Peak Performance: The Top 20 Pitching Peaks Of The Modern Era

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Peak Performance: The Top 20 Pitching Peaks Of The Modern Era
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Peak Performance!  The Top 20 Pitching Peaks in Modern Baseball

As I started research on the best pitchers in each era of baseball, the concept of a peak in a pitcher’s career was somewhat nebulous and undefined in my understanding. I knew of pitchers whose reputations were based on a few years of sheer excellence, like Sandy Koufax, and those whose careers just ended too quickly, like JR Richard. 

What I uncovered when studying career after career, is that most pitchers had peak years when their skills were at their best. Most commonly, a top pitcher would have 2 – 3 years of uptake or learning when they were honing their pitches and knowledge of hitters.  

The next few years were the peak years for most pitchers. This was variable in length, but 4 years covers it for most pitchers. 

Then the next period of time could be called the after-glow period, when the pitcher was still successful, but not quite as dominant as they were during the peak.  If there was injury, it usually showed itself here. 

Then there are usually a few (2 – 3 average) waning years when the pitchers skills are on decline. They may have individual performances where they show their former brilliance, but have trouble sustaining this level of performance throughout a season—IP decline, K/BB differentials narrow, and ERAs are on the rise. 

Obviously, every pitcher’s career is slightly different, but this was the predominant pattern. 

Greg Maddux’ career makes a wonderful uninterrupted pattern for this natural arc.  He broke in learning his craft in Chicago, reached a certain level of excellence, then won four Cy Young awards in a row from ’92 – ’95 in Atlanta at his peak. 

The seasons gradually blended into afterglow and waning years. We still saw the incredible framework of his greatness even at the end of his career.

These peaks represent the ultimate in pitching dominance.  In this they represent a measuring stick of greatness throughout the course of each era of baseball.

Naturally, sportswriters have been drawn to these feats of pitching, sometimes lauding the sources of accomplishment to almost superhuman levels. 

So the purpose of this article is to bring to light and celebrate the pitchers who so mastered their craft at their peak, so that we can look back and say, “that was really something!”

As defining as these peaks are to pitching greatness, there are top pitchers not on this list. Warren Spahn, Nolan Ryan, Gaylord Perry and many others had epic careers but never a dominating peak. 

These great pitchers were so good for so long that what they accomplished throughout the course of their career can’t be ignored. So I guess we can call them the great grinders. However, the grinders will have to be the topic of another article.

I focused my attention on peaks that naturally presented themselves.  I allotted four years for the peak to take place (Greg Maddux ’92 – ’95), with the allowance of only one intervening year.  (Pedro Martinez – ’98 – ’00, ’02). One  exception was Bob Feller, whose peak fell on both sides of WWII – ’39 – ’41, ’46.  So I gave him a special dispensation for that.

There were two pitchers whose careers naturally presented two peaks on either side of an off year.  I found these to be quite exceptional and unique: Christy Mathewson’s ’06 and Jim Palmer’s ’74 separated truly remarkable bodies of work.

I looked for impressive win totals, low ERAs and high ERA+, shutouts, high K totals, K/BB ratios, H/9, IP, WHIP and CGs.  But what I counted for ranking was how many times a pitcher led their league in these categories. I tried to weight the first part of the list more than the latter categories, but they all counted.

This method of counting League Leading Categories (hence noted as LLCs) may seem a bit simplistic on the surface. But I think it gives a unique perspective to the relative dominance of our top peaks. It allows each era to present its dominant peaks without skewing the results to favor any one era. This method is not definitive, but I think it puts each peak very close to its true ranking.

You may have a favorite pitcher or peak not represented on the list, or there may be a ranking that doesn’t suit you. Feel free to respond with a comment. If I missed someone, I would certainly like to acknowledge their accomplishments. 

There were pitchers I thought might make the list, but ultimately didn’t quite make the final cut for the top twenty. So an honorable mention to Dwight Gooden, Catfish Hunter, Ferguson Jenkins, Bob Gibson, and Eddie Plank.

