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View Full Version : Seaver-Bench: Greatest. Battery. Ever.?



SteveJRogers
07-16-2006, 11:01 PM
Just thinking about this, Tom Seaver and Johnny Bench just might be the greatest battery to ever perform.

Trying to come up with others:

Mickey Cochrane-Lefty Grove on the 1930 A's

Warren Spahn and Yogi Berra on the 1965 Mets actually does not count, Yogi played in only 4 games, only one of which Spahn pitched and Yogi appeared as a pinch hitter, check that out at ultimatemets.com

Ivan Rodriguez did catch Nolan Ryan early in Rodriguez's career (though considering Pudge was a juicier should he still be that highly regarded)

Mike Piazza-Pedro Martinez does count on last years Mets (more smoke involved with Pudge than with Piazza)

Heh, Carlton Fisk caught Seaver as a White Sox, as well as Steve Carlton guess they qualify

Berra-Ford for sheer World Series dominance

Hmmm, any more...

Redhook
07-16-2006, 11:15 PM
Rick White - Jason LaRue

MrCinatit
07-16-2006, 11:27 PM
Bill Dickey and Lefty Gomez come to mind.

The Crawford Giants had Josh Gibson catching Satchel Paige for a bit

redsfan4445
07-16-2006, 11:31 PM
Being a huge fan of Nolan Ryan, I always wanted the BRM to go after him.. i can only imagine what Bench and Nolan could have done. And how many more games Nolan Ryan would have Won as a Red (Nolan was asked a few years back if their was one team he always wanted to play with and he said "The Big Red Machine")

I named my youngest Nolan Ryan after him..

But I was VERY happy and remeber the night the Trade of Seaver to the reds was made.. I always wonder if the Reds would have kept Perez for 1977 instead of Driessen???

Cyclone792
07-16-2006, 11:52 PM
Off the top of my head, the greatest battery ever is likely Lefty Grove and Mickey Cochrane for both overall career greatness and as a single season battery.

Lefty Grove is among the greatest two or three pitchers in baseball history, and some believe he is the greatest pitcher in history (I'll take Walter Johnson myself, but I've got Grove ranked third behind only Johnson and Clemens). Mickey Cochrane is also among the greatest catchers ever to play the game, and I've got him ranked fifth behind only Gibson, Bench, Berra and Piazza. Like Grove, Cochrane also has an argument as being the greatest ever at his position, albeit his argument for being the greatest catcher ever is much weaker than Grove's argument for being the greatest pitcher ever, IMO.

Now for single season, give me Lefty Grove/Mickey Cochrane in 1931.

Grove went 31-4 with a 2.06 ERA and 75 RSAA in 289 innings in 1931, and that season is among some of the greatest single seasons by any pitcher in baseball history. That same season, Mickey Cochrane hit .349/.423/.553 for the A's, putting up 47 RCAA and a 149 OPS+.

How about win shares? Grove had an incredible 42 win shares in 1931, his career high in win shares, while Cochrane posted 28 win shares behind the plate that season (Cochrane had 31 win shares in 1930 and 30 win shares in 1932).


LEFTY GROVE

GIVEN NAME: Robert Moses Grove
BORN: 3/6/1900 Lonaconing, Maryland DIED: 5/22/1975 Norwalk, Ohio
BAT: L THROW: L HEIGHT: 6'3" WEIGHT: 190 MLB DEBUT: 4/14/1925

