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Best Pitcher of the Modern Era (1980-present)

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Michael Echan, Jan 7, 2010.


Since 1980, who has been the best overall starting pitcher? (listed alphabetically)

  1. Roger Clemens: 24 seasons, 354-184 (.658 W%), 3.12 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 118 CG - 46 SHO, 4916.2 IP, 4672

    10 vote(s)
  2. Randy Johnson: 22 seasons, 303-166 (.646 W%), 3.29 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 100 CG - 37 SHO, 4135.1 IP, 4875

    7 vote(s)
  3. Greg Maddux: 23 seasons, 355-227 (.610 W%), 3.16 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 109 CG - 35 SHO, 5008.1 IP, 3371 K

    33 vote(s)
  4. Pedro Martinez: 18 seasons, 219-100 (.687 W%), 2.93 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 46 CG - 17 SHO, 2827.1 IP, 3154

    13 vote(s)
  1. Michael Echan

    Michael Echan Member

    I don't know how you can easily pick one here. Clemens has a pitcher's rarity: an MVP award, Johnson has all those strikeouts, a perfect game and another no-hitter, Maddux was so reliable and ungodly precise and Martinez's peak rivals--if not surpasses--Koufax's best years. In the end, I think I have to go with Johnson, mostly because of his strikeout numbers, the no-hitters and for a good 13-year stretch (1993 to 2005), he was one of the five best pitchers in the game.

    PS - Johnson's entry was lopped off a little. He also had six 300-K seasons and one 20-K game.
  2. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Why is 1980 the Modern Era? You mean the ESPN Era?
  3. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Every time I watched him he was like a maestro: Maddux.
  4. Crash

    Crash Active Member

    I enjoy watching power pitchers, but I favor the way Greg Maddux did it. He didn't just blow guys away, he completely baffled them with his command and his pitch selection. Plus, he was an amazing defensive pitcher.

    I'm not looking up any stats, but it seems like Maddux lost a lot of close, low-scoring games too, particularly early in his career.
  5. Michael Echan

    Michael Echan Member

    Not necessarily. Just that they're generally regarded as some of the best pitchers ever and they played era, so their numbers are comparable. It wouldn't be like comparing Johnson to Steve Carlton, where the two were playing in different environments and circumstances. (And yes, a similar poll was posted on ESPN, but I elaborated a little more here.)
  6. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    If you were giving me a pitcher as a rookie and telling me he was mine through his entire career, I would take Maddux. That is a pretty easy decision for me.

    If you asked me to take one for one season or for a 3-5 year window, then the decision is much, much harder.
  7. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Good point.

    Clemens is the answer to the question. He might be the answer regardless of what years you're talking about.

    It's a shame his career has been tainted.
  8. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    Tainted by his final years with the Red Sox?
  9. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Johnson doesn't compare to Steve Carlton...or Sandy Koufax...or Warren Spahn.

    OK, seriously...

    Clemens: eliminated because of steroids
    Johnson: eliminated because he is an ass, Jeff Pearlman said so [/crossthreading]
    Pedro: I love him but too often injured.

    Maddux: The Maestro.
  10. qtlaw

    qtlaw Well-Known Member

    I think Johnson was the most dominant. He could light you up with either the high hard one or the devastating slider.

    I watched Clemens throughout (I'm a huge Bosox fan) and the lingering feeling I always had was his best pitch was the heater without a studly off-speed pitch (until he developed the splitter with Toronto) and he did not shine in the post-season, ever (a GM 4 gem with the series 3-0 does not count in my book).

    I loved Pedro but have to admit that the Unit was more dominant for a longer period.
  11. Michael Echan

    Michael Echan Member

    Why doesn't Johnson compare to Carlton, Koufax or Spahn? Yes, Johnson didn't pitcher nearly as often, but opposing line-ups for those three weren't nearly as difficult as it was for Johnson, not to forget the differences in mound-heights and strike zones.

    With that said, it's hard for me to see a "wrong" answer here.
  12. Captain_Kirk

    Captain_Kirk Well-Known Member

    Clemens got my vote.

    But, the one I enjoyed watching the most was Maddux. The way he changed speeds and hit the corners was a thing of beauty. A Mona Lisa of the mound. And with his velocity (or lack there of) and physical build, he seemed sort of like a regular joe on the mound.

    Figure on a site filled with sportswriters that Maddux would win this poll. Guy had to be a deadline dream--he worked so quick and efficiently that most of his games probably ended in 2:20 or so.
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