The Greatest Pitcher’s Duels of All Time (Part III)

February 22, 2010

The 1960s

 

            The 1960s, of course, were the Decade of the Pitcher, with seemingly two or three dominant hurlers on every staff—Koufax and Drysdale, Marichal and Gaylord Perry, Gibson, Spahn, Whitey Ford,  Chris Short and Jim Bunning, Bob Veale and Jim Maloney, Seaver and Jenkins and Catfish and Jim Palmer coming along in the second half of the decade.    There were many, many shutouts, many strikeouts, many records set by pitchers.

            We will begin our list of the greatest Pitcher’s Duels of all time with three games that aren’t here:

 

            The 11th and 12th games on the list, if we did 12 rather than ten, would both be Gaylord Perry Versus Bob Gibson.     On September 17, 1968, Gaylord Perry pitched a no-hitter against the Cardinals, Gibson striking out ten on the other side but losing the game on a first-inning home run by Ron Hunt.    Two famous circumstances about that game:

            1)  The Cardinals had clinched the pennant the day before, and were observed by reporters to be perhaps not entirely in the moment of the ballgame, and

            2)  Ray Washburn got even the next day by no-hitting the Giants—I believe the only time in baseball history that there have been two no-hitters in a series, other than the dual no-hitter by Toney and Vaughn in 1917.

            Bob Gibson got even as well.    On July 25, 1969, Gaylord and Gibby met again.   The game was 1-1 after one inning—and 1-1 after 12 innings, both starting pitchers still on the mound.   Gaylord gave way to Frank Linzy in the 13th inning.   The first batter he faced was Gibson, who immediately singled and came around to score.

           

            There is another famous Pitcher’s Duel from the 1960s which is not on our list, and I am disappointed to see that it is not, and I regard that, perhaps, as a failure of the method.   On September 9, 1965, Sandy Koufax pitched a Perfect Game for the Dodgers, striking out 14.   Bob Hendley, his opposite number that day, gave up only one hit, and one un-earned run.   How can that game not be one of the greatest Pitcher’s Duels of all time, so near as it was to a dual no-hitter?

            I discover now that Mike Attiyeh at The BaseballGuru.com has compiled a list of the five greatest Pitcher’s Duels of all time, and ranks this game second, and the Haddix game first. 

Fair enough; his list is as good as mine.   Hendley was not really a good pitcher.    His ERA that year was 5.96.   As my system sees it, that’s a terrible failing for an all-time great Pitcher’s Duel.   Everything else about the game scores well, but. . .that woman has a wart on her chin the size of a beer can.    It’s distracting.

            The one hit in 17 innings is impressive, but Koufax and Hendley that day pitched 17 innings, struck out 17 hitters, and allowed a run.   In one of the games we will get to in a minute, the two starting pitchers pitched 23+ innings, struck out 29 hitters and allowed no runs.    Which game should be on the list?

            You can say that about the Gibson/Gaylord game—how can that game NOT be on the list?   Two Hall of Fame pitchers, a no-hitter on one side, 10 strikeouts and only one run allowed on the other. .. how can that not be on a list of the greatest Pitcher’s Duels of the decade?   There’s just a lot of baseball games played in a decade, and, when you start looking, there are some amazing combinations of events.  If you don’t accept my list, feel free to draw up your own.

 

            OK, here’s my list of the top ten Pitcher’s Duels of the 1960s:

 

10.  August 21, 1963, St. Louis in Los Angeles, Curt Simmons against Sandy Koufax.

            This was in the middle of a pennant race.    The Dodgers came into the game in first place, the Cardinals in second, six and half back but with 38 to play.   The Dodgers grabbed a run in the third on a double by Junior Gilliam and a single by Frank Howard; Ken Boyer manufactured a run in the sixth inning to even the score at one.    Koufax lasted 12 innings, giving up just the one run.   Simmons lasted 13, giving up just the one run.   The Dodgers won it in the 16th inning on an RBI single off of reliever Ron Taylor.  

            The loss dropped the Cardinals seven and a half back with 37 to play, but they would make a fantastic run after that, closing to within one game of the Dodgers, then doing a pratfall which is in its own way as impressive as the Phillies’ collapse in 1964.   But had the Cardinals won this game, and had the results of all the other games stayed the same, the Cardinals would have reached first place for a moment in mid-September.