YEAR TEAM AGE W L PCT G GS CG SV GF IP H R ER BB SO ERA RSAA
1925 A's 25 10 12 .455 45 18 5 1 12 197 207 120 104 131 116 4.75 -7
1926 A's 26 13 13 .500 45 33 20 6 9 258 227 97 72 101 194 2.51 62
1927 A's 27 20 13 .606 51 28 14 9 18 262 251 116 93 79 174 3.19 20
1928 A's 28 24 8 .750 39 31 24 4 6 262 228 93 75 64 183 2.58 43
1929 A's 29 20 6 .769 42 37 21 4 5 275 278 104 86 81 170 2.81 53
1930 A's 30 28 5 .848 50 32 22 9 17 291 273 101 82 60 209 2.54 64
1931 A's 31 31 4 .886 41 30 27 5 10 289 249 84 66 62 175 2.06 75
1932 A's 32 25 10 .714 44 30 27 7 13 292 269 101 92 79 188 2.84 75
1933 A's 33 24 8 .750 45 28 21 6 16 275 280 113 98 83 114 3.21 25
1934 Red Sox 34 8 8 .500 22 12 5 0 6 109 149 84 79 32 43 6.52 -21
1935 Red Sox 35 20 12 .625 35 30 23 1 4 273 269 105 82 65 121 2.70 65
1936 Red Sox 36 17 12 .586 35 30 22 2 3 253 237 90 79 65 130 2.81 70
1937 Red Sox 37 17 9 .654 32 32 21 0 0 262 269 101 88 83 153 3.02 51
1938 Red Sox 38 14 4 .778 24 21 12 1 3 164 169 65 56 52 99 3.07 32
1939 Red Sox 39 15 4 .789 23 23 17 0 0 191 180 63 54 58 81 2.54 54
1940 Red Sox 40 7 6 .538 22 21 9 0 1 153 159 73 68 50 62 4.00 8
1941 Red Sox 41 7 7 .500 21 21 10 0 0 134 155 84 65 42 54 4.37 -1
TOTALS 300 141 .680 616 457 300 55 123 3940 3849 1594 1339 1187 2266 3.06 668
LG AVERAGE 220 220 .500 210 20 3940 4328 2267 1933 1572 1422 4.42 0

YEAR TEAM HR H/9 BR/9 SO/9 BB/9 SO/BB SHO WP IBB HBP BFP BK NW NL
1925 A's 11 9.46 15.67 5.30 5.98 0.89 0 9 0 5 908 0 10 12
1926 A's 6 7.92 11.65 6.77 3.52 1.92 1 5 0 6 1072 0 20 6
1927 A's 6 8.62 11.40 5.98 2.71 2.20 1 5 0 2 1106 1 19 14
1928 A's 10 7.83 10.06 6.29 2.20 2.86 4 4 0 1 1075 0 22 10
1929 A's 8 9.10 11.85 5.56 2.65 2.10 2 8 0 3 1168 0 18 8
1930 A's 8 8.44 10.45 6.46 1.86 3.48 2 2 0 5 1191 0 24 9
1931 A's 10 7.75 9.72 5.45 1.93 2.82 4 2 0 1 1160 0 28 7
1932 A's 13 8.29 10.76 5.79 2.43 2.38 4 0 0 1 1207 0 26 9
1933 A's 12 9.16 12.01 3.73 2.72 1.37 2 1 0 4 1173 0 19 13
1934 Red Sox 5 12.30 15.03 3.55 2.64 1.34 0 1 0 1 506 0 6 10
1935 Red Sox 6 8.87 11.11 3.99 2.14 1.86 2 2 0 3 1137 0 24 8
1936 Red Sox 14 8.43 10.89 4.62 2.31 2.00 6 0 0 4 1049 0 22 7
1937 Red Sox 9 9.24 12.13 5.26 2.85 1.84 3 5 0 1 1127 0 18 8
1938 Red Sox 8 9.27 12.18 5.43 2.85 1.90 1 3 0 1 706 0 13 5
1939 Red Sox 8 8.48 11.26 3.82 2.73 1.40 2 0 0 1 798 0 15 4
1940 Red Sox 20 9.35 12.35 3.65 2.94 1.24 1 1 0 1 652 0 7 6
1941 Red Sox 8 10.41 13.37 3.63 2.82 1.29 0 3 0 2 598 0 7 7
TOTALS 162 8.79 11.60 5.18 2.71 1.91 35 51 0 42 16633 1 298 143
LG AVERAGE 232 9.89 13.63 3.25 3.59 0.90 20 72 0 69 17449 8


MICKEY COCHRANE

GIVEN NAME: Gordon Stanley Cochrane
BORN: 4/6/1903 Bridgewater, Massachusetts DIED: 6/28/1962 Lake Forest, Illinois
BAT: L THROW: R HEIGHT: 5'10" WEIGHT: 180 MLB DEBUT: 4/14/1925
CAREER GAMES BY POSITION: LF: 1 C: 1451

