I read a ton of baseball books in middle school. I met one of my best friends in Junior High. He was one of the few people I kept in touch with after high school. He later told me he came to meet me as he saw my name on the checkout card of all the sport books. I look back I read too many sports books. One I remember reading was a book of greatest pitchers. The write up for each pitcher was 16 to 20 pages with pitchers, so there wasn’t a lot of detail. Nothing too controversial as the book was written for kids. Of course, Chapter 1 was on Cy Young. It started with a new reported talking to Cy Young. For he asks Cy Young’s position. Then he asks Young if he is any good and Young supposedly says “I won more games than you will ever watch.” However, as lacking knowledge as this young reporter appears, this might have been true of any pitcher. What kind of an editor would someone like this to do interviews of a major league team? I’m sure this story didn’t really happen.
Young won a career record 511 games. In second place is Walter Johnson who is almost 100 wins behind him. How come he doesn’t rank higher. First he was the second best pitcher of the 1890s (behind Kid Nichols) and then he was the second best pitcher of the 1900s (behind Christy Mathewson) so he can’t be number 1, even though I’m writing about career finishes. I like my number 1 to be the best pitcher for a period. Also, pitching in the 1800s seemed different. There were restrictions on pitchers on location and flicking the wrist in the early games. I think the game was closer to slow pitch softball at the time. As the 1800s went on pitchers had more emphasis on individual games. However, I noticed that a lot of pitchers from the 1800s were in the top 100 in career WAR. They also gathered the WAR fast as they pitched an ordinate amount of games and innings. I gave 1800 pitchers a heavy penalty for the years they pitched in the 1800s. A did have time penalties, but made them tougher for pitchers, especially the 1800s. However, it was only for the years they pitched in the 1800s. Young came in fourth for pitchers despite these handicaps. That’s impressive. I do feel I have him pretty much in the right position.