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vance
01-06-2007, 01:27 PM
This grew out of a discussion and poll on another forum on which I post. I wanted to get a more well-rounded view of how fans of other teams would vote. So, who was better: Clemens or Bob Gibson?

HumnHilghtFreel
01-06-2007, 01:44 PM
I don't know a whole lot about Gibson, just the general.

However, I'd say that given the era that Clemens pitched in and dominated in would give him the edge.

Dracodave
01-06-2007, 01:46 PM
Gibson, theres too many questions surronding Clemens. Steriods etc.

pedro
01-06-2007, 01:48 PM
I'm going to have to go with Clemens. His stats appear to be a touch better than Gibson's.

Clemens

http://www.baseball-reference.com/c/clemero02.shtml

Gibson

http://www.baseball-reference.com/g/gibsobo01.shtml

jojo
01-06-2007, 02:27 PM
Gibson, theres too many questions surronding Clemens. Steriods etc.

That argument is one of my biggest pet peeves....wild speculation....

chettt
01-06-2007, 02:49 PM
My vote has to go to Bob Gibson. Gibson was so dominate that the mound had to be lowered to give the batters a chance. I have seen Roger Clemens pitch in person three times. His record is 0-3. Maybe I'm just a jinx. The most dominate pitchers (in my opinion) were/are Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, JR Richards, Steve Carlton & Randy Johnson. Call me "Old School".

RANDY IN INDY
01-06-2007, 03:11 PM
Gibson.

George Anderson
01-06-2007, 03:27 PM
Hands down Clemens. Clemens is pitching in an era where offensive is the king. Also if I am not mistaken the mound was higher in Gibsons day which was a big advantage to the pitcher.

Put Clemens in the 1960's and they would have renamed the Cy Young award after him.

Blimpie
01-06-2007, 04:04 PM
That argument is one of my biggest pet peeves....wild speculation....It might be wild speculation at this point, but it also might be true. All things equal, I go with The Rocket.

Chip R
01-06-2007, 04:05 PM
Hands down Clemens. Clemens is pitching in an era where offensive is the king. Also if I am not mistaken the mound was higher in Gibsons day which was a big advantage to the pitcher.

Put Clemens in the 1960's and they would have renamed the Cy Young award after him.


You have a great point. I suggested on here a few months ago that maybe the great pitchers of the 60s were great mainly because of the higher mound and the larger strike zone. Notice that a lot of them were not so great before the 60s and faltered after the 60s. Of course that could be because they were in their primes dring the 60s. That's a great argument for Clemens. He did what he has done in a hitters era.

However, I go with Gibson because of his postseason record. Granted, Gibson has a smaller sample size to work with but Clemens has not always been dependable during the post season for whatever reason.

M2
01-06-2007, 04:40 PM
Lost in the fable of Bob Gibson is that he pitched two lackluster game sevens in the World Series. He won one and lost the other. Great pitcher, one of the best in history, but hardly an automatic win.

Clemens has the 8th-best career ERA+, just a hair behind Walter Johnson (Pedro Martinez absolutely owns that particular list). Gibson's tied for 42nd with an interesting cast of characters including Tom Seaver, Sparky Lyle, Kevin Brown, Curt Schilling and Barry Zito.

dfs
01-06-2007, 05:02 PM
If your talking about who had the better baseball career, I think you have to look at the length of clemens career and give the nod to the big guy.

If your playing real baseball game that you want to win without a DH, the choice is easy
You want Gibson at the plate.
You want Gibson in your clubhouse.
The big white guy might be a slightly better pitcher, but Gibbie could pitch a little too.

dougdirt
01-06-2007, 05:05 PM
M2, Pedro Martinez in his prime was the greatest pitcher in the history of baseball if you ask me. He was absolutely disgustingly better than everyone else for a while.

M2
01-06-2007, 05:05 PM
M2, Pedro Martinez in his prime was the greatest pitcher in the history of baseball if you ask me. He was absolutely disgustingly better than everyone else for a while.

I tend to agree.

Falls City Beer
01-06-2007, 05:13 PM
M2, Pedro Martinez in his prime was the greatest pitcher in the history of baseball if you ask me. He was absolutely disgustingly better than everyone else for a while.

