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Best Dodger pitcher ever? Koufax or Kershaw

judgebuckjudgebuck Posts: 989 ✭✭✭
edited August 30, 2023 8:35AM in Sports Talk

Koufax 165-87 2.76 ERA 2396 strikeouts 3 Cy Young awards 1 MVP
Kershaw 209-91 2.48 ERA 2922 strikeouts 3 Cy Young awards 1 MYP

Both were/are absolutely great! Koufax had more World Series success.

What do you think?

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Comments

  • DBesse27DBesse27 Posts: 3,025 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Kershaw did it longer

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  • JolleyWrencherJolleyWrencher Posts: 605 ✭✭✭

    I don't wish to police the forums or be rude at all. I imagined these topics would get more attention in the forum for sports talk.

  • chaz43chaz43 Posts: 2,128 ✭✭✭

    Give me a break....Koufax

    chaz

  • Nathaniel1960Nathaniel1960 Posts: 2,313 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Drysdale needs consideration.

    Kiss me once, shame on you.
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  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 4,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Nathaniel1960 said:
    Drysdale needs consideration.

    There's a thread around here somewhere where I remember comparing Drysdale to Koufax, the upshot of which was that Drysdale was better than Koufax in many more seasons than Koufax was better than Drysdale, but when Koufax was better he was a LOT better. I rank Koufax over Drysdale, but the reverse is defensible. But, I don't think it's defensible to rank Drysdale over Kershaw.

    And in the "for your consideration" category, don't forget Dazzy Vance. Vance had chronic arm problems which a surgeon finally fixed when Vance was 30 years old. And Vance remains one the best post-30 pitchers in history. Koufax fans usually fall back on the "what might have been" argument and try to credit Koufax with hypothetical post-30 accomplishments. But if we play that game, imagine how good Vance might have been if he had been able to pitch when he was in his 20's. In the real world, Koufax was better than Vance. In the "what-if" world, Vance may have been better than Kershaw.

    This is for you @thisistheshow - Jim Rice was actually a pretty good player.
  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 11,208 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Kershaw, not even close.

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  • mintonlyplsmintonlypls Posts: 1,739 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 26, 2023 10:15PM

    Let's see. I compared the best 5-year run for both pitchers...here is what I found.

                  W    L  PCT    ERA   IP        ER        KK
    

    Koufax (1962-66) 111-34 .765 1.95 1377 298 1444 (4 no hitters and 1 perfect game)

    Kershaw (2013-17) 83-27 .754 1.95 991 215 1146 (1 no hitter)

    Very, very close...Koufax had three more no hitters and a perfect than Kershaw.
    On the other hand...Kershaw averaged 10.4 KKs/9 innings whereas Koufax averaged 9.4 KKs/9 innings during the best 5-year run.

    mint_only_pls
  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 4,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @mintonlypls said:
    Let's see. I compared the best 5-year run for both pitchers...here is what I found.

    Very, very close for their best five years.

    Now, do their next five years.

    Then, do their next five years.

    When you're all done, I don't see how it's possible to rank Koufax over Kershaw.

    This is for you @thisistheshow - Jim Rice was actually a pretty good player.
  • mintonlyplsmintonlypls Posts: 1,739 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 26, 2023 10:20PM

    Kershaw has the longer longevity than Koufax (elbow issues is not his fault)...but when each pitcher was at his best...then you're splitting hairs.

    mint_only_pls
  • daltexdaltex Posts: 3,486 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @dallasactuary said:

    @Nathaniel1960 said:
    Drysdale needs consideration.

    There's a thread around here somewhere where I remember comparing Drysdale to Koufax, the upshot of which was that Drysdale was better than Koufax in many more seasons than Koufax was better than Drysdale, but when Koufax was better he was a LOT better. I rank Koufax over Drysdale, but the reverse is defensible. But, I don't think it's defensible to rank Drysdale over Kershaw.

    And in the "for your consideration" category, don't forget Dazzy Vance. Vance had chronic arm problems which a surgeon finally fixed when Vance was 30 years old. And Vance remains one the best post-30 pitchers in history. Koufax fans usually fall back on the "what might have been" argument and try to credit Koufax with hypothetical post-30 accomplishments. But if we play that game, imagine how good Vance might have been if he had been able to pitch when he was in his 20's. In the real world, Koufax was better than Vance. In the "what-if" world, Vance may have been better than Kershaw.

    You know, I just took a look and I can't really see the argument for Koufax being better than Vance. Care to tell me what I'm missing?

  • VitoCo1972VitoCo1972 Posts: 6,127 ✭✭✭

    Which guy would you pick to start one game you needed to win though?

