MLBs 10 Best Starting Pitchers of the 1960s: Gibson, Koufax, Marichal?

Michael WCorrespondent IIJanuary 1, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - JULY 08:  World Team All-Star manager Juan Marichal of the San Francisco Giants walks off the field during the XM Satellite Radio All-Star Futures Game at AT&T Park on July 8, 2007 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

There were 69 starting pitchers from the 1960s who pitched in at least 200 games.

If a player does not appear on the list of the 69 eligible players list, then they either didn’t reach 200 games or I consider them a pitcher from the 1950s or the 1970s.

The 1950s will be covered in a separate article, and I just wrote an article on the 10 best starting pitchers from the 1970s.

Pitchers will only be in one decade. For example, Bob Gibson will appear in this article. So, he will not appear in my 1950s article, which I will write at a later date; and, of course, he did not appear in my 1970s article.

 


An Explanation of the Stats

The statistics used will be Games Pitched, Games Started, Innings Pitched, ERA, ERA+, W, W%+, H/9 (OBA), WHIP (OOB%), SHO, SHO/40 (per 40 games started), K and K/BB (ratio). I will also letter-grade their length of career.

First, I will include their raw career numbers. These are simply their career numbers.

Second, I will include their adjusted career numbers, if they had a long career (which most have).

Adjusted career is this: Let’s take Jim Bunning, for example. Bunning is a starting pitcher from the 1960s that had a long career. So in order to find his real numbers, I have to exclude some late seasons during his career to find the numbers that he really carried during his career, since he pitched past his prime.

With Bunning, I’d exclude his last four seasons. That is his adjusted career. Again, this can only be done with long career players. If I don’t list an adjusted career under a player’s raw career numbers, then it means they didn’t play long enough to adjust for their long career or it means they didn’t have any bad seasons.

Third, I will include peak career numbers. Many like short peaks, not me. I include the best seasons equaling at least 200 games for a peak. It takes away the possibility of a pitcher having one or two lucky seasons. The 200-game peak will let us know how good the pitcher was at his best.

Note: W%+ is a statistic that I have invented. It takes the team's winning percentage into account. It is very complicated as different weights are applied to seasons depending on how many games and innings pitched a pitcher accumulated during a single season. Having said that, here’s the simple version.

If a starting pitcher has a career .500 W% during the 2000s and that pitcher pitched for the Yankees. Well, .500 is not good. But, if that pitcher pitched for the Royals, then .500 is good.

This is the reasoning behind W%+. It is to W% what ERA is to ERA+. It’s not foolproof, but neither is ERA+, just another piece of the puzzle and far, far more important than raw W%.

 

The 69 Starting Pitchers

Here are the 69 starting pitchers from the 1960s that reached at least 200 games (listed in alphabetical order): Steve Barber, Wade Blasingame, Steve Blass, Dave Boswell, Bob Buhl, Ernie Broglio, Bob Bruce, George Brunet, Wally Bunker, Jim Bunning, John Buzhardt, Don Cardwell, Dean Chance, Tony Cloninger, Roger Craig, Mike Cueller, Ray Culp, Bennie Daniels, Al Downing, Don Drysdale, Sammy Ellis, Dick Ellsworth, Jack Fisher, Bob Gibson, Ruben Gomez, Mudcat Grant, Bob Hendley, Glen Hobbie, Joe Horlen, Al Jackson, Larry Jackson, Pat Jarvis, Ken Johnson, Jim Kaat, Sandy Koufax, Jack Kralick, Lew Krausse, Denny Lemaster, Jim Maloney, Juan Marichal, Mike McCormick, Sam McDowell, Jim McGlothlin, Denny McLain, Dave McNally, Bill Monbouquette, Jim Nash, Phil Ortega, Claude Osteen, Jim O’Toole, Milt Pappas, Camilo Pascual, Jim Perry, Gary Peters, Tom Phoebus, Juan Pizzaro, Johnny Podres, Bob Purkey, Ray Sadecki, Jack Sanford, Bob Shaw, Chris Short, Sonny Siebert, Dick Stigman, Mel Stottlemyre, Ralph Terry, Bob Veale, Ray Washburn and Earl Wilson.

 

The Honorable Mentions

Here are the 10 starting pitchers that just missed the top 10 for various reasons (listed in alphabetical order): Joe Horlen, Jim Maloney, Dave McNally, Claude Osteen, Milt Pappas, Camilo Pascual, Chris Short, Sonny Siebert, Mel Sottlemyre, and Bob Veale.

