Atlanta Pitching Staff

Greatest Multi-Year Pitching Staffs of All Time

by Bruce Grossberg
edited by Steve Orinick

Let's take a look at all of the truly good multiyear pitching staffs in baseball history. We'll start the search with the 1893 season, the first year the mound was moved back from 50 feet to 60 feet 6 inches, which started the need for teams to use more than one or two pitchers. In order to make the list, the core of the staff had to be together and perform exceptionally well for at least three consecutive seasons.

Now the question is how to effectively evaluate the pitching staff of a team. You can't just look at wins and losses, as that doesn't tell you if the team won because of pitching, hitting or other factors. You can't simply look at the straight earned run average, because that does not produce valid results across eras. If you just consider straight ERA, you would think that players from the dead ball era like Togie Pittinger (115-113 3.10 career ERA) were better than pitchers like Jimmy Key (186-117 3.51 career ERA). What we need to do is to look at a team's ERA as compared to the league ERA of the time. The best way to do this is to look at ERA+, or "adjusted ERA." What this statistic does is to express a team's ERA in terms of how it compares to the league averages that season, after being adjusted for the team's home park.1Using ERA+, an average pitcher's statistic is 100. If you are below average you are under 100, and if you are above average you are over 100. Essentially if your ERA+ is 120, you were 20% better at preventing runs than the average pitcher that year, and if you have an ERA+ of 90, you were 10% worse than the average pitcher at preventing runs that year. Generally, I use an team ERA+ of at least 110 to indicate a very good staff. 118 into the mid 120s is a great staff, and anything in the high 120s or above is an all time great mark.


Using a team's ERA+ as the barometer, here's the results: Using a team's ERA+ as the barometer, here's the results:

Formula for ERA+ (adjusted ERA)
ERA+ = (league ERA) * (home park factor) * 100 / (player's ERA)

1893-1898 CLEVELAND SPIDERS

This great early staff was anchored by the game's winningest pitcher of all time, Cy Young. He and Nig Cuppy were the one-two punch for the entire six year period, with hall of famer John Clarkson there for the first two seasons. Jack Powell was on the staff at the end as he was starting a long and very successful career. They even got some good years from Bobby Wallace, who would go on to a long hall of fame career as a shortstop. Their best finish during this time was second place in 1895, two games behind Baltimore. They then beat the Orioles in five games in the Temple Cup Series, with Cy Young going 3-0. The same two teams met in the 1896 Temple Cup with the Orioles crushing Cleveland in four straight.

YEAR ERA+
1893 - 116
1894 - 110
1895 - 127
1896 - 131
1897 - 114
1898 - 113
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
John Clarkson - 1893-1894
Nig Cuppy - 1893-1898
Jack Powell - 1897-1898
Bobby Wallace - 1894-1896
Zeke Wilson - 1895-1898
Cy Young -1893-1898

1895-1899 BALTIMORE ORIOLES

The Baltimore Orioles of the 1890s were one of the greatest dynasties in baseball history, starting with their phenomenal team of 1894. They featured several hall of famers among their position players (Dan Brouthers, Hughie Jennings, John McGraw, Joe Kelley) and their hall of fame manager Ned Hanlon. Their catcher Wilbert Robinson also made the hallof fame himself as a manager. The pitching didn't really come together big time until the 1895 season. This has got to be the most unexpectedly great pitching staff in history, as there was not one pitcher on the team who was even close to being a hall of famer until Iron Man McGinnity became their ace when he arrived for the last season in the run (1899). Harry Howell was also there for one season. I strongly suspect that these pitchers were not all that great at this time, but that their stats look excellent because the Orioles had such great fielding. Because there were so few strikeouts during this era, there were a ton of balls in play. Pitchers were not getting many outs through strikeouts, so fielding was a far bigger part of team defense than it would be today. A great fielding team could really make a pitching staff in this era. Feast your eyes on the bunch of no names who were excellent pitchers on this staff. It's no wonder that Ned Hanlon is in the hall of fame.
YEAR ERA+
1895 - 125
1896 - 116
1897 - 117
1898 - 123
1899 - 119
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Joe Corbett - 1896-1897
Duke Esper - 1895-1896
George Hemming - 1895-1896
Bill Hoffer - 1895-1898
Frank Kitson - 1898-1899
Al Maul - 1897-1898
Sadie McMahon - 1895-1896
Jerry Nops - 1896-1899
Arlie Pond - 1895-1898

1895-1901 BOSTON BEANEATERS

This great staff was anchored by the least recognized all time great pitcher in baseball history, Kid Nichols. Kid went 92-37 from '95 to '97 with at least 30 wins each year. He also had 30 win seasons four times before this run. Jack Stivetts was the # 2 in the early years and then hall of famer Vic Willis came on the scene in 1898 and eventually became the top starter, as Nichols was winding down. This team won the NL pennant in both 1897 and 1898. Only one other staff in baseball history ever had five consecutive seasons with an ERA+ of 120 or better. I'll let you try and figure out who they were.
YEAR ERA+
1895 - 120
1896 - 120
1897 - 122
1898 - 124
1899 - 127
1900 - 111
1901 - 125
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Bill Dineen - 1900-1901
Fred Klobedanz -1896-1899
Ted Lewis - 1896-1900
Kid Nichols - 1895-1901
Happy Jack Stivetts - 1895-1898
Jim Sullivan - 1895-1897
Vic Willis - 1898-1901

1900-1903 PITTSBURGH PIRATES

This team truly had a bunch of pitching superstars as they won three straight pennants from 1901 through 1903. The 1902 team was one of the best teams ever, posting a 103-36 record (.741) and scoring 775 runs while only allowing 440. Chesbro and Waddell were hall of famers who left after brief stints, but Tannehill, Leever and Phillippe were all borderline hall of fame pitcher who had great career ERAs and also had career winning percentages well above .600.
YEAR ERA+
1900 - 119
1901 - 126
1902 - 119
1903 - 111
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Jack Chesbro - 1900-1902
Ed Donehy - 1901-1903
Sam Leever - 1900-1903
Deacon Phillippe - 1900-1903
Jesse Tannehill - 1900-1902
Rube Waddell - 1900-1901

1901-1904 BOSTON PILGRIMS (RED SOX)

Cy Young is the only pitcher in history who was the anchor of great pitching staffs for two different franchises. Together with # 2 starter Bill Dineen who had come over from the Beaneaters across town in 1902, they brought home the championship for the Pilgrims in the first world series in 1903. They then added Pirates star pitcher Jesse Tannehill to the 1904 staff and had an even better regular season as they again won the A.L. pennant. Unfortunately, they did not get to defend their championship as John McGraw refused to let his N.L. champion Giants play the series.
YEAR ERA+
1901 - 116
1902 - 118
1903 - 118
1904 - 126
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Bill Dineen - 1902-1904
Norwood Gibson - 1903-1904
Long Tom Hughes - 1902-1903
George Winter - 1901-1904
Cy Young - 1901-1904

1903 - 1911 CHICAGO CUBS

This legendary team that won 116 games in 1906 was upset in the world series that year by the White Sox, but then won the only two world championships in Cubs history (1907 and 1908). They also won another pennant in 1910. They had perhaps the best pitching staff in history, led by hall of famer Mordecai quot;Three Finger" Brown. The level that the staff attained from 1905 to 1907 and in 1909 has never been reached by any other staff. Lundgren, Overall, Pfiester, Reulbach, Taylor and Weimer were all star pitchers for a time during this run. The staff was awesome (ERA+ of 122) in 1902 also, with just Taylor and Lundgren from this bunch.
YEAR ERA+
1903 - 113
1904 - 115
1905 - 146
1906 - 150
1907 - 144
1908 - 109
1909 - 145
1910 - 115
1911 - 114
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Three Finger Brown - 1904-1911
King Cole - 1909-1911
Carl Lundgren - 1903-1909
Harry McIntyre - 1910-1911
Orval Overall - 1906-1910
Jack "The Giant Killer" Pfiester - 1906-1911
Ed Reulbach - 1905-1911
Lew Richie - 1910-1911
Jack Taylor - 1903, 1906-1907
Tornado Jake Weimer - 1903-1905
Bob Wicker - 1903-1906