YEAR TEAM AGE G AB R H 2B 3B HR HR% RBI BB SO SB CS AVG SLG OBA OPS
1925 A's 22 134 420 69 139 21 5 6 1.43 55 44 19 7 4 .331 .448 .397 .845
1926 A's 23 120 370 50 101 8 9 8 2.16 47 56 15 5 2 .273 .408 .369 .777
1927 A's 24 126 432 80 146 20 6 12 2.78 80 50 7 9 6 .338 .495 .409 .904
1928 A's 25 131 468 92 137 26 12 10 2.14 57 76 25 7 7 .293 .464 .395 .859
1929 A's 26 135 514 113 170 37 8 7 1.36 95 69 8 7 6 .331 .475 .412 .887
1930 A's 27 130 487 110 174 42 5 10 2.05 85 55 18 5 0 .357 .526 .424 .949
1931 A's 28 122 459 87 160 31 6 17 3.70 89 56 21 2 3 .349 .553 .423 .976
1932 A's 29 139 518 118 152 35 4 23 4.44 112 100 22 0 1 .293 .510 .412 .921
1933 A's 30 130 429 104 138 30 4 15 3.50 60 106 22 8 6 .322 .515 .459 .974
1934 Tigers 31 129 437 74 140 32 1 2 0.46 76 78 26 8 4 .320 .412 .428 .840
1935 Tigers 32 115 411 93 131 33 3 5 1.22 47 96 15 5 5 .319 .450 .452 .902
1936 Tigers 33 44 126 24 34 8 0 2 1.59 17 46 15 1 1 .270 .381 .465 .846
1937 Tigers 34 27 98 27 30 10 1 2 2.04 12 25 4 0 1 .306 .490 .452 .941
TOTALS 1482 5169 1041 1652 333 64 119 2.30 832 857 217 64 46 .320 .478 .419 .897
LG AVERAGE 4983 756 1445 272 70 73 1.47 695 516 380 78 56 .290 .416 .359 .776
POS AVERAGE 4899 590 1327 238 48 46 0.93 632 532 340 40 32 .271 .367 .345 .712

YEAR TEAM RC RCAA RCAP OWP RC/G TB EBH ISO SEC BPA IBB HBP SAC SF GIDP OUTS PA POS
1925 A's 77 13 21 .582 6.83 188 32 .117 .238 .509 0 2 8 0 0 293 474 C
1926 A's 60 -10 1 .429 5.25 151 25 .135 .300 .493 0 0 26 0 0 297 452 C
1927 A's 90 28 35 .666 7.43 214 38 .157 .294 .556 0 2 23 0 0 315 507 C
1928 A's 90 18 32 .599 6.52 217 48 .171 .348 .541 0 3 21 0 0 359 568 C
1929 A's 105 21 39 .602 7.36 244 52 .144 .292 .540 0 2 21 0 0 371 606 C
1930 A's 113 42 56 .703 8.88 256 57 .168 .292 .584 0 1 18 0 0 331 561 C
1931 A's 111 47 56 .732 9.46 254 54 .205 .331 .602 0 3 3 0 0 305 521 C
1932 A's 118 27 38 .616 8.29 264 62 .216 .409 .590 0 4 3 0 0 370 625 C
1933 A's 111 53 59 .769 9.59 221 49 .193 .459 .617 0 3 4 0 0 301 542 C
1934 Tigers 85 21 34 .627 7.22 180 35 .092 .288 .513 0 4 5 0 0 306 524 C
1935 Tigers 93 33 38 .688 8.17 185 41 .131 .377 .558 0 4 11 0 0 296 522 C
1936 Tigers 27 4 8 .574 7.09 48 10 .111 .484 .547 0 0 6 0 0 99 178 C
1937 Tigers 24 6 8 .627 8.79 48 13 .184 .439 .589 0 1 2 0 0 71 126 C
TOTALS 1104 303 425 .643 7.73 2470 516 .158 .336 .557 0 29 151 0 0 3714 6206
LG AVERAGE 788 0 0 .500 5.52 2075 415 .127 .246 .478 0 24 120 0 0 3714 5643
POS AVERAGE 668 -124 0 .423 4.68 1798 332 .096 .213 .433 0 22 110 0 0 3714 5563