  • pab1969pab1969 Posts: 1,082 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @judgebuck said:
    Koufax 165-87 2.76 ERA 2396 strikeouts 3 Cy Young awards 1 MVP
    Kershaw 209-91 2.48 ERA 2922 strikeouts 3 Cy Young awards 1 MYP

    Both were/are absolutely great! Koufax had more World Series success.

    What do you think?

    I believe you answered your own question.

  • 1951WheatiesPremium1951WheatiesPremium Posts: 6,242 ✭✭✭✭✭

    For the overall body of work, I think I’d give Sandy Koufax the edge.

    They’re both great pitchers but in the postseason, Koufax (57 IP, 0.95 ERA) raises his game to another level while Kershaw has struggled mightily (194 IP, 5.40 ERA). Again, these are considered two elite pitchers compared only to each other, not the field of pitchers at large.

    And remember, there’s a part of basically every season where Clayton Kershaw misses some significant time; in the last 8 seasons (fully half of his career!) his max IP total is 175 and I would say he’s averaged 2/3 of a season over that span (around 22 starts a year). Kershaw’s got 16 seasons and Koufax only 12, yet Kershaw only has 395ish IP more innings pitched…

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  • EstilEstil Posts: 6,919 ✭✭✭✭

    Clayton obviously as he actually had a true full career of greatness...he's on pace to hit 3000 K's later this year or early next year. BTW, he's not to be confused with this Kershaw! :blush:

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  • 1951WheatiesPremium1951WheatiesPremium Posts: 6,242 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @dallasactuary

    I’m with you when it comes to the first half of Sandy’s career; it too often goes ignored and the explanations for it are often found wanting.

    However, people also ignore the fact that Kershaw doesn’t pitch full seasons and hasn’t in quite some time.

    I’m of the mind that we often get obsessed with the micro rather than the macro these days and innings pitched is as macro as it gets; a players most important ability is availability.

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  • coolstanleycoolstanley Posts: 2,451 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Drysdale

    Terry Bradshaw was AMAZING!!

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  • mintonlyplsmintonlypls Posts: 1,739 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 27, 2023 8:01AM

    @VitoCo1972 said:
    Which guy would you pick to start one game you needed to win though?

    @VitoCo1972 said:
    Which guy would you pick to start one game you needed to win though?

    @VitoCo1972 said:
    Which guy would you pick to start one game you needed to win though?

    @VitoCo1972 said:
    Which guy would you pick to start one game you needed to win though?

    @VitoCo1972 said:
    Which guy would you pick to start one game you needed to win though?

    @VitoCo1972 said:
    Which guy would you pick to start one game you needed to win though?

    Koufax proved his dominance in post season play…give him the ball over Kershaw!

    mint_only_pls
  • jordangretzkyfanjordangretzkyfan Posts: 2,374 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Statistically speaking….Kershaw in a landslide.

    Sentimentally speaking….Koufax for his post season heroics and perfect game.

  • chaz43chaz43 Posts: 2,128 ✭✭✭
    edited August 27, 2023 9:15AM

    @JoeBanzai said:
    Kershaw, not even close.

    Again, give me a break......Koufax most DOMINANT in his 5 years and Post Season and No Hitters and a Perfect Game..... Yogi Berra once said " I can understand where he won 25 games but I can't understand how he lost 5 ??? " ........ Is that fricken nuts or what??......... Willie Stargell once said " trying to hit Koufax was like drinking coffee with a FORK" !!!! ......

    chaz

  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 4,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @1951WheatiesPremium said:
    I’m of the mind that we often get obsessed with the micro rather than the macro these days and innings pitched is as macro as it gets; a players most important ability is availability.

    I agree completely, which is why Koufax being unavailable for a single inning after age 30 leaves him clearly behind Kershaw.

    @daltex said:

    You know, I just took a look and I can't really see the argument for Koufax being better than Vance. Care to tell me what I'm missing?

    Honestly, I just said Koufax was better out of reflex; I hadn't really looked that closely. Having now done so, I think I could go either way; they are very close. Their peaks are about the same, and Vance has more years as an average pitcher so at first glance Vance is ahead. But the hitters Vance was facing weren't as good as the hitters Koufax was facing (to what degree I won't pretend to know), so I think that "first glance" gap isn't really there. I think I'll just call it a tie.

    This is for you @thisistheshow - Jim Rice was actually a pretty good player.
  • chaz43chaz43 Posts: 2,128 ✭✭✭

    @jordangretzkyfan said:
    Statistically speaking….Kershaw in a landslide.

    Sentimentally speaking….Koufax for his post season heroics and perfect game.