1903-1905 NEW YORK GIANTS

Two great hall of famers (Mathewson, McGinnity) anchored this sensational staff that featured three other very good pitchers. They won two straight NL pennants in 1904 and 1905. After manager John McGraw agreed to play Connie Mack's Athletics in the 1905 world series (he refused to play Boston in 1904), they won the world championship behind Christy "Big Six" Mathewson's three shutouts in six days.
YEAR ERA+
1903 - 113
1904 - 125
1905 - 122
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Christy Mathewson - 1903-1905
Joe "Iron Man" McGinnity - 1903-1905
Dummy Taylor - 1903-1905
Red Ames - 1903-1905
Hooks Wiltse - 1904-1905

1908-1912 PITTSBURGH PIRATES

This staff was particularly awesome in 1909 when the Pirates won the world championship. Camnitz, Leifield, Maddox and Willis were all sensational that year, but it was the rookie Babe Adams who went 3-0 in the world series against the Tigers. Adams was especially stingy against Tigers superstar Ty Cobb, who could only manage one hit against Adams in the series. Adams went on to have a fine career as the Pirates ace in the teens.
YEAR ERA+
1908 - 108
1909 - 131
1910 - 109
1911 - 121
1912 - 114

MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Babe Adams - 1909-1912
Howie Camnitz - 1908-1912
Jack Ferry - 1910-1912
Claude Hendrix - 1911-1912
Sam Leever - 1908-1910
Lefty Leifield - 1908-1912
Nick Maddox - 1908-1910
Marty O'Toole - 1911-1912
Deacon Phillippe - 1908-1911
Vic Willis - 1908-1909

1909-1911 PHILADELPHIA ATHLETICS

A fabulous staff with two hall of famers, Bender and Plank, but it was Coombs who was their top starter on the two world championship clubs in 1910 and 1911. His ERA+ was only 89 in 1911, but he went 28-12 and led the league in wins. Plank didn't even throw in the 1910 classic as Coombs won three games. In 1911 the big three shut down the Giants. Krause and Morgan were very good too. The staff was not particularly high quality in 1913 and 1914, but they won pennants anyway as they had by far the best offense in the league. They won their third world championship in four years in 1913, but were upset in a bid to make it four out of five when the miracle 1914 Braves beat them.
YEAR ERA+
1909 - 124
1910 - 133
1911 - 105
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Chief Bender - 1909-1911
Jack Coombs - 1909-1911
Jimmy Dygert - 1909-1910
Harry Krause - 1909-1911
Cy Morgan - 1909-1911
Eddie Plank - 1909-1911

1911-1913 NEW YORK GIANTS

Sensational seasons for this pitching staff led to three consecutive pennants, but McGraw's Men came up short all three times in the world series. The 1912 series was one of the greatest ever played as the Giants took a one run lead into the bottom of the 10th of game 7 with Matty on the mound. But as it had gone for the entire series, Mathewson was done in by bad fielding. Giants centerfielder Fred Snodgrass dropped a fly ball which led to the Red Sox rallying for two runs to win the championship behind Smokey Joe Wood in relief. Mathewson was backed on the staff by fellow hall of famer Rube Marquard and several other very good pitchers. Doc Crandall was an early relief specialist, appearing in 35 games in 1913 with only two starts. Only three other staffs ever had an ERA+ of 125 or higher for three consecutive seasons.
YEAR ERA+
1911 - 125
1912 - 130
1913 - 128
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Red Ames - 1911-1913
Doc Crandall - 1911-1913
Al Demaree - 1912-1913
Rube Marquard - 1911-1913
Christy Mathewson - 1911-1913
Jeff Tesreau - 1912-1913
Hooks Wiltse - 1911-1913

1914-1918 RED SOX

Very good for 5 years but never really awesome was this staff, led by Babe Ruth, Dutch Leonard, Ernie Shore and a man (Carl Mays) who would clearly be in the hall of fame if he could just take back that one deadly pitch he threw to Ray Chapman in 1920. Smokey Joe Wood was still excellent in limited duty for a couple of years at the start of this run. The team took home the world championship in 1915, 1916 and 1918.
YEAR ERA+
1914 - 114
1915 - 116
1916 - 112
1917 - 117
1918 - 116
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Ray Collins - 1914-1915
Rube Foster - 1914-1917
Vean Gregg - 1914-1916
Dutch Leonard - 1914-1918
Carl Mays 1915-1918
Babe Ruth - 1914-1918
Ernie Shore - 1914-1917
Smokey Joe Wood - 1914-1915

1915-1917 CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Some of this group became much more famous as part of the 1919 club that threw the world series. This staff was tremendous for this three year period with Red Faber as the only hall of famer, but the other six mainstays were all stars for a while. Because of the Black Sox scandal, history has overlooked the 1917 White Sox. They were one of the great teams in history, with tremendous pitching depth.
YEAR ERA+
1915 - 122
1916 - 117
1917 - 123
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Joe Benz - 1915-1917
Ed Cicotte - 1915-1917
Dave Danforth - 1916-1917
Red Faber - 1915-1917
Reb Russell - 1915-1917
Jack Scott - 1915-1917
Lefty Williams - 1916-1917

1916-1919 CHICAGO CUBS

Led by Hippo Vaughn who was just awesome at this time, the Cubs had themselves a terrific staff for a few years resulting in one pennant during the run. Claude Hendrix was excellent, and there were a few other extremely good pitchers here. When Alexander came over in 1918 and then really returned to form in 1919, they had a great staff, posting a 130 ERA+ that year.
YEAR ERA+
1916 - 110
1917 - 110
1918 - 128
1919 - 130
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Grover Cleveland Alexander - 1918-1919
Paul Carter - 1916-1919
Phil Douglas - 1917-1919
Claude Hendrix - 1916-1919
Speed Martin - 1918-1919
Mike Prendergast - 1916-1917
Lefty Tyler - 1918-1919
Hippo Vaughn - 1916-1919

1917-1920 CLEVELAND INDIANS

A very solid staff led by Jim Bagby and hall of famer Stan Coveleski. They capped off this four year run with the 1920 world championship, as Coveleski went 3-0 with an 0.67 ERA against Brooklyn in the series. Morton and Caldwell were very good and Uhle went on to become the Indians ace in subsequent years.
YEAR ERA+
1917 - 112
1918 - 114
1919 - 114
1920 - 111
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Jim Bagby - 1917-1920
Ray Caldwell - 1919-1920
Fritz Coumbe - 1917-1919
Stan Coveleski - 1917-1920
Johnny Enzmann - 1918-1919
Guy Morton - 1917-1920
George Uhle - 1919-1920

1919-1923 NEW YORK YANKEES

Plenty of depth here as several of these guys were stars at various times with Hoyt going to the hall of fame. Shawkey was the ace of the staff. They produced three straight pennants and a world championship in 1923, even though the staff was better early on in the run. Newcomer Herb Pennock was the pitching star of the 1923 series as the Bombers won their first world championship.
YEAR ERA+
1919 - 113
1920 - 114
1921 - 111
1922 - 118
1923 - 109
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Joe Bush - 1922-1923
Rip Collins - 1920-1921
Waite Hoyt - 1921-1923
Sam Jones - 1922-1923
Carl Mays - 1919-1923
George Mogridge - 1919-1920
Jack Quinn - 1919-1921
Bob Shawkey - 1919-1923
Hank Thormahlen - 1919-1920

1922-1925 CINCINNATI REDS

The best pitching staff in the NL at this time was led by hall of famer Eppa Rixey, with great support from Dolf Luque and Pete Donohue. Carl Mays came over in 1924 to join the third great staff that he was part of, all with different franchises. Unfortunately the team could never score enough runs to help the staff win a pennant as their only strong hitters were Ed Roush and Jake Daubert. The Giants had enough pitching to go along with a great lineup to be able to beat out this Reds team from '21 to '24, and then the Pirates emerged as a great team in 1925.
YEAR ERA+
1922 - 113
1923 - 120
1924 - 121
1925 - 121
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Rube Benton - 1923-1925
Pete Donohue - 1922-1925
Catcus Keck - 1922-1923
Dolf Luque - 1922-1925
Jakie May - 1924-1925
Carl Mays - 1924-1925
Eppa Rixey - 1922-1925

