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09-27-2004, 01:07 PM
Posted By: <b>Rob L</b><p>I thought this might be interesting to see what the forum members think. It will be interesting to tally up the results in a couple of weeks. Feel free to pick out of the these choices or another choice and debate it if you like.<br /><br />Question: Who were the three best dead-ball era pitchers?<br /><br />a) Christy Mathewson<br />b) Cy Young<br />c) Walter Johnson<br />d) Babe Ruth - short but great pitching career<br />e) Addie Joss<br />f) Rube Waddell<br />g) Mordecai Brown<br />h) Other<br /><br />To start this off, my choice is:<br /><br />c) The Big Train - Walter Johnson<br /><br />Thanks Julie, lets keep 19th Century only pitchers out for now.

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09-27-2004, 01:15 PM
Posted By: <b>Julie</b><p>The usual reasons: he won the second-most games pitching for a poor team.<br /><br />...<img src="http://www.network54.com/Realm/jphotos/110103_diving_prv.gif">

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09-27-2004, 01:23 PM
Posted By: <b>John/z28jd</b><p>I choose Johnson too,his shutout and strikeout records along with the amount of wins for a bad team is just too much to overlook when compared to the rest

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09-27-2004, 02:28 PM
Posted By: <b>Gary B.</b><p>I think I'll give it to Walter Johnson too, but I almost voted for Christy Mathewson because of his high winning percentage. Johnson had more wins though on a bad team...

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09-27-2004, 02:36 PM
Posted By: <b>JimB</b><p>I vote for Johnson as well for the same reasons.<br />Jim

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09-27-2004, 02:54 PM
Posted By: <b>Josh K.</b><p>Perhaps we ought to ask who we believe to be the second best dead-ball era pitcher. I too vote for Johnson for many if not all of the reasons stated above. My vote for #2 - Matty.

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09-27-2004, 03:25 PM
Posted By: <b>Julie</b><p>more interesting survey! But perhaps we all agree on that one, too...

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09-27-2004, 03:36 PM
Posted By: <b>Gary B.</b><p>Matty comes second for me too...

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09-27-2004, 03:54 PM
Posted By: <b>Judge Dred</b><p>I guess we need to petition MLB and let them know that the name of the award needs to be changed to the Walter Johnson Award - but it just doesn't have that snappy ring to it like the "Cy Young Award."<br /><br />I see there were no 19th century players listed (unless you count half of Cy's wins during that era).<br /><br />My vote goes for <b><font color=blue>Walter Johnson</font></b> with the <b><font color=red>Big Six</font></b> close behind. <br /><br />By the way I think that the overall win percentage of the teams on which Walter Johnson pitched was about .492 (perhaps someone could verify this). There were some good teams and some bad teams mixed in his tenure on that staff.<br /><br />Perhaps some SABR member could look up which dead-ball pitching star hurled for the most futile team. It'd be interesting to see a comparison like Steve Carltons 1972 season when he was 27-10 while the Phillies were 59-97. Instead of one season, make the comparison for a full career for the dead ball era pitchers.<br /><br />Are there any game SABR tooth go-getters out there?

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09-27-2004, 04:08 PM
Posted By: <b>Josh K.</b><p>Yes, but just consider how snappy the Walter Johnson award would sound had we grown up knowing nothing different. Or, how about the Big Train Award - that sounds pretty good.

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09-27-2004, 04:22 PM
Posted By: <b>Rob L</b><p>Wow, so far Walter Johnson - 7; anybody else - 0. Definitely interesting. Since Matty appears to be a clear second. Maybe we should rate the top three. Anyways, here are mine:<br /><br />1. Walter Johnson<br />2. Christy Mathewson<br />3. Cy Young

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09-27-2004, 04:34 PM
Posted By: <b>John/z28jd</b><p>My top 3 are the same as yours Rob, Johnson,Matty,Cy

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09-27-2004, 04:38 PM
Posted By: <b>Josh K.</b><p>Ditto. I honestly dont think we are going to see a lot of disagreement until spots 4 through 10.

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09-27-2004, 05:34 PM
Posted By: <b>Julie</b><p><img src="http://www.network54.com/Realm/jphotos/T206Jhns.JPG"> <br /><br /><img src="http://www.network54.com/Realm/jphotos/T3Johnsn.JPG"> <br /><br />(The t206's a Polar Bear--hence stains). I'll go along with Matty and Cy, too.

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09-27-2004, 05:36 PM
Posted By: <b>Gary B.</b><p>on the top three - amazing!