Yep. I can't argue with this.

vaticanplum
01-06-2007, 05:31 PM
I think I've said this a hundred times on this board (I need a new board), but Martinez at his peak was the greatest pitcher I've ever seen. I live for the day when I see a pitcher who surpasses him for a season or two.

Lifetime, though, Clemens wins here. I think the argument could be made that Clemens is the greatest pitcher ever. I don't know if I'd make it, but it could legtimately be made. He's one of the most well-rounded pitchers ever -- low ERA, high strikeouts, high wins, longevity, postseason. But the thing that makes him so good to me in a good comparative light is ERA differential, difference between pitcher and the league ERA at the time. Clemens's is a pretty unbelievable 1.34, higher than most great pitchers past the deadball era, including Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Warren Spahn, Tom Seaver, and Greg Maddux. He has been a better and more dominant pitcher for longer than just about anybody. There are only seven pitchers who have won more games than Clemens and Spahn is the only one of those from beyond the deadball era. Granted, wins aren't always the best measurement of a pitcher, but when you get into those kinds of numbers it's tough to ignore. I think Clemens beats Gibson and I don't even think it's that close.

Cyclone792
01-06-2007, 05:41 PM
Clemens blows Gibson away as far as I'm concerned. The Rocket is easily one of the top five pitchers in the history of the game, and he's most likely one of the top two or three pitchers ever alongside Walter Johnson and Lefty Grove. Gibson was also a truly great pitcher, but he falls short of Clemens, and I'd place him around 10th all-time.

Pedro's peak was quite simply amazing, but I'd still take Walter Johnson's peak.


Johnson Martinez

Season 1913 2000
ERA+ 259 285
Innings 346.0 217.0
MLB IP Rank 1st 10+

Season 1912 1999
ERA+ 240 245
Innings 369.0 213.1
MLB IP Rank 2nd 10+

Season 1918 1997
ERA+ 214 221
Innings 326.0 241.1
MLB IP Rank 2nd 6th

Season 1919 2003
ERA+ 214 212
Innings 290.1 186.2
MLB IP Rank 6th 10+

Season 1915 2002
ERA+ 191 196
Innings 336.2 199.1
MLB IP Rank 3rd 10+

Season 1910 2001
ERA+ 183 189
Innings 370.0 116.2
MLB IP Rank 1st DNQ

Walter Johnson had a Pedro Martinez type of dominance when he was pitching, and he was also either leading or among the league leaders in innings during each of his peak seasons. Martinez only found that list once in 1997.

I'll take the combination of Walter's dominance and durability over Pedro. That's not a slight to Pedro, though, as I think he's darn close. And if someone is darn close to Walter Johnson, that's not bad.

camisadelgolf
01-06-2007, 05:47 PM
I'll go with Clemens, too--Gibson's career WHIP of 1.51 was a big turnoff, and at best, Gibson was just a serviceable mop-up pitcher who lacked control.

Will M
01-06-2007, 06:09 PM
I'll go with Clemens, too--Gibson's career WHIP of 1.51 was a big turnoff, and at best, Gibson was just a serviceable mop-up pitcher who lacked control.

what???

Gibson's career WHIP was 1.19

And he is one of the greatest pitchers of all time.

Will M
01-06-2007, 06:10 PM
Clemens is a mercenary who was a #4 starter when he finally won a World Series with the Yankees.

Gibson was a great pitcher. Clutch. KEY contributer when his team won the world series. WAY better hitter and fielder and WAY WAY better teammate.

Will M
01-06-2007, 06:14 PM
p.s. and slightly off topic -

one thing to consider when comparing modern players to older players is the massive advancements in surgery of the last 25 years or so.

Small tears of ligaments and tendons and muscles get fixed and allow a player to play on. Arthroscopy is much less invasive than the old fashioned scalpel. Even players with injuries that would have ended a career years ago can be fixed - even if the player isn't the same dominant player he was he still may be able to compete in the bigs ( Orel Hershiser, Griffey )

vaticanplum
01-06-2007, 06:20 PM
p.s. and slightly off topic -

one thing to consider when comparing modern players to older players is the massive advancements in surgery of the last 25 years or so.