Unassisted
07-17-2006, 12:00 AM
My recollection is that both were a couple of years past their prime when they were on the same roster. That was a long time ago, so I am prepared to be proven wrong with statistics. ;)

IowaRed
07-17-2006, 12:01 AM
Mickey Cochrane-Lefty Grove
Ernie Lombardi-Carl Hubbell, Warren Spahn
Roy Campanella-Sandy Koufax

*In 1930 Babe Ruth pitched 1 game for the Yankees, the catcher on that team was Bill Dickey so that was likely the greatest hitting battery of all-time.

edabbs44
07-17-2006, 12:02 AM
Koufax/Campanella is probably up there.

westofyou
07-17-2006, 12:06 AM
Tim Keefe - Buck Ewing
John Clarkson - King Kelly

westofyou
07-17-2006, 12:10 AM
Gabby Hartnett - Pete Alexander

SteveJRogers
07-17-2006, 12:29 AM
Tim Keefe - Buck Ewing
John Clarkson - King Kelly

Pulling out the 19th Century on us huh :thumbup:

Phhhl
07-17-2006, 01:13 AM
It's difficult to imagine a better battery, even at the advanced age they worked together. If it's narrowed down to the modern era, I don't think there is any question that Seaver/Bench is the best.

Dan
07-17-2006, 09:37 AM
Did Josh Gibson ever catch Satchel Paige?

/not looking over his shoulder

redsmetz
07-17-2006, 10:18 AM
Koufax/Campanella is probably up there.

They only had Koufax's rookie season together. Hard to say how more years Campenella would have caught. As I recall, he was fairly older when the color line was broken (not Satchel Paige old, but in his late 20's, as I recall).

redsmetz
07-17-2006, 10:21 AM
How about Christy Mathewson and Roger Bresnahan?

And I seem to recall that Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson were teammates on the Pittsburgh Crawfords during the 30's. That might be the closest to Seaver and Bench.

I still pinch myself that Tom Seaver played for the Reds for five seasons. He said yesterday it resurrected his career and I always recognized you were seeing one of the best batteries in history. While Cincinnat has had numerous one-time Cy Young winners pitch for the Reds (Seaver included), he was robbed in '81 and possibly in '77, the year he came over. A very good trade in deed.

redsmetz
07-17-2006, 10:23 AM
Funny story. While Seaver played for the Reds, they lived out in Landon and his two daughters were friends with two of my younger cousins. They were over at my uncle's house and being the wise a** he was, he said to one of the girls, "I understand there's a ball player in your family." She didn't miss a beat, "Yeah, my sister's a pretty good ball player."

dabvu2498
07-17-2006, 10:36 AM
Pedro Martinez/Tom Glavine-Mike Piazza last year was a solid combo.

Highlifeman21
07-17-2006, 10:41 AM
Anyone who caught Walter Johnson + Walter Johnson.

Overall, probably Lefty Grove and Mickey Cochrane

After that, Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige

westofyou
07-17-2006, 11:05 AM
How about Christy Mathewson and Roger Bresnahan?

Bresnahan is the most overrated catcher of all time.

I'd go as far as saying he doesn't even belong in the discussion.

redsmetz
07-17-2006, 11:23 AM
Bresnahan is the most overrated catcher of all time.

I'd go as far as saying he doesn't even belong in the discussion.

Looking over his record, I'll concede and point taken. Even factoring in the deadball era, certainly no Johnny Bench.

westofyou
07-17-2006, 11:27 AM
Looking over his record, I'll concede and point taken. Even factoring in the deadball era, certainly no Johnny Bench.
More Eli Marreo, multi positional and all that rot.

Ted Simmons and Bob Gibson & Steve Carlton is a pretty good battery though

goreds2
07-17-2006, 01:29 PM
More Eli Marreo, multi positional and all that rot.

Ted Simmons and Bob Gibson & Steve Carlton is a pretty good battery though

My era (1970's - current), Bench and Seaver are the best.