    Again, give me a break......Koufax most DOMINANT in his 5 years and Post Season and No Hitters and a Perfect Game..... Yogi Berra once said " I can understand where he won 25 games but I can't understand how he lost 5 ??? " ........ Is that fricken nuts or what??......... Willie Stargell once said " trying to hit Koufax was like drinking coffee with a FORK" !!!! ......

    chaz

  • reelinintheyearsreelinintheyears Posts: 241 ✭✭✭
    edited August 27, 2023 9:26AM

    For players who get the opportunity to play in the World Series, how they perform under pressure at that level is what sets the greats apart from the legends. In my mind, comparing their World Series records indicates that Kershaw is a great but underscores why Koufax is one of the sport's iconic legends. As starters, Kershaw performed well in only one of his three opportunities while Koufax absolutely dominated in both of his opportunities, earning World Series MVP honors both times! As George Steinbrenner said in 1985 when comparing Winfield to Reggie, "I let Mr. October get away, and I got Mr. May, Dave Winfield. He gets his numbers when it doesn't count." While both Winfield and Reggie clearly deserved to be inducted into the HOF and are greats of the game, Reggie is a legend due to his World Series performances while Winfield is not.

  • Don't pitchers, since the 80s, get a bit less abuse than they used to? I would think Kershaw can have better stats over more years than Koufax did. Some many variables have changed that the comparisons aren't all too fair.

    What is the end goal of this discussion, to see what memorabilia will have more value or just an opinion piece?

  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 4,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If the question is who was the bigger legend, then Koufax clearly wins. But I thought the question was who was the best pitcher, in which case Kershaw clearly wins. And I'm pretty sure the question was who was the best pitcher.

    @chaz43 said:

    Again, give me a break......Koufax most DOMINANT in his 5 years

    While your use of all caps makes a compelling argument, I still am not seeing how Koufax was any more dominant in his five years than Kershaw was in his best five years. I won't say that you are seeing it for the simple reason that I don't think you've even looked. You should.

    And, like all Koufax backers, I don't see that you ever mention or even pause to consider what they each did outside of their 5-year peaks. I get it; the argument for Koufax collapses under the weight of its own illogic once it is acknowledged that what happens in years 6 through 20 also matters.

    Also, to whoever it was that mentioned it and to anyone who thinks it matters, Koufax did win the WS MVP in 1965, there's no denying it. But Ron Fairly should have won it.

    This is for you @thisistheshow - Jim Rice was actually a pretty good player.
  • And I'm pretty sure the question was who was the best pitcher.

    In my book, the best pitcher is the guy who can get the "W" when his team needs it most. If the question was who had the best overall career stats, then that's a different debate.

  • jordangretzkyfanjordangretzkyfan Posts: 2,374 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 27, 2023 1:54PM

    @chaz43 said:

    @jordangretzkyfan said:
    Statistically speaking….Kershaw in a landslide.

    Sentimentally speaking….Koufax for his post season heroics and perfect game.

    Again, give me a break......Koufax most DOMINANT in his 5 years and Post Season and No Hitters and a Perfect Game..... Yogi Berra once said " I can understand where he won 25 games but I can't understand how he lost 5 ??? " ........ Is that fricken nuts or what??......... Willie Stargell once said " trying to hit Koufax was like drinking coffee with a FORK" !!!! ......

    chaz

    I love this “old guard” thinking, Chaz. I get that you watched Koufax and refuse to give the new generation of stars any credit for this era’s dominance. It is what makes you blind to their actual career stats and truncate your argument to a five year window of dominance. By your five year logic, then Dwight Gooden and Pedro Martinez would be among the “best ever” pitchers, but length of dominance is a critical factor in greatness. Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson stand apart from peers due to the longevity of their dominance. Hence, my comment that Koufax will always win the sentimental vote as best Dodger pitcher, but he was not their greatest statistically for a career.

    Modern sports are still generating new icons and future legends, so don’t miss the train and only focus on the retired legends. Otherwise you will miss the bus on guys like Ronald Acuna (MLB), Max Verstappen (F1), Justin Jefferson (NFL), and Connor McDavid (NHL). That would be like missing 1986 Fleer basketball and having to settle for 1990 Fleer basketball wax as an investment.

  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 4,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @reelinintheyears said:

    And I'm pretty sure the question was who was the best pitcher.

    In my book, the best pitcher is the guy who can get the "W" when his team needs it most. If the question was who had the best overall career stats, then that's a different debate.

    OK, but you see where that logic goes, don't you? Is Lefty Gomez the greatest pitcher ever? Herb Pennock? Mickey Lolich? Your logic doesn't just give extra weight to WS games, it gives 100% of the weight to WS games. And that's not logical.

