posted on Oct, 30 2005 @ 07:59 PM
Again conceding I know from nothing about basketball....
Is it fair to take a small sample of Wilt's career and judge him by it? That's what people have done with Bob Gibson, citing his World Series record,
and I think they've badly over-inflated him as a result.
YES, he's the greatest World Series pitcher I've seen in 47 years of watching the Fall Classic. He wasn't nearly as good in 1964 as people make him
out to have been, going 2-1 and winning Game Seven, but doing so by a score of 7-5, giving up 5 earned runs and 3 home runs. Not exactly the way to
win Game 7 as a starter. His manager was grilled about why he kept Gibson in so long. Answer: "I had a commitment to his heart."
But Gibson in 1967 and 1968 pitched better than any other pitcher I know of ever pitched in 2 Series and 6 starts. No, he didn't throw 3 shutouts in
either year, like Mathewson did in 1905, but his stats in both Series were overwhelming (basically a pitcher's equivalent of Ruth-like stats), as he
went 3-0 in 1967 and strangled Boston, then suffocated Detroit in Games 1 and 4 in 1968, and lost Game 7 only because Curt Flood, with the score tied
0-0 and 2 outs in the 7th, misjudged a fly ball by erroneously breaking in on it, giving Jim Northrup a bogus "triple" that knocked in two runs.
As a result of those 6 games, Gibson is routinely named one of the 10, and usually one of the 5, best post-Dead Ball pitchers ever. And there is NO
WAY he was that good. Just among active pitchers, Clemens, Maddux, Pedro and The Big Unit are all far better, unless you make World Series games
worth about 30 times as much as other games.
I don't think that's a valid way of evaluating a pitcher's career, and very few baseball fans I've talked with do, either.
QUERY: Should Russell vs. Chamberlain be treated differently? Granted, when you play 82 games, as opposed to 162, and your playoff series is 7 games
in both sports, it's obvious that 7 out of a total of 89 games (not counting other playoff series) is a much bigger percentage than 7 out of 169 total
games. But pretty much the ONLY arguments I hear for Russell over Chamberlain are that Russell's team got the better of Wilt's in the playoffs
(repeatedly), and perhaps that Russell individually outplayed Wilt.
From what I understand--and let me know if you agree with this--Russell DID NOT HAVE TO out-perform Wilt, right? And he didn't have to totally
neutralize Wilt, either. He had to keep Wilt sufficiently under control that Wilt did not rack up his outrageous, ludicrous, Ruth-like,
blow-out-the-computer statistics. And he did a very, very good job of that in most, if not all, of their postseason games, correct?
Is that enough reason--and this question is real, not rhetorical--to rate Russell ahead of Wilt for their entire respective careers? I mean, maybe it
is. When you have the talent that I see some of those Celtic teams had (Cousy, Havlicek, etc.), you probably started the year taking it as a given
you would make the playoffs, right?
So maybe, as with today's top NBA teams, the Celtics of that era took a playoff berth for granted and focused their attention from Day One of the
season on the playoffs, much as some NBA teams today do. If so, maybe it IS right to place what otherwise would be inordinate emphasis on those
Russell-Wilt matchups in evaluating Russell's career. I, obviously, have no clue if this is fair. So I'm asking y'all.
Is that the case? Does that seem fair? Or does it seem like this is a basketball version of what baseball has done with Bob Gibson, transforming a
pitcher with a 251-174 record (that's 8 more wins and 32 more losses than Marichal had) into one of the very greatest ever because of those last 6
What do you all think of this question?
Baseball History Nut