posted on May, 6 2006 @ 01:03 PM
Well, I admit I hadn't thought to check the 1969 Mets. Hang on:
OK, their Adjusted Team E.R.A. was 123. Now, please realize that means ALL of their pitchers, taken as a group, were 23% better than the average
pitcher of that year, which is great for a team. While I'm at it, I'll look at Gibson's 1968 team: Nope, 116... because ALL pitchers were having
great years, just not nearly as great as his. (Witness, e.g., Hall of Frauds member Don Drysdale's breaking Walter Johnson's record for consecutive
I'm stunned that the leader, by a huge margin, appears to be the 1926 A's. The '29-'31 A's are famed for having taken 3 straight pennants from the
monster teams of Ruth, Gehrig, Bill D*ckey and 6 other H.O.F.'ers, and the centerpiece of those teams--despite the growing excellence of the very
young Double XX, the great Mickey Cochrane (my #4 catcher) and Al Simmons (probably better than Foxx in these three years, but it's a real close
call), was Grove--with his awesome ERA's and his 79-15 record. A pitcher named George Earnshaw helped a lot, too. THOSE teams I checked because I
realistically thought they might have a shot at this thing.
But the 1926 A's? Yeah, they were 16 games over .500, but they finished in 3rd place, and I frankly had never heard a word about how overall-great
their pitching was. I didn't have Clue One that all these other pitchers had career years that season, only to fall so far short of the Yankees
Murderers Row and all their runs scored.
Well, OK, I had one clue: Sophomore pitcher Grove led the league in E.R.A. and Adjusted E.R.A. (at 166), and the nearest pitcher with the requisite #
of innings pitched was George Uhle, all the way back at 144. Yet Grove was only .500 that year, at 13-13. THAT I knew.
But hell, I remember a year--as, I'm sure, do many of you--when Nolan Ryan led the league in E.R.A. and K's, and somehow managed to have a W-L record
of 8-16... back in 1987. How'd you like to have taken batting practice against HIM that year? And yeah, Grove threw extremely hard, but NOLAN
Anyway, while I had previously HEARD of knuckleballers Ehmke and Quinn, I didn't--and still don't--know anything of their careers, except that they
weren't good enough for a spot in the Hall. And all those other pitchers I know nothing at all about. So, somebody please tell me:
How the hell did the 1926 A's--not the 1928, 1929, 1930 or 1931 A's, but the 1926 A's--pull that off? And are there any other teams out there
whose staffs all had career years at the same time? Isn't 139--for a TEAM--just ridiculous, when there have been a few (very few) years when that
number would have led the league for an INDIVIDUAL PITCHER??
P.S. For what this is worth, YeahRight, A LOT of us had an urge to slap Jim Palmer.
I got over mine in the mid-80's, when Palmer was at the end of his line, trying to decide whether to come back long enough to pursue win #300, and he
was broadcasting an A.B.C. "Game of the Week," along with two other sportscasters, one of whom was the insufferable Howard Cosell. Cosell told
Palmer, before a national TV audience, to give up on his comeback plans because he was through. Palmer said, "Thanks, Howard. Knowing how much
respect not only I, but everyone else I know in baseball has for your understanding and opinions about the game--"
The lead announcer cut them off. But I wanted to hug Jim Palmer. And I'm not given to hugging other guys, but THAT was special....