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OmarLittle
04-02-2009, 02:53 AM
I was having this argument with a friend today, I said Pedro, he said Koufax.

What do you guys think? Who was the better pitcher?

LITTLE NELL
04-02-2009, 05:59 AM
I'll go with Koufax, a guy who throws a perfect game against the Flubs will always be a hero to me. A real shame how his arm broke down.

asindc
04-02-2009, 09:47 AM
Koufax, but it is close. Pedro might have matched him if he was willing to pitch until his arm nearly fell off, like Koufax did.

PKalltheway
04-02-2009, 09:56 AM
It's close, but I'll give the nod to Koufax. 4 no-hitters (including a perfect game), and he won 27 games in his final season (1966). He also has the highest single season strikeout total for a lefty (382 in 1965).

Lip Man 1
04-02-2009, 10:11 AM
In the mid 1960's Sandy Koufax had arguably the greatest stretch of pitching dominance in the history of the game.

He was "the pitcher of the decade in the decade of the pitcher."

That tells you all you need to know.

Lip

Eddo144
04-02-2009, 10:16 AM
I love questions like this. I think I'm going to go a bit against the grain and say Pedro, though. He put up similar numbers, but in a much more offensive environment. Remember that Koufax pitched off a higher mound.

Since we're talking about two pitchers who are known for their peak, let's take a five-year stretch for each:


KOUFAX PEDRO
year ERA ERA+ WHIP K/NIBB year ERA ERA+ WHIP K/NIBB
1962 2.54 141 1.036 216/53 1999 2.07 243 0.923 313/36
1963 1.88 159 0.875 306/51 2000 1.74 291 0.737 284/32
1964 1.74 187 0.928 223/48 2001 2.39 189 0.934 163/25
1965 2.04 160 0.855 382/67 2002 2.26 202 0.923 239/39
1966 1.73 190 0.985 317/73 2003 2.22 210 1.039 206/47


I think you can say with confidence that Pedro's 2000 season is the greatest ever by a pitcher. (And comparing Koufax's 1964 with Pedro's 2000 can give you a great idea of just how the offensive environment changed over the years; they had the same raw ERA, but Pedro's was 2.91 times better than an average pitcher in 2000, while Koufax's was "only" 1.87 times better than an average pitcher in 1964.)

So I'll vote for Pedro, though it's a really tough choice. I think you can say without a doubt that Pedro and Koufax were the two pitchers who had the highest peaks, with Randy Johnson, Bob Gibson, and Greg Maddux trailing a little bit behind.

doublem23
04-02-2009, 10:36 AM
Pedro. The 1960s was a Pitcher's Era, the 2000's was a Hitter's Era.

PaleHoser
04-02-2009, 11:30 AM
Koufax.

I cite the 1965 World Series.

Game 5 - threw four hit complete game shutout with 10 strikeouts.
Game 7 - threw three hit complete game shutout with 10 strikeouts. On two days rest.

Finished the 1965 Series 2-1 with and ERA of 0.38. In 24 innings pitched, he gave up 13 hits, five walks and struck out 29.

Koufax pitched over 300 innings three of the last four years he pitched. Coincidentally, the Dodgers played in the World Series those three seasons.

ComiskeyBrewer
04-02-2009, 01:24 PM
I was having this argument with a friend today, I said Pedro, he said Koufax.

What do you guys think? Who was the better pitcher?

B&B actually had this discussion the other day, i'm still pretty torn.

JermaineDye05
04-02-2009, 01:27 PM
This conversation starts and ends with:

http://www.darrenwatt.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/chuck-norris-002.jpg

soxinem1
04-02-2009, 01:37 PM
In the mid 1960's Sandy Koufax had arguably the greatest stretch of pitching dominance in the history of the game.

He was "the pitcher of the decade in the decade of the pitcher."

That tells you all you need to know.

Lip

Exactly. The K/BB ratio, H/IP ratio, season win totals, and the ERA's tell the story.

He was as close to unhittable as any pitcher in MLB history for a good stretch, all while having a very balky elbow.

Eddo144
04-02-2009, 02:41 PM
Exactly. The K/BB ratio, H/IP ratio, season win totals, and the ERA's tell the story.

