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Response Space for #1 pitchers series

August 9, 2021
 This "article" is simply a comment space for readers to comment on the 14 articles in the #1 pitchers series, if you choose to do so.  I left another comment space, but I think that most of you have not seen it.  

COMMENTS (19 Comments, most recent shown first)

Hey Bill, amazingly, I caught an interview today where Bob Gibson was in the broadcast booth visiting McCarver, and McCarver said they suddenly realized that Gibson was stuck against aces so much. And he asked the manager and got no sympathy.
10:52 PM Aug 12th
I thought the Inner Sanctum of the High Coven of the International Cabal of Sabermetricians banned pitcher Ws as a stat for research?
1:03 PM Aug 11th
I especially liked the "Teams" article.
Interesting that the Maddux-Glavine-Smolz trio were on the TOP TEN 4 separate times. With 3 different pitchers as the 4th guy.
I hope you publish --- in some format somewhere--- the entire list. Some of the names that you list as #1's are guys that I don't think of as a #1 Starter, but, it makes perfect sense by this methodology. I would like to see if some other favorite good-but-not-great pitchers appear on some of the teams. Particularly, guys like Carl Erskine on the '50's Dodgers. (I grew up in Anderson, IN.) He was never the #1 guy on the Dodgers. But, he may have been a #1 by this method. We probably all have dozens of "Oh, yeah. I remember him!" type guys that would show up on the lists. Really enjoyed this project.
11:18 AM Aug 11th
I especially enjoyed The Usual and Ordinary #1s, the discussion pointing out that the number of starts that a starter makes as a #1 is so well-correlated with whether he is in the Hall of Fame. I also enjoyed the Bret Saberhagen discussion. I liked seeing Wes Ferrell’s name in a leaderboard making me wish there had been a discussion on him too.

Unless I’m misreading it (always a possibility!) there is a confusing passing in The Matchup Data:
“In the world of Sabermetrics, 20 wins is a big number. It’s two MVP seasons, we could say, or one-third of a Hall of Fame career.”
It seems to me that we’re sliding back and forth between a pitcher’s personal wins total (where 250 is a typical Hall of Famer) and Wins Above Replacement (where 60 WAR is a typical Hall of Fame career). The names are similar but the statistics aren’t at all. Not that Bill usually thinks in terms of WAR, but that’s the only way I can make sense of that passage. Furthermore, the easier competition helped Randy Johnson’s W-L loss but to the extent one evaluates him based on ERA or ERA+ it wouldn’t have an effect.

9:55 AM Aug 11th
Hey Bill, the moneyshot of your article was that teams would avoid sending up number 6 fodder against Gibson. But did the Cardinals do the same? I recall the headbutt between Whitey Ford and Stengel because Whitey wanted to pitch in regular rotation, and Casey would move him to face division adversaries or their aces.

In 1969, just at a glance, Gibson pitched on 3 or 5 day rests as often as on 4 ( a glance at other years for a baseline shows a majority of 4 day rests.)
2:16 AM Aug 11th
I wrote all the titles on a piece a paper and checked them off as I read them. Some of the titles were worded a little different but I looked for a key word. Some of the articles were only a paragraph, but one of those paragraphs was really informative. I looked at it as kind of a puzzle with an award of reading about 40 pagers of fun baseball analysis.
7:19 PM Aug 10th
I confess that I take the honor for dumbest comment here. Just now I was skimming through the list of articles, and was very surprised to find one titled ... "Murry Dickson," just as it was listed in the brief note previewing the whole series.

I did the same thing, didn't realize there was a special article on Murry Dickson until I saw people talking about it here. I think it might have gotten posted first ahead of all the other articles, even before the Introduction piece.

This was all fascinating stuff, but the way it was posted was kind of a mess. I'm still not sure I've read the whole thing.
5:18 PM Aug 10th
Is it possible, in each article, to have a link to the next article at the end? That way if someone accidentally starts with the first one they can flow straight through.
12:05 PM Aug 10th
I am truly, truly surprised that the 2015 Royals had a #1 pitcher on their roster. Volquez? Cueto if you count his starts with the Reds?

