17 December 2009

All Quarter Century Team: Starting Pitchers

Sorting through the last 25 seasons of starting pitchign wasn't easy, but picking the first three starters was. Starters number four and number five were a bit more difficult, but I am happy with my selections.

My number one starting pitcher is the second greatest left handed pitcher in the history of the game, Randy Johnson. The Big Unit, as he was known, was probably the most dominant pitcher of the past 25 seasons as well. He has five Cy Young awards, winning four straight from 1999-2002, ten All Star game selections, a World Series ring and MVP. He is 2nd all time in strikeouts, 1st all time in strikeouts per nine innings pitched (a whopping 10+), 300+ career wins and is 1st or 2nd amongst active pitchers in many categories. Not to mention, he destroyed a seagull with one pitch.

Reason number one he is my number two starter: He was born in my hometown. Reason number two: Four consecutive Cy Youngs (from 1992 to 1995). Reason number 3: 355 (as in number of wins, 8th all time). Reason number 4: From 1990 to 2008, Greg Maddux won EVERY Gold Glove at the pitcher position except for ONE. That's EIGHTEEN Gold Gloves. He is also, suprisingly enough, 10th on the all time strike outs list.

Pedro F'n Martinez. Probably the nastiest righty of the last 25 seasons (sorry Roger, you had help). Would have won 4 straight Cy Youngs, but had to settle for 3 in 4 seasons (once again, Roger Clemens got in the way). His stretch of season from 1997 to 2003 may be the most dominant stretch of pitching in the history of the league. He had an ERA of 2.20 in that span, along with 118 wins against 36 losses (yes, EIGHTY TWO more wins than losses), a WHIP of 0.94, every year but one he finished in the top 3 of the Cy Young voting and he averaged 252 k's per season, over 201 innings.

Ol' Smoltzie. Probably the most versatile pitcher this side of Dennis Eckersley. The only player in history with a 20 win season and a 50 save season under his belt. He only has one Cy Young, but eight all star game appearances, has over 3,000 strikeouts (even though seven of his 21 seasons he had less than 100 strikeouts) and has a career ERA and WHIP of 3.33 and 1.17, respectively. Just an absolutely dominant force who, along with Maddux and Tom Glavine, helped carry the Braves to all those division wins.

The second lefty (and third Brave) on my list is none other than little Tommy Glavine. Maybe some won't agree with me here, but 300+ wins, 2 Cy Youngs, 10 All Star games, 4 Silver Sluggers and a World Series ring tell me he is one of the greats. A sure ballot Hall of Famer, though he did scorn Braves fans the world over when he signed with the Mets. Probably the most underrated (and least feared) of the Braves big three, he quietly hung out in the shadows of the two big stars to amass some great stats.

Took me a few extra days, but it was worth it, in my opinion. Next up this weekend: Relief Pitchers.

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