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09-27-2004, 06:01 PM
Posted By: <b>Jason</b><p>You can't really go wrong with either Johnson or Mathewson.<br /><br />Both were two of the best pitchers to ever play the game, but a SABR guy is likely more inclined to go with Johnson since he has the second most wins on a general worse teams, and he had such high strikeout totals. In fact wasn't he #1 until Nolan Ryan passed him?<br /><br />19th century pitchers would be an interesting debate. I'm becoming more interested in the early era of baseball. I remember Radbourne put up some sick win totals for a couple of years if I remember correctly from my old Total Baseball book.

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09-27-2004, 07:03 PM
Posted By: <b>Chris</b><p>I agree with Walter Johnson being the best. My vote for most underrated goes to Deacon Phillippe. Was great early on and nearly single handedly won the first World Series.

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09-27-2004, 07:14 PM
Posted By: <b>jay behrens</b><p>I forget the exact number, but Walter Johnson lost over 50 games in his career by the score 1-0. His win total is staggering enough, but would be even more impressive had he gotten any kind of run support.<br /><br />Jay<br><br>I saw weird stuff in that place last night. Wierd, strange, sick, twisted, eerie, godless, evil stuff. And I want in.

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09-27-2004, 08:00 PM
Posted By: <b>Sean Coe</b><p>My ranking of those mentioned: 1.Johnson 2.Mathewson 3.Young 4.Brown 5.Ruth 6.Waddell 7.Joss. I think I would have to put Chief Bender in front of Ruth. He was a money pitcher.

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09-27-2004, 08:31 PM
Posted By: <b>Judge Dred</b><p>Jason,<br /><br />Those "sick" win totals (60 in one year alone) for Radbourn could be a little misleading. Could you imagine Walter Johson with a 45' or 50' pitching distance? I would figure that a few of those pitchers from way back might deserve some consideration for being pioneers but this thread has probably rightfully selected the top dead-ball era pitcher in Johnson. I'd still like to find out which pitcher hurled for the most futile team(s) in their career. The stat that someone brought up regarding Johnson losing over 50 games by a 1-0 score is amazing. Could you imagine Kevin Brown losing 50 games by a score of 1-0. He'd be crippled.<br /><br />One more caveat for the 19th century pitching distances - being a catcher would have been a short lived career. How did they survive back then?

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09-27-2004, 09:31 PM
Posted By: <b>Gary B.</b><p>I don't know if I could put Ruth up that high. Admittedly, he was a great pitcher with a phenomenal winning percentage, and even better ERA, but I don't think he pitched long enough to qualify as one of the dead ball era greats, at least not in the top 10. Joss didn't play too long either, but he at least had a few more years than Ruth.<br /><br />It still blows my mind that Babe Ruth was such a great pitcher. Can you imagine being a pitcher back then being consistently devestated by the Babe getting home run after home run off of you, knowing that he used to strike YOU out on a regular basis? Now THAT is intimidation.

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09-27-2004, 09:36 PM
Posted By: <b>Jason</b><p>I didn't want to say 60 wins for Radbourne in a season but that number did stick in my head. If my memory continues to serve me, not only did he benefit from the closer mound to plate distance but I believe the guy started almost every second day. I remember reading Box scores of the championship series in Total Baseball and I think he started the first four games of the series.

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09-27-2004, 10:23 PM
Posted By: <b>Julie</b><p>Home plate was still 50' from the pitcher's mound--that would of course apply to OPPOSING pitchers too, no? His ERA that year was 1.38. It took 6 balls to walk a batter...<br />but the catcher still had to catch the ball on the fly for the pitcher to record a strikeout.

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09-27-2004, 11:08 PM
Posted By: <b>Judge Dred</b><p>The story about Radbourn's 60 win season goes something like this:<br /><br />In 1884 Old Hoss played for the Providence club. In July he was suspended for general drunkeness and lack of effort. The clubs other pitcher jumped ship and that left the team with Old Hoss. He told the team he'd pitch the remainder of the games if he was given his release and a large bonus at the end of the season. The team did so well that they were pretty far ahead by the end of the season and he didn't have to pitch every game. <br /><br />The outcome was a 60-12 record that helped lead to his entry into the HOF and an Old Judge card that doesn't seem to get any cheaper. He is the only player to record 60 wins in a season. There were a couple of other players that won 50+, but he's the lone hurler at 60. He won 167 games in 4 seasons (1881-1884).

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09-28-2004, 12:10 AM
Posted By: <b>Julie</b><p>He won 311 and lost 194. HOF 1939. This year his Old Judge card (all 18 of them--slight exaggeration--) list(s) for 1,800. Only the portrait lists for 6000.<br /><br />When I inherited a lot of money, the Radbourne portrait was the first thing I thought of. The Peck and Snyder Cincinnati with the Peck ad back was the second.<br /><br />He died in 1897, aged 46, of syphilis of the brain.

