When it comes to Earned Run Average, Greg Maddux was the greatest in history. Experts say Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, and Maddux were so dominant because their ERA was so much lower than the league ERA, but Maddux’s comparative ERA was the lowest. Gibson and Koufax played in an era when pitching was so dominant that the mound was lowered. Maddux pitched against a league full of juiced up players hitting home runs at a record pace. Maddux put up four straight years where his ERA was less than 2/3 the league average. Only Walter Johnson, who pitched in the dead ball era, can match that.
Only three active pitchers have careers ERAs lower than Maddux, who pitched for 23 seasons. Today pitchers are dominant because players are trying to hit home runs, and instead strike out in record numbers.
Of all the players in MLB history who pitched as long as Maddux, only one had a lower ERA. Maddux is the only pitcher in history with more than 300 wins and 3000 strikeouts, and less than 1000 walks. The Hall of Famers he faced only hit .273 off him – 14 points lower than their career average.
era.league.% of league.career
1.56 4.21 37.1% Maddux 3.16
1.12 2.99 37.5% Gibson 2.91
Sunday night I looked at all the photos on AJC.com, looking for my two friends who had made the trip. Tom said his view wasn’t that good. Baptist John was at Turner Field. Yesterday I finally got to look at those commemorative HOF AJC’s. Thought about cutting out some photos for my scrapbook calendar, but decided to save them intact. Also bought the special commemorative Sports Illustrated HOF edition off the newsstands, with Maddux and Glavine on the cover. Filled with neat info and articles I hadn’t read before.