 

The Top 10

 

10. Jim Perry (1959-1975) Career Length Grade: B+

Raw Career: 630 G, 447 GS, 3,285.2 IP, 3.45 ERA, 106 ERA+, 215 W, 104 W%+, 8.6 H/9, 1.26 WHIP, 32 SHO, 2.9 SHO/40, 1,576 K and 1.6 K/BB

Adjusted Career: 567 G, 391 GS, 2,910.1 IP, 3.30 ERA, 111 ERA+, 194 W, 107 W%+, 8.5 H/9, 1.24 WHIP, 31 SHO, 3.2 SHO/40, 1,406 K and 1.7 K/BB (exclude his 1971 and 1975 seasons)

Peak Career: 227 G, 147 GS, 1,157.2 IP, 2.69 ERA, 133 ERA+, 80 W, 113 W%+, 7.9 H/9, 1.14 WHIP, 13 SHO, 3.5 SHO/40, 582 K and 1.9 K/BB (include his 1959, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969 and 1974 seasons)

 

He won the Cy Young award during his 1970 season, when he led the League with 24 wins. He ended up leading the League in wins twice and recorded 215 wins by the time his career was through.

Some will argue that his Cy Young award 1970 season was actually the seventh or eighth best season of his career, even though it was the only season he won the award.

It’s true, 1970 was the most wins he ever recorded, but it was his seventh best season for ERA+ and his eighth best season for ERA.

He had a fairly good arsenal of pitches that he threw, including a fairly good fastball, curveball and slider.

He’s the older brother of Hall of Fame starting pitcher Gaylord Perry.

There are three or four players on the honorable mentions list that have solid arguments to have this 10th and final spot, instead of Perry. But when I seriously analyze the numbers and factor in the fact that he had a nice long career, Perry gets the 10 spot.

 

9. Mike Cuellar (1959-1977) Career Length Grade: B-

Raw Career: 453 G, 379 GS, 2,808 IP, 3.14 ERA, 109 ERA+, 185 W, 108 W%+, 8.1 H/9, 1.20 WHIP, 36 SHO, 3.8 SHO/40, 1,632 K and 2.0 K/BB

Adjusted Career: 425 G, 359 GS, 2,697.2 IP, 3.05 ERA, 113 ERA+, 181 W, 112 W%+, 8.0 H/9, 1.18 WHIP, 35 SHO, 3.9 SHO/40, 1,597 K and 2.1 K/BB (exclude his last two seasons)

Peak Career: 226 G, 216 GS, 1,595 IP, 2.79 ERA, 124 ERA+, 113 W, 111 W%+, 7.7 H/9, 1.14 WHIP, 21 SHO, 3.9 SHO/40, 859 K and 1.9 K/BB (include his 1966, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1974 seasons)

 

He won the Cy Young award during the 1969 season when he recorded 23 wins, .676 W%, 2.38 ERA, 5 SHO, 182 Ks, 151 ERA+, 1.01 WHIP, 6.6 H/9 and 2.3 K/BB.

1969 was the start of a great streak that Cuellar would set over the next half dozen seasons. During those six seasons, from 1969-1974, he won at least 20 games in four of those six seasons; leading the League in wins and W% during that streak.

It’s amazing just how forgotten Cuellar is because he shouldn’t be forgotten and he belongs on this list.

There was a fabulous article that was written on New Year’s Eve by Jonathan Stilwell that rates the top 10 Latin starting pitchers of all-time. It talks about Cuellar and some of the other great Latin starting pitchers and it’s an article that you should check out if you get time, it’s very well-written and -researched.

The Jonathan Stilwell article is at:
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/317452-the-legacy-of-our-latin-legends-the-top-ten-latin-starting-pitchers?just_published=1

 

8. Jim Kaat (1959-1983) Career Length Grade: A+

Raw Career: 898 G, 625 GS, 4,530.1 IP, 3.45 ERA, 107 ERA+, 283 W, 101 W%+, 9.2 H/9, 1.26 WHIP, 31 SHO, 2.0 SHO/40, 2,461 K and 2.3 K/BB

Adjusted Career: 662 G, 523 GS, 3,759.6 IP, 3.26 ERA, 113 ERA+, 241 W, 103 W%+, 8.9 H/9, 1.23 WHIP, 26 SHO, 2.0 SHO/40, 2,158 K and 2.4 K/BB (exclude his 1973, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1982 and 1983 seasons)

Peak Career: 225 G, 213 GS, 1,532.1 IP, 2.88 ERA, 130 ERA+, 112 W, 117 W%+, 8.6 H/9, 1.18 WHIP, 14 SHO, 2.6 SHO/40, 880 K and 2.5 K/BB (include his 1962, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1974 and 1975 seasons)

 

He led the League in 1966 with 25 wins and ended his career with over 280 wins.