    I have no objection to counting WS records along with other "tie-breaker stuff" as I did in picking Reggie Jackson over Tony Gwynn. But only if there is a tie in the first place. Ignore the WS records and evaluate who among Koufax and Kershaw was the best pitcher. If you get a tie, then by all means break it with the WS games (in which Koufax was 4-3, but anyway).

    But you don't get a tie with Koufax and Kershaw. You get a virtual tie with their peak seasons, then you get a massive blowout in favor of Kershaw for their next five years, and an even more massive blowout for Kershaw for their next five years. There is no tie, there is nothing even in the same ZIP code as a tie. Kershaw was better than Koufax by a clear and substantial margin. And you (and others) want to flip that around based on Koufax going 4-3 in the World Series? Surely, you have to understand why that makes no sense to me.

    This is for you @thisistheshow - Jim Rice was actually a pretty good player.
  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 11,208 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @chaz43 said:

    @JoeBanzai said:
    Kershaw, not even close.

    Again, give me a break......Koufax most DOMINANT in his 5 years and Post Season and No Hitters and a Perfect Game..... Yogi Berra once said " I can understand where he won 25 games but I can't understand how he lost 5 ??? " ........ Is that fricken nuts or what??......... Willie Stargell once said " trying to hit Koufax was like drinking coffee with a FORK" !!!! ......

    chaz

    He sucked for his first 5 years or so.

    Three of his 5 "great" seasons, he was no better than Marichal, especially when pitching on the road.

    His final season was tremendous.

    No hitters and perfect games are just wins, and WS performance are team driven.

    We've been over this enough.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • When comparing two HOF'ers (one current and one future in this case) who have done much more than perform well in a couple of World Series to distinguish themselves, I personally can't justify considering a pitcher with a 4.46 career WS ERA being better than another pitcher with a 0.95 career WS ERA. Performance in championships is what defines greatness to many (but certainly not all), myself included. There is no right or wrong when it comes to an opinion about one athlete being better than another, except perhaps in the case of individual sports when the athletes in question competed against one another multiple times. Growing up as a Yankees fan during the '70s, I despised the Dodgers and have always enjoyed seeing them beat themselves time and time again in the biggest moments despite having many "great" players who for whatever reason have been individually and collectively unable to consistently get the job done when it counts most. I perceive Kershaw as being another Dodger in a long line of Dodgers who have consistently not been at their best in the biggest moments. Ask any Dodger fan who knows their team's history if they'd prefer to have Koufax or Kershaw on the mound in a World Series game 7 and I'm pretty sure I know how most would answer. I'm not saying than my opinion is more valid than another person's; I'm simply expressing my opinion and enjoy hearing the opinions of others so let's hear from some others on this subject (I'll shut up for now).

  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 4,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I was joking, but you were serious. You really are placing 100% weight on WS performance and 0% weight on everything else. What follows from your line of thinking produces a list of greatest pitchers that includes some great pitchers and some pitchers that nobody has ever heard of. It places Mickey Lolich over Walter Johnson on the greatest pitchers list, and it places Jack Billingham over Sandy Koufax. It still looks like a joke to me, and a funny one, but you do you.

    This is for you @thisistheshow - Jim Rice was actually a pretty good player.
  • reelinintheyearsreelinintheyears Posts: 241 ✭✭✭
    edited August 27, 2023 4:14PM

    @dallasactuary said:
    I was joking, but you were serious.

    Really, that's what you were doing in your numerous posts and paragraphs on this subject, joking? I'm a fan of dry humor, but you're clearly not very good at it. Read my last post more carefully; my comparison is in the context of two HOF'ers, not a HOF'er and a guy with a great post season record but otherwise wasn't that great. Both guys in this comparison won 3 CY's, one league MVP, and at least one Triple Crown which do not take into account post season performance. I'm simply comparing them to each other in response to the original post. I'm looking for the differences in their respective careers and what stands out to me is their respective performances in the World Series since they both had multiple opportunities to play in them. And in case you're wondering, I am being serious yet again!

  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,681 ✭✭✭✭

    @dallasactuary said:

    @reelinintheyears said:

    And I'm pretty sure the question was who was the best pitcher.

    In my book, the best pitcher is the guy who can get the "W" when his team needs it most. If the question was who had the best overall career stats, then that's a different debate.

    OK, but you see where that logic goes, don't you? Is Lefty Gomez the greatest pitcher ever? Herb Pennock? Mickey Lolich? Your logic doesn't just give extra weight to WS games, it gives 100% of the weight to WS games. And that's not logical.

    I have no objection to counting WS records along with other "tie-breaker stuff" as I did in picking Reggie Jackson over Tony Gwynn. But only if there is a tie in the first place. Ignore the WS records and evaluate who among Koufax and Kershaw was the best pitcher. If you get a tie, then by all means break it with the WS games (in which Koufax was 4-3, but anyway).

