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January 08, 2007

Best Seasons By Yankees Pitchers

Inspired by Matt Welch and powered by the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia, I decided to look at the ten best seasons (ever) by Yankees pitchers and came up with this all-time list:

Click on the list below for a larger view ~

One would expect to see Guidry '78 and Chesbro '04 on this list. But, note Gomez and Ruffing. Lefty Gomez has the number one slot here - and three seasons (in total) in the top ten. Red Ruffing has two slots in the top ten. So, between Gomez and Ruffing, they own half of the ten best seasons by a Yankees pitcher.

What's also cool here is that Gomez and Ruffing were teammates from 1930 through 1942. And, as the chart shows, in 1937 they were an incredible one-two punch for the Yankees rotation.

But, what about after 1942? How would this all-time top ten seasons list appear if we only took seasons from 1942 forward? For the answer, see below:

Click on the list below for a larger view ~

Now, this is some good stuff. Whitey Ford's '61 and '63 seasons did not make the cut. (Quick, someone tell Michael Kay that it's not all about wins.) Nonetheless, Ford does take three of the top seven slots here.

Note the placement of Andy Pettitte '97 and Mariano Rivera '96. What's interesting here is that 1997 was the year after Pettitte got hosed in the Cy Young Award voting and 1996 was the year before Rivera became the Yankees closer. In any event, I wonder how many Yankees fans today realize that Andy Pettitte, in 1997, had the 7th best season ever by a Yankees pitcher since 1942.

It was nice to see Catfish Hunter '75 make the Post-'42 list. And, of course, how about Melido Perez '92 grabbing the final slot in the Post-'42 top ten? Then again, if you were reading WasWatching.com back in November 2005, seeing how good Perez was in 1992 should not be news.

I'll do some more of these "Top Ten Season" lists for other positions between now and the start of next season.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at January 8, 2007 10:53 PM

Comments

You think Pettitte got hosed in '96? No way! Hentgen had him beat in just about every category.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 8, 2007 11:39 PM

In that 107 2/3 innings, Mariano Rivera gave up only 1 HR. He causes some sort of record to fall every year. As far as BBWAA awards go, he qualified for MVP and Cy Young in 1996. As Joel Sherman wrote in 2006, Rivera has deserved the Cy Young and MVP every year but will not win it. (Starting with the 1995 post season, which I realize couldn't be used for those 2 awards). Lupica wrote in the past 6 months that Rivera is the 'greatest money athlete of all time.' These 2 writers either don't or won't affect awards. I just thought I'd mention this as people put together lists and awards.

Posted by: susanmullen [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2007 01:41 AM

~~~You think Pettitte got hosed in '96? No way! Hentgen had him beat in just about every category.~~~

OK, maybe that was just the fanboy in me with that comment. The stats due favor Hentgen.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2007 09:57 AM

Steve, I wrote on this exact topic a week ago.

http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/2007/01/best-season-for-yankee-pitcher.html

I ranked Guidry '78 #1, Gomez '37 #2.

Posted by: Travis G. [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2007 02:52 PM

Thanks Travis - I missed that one.
For those reading this, check the link - it's a good read.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2007 03:33 PM

Hey Steve....put Lefty up for consideration at Netshrine. We need more Yankees! :)

Posted by: Hilltop168 [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2007 04:00 PM

Soon enough!

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2007 04:58 PM