Cover image for What makes an elite pitcher? : Young, Mathewson, Johnson, Alexander, Grove, Spahn, Seaver, Clemens, and Maddux
What makes an elite pitcher? : Young, Mathewson, Johnson, Alexander, Grove, Spahn, Seaver, Clemens, and Maddux
Wilbert, Warren N.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., [2003]

Physical Description:
xii, 382 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Cy Young -- Christy Mathewson -- Walter Johnson -- Pete Alexander -- Lefty Grove -- Warren Spahn -- Tom Seaver -- Roger Clemens -- Greg Maddux -- Fall classics.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
GV871 .W53 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Elite baseball pitchers are elite for a reason. They seem to have it all: a variety of pitches that no one can lay a bat to; cool heads and confidence in their "stuff" when they get in a jam; and the kind of dexterity that makes difficult plays seem easy. Is elite status revealed through statistics? Though the author of this book considers statistics of both the traditional and sabermetric sort, he argues that the greats are proved not by broad statistical comparison with all other pitchers, but by their record against one another. In a thoughtful discussion of the evidence of head-to-head matchups, he finds the nine pitchers who make up the true elite: Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Grover Alexander, Lefty Grove, Warren Spahn, Tom Seaver, Roger Clemens, and Greg Maddux. For each pitcher the book provides biographical information, career highlights, and a list of the feats that put him in the record books.

Author Notes

Warren N. Wilbert , a veteran baseball historian and SABR member, is the author of numerous books about baseball. He lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Wilbert (emer., Concordia Univ., School of Adult Learning) presents the case for the greatness of nine major league pitchers whose careers spanned a period from the close of the 19th century to the present. Beginning with Cy Young and his yet-to-be-surpassed 511 wins, Wilbert pits his selections against other leading moundsmen of their day. Thus, Christy Mathewson, "the Big Six," battles Rube Waddell, Three Finger Brown, and Pete Alexander, while Walter Johnson (a.k.a. "the Big Train") tackles Eddie Plank, Addie Joss, and Babe Ruth. In the process, the book relates the Babe's superlative pitching career and the success he had against the Big Train, the man placed at the top of the author's list of all-time pitchers. Wilbert also includes comments about the debilitating effect of WW I on Alexander, the fiery temperament of Lefty Grove, and the astonishing longevity of Warren Spahn, who did not record his first major league victory until he was 25 but subsequently garnered 362 more. The more contemporary pitchers presented include fireballer Roger Clemens; Tom Seaver, who helped to make the laughable New York Mets world champs; and Greg Maddux, whose consistency over a decade and a half equaled Young's. The book closes with a look at postseason performances by the game's finest pitchers. ^BSumming Up: Optional. Primarily public collections. R. C. Cottrell California State University, Chico

Table of Contents

Robin Roberts
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Forewordp. xi
Introductionp. 1
1. Cy Youngp. 5
2. Christy Mathewsonp. 39
3. Walter Johnsonp. 76
4. Pete Alexanderp. 129
5. Lefty Grovep. 158
6. Warren Spahnp. 200
7. Tom Seaverp. 238
8. Roger Clemensp. 280
9. Greg Madduxp. 309
10. Fall Classicsp. 345
Notesp. 357
Appendix A Ratings from the Total Pitcher Indexp. 363
Appendix B Selected Career Statisticsp. 365
Bibliographyp. 367
Indexp. 371