1924-1927 PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Kremer and Meadows were the mainstays of this solid staff. They produced a world championship in 1925 and then got back to the series two years later, only to get crushed by the powerful 1927 Yankees.
YEAR ERA+
1924 - 117
1925 - 115
1926 - 107
1927 - 112
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Vic Aldridge - 1925-1927
Ray Kremer - 1924-1927
Lee Meadows - 1924-1927
Johnny Morrison - 1924-1927
Don Songer - 1924-1927
Emil Yde - 1924-1927

1925-1931 PHILADELPHIA ATHLETICS

Fabulous staff built around all time great Lefty Grove, who had 38 saves during this span, doubling as Mack's closer as well as his top starter. Earnshaw, Quinn, Rommel, Walberg and the rest provided great support for Lefty. The team started to gain on the Yankees in 1928 and then won three straight pennants. Only Pepper Martin in 1931 kept them from being the first team to win three straight world series titles.
YEAR ERA+
1925 - 120
1926 - 139
1927 - 107
1928 - 119
1929 - 123
1930 - 109
1931 - 130
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
George Earnshaw - 1928-1931
Howard Ehmke - 1926-1930
Dolly Gray - 1925-1927
Lefty Grove - 1925-1931
Slim Harris - 1925-1926
Roy Mahaffey - 1930-1931
Jack Quinn - 1925-1930
Eddie Rommel - 1925-1931
Bill Shores - 1928-1931
Rube Walberg - 1925-1931

1934-1936 BOSTON RED SOX

The Red Sox had their best staff since the Cy Young led the bunch of 1901-1904, but they just couldn't mount much of an offense in these years. Ferrell was great as the top starter as teaming with his brother Rick in Boston agreed with him. Once Grove got over his sore arm of '34, he was great again as was Walberg, both having come over when Mack has his fire sale. Ostermueller was the hard luck 4th starter, posting a losing record in all three of these seasons despite a very good ERA+ in all three years. He's one of the best pitchers ever to be under .500 in a career with over 2000 innings pitched.
YEAR ERA+
1934 - 111
1935 - 117
1936 - 121
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Wes Ferrell - 1934-1936
Lefty Grove - 1934-1936
Fritz Ostermueller - 1934-1936
Gordon Rhodes - 1934-1935
Rube Walberg - 1934-1936
Johnny Welch - 1934-1936
Black Jack Wilson - 1935-1936

1935-1939 NEW YORK YANKEES

The Yankees greatest multiyear pitching staff led the way to four straight world championships, becoming the greatest dynasty in baseball history. They were 16-3 in the world series over those years, culminating with the greatest single season team of all time in 1939. The big guns were hall of famers Ruffing and Gomez, but Chandler, Pearson, Murphy and the rest were all also excellent. The 1939 staff was easily the best single season team pitching performance in Yankee history.
YEAR ERA+
1935 - 112
1936 - 112
1937 - 122
1938 - 116
1939 - 132
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Johnny Broaca - 1935-1937
Spud Chandler - 1937-1939
Atley Donald - 1938-1939
Lefty Gomez - 1935-1939
Bump Hadley - 1936-1939
Johnny Murphy - 1935-1939
Monte Pearson - 1936-1939
Red Ruffing - 1935-1939

1937-1941 CHICAGO WHITE SOX

The Chisox had their first really good staff in over twenty years, but they still could finish no higher than third place during this run. Appling and Kuhel were the only guys they had who could hit. The top hurlers here were Thornton Lee and hall of famer Ted Lyons, who was winding down his long career. Johnny Rigney was very solid as the # 3 starter and Monty Stratton was a budding star before an infamous hunting accident ended his career.
YEAR ERA+
1937 - 110
1938 - 112
1939 - 110
1940 - 118
1941 - 116
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Clint Brown - 1937-1941
Bill Dietrich - 1937-1941
Jack Knott - 1938-1940
Thornton Lee - 1937-1941
Ted Lyons - 1937-1941
Johnny Rigney - 1937-1941
Eddie Smith - 1939-1941
Monty Stratton - 1937-1938
John Whitehead - 1937-1939

1939-1942 CINCINNATI REDS

The top guys here were Walters and Derringer, who took the team to its first world championship in 1940, after being swept by the Yankees in the prior year. Vander Meer, Thompson, Turner and the rest were all very good for a while for this staff that had six guys who were all together for the entire four years.
YEAR ERA+
1939 - 117
1940 - 124
1941 - 114
1942 - 117
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Joe Beggs - 1940-1941
Paul Derringer - 1939-1942
Whitey Moore - 1939-1942
Elmer Riddle - 1939-1942
Junior Thompson - 1939-1942
Jim Turner - 1940-1941
Johnny Vander Meer - 1939-1942
Bucky Walters - 1939-1942

1939-1942 BROOKLYN DODGERS

A nice staff came together here for a few years in Brooklyn. No hall of fame players but several real solid guys led by Wyatt, who was their ace for a few years. Casey, Davis, Higbe and Fitzsimmons all had big moments. Van Lingle Mungo was there for a bit at the start of the run and Larry French was tremendous in 1942 after coming over from the Cubs very late in 1941 to help secure that pennant.
YEAR ERA+
1939 - 110
1940 - 114
1941 - 117
1942 - 115
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Johnny Allen - 1941-1942
Hugh Casey - 1939-1942
Curt Davis - 1940-1942
Freddie Fitzsimmons - 1939-1942
Larry French - 1941-1942
Luke Hamlin - 1939-1941
Kirby Higbe - 1941-1942
Newt Kimball - 1940-1942
Tot Pressnell - 1939-1940
Vito Tamulis - 1939-1941
Whit Wyatt - 1939-1942

1939-1946 DETROIT TIGERS

This staff had a long eight year run across World War II. Several of the players were gone for a year or two and then returned to the team. Fred Hutchinson was gone for five years and eventually came back and had a nice career. The top pitcher here was hall of famer Hal Newhouser, but Bridges, Newsom, Rowe and Trout were all stars. They won a pennant in 1940 and then a world championship in 1945, beating the Cubs in Wrigley three out of the final four games to win it in a world series that had an unusual wartime schedule (three games at Detroit followed by four at Chicago).
YEAR ERA+
1939 - 114
1940 - 119
1941 - 109
1942 - 126
1943 - 117
1944 - 116
1945 - 118
1946 - 114
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Al Benton - 1939-1942, 1945-1946
Tommy Bridges - 1939-1944, 1945-1946
Johnny Gorsica - 1940-1944, 1946
Fred Hutchinson - 1939-1940, 1946
Archie McKain - 1939-1941
Hal Newhouser - 1939-1946
Bobo Newsom - 1939-1941
Stubby Overmire - 1943-1946
Schoolboy Rowe - 1939-1942
Dizzy Trout - 1939-1946
Virgil Trucks - 1941-1943, 1946
Hal White - 1941-1943, 1946

1941-1947 ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

This has got to be my favorite staff of all time. No hall of famers, with nobody close to getting in, yet the Cardinals just kept coming up with high quality pitchers during these years. There was a different star almost every year. Cooper, Beazley, Barrett and Pollet all had 20 win seasons during this run, and Brecheen was the biggest post season star. Wilks, Dickson, Lanier and Warneke were all sensational in certain seasons. The rest of them were merely excellent. The staff was the key to four pennants and three world championships during these years. There were different pitching stars in all three of their world series wins Beazley and Ernie White against the Yankees in '42, Cooper and Lanier against the cross-town rival Browns in '44, and Brecheen winning three games against Boston in 1946 (he also had a shutout in 1944). Only one other staff ever had three consecutive seasons with an ERA+ of 130 or higher. There's never been another multiyear pitching staff that did it with so many different pitchers who were this good.
YEAR ERA+
1941 - 118
1942 - 134
1943 - 131
1944 - 132
1945 - 116
1946 - 115
1947 - 117
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Red Barrett - 1945-1946
Johnny Beazley - 1941-1942, 1946
Al Brazle - 1943, 1946-1947
Harry Brecheen - 1943-1947
Ken Burkhart - 1945-1947
Mort Cooper - 1941-1945
Murray Dickson - 1942-1947
Blix Donnelly - 1944-1946
Harry Gumbert - 1941-1944
Howie Krist - 1941-1943, 1946
Max Lanier - 1941-1946
Red Munger - 1943-1944, 1946-1947
Howie Pollet - 1941-1943, 1946-1947
Lon Warneke - 1941-1942
Ernie White - 1941-1943
Ted Wilks - 1944-1947

1948-1951 CLEVELAND INDIANS

This group should have done even better, given that they had four hall of fame pitchers on the staff in 1949. Bearden and Garcia also each had one huge season in addition to the big three of Feller, Lemon and Wynn. Paige was awesome in limited duty in his two years with Cleveland, holding opposing batters to a .229 batting average despite being in his mid-forties. Gromek and Zoldak were solid second tier guys. The staff produced a world championship in 1948 after Bearden beat the Red Sox in the first one game playoff game in AL history. Some of these guys will be back as part of another great run a few years later.