 

9.  August 19, 1968, San Francisco at New York, Bobby Bolin against Jerry Koosman.

            Bolin pitched 11 shutout innings; Koosman pitched 12.   They turned the game over to the bullpens, who kept the scoreboard clean through 16 innings, Frank Linzy pitching 5 scoreless innings for San Francisco, Ron Taylor answering with four scoreless innings for the Mets.   The Giants finally broke through in the 17th on a single by Ron Hunt, and held on to win, 1-0.

 

8.  April 15, 1968, New York at Houston, Tom Seaver against Don Wilson.

            The Mets and Astros were expansion twins in 1962, still battling for room at the bottom of the league early in 1968.  Tom Seaver, of course, was the best thing that had ever happened to the Mets, and Don Wilson played a similar role for the Astros; he was a sometimes dominant right-handed power pitcher who threw two no-hitters and once struck out 18 batters in a game, another time 16 batters, winning 104 games before taking his own life at the age of 29.

            In this game Wilson pitched 9 shutout innings, Seaver 10.   Wilson turned it over to John Buzhardt, who pitched a scoreless tenth and a scoreless eleventh, and Seaver relinquished power to the ubiquitous Ron Taylor, who pitched a scoreless inning eleven.   In the 12th inning it was Danny Coombs against Cal Koonce and Bill Short; scoreless.   In the 13th it was Coombs against Short and Dick Selma; scoreless.   In the 14th it was Jim Ray against Al Jackson; scoreless.   The 15th was still Ray against Jackson, scoreless; the 16th was more of the same.

            The 17th inning was Jim Ray against Danny Frisella; scoreless.   The 18th inning was Ray against Frisella; scoreless, and the 19th the same.   The 20th inning was Ray’s 7th inning on the mound.   He struck out the last two batters he faced, giving him 11 strikeouts in seven scoreless innings of mid-game relief.  Frisella answered for the Mets.

            Wade Blasingame, not the attorney, replaced Ray for the Astros, and pitched a scoreless 21st; Frisella matched it.   Blasingame pitched a scoreless 22nd; Les Rohr answered it for the Mets.   Blasingame pitched a scoreless 23rd; Rohr pitched a scoreless 23rd.  Blasingame pitched a clean 24th inning.

            The Astros scored in the bottom of the 24th on a single by Norm Miller, a balk, a ground out and an error, winning the game, 1-0 in 24 innings.

 

7.   September 30, 1964, Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, Bob Veale against Jim Maloney

            September 30, 1964, was right in the middle of one of the wildest pennant races of all time.  The Phillies had been in command of the race most of the summer, but had fallen apart in mid-September.  On the morning of September 30 the Reds were in a first-place tie with the Cardinals, but four teams were still in the pennant race, with five days left on the schedule.

            The Pirates were not one of those four teams—yet they may have been the best team in the league.    The Pirates then were much like the Twins are now—a perennial pretty-good team based on line drive hitting, good defense, and, for the most part, pitchers who never walked anybody (although Veale was the exception to this.)   With three Hall of Famers in their prime (Clemente, Stargell and Mazeroski), and with many other talented players on the roster, they had been only four and half out on August 3, but had given away numerous games in August, and had let the pack get away from them.

            Both Bob Veale and Jim Maloney were hard-throwing left-handed pitchers who pitched at a Hall of Fame level of performance, but just not long enough to make the Hall.   Well.  ..Maloney clearly pitched at a Hall of Fame level, Veale perhaps not quite at a Hall of Fame level, but he was damned good, winning sixteen to eighteen games four straight years and striking out 250, 276, and 229 hitters from 1964-1966.   Maloney made a habit of pitching no-hitters and losing them in extra innings.

            In this game he didn’t have a no-hitter through nine; he had a three-hitter.  Maloney and Veale, between them, pitched 23 1/3 innings in this game, giving up 10 and no runs, no earned runs either, and striking out 29 batters.  Veale struck out 16 in 12 1/3 innings but walked eight; Maloney struck out 13 in 11 innings but walked only two.  They were both dominating. 

            The Pirates finally won the game in the 16th inning, costing the Reds the pennant.   But then, every loss did.   When you lose by one, every loss is the margin of defeat.

