Saturday, March 7, 2009

Seaver vs. Ryan

I love this match-up. It is the sexy strikeout numbers and no-hitters of Ryan against the unmatched consistency and excellence of Seaver. I not only had the privilege of watching these two greats on television for years, but also saw each of them pitch in person.
Nolan Ryan is the lifetime strikeout king with almost a thousand more than the next closest pitcher (Randy Johnson). He also had seven career no-hitters, the last of which was in 1993 at age 46. He pitched for 27 seasons and pitched at a high level. On the other hand, he had a lifetime winning percentage of only.526 and never won the Cy Young Award. He won 20 games 0nly twice and had the most walks in major league history.

Tom Seaver pitched in the same era and while he didn’t have the strikeouts or no-hitters that Ryan had, he was quite the power pitcher in his own right. He managed to win three Cy Young Awards, win twenty games five times and be named to twelve all star games. He had a winning percentage of .603 during his twenty seasons toeing the rubber. Seaver also had a career ERA of 2.86.

Ryan had the longer career and the huge strikeout totals, but one question comes to mind with him. That question is “was there ever a time during his career when people would say that he is the best pitcher in baseball.” I think the answer to that is no. While Ryan was compiling his records, the likes of Vida Blue, Gaylord Perry, Jim Palmer, Steve Carlton and yes Tom Seaver were winning the annual Cy Young award. Nolan Ryan is an amazing story and was a dominant strikeout pitcher, but this comparison goes to Tom Terrific.