The Great Debate: Roger Clemens Vs Greg Maddux

A. Version 2.0Analyst IISeptember 13, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I did a article called " The Top 44 Greatest Right Handers Ever " and in it I had placed Roger Clemens 6th and Greg Maddux at 7th. A few writers wrote Maddux should be higher then Roger and then others wrote Roger deserved his spot. Both were amazing pitchers and in their primes were the top pitchers in the NL and AL.

So who really was the better pitcher?

They both had long careers so their respective numbers are very comparable. Roger pitched 24 seasons while Greg pitched 23.

If you went by a yearly averaged stats, Clemens averaged 14 wins, a 3.12 ERA, 204 IP, 194 K's, ERA+ of 145 and a WHIP of 1.17. Greg averaged 15 wins, a 3.16 ERA, 217 IP, 146 K's, ERA+ 132 and a WHIP of 1.14. At first glance you see the stats you might favor towards Maddux but, if you consider that yearly Clemens gave up less H/9 (7.6/9) and Greg gave up 8.5/9 plus the fact Roger pitched in the AL East (21 seasons in the East) for most of his career you might rethink your answer.

In their respective careers Maddux had 18 200+ IP seasons, 18 15+ win seasons, 1 200 K season, 4 seasons of a WHIP under 1.00, 2 times had over 10+ CG, 9 times had a ERA under 3.00 and 19 times had 30+ starts. Clemens had 15 200 IP seasons, 12 15+ win seasons, 12 200 K seasons, 1 season of a WHIP under 1.00, 5 times had 10+ CG, 11 times had a ERA under 3.00 and 16 times had 30+ starts. Jaw dropping stats from both pitchers.

If you want to go by overall stats, Clemens has 354 wins, .658% WP, 3.12 ERA, 118 CG, 4916 IP, 4672 K's and a career 1.17 WHIP. Maddux has 355 wins, .610% WP, 3.16 ERA, 109 CG, 5008.1 IP, 3371 K's and a career 1.14 WHIP. Greg in one less season has more IP and more wins then "The Rocket" does. The feeling you get from seeing the overall stats alone is that these two hurlers were as complete of pitchers as you can get. "Mad Dog" never had a 100 BB season while Clemens had 1.

Achievements and honors are never the smartest way to go because of the "snubbing" that goes on in sports. But, if you wanted to go that way Clemens had a record 7 Cy Young Awards, 11 All Star Selections, 2 World Championships, a AL MVP and a All Star Game MVP Award. Greg had 4 Cy Young Awards, 8 All Star Selections, 1 World Championship and a record 18 Gold Gloves. Just looking at those honors it sure looks like Greg's career has been pretty underrated when comapred to his stats.

Who was the big game pitcher? I have only showed you the regular season stats but who was able to step up in the Post Season. For all of Maddux's great achievements he will never get to accomplish one and that is have a winning record in the Post Season. Maddux was 11-14 on the big stage despite a 3.27 ERA and he pitched 198 innings, with a 1.24 WHIP, 2 CG, 195 hits allowed, 125 K's and a .440% WP. In Greg's final 8 starts in the fall classic his team was 1-7. Roger on the other hand was 12-8 with a 3.75 ERA, 199 IP, with 173 K's, 173 hits, 1 CG and a .600% WP. In his final 2 Post Season starts Clemens pitched a disppointing 4.1 innings.

Then, you have the intangibles Greg was never accused of steroid use, when Maddux retired both the Braves and Cubs retired his number. There was never the same drama surrounding "Mad Dog" then there was circling "The Rocket". Clemens has been retired a full season longer then Greg yet the Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays, Astros haven't even considered retiring his number. Clemens was accused of roids (although he hasn't tested positive yet).

I think it is very close.

Both were great but what do you guys think?