MLBs 10 Best Starting Pitchers Of The 1930s: Grove, Hubbell, Lyons?

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MLBs 10 Best Starting Pitchers Of The 1930s: Grove, Hubbell, Lyons?
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The 1930s is an interesting decade to write about because it was the single worst decade in the history of Major League Baseball for starting pitcher stats, other than the 1890s and the 2000s (now).

Another interesting thing about the decade is that there are six starting pitchers in the Hall of Fame. The only three decades with more HOF starting pitchers is the first decade of the 1900s, the 1920s and the 1970s.

So with six in the HOF from this decade, that only leaves four spots in this top 10 for non-HOF pitchers. It’s certainly a decade chock full of high caliber talent starting pitchers.

There were 59 starting pitchers from the 1930s who pitched in at least 200 games.

If a player does not appear on the list of the 59 eligible players list, then they either didn’t reach 200 games or I consider them a pitcher from the 1920s or the 1940s.

The 1940s will be covered in a separate article, and I just wrote an article on the 10 best starting pitchers from the 1920s.

Pitchers will only be in one decade. For example, Lefty Grove will appear in this article. So, he will not appear in my 1940s article, which I will write at a later date; and, of course, he did not appear in my 1920s 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 Ted Lyons, for example. Lyons is a starting pitcher from the 1930s 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 Lyons, I’d exclude his 1936 season. 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, but 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 59 Starting Pitchers

Here are the 59 starting pitchers from the 1930s who reached at least 200 games (listed in alphabetical order): Johnny Allen, Elden Auker, Ray Benge, George Blaeholder, Cy Blanton, Joe Bowman, Ed Brandt, Tommy Bridges, Guy Bush, Ben Cantwell, Tex Carleton, Ownie Carroll, Watty Clark, Alvin Crowder, Dizzy Dean, Paul Derringer, George Earnshaw, Wes Ferrell, Freddie Fitzsimmons, Fred Frankhouse, Larry French, Lefty Gomez, Lefty Grove, Bump Hadley, Bill Hallahan, Luke Hamlin, Mel Harder, Oral Hildebrand, Carl Hubbell, Willis Hudlin, Si Johnson, Vern Kennedy, Jack Knott, Hod Lisenbee, Red Lucas, Ted Lyons, Danny MacFayden, Roy Mahaffey, Pat Malone, Van Mungo, Bobo Newsom, Roy Parmelee, Monte Pearson, Flint Rhem, Gordon Rhodes, Charlie Root, Red Ruffing, Hal Schumacher, Al Smith, Bob Smith, Vic Sorrell, Tommy Thomas, Rube Walberg, Bill Walker, Lon Warneke, Monte Weaver, Bob Weiland, Earl Whitehill and Whit Wyatt.

 

The Honorable Mentions

Here are the 10 starting pitchers that just missed the top 10 for various reasons (listed in alphabetical order): Johnny Allen, Paul Derringer, Wes Ferrell, Larry French, Mel Harder, Red Lucas, Van Mungo, Bobo Newsom, Hal Schumacher and Whit Wyatt.

 

The Top 10

10. Charlie Root (1923-1941) Career Length Grade: B

Raw Career: 632 G, 341 GS, 3,197.1 IP, 3.59 ERA, 110 ERA+, 9.2 H/9, 1.30 WHIP, 201 W, 99 W%+, 21 SHO, 2.5 SHO/40, 1,459 K and 1.6 K/BB

Adjusted Career: 509 G, 298 GS, 2,737.2 IP, 3.46 ERA, 115 ERA+, 9.0 H/9, 1.28 WHIP, 180 W, 99 W%+, 21 SHO, 2.8 SHO/40, 1,266 K and 1.7 K/BB (exclude his 1936, 1939, 1940 and 1941 seasons)

Peak Career: 202 G, 122 GS, 1,147.2 IP, 2.98 ERA, 132 ERA+, 8.9 H/9, 1.24 WHIP, 75 W, 103 W%+, 9 SHO, 2.9 SHO/40, 501 K and 1.8 K/BB (include his 1926, 1929, 1933, 1935 and 1938 seasons)

 

He had a good fastball and curveball that helped him lead the League in wins, W% and SHO during his career. He posted over 200 wins by the time he was through.