    But you don't get a tie with Koufax and Kershaw. You get a virtual tie with their peak seasons, then you get a massive blowout in favor of Kershaw for their next five years, and an even more massive blowout for Kershaw for their next five years. There is no tie, there is nothing even in the same ZIP code as a tie. Kershaw was better than Koufax by a clear and substantial margin. And you (and others) want to flip that around based on Koufax going 4-3 in the World Series? Surely, you have to understand why that makes no sense to me.

    Outstanding explanation!

    I won't expound on that, but I do have to ask, if someone like Koufax or Bumgarner does 'get better' on the biggest stage, then why don't they just pitch like that more often so they can get to the bigger stage more often?

    Bumgarner is 4-0 with a 0.25 ERA in the World Series.

    Yet in the LCS he is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA and in the LDS he is 1-2 with a 4.43 ERA?

    Does Bumgarner not view the LCS or LDS as big games worthy of his best??? Why so bad there then?

    Or, is it just baseball, and in a handful of starts you will get all kinds of results that don't jive when compared to a few hundred starts against the same people? While exciting, it is just a great pitcher happen to having a great performance in a big game, rather than a great pitcher who can turn his dial up ONLY for the biggest of the biggest games....

    Is Bumgarner dumb? Does he not realize if he pitched better in the earlier rounds or down the pennant race, that he would be in the World Series more?

    Is he a psychic? Does he know he doesn't have to pitch as good in those rounds and he knows he can just save it for the World Series because he already knows his team will advance even if he sucks?"

    A mystery.

    Actually not a mystery. It is the same reason why you don't award batting titles on May 28th.

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 11,208 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @VitoCo1972 said:
    Which guy would you pick to start one game you needed to win though?

    Karl Spooner of course.

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  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 4,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @reelinintheyears said:

    @dallasactuary said:
    I was joking, but you were serious.

    Really, that's what you were doing in your numerous posts and paragraphs on this subject, joking?

    No, not in all my posts, but only in the post right before where I said "Is Lefty Gomez the greatest pitcher ever? Herb Pennock? Mickey Lolich? Your logic doesn't just give extra weight to WS games, it gives 100% of the weight to WS games."

    But now you're saying this logic only applies to HOF pitchers. OK, Lefty Gomez and Herb Pennock are HOF pitchers; were they better than Koufax?

    And you really and truly are assigning literally zero weight to anything that happened outside of Koufax and Kershaw's best five seasons. Absolutely zero. How they pitched in a couple handfuls of games in October "stands out to you", but Kershaw pitching much better than Koufax for 120+ games in April through September outside their peak seasons doesn't get any notice from you at all. None.

    I know you're serious, it's just impossible to take what you're saying seriously.

    This is for you @thisistheshow - Jim Rice was actually a pretty good player.
  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 11,208 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @dallasactuary said:
    I was joking, but you were serious. You really are placing 100% weight on WS performance and 0% weight on everything else. What follows from your line of thinking produces a list of greatest pitchers that includes some great pitchers and some pitchers that nobody has ever heard of. It places Mickey Lolich over Walter Johnson on the greatest pitchers list, and it places Jack Billingham over Sandy Koufax. It still looks like a joke to me, and a funny one, but you do you.

    It's called "grasping at straws".

    One player is clearly superior, so the fan of the inferior player tries to find something.....anything his guy did better.

    He's ignoring 50% of Koufax' s career when he sucked and looking at .01% of his career, where he did very, very well.

    Koufax fans repeatedly point to his "5 years" of domination. Incorrect, 3 of his last 4 were great, and his final season was tremendous. The other two years he was hurt for part of the year and in 1962 he was not dominating at all.

    1966 was one of the better years ever pitched.

    2014 looks every bit as good.

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  • dallasactuarydallasactuary Posts: 4,113 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My last word on the subject since I find the existence of a debate so incredibly silly.

    With acknowledgement that there are other stats that could also be use, for simplicity I am using RAA (runs allowed less than an average pitcher); all of the alternative stats would paint the same picture.

    Best five seasons: Koufax 225, Kershaw 222; the tie to which we all have been referring

    Next five seasons: Koufax 35, Kershaw 160; an epic ass whuppin'.

    Next five season: Koufax -13, Kershaw 81; and another.

    Grand total (including Kershaw's abbreviated rookie, and 16th, season): Koufax 249, Kershaw 469.

    You can fit the entire careers of Lefty Gomez and Catfish Hunter into that gap. But Koufax was 4-3 in the World Series so Koufax wins. No. No, he doesn't.