Small tears of ligaments and tendons and muscles get fixed and allow a player to play on. Arthroscopy is much less invasive than the old fashioned scalpel. Even players with injuries that would have ended a career years ago can be fixed - even if the player isn't the same dominant player he was he still may be able to compete in the bigs ( Orel Hershiser, Griffey )

I actually think that most of these variables even themselves out. If you're referring to pitchers now being able to last longer, modern pitchers are now facing better hitters who themselves are more complete and longer-lasting because of medical advancements. Not to mention steroids and improved eyesight.

camisadelgolf
01-06-2007, 06:26 PM
what???

Gibson's career WHIP was 1.19

And he is one of the greatest pitchers of all time.

Listen, although the Brewers struggled a bit in the mid-80s, I don't think Bob Gibson would be enough to turn any team around. I think we're just going to have to disagree.

RANDY IN INDY
01-06-2007, 06:47 PM
Listen, although the Brewers struggled a bit in the mid-80s, I don't think Bob Gibson would be enough to turn any team around. I think we're just going to have to disagree.


Real clever.:rolleyes:

cincinnati chili
01-06-2007, 07:11 PM
With all due respect, unless "best pitcher" is determined by a pitcher's single best year, Gibson doesn't touch Clemens.

If you look at Clemens relative to ERA league average, he scores a career 144 (100 being average), while Gibson scores a 127. So it's hard to argue that relative to his era Gibson was better.

If you're not a "relative to era" person, then Clemens wins in a rout, as the hitters he's faced are substantially better athletes with typically better approaches in the batters box.

IslandRed
01-06-2007, 08:40 PM
Lost in the fable of Bob Gibson is that he pitched two lackluster game sevens in the World Series. He won one and lost the other. Great pitcher, one of the best in history, but hardly an automatic win.

I agree that Clemens is a better overall pitcher, but it's hard to me to think of a guy who was better in the postseason than Gibson: 7-2 in nine World Series starts. More impressive: 9 GS, 81 IP. Even in the 1960s, for a guy to take the ball in games 1, 4 and 7, go the full nine each time, and do that in three separate World Series? That's just absurd, in the good way.

IslandRed
01-06-2007, 08:43 PM
Addendum: Gibson actually went games 2, 5 and 7 in 1964. He won Game 7 despite giving up five runs, but he went the distance on two days' rest. That's pretty solid IMO.

Chip R
01-06-2007, 09:54 PM
M2, Pedro Martinez in his prime was the greatest pitcher in the history of baseball if you ask me. He was absolutely disgustingly better than everyone else for a while.


Can't disagree with you here.

George Foster
01-06-2007, 09:59 PM
Clemens has dominated during the expansion years, which has no doubt watered down baseball. There are 150-200 players in MLB today that would not be playing when Gibson was pitching. I give the nod to Gibson.

terminator
01-06-2007, 10:32 PM
If you look at Clemens relative to ERA league average, he scores a career 144 (100 being average), while Gibson scores a 127. So it's hard to argue that relative to his era Gibson was better.

Just curious, is the "relative ERA" number an absolute or relative difference? I.e. if the league ERA is 2.50 and a pitcher has a 2.00 ERA, he's 20% better than league average. If the league average is 5.00 and a pitcher has a 4.00 ERA, he's 20% better than average. Would they have the same relative ERA rating or is one +50 and the other +100?

RBA
01-07-2007, 12:41 AM
Clemens.

Spring~Fields
01-07-2007, 01:18 AM
I would love to see the impossible, a matchup between those two in their prime.

cincinnati chili
01-07-2007, 04:14 AM
Just curious, is the "relative ERA" number an absolute or relative difference? I.e. if the league ERA is 2.50 and a pitcher has a 2.00 ERA, he's 20% better than league average. If the league average is 5.00 and a pitcher has a 4.00 ERA, he's 20% better than average. Would they have the same relative ERA rating or is one +50 and the other +100?


good question and not sure.

Copying definition from baseball-reference.com:

ERA+ - the ratio of the league's ERA (adjusted to the pitcher's ballpark) to that of the pitcher. > 100 is above average and < 100 is below average. lgERA / ERA

Either way, it's not all that close.

