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Graphing the recent decade-leading pitchers

Dec 22, 2010, 3:10 PM EDT

jack morris-thumb-250x375-4861

My friend Ethan Stock — the same one who suggested that I make that list of pitchers who lead a given decade in wins — made a graph for us.  His comment in the email accompanying the graph is Quote of the Day material:

“Saying Jack Morris is a Hall of Fame pitcher because he occupied the top spot for six years is like saying that Nixon was a good President for the same reason.  He was clearly lesser than those who went before and came after.”

Word.  And now, the graph:

No, I don’t think this reveals any secrets of the cosmos. Wins went down just before Morris took over the decades win lead because pitcher use changed. And of course, wins are a fairly meaningless way to gauge a pitcher’s effectiveness in the first place. Like I said in the comments to the last post, this is all for fun.

  1. stealofhome - Dec 22, 2010 at 3:35 PM

    Just playing devil’s advocate here, but wouldn’t this strengthen his argument? The argument is essentially “Jack Morris was the super-dominant pitcher of his time and he knew how to win like no other pitcher knew how to win in the history of baseball.” I think that’s the argument at least. There’s something about “feelings” in there too, whatever those are.

    Anyway, Jack Morris lead the league in wins at a time when pitcher wins were universally down. He could win even when no one else could.

  2. Detroit Michael - Dec 22, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    The problem is that wins are obviously essential to teams. However, “wins” as a pitching statistic is only mildly helpful at measuring a pitcher’s performance because it also is influenced by offensive support, bullpen performance, defensive performance, occasionally scoring decisions, and various luck or random elements.

    • stealofhome - Dec 22, 2010 at 5:42 PM

      I’m assuming this comment was directed at me.

      Yes, I know all of those things. Pitcher wins is a useless statistic. I wish they were never a thing. I was just trying to argue the counterpoint.

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