May 17, 2021

The Best Starting Pitching Staffs in the Last 100 Years: Part II

April 13, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Bob Shawkey, Yankees 1919-1927

From Part I: Pitching, pitching, pitching. You may have heard the saying, “You can never have enough pitching.” Of course, if you are going to have good pitching it begins with your starting pitching staff.

Which starting pitching staff was the best ever?

I considered and reviewed every team that made it to the World Series and some other notable ones that did not. After viewing all the statistics, teams after the Dead Ball Era were only considered. Comparatively, considering teams before and after 1920 is more an apples-to-oranges comparison than an apples-to-apples one.

PART II

What are some other ways to compare starting pitching staffs? What would be some gold standards that distinguish great starting pitching staffs from good ones? How about 80 wins from your starters? Obviously, not an easy accomplishment, but 25 of the 30 teams in the World Series during the Dead Ball Era had starting pitching staffs that won 80 or more games.

These starting pitching staffs post-1920 also achieved it:

WINS TEAM WINS TEAM
99 1931 Philadelphia Athletics 84 1930 Philadelphia Athletics
93 1954 Cleveland Indians 84 1963 New York Yankees
92 1923 New York Yankees 83 1944 St. Louis Cardinals
91 1922 New York Yankees 82 1927 New York Yankees
91 1932 New York Yankees 82 1946 Boston Red Sox
88 1931 St. Louis Cardinals 82 1951 Cleveland Indians
88 1990 Oakland Athletics 82 1962 San Francisco Giants
88 1998 Atlanta Braves 81 1935 Chicago Cubs
87 1920 Chicago White Sox 81 1971 Baltimore Orioles
86 1928 New York Yankees 81 1989 Oakland Athletics
86 2001 Seattle Mariners 80 1921 New York Yankees
85 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates 80 1939 New York Yankees
85 1934 St. Louis Cardinals 80 1940 Cincinnati Reds
85 1942 New York Yankees

Another method might be the percentage of a team’s wins the starters had. A starting pitching staff that produces 80 percent of a team’s wins is impressive. During the Dead Ball Era, 25 of the 30 teams that made the World Series had starting pitching staffs that won at least 80% of their team’s games.

Which starting staffs met that criteria since 1920?

% of WINS TEAM % of WINS TEAM
96.8 1922 New York Yankees 82.4 1930 Philadelphia Athletics
93.9 1923 New York Yankees 82.4 1985 Kansas City Royals
92.5 1931 Philadelphia Athletics 82.0 2005 Houston Astros
90.6 1920 Chicago White Sox 81.8 1989 Oakland Athletics
89.5 1934 St. Louis Cardinals 81.6 1921 New York Yankees
88.2 1951 Cleveland Indians 81.1 1974 Oakland Athletics
87.1 1931 St. Louis Cardinals 81.0 1935 Chicago Cubs
85.4 1990 Oakland Athletics 80.6 2013 Detroit Tigers
85.1 1928 New York Yankees 80.2 1971 Baltimore Orioles
85.0 1932 New York Yankees 80.0 1928 New York Yankees
83.8 1954 Cleveland Indians 80.0 1940 Cincinnati Reds
83.0 1998 Atlanta Braves 80.0 1978 Los Angeles Dodgers
82.5 1942 New York Yankees

As you can see, that is an exclusive group and not as easily accomplished in the post-Dead Ball Era.

COMING SOON: Part III

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