 

6.   September 1, 1967, San Francisco at Cincinnati, Gaylord Perry against Mel Queen

            Gaylord Perry pitched 16 shutout innings.   I believe that Perry was the last pitcher to do that, to pitch that many innings in a game.  It had happened many times prior to that, but I think this was the last time.

            Well. . . let me do my research.

            Robin Roberts in 1952 pitched 17 innings in a game.

            Jerry Walker, Jack Harshman, Johnny Antonelli and Billy Pierce pitched 16, and Al Aber 15 1/3, plus I think there may be another game there that we’re missing. . .Bob Keegan or somebody.

            In the 1960s Tom Cheney, Juan Marichal and Gaylord pitched sixteen innings in a game, but Gaylord was the last of them.   Four other pitchers in the 1960s also pitched fifteen or more innings.

            In the 1970s Gaylord pitched fifteen innings in a game, and three other pitchers pitched 14+, but that was the most.

            In the 1980s—actually in 1980—the four horsemen of Billy Martin’s Delusions each pitched 14 innings in a game, once each (Keough, Norris, Langford and McCatty.   Brian Kingman never pitched longer than 10 1/3.)

            Nobody else in the 1980s pitched longer than 13 innings in a game, and I’m sure it hasn’t happened since then, so. . ..yeah, Gaylord was the last to do that.   Frank Linzy built onto Gaylord’s 16 scoreless innings with 5 more, and Mel Queen, Ted Abernathy, Don Nottebart and Bob Lee answered for Cincinnati (Queen, 9.1; Abernathy, 3.2; Nottebart, 5.)  Lee pitched two scoreless innings and was victimized by the asinine strategy of issuing an intentional walk to load the bases in his third inning, the 21st inning of the game.   The next hitter walked, forcing in the only run of a 1-0 game, 21 innings.

 

5.  June 6, 1964, the Yankees in LA, Jim Bouton against Dean Chance. 

            The only American League game on our list.    Our list was dominated by American League games in the 1950s, National League games in the 1980s, National League in the 1960s.

            Dean Chance was the bi-league Cy Young Award winner in 1964, finishing the season with a 1.65 ERA and Koufax out.  Bouton had gone 21-7 in 1963.   In this game Bouton pitched 13 scoreless innings, giving up ten hits, while Chance pitched 14 scoreless innings, giving up only 3 hits and striking out 12.    The Yankees won the game in the 15th inning on a two-run double by Elston Howard, 2-0 final.

            This game does not appear to have had any obvious negative impact on the careers of either Chance or Bouton.   Chance remained a top pitcher for several more years.    Bouton pitched well for the rest of the season, cutting his ERA to 2.50 in early August, two months after the game in question.  

            With 3 hits and 12 strikeouts in 14 shutout innings, Chance’s game score was 116—the highest of any game in the 1960s.   No pitcher since then has had a Game Score as high as that. 

 

4.  October 2, 1965, Philadelphia at New York, Chris Short against Rob Gardner

            October 2 was the next-to-last day of the 1965 season, and the Phillies and the Mets had two entirely meaningless games to be played on that day.   Jim Bunning pitched a shutout in the first one, his 19th win of the season.  Chris Short was hoping to match him in the second; he also woke up that morning with 18 wins for the Phillies.   He had won 17 the year before, and would later win 19 and 20; he was a consistently very good pitcher from 1962 to 1968.

            Opposing him for the Mets was Rob Gardner, a late-season callup entering the game with a 6.92 ERA; he had given up 13 runs in 13 innings, but fortunately some of them were un-earned.

            The game started about 8:30, and the Phillies started as if they would pound Gardner some more lumps.   Adolfo Phillips singled, Cookie Rojas walked, and the middle of the order came up.   Dick Allen flied deep to right, both runners moving up, but Dick Stuart struck out and Alex Johnson flied out, and the rally died.

            The Mets, for their part, got two on as well, two on with one out.   Jim Hickman flied to center, the lead runner moving to third, but Ron Swoboda was called out on strikes and thrown out of the game for arguing about it, and the game stayed scoreless.