The Top Twenty Peaks –

# 20 —Jim Palmer— ’73, ’75 – ’77: Baltimore Orioles; 10 LLCs

                ’73; W 23 – 11; 2.09 ERA; +169; 10 SHO; 193K/ 80 BB; 2.41r; 323 IP; 7.0 H/9; 25 CG

                ’75: W 22 – 13; 2.51 ERA; +130; 6 SHO; 159 K/ 84 BB; 1.89r; 315 IP; 7.3 H/9; 23 CG

                ’76: W 20 – 11; 2.91 ERA; +132; 3 SHO; 193K/ 99 BB; 1.95r; 319 IP; 7.4 H/9; 22 CG

                ’77; W 22 – 9; 2.40 ERA; +156; 6 SHO; 158K/ 113 BB; 1.40r; 296 IP; 6.8 H/9; 19 CG

As a child I remember watching box scores of Jim Palmer’s pitching performances.  He wasn’t a strikeout artist, but consistently prevented the other team from scoring with his sinker.  During his prolonged peak from ’69 – ’77, Jim Palmer was arguably the 2nd best pitcher in baseball! 

 

#19—Rube Waddell —’02 – ’05; Philadelphia Athletics; 11 LLCs

                ’02; W 24 – 7; 2.05 ERA; +179; 3 SHO; 210K/ 64 BB; 3.28r; 276 IP; 7.3 H/9; 26 CG

                ’03; W 21 – 16; 2.44 ERA; +125; 4 SHO; 302K/ 85 BB; 3.55r; 324 IP; 7.6 H/9; 34 CG

                ’04; W 25 – 19; 1.62 ERA; +165; 8 SHO; 349K/ 91 BB; 3.84r; 383 IP; 7.2 H/9; 39 CG

                ’05; W 27 – 10; 1.48 ERA; +179; 7 SHO; 287K/ 90 BB; 3.19r; 328 IP; 6.3 H/9; 27 CG

Rube Waddell was the first pitching star of the 20th century!  News and accolades of his blazing fastball helped his popularity spread across the country like wildfire.  Nobody broke his single season strikeout record of 349 or reached 300K twice for over 60 years, and it took a raised mound and a larger strike zone to do it!

#18—Juan Marichal—’63, ’65 – ’66, ’68; San Francisco giants; 11 LLCs including WHIP title ’66 of 0.859

’63; W 25 – 8; 2.41 ERA; +132; 5 SHO; 248K/ 61 BB; 4.074; 321 IP; 7.3 H/9; 18 CG

’65; W 22 – 13; 2.13 ERA; + 169; 10 SHO; 240K/ 46 BB; 5.22r; 295 IP; 6.8 H/9; 24 CG

’66; W 25 – 6; 2.23 ERA; +167; 4 SHO; 222K/ 36 BB; 6.17r; 307 IP; 6.7 H/9; 25 CG

’68; W 26 – 9; 2.43 ERA; +123; 5 SHO; 218K/ 46 BB; 4.74r; 326 IP; 8.1 H/9; 30 CG

This is an impressive peak any way you slice it, but especially considering his competition to getting LLCs – Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson.  From ’63 – 66 he was up against Koufax’ peak, and in ’68 he was up against Gibson’s all-time year with the 1.12 ERA!  His WHIP of .859 in ’66 was the lowest of his generation.

#17—Dizzy Dean—’33 – ’36; St. Louis Cardinals; 12 LLCs

                ’33; W 20 – 18; 3.04 ERA; +114; 3 SHO; 199K/ 64 BB; 3.11r; 293 IP; 8.6 H/9; 26 CG

                ’34; W 30 – 7; 2.66 ERA; +159; 7 SHO; 195K / 75 BB; 2.60r; 311 IP; 8.3 H/9; 24 CG

                ’35; W 28 – 12; 3.04 ERA; +135; 3 SHO; 190K/ 77 BB; 2.47r; 325 IP; 9.0 H/9; 29 CG

                ’36; W 24 – 13; 3.17 ERA; +124; 2 SHO; 195K/ 53 BB; 3.68r; 315 IP; 8.9 H/9; 28 CG

Dizzy Dean’s brash and outgoing nature made him a favorite of the sportswriters.  He was part of the St. Louis “Gashouse Gang” of that time, and Pepper Martin, Frankie Frisch or Dizzy Dean were always good for a quote. He would often predict successes and then follow through – like winning 30 games, or how many games he and his younger brother would win that year. 