YEAR ERA+
1948 - 126
1949 - 119
1950 - 115
1951 - 112
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Gene Bearden - 1948-1950
Al Benton - 1949-1950
Bob Feller - 1948-1951
Mike Garcia - 1948-1951
Steve Gromek - 1948-1951
Bob Lemon - 1948-1951
Satchel Paige - 1948-1949
Early Wynn - 1949-1951
Sam Zoldak - 1948-1950

1951-1957 WHITE SOX

Only ace Billy Pierce was there for the full seven years, but they wheeled in a bunch of guys who all pitched better for the White Sox than they did before or after. Donovan, Trucks and Dobson had been well known, but most of these guys are no names that pitched well for a few years for this club. They never won anything during this run, but after an off year in 1958, Pierce, Donovan and Staley joined along with several newcomers and took them to the 1959 pennant. Pierce made seven all star teams but is still largely ignored as being one of the greatest pitchers of his era. He would have been a hall of famer on a team that won some championships.
YEAR ERA+
1951 - 115
1952 - 112
1953 - 118
1954 - 122
1955 - 117
1956 - 110
1957 - 112
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Sandy Consuegra - 1953-1956
Joe Dobson - 1951-1953
Dick Donovan - 1955-1957
Harry Dorish - 1951-1955
Mike Fornieles - 1953-1956
Dixie Howell - 1955-1957
Jack Harshman - 1954-1957
Connie Johnson - 1953-1956
Bob Keegan - 1953-1957
Morrie Martin - 1954-1956
Billy Pierce - 1951-1957
Saul Rogovin - 1951-1953
Gerry Staley - 1956-1957
Virgil Trucks - 1953-1955
Jim Wilson - 1956-1957

1954-1956 CLEVELAND INDIANS

This staff was better than the great Indian staff of a few years prior, even though Feller was near the end. Wynn, Lemon and Garcia were all awesome by 1954 and when Score joined the staff in 1955, they had yet another top notch starter. Add the excellent relief work of Mossi, Narleski and Newhouser to the equation and it's no wonder they had one of the best three year ERA+ marks of any staff in history. Aguirre and Houtteman were not exactly bad either. They were a fabulous staff that led the team to their famous 111-43 season in 1954. Unfortunately they ran into a great one year staff from the Giants in the world series that year and got swept.
YEAR ERA+
1954 - 132
1955 - 118
1956 - 127
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Hank Aguirre - 1955-1956
Bob Feller - 1954-1956
Mike Garcia - 1954-1956
Art Houtteman - 1954-1956
Bob Lemon - 1954-1956
Don Mossi - 1954-1956
Ray Narleski - 1954-1956
Hal Newhouser - 1954-1955
Herb Score - 1955-1956
Early Wynn - 1954-1956

1955-1957 BROOKLYN DODGERS

Their best staff in Brooklyn. The ace was Newcombe, but everybody else here (except for the young Koufax) was important to some part of their 1955 and 1956 pennants and Podres brought home their world championship with his 2-0 shutout in game 7 in Yankee Stadium. If he had been around in 1956 they may well have won that one too. In their best year together, 1957, this group didn't get the kind of offensive support they were used to (team OPS+2 was just 89) and they could only finish in third place.
YEAR ERA+
1955 - 110
1956 - 111
1957 - 124
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Don Bessent - 1955-1957
Roger Craig - 1955-1957
Carl Erskine - 1955-1957
Sandy Koufax - 1955-1957
Clem Labine - 1955-1957
Bill Loes - 1955-1956
Sal Maglie - 1955-1957
Don Newcombe - 1955-1957
Johnny Podres - 1955, 1957

1955-1958 NEW YORK YANKEES

This was the Yankees first sustained great staff since the late 30s. They had managed to win five straight world championships from 1949 to 1953 with a good, but not great staff. They won four straight pennants and twice took the world series crown with this bunch. Ford was the top pitcher on the staff, but Byrne, Kucks, Sturdivant, Turley and of course Larsen, all had huge world series moments. I don't normally list a pitcher here if he only was around for one year on the staff, but Ryen Duren was so awesome in 1958 in both the regular season and the world series, I had to include him. For a long time Bob Grim was the last rookie to win 20 games in a season (in 1954) until Tom Browning did it in 1985.
YEAR ERA+
1955 - 116
1956 - 107
1957 - 120
1958 - 110
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Tommy Byrne - 1955-1957
Art Ditmar - 1957-1958
Ryen Duran - 1958
Whitey Ford - 1955-1958
Bob Grim - 1955-1958
Johnny Kucks - 1955-1958
Don Larsen - 1955-1958
Tom Morgan - 1955-1956
Bobby Shantz - 1957-1958
Tom Sturdivant - 1955-1958
Bob Turley - 1955-1958

1960-1964 ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

By far the most famous member of this great Cardinal staff is Bob Gibson. He won two games in the 1964 world series to help this club beat the Yankees, but he was not really their ace until at least 1963. Guys like Broglio, Sadecki, Jackson and Simmons had some big years in the early 60s, and once Gibson came into his own as one of the games greatest pitchers, they were able to finally win a pennant and subsequently, a world series. Lindy McDaniel was one of the great relief pitchers of all time. After an off year in '65, another great Cardinal staff emerged starting in 1966.
YEAR ERA+
1960 - 112
1961 - 118
1962 - 120
1963 - 107
1964 - 111
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Ernie Broglio - 1960-1964
Bob Gibson - 1960-1964
Larry Jackson - 1960-1962
Lindy McDaniel - 1960-1962
Bob Miller - 1960-1961
Ray Sadecki - 1960-1964
Bobby Shantz - 1962-1964
Curt Simmons - 1960-1964
Ray Washburn - 1961-1964
Ron Taylor - 1963-1964

1963-1966 LOS ANGELES DODGERS

The first thing you may ask is "what happened to 1962?" The answer is that the Dodgers staff in 1962 was just league average... a 100 ERA+. The team was good that year because of their offense, and Maury Wills' stolen bases. Even in 1963 they won more because of their offense than their pitching. Despite the fact that this was a great staff, they were overrated by most people because they fail to understand the severe effects that Dodger Stadium had on run scoring in those days. All those low scoring games out there had more to do with the ballpark then the pitching. In 1962 the Dodgers pitchers allowed just 289 runs at home, but 408 on the road, which was the 3rd highest total in a ten team league. In 1963 they allowed 248 runs at home, but 302 on the road. In 1964 they allowed 259 runs at home but 313 on the road. In 1965 they allowed just 218 runs at home in 81 games, just 2.7 per game. On the road that year they allowed 303 runs, 3.7 per game. 1966 was 220-270. All those low scoring games on TV in Dodger Stadium created the illusion that the Dodgers, and more specifically Sandy Koufax, were the greatest pitching machine of all time. In reality the team staff was excellent, but not up to all time great status. Koufax was an all time great, but not quite at the level where he should be spoken of as perhaps the best ever as he often is. Yes, Sandy led the league in ERA for five consecutive seasons, but in only two of those seasons did he lead the league in ERA+. Once everybody's numbers were adjusted for their home parks, it showed that he was not quite as incredible as he seemed to be. It's sort of the reverse reason as to why Dante Bichette was not really a great hitter. Playing in Coors Field in those days created all kinds of illusions about the Rockies players. Everything came together for Koufax once the Dodgers moved out of the LA Coliseum, which was a horrible park for him, and into the new Dodgers Stadium. He was playing in the worst hitting park in the major leagues, in the lowest run scoring time since the dead ball era and was at his peak on a good team.
That being said, Koufax was still great and capable of pitching a ton of innings, and as a study has shown he was incredible in close games. In games where his team only scored one run for him he was 9-9 for his career. Most pitchers would have been about 2-16 in that scenario. I just don't buy all the talk of him being the best ever from people who "saw" him. Their eyes fooled them because they did not comprehend all the circumstances that helped cause what they "saw."
The rest of the staff was excellent, including Drysdale, Osteen and Podres who formed the rest of the rotation for most of this period. Brewer, Miller, Perranoski and Regan were all great relievers, and rookie Don Sutton was a great addition for the 1966 season, by far the best season that this staff had as a unit. Great staff, but not an all time great staff. Their much maligned offense was actually got a bum rap for the same reason that the staff was thought to be so great. It was just impossible to score many runs in Dodger Stadium.
YEAR ERA+
1963 - 106
1964 - 110
1965 - 116
1966 - 126
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Jim Brewer - 1964-1966
Don Drysdale - 1963-1966
Sandy Koufax - 1963-1966
Bob Miller - 1963-1966
Claude Osteen - 1965-1966
Ron Perranoski - 1963-1966
Johnny Podres - 1963-1966
Howie Reed - 1964-1966
Phil Regan - 1966
Pete Richert - 1963-1964