            Nothing happened in the second.   The Mets made two errors in the third, putting a runner on third with two out, but Dick Allen struck out.   The Mets in the bottom of the third hit two doubles—and didn’t score.   Ron Hunt doubled; Joe Christopher doubled behind him, but Hunt stopped at third.   I don’t know why.   They were the Mets.   They lost 110 games a year on merit.  Chris Short intentionally walked Hickman and struck out Danny Napoleon, and it stayed 0-0.

            Nothing at all happened in the 4th, or the 5th.   In the top of the sixth Dick Allen singled; in the bottom of the sixth Jim Hickman doubled.   Nobody scored.   Nothing happened in the 7th, 8th, or the top of the 9th.    With two out in the bottom of the ninth Greg Goosen singled for the Mets.   Cleon Jones, another late-season callup, grounded to first, but Chris Short was late covering, and Jones beat the 3-1 play to first, putting two on with two out.   Short struck out Roy McMillan, and the game went into extra innings.

            In the top of the tenth Rob Gardner, still pitching for the Mets, walked the leadoff man.   The Phillies bunted him to second, but didn’t score.

            In the bottom of the eleventh Jim Hickman singled and stole second, but didn’t score.

            In the bottom of the thirteenth Joe Christopher singled leading off the inning, but Charley Smith grounded into a double play. 

            In the fifteenth inning Tony Gonzalez doubled with one out, but Gardner, still on the mound for the Mets, got out of it.   In the bottom of the fifteenth Ron Hunt singled and stole second, but Joe Christopher struck out, and the threat died once more.

            After 15 innings and nearing midnight, Short and Gardner were finally dismissed.   Short had given up 9 hits, but had struck out 18 batters in 15 scoreless innings.   Gardner had given up only five hits, cutting his ERA from 6.92 to its season-ending 3.20.

            Gary Wagner came in for the Phillies, Darrell Sutherland for the Mets.   Each of them pitched two scoreless innings, in each case aided by a runner caught stealing to end the inning.  In the 17th inning Bobby Klaus drew a leadoff walk, but the bunt failed and the inning fizzled.

            In the 18th inning Dennis Ribant took over for the Mets, and the Phillies went 1-2-3.   Jack Baldschun took over for the Phillies, and the Mets went 1-2-3.

            The game ended in a nothing-nothing tie.  Under the National League rules of the time, an inning could not start after 12:50 AM, and the game was declared at an end.  It is not the longest nothing-nothing tie in major league history.   On September 11, 1946, the Reds and Dodgers played a 19-inning scoreless tie at Ebbets Field.

            Since the game ended in a tie, it had to be made up the next day, the last day of the season.    This created a starting opportunity for Jack Fisher, who had been dropped from the rotation with an 8-23 won-lost record to make room for Gardner.   Answering for the Phillies was Grant Jackson, another late-season callup who went into the game with a 19.29 ERA through five outings.

            The makeup game was scoreless through six innings, Grant Jackson against Fisher.   It was the last day of the season.    You know how those games are?    Some players are playing like it’s a real ballgame and they still need to do their best, and some players are playing like they’ve been playing baseball and travelling for eight freaking months now with very few days off, and they are really, really anxious to make that seven o’clock flight home.  On this day, an extra game had now been added to the end of the schedule.  It was scoreless through six.  The Phillies scored in the top of the 7th.   The Mets scored in the bottom of the 7th.  

It was 1-1 through nine, when Grant Jackson was sent home for the season; good job, rookie, cut your ERA by a little more than a dozen runs.   He was replaced by another rookie, Gary Wagner, and then by another late-season callup, Ferguson Jenkins.

Fisher, on the other hand, continued to battle.   The Phillies got a two-out single in the tenth, didn’t score.  The Phillies got a lead-off single in the 11th, bunted him to second, didn’t score.   They got a two-out single in the 12th, brought Dick Allen off the bench to pinch hit, but Allen grounded out to first. Through 12 innings it was still 1-1, Jack Fisher still battling.

Billy Sorrell—another late-season callup, playing third base that day in place of Dick Allen--hit a leadoff home run in the thirteenth inning.   The game took 31 innings to decide, although this is actually two games.   Jack Fisher took his 24th loss, finishing 8-24 with a 3.94 ERA.   No pitcher since has lost as many games in a season.