He pitched forever and had the longest career of any starting pitcher from the 1960s, ending his career with almost 900 games pitched, 625 games started, and over 4,500 innings pitched.

He also picked up 16 Gold Gloves during his career, which is still the second most in the history of Major League Baseball for a starting pitcher.

His numbers are the worst numbers in this top 10, along with Perry in the 10 spot. But it’s his A+ length of career that put him on this list. It’s why he belongs on this list.

 

7. Dean Chance (1961-1971) Career Length Grade: C-

Raw Career: 406 G, 294 GS, 2,147.1 IP, 2.92 ERA, 118 ERA+, 128 W, 103 W%+, 7.8 H/9, 1.21 WHIP, 33 SHO, 4.5 SHO/40, 1,534 K and 2.1 K/BB

Peak Career: 200 G, 152 GS, 1,149 IP, 2.48 ERA, 138 ERA+, 75 W, 109 W%+, 7.3 H/9, 1.09 WHIP, 24 SHO, 6.4 SHO/40, 838 K and 2.6 K/BB (include his 1962, 1964, 1967, 1968 and 1969 seasons)

 

He captured the Cy Young award during the 1964 season, when he led the League with 20 wins, 1.65 ERA, 11 SHO and 198 ERA+.

Those are absolutely and undeniably incredible numbers.

That season, he also posted a .690 W%, 207 Ks, 1.01 WHIP, 6.3 H/9 and 2.4 K/BB. It was a season for the ages.

His 11 SHO during that 1964 season is the last time in the history of Major League Baseball that a player has posted more than 10 SHO in a single season, other than Bob Gibson in 1968.

In a career that saw him start in less than 295 games, he posted over 30 SHO. That’s more SHO than Jim Kaat (in the 8 spot) posted and Kaat pitched in almost 900 games during his career.

That’s unbelievable.

Many would have Kaat ahead of Chance because Kaat has thee longest career of any starting pitcher from this decade and Chance has the shortest career of any starting pitcher in this top 10.

It’s not even close, Kaat had over twice as many games pitched, games started and innings pitched than Chance had.

But it’s the fact that Chance had such better numbers than Kaat that puts Chance ahead of Kaat, even with a much shorter career.

In fact, Chance had a better ERA, ERA+, W%+, H/9, WHIP, SHO and SHO/40 than Kaat. That’s seven categories that historians agree are seven important starting pitcher stats to look at  and Chance is better in all seven of them. Kaat, not in a one.

I think that Kaat’s long career helps narrow the gap between he and Chance’s numbers, but they don’t put him ahead of Chance. Though, it does put them right next to each other, as you can see.

 

6. Sam McDowell (1961-1975) Career Length Grade: C+

Raw Career: 425 G, 346 GS, 2,492.1 IP, 3.17 ERA, 112 ERA+, 141 W, 105 W%+, 7.0 H/9, 1.31 WHIP, 23 SHO, 2.6 SHO/40, 2,453 K and 1.9 K/BB

Adjusted Career: 412 G, 339 GS, 2,444.1 IP, 3.14 ERA, 113 ERA+, 140 W, 108 W%+, 7.0 H/9, 1.30 WHIP, 23 SHO, 2.7 SHO/40, 2,420 K and 1.9 K/BB (exclude his 1974 season)

Peak Career: 203 G, 174 GS, 1,340 IP, 2.52 ERA, 141 ERA+, 83 W, 119 W%+, 6.7 H/9, 1.19 WHIP, 13 SHO, 3.0 SHO/40, 1,397 K and 2.4 K/BB (include his 1964, 1965, 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1975 seasons)

 

He started pitching in Major League Baseball as an 18-year-old during the 1961 season.

He had an arsenal of pitches that included a fastball, curveball, and slider. Many argue that he was the best fastball pitcher from the decade.

All of his pitches were fast, even his curveball. When his fastball was on, he was unhittable. Unfortunately, he had control problems, kind of reminds me of Nolan Ryan. Unhittable when he had that ball under control.