It was Cueto. I mean, it seems obvious to me that his stats with the Reds have to count. How else could you count it? If Max Scherzer reaches the status of a #1 this year and the Dodgers make the World Series, then the Dodgers have a #1 starter. Cueto pitched poorly for the Royals, but as I recall did pitch a shutout in a must-win playoff game.
11:13 AM Aug 10th
I especially liked the Cubs and Roger Clemens articles, as both helped me to see things that I thought I knew really well in a new light.
10:54 AM Aug 10th
"Twelve teams have made the World Series with no pitcher who makes the list as a #1 starter. Four of those teams won the World Series; eight lost. The last team to do that was the 2013 Red Sox"

I am truly, truly surprised that the 2015 Royals had a #1 pitcher on their roster. Volquez? Cueto if you count his starts with the Reds?
10:40 AM Aug 10th
I confess that I take the honor for dumbest comment here. Just now I was skimming through the list of articles, and was very surprised to find one titled ... "Murry Dickson," just as it was listed in the brief note previewing the whole series. Somehow I missed it when I went through them originally. I also noticed that most of the titles for the individual articles do indeed match the titles given in the preview. Just a couple of them don't, but the combination of that and my inexplicable failure to find the one on Dickson threw me off enough that I thought just about all the titles were different.

All of which is a long way of saying, for that comment I posted yesterday, never mind.​
8:43 AM Aug 10th
My favorite was the part about Robin Roberts in 1950. Roberts was one of my favorites (my 1st name is Robert). I became aware of baseball just as the era was ending of pitchers pitching when the manager thought this is the RIGHT GUY, RIGHT NOW. I bought completely into the notion that Gene Mauch being 100% responsible for the '63 Phillie collapse. You have commented before that Mauch was only doing what earlier managers would have done. But, Roberts in September of '50 is a REALLY GREAT story. Unfortunately, you have raised the bar of my expectations too high. Is there any hope that you will tell us if that was the greatest Work Horse month since Old Hoss Radbourne's arm fell off. That's another point. We have many stories of managers over-working a guy and ruining his arm. That happened in the first year of the '50's decade. And your listing of Teams of the Decades from a few weeks ago lists him as the #2 pitchers in that decade. Great job.
8:16 PM Aug 9th
Which article was the one about Murry Dickson? I just remember his name being mentioned in passing (and in a couple of charts) in one of them.

On a related note, one thing I found quite confusing in this series was the fact that none of the actual articles had the same titles that were given in the preview of the series. That made it almost impossible to read them in order, and I just gave up and read them in the order I found them.
7:55 PM Aug 9th
I will have to read all this this a few more times. I want to start by thanking Bill for Murry Dickson.

Why do I love reading Bill James? He is always looking for new ways to understand things. He doesn’t fall in love with his own results. If he sees Murry Dickson someplace he didn’t expect to see him, it isn’t a great new finding, it’s something to be looked into.

And, in looking into it, he produces a wonderful stand alone article that is best read of the whole series.

Thanks Bill.
6:53 PM Aug 9th
Very much appreciated this collection of articles.

I do very much wish I could have seen Robin Roberts pitch in 1950.
6:26 PM Aug 9th
Your comments on Saberhagen seem to dovetail to some chatter I've been listening to about Joe Morgan.

Morgan is famous for being very good at nearly every aspect of being a position player: he could hit for average or power, draw a walk, run the bases, field a tough position, bunt, hit a sac fly...whatever a team needed, Morgan could do it. We have statistics that capture all of those variables effectively: you can comfortably assess whether someone is good at getting on base or hitting for power, and while fielding metrics can be head-scratching, you have Gold Glove awards and reputations that endure.

It's tougher with pitchers: while the statistical record tells us a great deal about a pitcher, it's a harder picture to visualize how 'perfect' or complete a pitcher is. Player X has a great walk rate...well, what does that look like? Is it two per nine, or one? Player Y gets a lot of strikeouts...well...a 6.0 K/9 looks a lot different today than it did in the 1970's. Can he field his position? It'll take watching a lot of starts to get any sense of that. Holds the runners? Who knows. Good at all pitches? I guess we're getting closer to understanding that, but we're still a long way off from have a statistic tell us in shorthand that this guy's curve is great, and that guy's slider is terrible.

I don't have stirring conclusion to that: just wanted to say that I appreciate knowing that about Saberhagen (one of my favorites), and look forward to the day the statistical record can better communicate the pitching equivalent of an offensive player's IQ.

2:40 PM Aug 9th
I learned a lot about Murray Dickson.

Seriously, thought, I loved the series. It seems like a lot of data that could be useful to researchers if made readily available. For example, if I were writing an article about the 1980 NL East race (a very good pennant race, by the way) and wanted to comment on how the team's top pitchers (Carlton, Rogers, Blyleven) were deployed during the year, I could consult the data instead of having to comb through Baseball-Reference or Retrosheet game logs.
12:32 PM Aug 9th
I loved it. There is still no one else doing analysis like this; answering questions. One of the coolest things was discovering Koufax and Saberhagen were members of a 2-person club!
12:01 PM Aug 9th
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