1963-1968 CHICAGO WHITE SOX

This might be my favorite pitching staff from my early days as a baseball fan. They were just tremendous with Peters, Horlen, John and Pizarro as the main starters, and great relievers like Locker, McMahon and maybe the best ever, Hoyt Wilhelm. The knuckleball pitcher had an ERA that was under 2.00 for five straight seasons on this club. They did finish second with 94 wins in 1963, but generally they had a lot of trouble winning games because of a pathetic offensive lineup. In 1968 they had as good pitching as anybody in the league but could only win 67 games and finished in 9th place. They scored a league low 463 runs that season. That's 2.85 runs per game. Their team batting average was .228. Pete Ward and Tommy Davis tied for the team lead with a whopping 50 RBIs apiece, and Ward only hit .216. He was their only batter to reach double figures in HRs, with 15. You get the idea. If this staff had just had an average offense in these six years they would have won at least a couple of pennants. They were, of course, part of the great pennant race of 1967 along with the Twins, Tigers and eventual winner Boston. A great staff for sure.
YEAR ERA+
1963 - 118
1964 - 127
1965 - 107
1966 - 118
1967 - 127
1968 - 110
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
John Buzhardt - 1963-1967
Eddie Fisher - 1963-1966
Ray Herbert - 1963-1964
Joel Horlen - 1963-1968
Bruce Howard - 1963-1967
Tommy John - 1965-1968
Bob Locker - 1965-1968
Don McMahon - 1967-1968
Gary Peters - 1963-1968
Juan Pizarro - 1963-1966
Hoyt Wilhelm - 1963-1968

1964-1968 SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

The 1960s Giants were an enigma. They had more hall of fame players than any other club that never won a world series. McCovey, Cepada, Mays, Marichal, Perry and even Spahn for a season. Other excellent to great players like Bonds, Felipe Alou, Billy Pierce, Kuenn and McDaniel passed through, but they could only manage one pennant in the decade, and they had to rally in the 9th inning in game # 165 to get that. My theory is that they were not balanced. They had a few superstar hitters, always outfielders and first basemen. They had a lot of mediocre infielders. Other than Mays, Bonds and Hal Lanier they usually put some really bad defense out there, especially in the infield. Tito Fuentes, Jim Ray Hart, Ron Hunt, Jim Davenport, Cepada, McCovey and Jose Pagan were all below average fielders according to Bill James' win shares ratings. Chuck Hiller was especially pathetic defensively as the second baseman from '62 to '64. Not one of them rated above a C. Felipe Alou was a C+ outfielder. Kuenn was a C- outfielder. It was really a disaster when they played Cepada, McCovey or Hart in the outfield. Their only real good fielding infielder in this era was Hal Lanier, who got an A- at shortstop. Something was just not in synch with this team. They were getting beaten out for pennants by a team like the Cardinals that had tremendous fielders in this era. The staff was very good for these six years, though. Marichal and Perry were great. Sadecki and Shaw were very good, Bolin solid, and McCormick took home their only hardware during these years, winning the 1967 Cy Young award. The bullpen was very solid with Gibbon, Herbel, Linzy and McDaniel. With better fielding they would have put up some more impressive ERA+ numbers. They finished in second place in every season from 1965 through 1969. I really think their front office did not do a good job of putting talent together. They should have been better.
YEAR ERA+
1964 - 112
1965 - 112
1966 - 113
1967 - 113
1968 - 109
1969 - 108
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Bobby Bolin - 1964-1969
Joe Gibbon - 1966-1969
Ron Herbel - 1964-1969
Frank Linzy - 1965-1969
Juan Marichal - 1964-1969
Mike McCormick - 1967-1969
Lindy McDaniel - 1966-1968
Gaylord Perry - 1964-1969
Ray Sadecki - 1966-1969
Bob Shaw - 1964-1966

1965-1970 MINNESOTA TWINS

Very good staff for quite a while, they led the team to a pennant in 1965 and to two divisional titles later on. Kaat and Perry were the mainstays of the rotation, but Grant and Chance were each great for a time too. Merritt and Pacual were very good, and they had a bunch of good relievers during this span, including Tom "The Blade" Hall, who threw very hard back then. Would like to have seen Billy Martin break Boswell's jaw.
YEAR ERA+
1965 - 113
1966 - 115
1967 - 110
1968 - 107
1969 - 113
1970 - 115
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Dave Boswell - 1965-1970
Dean Chance - 1967-1969
Mudcat Grant - 1965-1967
Tom Hall - 1969-1970
Jim Kaat - 1965-1970
Johnny Klippstein - 1965-1966
Jim Merritt - 1965-1968
Bob Miller - 1968-1969
Camilo Pascual - 1965-1966
Ron Perranoski - 1968-1970
Jim Perry - 1965-1970
Jim Roland - 1967-1969
Dick Woodson - 1969-1970
Al Worthington - 1965-1969

1966-1969 ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

After just one year off, the Cardinals had rebuilt a new great staff with the only two holdovers from the 1960-1964 staff being Gibson and Washburn. Gibson was by then one of the best pitchers baseball had ever seen. Add in Briles as an excellent # 2 starter, with Hughes and Jaster each having a big year in the mix, and they had a bona fide solid rotation which was bolstered even further when the young Steve Carlton became a regular in 1967. Hoerner was an awesome reliever in all four of these seasons, and Willis was also very good. The staff really was tremendous by 1969 when Carlton posted a 2.17 ERA in 236 innings to go along with Gibson's 2.18 ERA in 314 innings. They won back to back pennants in '67 and '68, beating Boston in '67 for the title. One of the most memorable world series games for me was game one of 1968 when Gibson struck out 17 Tigers.
YEAR ERA+
1966 - 115
1967 - 108
1968 - 116
1969 - 121
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Nelson Briles - 1966-1969
Steve Carlton - 1966-1969
Bob Gibson - 1966-1969
Joe Hoerner - 1966-1969
Dick Hughes - 1966-1968
Al Jackson - 1966-1967
Larry Jaster - 1966-1968
Mike Torrez - 1967-1969
Ray Washburn - 1966-1969
Ron Willis - 1966-1969

1968-1971 NEW YORK METS

It is doubtful that many people took note of the great pitching stats put up by the 1968 Mets during their 9th place campaign that season. A team ERA of 2.72 with over 1,000 strikeouts and also a league low .230 batting average allowed should have told somebody something. The Mets were actually good at something for the first time in their sorry existence. They of course got noticed a lot more in 1969 when they won the world series. A great staff made up mainly of younger pitchers came together very quickly as Seaver and Koosman arrived in 1967, and Gentry in 1969. Add in young flamethrower Nolan Ryan along with great relievers Ron Taylor and Tug McGraw,a few other real solid hurlers and the Amazin's had themselves a championship caliber pitching staff almost overnight.
YEAR ERA+
1968 - 111
1969 - 122
1970 - 117
1971 - 114
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Don Cardwell - 1968-1970
Danny Frisella - 1968-1971
Gary Gentry - 1969-1971
Cal Koonce - 1968-1970
Jerry Koosman - 1968-1971
Jim McAndrew - 1968-1971
Tug McGraw - 1969-1971
Nolan Ryan - 1968-1971
Ray Sadecki - 1970-1971
Tom Seaver - 1968-1971
Ron Taylor - 1968-1971