    This is for you @thisistheshow - Jim Rice was actually a pretty good player.
  • chaz43chaz43 Posts: 2,128 ✭✭✭

    @dallasactuary said:
    If the question is who was the bigger legend, then Koufax clearly wins. But I thought the question was who was the best pitcher, in which case Kershaw clearly wins. And I'm pretty sure the question was who was the best pitcher.

    @chaz43 said:

    Again, give me a break......Koufax most DOMINANT in his 5 years

    While your use of all caps makes a compelling argument, I still am not seeing how Koufax was any more dominant in his five years than Kershaw was in his best five years. I won't say that you are seeing it for the simple reason that I don't think you've even looked. You should.

    And, like all Koufax backers, I don't see that you ever mention or even pause to consider what they each did outside of their 5-year peaks. I get it; the argument for Koufax collapses under the weight of its own illogic once it is acknowledged that what happens in years 6 through 20 also matters.

    Also, to whoever it was that mentioned it and to anyone who thinks it matters, Koufax did win the WS MVP in 1965, there's no denying it. But Ron Fairly should have won it.

    "Greatness" or "Best" is defined by DOMINANCE period.

    chaz

  • chaz43chaz43 Posts: 2,128 ✭✭✭

    @jordangretzkyfan said:

    @chaz43 said:

    @jordangretzkyfan said:
    Statistically speaking….Kershaw in a landslide.

    Sentimentally speaking….Koufax for his post season heroics and perfect game.

    Again, give me a break......Koufax most DOMINANT in his 5 years and Post Season and No Hitters and a Perfect Game..... Yogi Berra once said " I can understand where he won 25 games but I can't understand how he lost 5 ??? " ........ Is that fricken nuts or what??......... Willie Stargell once said " trying to hit Koufax was like drinking coffee with a FORK" !!!! ......

    chaz

    I love this “old guard” thinking, Chaz. I get that you watched Koufax and refuse to give the new generation of stars any credit for this era’s dominance. It is what makes you blind to their actual career stats and truncate your argument to a five year window of dominance. By your five year logic, then Dwight Gooden and Pedro Martinez would be among the “best ever” pitchers, but length of dominance is a critical factor in greatness. Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson stand apart from peers due to the longevity of their dominance. Hence, my comment that Koufax will always win the sentimental vote as best Dodger pitcher, but he was not their greatest statistically for a career.

    Modern sports are still generating new icons and future legends, so don’t miss the train and only focus on the retired legends. Otherwise you will miss the bus on guys like Ronald Acuna (MLB), Max Verstappen (F1), Justin Jefferson (NFL), and Connor McDavid (NHL). That would be like missing 1986 Fleer basketball and having to settle for 1990 Fleer basketball wax as an investment.

    Very cheeky about the 1990 fleer reference. Anyway, I guess Babe Ruth was an old timer too. Has nothing to do with "sentimentality". It's the numbers and who did it best when it counts the most in the post season .... kershaw does not even compare. BTW, you'll eat those words about the 1990 Fleer......

    chaz

  • judgebuckjudgebuck Posts: 989 ✭✭✭

    Here is an interesting statistic:

    Justin Verlander, age 40, has 26 complete games in his career.

    Clayton Kershaw has 25 complete games in his career.

    Max Scherzer has 12 complete games in his career.

    Sandy Koufax had 27 complete games in his last year and 27 complete games in his next to last year.

    My, how the game has changed!

    Always looking for Mantle cards such as Stahl Meyer, 1954 Dan Dee, 1959 Bazooka, 1960 Post, 1952 Star Cal Decal, 1952 Tip Top Bread Labels, 1953-54 Briggs Meat, and other Topps, Bowman, and oddball Mantles.

  • JolleyWrencherJolleyWrencher Posts: 605 ✭✭✭

    @dallasactuary said:
    My last word on the subject since I find the existence of a debate so incredibly silly.

    Debates are how we learn to strengthen our position or change if the logic resonates. If something is subjective then it's usually how much a person weighs a variable when two people disagree. Sometimes we favor a person, team, statistic or we do the opposite and dislike a person, team, statistic, etc.

    Heck sometimes people debate just because they enjoy it because that's their nature or they want to troll.

    Whatever the reason, if it's subjective, then it's okay to disagree without needing to add low blows. I sometimes get caught up in this too so I have to remind myself to try and be civil.

    Other points to arguments would be things such as rule changes, equipment, heck some players sleep in oxygen chambers, and there's always physical health, mental health, personal life to deal with, the list goes on.

