of the T cards was winding up his long career with Cleveland.<BR>In terms of price where these three go head to head Johnson and Young generally seem to cost a bit more than Matty. As I recall Matty used to cost a bit more than Young if not the Big Train. This holds tru in sets where each player has only one card such as the T205 set.<BR>Anyway these are amatuer observations so (as usual) I could be wrong.....<BR>but I doubt it.

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11-22-2002, 11:22 PM
Posted By: <b>David</b><p>I'm not sure what the question was meant to be: best or most popular?<BR><BR>Of the big three: Johnson and Mathewson are the most popular with collectors, with Mathewson a tad ahead. Cy Young is very popular, but a step behind those two.<BR><BR>Agree that G.C. Alexander was up in the elite pitching wise, but has never nearly as popular with collectors. Same can be said for Grove.<BR><BR>My personal opinion is that Walter Johnson was the best pitcher of all time. This is only my opinion, so I don't take offense to those who disagree.

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11-22-2002, 11:41 PM
Posted By: <b>Ben</b><p>I guess my question can be rephrased as: <BR><BR>1. who's cards are the most popular among collectors?<BR><BR>2. Is one more popular than the others because they are more highly regarded as a pitcher, or because they had more appearances in vintage sets of that era? Are there any other reasons why one might be favored over the others?

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11-22-2002, 11:49 PM
Posted By: <b>Julie Vognar</b><p>...

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11-23-2002, 01:13 AM
Posted By: <b>jeff s</b><p>I guess Johnson is most popular, but it's really hard to base that judgment on price because of drastically different levels of availability. Matty was in SO many sets. If you want a Matty card, you have dozens of readily available (by vintage standards) choices, while with Johnson, the only early tobacco/caramel cards are T206 & T204. Young appears more frequently, but still not much compared to Matty. <BR><BR>And given his popularity back in the day, I'd bet more people saved Matty memorabilia. It's either that, or the American Tobacco Company quadruple-printed T205 and the T206 ready to pitch variations.

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11-23-2002, 01:24 AM
Posted By: <b>Ben</b><p>I'm curious as to what Dan's contribution to this discussion will be <img src="/images/happy.gif" height=14 width=14>

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11-23-2002, 01:33 AM
Posted By: <b>MW</b><p>If it were game seven of the World Series and I had to pick one of the three to start, who would I take? That's easy -- Mathewson.

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11-23-2002, 02:07 AM
Posted By: <b>brian parker</b><p>Although Mathewson may have been in more 1910 era sets, due to his career beginning earlier, Johnson is probably in just as many sets as Matty when you include all the strip cards, the various Sporting News issues, and 1920's caramel cards, etc. I believe that Mathewson is in more issues that the majority of collectors deem desirable, so that may tilt the popularity needle in his direction. I know I would rather have a E-Card of Matty over a strip card of Johnson any day. The frequency that the subject matter of this board revolves around 1910 era cards is as good an indicator as any that this incredible era of cards hold a great sway over our collective collector minds. And Matty is king or at least the prince in many of these loved sets.<BR> <BR> <BR>By the way, W.Johnson is also in the T205, T207 and T3 sets, all of which are relatively common 1910 era issues.<BR><BR>Brian

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11-23-2002, 02:09 AM
Posted By: <b>David</b><p>I tempor my response by saying that I was thinking of memorabilia in general, not sepcifically cards-- though, I suspect the trends for the two are similar.

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11-23-2002, 02:19 AM
Posted By: <b>David</b><p>As photos are my specialty, I note that vintage/original Cy Young and Walter Johnson photographs are desirable and popular-- but Mathewson is in a class by himself. For a reason other than his early death, his original photos are very hard to find and this is reflected in the substantially higher prices. Also, Cy and Walter were hardly photogenic.

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11-23-2002, 09:15 AM
Posted By: <b>Albie O'Hanian</b><p>I agree with MW-among these three I would pick Mathewson for game seven of a World Series. But I strongly disagree with the three of them ranking as the greatest pitchers in baseball. Depending on the criteria you use the rankings will vary but all three pitched in a era that was conducive to great pitching. For the same reason Bob Gibson's 1.12 e.r.a while certainly remarkable is less remarkable than Pedro's 1.74 e.r.a in 2000 their statistics are skewed (relative to other prominent pitchers) by time and place.

