Daily Archives: March 25, 2010

Let The Numbers Do The Talking: Maddux VS Johnson VS Clemens

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:

  Maddux Johnson Clemens
Seasons 23 22 24
Wins 355 303 354
Losses 227 166 184
Win/Loss % 61.0% 64.6% 65.8%
20-win seasons 2 3 6
15-19 win seasons 16 8 6
Shutouts 35 37 46
Complete Games 109 100 118
ERA 3.16 3.29 3.12
K’s 3,371 4,875 4,672
K’s:9 innings 6.1 10.6 8.6
K’s:Walks 3.37 3.26 2.96
No-Hitters 0 2 0
Cy Young Awards 4 5 7
Cy Young (2nd-5th) 5 4 3
All-star 8 10 11
Gold Gloves 18 0 0
Post-seasons 13 8 12
World Series 1 1 2


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?? 


‘Same Card, Different Paths’ – Card #52

‘Same Card, Different Paths’ – Card #52

1972 Topps – Card #761 – AKA – ‘The Ron Cey Rookie Card’

Ben Oglivie – A 16-year veteran that was a solid contributor for the Red Sox, Tigers, and Brewers, Ben Oglivie had a nice career as a big league player.  An outfielder that could play either in left or right, Oglivie solidified his role with his solid all-around play.  Oglivie was a 3-time All-star.  In his best season, 1980, he finished in 13th place for the MVP Award with his .304 batting average, 41 home runs, and 118 RBI.

Ron Cey – The ‘Penguin’ was as solid as they come during the 1970’s and into the 80’s.  The anchor of the Dodgers star-studded line-up, Ron Cey did it all.  A 6-time All-star, Cey finished his career with 1,868 hits, 316 home runs, and 1,139 RBI.  He played in 4 World Series match-ups with the Dodgers, winning just one title in 1981.  During the ’81 championship, Cey was named World Series MVP with his .350 batting average alongside 7 hits, 6 RBI, 3 runs scored, and 1 home run.  

Bernie Williams – Williams played for 4 seasons in the majors.  During that time he appeared in 102 games for the Giants and Padres.   A utility outfielder, Williams spent time playing all three spots.  Williams compiled a .192 batting average during his career while collecting 33 hits, scoring 23 runs, smacking 4 home runs, and striking out 53 times.

Dale Murphy 1989 Upper Deck

Dale Murphy 1989 Upper Deck

Adding to the never-ending array of Dale Murphy cards featuring posed images, Upper Deck followed suit with their debut issue in 1989.

That’s right.  The cutting edge company that offered us 2 color images, high-quality cardstock, super-glossy finishes, and holograms gave us this:

Why would I expect anything different, right?  I mean, maybe just maybe the companies thought that this was the best way to capture Murphy.  I mean, what other kind of images would a fan want of a 2-time MVP and annual Gold Glove winner???


Happy Birthday Tom Glavine!!

Tom Glavine turns 44 years old today.

For me, there is only one question left for Tom Glavine to face as he nears the end of his career.  And that question is – What Hall of Fame class does he want to be part of?

Looking back at the players that have retired in the last year, Glavine is one of the most highly decorated and respected of the group.  He seems very likely to be a 1st ballot entrant into the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible.  Now it is just all about deciding when to hang up his spikes.

Already the owner of 305 victories, 2 Cy Young Awards, 10 All-star team selections, 4 Silver Slugger Awards, and a World Series championship, Glavine had done everything needed to solidify himself as one of his era’s greatest pitching talents. 

Now he just needs to decide if he wants to add HOF 2015 or HOF 2016 to his resume. 

Happy Birthday Mr. Glavine!!