The fact of the matter is, he was on more than he was off. His career 7.0 H/9 still remains as the sixth best H/9 in the history of MLB for a starting pitcher. He led the League in H/9 for two consecutive seasons in 1965 and 1966.

That incredible fastball also helped lead to some eye-popping K numbers.

In fact, he led the League in Ks during five of the six seasons from 1965-1970; and his career 8.9 K/9 is the eighth best K/9 in the history of MLB for a starting pitcher. He led the League in K/9 during six of the seven seasons from 1964-1970.

As you can see, he had dominant numbers that put him in the top 10 all time in two important categories. If he could have held on for another hundred games, he’d likely be in the Hall of Fame. But, he didn’t hang on, and ended up with only a slightly above average length of career.

But what a starting pitcher he was; the best from this decade that’s not in the HOF.

 

5. Don Drysdale (1956-1969) Career Length Grade: B+

Raw Career: 518 G, 465 GS, 3,432 IP, 2.95 ERA, 121 ERA+, 209 W, 102 W%+, 8.1 H/9, 1.15 WHIP, 49 SHO, 4.2 SHO/40, 2,486 K and 2.9 K/BB

Adjusted Career: 466 G, 413 GS, 3,095.2 IP, 2.88 ERA, 125 ERA+, 191 W, 104 W%+, 7.9 H/9, 1.14 WHIP, 45 SHO, 4.4 SHO/40, 2,285 K and 2.9 K/BB (exclude his 1966 and 1969 seasons)

Peak Career: 214 G, 189 GS, 1,463.2 IP, 2.55 ERA, 140 ERA+, 94 W, 109 W%+, 7.5 H/9, 1.08 WHIP, 24 SHO, 5.1 SHO/40, 1,073 K and 2.9 K/BB (include his 1956, 1957, 1960, 1962, 1964 and 1968 seasons)

 

He began pitching in Major League Baseball as a teenager during the 1956 season.

He ended up having a Hall of Fame career and picked up the Cy Young award during his 1962 season. That season, he ended up leading the League with 25 wins and recorded almost 210 wins by the time his career was through.

He also led the League in Ks during three of the four seasons from 1959-1962. He was dominant when he was on and posted almost 50 SHO during his career, leading the League in SHO and WHIP at one time or another during that career.

He helped lead his teams to five World Series, capturing three World Series championships out of those five trips.

In 1968, moments before Robert Kennedy was assassinated while running for the Presidency of the United States, Kennedy talked about Drysdale and his streak of consecutive SHO innings. Drysdale was in the process of that streak at the time.

Years and years later, Drysdale was found dead in his hotel room before a game that he was commentating; and he had a tape of that Kennedy speech with him in that hotel room at the time of his death. He never traveled without that tape and almost always carried it with him when he traveled.

It shows many things, arguably the most important political leader, and a man that almost surely would have become President had he not been assassinated, had baseball on his mind while campaigning. He also adlibbed it into his speech because most Americans also had Drysdale’s streak on their mind, too. Baseball is still part of the fabric of America, but it helps to show how much a part of the fabric it was back then.

I mean, the Country was in a revolution and Kennedy was basically saying, “they killed my brother, they killed Martin Luther King, Jr., but don’t give up hope. With your help, I can change the world for the better…and by the way, go Drysdale.”

How amazing is that?

God bless both of them, Drysdale and Kennedy. One gave his life to baseball and the other gave his life for a better world that was never to be.

 

4. Jim Bunning (1955-1971) Career Length Grade: A

Raw Career: 591 G, 519 GS, 3,760 IP, 3.27 ERA, 114 ERA+, 224 W, 107 W%+, 8.2 H/9, 1.18 WHIP, 40 SHO, 3.1 SHO/40, 2,855 K and 2.9 K/BB

Adjusted Career: 467 G, 410 GS, 3,059 IP, 3.07 ERA, 123 ERA+, 192 W, 113 W%+, 7.9 H/9, 1.14 WHIP, 39 SHO, 3.8 SHO/40, 2,398 K and 3.0 K/BB (exclude his last four seasons)

Peak Career: 203 G, 184 GS, 1,426.2 IP, 2.54 ERA, 143 ERA+, 86 W, 116 W%+, 7.5 H/9, 1.06 WHIP, 22 SHO, 4.8 SHO/40, 1,156 K and 3.6 K/BB (include his 1957, 1960, 1965, 1966 and 1967 seasons)

 

He’s a Hall of Famer that ended up posting 40 SHO during his career. He also led the League in SHO during two consecutive seasons, 1966 and 1967.