He was as close to unhittable as any pitcher in MLB history for a good stretch, all while having a very balky elbow.
Except Pedro's K/BB, WHIP, and ERA totals are nearly identical, and he did it in an era where offensive levels were at their highest.

I'll reiterate the numbers from both players' peak five seasons. I've bolded the five best single-seasons of each figure.

KOUFAX PEDRO
year ERA ERA+ WHIP K/NIBB year ERA ERA+ WHIP K/NIBB
1962 2.54 141 1.036 216/53 1999 2.07 243 0.923 313/36
1963 1.88 159 0.875 306/51 2000 1.74 291 0.737 284/32
1964 1.74 187 0.928 223/48 2001 2.39 189 0.934 163/25
1965 2.04 160 0.855 382/67 2002 2.26 202 0.923 239/39
1966 1.73 190 0.985 317/73 2003 2.22 210 1.039 206/47
Very, very similar. Koufax's raw ERAs are better, but Pedro's ERAs compare better to his era. Pedro also posted some ridiculous WHIP numbers, and while Koufax struck out more batters, he also walked more, so Pedro's K/BB numbers are actually slightly better, too.

ChiSoxFan81
04-02-2009, 02:42 PM
Vote for Pedro! :redneck

NLaloosh
04-02-2009, 03:15 PM
I think in his prime Pedro was the best pitcher ever. I think pitching in any other era he would've been even more successful.

He had to face DH's every game, roided up batters in smaller parks and possibly a juiced up ball ?

MarkZ35
04-02-2009, 03:42 PM
They both have great numbers but I would have to vote for pedro because of the time he pitched. With the DH, steroids, and hitters being probably better than ever before.

Lip Man 1
04-02-2009, 04:04 PM
Former Sox manager Jeff Torborg tells the story of having caught Sandy for a few of his no-hitters. He says his curve ball was so good, had so much torque that if the mound had been farther back from the plate the ball would have returned to Koufax like a boomerang.

(And no he wasn't kidding...)

Perdo was a very, very, VERY good pitcher but he didn't put the fear of God into hitters like Koufax did with a bad elbow that forced him to retire early or this question wouldn't even be asked in the first place.

And I hate to bring this up but since someone already mentioned steroids...who's to say Pedro didn't use them where they were legal in the Dominican (just ask Sammy Sosa)

Lip

doublem23
04-02-2009, 04:31 PM
Former Sox manager Jeff Torborg tells the story of having caught Sandy for a few of his no-hitters. He says his curve ball was so good, had so much torque that if the mound had been farther back from the plate the ball would have returned to Koufax like a boomerang.

(And no he wasn't kidding...)

Perdo was a very, very, VERY good pitcher but he didn't put the fear of God into hitters like Koufax did with a bad elbow that forced him to retire early or this question wouldn't even be asked in the first place.

Those are all nice and good stories, but they don't take away from the raw stats. Nobody is saying Sandy Koufax wasn't a great pitcher, but he pitched in an offensively dead era. Pedro, meanwhile pitched in an era of offense, offense, and more offense. Plus, Koufax never pitched after MLB lowered the mound in 1968.

And I hate to bring this up but since someone already mentioned steroids...who's to say Pedro didn't use them where they were legal in the Dominican (just ask Sammy Sosa)

Lip

And who's to say he did? That's a BS Argument to put forth when nobdoy has any idea what any one did. We know Pedro was facing a slew of roided hitters during his prime years. Maybe he juiced, maybe he didn't but it's crap to hold something against him when you don't know what he was doing.

And, while we're at it, who's to say Koufax didn't juice? Olympic athletes were using anabolic steroids as early as the 1940s and the FDA approved methandrostenolone from 1958-1976; today it is a banned steroid. If you can throw around baseless accusations about Pedro, I can about Koufax.

PaleHoser
04-02-2009, 04:40 PM
I think in his prime Pedro was the best pitcher ever. I think pitching in any other era he would've been even more successful.

He had to face DH's every game, roided up batters in smaller parks and possibly a juiced up ball ?