The Mets played had 49 innings of baseball over the two days, scoring a total of two runs.  

 

3.  Philadelphia at Los Angeles, July 27, 1966, Jim Bunning against Sandy Koufax

            It might be said that by this point of his career, Koufax and Bunning each had one foot in the Hall of Fame.    Koufax’ career would end just two and a half months later, although of course nobody knew that at the time.   Koufax came into the game 17-5 with a 1.69 ERA, nine weeks left on the schedule.   Dick Allen homered off of Koufax in the second inning; the Dodgers touched home off of Bunning in the sixth, on a fly ball.

            Other than that, however, Koufax and Bunning were in charge through 11 innings, Koufax striking out 16, and Bunning 12.    Bunning handed it over to Darold Knowles, who gave up a run on a leadoff walk, a passed ball and a single.   Dodgers won, 2-1.

 

2.  Philadelphia at San Francisco, May 25, 1966, Jim Bunning against Juan Marichal

            This game is much like the other, except that Bunning and Marichal didn’t give up the runs.  The Phillies loaded the bases in the second inning, but Marichal struck out Bunning to end the threat.    Tony Gonzalez hit a two-out double in the 7th, but died on base.  Willie McCovey hit a leadoff double in the bottom of the seventh, but Bunning got out Willie Mays as a two-out pinch hitter to keep the zeroes running.

            Bunning pitched ten shutout inning, handing it over to Darold Knowles, who pitched three more.   Marichal pitched 14 shutout innings, running his record to 9-0; he would finish 25 and 6.   Knowles gave up a run with two out in the bottom of the 14th.

 

 

1.  Milwaukee at San Francisco, May 2, 1963, Warren Spahn against Juan Marichal

            In the 1950s article, published a day or two ago, I noted that my method had not selected the obvious choice as the top pitcher’s duel of the decade—the Harvey Haddix game.   In this decade, the method does pick what is quite obviously the most famous pitcher’s duel of the decade—the Spahn/Marichal game, won by the Giants 1-0 in the 16th inning on a home run by Willie Mays.   Marichal and Spahn pitched the 16-inning game in 4 hours and 10 minutes.

            Neither Spahn nor Marichal suffered any ill effects from the long game.  Spahn, 42 years old at the time, finished the season 23-7 with a 2.60 ERA; Marichal was 25-8 with a 2.41 ERA.   Both Spahn and Marichal had essentially the same record after the game as before.    Spahn’s loss made him 11-3; he was 12-4 the rest of the year.    Marichal’s win made him 13-3; he was 12-5 the rest of the year.

            I must have met 30 people over the years who have told me they were at this game.   The announced attendance was a little under 16,000, so I shall look forward to meeting the rest.

 

            The best pitching matchup of the 1960s, strictly in terms of having two great pitchers on the mound, occurred in Detroit on June 9, 1968:  Luis Tiant against Denny McLain.   Tiant pitched 258 innings in 1968, giving up only 152 hits—the second-lowest hits per innings rate in major league history, for a pitcher pitching 150 or more innings (Nolan Ryan was lower in 1972).   McLain was the only pitcher in the last 75 years to win 30 games.

            They pitched well.   Tiant pitched a 4-hit shutout, walking no one.   McLain allowed only three hits in eight innings, also walked no one, but a catcher named Duke Sims got to him for a double and a homer, leading to a 2-0 Cleveland victory.   By our system this ranks as the 12th best Pitcher’s Duel of the 1960s—actually, tied with one of the Gibson/Gaylord games for the 12th spot.

            After the game, McLain and Tiant had 9 wins apiece.   Denny McLain won 22 games between June 9 and the end of the season.

             The worst pitching matchup of the 1960s, in terms of having two terrible pitchers on the mound, also occurred at Tiger Stadium:  Paul Foytack against Jerry Casale, June 16, 1960.  Foytack, although he had been a good pitcher the previous four seasons, finished the 1960 campaign 2-11 with a 6.30 ERA.   Casale was 2-9 with a 6.19 ERA.   The Red Sox won the game, 6-5.

            The best pitching performance by two starting pitchers in a game was the Chris Short/Rob Gardner game, in which both starting pitchers pitched 15 shutout innings. . ..although, of course, the Spahn/Marichal game is almost the same.