He had great control and led the League in K/BB twice during his career, as well as leading the League in Ks three times.

I’m keeping it short and sweet with Bunning and, the truth is, most historians would have him exactly where I have him, fourth.

I’m just not a Bunning fan, but I’m not going to underrate him because of that.

 

3. Sandy Koufax (1955-1966) Career Length Grade: C

Raw Career: 397 G, 314 GS, 2,324.1 IP, 2.76 ERA, 131 ERA+, 165 W, 115 W%+, 6.8 H/9, 1.11 WHIP, 40 SHO, 5.1 SHO/40, 2,396 K and 2.9 K/BB

Peak Career: 235 G, 216 GS, 1,674.1 IP, 2.21 ERA, 155 ERA+, 131 W, 124 W%+, 6.5 H/9, 0.98 WHIP, 37 SHO, 6.9 SHO/40, 1,743 K and 4.0 K/BB (exclude his 1956-1960 seasons)

 

He stopped pitching at the age of 30 and started pitching in Major League Baseball as a teenager during the 1955 season. He stopped pitching because arthritis made his arm feel like it was going to fall right off of his body after each start. It basically felt like that during each of his last two seasons, though he pitched brilliantly during those last two seasons.

The difference between Koufax, and Gibson and Marichal is purely academic. In my mind, Koufax was actually a slightly higher caliber pitcher, but Gibson and Marichal are rated better because of their longer career’s. It’s just the way it works out.

Koufax is in the Hall of Fame, of course. He won the Cy Young award during three of the last four seasons of his career. It’s why people couldn’t believe he stopped pitching when he did because it seemed he was getting better and better every year. But again, the arm problems were too much to tolerate.

His career 6.8 H/9 still remains as the second best H/9 in the history of MLB for a starting pitcher. In fact, he led the League in H/9 for five consecutive seasons from 1961-1965.

His career 1.11 WHIP still remains as the 16th best WHIP in the history of MLB for a starting pitcher; and he led the League in WHIP for four consecutive seasons from 1962-1965.

He led the League in ERA during each of his last five seasons in the League.

He led the League in Ks during four of his last six seasons in the League.

He led the League in wins during three of his last four seasons in the League. In fact, he recorded at least 25 wins during each of those three seasons that he led the League, three of his last four seasons in the League.

He led the League in K/BB during three of the five seasons from 1961-1965.

He led the League in SHO during three of his last four seasons in the League.

He led the League in W% twice during his career.

He led the League in ERA+ during two of his last three seasons in the League.

This is why Koufax was a higher caliber pitcher than Gibson or Marichal. You just won’t see these kind of League leading facts when you look at Gibson and Marichal.

Truth is, I’m starting to question if I should have either of those two ahead of Koufax. It’s that length of career thing again. Boy I hate length of career.

Koufax helped lead his teams to the World Series four times, winning the championship three times. During his four different seasons in the World Series, he ended up with a 0.95 ERA, 5.7 H/9, 0.83 WHIP and 5.6 K/BB. Unbelievable World Series numbers.

It’s why he easily still remains as one of the 10 best left handed starting pitchers in the history of MLB; and it’s why he arguably still remains one of the 20 best starting pitchers in the history of MLB, righty or lefty.

 

2. Bob Gibson (1959-1975) Career Length Grade: A-

Raw Career: 528 G, 482 GS, 3,884.1 IP, 2.91 ERA, 127 ERA+, 251 W, 111 W%+, 7.6 H/9, 1.19 WHIP, 56 SHO, 4.6 SHO/40, 3,117 K and 2.3 K/BB

Adjusted Career: 473 G, 435 GS, 3,535.1 IP, 2.79 ERA, 133 ERA+, 237 W, 115 W%+, 7.4 H/9, 1.16 WHIP, 55 SHO, 5.0 SHO/40, 2,928 K and 2.5 K/BB (exclude his last two seasons)

Peak Career: 205 G, 195 GS, 1,622 IP, 2.31 ERA, 158 ERA+, 110 W, 116 W%+, 6.9 H/9, 1.10 WHIP, 33 SHO, 6.7 SHO/40, 1,344 K and 2.5 K/BB (include his 1961, 1962, 1966, 1968, 1969 and 1972 seasons)

 

He’s a Hall of Famer and a two time Cy Young award winner that helped his team to the World Series three times, capturing the World Series championship twice.