Just to play devil's advocate, Koufax didn't have:

- diluted rosters due to expansion. At most, there were 10 teams in NL during Koufax's era. With 14 teams in the AL, that's 52 hitters that wouldn't have jobs in the 1960's.
- hitters swinging for the fences so they could make that night's highlights on ESPN. It was common practice to shorten up your swing or (gasp!) choke-up to put the ball in play with two strikes.
- modern training facilities and treatment. Koufax had ice and aspirin.

Comparing ERA's is comparing apples and oranges. Numbers are skewed in today's game due to the fact that all teams carry at least 12 pitchers. With four additional teams, that 48 pitchers that wouldn't have jobs in the 1960's.

In 1999, the White Sox had two starting pitchers with ERA's over 6.00 (John Snyder, Jaime Navarro) and a bullpen that had stalwarts Jesus Pena, Carlos Castillo and David Lundquist (I don't even remember this guy). I think it's fair to say that these guys probably skewed league ERA's a bit.

Eddo144
04-02-2009, 04:50 PM
Comparing ERA's is comparing apples and oranges. Numbers are skewed in today's game due to the fact that all teams carry at least 12 pitchers. With four additional teams, that 48 pitchers that wouldn't have jobs in the 1960's.

In 1999, the White Sox had two starting pitchers with ERA's over 6.00 (John Snyder, Jaime Navarro) and a bullpen that had stalwarts Jesus Pena, Carlos Castillo and David Lundquist (I don't even remember this guy). I think it's fair to say that these guys probably skewed league ERA's a bit.
You don't quite understand how league ERA is computed, do you? You don't just take the average of each pitcher's ERA; if you do, you're counting guys with 2 IP as much as guys with 200+ IP.

No, you take (9 X (ALL EARNED RUNS SCORED BY LEAGUE)/(ALL INNINGS PLAYED BY LEAGUE)). One or two crap pitchers can't skew it that badly, because they won't pitch all that many innings.

And if you don't like ERA, how about a simple runs per game figure? Also, it's not just centralized to 1999; offenses during Pedro's era scored more runs than ones during Koufax's era.

asindc
04-02-2009, 05:26 PM
Maybe it is because my first frame of reference with statistics comes from basketball, but I can only go so far with numbers. Just looking at the numbers, one might conclude that Karl Malone was one of the 10 best players in NBA history. I don't know of anyone, however, who would make that claim based on having watched him and many other candidates over their entire careers.

There are many baseball analysts who have been around long enough to have seen Koufax. While many of them put Clemens (pre-disclosure), Maddox, and Pedro in the top 15 pitchers all-time list, I don't recall any of them saying any of those guys was better than Koufax. I was very young when he last pitched, so I rely on guys like my father and uncles to tell me about him and others during that era. They call them as they see them. If a player today deserves all-time great status, they say so. If he doesn't quite measure up to players they saw in the past, they say that as well. Koufax is the consensus best pitcher post-WWII among guys in my family who have seen all the best ones.

Still gotta go with the eye test once the numbers have been evaluated. Too bad there is not one hitter who faced both.

doublem23
04-02-2009, 05:47 PM
Maybe it is because my first frame of reference with statistics comes from basketball, but I can only go so far with numbers. Just looking at the numbers, one might conclude that Karl Malone was one of the 10 best players in NBA history. I don't know of anyone, however, who would make that claim based on having watched him and many other candidates over their entire careers.

There are many baseball analysts who have been around long enough to have seen Koufax. While many of them put Clemens (pre-disclosure), Maddox, and Pedro in the top 15 pitchers all-time list, I don't recall any of them saying any of those guys was better than Koufax. I was very young when he last pitched, so I rely on guys like my father and uncles to tell me about him and others during that era. They call them as they see them. If a player today deserves all-time great status, they say so. If he doesn't quite measure up to players they saw in the past, they say that as well. Koufax is the consensus best pitcher post-WWII among guys in my family who have seen all the best ones.

Still gotta go with the eye test once the numbers have been evaluated. Too bad there is not one hitter who faced both.

