San Francisco Giants: Would Tim Lincecum Crack Their All-Time Starting Staff?
He has been called "The Freak," "The Franchise" and "Big Time Timmy Jim." No matter what you call him, Tim Lincecum has burst onto the scene over the past three-and-a-half years like no other pitcher in Giants history.
Is Tim Lincecum one of the top five pitchers in Giants history?
To answer this question, we must take a look at a long-and-storied franchise, dating back to their days in New York.
In this article, I will look at the top five pitchers in the days of the New York Giants and also the top five pitchers in San Francisco Giants history.
We will then narrow down that list to come up with our top five of all-time.
New York Giants: No. 5. Amos Rusie
Amos Rusie was nicknamed "The Hoosier Thunderbolt," largely based on his power arm and the velocity at which he threw the baseball. Although they obviously didn't have radar guns in Rusie's day, it's estimated that he threw in the mid-to-upper 90 mph range.
Rusie pitched for eight seasons for the New York Giants in the late 1800s. As a Giant, Rusie appeared in 437 games, 403 of them as the starting pitcher. Rusie completed 372 games for New York and had 29 shutouts.
Rusie threw 3,531.2 innings for the Giants in his eight years, an average of over 441 innings per season. He compiled a 234-163 record and an excellent 2.89 ERA. Rusie also struck out 1,835 hitters, leading the league five times.
Amos Rusie also won the pitching Triple Crown, leading the league in strikeouts, ERA and wins in 1894. He was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977.
Special honorable mentions go to the following New York Giant pitchers:
Freddie Fitzsimmons, 13 seasons, 170-114 with an ERA of 3.54
Sal "The Barber" Maglie, seven seasons, 95-42 with an ERA of 3.13
Tim Keefe, six seasons, 174-82 with an ERA of 2.53
Hal Schumacher, 13 seasons, 158-121 with an ERA of 3.36
New York Giants: No. 4. Mickey Welch
Mickey Welch was one of the best pitchers in the dead-ball era of the 1800s and early 1900s. Welch pitched for the New York Giants from 1883-1892. Over that 10-year span, Welch won 238 games and lost 146.
Welch pitched in 426 games for the Giants; 412 of those were starts. Welch threw 3,579 innings with 391 complete games, including 28 shutouts.
His 2.69 ERA remains one of the best of all-time for Giants starters.
New York Giants: No. 3. Joe McGinnity
Joe McGinnity pitched for seven years with the New York Giants from 1902-1908. He pitched in 300 games, 237 of them starts.
McGinnity had 186 complete games and 26 shutouts. He also added 21 saves for good measure.
McGinnity threw 2,151.1 innings in his seven years with the Giants. He compiled a record of 151-88, for a winning percentage of .632. His ERA was an outstanding 2.38.
During his time with the Giants, McGinnity led the league in ERA in 1904 and he was the league leader in wins in three separate seasons.
Joe McGinnity was elected posthumously to the Hall of Fame in 1946.
New York Giants: No. 2. Carl Hubbell
Carl Hubbell pitched for the New York Giants for 16 seasons, from 1928-1943. He compiled a record of 253-154, a winning percentage of .622.
During that span, Hubbell appeared in 535 games, including 431 starts. Hubbell threw 3,590.1 innings and had 260 complete games and 36 shutouts.
He also holds the distinction of winning 24 consecutive games from 1936 to 1937, the longest streak ever.
Carl Hubbell is also known for a special moment in the 1934 All-Star Game. He struck out five batters in a row: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin, all future Hall of Famers.
Hubbell had a career ERA of 2.98 and struck out 1,677 batters. He was a nine-time All-Star selection and two-time MVP. Hubbell was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1947.
New York Giants: No. 1. Christy Mathewson
Christy Mathewson pitched for the New York Giants for 17 seasons, from 1900-1916. In 634 games, including 550 starts, he threw an incredible 4,771.2 innings, including 433 complete games and 79 shutouts.
Mathewson compiled an overall record of 372-188, a winning percentage of .664. His ERA over that span was a very impressive 2.12. Mathewson also struck out 2,499 batters. Mathewson was a five-time ERA champion and five-time strikeout king.
Mathewson won the National League's pitching Triple Crown in 1905 and 1908 with the most victories, lowest ERA and most strikeouts in a season. The fact that Mathewson accomplished this feat on two occasions is incredible.
In 1936, Christy Mathewson was one of the five original inductees into the Hall of Fame.
San Francisco Giants: No. 5. Mike McCormick
Mike McCormick was a smooth lefty who pitched 11 seasons for the Giants. The first two years were in New York, the final nine in San Francisco.
In his 11 years with the Giants, McCormick compiled a 107-96 record and 3.68 ERA. On the surface, those results are above average but far from spectacular.