1968-1973 BALTIMORE ORIOLES

This staff absolutely dominated AL hitters in these years, as the team won three straight pennants, one world series and one other division title during this span. Hall of fame pitcher Jim Palmer teamed with big stars McNally and Cuellar to give them three of the top starters in baseball. In 1971 Pat Dobson joined and the Orioles had four different pitchers each win 20 games that season, only the second time (1920 White Sox) that has ever been done. Watt, Richert, Reynolds, Jackson and Leonhard were all sensational out of the bullpen, and the other guys listed all had very good stints there too. Earl Weaver's formula of pitching, defense and three run homers worked great in 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1973, but did not do so well in '68 and '72, as offensive levels were really down then and he is still waiting for those three run homers that never came.
YEAR ERA+
1968 - 110
1969 - 126
1970 - 116
1971 - 112
1972 - 121
1973 - 122
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Doyle Alexander - 1972-1973
Mike Cuellar - 1969-1973
Pat Dobson - 1971-1972
Dick Hall - 1969-1971
Jim Hardin - 1969-1971
Grant Jackson - 1971-1973
Dave Leonhard - 1968-1972
Dave McNally - 1968-1973
Jim Palmer - 1969-1973
Tom Phoebus - 1968-1970
Bob Reynolds - 1972-1973
Pete Richert - 1968-1971
Eddie Watt - 1968-1973

1969-1973 CHICAGO CUBS

The Cubs had a nice staff at this time, led by hall of famer Fergie Jenkins. Hands, Holtzman, Pappas, Hooton and Reuschel were all star pitchers at various times in their careers. Aker, Decker and Regan were all excellent relievers for the Cubs and they even got great single seasons during this run from people like Ted Abernathy, Ray Burris and Bob Locker. A bittersweet time for Cubs fans for sure, with the collapse of 1969 and no pennants to show despite a strong pitching staff, their first good multiyear staff in over 50 years.
YEAR ERA+
1969 - 120
1970 - 120
1971 - 109
1972 - 118
1973 - 108
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Jack Aker - 1972-1973
Bill Bonham - 1971-1973
Joe Decker - 1969-1972
Bill Hands - 1969-1972
Ken Holtzman - 1969-1971
Burt Hooton - 1971-1973
Ferguson Jenkins - 1969-1973
Milt Pappas - 1970-1973
Juan Pizarro - 1970-1973
Phil Regan - 1969-1972
Rick Reuschel - 1972-1973

1971-1975 OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Never truly great but always great when the really had to be, this was never a dominant staff or a dominant overall team. They just won the big games when they had to, as the only other team aside from a few Yankee teams that was able to win three consecutive world series championships. Notice the ERA+ marks.....between 108 and 112 every year. Nothing sensational but consistently about 10% better than league average. Vida Blue became an overnight sensation with his spectacular 1971 MVP season. Hunter, Holtzman and Odom filled out the rotation and they had a abundance of strong relievers led by hall of famer Rollie Fingers. Hall of fame manager Dick Williams (left after 1973) was not shy about using them either, as Darold Knowles pitched in all 7 games of the 1973 world series without ever giving up an earned run.
YEAR ERA+
1971 - 109
1972 - 110
1973 - 108
1974 - 112
1975 - 111

MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Glenn Abbott - 1973-1975
Vida Blue - 1971-1975
Rollie Fingers - 1971-1975
Dave Hamilton - 1972-1975
Ken Holtzman - 1972-1975
Catfish Hunter - 1971-1975
Darold Knowles - 1971-1974
Paul Lindblad - 1971, 1973-1975
Bob Locker - 1971-1972
Blue Moon Odom - 1971-1975

1972-1978 LOS ANGELES DODGERS

This was a tremendous and super consistent staff with an ERA+ between 112 and 120 for SEVEN consecutive seasons. Every pitcher listed below was a high quality major leaguer for much of his career. Sutton was a hall of famer. Messersmith was brilliant in a short career, throwing 27 shutouts. John, Hooton, Downing, Osteen and Rhoden were all big time starters. Brewer, Marshall, Richert, Hough and Sosa were all very good relievers while here, with Marshall having an all time great year in his Cy Young season of 1974. The 1978 club really had a great bullpen with the additions of Terry Forster and sensational rookie Bob Welch, who spent time in the pen in between thirteen starts that year. They won three pennants during this time but could not finish the job in the world series. Lowlights were Downing allowing Hank Aaron's record 715th HR in 1974, and then in 1977 when Hooton, Sosa and Hough all allowed home runs to Reggie Jackson in the same clinching world series game. Audio tape of LaSorda removing Doug Rau from the game during game 4 of the 1977 world series is a classic.
Hear the recording

YEAR ERA+
1972 - 120
1973 - 115
1974 - 114
1975 - 116
1976 - 112
1977 - 119
1978 - 112
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Jim Brewer - 1972-1975
Al Downing - 1972-1977
Burt Hooton - 1975-1978
Charlie Hough - 1972-1978
Tommy John - 1972-1974, 1976-1978
Mike Marshall - 1974-1976
Andy Messersmith - 1973-1975
Claude Osteen - 1972-1973
Doug Rau - 1972-1978
Rick Rhoden - 1974-1978
Elias Sosa - 1976-1977
Don Sutton - 1972-1978

1975-1978 KANSAS CITY ROYALS

This solid staff was never really great but good enough to help them win three straight division titles, although they lost to the Yankees each time in the ALCS. The 1977 series was especially heartbreaking as they blew a two games to one lead and then blew a one run lead in the 9th inning of game five when their ace Dennis Leonard came in to start the inning. Mickey Rivers had the big hit and Willie Randolph gave the Yankees a lead with a deep sacrifice fly to center field. All this occurred after they lost the 1976 series when Littell surrendered a walk off HR to Chris Chambliss in the final game. Littell had only allowed one HR that year in over 100 innings. Leonard, Spilttorff, Pattin, Hassler and Fitzmorris formed a solid rotation with Gura joining in by 1978. Busby was good early on. Bird, Littell and especially Mingori were all excellent out of the pen. An off year in 1979, but they regrouped in 1980 and finally beat the Yankees in the playoffs. Swept them in fact, the big blow a three run upper deck HR by Brett against Goose Gossage in game three at Yankee Stadium.
YEAR ERA+
1975 - 111
1976 - 109
1977 - 115
1978 - 111
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Doug Bird - 1975-1978
Steve Busby - 1975-1978
Al Fitzmorris - 1975-1976
Larry Gura - 1976-1978
Andy Hassler - 1976-1978
Dennis Leonard - 1975-1978
Mark Littell - 1975-1978
Steve Mingori - 1975-1978
Marty Pattin - 1975-1978
Paul Splittorff - 1975-1978

1983-1985 LOS ANGELES DODGERS

A strong staff led by Valenzuela, Hershiser, Welch and Reuss helped Tommy LaSorda win two division titles in these three seasons. Unfortunately, the single most memorable moment of the three seasons was Tommy letting Niedenfeur pitch to Jack Clark with first base open in game 6 of the 1985 NLCS. Bullpen was up and down. Howe couldn't stay off of drugs and Pena, Niedenfeur and Howell all had trouble at times in big games. LaSorda made up for it in 1988 when he pushed a pretty weak playoff team (only +88 run differential) to the world championship behind Bulldog Hershiser and Kirk Gibson.
YEAR ERA+
1983 - 116
1984 - 111
1985 - 117
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Carlos Diaz - 1984-1985
Orel Hershiser - 1983-1985
Ken Howell - 1983-1985
Rick Honeycutt - 1983-1985
Burt Hooton - 1983-1984
Steve Howe - 1983-1984
Tom Niedenfeur - 1983-1985
Alejandro Pena - 1983-1985
Jerry Reuss - 1983-1985
Fernando Valenzuela - 1983-1985
Bob Welch - 1983-1985
Pat Zachry - 1983-1984