    Sports Debates like this is why I stopped listening to ESPN radio because it tends to become obnoxious to me (Stephen A. Smith or Don LeBatard for example) and it seemed to give me road rage. Who enjoys getting worked up over such matters? It can get listeners and is good for business until it crosses a point and people begin to tune out.

    I imagine you all know this and probably don't care to be reminded of these points but I figured I would chime in because I enjoy people's opinions and I don't think anyone really wants to make another fellow sports collector have a bad day because they don't agree on a topic which has no definitive answer.

  • jeffv96mastersjeffv96masters Posts: 595 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 27, 2023 8:34PM

    Been blessed to live long enough to have seen both.

    Give me Kershaw during the regular season. Koufax when I need a WS win.

    And for two boardies= just for you

    “Nostalgia is denial – denial of the painful present. The name for this denial is golden-age thinking – the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one one’s living in. It’s a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.”

    I spoke to Sandy at a Jewish ceremony a decade ago you probably don't care about. He said " kids good= give him time". 10 years later and that kids got similar career numbers.

    I think when Kershaw hangs them up there won't be a debate career wise. The kid just doesn't calm down enough when it matters WS wise. Hence why his back always tightens. Some folks handle stress great = he doesn't. Kills his pitching in the most stressful situations of all. If he's just spend time working on the 6 inches between his ears= well, think anyone who has done so will tell you they'd wished they had those skills when it mattered most earlier in life😒

    Opinion expressed here of couse

  • daltexdaltex Posts: 3,486 ✭✭✭✭✭

    So if we're talking one game, taking Koufax over Kershaw, you'd better be careful about which Koufax you're going to get. If you choose 1963-66 Koufax then maybe you prefer him (of course it depends which Kershaw you get, too). If you try the 1961-62 Koufax, then you almost certainly prefer Kershaw, and there is no reason to pick the 1955-60 Koufax over the 2023 Bobby Miller, for example. So you can certainly make a case for cherrypicking a specific point in Koufax' career against a random point in Kershaw's career and say you want Koufax for one game, but if you were to take Kershaw at any randomly selected point of his career and Koufax any year from 1955 to 1970 it's not remotely close. And, of course if you want to exclude 1967-70 because Koufax couldn't lift his arm, you're giving Koufax a huge advantage (because Kershaw was at least minimally effective outside of his twelve best years and Koufax wasn't, so you're excluding really, really bad Koufax) but there is still no comparison.

  • ArtVandelayArtVandelay Posts: 647 ✭✭✭✭

    @JoeBanzai said:

    @VitoCo1972 said:
    Which guy would you pick to start one game you needed to win though?

    Karl Spooner of course.

    Karl Spooner has to be one of the greatest "what if?...." in the history of the game.

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 11,208 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ArtVandelay said:

    @JoeBanzai said:

    @VitoCo1972 said:
    Which guy would you pick to start one game you needed to win though?

    Karl Spooner of course.

    Karl Spooner has to be one of the greatest "what if?...." in the history of the game.

    Greatest pitcher of all time.

    DOMINANT from day 1, completely unhittable.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 11,208 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @daltex said:
    So if we're talking one game, taking Koufax over Kershaw, you'd better be careful about which Koufax you're going to get. If you choose 1963-66 Koufax then maybe you prefer him (of course it depends which Kershaw you get, too). If you try the 1961-62 Koufax, then you almost certainly prefer Kershaw, and there is no reason to pick the 1955-60 Koufax over the 2023 Bobby Miller, for example. So you can certainly make a case for cherrypicking a specific point in Koufax' career against a random point in Kershaw's career and say you want Koufax for one game, but if you were to take Kershaw at any randomly selected point of his career and Koufax any year from 1955 to 1970 it's not remotely close. And, of course if you want to exclude 1967-70 because Koufax couldn't lift his arm, you're giving Koufax a huge advantage (because Kershaw was at least minimally effective outside of his twelve best years and Koufax wasn't, so you're excluding really, really bad Koufax) but there is still no comparison.

    I guess using this line of thinking (that Koufax was the best because of
    WS and "one game" greatness), Don Larson MUST be even better than Koufax.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • 1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,681 ✭✭✭✭

    @JoeBanzai said:

    @daltex said:
    So if we're talking one game, taking Koufax over Kershaw, you'd better be careful about which Koufax you're going to get. If you choose 1963-66 Koufax then maybe you prefer him (of course it depends which Kershaw you get, too). If you try the 1961-62 Koufax, then you almost certainly prefer Kershaw, and there is no reason to pick the 1955-60 Koufax over the 2023 Bobby Miller, for example. So you can certainly make a case for cherrypicking a specific point in Koufax' career against a random point in Kershaw's career and say you want Koufax for one game, but if you were to take Kershaw at any randomly selected point of his career and Koufax any year from 1955 to 1970 it's not remotely close. And, of course if you want to exclude 1967-70 because Koufax couldn't lift his arm, you're giving Koufax a huge advantage (because Kershaw was at least minimally effective outside of his twelve best years and Koufax wasn't, so you're excluding really, really bad Koufax) but there is still no comparison.