#16—Mordecai Brown— ’06, ’08 – ’10; Chicago Cubs; 12 LLCs, including 3 WHIP titles

                ’06; W 26 – 6; 1.04 ERA; +253; 9 SHO; 144K/ 61 BB; 2.36r; 277 IP; 6.4 H/9; 27 CG

                ’08; W 29 – 9; 1.47 ERA; +160; 9 SHO; 123K/ 49 BB; 2.51r; 312 IP; 6.2 H/9; 27 CG

                ’09; W 27 – 9; 1.31 ERA; +193; 8 SHO; 172K/ 53 BB; 3.25r; 342 IP; 6.5 H/9; 32 CG

                ’10; W 25 – 14; 1.86 ERA; +155; 6 SHO; 143K/ 64 BB; 2.23r; 295 IP; 7.8 H/9; 27 CG

Mordecai Brown was as stingy as a pitcher could get. All of these LLCs came in direct competition with Christy Mathewson. Their head to head duels became the stuff of legend. While Mathewson threw a “fade-away”, Brown used his handicap of a missing finger (hence the nickname “three-finger”) to develop unique breaking pitches which baffled the league for most of a decade.

#15 —Johan Santana— ’04 – ’06, ’08; Minnesota Twins/ NY Mets; 17 LLCs including 3 WHIP titles

                ’04; W 20 – 6; 2.61 ERA; +182; 1 SHO; 265K/ 54 BB; 4.91r; 228 IP; 6.2 H/9; 1 CG

                ’05; W 16 – 7; 2.87 ERA; +155; 2 SHO; 238K/ 45 BB; 5.29r; 231 IP; 7.0 H/9; 3 CG

                ’06; W 19 – 6; 2.77 ERA; +`161; 0 SHO; 245K/ 47 BB; 5.21r; 234 IP; 7.2 H/9; 1 CG

                ’08; W 16 – 7; 2.53 ERA; +166; 2 SHO; 206K/ 63 BB; 3.06r; 234 IP; 7.9 H/9; 3 CG

Johan Santana has made his mark on baseball history posting this peak.  Santana features an outstanding fastball and change-up which he spots with excellent control. Johan pitched the first three years of his peak for the Minnesota Twins, and ’08 with the New York Mets. 

#14—Tom Seaver—’69 – ’71, ’73; New York Mets; 16 LLCs incl. 2 WHIP titles

                ’69; W 25 – 7; 2.21 ERA; +165; 5 SHO; 208K/ 82 BB; 2.54r; 273 IP; 6.7 H/9; 18 CG

                ’70; W 18 – 12; 2.82 ERA; +142; 2 SHO; 283K/ 83BB; 3.41r; 290 IP; 7.1 H/9; 19 CG

                ’71; W 20 – 10; 1.76 ERA; +193; 4 SHO; 289K/ 61BB; 4.74r; 286 IP; 6.6 H/9; 21 CG

                ’73; W 19 – 10; 2.08 ERA; +175; 3 SHO; 251K/ 64 BB; 3.92r; 290 IP; 6.8 H/9; 18 CG

Tom Seaver at his best was the best of his generation. He led the miracle Mets to the world series title in ’69. His drop and drive pitching motion became one of the most iconic and classic. He said his best season was ’71.

#13—Hal Newhauser—’44 – ’46, ’48; Detroit Tigers; 16 LLCs incl. 1 WHIP title

’44; W 29 – 9; 2.22 ERA; +161; 6 SHO; 187K/ 102 Bb; 1.83r; 312 IP; 7.6 H/9; 25 CG

’45; W 25 – 9; 1.81 ERA; +195; 8 SHO; 212K/ 110 BB; 1.93r; 313 IP; 6.9 H/9; 29 CG

’46; W 26 – 9; 1.94 ERA; +188; 6 SHO; 275K/ 98 BB; 2.81r; 292 IP; 6.6 H/9; 29 CG

’48; W 21 – 12; 3.01 ERA; +145; 2 SHO; 143K/ 99 BB; 1.44r; 272 IP; 8.2 H/9; 19 CG

This peak of Newhauser’s was quite dominant, incl. a league MVP awards, two pitcher of the year awards and led the Tigers to the world series in ’45. He wasn’t quite the same pitcher after ’48, but the veteran’s committee found its way to induct him into the HOF in ’92.