A good one concerning the Ted Simmons, Bob Gibson & Steve Carlton.

chicoruiz
07-17-2006, 06:14 PM
A couple of things:

1. "Walter Johnson and anybody" is a pretty good answer, but it's weird: the Johnson teammate who probably had the best year was Muddy Ruel in 1923, and Walter didn't have a Walter Johnson season. Bad timing.

2. Has Hartnett-Warneke been mentioned? Gotta be in the top ten.

3. WOY, I saw your mention of Keefe-Ewing, but what about Mickey Welch-Ewing? They had a few very nice years together.

vic715
07-17-2006, 07:19 PM
Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford were a good combo for a few years. Both are Hall of famers.Although when Whitey had his best 2 (61and63)seasons Elston Howard was the Yanks regular catcher..In 1955 Whitey led the league in wins(18) and Yogi was the AL MVP.

RedsBaron
11-15-2006, 02:03 PM
They only had Koufax's rookie season together. Hard to say how more years Campenella would have caught. As I recall, he was fairly older when the color line was broken (not Satchel Paige old, but in his late 20's, as I recall).

Just saw this thread. Koufax and Campanella had three seasons together, 1955-57, but all three were well before Koufax hit his stride in the early 1960s, and Campy was essentially done as a great player after 1955.
In 1955, Koufax went 2-2 in 42 innings with a 3.02 ERA, while Campy won his third MVP (although the award should have gone to Duke Snider), hitting .318 with 32 HR, 107 RBI, a .395 OBP and .583 SPCT. If Koufax in 1955 had been the Koufax of 1965, then, yes, that might have been the greatest battery ever.
In 1956 Koufax was 2-4 in 59 innings with a 4.91 ERA, while Campy hit .219 20 73 .333 .394. In 1957 Koufax was 5-4 in 104 innings with a 3.88 ERA, while Campy hit .242 13 62 .316 .388.

David Cubbedge
11-15-2006, 02:09 PM
Santana-Mauer ?

RFS62
11-15-2006, 02:15 PM
Seaver - Bench was the most technically perfect and had the highest baseball IQ of any battery ever, IMO.

M2
11-15-2006, 02:19 PM
Santana-Mauer ?

Nice addition to the discussion. Someday this might be the duo we're all talking about when it comes to great batteries.

Yachtzee
11-15-2006, 02:23 PM
The Greatest Named Battery - Ted Breitenstein and Heinie Peitz, a.k.a. "The Pretzel Battery."

klw
11-15-2006, 02:27 PM
What about the 1972 White Sox combo of Wilbur Wood and Ed Herrman? Afterall you gotta love it when an overweight 30 yr old throws 376 2/3 innings in a single season. :D :D

http://www.baseball-reference.com/w/woodwi01.shtml

Which was matched in 71 by other '70's fat hurler Mickey Lolich. Now in all seriousness for a one season combo the 1968 Tigers combo of Denny Mclain and Bill Freehan didn't stink.
http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/DET/1968.shtml
\
Or there is the '68 Cardinals with Bob Gibson with Tim McCarver and Ted Simmons or '70 Cards with Gibson and Torre/Simmons. (Sorry missed this above.)

RedsBaron
11-15-2006, 02:35 PM
I wonder whether or not Ernie Lombardi and Bucky Walters may have been the greatest battery in Reds history.
In 1938 Lombardi was named NL MVP, hitting .342 (batting title), with 19 HR, 95 RBI, a .391 OBP and .524 SPCT. Walters went 11-6 in 168 innings with a 3.69 ERA.
In 1939 Walters won the MVP, going 27-11 with a 2.29 ERA in 319 innings, while Lombardi hit .287 20 85 .342 .487.
In 1940 Walters went 22-10 with a 2.48 ERA in 305 innings while Lombardi hit .319 14 74 .382 .489.
If Bench and Seaver had been batterymates in 1968-75, instead of first hooking up mid-season in 1977 when each was slightly past his peak, then the answer would be easy.

dfs
11-15-2006, 02:50 PM
It's not up to Cyclone's awsome 1931 example, but for a single year, I think you've got to include 1985 Carter-Gooden in there someplace.

That was Doc's age 20 season. He went 24-4 with an ERA+ of 226 for 275 innings. That's absurd.

Carter hit 280 with 30 homers which was an accomplishment prior to 1987. His OPS+ was 139.