His career World Series numbers: .778 W%, 1.89 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 6.1 H/9 and 5.4 K/BB.

Great World Series numbers, obviously.

He was a dominating pitcher that came in at 6’ 1”. But hitters would swear he was nine feet tall when he was on the mound. Just one of the most domineering and frightful starting pitchers in history, as far as hitters were concerned.

He won at least 20 games during five of the six seasons from 1965-1970 and ended his career with over 250 wins.

He also led the League in SHO four times and ended his career with over 55 SHO. His 13 SHO during the 1968 season still remains third all time on the single season list and it’s first in the live ball era.

When he was on, dominant wasn’t even the word for this guy.

He also led the League in ERA+ twice during his career.

More than any other player, it is Gibson that is credited with MLBs decision to change the height of the pitching mound. The height was changed to make it easier for hitters to do their job successfully… and likewise, harder for pitchers to do theirs.

Gibson still remains as one of the 20 best starting pitchers in the history of Major League Baseball.

 

1.Juan Marichal (1960-1975) Career Length Grade: B

Raw Career: 471 G, 457 GS, 3,507.1 IP, 2.89 ERA, 123 ERA+, 243 W, 115 W%+, 8.1 H/9, 1.10 WHIP, 52 SHO, 4.6 SHO/40, 2,303 K and 3.3 K/BB

Adjusted Career: 399 G, 390 GS, 3,071.2 IP, 2.72 ERA, 129 ERA+, 221 W, 120 W%+, 7.8 H/9, 1.07 WHIP, 50 SHO, 5.1 SHO/40, 2,122 K and 3.5 K/BB (exclude his last four seasons)

Peak Career: 236 G, 231 GS, 1,900 IP, 2.31 ERA, 148 ERA+, 146 W, 130 W%+, 7.3 H/9, 0.99 WHIP, 37 SHO, 6.4 SHO/40, 1,397 K and 4.3 K/BB (include his 1960, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968 and 1969 seasons)

 

His career 1.10 WHIP still remains as the 13th best WHIP in the history of Major League Baseball for a starting pitcher.

He posted over 20 wins during six of the last seven seasons of the 1960s and finished his career with over 240 wins; leading the League in wins twice during that seven season streak.

During his Hall of Fame career, he also led the League in ERA+ twice and SHO twice. By the time his career was through he had posted over 50 SHO.

It’s why he’s also one of the 20 best starting pitchers to ever grace the fields of Major League Baseball.

The truth is, almost every historian ever will have Koufax, Gibson and Marichal as their top three. But honestly, most would have Marichal third and either Koufax or Gibson first.

I explained why I have Gibson ahead of Koufax, it came down to length of career. Koufax may have been a slightly higher caliber pitcher than Gibson, but Koufax’s length of career put Gibson slightly ahead.

So how do I have Marichal ahead of Gibson?

First of all, Marichal had a longer career than Koufax. So length of career takes more of a back seat when comparing these two, though Gibson did have a slightly longer career than Marichal. But not by that much. Again, length of career takes more of a back seat when comparing these two.

Frankly, I just don’t see where Marichal was Gibson’s inferior; despite hearing historians say for most of my lifetime.

Let me compare the two of them.

I’ll compare their adjusted career numbers first. Now remember, I’m dropping Marichal’s last 70 games and Gibson’s last 60 games, give or take. These were the numbers they really carried throughout their career before they pitched past their prime. Marichal is better in ERA, W%+, WHIP, SHO/40 and K/BB. Gibson is better in ERA+, W, H/9, SHO and K.

That’s five for Marichal and five for Gibson. Some of Marichal’s categories are important, some of Gibson’s are. It’s really a tie. No one wins in this category. Though I’m certainly leaning toward Marichal, but I’ll call it a tie.

I suppose that peak career numbers can be my tie breaker. Here they are: Marichal is better in W, W%+, WHIP, SHO, K and K/BB, they are tied in ERA and Gibson is better in ERA+, H/9 and SHO/40. That’s six for Marichal, only three for Gibson and one tie. No question, Marichal has the better peak.

That surprises many because not knowing the numbers, many assume that Gibson would have the better peak because of his reputation. But it’s obvious when the numbers are closely analyzed, Marichal has the better peak and the adjusted career is a tie (and would go to Marichal if I were forced to pick a winner).

That’s why I have Marichal ahead of Gibson, he simply wasn’t his inferior.

They’re tied in adjusted career and Marichal has the better peak.

 

There you go; the 10 best starting pitchers from the 1960s.