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09-28-2004, 08:18 AM
Posted By: <b>Gilbert Maines</b><p>Judge - Johnson at 45-50' is real frightening. Isn't Walter Johnson the all time leader in hit batsmen? No helmets, yikes.

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09-28-2004, 09:04 AM
Posted By: <b>Hal Lewis</b><p>I believe from reading my 1868 "The Game of Baseball" by Henry Chadwick that the catchers in the 19th century did NOT stand right behind the batter.<br /><br />The diagram and drawings show the catcher standing maybe 20 feet behind home plate ... and the umpire even further back.<br /><br />This would explain how they survived!!

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09-28-2004, 10:27 AM
Posted By: <b>runscott</b><p>(which you have to buy) it sounded like the players felt it was Johnson, Waddell and Mathewson, in about that order. I missed seeing any of them play, so I can't really say.<br /><br />Also, these guys didn't discuss 19th century pitchers like John Clarkson, etc.

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09-28-2004, 11:08 AM
Posted By: <b>runscott</b><p>what's your email address? The one I normally use is getting rejected and I need to clue you in on something on ebay <img src="/images/happy.gif" height=14 width=14>

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09-28-2004, 11:18 AM
Posted By: <b>Rob L</b><p>Has anyone ever seen any video of Walter Johnson pitching? The only footage I have ever seen is from the Ken Burns documentary. Is there anything else?

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09-28-2004, 12:04 PM
Posted By: <b>Julie</b><p>1893.<img src="http://www.network54.com/Realm/jphotos/042502_2178_1220_prv.gif">

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09-28-2004, 01:10 PM
Posted By: <b>Darren J. Duet</b><p>I agree that Walter Johnson was the best pitcher of the era, but not by a mile. On a average season basis Christy Mathewson appears to edge out Walter Johnson(based solely on statistics). But when you take a look at the big picture and consider the team support each must have had, I vote for the Big Train.

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09-28-2004, 01:27 PM
Posted By: <b>Julie</b><p>Nobody disagreed, did they?

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09-28-2004, 01:59 PM
Posted By: <b>shoo</b><p>Ill be going against the norm here but I have to go with Cy Young who not only was a great pitcher but also a great hitter compiling 638 hits not sure if it is still the record or not. Its a dead heat for second with the Big Train, the Big six and grover cleveland alexander who did a stint in WWI, Its just an opinion all of them were great.

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09-28-2004, 02:08 PM
Posted By: <b>john/z28jd</b><p>If youre taking hitting into consideration then its even more of an arguement towards Johnson over Young,because Walter hit 235 career compared to .210 for Young.His hits record is due to longevity.In 600 fewer at-bats Johnson also had more extra base hits

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09-28-2004, 02:15 PM
Posted By: <b>shoo</b><p>I believe young pitched for 22years and johnson 21 years hardly a difference. Young had 16 20 or more win seasons, 5 times with 30 or more, johnson 12 and 2, like i said its just an opinion.

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09-28-2004, 02:32 PM
Posted By: <b>john/z28jd</b><p>I wasnt 2nd guessing your pick,i was just saying using hitting doesnt help Young over Johnson.If you gave Walter an extra 600 plus at-bats to equal how many Cy had then there would be a huge difference in hitting stats but as it stands they still favor Johnson.25 point difference in batting average ALONG with more extra base hits in 600 plus fewer at-bats is a big plus for Johnson.<br /><br />Johnson has a higher average then Young had on base percent,much better slugging percent obviously,but he also walked more so his on base percent is much higher too.<br /><br />If somebody wants to pick Young as a better pitcher i have no problem with that,or if they think Mathewson was the best thats ok too but you cant use hitting to help out Youngs case

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09-28-2004, 06:40 PM
Posted By: <b>John Dickson</b><p> A lifetime ERA of 1.82 is amazing. Joss is close behind at 1.88 for 9 years. That takes poor run support out of the picture.

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09-28-2004, 06:51 PM
Posted By: <b>Rob L</b><p>Based on the original question of the best deadball era pitcher, the total is:<br /><br />14 - Walter Johnson<br />1 - Cy Young<br />1 - Ed Walsh<br /><br />In terms of the top three, the general consensus appears to be:<br /><br />1. Walter Johnson<br />2. Christy Mathewson<br />3. Cy Young<br /><br />Since Walter Johnson was the overwhelming choice and an apparent no brainer, I think I will take Chris' suggestion to see if we can get more of a debate going. A new survey question will be on the way.