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11-23-2002, 09:22 AM
Posted By: <b>runscott</b><p>Johnson had power and longevity that was rare in his time. Joe Wood could throw about as fast, but had a very brief career. Matty had finesse and control, which I would definitely want in Game 7 of the WS. It's a tough call - I'll take both! Forget Cy Young.<BR><BR>But a modern comparison would be interesting - would you rather have Randy Johnson or Tom Glavine or Phil Niekro? <img src="/images/happy.gif" height=14 width=14><br><br>

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11-23-2002, 09:44 AM
Posted By: <b>TBob</b><p>How can you go with Matty to pitch Game 7 of the series, MW? Great, great pitcher but his record in WS final games is not great. Granted he had some horrible bad luck but for one game, during that era, I'd go with Walter Johnson or the overlooked Mordecai Centennial Peter "3 Finger" Brown who was a hell of a clutch pitcher. Just ask Matty...

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11-23-2002, 10:01 AM
Posted By: <b>Ryan Christoff</b><p>This thread is interesting. I've always thought Matty was the fan favorite in the vintage world, but I prefer Johnson. Here's my personal top 5 all-time pitchers, without getting into qualifiers like "in their prime" or "if they played today", etc.<BR><BR>1. Walter Johnson<BR>2. Satchel Paige<BR>3. Lefty Grove<BR>4. Christy Mathewson<BR>5. Clemens or Feller <BR><BR>My game 7 W.S. starter is Bob Gibson.<BR><BR>Also, I'd probably go with a 4 man rotation. <BR><BR>-Ryan

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11-23-2002, 10:17 AM
Posted By: <b>Ben</b><p>Career wins<BR><BR>1.Cy Young+ 511 <BR>2.Walter Johnson 417 <BR>3.Christy Mathewson 373 <BR><BR>Career ERA<BR><BR>1.Ed Walsh 1.81<BR>8.Christy Mathewson 2.13<BR>11.Walter Johson 2.16<BR>57.Cy Young 2.62<BR><BR>Career Shutouts <BR><BR>1.Walter Johnson 110 <BR>2.Pete Alexander 90<BR>3.Christy Mathewson 79<BR>4.Cy Young 76<BR><BR>Win/Loss%<BR><BR>15.Christy Mathewson .6648<BR>67.Cy Young .6179<BR>Walter Johnson - not it the top 100

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11-23-2002, 10:28 AM
Posted By: <b>runscott</b><p>in that case, the following pitchers each had periods of three or more years when they were virtually untouchable (Guidry might have been shorter).<BR><BR>Mike Scott<BR>Greg Maddux<BR>Bob Gibson<BR>Fernando Valenzuela<BR>Pedro Martinez<BR>Randy Johnson<BR>Ron Guidry

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11-23-2002, 10:34 AM
Posted By: <b>TBob</b><p>For that one golden season, how about Smokey Joe Wood? Or Big Ed Walsh during his 40 win season?<BR>If you were playing the Giants, I'd go with Jack "The Giant Killer" Pfeister. If you were playing the Yankees, it would be Frank Lary.<BR>I remember a noted and respected sports journalist said a while back that he had seen them all, from Matty to Gibson, and for ONE game, he would pitch Carl Hubbell. He said he was the best big game pitcher who ever lived.

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11-23-2002, 10:42 AM
Posted By: <b>runscott</b><p>but the disadvantage to being a "vintage" fan is that we never got to see these guys play! I've seen all the others on my list. From what I've read and heard, I would add Smokey Joe Wood and Denny McClain. When Wood was in his prime, he and Walter Johnson were considered the cream of the crop.

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11-23-2002, 11:44 AM
Posted By: <b>Albie O'Hanian</b><p>I have always loved this debate. It is all based on criteria. Certainly, if you are talking objectively the best pitchers over a short period are Pedro Martinez and Sandy Koufax (5-6 year range).<BR>Martinez career winning percentage is .707 basically the best of all-time. His career earned run average is 2.62 which given time and place is the best of all-time. His hits allowed per nine innings is second all-time to Nolan Ryan. His strikeouts per nine innings is second all-time to Randy Johnson. His baserunners per nine innings is third all-time behind Joss and Walsh but the best all-time given time and place.<BR>If you are talking who had the best career than the emphasis clearly changes but as far as Hall of Fame type pitchers built on short careers the best are Martinez and Koufax.