1985-1987 KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Better than their earlier great staff, and this time they got a world championship to show for it. It is particularly interesting that in a seven game world series that year they only used 6 pitchers. You'll never see that again. The rotation featured the same five starters for all three of these seasons, with Quisenberry as a great closer. Saberhagen eventually emerged as the ace of the staff, but otherwise the five starters were incredibly balanced. Hard to say who was the # 2, # 3, # 4 and # 5 starter. Steve Balboni had 36 homeruns in 1985 for the world championship team.
YEAR ERA+
1985 - 119
1986 - 111
1987 - 118
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Joe Beckwith - 1984-1985
Bud Black - 1985-1987
Steve Farr - 1985-1987
Mark Gubicza - 1985-1987
Danny Jackson - 1985-1987
Charlie Leibrandt - 1985-1987
Dan Quisenberry - 1985-1987
Bret Saberhagen - 1985-1987

1988-1990 OAKLAND A's

Stewart, Welch, Davis, Young and Moore formed an excellent rotation during this time. Scott Sanderson replaced Davis in 1990. They also had one of the greatest regular season relief pitchers of all time right in his awesome prime for these three years. How about an ERA+ for Eckersley of 605 in 73 innings in 1990? Remember that season....four walks all year, and I think he did not allow an earned run on the road. Honeycutt was also tremendous out of the pen in all three of these seasons. Interesting parallel here with another great team from almost exactly twenty years prior to this, the 1969-1971 Orioles. Both teams had a hall of fame manager. Both teams dominated the league in the regular season and in the league championship series in each of the three years. And both teams were upset in five games in the first of the three world series by a seemingly much weaker team that was a huge underdog in the series. Both teams then won their second world series, the middle one, easily. They both lost the last of three world series to an underdog. Both teams are regarded as underachievers by historians for not winning more than one world series during their run.
YEAR ERA+
1988 - 110
1989 - 119
1990 - 117
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Todd Burns - 1988-1990
Greg Cadaret - 1988-1989
Storm Davis - 1988-1989
Dennis Eckersley - 1988-1990
Rick Honeycutt - 1988-1990
Mike Moore - 1989-1990
Gene Nelson - 1988-1990
Eric Plunk - 1988-1989
Dave Stewart - 1988-1990
Bob Welch - 1988-1990
Curt Young - 1988-1990

1991-2002 ATLANTA BRAVES

This legendary pitching staff featured three future hall of fame pitchers. Each won at least one Cy Young award during this run together, with two of the three (Glavine, Maddux) winning multiple Cy Young awards, and the other one (Smoltz) saving an NL record 55 games in 2002 when the team needed a closer. Avery, Neagle and Millwood were all great for a time as the 4th starter. The bullpen was hit and miss at times although several relievers (Wohlers, Stanton, Rocker, Mercker, etc.) were spectacular in some years. They went to five world series in this time period, only winning only one of them (1995), but establishing a multiyear standard for great team pitching that is not likely to ever be seen again. Has to be the greatest sustained run ever for one pitching staff.
YEAR ERA+
1991 - 111
1992 - 116
1993 - 128
1994 - 119
1995 - 124
1996 - 125
1997 - 132
1998 - 128
1999 - 124
2000 - 113
2001 - 123
2002 - 133
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Steve Avery - 1991-1996
Tom Glavine - 1991-2002
Kerry Ligtenberg - 1997-2002
Greg Maddux - 1993-2002
Greg McMichael - 1993-1996
Kent Mercker - 1991-1995
Kevin Millwood - 1997-2002
Denny Neagle - 1996-1998
Mike Remlinger - 1999-2002
John Rocker - 1998-2001
John Smoltz - 1991-2002
Mike Stanton - 1991-1995
Mark Wohlers - 1991-1999

1992-1994 MONTREAL EXPOS

This was the first great staff where the relievers were more responsible for their success than the starters. A young Pedro Martinez came along and pitched some for the '94 club, but otherwise they have one good long career starter in "El Presidente" (Dennis Martinez) and a good short career starter in Hill, but nothing else very impressive in the rotation. The team's real pitching strength was in its deep and excellent bullpen that reflected the way that baseball was starting to be played at this time, a battle of middle relievers to get to the closer. Fassero and Rojas were sensational in that role, with Wetteland as an awesome closer. It's no accident that these were the only three years that Wetteland was on the team. Other strong relievers here included Barnes, Henry, Heredia, Shaw and Scott. From this point on in modern baseball most great staffs will only be that way if they have several excellent relievers.
YEAR ERA+
1992 - 107
1993 - 118
1994 - 119
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Brian Barnes - 1992-1993
Jeff Fassero - 1992-1994
Butch Henry - 1993-1994
Gil Heredia - 1992-1994
Ken Hill - 1992-1994
Dennis Martinez - 1992-1993
Chris Nabholz - 1992-1993
Mel Rojas - 1992-1994
Kirk Rueter - 1993-1994
Tim Scott - 1993-1994
Jeff Shaw - 1993-1994
John Wetteland - 1992-1994

1993-1996 KANSAS CITY ROYALS

This staff's ERA was well over 4.00 for these four seasons, but at this time in baseball history they were still well above average, as it was right in the middle of the steroids era when a ton of runs were being scored. Appier was the ace, although when Cone was there they had two aces. Gordon was good as mainly a starter. Montgomery was a great closer and Pichardo was very good in middle relief. Gubicza was still pretty good as the lone holdover from their last great staff.
YEAR ERA+
1993 - 113
1994 - 118
1995 - 107
1996 - 110
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Kevin Appier - 1993-1996
David Cone - 1993-1994
Tom Gordon - 1993-1995
Mark Gubicza - 1993-1996
Chris Haney - 1993-1996
Mike Magnante - 1993-1996
Rusty Meacham - 1993-1995
Jeff Montgomery - 1993-1996
Hipolito Pichardo - 1993-1996

1994-1996 CLEVELAND INDIANS

Nagy was their top starter with Hershiser, Martinez andOgea all pitching well in the rotation. The real stud on this staff was middle reliever Eric Plunk, whowas just outstanding in all three of these seasons. He was 16-6 in over 200 innings during theseyears, with an ERA+ over 175 in all three seasons. The 1995 team had legendary numbers, going 100-44 and leading the league in most runs scored (840) and fewest runs allowed (607). They couldn't finish the job that year though, bowing to the Braves in six games in the series. Albert Belle got absolutely screwed out of the MVP that year. I guess maybe because they won the division by thirty games that our sportswriter friends who voted for the award figured that they would have still won without him....at least that what they would say. We all know the real reason.
YEAR ERA+
1994 - 108
1995 - 122
1996 - 113
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Mark Clark - 1994-1995
Jason Grimsley - 1994-1996
Orel Hershiser - 1995-1996
Dennis Martinez - 1994-1996
Jose Mesa - 1994-1996
harles Nagy - 1994-1996
Chad Ogea - 1994-1996
Eric Plunk - 1994-1996
Jim Poole - 1995-1996
Julian Tavarez - 1994-1996

1997-1999 NEW YORK YANKEES

Surprisingly, the Yankees pitching was not anything spectacular in either 1996 or 2000, two of the years that they won the world series. These three years are when the pitching was it its best for Joe Torre's Yankees. Cone, Wells and Pettitte were the big three starters, with Clemens replacing Wells in 1999. El Duque was very good and even Irabu was good in their phenomenal 114 win season in 1998. Mendoza was a tremendous swing man, and Stanton, Nelson and even Lloyd did great jobs out of the pen. Then there's Rivera, the greatest closer the game has ever seen. An excellent overall staff that did a ton of winning in these seasons.
YEAR ERA+
1997 - 112
1998 - 114
1999 - 114
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
David Cone - 1997-1999
Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez - 1998-1999
Hideki Irabu - 1997-1999
Graeme Lloyd - 1997-1998
Ramiro Mendoza - 1997-1999
Jeff Nelson - 1997-1999
Andy Pettitte - 1997-1999
Mariano Rivera - 1997-1999
Mike Stanton - 1997-1999
David Wells - 1997-1998