I'll admit that all-stastic evaluation is misleading (as is no-stastic, but that's for another time), but baseball is not the same as basketball. Yes, there are certain situations and there's an ebb and flow to the game, but ultimately baseball is a 1 v. 1 affair. It's just the pitcher and the hitter. Basketball is, from a stastical standpoint, much more complex as there are 4 other players on the court who you're directly interacting with.

asindc
04-02-2009, 05:49 PM
I'll admit that all-stastic evaluation is misleading (as is no-stastic, but that's for another time), but baseball is not the same as basketball. Yes, there are certain situations and there's an ebb and flow to the game, but ultimately baseball is a 1 v. 1 affair. It's just the pitcher and the hitter. Basketball is, from a stastical standpoint, much more complex as there are 4 other players on the court who you're directly interacting with.

Fair enough... apples and oranges, that's true. However, I think my larger point is also fair, as you mentioned. Numbers don't tell the whole story, baseball included.

Railsplitter
04-02-2009, 05:50 PM
Toshow how good Koufax was: The Cy Young Award was original for the best pitcher in BOTH leagues. After Koufax won three in four year, seperate awards for each league were instituted.

DSpivack
04-02-2009, 07:51 PM
Former Sox manager Jeff Torborg tells the story of having caught Sandy for a few of his no-hitters. He says his curve ball was so good, had so much torque that if the mound had been farther back from the plate the ball would have returned to Koufax like a boomerang.

(And no he wasn't kidding...)

Lip

I'm guessing Jeff Torborg never took a physics class.

shes
04-02-2009, 08:11 PM
Pedro, pretty easily.

KRS1
04-02-2009, 08:13 PM
I never got to see Sandy pitch, but I can't imagine very many pitchers being better than Pedro was in his prime.

Lip Man 1
04-03-2009, 12:52 PM
KRS:

Let me introduce you to Mr. Sandy Koufax, Mr. Bob Gibson and Mr. Juan Marichal.

And that's not trying to rip Pedro, like I said a very good pitcher but it's hard for folks of a certain generation to make comparisons because they aren't old enough to have actually seen those guys perform in the 1960's.

Many Sox fans for example never saw Harold Baines or Carlton Fisk play in their prime which robs them of the perspective needed when talking about "great" Sox players to use just one example.

I'm lucky...I've lived long enough to see a lot of baseball over time and to be able to go beyond just the raw numbers.

Lip

Paulwny
04-03-2009, 01:41 PM
KRS:

Let me introduce you to Mr. Sandy Koufax, Mr. Bob Gibson and Mr. Juan Marichal.
I'm lucky...I've lived long enough to see a lot of baseball over time and to be able to go beyond just the raw numbers.

Lip


Agree Lip, however there are some stats that tell the story.
Back in the day, as you know, a pitcher was expected to finish what he started. That's not the case today, pitch 6-7 innings and hand the ball over to the pen.
Who knows the effect on era's, etc when you pitch late into a game with a tired arm.

Martinez--17 yrs---2782 IP--- 46 CG
Koufax----12 yrs---2324 IP---137 CG
Marichal---16 yrs---3507 IP---244 CG
Gibson-----17 yrs---3884 IP---255 CG

All 3 finished what they started.

doublem23
04-03-2009, 01:44 PM
All 3 finished what they started.

:rolleyes:

That's the way the game is now. Let me guess, you also don't think DH's should be in the Hall of Fame because "that's not how baseball was in the good ol' days."

Dick Allen
04-03-2009, 01:46 PM
I have to go with Lip on this one. I don't recall anyone who was as dominant in his time as Koufax, and that's when Marichal, Gibson, Ford, etc., were around. One of my big disappointments as a youth was having tickets to see Koufax pitch at Wrigley, and the game got rained out.

Lip Man 1
04-03-2009, 02:05 PM
Double:

Responding to an earlier post. I don't use the steroid charge lightly. I'm simply saying today you don't know and as Daver has brought up many times, pitchers apparently used the stuff far more then hitters based on the links to possible use as reported in the Mitchell Report and through the media.

Also I don't consider myself an "expert" but I think you'll concede I know a little something about the game. In all of my interviews / research / conversations over the years I have never, let me repeat, never heard one inkling of any MLB player using steroids in the 1960's. Greenies? yes...steroids....no.

I consider the possibility you bring up practically zero.