#12—Robin Roberts—’52 – ’55; Philadelphia Phillies; 18 LLCs incl. 1 WHIP title

                ’52; W 28 – 7; 2.59 ERA; +141; 3 SHO; 148K/ 45 BB; 3.29r; 330 IP; 8.0 H/9; 30 CG

                ’53; W 23 – 16; 2.75 ERA; +152; 5 SHO; 198K/ 61 BB; 3.25r; 346 IP; 8.4 H/9; 33 CG

                ’54; W 23 – 16; 2.97 ERA; +136; 4 SHO; 185K/ 56BB; 3.30r; 336 IP; 7.7 H/9; 29 CG

                ’55; W 23 – 14; 3.28 ERA; +121; 1 SHO; 160K/ 53 BB; 3.02r; 305 IP; 8.6 H/9; 22 CG

Robin Roberts may be one of the most overlooked pitchers on this list.  However, he won 20 games 6 years in a row, and at one point pitched 28 complete games in a row!  He was a true workhorse on the mound, leading the league in innings pitched and complete games each year of his peak.

#11—Carl Hubbell— ’33 – ’36; New York Giants; 19 LLCs incl. 3 WHIP titles

                ’33; W 23 – 12; 1.66 ERA; +193; 10 SHO; 156K/ 47 BB; 3.32r; 308 IP; 7.5 H/9; 22 CG

                ’34; W 21 – 12; 2.30 ERA; +168; 5 SHO; 118 K/ 37 BB; 3.19r; 313 IP; 8.2 H/9; 25 CG

                ’35; W 23 – 12; 3.27 ERA; +118; 1 SHO; 150K/ 49 BB; 3.06r; 302 IP; 9.3 H/9; 24 CG

                ’36; W 26 – 6; 2.31 ERA; +169; 3 SHO; 123K/ 57 Bb; 2.16r; 304 IP; 7.8 H/9; 25 CG

Often overshadowed by the accomplishments of his contemporary, Lefty Grove, Carl “the meal ticket” Hubbell was quite the show in the mid ‘30s. He won the NL MVP in ’33 and ’36. At one point he won 17 games in a row, and struck out six consecutive HOF batters in an All-Star game.  He was the “other” dominant pitcher of the era. 

#10 —Randy Johnson— ’99 – ’02; Arizona Diamondbacks; 21 LLCs incl. 1 WHIP title

                ’99; W 17 – 9; 2.48 ERA; +186; 2 SHO; 364K/ 70 BB; 5.20r; 271 IP; 6.9 H/9; 12 CG

                ’00; W 19 – 9; 2.64 ERA; +181; 3 SHO; 347K/ 76 BB; 4.57r; 248 IP; 7.3 H/9; 8 CG

                ’01; W 21 – 6; 2.49 ERA; +188; 2 SHO; 372K/ 71 BB; 5.24r; 249 IP; 6.5 H/9; 3 CG

                ’02; W 24 – 5; 2.32 ERA; +197; 4 SHO; 334K/ 71 BB; 4.70r; 260 IP; 6.8 H/9; 8 CG

Randy Johnson put up these incredible numbers in the NL. He is the only pitcher in major league history to strikeout more than 300 batters four straight years, yielding the greatest number of strikeouts in a 4 year period in history. This peak ranks third among left-handed pitchers. The “Big Unit” pitched for the Arizona Diamondbacks, helping his team win the world series in 2001.

#9—Pedro Martinez— ’98 – ’00, ’02; 21 LLCs incl. 3 WHIP titles

                ’98; W 19 – 7; 2.89 ERA; +163;p 2 SHO; 251K/ 67 BB; 3.75r; 233 IP; 7.2 H/9; 3 CG

                ’99; W 23 – 4; 2.07 ERA; +243; 1 SHO; 313K/ 37 BB; 8.46r; 213 IP; 6.8 H/9; 5 Cg

                ’00; W 18 – 6; 1.74 ERA; +291; 4 SHO; 284K/ 32 BB; 8.88r; 217 IP; 5.3 H/9; 7 CG

                ’02; W 20 – 4; 2.26 ERA; +202; 0 SHO; 239K/ 40 BB; 5.98r; 199 IP; 6.5 H/9; 2 CG

Pedro’s incredible K/BB ratios, H/9 ratios led to not many batters reaching base during his peak.  It’s no wonder they didn’t score many runs!  His ERA+, and ratios are all-time season marks.  He was awarded the Cy Young award in ’99 and ’00.