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11-23-2002, 11:58 AM
Posted By: <b>Albie O'Hanian</b><p>BTW-<BR>In the 1905 World Series Mathewson went 3-0 and beat Bender and Plank with shutouts.<BR>In the 1911 World Series he split with Bender and lost an 11 inning game while posting a 2.00 e.r.a.<BR>In the 1912 World Series he posted a 1.26 e.r.a even though he lost both of his starts.<BR>In the 1913 World Series he split with Plank while posting a 0.95 earned run average.<BR>His performances would certainly qualify him as a big game pithcer. In fact it would be difficult to find a better post-season pitcher given the quality of the pitching match-ups.<BR>I am always against the subjective judgements that remember only the great outings. Bob Gibson was a superb pitcher in the World Series and his big game status is legendary but he lost quite a few "big games" in his career. He was tough and a great pitcher but those that saw him pitch game seven in 64,67,and 68 almost bring out mythical characteristics about him.

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11-23-2002, 12:05 PM
Posted By: <b>Ryan Christoff</b><p>The best single season pitching performances that I can remember seeing in my lifetime are:<BR><BR>* Randy Johnson - 2001 & 2002<BR>* Pedro Martinez - 1999 (or 1997, 2000 or 2002)<BR>* Orel Hershiser - 1988<BR>* Dennis Eckersly - 1992 (or 1988 or 1990)<BR>* Roger Clemens - 1986 (Mattingly was robbed, though)<BR>* Dwight Gooden - 1985<BR>* Fernando Valenzuela - 1981 (if you were in L.A. you know how magical it was)<BR>* Ron Guidry - 1978<BR><BR>I'd be lying if I said I had much baseball consciousness earlier than that.<BR><BR>The most dominant 2 month span in my lifetime was Orel Hershiser at the end of the 1988 season and into the playoffs.<BR><BR>The most dominant over at least a 5 year span is Pedro Martinez. <BR><BR>-Ryan<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>

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11-23-2002, 12:23 PM
Posted By: <b>jay behrens</b><p>how about Steve Rogers and Steve carlton's annual battle for the Cy Young award over a 3 or 4 year period form the late 70s to early 80s.<BR><BR>Jay

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11-23-2002, 12:24 PM
Posted By: <b>Dan Mathewson</b><p>...I guess it's time for my two cents. <img src="/images/happy.gif" height=14 width=14><BR><BR>Matty seems to be my favorite for collecting. &lt;LMAO&gt; Y'all knew THAT was coming...<BR><BR>Ya know, though, in glancing through my bible (Lemke's SCD Catalog), it seems that in many card issues where a Matty and a Johnson card appear, their prices are the same across the board. Boston Garter issues, 1913 Tom Barker Game, 1913 National Game, 1919 Coupon T213, T205 Gold's, 1912 Plow's Candy E300, Texas Tommy issues, 1951 Connie Mack's, T5 Pinkerton's, and several others.<BR><BR>With the 1914 and 1915 Cracker Jack issues, Matty carries a much higher premium. The T206 White Borders are all in the same ballpark, but Matty's Portrait carries a much higher value over Johnson's highest value T206 by 30% or so. The 1910 PC796 Sepias carry a higher Mathewson premium. As does the 1915 Postaco Stamp issue, the 1915 PM1 Pin, the '67 Venezuelan Retirado, 1911 Helmar's. The Sporting Life M116 Mattys command almost twice what the Johnson does (the pastel is about 20% more, the blue is almost 2x). Of Course, Christy was the only player to appear on Post Bran Flakes cereal boxes in 1930 with such greats as Daniel Boone and Pocahantas, so that ALONE speaks volumes (LOL). <img src="/images/happy.gif" height=14 width=14><BR><BR>At a quick glance through the guide, the only Johnson that grabbed a higher premium that Matty (where both are issued) the 1912 S81 Silk. Walter gets 4000 for a (7), Christy's (7) pulls about 2550. There may be others, and day to day on eBay and in other auctions houses...I cannot comment. I don't think I've ever looked up a Johnson auction to compare the two.<BR><BR>I think Christy's popularity goes far beyond his being an incredible pitcher in his time. His stats speak for themselves, but he also came into baseball during a time when the players were viewed as womanizing, drunk rogues and barroom brawlers, etc. Matty came in as a clean cut college grad who didn't play ball on Sundays (although some would say he made appearances on the golf course on Day 7...LOL). He was viewed as a family man with great personal values and honorable conviction. He was literally the first Big Guy in baseball that parents wanted their kids to look up to, which the kids did. Hell, even the parents thought he was something else. He was the Giants' icon or "poster boy" if you will. As baseball increased its pre-war popularity, Matty was the favorite of many in that day. Then, right after he became Manager of the Reds, he volunteered to give that up and enlist himself in the WWI effort.<BR><BR>His death was certainly untimely, and it really saddened the nation. When he died, the teams playing in the World Series that year played the series wearing black arm bands to honor Matty. It was said to have been a very somber series. <BR><BR>I personally would think that Matty is regarded as an incredible WS pithcer. The MLB Record that he STILL holds almsot 100 years later is that he pitched 3 shutouts in the 1905 WS to win the series 4-1 for the Giants. I don't think any player will ever meet or beat that...<BR><BR>He may not be #1 in every statistical respect of pitching, but he is always toward the top in virtually every category. Very consistent for many years. For the Giants Baseball Club, I believe he still holds top records in over half of the dozens of pitching stats which they calculate. But, apart from the bare numbers, I can certainly understand why so many view him as a favorite. He was truly one of the first "loved" players of the game...<BR><BR>Cool thread, Ben. <img src="/images/happy.gif" height=14 width=14>

