Today's blog is going to focus on John Smoltz and his place in history. To be fair, I am going to list the top ten starting pitchers of this generation (1985-2010). An obvious omission will be Mr. Mindy McCready and his bag of lies. Lets go in reverse order this time.
10) Kevin Brown - Had some unbelieveable years and deserved more than his 211 career victories. Gets a bad rap for the mega-contract he received from the Dodgers at the end of his career but you can't forget some great years in the mid 90's (17-11 1.89 in '96). Made 6 all-star teams and dominated in the 1998 post season.
9) David Cone - Was outstanding for most of his career posting 2,668 strikeouts (22nd all-time). Consistently put up 200 innings seasons, got himself a no-no, and finished in the top 6 in Cy Young voting 5 times.
8) Mike Mussina -Another power pitcher who is just ahead (21st) of Cone on the all-time K list. He is just 2 wins away from his 17th straight season with double digit wins. Also on his resume are 5 All Star games and 8 top 6 Cy Young finishes - 258 career wins is phenomenal considering his entire career was in the 5 man rotation era.
7) Orel Hershiser - Finished just ahead of Mussina because of his post season accolades. His post season stats include a 8-3 record with a 2.59 era in 132 innings. Add this with over 200 career wins, the 59 straight scoreless innings streak, and the 1988 Cy Young award and you have quite the career.
6) Tom Glavine - Incredible career that just recently saw trip #1 to the DL. Has a great track record of post season dominance (1995 WS MVP) with 14 wins and a 3.42 era in a whopping 218 innings. The 2007 season saw Glavine top the 300 win mark and he has made 10 all star games and won the Cy Young in 1991 and 1998.
5) Curt Schilling - Another power pitcher that dominated the post season. Arguably the best post season pitcher of all time with a career 11-2 record with a 2.23 era. He also was Co-MVP of the 2001 WS and had a case for another in 1993 in the Phils had won it. 200+ wins, 14th all time in K's, and although he never won a Cy Young, he was runner up 3 times.
4) John Smoltz - Sure fire Hall of Famer and the only guy ever with 200+ wins and 150+ saves. Ranks 1st all-time in postseason wins and strikeouts. 1996 Cy Young season was his best and has 3000+ K's. Not another guy in his prime you would want in a big game.
3) Randy Johnson - 288 wins and 4700 K's make Randy one of the best ever. I've always liked to break careers down to a 10 year stretch of dominance and Randy's is pretty incredible (1993-2002). In this stretch, The Big Unit went 175-58. As a starting pitcher, he finished in the top 25 in MVP voting 9 times, won 5 Cy Youngs and was runner up 3 other times, and made 10 All Star games. Not to mention a 2001 Co-MVP in the WS.
2) Pedro Martinez - His career .693 winning percentage (210-93) is off the charts. He was virtually unhittable from 1997-2003 posting era's of 1.90, 2.07, 1.74, 2.22, 2.26, and 2.32. Pedro has 3 Cy Young's, an unforgettable All Star game MVP in 1999 (2 IP 0 hits 5 K's), an MVP runner up, and 3034 K's in only 2683 innings. Pedro is also 6-2 career in the postseason and his most impressive stat - a 2.82 career era - 0.3 better than #2 among actives.
1) Greg Maddux - Easy choice for #1 can always tell folks he went 17 straight seasons with 15+ wins - only Cy Young could match that - and speaking of Cy, Greg is the only player ever to win 4 in a row. Unreal stretch in 94-95 saw season era's of 1.56 and 1.63. His 350 career wins is 9th all time and he pitched his entire career in a 5 man rotation. Also boasts 2 top 5 MVP finishes and 11 post season victories.
Jack Morris barely missed the list - a good part of his career was pre-1985 and Dave Stewart had a great run in the late 80's-early 90's but just didn't do enough. Younger (2000-present)guys were considered (Webb, Peavy, Oswalt) but they weren't enough to crack my top 10.