Tuesday, February 25, 2014

TOPPS 1976 "ALL-TIME ALL-STARS"- AN EXPANDED VIEW #9: RIGHT-HANDED PITCHERS

Today we will be taking a look at right-handed pitchers for my "All-Time All-Stars" 1976 sub-set "tweak".
We've already covered the infield, outfield and catcher positions in previous posts, adding in who I thought would have been selected by the Sporting News in the non-selected league almost 40 years ago when they picked the all-time team celebrating the 100th season of Major League baseball.
First up we take a look at who they did pick for the all-time team as their right-hander on the mound: Walter Johnson.
 
"The Big Train".
 
Yeah, who is going to argue with THAT pick!?
Perhaps the greatest all-time pitcher PERIOD when you consider all the bad teams this guy pitched for.
All Johnson did while pitching his entire career for the Washington Senators was win 417 games (second all-time), throw 110 shutouts (all-time high), whiff 3509 batters (the record until the late-70's), and post a stellar 2.17 earned run average.
Can you imagine if Johnson pitched for good teams most of his career!? He'd probably have an extra 50-100 wins thrown in!
His 1913 season is just too sick: a 36-7 record with a 1.14 E.R.A, and 243 strikeouts, all league highs, as well as leading numbers in complete games (29), shutouts (11), winning percentage (.837)and WHIP (0.780). 
Needless to say he won the first of two M.V.P. awards that year, with his other award coming in 1924 when at the age of 36 he went 23-7 with a 2.72 earned run average and 158 K's (again winning the pitching Triple Crown) as he lead Washington to aWorld Series win over the New York Giants.
He actually won a third "Triple Crown" in 1918 as well, when he posted a 23-13 record with a 1.27 E.R.A. and 162 strikeouts.
All told he lead the league in wins six times, E.R.A. five times, shutouts seven times and strikeouts twelve times, twice topping 300 for a season (1910 & 1912).
For the National league I think my pick is just as clear cut: Christy Mathewson.
 
"Matty"
 
How can anyone really argue with "Big Six" as the N.L. representative!?
All Mathewson did during his career was win 373 games, post a 2.13 career earned run average, throw 79 shutouts and whiff 2507 batters.
He won 30+ games in a season four times, with a high of 37 in 1908 that is still the N.L. record post-1900.
Twice he'd win the Triple Crown, 1905 & 1908, and until Sandy Koufax came along Mathewson held the N.L. record for strikeouts in a season with his 267 in 1903.
How's this for all-time baseball performances: in the 1905 World Series against the Philadelphia Athletics, Mathewson single-handedly won it for the Giants by pitching THREE shutout wins in six days!
Just colossal!
It's no surprise that both Johnson and Mathewson were part of the inaugural class inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1936.
Two of the all-time best right-handers, two of the all-time best PERIOD.

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