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11-23-2002, 12:42 PM
Posted By: <b>TBob</b><p>Jack Morris' 10 inning shutout in Game 7 of the 1991 WS has to be mentioned. Don't forget journeyman Don Larsen catching lightning in a bottle and pitching the ONLY perfect game in WS history.<BR>

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11-23-2002, 12:44 PM
Posted By: <b>Dan Mathewson</b><p>...when relying on stats, and comparing Matty and Johnson to later day players.<BR><BR>Matty and Walter didn't get to pitch 3 or 4 or 5 innings, then go rest and and have a hot dog.<BR><BR>They started a game, they finished a game. Unless they were having such a crap day that their throws were going into the dugout, they didn't get pulled off the field. They pitched all nine innings.<BR><BR>I'd wager that Big Six and Big Train would BOTH show better "percentage stats" if, in their day, they were pulled after a few innings upon showing even the slightest fatigue...

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11-23-2002, 12:48 PM
Posted By: <b>runscott</b><p>The pitchers of their day were more likely to "save themselves", knowing they had to go nine. So if their team was ahead by several runs, they relaxed, not all caught up in stats like era (some of the current glamour stats weren't even calculated back then). <BR><BR>It's amazing that today's pitchers give "everything they have", knowing they only have to go 5-6 innings, sit down, and still get paid millions for a 5.50 era! (and probably earn an era incentive bonus for it).

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11-23-2002, 12:54 PM
Posted By: <b>Jay Miller</b><p>In his prime I think the greatest pitcher ever was Sandy Koufax. When you consider the pain he was playing with at the end of career it is all the more remarkable. I'll take the 1965 Koufax, with all his physical ailments, against anyone and feel comfortable doing it.

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11-23-2002, 12:58 PM
Posted By: <b>warshawlaw</b><p>The man had a WS career ERA of less than 1.00. He made the Yankees look stupid in the 1963 series. He won game 7 in 1965 on three days' rest with an arthritic elbow. And he did it in the modern era after baseball was integrated and after Ruth established the home run as a weapon. If my life was hanging on the result of the game, I'd take Koufax.

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11-23-2002, 01:47 PM
Posted By: <b>runscott</b><p>so I'll take the 1968 version of Bob Gibson. For my second starter, I will controversially take 1986 Mike Scott during the year he "re-introduced" the split-finger - virtually untouchable. Third starter would be 1978 Ron Guidry.<BR><BR>For closer I'll take 1990 Eckersley with his 0.61 era.<BR>Who needs a set-up man?

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11-23-2002, 01:47 PM
Posted By: <b>Albie O'Hanian</b><p>Obviously it is difficult to compare pitchers from different eras. Statistics can be manipulated to prove many things. Yes, they had difficulty knowing they would have to pitch nine innings, yes they were not concerned with their stats. However, it was very rare they could get beat on one bad pitch. It often took three hits to score a run. The strike zone was bigger, etc., etc. Pedro is more dominant in his era than anbody in history (at least by the numbers) and Koufax IMO would rank #2. But that is only one small criteria. Anybody could come up with a valid criteria and probably prove that any one of 15 to 20 pitchers is the best of all-time.<BR>BTW- Ryan-I love your list. Great picks. Watching Hershisher shut down the A's completely after Clemens and Hurst (and fear for the worst) could not do it was something to behold. I agree, for a couple of months it is hard to imagine a pitcher being better than Hershisher was.