Lip

Paulwny
04-03-2009, 02:19 PM
:rolleyes:

That's the way the game is now. Let me guess, you also don't think DH's should be in the Hall of Fame because "that's not how baseball was in the good ol' days."

What I'm trying to get across is that their stats would probably be much better if they didn't pitch later into games with tired arms.
Please, it's beneath you to start a guessing game about my dh feelings to belittle my post.

StillMissOzzie
04-06-2009, 01:43 AM
I'd go with Koufax, but I admit to some prejudice. I did a book report on his biography, and somewhere in my mom's house is a B & W postcard that Koufax autographed just because I mailed him a gushing fanboy letter in 7th grade.

Let's assume that the proportion of right-handed batters to left-handed batters has held steady for the last 40-50 years or so. I believe I have read that it's 3-1 righties to lefties. I could be wrong, but clearly there are way more righties than lefties. One point that I haven't seen mention of is that, as a lefty, Koufax probably pitched to a much higher percentage of right-handed batters that Pedro pitched to left-handed batters. Koufax fared pretty well in spite of this built-in disadvantage.

SMO
:gulp:

soxfan2504
04-06-2009, 04:11 AM
There are many intriguing arguments for each case, as many appear good for both. I'll try to best summarize the arguments from this thread that favor either case below (of the ones I consider legit):

Pedro:
Pitched in hitter's era (roiders, smaller ballparks, etc.)
Pitched with lower mound
Had to deal w/ DHs in prime, sans 1997 in Montreal

Koufax:
Raw statistics (they matter, but don't tell the whole story)
Pitched more innings/start, further tiring him out in late innings/late in season, and destroying his elbow
Lefty disadvantage (facing so many rightys)

The idea that the late '90s/early 2000s were offensively charged by garbage pitchers due to expansion is bunk, because there were plenty of garbage hitters around as well. These hitters, although they put up better offensive stats than their '60s garbage counterparts, would not have even been in the majors back at that time.

However, there's one thing nobody's mentioned. Koufax (as well as Gibson and Marichal) spent their prime years in ballparks that would be considered very pitcher-friendly in any era (Busch was not the least bit hitter friendly until it's 1990's renovation). With the exception of 1997, Pedro's prime years were in the hitters' paradise known as Fenway Park.

Off the bat, I immediately thought Koufax, even though I've never seen him pitch (I'm 25). However, I gotta take Napoleon's advice, and by the slimmest of margins, Vote for Pedro.

EndemicSox
04-06-2009, 11:47 AM
It's a tie, both were the best of the best in baseball history at their absolute peak.

Eddo144
04-06-2009, 05:52 PM
I have to go with Lip on this one. I don't recall anyone who was as dominant in his time as Koufax, and that's when Marichal, Gibson, Ford, etc., were around. One of my big disappointments as a youth was having tickets to see Koufax pitch at Wrigley, and the game got rained out.
I have to go with doub on this one. I don't recall anyone who was as dominant in his time as Pedro, and that's when Maddux, Clemens, Johnson, etc., were around.

It works both ways.

haganaga
04-10-2009, 12:58 PM
I never saw Sandy Koufax pitch so I can't make a say which one I think is better. This kind of comparing though fun to do, is really impossible to determine. For instance, today pitchers are squeezed much more on the strike zone than they were in the 60s, pitchers no longer own the inside of the plate as a "fear" tactic because batters are wearing suits of armor these days, not to mention batting helmets for crying out loud.

Point being, it's pointless argument, though it is fun to have. :smile:

TealTank
04-10-2009, 01:53 PM
I never saw Sandy Koufax pitch so I can't make a say which one I think is better. This kind of comparing though fun to do, is really impossible to determine. For instance, today pitchers are squeezed much more on the strike zone than they were in the 60s, pitchers no longer own the inside of the plate as a "fear" tactic because batters are wearing suits of armor these days, not to mention batting helmets for crying out loud.

Point being, it's pointless argument, though it is fun to have. :smile:


Umm, they wore batting helmets in the 60's.

Nellie_Fox
04-10-2009, 03:12 PM
Umm, they wore batting helmets in the 60's.They weren't mandatory then, and there were players who didn't.