Here’s a neat story; I’ll try to give the quick condensed version here.

Root is the pitcher that was pitching when Babe Ruth famously called his home run shot. Some put the tale down as folklore and many argue if the shot was actually called or not. Many fans on both sides are adamant about this debate.

If it happened or not is up for debate; and if it happened, it has certainly been sensationalized over the years. Many believe that if it happened it was Ruth lightly gesturing to the outfield and it was low key.

Charlie Root was a hard-nosed pitcher and when he heard that some said Ruth called his shot, Root said something to this effect, “if I’d have seen him point to the home run fence, I’d have knocked him on his butt the next pitch. He would have been on first base with a hit by pitch.”

Root insists he did not see Ruth call the shot.  And most believe that Root would have done exactly what he said if he’d have seen Ruth call the shot. Some speculate that Root’s reputation is why Ruth kept it low key (if it happened at all). This is a theory that may hold some validity, knowing Root’s hard-nosed and competitive nature.

That’s the story, the quick condensed version anyway.

There are certainly a few on the honorable mentions list that have a logical argument to have this 10th and final spot instead of Root. But when the numbers are closely analyzed and his nice long career is taken into consideration, Root gets this 10th and final spot.

 

9. Lefty Gomez (1930-1943) Career Length Grade: D+

Raw Career: 368 G, 320 GS, 2,503 IP, 3.34 ERA, 125 ERA+, 8.2 H/9, 1.35 WHIP, 189 W, 105 W%+, 28 SHO, 3.5 SHO/40, 1,468 K and 1.3 K/BB

Peak Career: 204 G, 181 GS, 1,486 IP, 2.83 ERA, 150 ERA+, 7.9 H/9, 1.24 WHIP, 110 W, 101 W%+, 21 SHO, 4.7 SHO/40, 871 K and 1.6 K/BB (include his 1931, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938 and 1939 seasons)

 

During his Hall of Fame career, he led the League in SHO three times and in a career that saw him start in only 320 games, he posted almost 30 SHO.

Gomez also led the League in Ks three times during his career, all within a five season stretch between 1933-1937.

He led the League in wins twice during his career and recorded over 20 wins during three of the four seasons from 1931-1934.

Gomez also led the League in ERA twice, H/9 twice and K/BB twice during his career.

As you can see, his League leading stats and facts are quite impressive.

The California native was just a great starting pitcher that helped his teams to World Series championships during five of the last eight seasons of the 1930s, from 1932-1939.

During those five World Series championships, Gomez never lost a game and posted a 2.86 ERA during those combined World Series; very impressive.

After his playing career, he was always well known for being a great and fun story teller, traveling the country as a guest speaker and telling his baseball stories. Quite the entertainer.

 

8. Freddie Fitzsimmons (1925-1943) Career Length Grade: B

Raw Career: 513 G, 426 GS, 3,223.2 IP, 3.51 ERA, 111 ERA+, 9.3 H/9, 1.30 WHIP, 217 W, 106 W%+, 29 SHO, 2.7 SHO/40, 870 K and 1.0 K/BB

Adjusted Career: 484 G, 401 GS, 3,058 IP, 3.44 ERA, 114 ERA+, 9.3 H/9, 1.29 WHIP, 208 W, 108 W%+, 28 SHO, 2.8 SHO/40, 816 K and 1.0 K/BB (exclude his 1937, 1942 and 1943 seasons)

Peak Career: 208 G, 177 GS, 1,371.1 IP, 2.94 ERA, 130 ERA+, 8.9 H/9, 1.22 WHIP, 99 W, 113 W%+, 16 SHO, 3.6 SHO/40, 343 K and 1.1 K/BB (include his 1925, 1926, 1931, 1934, 1936, 1938, 1940 and 1941 seasons)

 

He was a winner that led the League in W% twice and posted almost a .600 career W% by the time he was through.

