Sports Briefs: The Best Pitcher Ever

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Chris: Who’s the best pitcher of all time? It may sound like a trick question, but Who is actually a first baseman on Abbott and Costello’s favorite team, the St. Louis Wolves. Who never actually pitched, which disqualifies him from this conversation.

Joe: Roger Clemens is the best pitcher of all time because of his tenacity. In the vein of a Bob Gibson, just with a better record, including seven Cy Youngs, two world championships, AL MVP and All-Star MVP and on and on over a 23-year career. He was a pitcher's pitcher and nasty about it.

Ralphie: Roger Clemens is not the best pitcher of all time because he's not a good guy and sets a terrible example for young people.

Chris: Being a Texan I was predestined to root for Clemens, though that task became more difficult in his latter years in Boston, when he ate at Dunkin Donuts for three meals a day. Going to Toronto did not help, especially when he suddenly got better after befriending Jose Canseco. Pitching for the Yankees and Astros for a few full seasons and a few half seasons, while he was deliberating the definition of retirement and simultaneously providing inspiration and a model for Brett Favre to follow, did not make it easier to cheer for him. I’m not sure whether the final straw was saying Andy Pettitte misremembered or dating Rusty Hardin, but rather than viewing Clemens as a fellow Texan, I now like to pretend he’s a space alien.

Brad: He had scandals surrounding his career, it wasn’t just pure baseball.

Chris: I have never actually seen Cy Young pitch, ergo I have never seen him throw bat shards at Mike Piazza or attempt to grow a soul patch. I was able to ascertain that Young is the best pitcher of all time by conducting hours of research. Actually, I own one of his baseball cards and read the statistics on the back. Actually, it’s a Kenner Starting Lineup card. But it nevertheless reveals Young to be the all-time leader in wins, most innings pitched and most complete games, all while wearing wool flannel pajamas. The only milestone Young failed to achieve in his career is winning his own award, which would have looked overly suspicious.

Joe: Cy Young is not the best ever, although he was at one time, for which he got an award named after him.

Ralphie: Cy Young is not the best pitcher of all time because even though he's got a lot of wins, he's also got tons of losses.

Brad: I think Walter Johnson is the best pitcher of all time, because he represents the wholesomeness that baseball means to America. I think Walter modeled his career on Cy's career. He was a role model for pitchers. He was good. He made pitching records, and he was dedicated to his sport, both playing and coaching. He always showed good sportsmanship.

Joe: Walter Johnson was a great pitcher but in a different era where the competition wasn't that good.

Ralphie: Walter Johnson is not the best pitcher of all time because he hit a lot of batters when he pitched.

Chris: The Cy Young Award did not come into existence until 1956, by which time Walter Johnson had been expired for 10 years. Johnson and every other pitcher in baseball history could have been named for the award given to the best pitcher. This confirms that either Major League Baseball thought Young was the best pitcher ever at that time or that Young had the ability to blackmail the league after his death to name the award after him. Stephen Strasburg considers himself to be the Senators’ best pitcher and may or may not have heard of Walter Johnson.

Ralphie: Tim Hudson is the best pitcher of all time because he's an Auburn man, and he's done a great job in the big leagues.

Brad: Tim's career doesn't jump out as a memorable career to me; he is just another good player.

Joe: Tim Hudson--Who? Not even the best pitcher to wear a Braves uniform.

Try on a new pair of Sports Briefs with the Gab Four every Friday. Find out more about Joe, Chris, Brad and Ralphie, and read their solo columns on their individual pages.

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