That alone will push you half way to the pennant as long as your other players don't go negative VORP.

klw
11-15-2006, 02:53 PM
[QUOTE=Cyclone792;1068624]Off the top of my head, the greatest battery ever is likely Lefty Grove and Mickey Cochrane for both overall career greatness and as a single season battery.


Now if you want to look at the overall strength of the battery you should look at this combo from 1928 but throw in the backup catcher too- a young Jimmie Foxx.
http://www.baseball-reference.com/f/foxxji01.shtml

Cyclone792
11-15-2006, 08:51 PM
Santana-Mauer ?

Given what they've done so far together in 2005 and 2006, they're well on their way to this discussion. Mauer had 31 win shares in 2006, and Santana threw up a 161 ERA+. That 2006 battery is probably one of the best single season batteries we've seen in at least a couple years, maybe a decade or better.

Cyclone792
11-15-2006, 09:19 PM
I wonder whether or not Ernie Lombardi and Bucky Walters may have been the greatest battery in Reds history.
In 1938 Lombardi was named NL MVP, hitting .342 (batting title), with 19 HR, 95 RBI, a .391 OBP and .524 SPCT. Walters went 11-6 in 168 innings with a 3.69 ERA.
In 1939 Walters won the MVP, going 27-11 with a 2.29 ERA in 319 innings, while Lombardi hit .287 20 85 .342 .487.
In 1940 Walters went 22-10 with a 2.48 ERA in 305 innings while Lombardi hit .319 14 74 .382 .489.
If Bench and Seaver had been batterymates in 1968-75, instead of first hooking up mid-season in 1977 when each was slightly past his peak, then the answer would be easy.

Obviously if one wishes to use the criteria of each player's career totals with the only qualification being that they worked together for a few seasons, then the Seaver/Bench battery clearly was superior. But given actual seasons together and what each player did during those seasons, you might be right, RB.

Seaver was a Red from 1977-1982, however, his 1980 season was average and his 1982 season was well below average. That leaves 1977-1979 and 1981. Bench had less than 200 plate appearances in 1981, which eliminates that season.

That leaves us with 1977-1979 where both Seaver and Bench had at least above average seasons:


'77 Bench OPS+: 133
'78 Bench OPS+: 129
'79 Bench OPS+: 123

'77 Bench Win Shares: 22
'78 Bench Win Shares: 20
'79 Bench Win Shares: 22

'77 Seaver ERA+: 169 (150 full season counting stats w/New York)
'78 Seaver ERA+: 123
'79 Seaver ERA+: 119

Bench was good all three seasons. Seaver was great in 1977, but really only above average to good from 1978-1979. Order those three from top to bottom, and it'd probably go 1977, 1978, 1979.

For Bucky Walters and Ernie Lombardi, we've got four seasons from 1938-1941:


'38 Lombardi OPS+: 153
'39 Lombardi OPS+: 120
'40 Lombardi OPS+: 138
'41 Lombardi OPS+: 97

'38 Lombardi Win Shares: 24
'39 Lombardi Win Shares: 17
'40 Lombardi Win Shares: 19
'41 Lombardi Win Shares: 13

'38 Walters ERA+: 98 (89 full season counting stats w/Philadelphia)
'39 Walters ERA+: 168
'40 Walters ERA+: 152
'41 Walters ERA+: 127

Walters' best seasons were clearly 1939 and 1940, which includes the 1940 World Series championship and 1939 NL Pennant for the Reds. Order these from top to bottom, and I'd probably say 1939 and 1940 are a wash, followed by 1938 and then 1941.

Tough call, IMO. To me, the very best single season looks like 1977 with Seaver/Bench, however, only two-thirds of Seaver's total innings that season were in a Reds uniform (165.1 innings w/Reds and 96.0 innings w/Mets). Following the 1977 Seaver/Bench battery looks like each of the 1939 and 1940 Walters/Lombardi batteries. Or, if somebody prefers two seasons, then I think it definitely appears that the 1939-1940 Walters/Lombardi battery is greater than any two year period for Seaver/Bench.

But in the end, it all depends on which criteria for length one wishes to use as they're both pretty close, IMO.