He also led the League in SHO and recorded almost 30 SHO by the time his career was through.

Fitzsimmons was a here it is, hit it pitcher. He let his fielders do their job and he generally wasn’t an overpowering pitcher. Fitzsimmons was also a great fielder himself.

While posting his great career numbers, he had less than 80 Ks during every season of his career. He’s one of those starting pitchers that shows how Ks can be overrated.

It’s true that all good K pitchers are good but the opposite is not true. All bad K pitchers are not bad.

Fitzsimmons is one of the pitchers that helps support this theory.  He was good without really striking anyone out. Who cares how you get your outs, as long as you get them. Right?

Some will question how I have Fitzsimmons ahead of Gomez in the nine spot since Gomez is in the Hall of Fame and Fitzsimmons isn’t.

The truth is, Gomez has better numbers than Fitzsimmons and I do believe that Gomez was a higher caliber starting pitcher than Fitzsimmons. But it’s close. Fitzsimmons does have a better WHIP, wins, W%+ and SHO than Gomez; but Gomez has better overall numbers when the big picture is closely analyzed.

It’s the fact that Fitzsimmons had a longer career than Gomez that gives this spot to the longtime Dodger and Giant. It more than makes up the difference in their numbers, in my mind, since the numbers weren’t too far apart to start with. It’s odd because, more times than not, the HOFer will have the longer career with worse numbers; the opposite happened with these two.

 

7. Tommy Bridges (1930-1946) Career Length Grade: B-

Raw Career: 424 G, 362 GS, 2,826.1 IP, 3.57 ERA, 126 ERA+, 8.5 H/9, 1.37 WHIP, 194 W, 110 W%+, 33 SHO, 3.6 SHO/40, 1,674 K and 1.4 K/BB

Adjusted Career: 411 G, 360 GS, 2,794 IP, 3.56 ERA, 127 ERA+, 8.5 H/9, 1.37 WHIP, 192 W, 110 W%+, 33 SHO, 3.7 SHO/40, 1,651 K and 1.4 K/BB (exclude his last two seasons)

Peak Career: 212 G, 190 GS, 1,490 IP, 3.19 ERA, 140 ERA+, 8.1 H/9, 1.31 WHIP, 101 W, 118 W%+, 20 SHO, 4.2 SHO/40, 886 K and 1.4 K/BB (include his 1932, 1933, 1936, 1939, 1940, 1942 and 1943 seasons)

 

Bridges had many good pitches that he threw, including a first rate curveball.

The Detroit Tiger great led the League in Ks during two consecutive seasons in 1935 and 1936.

He led the League in wins during his career and won over 20 games for three consecutive seasons from 1934-1936. Gomez also led the League in both SHO (with over 30) and H/9 during his career.

Just a fantastic starting pitcher with impressive numbers. I’m keeping it short and sweet with Bridges and I’ll let his numbers do the talking.

 

6. Dizzy Dean (1930-1947) Career Length Grade: D-

Raw Career: 317 G, 230 GS, 1,967.1 IP, 3.02 ERA, 130 ERA+, 8.8 H/9, 1.21 WHIP, 150 W, 117 W%+, 26 SHO, 4.5 SHO/40, 1,163 K and 2.6 K/BB

Peak Career: 238 G, 172 GS, 1,519 IP, 2.92 ERA, 138 ERA+, 8.7 H/9, 1.20 WHIP, 121 W, 120 W%+, 21 SHO, 4.9 SHO/40, 918 K and 2.6 K/BB (exclude his 1933, 1939, 1940, 1941 and 1947 seasons)

 

Dean had a good fastball, curveball and change-up. Some historians argue that he may have had the best fastball of the 1930s.