#8 —Dazzy Vance— ’24 – ’25, ’27 – ’28; Brooklyn Dodgers; 23 LLCs incl. 2 WHIP titles

                ’24; W 28 – 6; 2.16 ERA; +174; 3 SHO; 262K/ 77BB; 3.40r; 308 IP; 6.9 H/9; 30 CG

                ’25; W 22 – 9; 3.53 ERA; +118; 4 SHO; 221K/ 66 BB; 3.35r; 265 IP; 8.4 H/9; 26 CG

                ’27; W 16 – 15 2.70 ERA; +146; 2 SHO; 184K/ 69 BB; 2.67r; 273 IP; 8.0 H/9; 25 CG

                ’28; W 22 – 10; 2.09 ERA; +191; 4 SHO; 200K/ 72 BB; 2.78r; 280 IP; 7.3 H/9; 24 CG

Dazzy Vance entered the major leagues at age 31, and didn’t look back! He was the only really dominant pitcher of the '20s. Once they figured out to give him an extra day’s rest between starts, he was able to maintain his dominant ways throughout the seasons. He led the NL in strikeouts 7 consecutive years. The story goes he even tried tearing his pitching sleeves to increase the level of distraction.  He was the 1924 NL MVP and won the pitching triple crown

#7 —Greg Maddux—’92 – ’95; Atlanta Braves; 23 LLCs incl. 3 WHIP titles

                ’92; W 20 – 11; 2.18 ERA; +166; 4 SHO; 199K/ 70 BB; 2.84r; 268 IP; 6.8 H/9; 9 CG

                ’93; W 20 – 10; 2.36 ERA; +171; 1 SHO; 197K/ 52 BB; 3.79r; 267 IP; 7.7 H/9; 8 CG

                ’94; W 16 – 6; 1.56 ERA; +271; 3 SHO; 156K/ 31 Bb; 5.03r; 202 IP; 6.7 H/9; 10 CG

                ’95; W 19 – 2; 1.63 ERA; +262; 3 SHO; 181K/ 23 BB; 7.87r; 209 IP; 6.3 H/9; 10 CG

This was an amazing run of dominance by Maddux. He studied how to get each hitter out. Simply put, he pitched more innings and gave up fewer runs than anybody in baseball for these four years. Four Cy Young awards followed and a world series title in ’95.

#6 — Bob Feller— ’39 – ’41; ’46; Cleveland Indians; 23 LLCs incl. 1 WHIP title

                ’39; W 24 – 9; 2.85 ERA; +154; 4 SHO; 246K/ 142 BB; 296 IP; 6.9 H/9; 24 CG

                ’40; W 27 – 11; 2.61 ERA; +161; 4 SHO; 261K/ 118 BB; 320 IP; 6.9 H/9; 31 CG

                ’41; W 25 – 13; 3.15 ERA; +125; 6 SHO; 260K/ 194 BB; 343 IP; 7.5 H/9; 28 CG

                ’46; W 26 – 15; 2.18 ERA; +153; 10 SHO; 348K/ 153 BB; 371 IP; 6.7 H/9; 36 CG

“Rapid Robert” and his blazing fastball splashed on the scene before WWII.  And as if that wasn’t enough, he came back for an encore after the war!  His peak strikeout numbers are the most since Rube Waddell (’02 – ’05).  We can only imagine what his peak might have looked like without the interruption!

#5 —Lefty Grove—’29 – ’32; Philadelphia Athletics; 24 LLCs incl. 3 WHIP titles

                ’29; W 20 – 6; 2.81 ERA; +151; 2 SHO; 170K/ 81 BB; 2.10r; 275 IP; 9.1 H/9; 19 CG

                ’30; W 28 – 5; 2.54 ERA; +185; 2 SHO; 209K/ 60 BB; 3.48r; 291 IP; 8.4 H/9; 22 CG

                ’31; W 31 – 4; 2.06 ERA; +219; 4 SHO; 175K/ 62 BB; 2.82r; 288 IP; 7.8 H/9; 27 CG

                ’32; W 25 – 10; 2.84 ERA; +159; 4 SHO; 188 K/ 79 BB; 2.38r; 291 IP; 8.3 H/9; 27 CG

Robert Moses Grove came up to the major leagues in ’25, and finally figured out what it took to win. By ’27 he recorded his first of 7 consecutive 20 win seasons.  He was an intense competitor and hated to lose. Fortunately it wasn’t that often!  He was the most dominant pitcher of his era, and especially the American League during his peak years.

