Scouting the deliveries of pitchers from the dawn of the television era and earlier.
Over the past two weeks, we’ve looked at the pitchers who gained entry to the Hall of Fame during the formative years of my youth. Most of these pitchers hailed from the 1960s and '70s, with the occasional senior citizen (read: Hoyt Wilhelm) having gained notoriety in the '50s. The footage becomes more scarce—and less colorful—as we progress back in time, and the lack of video clips makes it more difficult to break down the pitching mechanics of the founding fathers of Cooperstown.
How often has a pitcher issued 10 or more walks and 10 or more strikeouts in the same game? Not often at all.
When we examined Sandy Koufax's workload a while back, reader LynchMob asked whether anyone had thrown more than 193 pitches in a game since Koufax did it on May 28, 1960. I found two documented cases, both by members of the following year's Dodgers:
Matt Cain tied Sandy Koufax for the most Ks in a Perfect Game with 14. But did he face a better lineup?
Matt Cain’s 14 strikeout perfect game tied the great Sandy Koufax for the most strikeouts in a perfecto. Whether it is the fact that the Giants won 10-0 (highest margin of victory ever in a perfect game) compared to Koufax’s 1-0 win or just the general nostalgia for past superstars, there is some belief that Koufax’s gem was still “better.” Whether in support of Koufax’s as the best perfect game or not, several comments have been thrown around with regards to quality of Cain’s opponent., some even outright dismissing the feat because it came against the Astros.
We honor the memory of the late Greg Spira by republishing one of his best pieces as Jack Morris' Hall of Fame case returns to the spotlight.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
The late Greg Spira tackled the notion that certain hurlers "pitch to the score" in the following piece, which was originally published in Baseball Prospectus 1997.
On the surface, it looks like a close race, but after looking at opponent quality, there is a definitive winner.
The past few weeks have seen Justin Verlander solidify his standing as the AL Cy Young favorite as the Tigers have pulled away from the AL Central pack. Not that the 28-year-old righty has been particularly dominant lately. His home-run rate over his last nine turns (1.40 per nine) has been more than double what it was for his previous 22 (0.65), but because he's otherwise done a fine job of keeping opponents off the bases while receiving more than six runs per game of offensive support, he has collected wins in each of his last 10 turns. His 22 victories have matched the majors' highest total since 2003, and even for a voting body that's shown its evolution by awarding consecutive Cys to Zack Greinke (16 wins) and Felix Hernandez (13 wins), that's the kind of thing that will be noticed when ballots are cast.
When is a World Series start worth as much as a Hall of Famer's whole career?
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
The best pitcher not in the Hall of Fame discusses his curveball, his contemporaries, and why he's glad he is not of this era.
In all likelihood, Bert Blyleven is the best pitcher not in the Hall of Fame. Blessed with one of the greatest curveballs the game has ever seen, Blyleven stands among the elite in several statistical categories, ranking fifth all-time in strikeouts (3,701), ninth in games started (685) and shutouts (60), and 24th in wins (287). A workhorse who hurled 4,970 innings over 22 seasons, Blyleven pitched well in his limited number of post-season appearances, going 5-1 with a 2.47 ERA while earning World Series rings with the 1979 Pirates and 1987 Twins. A native of Holland who served as the pitching coach for the Dutch team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Blyleven is currently in his 14th season as a color commentator for the Minnesota Twins.
A famous rocker talks about one of his other great loves beyond music: baseball.
There are baseball fans, and then there is George Thorogood. An icon in the music world, Thorogood is not only a passionate Mets fan, he is also a walking-and-shouting baseball historian. A former second baseman with the semi-pro Delaware Destroyers, Thorogood has multiple gold records to go with his baseball pedigree, not to mention a reputation as one of the best live performers on the blues-and-rock circuit. About to hit the road for yet another tour, Thorogood shared his thoughts on performance-enhancing drugs, the brilliance of Sandy Koufax, and what it was like to talk baseball with the legendary John Lee Hooker.