His great arsenal of pitches helped him post some eye popping K totals. He led the League in either Ks or K/BB during six consecutive seasons from 1932-1937. Dean also led the League in Ks during four consecutive seasons from 1932-1935 and led the League in K/BB for two consecutive seasons in 1936 and 1937.

The Arkansas native led the League in wins during two consecutive seasons in 1934 and 1935, winning over 25 games during each of those two seasons. In fact, he won at least 20 games during four consecutive seasons from 1933-1936.

The former ace of the St. Louis Cardinals led the League in SHO during two of the three seasons from 1932-1934 and in a career that saw him start in only 230 games, he posted over 25 SHO.

He was just a dominant pitcher before his toe injury during 1937 season. Dean made up for his toe injury by putting more stress on his arm. By 1938, his arm was shot.

There are a lot of parallels between Dizzy Dean and Smoky Joe Wood (1910s). Smoky Joe also suffered from other injuries that led to arm injuries. And Smoky Joe had a short career, too; even shorter than Dean’s. Of course, Smoky Joe could outpitch Dizzy Dean, for sure. But Dean was an incredibly high caliber starting pitcher, too.

It’s why Dean is in the Hall of Fame, even with a short career. Smoky Joe should be, too, but he’s not. I suppose that proves one thing, huh? The words length of career are more important than the words higher caliber, at least to most historians and HOF voters. It’s the only logical reason that Dean is in and Smoky Joe is not.

The two are close in both; Dean a slightly longer career and Smoky Joe a slightly higher caliber starting pitcher. Gee, we know which one of those two categories wins in that debate, huh?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I hate that length of career thing.

There’s a syndrome called the Smoky Joe Wood Syndrome.

What is it?

In a nutshell, it means that you were a sure HOF caliber pitcher, but you had a short career. Let me put it this way, if Dizzy had not been inducted into the HOF, the syndrome would still be called the Smoky Joe Wood Syndrome. They wouldn’t have changed the name to the Dizzy Dean syndrome, not in my educated opinion.

Why would they have not changed the name of the syndrome?

Because Smoky Joe was better than Dizzy.

There is a list of starting pitchers that were obvious HOFers that make the list for the Smoky Joe Wood Syndrome.

Here’s the list: Smoky Joe Wood. Yes, he’s the only one on the damn list.

Just put him in the HOF, will you. And then we have the best short career pitcher of all time in the HOF and then we can put Blyleven in (the best starting pitcher with a long career that’s not yet in). Then we can work on the players in between.

Deal?

If you put Smoky Joe Wood in the HOF then there is no such thing as the Smoky Joe Wood Syndrome. Hey, we can cure disease here. I suppose if he’s inducted into the HOF they could change the name of the Syndrome to the Spud Chandler Syndrome; or the Reb Russell Syndrome; or the Noodles Hahn Syndrome.

Those guys were great, no doubt, but I don’t know if they earned a Syndrome name or not with their play.

Whoops, I got on one of my Smoky Joe tangents again, didn’t I?

Sorry about that, got sidetracked, don’t get me started.

Back to Dizzy (this is a write up about Dizzy Dean, by the way).

Don’t get me wrong, Dizzy was an incredibly high caliber pitcher, too. Here’s a great quote explaining this.

 

“Dizzy was the best pitcher I ever saw. He was fast, had a good curve and great control. And he had more confidence than any pitcher I ever knew. He’d yell to a batter, ‘Can you hit a curve?’ Damn if he wouldn’t throw a curve right by him.”— Lee Ballanfant, respected umpire, quote about 30 years after Dean pitched

 

Damn, was Dizzy Dean good.