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11-23-2002, 02:17 PM
Posted By: <b>TBob</b><p>I'd take the Boston Red Sox pitcher Babe Ruth who set a World Series record for consecutive scoreless innings which wasn't broken for almost 50 years. Besides he could hit 4 times for my team. <img src="/images/happy.gif" height=14 width=14>

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11-23-2002, 04:21 PM
Posted By: <b>jeff s</b><p><i>Also, I'd probably go with a 4 man rotation. </i><BR><BR>If I had every pitcher in history to choose from, I'd go with a four-man rotation, too!<BR><BR>

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11-23-2002, 07:39 PM
Posted By: <b>fkw</b><p>Little Pedro pitching in this HR hitters era....... is my best ever!<BR><BR>Best starting pitchers of all time, in my opinion (in prime of their career)<BR><BR>1 Pedro Martinez<BR>2 Sandy Koufax<BR>3 Walter Johnson<BR>4 Lefty Grove<BR>5 Christy Mathewson<BR>6 Randy Johnson<BR><BR>With Alexander, Clemens, Maddux, Ryan, Feller, Gibson, Waddell rounding out the list.<BR><BR>Frank<BR>

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11-23-2002, 08:05 PM
Posted By: <b>petecld</b><p>"Forget Cy Young."<BR><BR>I'm just going to pretend you didn't say that. <img src="/images/wink.gif" height=14 width=14><BR><BR>Forgive him Baseball gods - he knows not what he is saying.

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11-23-2002, 08:15 PM
Posted By: <b>Dan MAthewson</b><p>...where are you finding the winking smiley? is there a smiley page available again? <img src="/images/happy.gif" height=14 width=14> I just use the boring old end bracket and colon...

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11-23-2002, 09:20 PM
Posted By: <b>Albie O'Hanian</b><p>Frank, <BR>Interesting list. I am glad somebody else appreciates the opportunity to watch Pedro pitch in his prime.

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11-23-2002, 11:00 PM
Posted By: <b>fkw</b><p>Cy Young was a great pitcher too, dont get me wrong, I just have a little problem putting him in the "best ever", with him losing 15 or more game in 13 of his 19 full seasons (I know he pitched many more games per year than modern pitchers). I was mainly going with domination in the prime of their careers (5-10 years span) when I chose my list. I used to have trouble with Ryan as one of the best ever, until you look at what he did at the end of his career (after learning to toss a good curve). Im sure there are others that can be listed....like Carlton, Spahn, and even BigEd Walsh with his "extremely hard to believe" 1910 season... 1.27 ERA ... giving up just 242 hits in 370 innings (well under 6 hits per 9 innings)..... he ended up losing 20 games while winning only 18?? WOW talk about dead ball era/hitless wonders!!) <img src="/images/happy.gif" height=14 width=14> Frank

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11-29-2002, 08:40 PM
Posted By: <b>Cy</b><p>I was listening to my "Glory of Their Times" CD set today riding to and from my Thanksgiving dinner. (If you are a vintage collector and do not have this 4-CD set, buy it immediately. Ithink it's around $30 from amazon.com. Whether you have the book or not, this is the actual interviews of the players in the book and it is fantastically done. It will be a terrific Christmas gift to yourself.)<BR><BR>This thread has people picking the greatest pitcher of these three(and others) and we haven't seen any of them. But on the CD, Larry Ritter asks many of the players of that era who they think the greatest pitcher of all time is. And there is never even a breath between the question and the answer, "Walter Johnson is the greatest pitcher of all time." And it is unanimous. Nobody even considers another pitcher. So if one wants to really know who the best is, listen to the men who played with and against him.<BR><BR>Cy

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11-30-2002, 10:14 AM
Posted By: <b>Julie Vognar</b><p>(an art book), there is a beautiful, sad abstract called "On Never Having seen Koufax Pitch." which is the way I feel. But getting to see Pedro makes up for it some..