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The All-Time MLB Team, right-handed starting pitchers: nominations and ballot

Vote for one pitcher, get another vote (of equal or less WAR) free!

Satchel Paige Kissing Baseball

A slightly different structure here, since we’re looking at electing two right-handed starting pitchers. There will be a pair of polls with the same players, and you get to vote in each. I would imagine you would vote for your first and second choices, but if you feel you want to vote for the same pitcher in both, who am I to stop you? This is America, after all. The winners of each poll will be the ones who make it onto the All-Time team. In the (hopefully unlikely) event that the same player wins both, then the highest-percentage runner-up, across either poll, will get the second spot. Anyway, that’s my problem and not yours.

Here are the candidates. I think I basically got anyone whose name received more than a passing mention in the comments thread. Except Nolan Ryan, since the conversation around his name seemed more arguments for why he sucked. :) Though given the increased volume, these nomination paragraphs may be a bit shorter than for the position player categories.

Roger Clemens

Jack: “OK, I’ll be the bad guy... but I have to nominate Roger Clemens. PED’s or not, Clemens put up virtually the same value as Walter Johnson while pitching against far far better competition in fully integrated leagues. From 1986-1992 , age 23 to 29, and considered long before he started using PED, he had a 7 year peak of 58 WAR, which would STILL put him behind only Johnson for Peak 7 WAR, and through 1996 his, age 33 season, his career WAR was already 81. Believe me, I hate myself for nominating Clemens over Seaver. True loathing. But facts are facts. Clemens was the greatest right handed pitcher of all time.”

Bob Gibson

gzimmerm: “For his sheer dominance and intimidation.” Two Cy Youngs and Gibson even performed the rare feat for a pitcher of also winning the 1968 MVP award in the National League. That would be for throwing 304.2 innings with a 1.12 ERA. That’s not a misprint. One. Point. One. Two. He threw 13 complete-game shutouts that year. There were only 18 last season in the entire NL. It’s not really an exaggeration to say that the mound being lowered for the following season was largely a result of Gibson’s dominance. But it hardly matters. Two years later, he won the Cy Young award again, going 23-7.

Walter Johnson

MrRBI17: “I nominate Walter Johnson. Consider: 417 Wins. He AVERAGED 19 wins per year over a 21 year career. Often pitching for a second division team. The joke ran, “Washington: First in War, First in Peace, and Last in the American League! 110 complete game shutouts, a MLB record that will surely never be broken 2.17 ERA (!) 3,509 strikeouts in an era where hitters did not strike out nearly as often.” Even for his time, Johnson was a horse, leading the league in innings five times, and six times in ERA+. He won a pair of MVP awards, eleven years apart, and had a career ERA+ of 147.

Greg Maddux

Jack: “It’s notable that the 94-95 strike cost Maddux about 4 WAR. If you give him back those 4 WAR for that lost time, even his peak WAR7 in the table I posted would then be higher than Pedro’s, and behind only Clemens and Johnson, 3rd best all time. His career total would improve to 4th all time just ahead of Pete Alexander.” He won four NL Cy Young awards in a row, from 1992 through 1995, including back-to-back seasons when he had ERA+ figures of 271 and 260. Legendary control, peaking in 1997 when he had a K:BB ratio of 177:20, striking out almost nine batters for every walk.

Pedro Martinez

Xerostomia: “I nominate Pedro Martinez. ‘We’ traded Deshields for him, and it pleases me to no end that we ‘stuck it’ to the Dodgers in that deal. My bias is that he played for the Expos, and defied the odds (his physique) . The reason why the Dodgers made that deal was because he was short (as we recently discussed, I still believe there is a systemic bias against short RHP) and did not think he would amount to anything significant.” Won three Cy Young in four years, coming second to Clemens the other, so that deserves an asterisk. His ERA+ of 154 is the all-time best by any pitcher with at least 2,500 innings of work.

Christy Mathewson

Oldenschoole: “A gentleman pitcher during an age when being a gentleman meant something. He was in the first group of five to go into the Hall of Fame.” He won five ERA titles in the dead-ball period of the game, and had thirteen consecutive seasons with an ERA below three. Pitched three shutouts in the 1915 World Series, and his career numbers would perhaps have been even more impressive, had he ever pitched on Sundays, something he refused to do. His career probably peaked in 1908, when he won thirty-seven games, with an ERA of 1.43

Leroy “Satchel” Paige

Didn’t even reach the majors until he was 41, and posted an ERA+ of 125 over 476 innings after that point. Including his three innings of shutout ball for the Kansas City Athletics, at the age of fifty-nine. There’s still hope for me! But in his prime, Paige dominated the Negro Leagues, with a 166 ERA+ over a 21-year period there. He was at his best in 1934, going 13-3 for the Pittsburgh Crawfords, with an ERA of 1.54 (ERA+ 268). Originally using nothing but a devastating fastball, Paige’s repertoire broadened over the years, eventually including a slow curve and a knuckleball.

Cy Young

ChuckJohnson56: “The best pitcher of the year award still carries his name after all.” Among unbeatable baseball records, Young’s 511 wins is likely close to the top of the list. It’s 94 more than anyone else: he won 25+ games in a season a dozen times, and over 30 on five occasions. He pitched a trio of no-hitters, including the first perfect game in the World Series era, in 1904. For counting stats, no pitcher in the game can match Young, who faced almost thirty thousand batters over the course of his career, with his 815 starts also the most ever in the majors.

Bob Feller

ChuckJohnson56: “For the same reason Jack nominated Ted Williams in the hitters thread I’m throwing out Bob Feller, missed three and a half seasons due to WW2 then came back and threw 371 innings.” I almost missed this nomination, but am happy to drop this one in at the end. Given he won 25 and 26 games in the full seasons around his military service, you could argue it cost him close to a hundred wins and perhaps around 35 bWAR, putting him in the three-digit club. He won 17 games in his age 19 season, and 24 the following year. A fireballer before the current time, some measurements had him reaching 105 mph or higher.

Poll

Best RHSP in baseball history, first poll

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Roger Clemens
    (6 votes)
  • 31%
    Bob Gibson
    (24 votes)
  • 11%
    Walter Johnson
    (9 votes)
  • 13%
    Greg Maddux
    (10 votes)
  • 7%
    Pedro Martinez
    (6 votes)
  • 3%
    Christy Mathewson
    (3 votes)
  • 5%
    Leroy "Satchel" Paige
    (4 votes)
  • 17%
    Cy Young
    (13 votes)
  • 1%
    Bob Feller
    (1 vote)
76 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Best RHSP in baseball history, second poll

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Roger Clemens
    (5 votes)
  • 21%
    Bob Gibson
    (15 votes)
  • 15%
    Walter Johnson
    (11 votes)
  • 13%
    Greg Maddux
    (9 votes)
  • 10%
    Pedro Martinez
    (7 votes)
  • 2%
    Christy Mathewson
    (2 votes)
  • 10%
    Leroy "Satchel" Paige
    (7 votes)
  • 13%
    Cy Young
    (9 votes)
  • 5%
    Bob Feller
    (4 votes)
69 votes total Vote Now