 

5. Red Ruffing (1924-1947) Career Length Grade: A+

Raw Career: 624 G, 536 GS, 4,344 IP, 3.80 ERA, 109 ERA+, 8.9 H/9, 1.34 WHIP, 273 W, 100 W%+, 45 SHO, 3.4 SHO/40, 1,987 K and 1.3 K/BB

Adjusted Career: 615 G, 527 GS, 4,291 IP, 3.77 ERA, 110 ERA+, 8.9 H/9, 1.34 WHIP, 270 W, 101 W%+, 45 SHO, 3.4 SHO/40, 1,976 K and 1.3 K/BB (exclude his last season)

Peak Career: 207 G, 200 GS, 1,637.1 IP, 3.16 ERA, 136 ERA+, 8.3 K/BB, 1.26 WHIP, 128 W, 109 W%+, 23 SHO, 4.6 SHO/40, 769 K and 1.4 K/BB (include his 1932, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1945 and 1946 seasons)

 

He began pitching in Major League Baseball as a teenager during the 1924 season.

There were two Red Ruffings. The Red Ruffing that pitched his first seven seasons with the Boston Red Sox and the Red Ruffing that pitched after the Boston Red Sox.

He wasn’t very good during his first seven seasons with the Red Sox. In fact, he had less than a .335 W% during all seven seasons with the Red Sox; his first seven seasons in MLB.

The Red Sox were not a good team, and Ruffing was an even worse starting pitcher.

He was dealt to the Yankees after those seven consecutive losing seasons.

He proceeded to have over a .530 W% during 14 of his 15 seasons with the Yankees.

The Yankees were a good team, and Ruffing was an even better starting pitcher.

An interesting thing that you rarely ever see, and never see with a Hall of Fame starting pitcher.

Ruffing helped his Yankee teams capture the World Series championship during six of the 10 seasons from 1932-1941; they played in seven World Series in an 11 season stretch. During those combined seven World Series, Ruffing posted a .778 W% and a 2.63 ERA.

Boston fans were likely thinking, “this is not the same man that had less than a .335 W% for seven consecutive seasons with us.”

Ruffing led the League in wins during his career and posted over 270 by the time he was through. He won at least 20 games during each of the last four seasons of the 1930s, from 1936-1939.

He led the League in SHO during his career and recorded 45 by the time he was through.

Ruffing also led the League in Ks during his career and struck out almost 2,000 by the time he was through.

He was also a good hitter for a starting pitcher. For his career, he posted almost a .270 BA.

Ruffing's quite a story.

I don’t think there has ever been a starting pitcher in the history of MLB that has ever had less than a .335 W% during each of his first seven seasons…ever. You could take all the terrible starting pitchers in history, don’t know if any have ever had a start like that. Ruffing is likely the only one. And he turned it around and had a HOF career.  

Unbelievable.

 

4. Lon Warneke (1930-1945) Career Length Grade: B-

Raw Career: 445 G, 343 GS, 2,782.1 IP, 3.18 ERA, 119 ERA+, 8.8 H/9, 1.25 WHIP, 192 W, 109 W%+, 30 SHO, 3.5 SHO/40, 1,140 K and 1.5 K/BB

Adjusted Career: 415 G, 332 GS, 2,680 IP, 3.18 ERA, 120 ERA+, 8.8 H/9, 1.25 WHIP, 188 W, 109 W%+, 30 SHO, 3.6 SHO/40, 1,104 K and 1.5 K/BB (exclude his last two seasons)

Peak Career: 216 G, 186 GS, 1,530.1 IP, 2.74 ERA, 135 ERA+, 8.5 H/9, 1.17 WHIP, 109 W, 109 W%+, 14 SHO, 3.0 SHO/40, 646 K and 1.9 K/BB (include his 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1940 and 1942 seasons)

 

Warneke was a winner with a large assortment of pitches in his arsenal.

The Arkansas Hummingbird led the League in wins and W% during his career and won at least 20 games during three of the four seasons from 1932-1935. He posted over a .550 W% during 10 consecutive seasons from 1932-1941 and finished his career with over a .610 W%.

He led the League in SHO, ERA, and ERA+ during his career

As you can see, I have Warneke rated ahead of Ruffing in the five spot. You may be asking why this is, since Ruffing is in the Hall of Fame and Warneke isn’t.

