Let The Numbers Do The Talking: Maddux VS Johnson VS Clemens
I agree that you cannot really compare player’s stats from different eras. While the end numbers are fun to look at, especially when trying to rank a player versus others, times were different. From league expansion, changes in field dimensions, and the changes in athletic ability between today’s group of superstars and the ones from prior eras, there is no way to deny that the stars of the game today have a leg up on their predecessors.
But we can very easily compare the players that competed at the same time, sometimes against one another. As we get close to the start of the 2010 baseball season, I am ready to go. I’m studying rosters, checking out Spring Training box scores, and keeping a close eye on guys playing for new teams.
Starting with this post, and throughout the season, I will show off some interesting stats I find. And I’ll even offer my analysis of some of the game’s ‘Top’ players as I watch them battle the Marlins.
Today I wanted to take a look at the amazing careers of Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, and Roger Clemens. A fan of all three, I was wondering which one of them had the most fulfilling career. All 3 are sure bets to make it into the Hall of Fame. And it could very easily be argued that these three are the most accomplished pitchers of the last 30 years.
Let’s let the numbers do the talking:
|15-19 win seasons||16||8||6|
|Cy Young Awards||4||5||7|
|Cy Young (2nd-5th)||5||4||3|
Solid stuff, huh. I think that these three pitchers and their numbers could stack up very well against any three pitchers from any era.
But, who was the best?? Maddux seems to have been the steadiest with his 16 years of winning between 15-19 games. Johnson was the hardest throwing of the bunch with his incredible 10.6 strikeouts per 9 innings. And Clemens had the lowest ERA and the highest number of complete games and shutouts.
My pick, and it was very hard to make this selection let alone rank them, goes to Roger Clemens. Sure, he won more Cy Young awards and 1 more World Series title than the other guys. And yes, Greg Maddux was the best fielder of the group, maybe of all-time at pitcher. And Randy Johnson continued to dominate hitters well into his mid-40’s.
But Roger Clemens did it all. A fire-baller with precision control. Clemens struck out batters like no-one else, and he did it while staying composed and in control. His career ERA of 2.96 is well below the other guys, and that included 6 years of having less than a 2.50 ERA too. ‘Rocket’ made his teams into instant championship contenders – and he did that for 3 of the 4 teams he suited up for. Maddux and Johnson both had playoff and World Series success, but while they were the best hurlers on their pitching staffs, that did not always result in their teams being better due to their presence. For Clemens, it did!
You’ve seen the numbers. You know these guys. If you had to rank them – who would earn your top spot??