There are two things that set McCormick apart from the other good pitchers in the San Francisco Giants era.
The first is his longevity. The second is that McCormick was a two-time All Star selection and won the Cy Young in 1967, when he went 22-10.
The following San Francisco Giants pitchers earned honorable mentions:
Jack Sanford, 89-67 over seven years, with an ERA of 3.61
Matt Cain, 57-62 over six years, with an ERA of 3.45 with one All-Star selection
San Francisco Giants: No. 4. Jason Schmidt
Jason Schmidt pitched for the Giants for six seasons, from 2001-2006. He had a winning record in each of those years, going 78-37 overall, for an outstanding winning percentage of .678.
His winning percentage is a prime reason he has made the fourth spot on our list for the San Francisco Giants.
Schmidt pitched 1,069.2 innings for the Giants and had 1,065 strikeouts. His ERA was a decent 3.36, with a very solid WHIP of 1.183.
Jason Schmidt made three All-Star teams during his six years with the Giants. He also finished second in the Cy Young voting in 2003.
San Francisco Giants: No. 3. Gaylord Perry
Gaylord Perry pitched for 22 years in the major leagues. The first 10 of those years were with the San Francisco Giants, where he teamed with Juan Marichal to form a great one-two punch in the pitching rotation.
Unfortunately, in one of the worst trades in history, after the 1971 season the Giants traded Perry to Cleveland for Sam McDowell.
Perry went on to pitch another 12 productive seasons, winning two Cy Young awards, the first in 1972 and another in 1978, when he was 39 years old.
Meanwhile, McDowell won 11 games for the Giants in a little more than one season.
In Perry's 10 years in San Francisco, he was 134-109, with an excellent ERA of 2.96 and WHIP of 1.152. He pitched in 367 games, including 283 starts.
Perry threw a total of 2,294.1 innings for the Giants and he had 125 complete games, including 21 shutouts.
Gaylord Perry was notorious for loading up the baseball with illegal substances and even wrote a book: "Me and the Spitter."
Don't let this fool you. Perry was a tough-as-nails competitor and as his 22-year career attests, he was a darn good pitcher.
In 1991, Gaylord Perry was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
San Francisco Giants: No. 2. Tim Lincecum
Tim Lincecum burst into the major leagues midway through the 2007 season and immediately became a dynamic force for the Giants.
Nicknamed "The Freak," "The Franchise" and "Big Time Timmy Jim," Lincecum is a tough competitor which belies his hippie-looking exterior.
A diminutive 5'11" and 170 pounds, Lincecum seems to put every ounce of his energy and power into each pitch. He has a distinctive delivery and he has become a crowd favorite in San Francisco.
In these past three-and-a-half years, Tim Lincecum has been arguably the top pitcher in all of baseball. He is the only pitcher in the history of the game to win the Cy Young as the league's top pitcher in his first two full seasons.
Tim Lincecum, a three-time All Star, has a career record of 56-27, for an outstanding .675 winning percentage. He has a stellar 3.04 ERA and 1.182 WHIP ratio.
As proof of his dominance, Lincecum led the league in strikeouts in each of the last three seasons.
Tim Lincecum also led the Giants to their first World Series championship in 52 years in San Francisco.
San Francisco Giants: No. 1. Juan Marichal
Juan Marichal had a unique delivery with his incredibly-high leg kick, however, he was just as much substance as style.
Marichal dazzled opposing hitters with his pinpoint control and dizzying array of pitches, coming from a variety of angles.
"The Dominican Dandy" played in San Francisco for 14 years, from 1960-1973. He won 238 games and lost 140 for the Giants. Marichal's 2.84 ERA is outstanding, as is his WHIP of 1.095.
Marichal threw 3,443.2 innings for the Giants, including three seasons of over 300 innings. He was a nine-time All-Star selection and the ace of the Giants pitching staff for well over a decade.
Marichal twice led the league in victories, with 25 in 1963 and 26 in 1968. In Marichal's 457 starts, he threw an incredible 244 complete games, including 52 shutouts.
Juan Marichal was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983.
No. 5 Starting Pitcher in Giants History: Joe McGinnity
Joe McGinnity is the fifth-ranked starting pitcher in Giants history.
No. 4 Starting Pitcher in Giants History: Tim Lincecum
Tim Lincecum is the fourth-ranked starting pitcher in Giants history.
No. 3 Starting Pitcher in Giants History: Carl Hubbell
Carl Hubbell is the third-ranked starting pitcher in Giants history.
2. Starting Pitcher in Giants History: Juan Marichal
Juan Marichal is the second-ranked starting pitcher in Giants history.
No. 1 Starting Pitcher in Giants History: Christy Mathewson
Christy Mathewson is the top-ranked pitcher in Giants history.