Here’s the fact of the matter: For his career, Warneke had a better ERA, ERA+, H/9, WHIP, W%+, SHO/40 and K/BB than Ruffing.

That’s seven categories that most historians consider to be seven important starting pitcher stats to look at and Ruffing isn’t better than Warneke in any of them. Not a one.

Ruffing had a longer career but that didn't give him the edge.

Warneke is the best starting pitcher from this decade that is not in the HOF.

 

3. Ted Lyons (1923-1946) Career Length Grade: A

Raw Career: 594 G, 484 GS, 4,161 IP, 3.67 ERA, 118 ERA+, 9.7 H/9, 1.35 WHIP, 260 W, 115 W%+, 27 SHO, 2.2 SHO/40, 1,073 K and 1.0 K/BB

Adjusted Career: 568 G, 460 GS, 3,979 IP, 3.60 ERA, 119 ERA+, 9.6 H/9, 1.34 WHIP, 250 W, 118 W%+, 26 SHO, 2.3 SHO/40, 1,025 K and 1.0 K/BB (exclude his 1936 season)

Peak Career: 225 G, 204 GS, 1,789.1 IP, 2.98 ERA, 143 ERA+, 9.0 H/9, 1.25 WHIP, 115 W, 120 W%+, 15 SHO, 2.9 SHO/40, 485 K and 1.1 K/BB (include his 1926, 1927, 1932, 1935, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1942 and 1946 seasons)

 

During his Hall of Fame career, Lyons led the League in wins twice, SHO twice and K/BB twice. By the time he was through, he posted 260 wins.

The 23-year veteran of the Chicago White Sox had something interesting happen to him at the end of his career. His last four or five seasons, he primarily pitched on Sundays only.

This likely lengthened his career and it also almost surely made him pitch better than he would have because of the extra rest. During his last two or three seasons, he pitched as well as ever.

They should do this with a veteran starting pitcher with a great career today, like Pedro Martinez.

Here’s what I would do. Take Pedro, let him pitch every seven days; the other four in the rotation pitch when their time is up, unless it falls on Pedro’s seventh day.

It’s easy enough to me. It worked for Lyons, it could work today; with a little imagination. It would be a way to keep great aging pitchers pitching great, like they did with Lyons years ago.

To me, the perfect team would be Texas; because many say that Nolan Ryan wants to go old school and implement a three man rotation. Well, Nolan, if you’re reading this, pick up Pedro, pitch him every seven days and the other three where they fall. That would kind of be a 3.5 man rotation.

And they pay Bill James all that money out in Boston.  I’d be cheaper Nolan; and I’m just as good with the numbers, trust me.

Yes, the same Bill James that rates Wes Ferrell higher than Ted Lyons and Lon Warneke from this decade (1930s). That’s the Bill James I’m talking about.

The same Bill James that Boston is paying all that money to. You’ll notice, I have Wes Ferrell on the honorable mentions list, where he belongs. Holy sh*t Bill James, what were you thinking rating Wes Ferrell ahead of Lon Warneke?

 

2. Carl Hubbell (1928-1943) Career Length Grade: B

Raw Career: 535 G, 431 GS, 3,590.1 IP, 2.98 ERA, 130 ERA+, 8.7 H/9, 1.17 WHIP, 253 W, 114 W%+, 36 SHO, 3.3 SHO/40, 1,677 K and 2.3 K/BB

Adjusted Career: 442 G, 351 GS, 2,988.2 IP, 2.80 ERA, 139 ERA+, 8.5 H/9, 1.13 WHIP, 216 W, 112 W%+, 33 SHO, 3.8 SHO/40, 1,424 K and 2.6 K/BB (exclude his last four seasons)

Peak Career: 205 G, 151 GS, 1,363.2 IP, 2.25 ERA, 164 ERA+, 8.0 H/9, 1.04 WHIP, 99 W, 119 W%+, 18 SHO, 4.7 SHO/40, 596 K and 2.9 K/BB (include his 1932, 1933, 1934, 1936 and 1939 seasons)

 

Hubbell was a very nice man that arguably ended up having the best screwball the game has ever seen. He also had unbelievable control.