#4—Christy Mathewson—’05, ’07 – ’09; New York Giants; 25 LLCs incl. 3 WHIP titles

                ’05; W 31 – 9; 1.28 ERA; +230; 8 SHO; 206K/ 64 BB; 3.22r; 338 IP; 6.7 H/9; 32 CG

                ’07; W 24 – 12; 2.00 ERA; +123; 8 SHO; 178K 53 BB; 3.36r; 315 IP; 6.7 H/9; 31 CG

                ’08; W 37 – 11; 1.43 ERA; +168; 11 SHO; 259K/ 42 BB; 6.17r; 390 IP; 6.6 H/9; 34 CG

                ’09; W 25 – 6; 1.14 ERA; +222; 8 SHO; 149K/36 BB; 4.14r; 275 IP; 6.3 H/9; 26 CG

Christy Mathewson’s well mannered presence and educated background caught the imagination of baseball fans everywhere. He became a symbol for what was right in the game and the nation. He pitched in the series 4 times, but it was in ’05 that he stood the baseball world on end by pitching and winning 3 complete game shutouts to conquer Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics.

#3—Sandy Koufax—’63 – ’66; Los Angeles Dodgers; 27 LLCs incl. 3 WHIP titles

                ’63; W 25 – 5; 1.88 ERA; +159; 11 SHO; 306K/ 58 BB; 5.28r; 311 IP; 6.2 H/9; 20 CG

                ’64; W 19 – 5; 1.74 ERA; +187; 7 SHO; 223K/ 53 BB; 4.21r; 223 IP; 6.2 H/9; 15 CG

                ’65; W 26 – 8; 2.04 ERA; +160; 8 SHO; 382K/ 71 BB; 5.38r; 335 IP; 5.8 H/9; 27 CG

                ’66; W 27 – 9; 1.73 ERA; +190; 5 SHO; 317K/ 77 BB; 4.12r; 323 IP; 6.7 H/9; 27 CG

This peak is perhaps for us today the one against which all others are measured.  Sandy Koufax was the epitome of excellence and dominance for these four years.  He won the triple crown—most wins, strikeouts and lowest ERA in ’63, 65 and ‘66, as well as the Cy Young award each of those seasons. He broke the single season strikeout record which had stood for 61 years in ’65. 

#2 —Grover Alexander — ’14 – ’17; Philadelphia Phillies; 28 LLCs incl. 2 WHIP titles

                ’14; W 27 – 15; 2.38 ERA; +123; 6 SHO; 214K/ 76 BB; 2.82r; 355 IP; 8.3 H/9; 32 CG

                ’15 W 31 – 10; 1.22 ERA; +225; 12 SHO; 241K/ 64 BB; 3.77r; 376 IP; 6.1 H/9; 36 CG

’16 W 33 – 12; 1.55 ERA; +170; 16 SHO; 167K/ 50 BB; 3.34r; 389 IP; 7.5 H/9; 38 CG

                ’17 W 30 – 13; 1.83 ERA; +153; 8 SHO; 200K/ 56 BB; 3.57r; 388 IP; 7.8 H/9; 34 CG

“Pete” must have pitched like a machine during this peak—put him on the mound and you get a complete game victory. All those wins, shutouts, IP and complete games must have been something to watch and be a part of!  As far as I am aware of, 16 shutouts is the modern day record for one season!  I hope historians will not continue to overlook this great pitcher’s peak and career.

#1—Walter Johnson—’12 – ’15; Washington Senators; 30 LLCs incl. 3 WHIP titles

                ’12; W 33 – 12; 1.39 ERA; +242; 7 SHO; 303K/ 76 BB; 3.99r; 369 IP; 6.3 H/9; 34 CG

                ’13; W 36 – 7; 1.14 ERA; +259; 11 SHO; 243K/ 38 BB; 6.39r; 346 IP; 6.0 H/9; 29 CG

                ’14; W 28 – 18; 1.72 ERA; +164; 9 SHO; 225K/ 74 BB; 3.04r; 371 IP; 6.9 H/9; 33 CG

                ’15; W 27 – 13; 1.55 ERA; +191; 7 SHO; 203K/ 56 BB; 3.63r; 336 IP; 6.9 H/9; 35 CG

Taking a look at ’12, it’s hard to imaging pitching 369 innings, with 33 wins and 34 complete games and not leading in any of those categories, but that’s the case  here, or ‘the Train’ would have had even more LLCs during his peak! This peak gives us a glimpse at the legend of Walter Johnson. He was the complete package —velocity, control and endurance.

All of these pitchers deserve recognition for their accomplishments and the excellence they bestowed on baseball for all of us to appreciate and celebrate.  Some of these peaks tend to get more attention than others. Perhaps this list can help us discover new pitching exploits to revel over and retell on our own.

 

 

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