            The worst pitching performance by two starting pitchers in a game was in Kansas City on July 13, 1962, Bill Monboquette against Jerry Walker (the same Jerry Walker who had pitched 16 shutout innings in a game in 1959).

            Kansas City had a good-hitting team in 1962, although their pitching and defense were very poor.   The A’s scored 4 runs in the second and 5 in the third, both times on long series of hits.   Monboquette departed after two and two-thirds innings, down 8-2.  Walker gave back one more run in the fourth, and four in the fifth, including a three-run homer by Lu Clinton, who was in the middle of a historic hot streak.

            Ironically, this horrible pitching start gave way to a pitcher’s duel of sorts between the bullpens.   The Monstah, Dick Radatz, entered in the eighth inning and pitched 7 shutout innings for an 11-10 victory.     Ed Rakow also entered in the eighth, and pitched 6+ shutout innings before Clinton drove in Yastrzemski with a single.

            In 19 games between June 29 and July 20, 1962, Lu Clinton hit .500 (38 for 76) with 20 extra base hits and 29 RBI.

 
 

COMMENTS (14 Comments, most recent shown first)

donmalcolm
I think if you revise the weighting of the season score against the game context, you might at least get Koufax-Hendley into the top ten.

It is mind-blowing to remember these games, when starters went into extra innings. Did you sum up the number of >9 IP starts made in these years? That would be an interesting breakout.

One more game of this type comes to mind. On August 19, 1969, as the Mets gathered momentum to chase and overtake the Cubs, they played a game against the Giants at Shea: Juan Marichal vs. Gary Gentry. The game was scorelss after nine innings. Gentry left after the 10th, having surrendered four hits, replaced by Tug McGraw. Marichal had given up just two hits through nine, and survived a wild play in the 12th that saw the potential winning run for the Mets cut down at the plate. With one out in the 14th, however, he got a pitch up and over the strike zone to Tommie Agee, who hit it over the left field wall for the game-winner. Mets 1, Giants 0.

This was one of two games in 1969 where Marichal exceed 9 IP. Bob Gibson did it SEVEN times that year: his record in these games was 3-4. He and Ken Holtzman had back-to-back >9IP starts against each other in September. For the record, there were 68 such games in '69: nearly one-third of them (22) came in September-October.
11:01 PM Mar 13th
 
jdurkee
These series of articles are nice contributions to the art / science of baseball. GoodJob!

But, I think they miss the point.

The point missing is context.

If the game being evaluated is the opening game of the season, that's one thing. If it's the seventh game of the WS, that's much different -- even if the ballgame is played to the same results.

I submit that it's not a great pitching unless someone cares about it or it means something. Maybe this is opposite to the old saw "if a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around, does it make a sound?" Sure it makes a sound. Sound is pressure waves sent out from the impact of the tree with the ground. But here, if we have dual no-hitters on the second day of the season, and the crowd in DC was 3,145, the coverage on "Baseball Tonight" probably doesn't have interviews. But, if it is the heat of a pennant race, there is lots of TV face time.

Course I could be wrong..... :)
5:23 PM Mar 13th
 
RangeFactor
My comment on so-so pitchers being involved in these games was referring to all three articles. Of course most of these games were pitched by great pitchers, or ordinary pitchers who pitch like HOFers for a few years like John Tudor, but I kept noticing names like Gardner, Ray Burris and John Farrell, not to mention Harvey Haddix. Would it be fair to say that pitching in a great pitcher's duel is not a signature accomplishment? An average pitcher like Steve Trachsel can pitch a 1-0 two-hitter on his best day, but only a HOFer like Clemens or Carlton will strike out 18+ guys while doing it.
4:11 PM Feb 23rd
 
ajmilner
Thanks for the top 1961-62 duels info, Bill.
7:18 PM Feb 22nd
 
bjames
Virtually all of these games were pitched by Hall of Famers or near-Hall of Famers. Gardner is the only really mediocre pitcher on the list. Mel Queen was a very good pitcher that one year, got hurt after that year. Bolin wasn't great; he was a guy with good stuff but kind of in and out. Simmons, Maloney, Dean Chance, Bob Veale and Short were very, very good pitchers, and Bunning, Koufax, Marichal, Perry and Spahn are Hall of Famers.
6:44 PM Feb 22nd
 