The Hall of Famer has one of those HOF type of stories. It happened during the 1934 All-Star game.

He struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin consecutively. They’re all five in the Hall of Fame and Ruth, Gehrig and Foxx are at least arguably the three best hitters that the game has ever seen, period. I suppose that was a HOF moment there.

Hubbell led the League in a lot of areas during his career and I want to cover some of those areas.

He led the League in WHIP during six of the eight seasons from 1931-1938.

He led the League in K/BB during five of the seven seasons from 1932-1938.

He led the League in wins during three of the five seasons from 1933-1937 and he won over 20 games during all five of those consecutive seasons.

He led the League in ERA during three of the four seasons from 1933-1936. He helped his teams to the World Series three times during his career and his team won the World Series during the 1933 season. In the combined three World Series, Hubbell posted a 1.79 ERA.

He led the League in ERA+ during three of the four seasons from 1933-1936.

He led the League in H/9 three times during his career.

He led the League in W% during two consecutive seasons in 1936 and 1937; he posted over a .730 W% each of those two seasons. In fact, he recorded over a .535 W% during each of his first 12 seasons in MLB and he posted over a .535 W% during 14 of the 16 seasons during his career.

He’s one of the 10 best left handed starting pitchers in the history of MLB.

 

1.Lefty Grove (1925-1941) Career Length Grade: A

Raw Career: 616 G, 457 GS, 3,940.2 IP, 3.06 ERA, 148 ERA+, 8.8 H/9, 1.28 WHIP, 300 W, 118 W%+, 35 SHO, 3.1 SHO/40, 2,266 K and 1.9 K/BB

Adjusted Career: 551 G, 403 GS, 3,544 IP, 2.86 ERA, 158 ERA+, 8.6 H/9, 1.26 WHIP, 278 W, 119 W%+, 34 SHO, 3.4 SHO/40, 2,107 K and 2.0 K/BB (exclude his 1934, 1940 and 1941 seasons)

Peak Career: 229 G, 178 GS, 1,555 IP, 2.52 ERA, 186 ERA+, 8.3 H/9, 1.19 WHIP, 124 W, 122 W%+, 17 SHO, 3.8 SHO/40, 910 K and 2.2 K/BB (include his 1926, 1930, 1931, 1935, 1936 and 1939 seasons)

 

Grove's career 148 ERA+ still remains as the second best ERA+ in the history of Major League Baseball for a starting pitcher. He led the League in ERA+ nine times during his Hall of Fame career.

He also led the League in ERA nine times during his career and helped his Philadelphia A’s to the World Series three times, capturing the World Series championship twice. During those combined three World Series, he posted a 1.75 ERA.

Grove, who also pitched for the Red Sox,  led the League in K/BB eight times during his career.

He led the League in Ks during each of his first seven seasons in MLB.

Grove led the League in WHIP during five of the first seven seasons of the 1930s, from 1930-1936.

He led the League in wins during four of the six seasons from 1928-1933, winning over 20 games during each of those four seasons that he led the League. In fact, he recorded at least 20 wins during eight of the nine seasons from 1927-1935 and finished his career with 300 wins.

He led the League in W% five times during his career and posted a .680 career W%. His career .680 W% is the highest career W% in the history of MLB of any pitcher that won at least 300 games. It’s actually the best W% of any pitcher that has won over 240 games.

He also led the League in SHO three times during his career and recorded 35 SHO by the time he was through.

As you can see from his above League leading stats, Grove was just a dominant pitcher during his era.

It’s why he easily still remains as one of the 10 best left handed starting pitchers in the history of MLB.

It’s also why he easily still remains as one of the 20 best starting pitchers to ever grace the fields of MLB, righty or lefty.

 

There you go; the 10 best starting pitchers from the 1930s.

 

 

 

 

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