posted on Apr, 28 2006 @ 11:36 PM
Through tonight's game, what is Maddux's Adjusted ERA? And ditto for Pedro, who is also 5-0, but I suspect with less impressive #'s?
MY GOD, what an age for all-time great pitchers. Enjoy them while they last, guys, because in another 10 years, it's for sure Pedro, Maddux, Clemens
and Big Unit will all be retired. And in 50 years, it's extremely likely all 4 will be remembered by history experts as among the Top 10 pitchers of
all time, with Pedro and Clemens vying for the honor of #1 right-hander.
If Big Unit had gotten started 5 years earlier (i.e., if he'd learned to coordinate that titanic body--the same problem Hank Greenberg had as a
fielder), he'd be a rational contender of Lefty Grove's for the #1 PITCHER of all time. The other night, Hootie expressed the view that Unit could be
fairly considered as the #2 lefty of all time--i.e., ahead of Warren Spahn, and behind only the incomparable Grove.
I took a good look at Spahn's numbers. He has 100 more wins than Big Unit, which speaks for itself, but he has MORE than 100 more losses, and Big
Unit has about a 24-point career edge on Spahn in Adjusted ERA, in large part because County Stadium was a pitcher's paradise. 24 points in
Adjusted ERA is a TON, and Big Unit isn't all that far behind Grove, the #1 man among retired pitchers, on the All-Time Adjusted ERA list.
So, even though it seems absurd to taken a 263-game winner over the 363-game winner who easily leads all Live Ball pitchers in career wins, and even
though you'd love to have a guy who makes a zillion starts in 21 years and wins 363 games for you... it may well be true that the Big Unit--and not
Warren Spahn--is the #2 left-handed pitcher of all time.
Unit would have to move heaven and earth to make #1, and at his age, he hasn't got the time. But Pedro does, and Pedro is the career leader in
Adjusted ERA by an unbelievable margin. That margin will fall at the end of his career, of course, but whether it falls enough for Grove to go back
to #1 remains to be seen.
Two years ago, Grove was in his permanent resting place at 148, meaning he was 48% better (!!!) than the average pitcher of his time, with proper ball
park adjustments (he pitched in dreadful parks for a lefty). And also two years ago, Pedro had a career Adjusted ERA of 172--50% again further
over 100 than Grove's, and thus half again better.
That was one of the most unbelievable stats I ever saw. Coming into this year, Pedro had "fallen" to 166. That's still a big lead, and it's unreal
when you consider what it means. But I suspect he'll pitch quite a few more years. It will be interesting to see.