    I guess using this line of thinking (that Koufax was the best because of
    WS and "one game" greatness), Don Larson MUST be even better than Koufax.

    Based on their logic, that statement must be true.

    Good point.

  • @judgebuck said:

    Clayton Kershaw has 25 complete games in his career.

    Sandy Koufax had 27 complete games in his last year and 27 complete games in his next to last year.

    Thanks to @judgebuck for starting off this very intriguing debate and for providing the above stats! I wonder how many "great" seasons Kershaw would have had if he had played during Koufax's era. He's been injury prone despite getting an incredible amount of help from his bullpens over the years. The over reliance upon stats in comparing two pitchers from different eras is a purely academic exercise rather than a subjective debate of the intangible qualities of greatness. Like Ryan, Koufax didn't come out of the shoot guns a blazing. He developed into a great pitcher over time. Unfortunately, arthritis cut his career short after he had perfected his craft. Ask yourself why the hell the guy was so revered amongst his peers; perhaps it was because they knew he was great when it counted. One of his three World Series losses was a 1-0 game; any manager would take a complete game one run performance in the WS since 19 times out of 20 he would win that game. I don't get the sense that Kershaw's peers are as concerned about facing him when the season is on the line since they're well aware of his track record. Intangible qualities contribute to greatness in athletes and Koufax had them in spades.

  • Let's consider the opinion of the immortal Leo Durocher rather than the opinions of us mere mortals for a moment (excerpts from Harold Friend's 2/27/10 bleacherreport.com article):

    Chicago Cubs' manager Leo Durocher, who had led the New York Giants to pennants in 1951 and 1954, came right to the point.

    "Koufax is the best pitcher I've ever seen."

    Durocher had been Babe Ruth's teammate in 1928. He had seen Walter Johnson, Bob Grove, Dizzy Dean, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Bob Feller, and Carl Hubbell.

    Leo wasn't just being nice, especially since Leo was hardly ever nice.

    Durocher's statement is significant. Sandy Koufax had more talent than any pitcher Leo had ever seen. Other pitchers had much better careers, but none was a great as Koufax.

    Warren Spahn is an excellent example.

    Spahn won 363 games, which is unmatched by any left-hander. He missed three seasons defending his country during World War II, and didn't get his first win until 1946, when he was 25-years old.

    Koufax' lifetime totals in wins, games, games started, complete games, and strikeouts pale in comparison to those of Spahn, but Durocher was not speaking about longevity.

    Koufax was more likely to shut out an opponent. Spahn started 665 games. Koufax started 314. Spahn pitched 63 shut outs. Koufax pitched 40.

    Spahn struck out 2,583 batters in 5,243 and two-thirds innings, for an average of about 124 strikeouts a season.

    Koufax struck out 2,396 batters, for an average of about 229 a season, which is incredible.

    Leo Durocher knew what he was talking about when he said that Koufax was the best pitcher he had ever seen.

  • 1951WheatiesPremium1951WheatiesPremium Posts: 6,242 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Arguments are devolving here; bringing in too many other unworthy names into the comparison…two players versus each other, not the field.

    The reason there is room for debate is that over a SEASON worth of postseason innings, Clayton Kershaw has posted a 4.46 ERA. And actually, that is more than a season worth of innings for Kershaw over the last 8 seasons. It would be the high water mark.

    Also, a young pitcher breaking into a championship roster versus a young pitcher breaking into an average roster gets a lot less rope. Kershaw had the red carpet rolled out (deservedly) for his rookie campaign and Koufax did not, bouncing between bullpen and rotation as needed because the ‘55 Dodgers were going for a title while the ‘08 Dodgers were…not.

    I’m usually not much for what might have been but perhaps Sandy Koufax would have continued past the age of 30 if he knew he’d be permitted to make 20 starts a year or take a month off for every muscle pull and still get a full seasons pay (maybe even a raise!) but back then the world of sports was quite different as were the motivations of players.

    Again, I give a slight edge to Koufax. If Kershaw was even average in the post season, or had a small sample size that could serve to explain it, I would certainly have Clayton Kershaw ahead of Sandy Koufax.

    But he doesn’t so I don’t.

    Curious about the rare, mysterious and beautiful 1951 Wheaties Premium Photos?

    https://forums.collectors.com/discussion/987963/1951-wheaties-premium-photos-set-registry#latest

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