1998-2002 BOSTON RED SOX

The fact that there are no less than 16 pitchers listed below on a staff that was very good for a five year period is illustrative of what modern baseball has become. With the accent nowadays on middle relievers, setup men and closers, pitching staffs are now larger than ever before. Combine the way the game is played with free agency and the other business aspects that have players changing teams constantly and you see why there were so many different pitchers here in a five year period. Most teams will carry 12 pitchers on their roster nowadays. It wasn't that long ago that some teams carried only 9 pitchers on their roster and most teams carried 10. Thirty years ago it was very rare to see a team carry 11 pitchers. Now 11 pitchers is the absolute minimum. There were several other pitchers who were on this staff for a couple of years but who didn't get listed below, like Urbina who came over last in 2001 and was the closer in 2002. Pedro was of course the superstar of this staff, but Derek Lowe was also excellent as the closer and also as a starter. Most everybody else listed was a role player to some degree. Unfortunately this team was stuck in the same division as the Yankees, who won the AL pennant in thefirst four seasons in this staff's run.
YEAR ERA+
1998 - 113
1999 - 124
2000 - 119
2001 - 108
2002 - 120
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Rolando Arrojo - 2000-2002
Rod Beck - 1999-2001
Frank Castillo - 2001-2002
Rheal Cormier - 1999-2000
Bryce Florie - 1999-2001
Casey Fossum - 2001-2002
Rich Garces - 1998-2002
Tom Gordon - 1998-1999
Derek Lowe - 1998-2002
Pedro Martinez - 1998-2002
Tomo Ohka - 1999-2001
Hipolito Pichardo - 2000-2001
Pat Rapp - 1999-2000
Brian Rose - 1998-2000
Bret Saberhagen - 1998-2001
Pete Schourek - 1998, 2000-2001
Tim Wakefield - 1998-2002
John Wasdin - 1998-2000

1999-2003 ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Johnson and Schilling formed a 1-2 punch that peaked with their co-MVP awards in the 2001 world series. The following season they each struck out over 300 batters. Batista was a solid # 3 starter once he took hold. The bullpen was never great. Closers Mantei and Kim were up and down. Swindell was very good. This was a throwback staff that relied heavily on their top two starters in the tradition of Koufax/Drysdale, Marichal/Perry and McLain/Lolich. The bullpen was spotty and the rest of the rotation changed often and was nothing special. The top two guys were so good though that it made this an excellent overall staff. 2003 newcomer Brandon Webb wasto become a superstar later on.
YEAR ERA+
1999 - 121
2000 - 108
2001 - 118
2002 - 113
2003 - 121
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Brian Anderson - 1999-2002
Miguel Batista - 2001-2003
Randy Johnson - 1999-2003
Byung-Hyun Kim - 1999-2003
Mike Koplove - 2001-2003
Mike Mantei - 1999-2003
Armando Reynoso - 1999-2002
Curt Schilling - 2000-2003
Todd Stottlemyre - 1999-2001
Greg Swindell - 1999-2002

2001-2003 NEW YORK YANKEES

The Yankees re-tooled with six members of their late 1990s staff and the additions here of two hall of fame level pitchers, Clemens and Mussina, along with Jeff Weaver and Ted Lilly. Not quite as good as the earlier staff overall, but good enough tohelp them win two pennants in the three seasons listed here. Wells had left and then came back,and "El Duque" had his usual regular season injuries every year before miraculouslygetting healthy for the post season.
YEAR ERA+
2001 - 112
2002 - 113
2003 - 109
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Roger Clemens - 2001-2003
Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez - 2001-2002
Ted Lilly - 2001-2002
Ramiro Mendoza - 2001-2002
Mike Mussina - 2001-2003
Andy Pettitte - 2001-2003
Mariano Rivera - 2001-2003
Mike Stanton - 2001-2002
Jeff Weaver - 2002-2003
David Wells - 2002-2003

2001-2005 OAKLAND A's

For the first four seasons here this staff was like the "Mini-Braves" with their big three of Hudson, Mulder and Zito. They received great middle relief from Bradford, Duchscherer, Mecir and Rincon but they changed closers in each of these seasons until Huston Street's huge year in 2005. Of course once the three starterswere able to leave they were gone to other teams for the big money that Beane could not give them in Oakland, but for 2001-2003 they hadan especially great staff.
YEAR ERA+
2001 - 123
2002 - 119
2003 - 124
2004 - 109
2005 - 118
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Joe Blanton - 2004-2005
Chad Bradford - 2001-2004
Justin Duchscherer - 2003-2005
Rich Harden - 2003-2005
Tim Hudson - 2001-2004
Cory Lidle - 2001-2002
Jim Mecir - 2001-2004
Mark Mulder - 2001-2004
Ricardo Rincon - 2002-2005
Jeff Tam - 2001-2002
Barry Zito - 2001-2005

2004-2006 MINNESOTA TWINS

I hope Ron Gardenhire gets this team to a world series one of these days. He's been an excellent manager for a while now with a lot of post season appearances, but they just can't get on a roll in October. He's still got them in contention even though he's lost his best pitcher and his all star center fielder recently. Eight of the eleven pitchers listed here were on the staff for all three seasons. Santana of course was brilliant, but Radke and Silva were good too, and Liriano was awesome in 2006. Romero, Rincon and Crain were all tremendous in the bullpen, and their closer JoeNathan was fabulous in all three of these seasons.
YEAR ERA+
2004 - 117
2005 - 119
2006 - 113
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Scott Baker - 2005-2006
Jesse Crain - 2004-2006
Francisco Liriano - 2005-2006
Kyle Lohse - 2004-2006
Terry Mulholland - 2004-2005
Joe Nathan - 2004-2006
Brad Radke - 2004-2006
Juan Rincon - 2004-2006
J.C. Romero - 2004-2005
Johan Santana - 2004-2006
Carlos Silva - 2004-2006

2005-2008 LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM

The only current staff that's been very good for each of the past three seasons, led by their ace John Lackey who has come into his own during this run, and of course their terrific closer Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez, who left for the NY Mets. K-Rod averaged 48.5 saves during these four years, capped off by his record breaking 62 save season in 2008. His career ERA+ is 189. Shields has been awesome in middle relief. Escobar has been very good in the rotation, Santana okay and Weaver okay too after a sensational debut in 2006. Darren Oliver has pitched the best baseball of his career in 2007 and 2008. Probably the best team in baseball in 2008, but another disappointing post season as they just can't get past the Red Sox in a playoff series.
YEAR ERA+
2005 - 115
2006 - 113
2007 - 108
2008 - 111
MAIN MEMBERS OF THE STAFF
Hector Carrasco - 2006-2007
Bartolo Colon - 2005-2007
Brendan Donnelly - 2005-2006
Kelvim Escobar - 2005-2007
Kevin Gregg - 2005-2006
John Lackey - 2005-2008
Darren Oliver - 2007-2008
Francisco Rodriguez - 2005-2008
Ervin Santana - 2005-2008
Joe Saunders - 2005-2008
Scot Shields - 2005-2008
Justin Speier - 2007-2008
Jered Weaver - 2006-2008

Cy Young Award Winners / All-Time Career Leaders

1Calculations are done to determine the effect that each park has on run scoring. Some parks (Astrodome, Dodger Stadium) severely deter run scoring. Other parks (Coors Field, Fenway) boost run scoring. Park adjustments equalize the stats of players so that they are not distorted because of their home park. The way this is done is to look at a team's runs scored and runs allowed at home and on the road for each season.

2OPS is On base percentage Plus Slugging percentage, a measure of a player'soverall effectiveness as a hitter. It is on base percentage plus slugging percentage, which is the best simple predictor of how many runs a team will score in a season, so it also gives us a good idea of how many runs an individual player will create in a given number of at bats. OPS+ is OPS after it is adjusted for the player's home park and league averages. They are added together and then adjusted for league averages and home park, then converted so that 100 is average. If the league average park adjusted OPS is 680 and a player's park adjusted OPS is 687 it would be 686 divided by 680 which wouldgive you his OPS+ of 101. The basic formula is:
OPS = OBP + SLG
where OBP is on-base percentage, and SLG is slugging percentage. These percentages are defined
SLG = TB/AB and OBP = H + BB + HBP / AB + BB + SF + HBP where
H = Hits, BB = Bases on balls, HBP = Times hit by pitch, AB = At bats, SF = Sacrifice flies, TB = Total bases
Since OBP and SLG have different denominators, it is possible to rewrite the expression for OPS using a common denominator. This expression is mathematicallyidentical to the simple sum of OBP and SLG:

OPS

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