RangeFactor
Considering that many of these games were pitched by mediocre pitchers, I'm wondering if some of these games were ones where every hitter in the lineup had coincident one-day slumps. To me this seems more likely than the idea that, just for one day, Rob Gardner was as gifted a pitcher as Greg Maddux.
4:53 PM Feb 22nd
 
bjames
1) The two greatest pitchers duels of the 1961-1962 seasons were Cincinnati at Houston, August 6, 1962 (Bob Purkey against Turk Farrell), and Minnesota at the Angels, August 10, 1962 (Jim Kaat against Dean Chance.) Purkey, Farrell, Kaat and Chance all pitched shutout ball through 10 innings. Farrell pitched a 12-inning shutout to beat Purkey, 1-0; Chance pitched a 11-inning shutout to beat Kaat 1-0.

2) ON Hendley vs. Rob Gardner. . ..there were 161 games in the 1960s in which a pitcher pitched 8 innings or more and allowed 1 hit or less. There were 4 games in which a pitcher pitched 15 or more innings and did not allow a run.
4:36 PM Feb 22nd
 
bjames
Yes, Rob Gardner was a pitcher of limited accomplishment, as was Hendley, but what Gardner did was much, much more impressive than what Hendley. Hendley pitched 8 innings of 1-hit ball with 3 strikeouts. Nice. Gardner pitched 15 innings of shutout baseball. In one game. That's a whole different level of accomplishment. THus, Gardner's in-game accomplishment overcomes the low value given for his season. Hendley's doesn't.
4:10 PM Feb 22nd
 
metsfan17
It's funny but the Koufax-Hendley duel was the one I first thought of when I saw Bill was writing this article. When I saw that it wasn't even in the top 10 for the 60's I was amazed. One guy pitches a perfect game and the other guy pitches a 1 hitter and loses 1-0. I usually agree with Bill James on just about everything but this time I don't know what his system is doing.
3:52 PM Feb 22nd
 
bjames
1) The Marichal/Spahn game was July 2, not May 2; I'll see if I can fix that.
2) I'm astonished to see people asking for MORE lists. I told my wife I had written more about the greatest pitchers duels of all time than anyone could possibly want to know, but here we have two requests for additional lists.
3) Again, you're welcome to your own opinion, but I simply don't think it is true that Hendley and Koufax pitched better than Simmons and Koufax in that game--or any other game on this list. Hendley and Koufax gave up one run in 17 innings. Simmons and Koufax gave up 2 runs in 25 innings. How is that "worse" pitching?
3:45 PM Feb 22nd
 
TJNawrocki
I have to say that the failure to include the Koufax perfect game must be considered a real weakness in the system. Bob Hendley was not a good pitcher, but neither was Rob Gardner, and Mel Queen and Bobby Bolin weren't that much better. As someone else suggested, the system gives too much weight to extra-inning games. Consider specifically the first game on the list (Game No. 10), in which both Simmons and Koufax allowed runs; if Koufax had allowed a solo homer to the 27th hitter in his otherwise-perfect game, and he and Hendley had thrown three more scoreless innings after that, the 1965 game would have beaten this one out. It doesn't seem right that worse pitching would allow a game to make it onto the list.
1:06 PM Feb 22nd
 
agcohen
This method for selecting pitchers' duels clearly favors extra-inning games. I would also like to see a similar list restricted to 9-inning games. My prototype of a great pitchers duel is a 9-inning 1-0 game with the winning starter (and often the losing starter as well) pitching a complete game; a game-long battle between two pitchers giving great performances. Extra-inning games with extensive bullpen participation, while no less worthy for discussion, are a different kind of game.
10:48 AM Feb 22nd
 
chill
In this one: Milwaukee at San Francisco, May 2, 1963, Warren Spahn against Juan Marichal, Spahn and Marichal had 14 and 16 decisions already by May 2? That doesn't sound right.
9:02 AM Feb 22nd
 
ajmilner
Great article. All 10 games, incidentally, were *after* the strike zone was revised prior to the 1963 season -- what were the top pitchers' duels from 1960-62?
7:24 AM Feb 22nd
 
 
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