IMO, if you're going to make an argument for Gibson, you argue innings in his peak seasons. It's understandable that his ERA took a bit of a hit, because he got less relief than Clemens from his pen.

For the record, in his last baseball abstract, Bill James rated Gibson the 9th best pitcher in history. He ranked Clemens 11th.

Since then, Clemens has won 88 more games. I have to think he's moved up quite a bit. Maybe over everybody.

RedsBaron
01-07-2007, 03:21 PM
Lost in the fable of Bob Gibson is that he pitched two lackluster game sevens in the World Series. He won one and lost the other. Great pitcher, one of the best in history, but hardly an automatic win.



Gibson actually pitched three game sevens, in the 1964, 1967 and 1968 World Series, going 2-1, and he wasn't really "lackluster" in any of those games.
It is true that he gave up 5 runs in game seven of 1964, which sounds like an Eric Milton effort, but he was pitching on only two days rest. Gibson shutout the Yankees for the first five innings of the game. Then, up 6-0, he did surrender a three run HR to Mickey Mantle in the top of the sixth. That's about the point in the game that Clemens or Pedro would've made his exit. Instead, Gibson labored on, and took a 7-3 lead into the ninth. He gave up two HRs in the ninth, but finished with a complete game victory to give St. Louis the win, 7-5, and the World Series. For the game, Gibson struck out nine. For the Series, he fanned 31, with two complete games and a 3.00 ERA; he was voted the World Series MVP.
In 1967, Gibson threw three complete games, going 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA and 26 Ks. He again won game seven, this time 7-2. He again was voted MVP.
In 1968, Gibson again pitched three complete games, going 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA and 35 Ks. Twice he outdueled Denny McLain, a 31 game winner. Gibson did lose game seven, 4-1, but even then he tossed six shutout innings. In the seventh inning, with two outs, Gibson gave up a 2 run triple to Jim Northrup to break up a scoreless tie. The hit by Northrup was scored as a triple, but the ball was misplayed by Gold Glove centerfielder Curt Flood--but for that miscue, Gibson would've taken a shutout into the ninth. Perfect? No. Lackluster? Not in my book.
All that said, based upon career performance, Clemens clearly ranks ahead of Gibson, and by that measure was the greater pitcher. However, if my life depended upon the outcome of game seven of the World Series, picking Gibson over Clemens as my starting pitcher would be an easy decision to make.

Chip R
01-07-2007, 05:32 PM
I asked a few people this question last year: I think it was something like 7th game of the World Series. Who is your starting pitcher assuming each is in their prime: Clemens, Pedro or Maddux?

RedsBaron
01-07-2007, 06:31 PM
I asked a few people this question last year: I think it was something like 7th game of the World Series. Who is your starting pitcher assuming each is in their prime: Clemens, Pedro or Maddux?

Koufax.

dougdirt
01-07-2007, 06:48 PM
I asked a few people this question last year: I think it was something like 7th game of the World Series. Who is your starting pitcher assuming each is in their prime: Clemens, Pedro or Maddux?

Give me Pedro from 2000. 0.74 WHIP, an ERA 3.20 lower than the League Average, 5.31 hits/9, 1.33 bb/9, 11.78 k/9.....I just dont think you can compete with that. Its absolutely absurd how ridiculous that season was for him....

westofyou
01-07-2007, 07:22 PM
With all due respect, unless "best pitcher" is determined by a pitcher's single best year, Gibson doesn't touch Clemens.

If you look at Clemens relative to ERA league average, he scores a career 144 (100 being average), while Gibson scores a 127. So it's hard to argue that relative to his era Gibson was better.

Gibson vs the league in a pitching era .068 better then the league

Clemens vs the league in ERA in a hitting era 1.29 better then the league.

M2
01-07-2007, 07:30 PM
Gibson actually pitched three game sevens, in the 1964, 1967 and 1968 World Series, going 2-1, and he wasn't really "lackluster" in any of those games.
It is true that he gave up 5 runs in game seven of 1964, which sounds like an Eric Milton effort, but he was pitching on only two days rest. Gibson shutout the Yankees for the first five innings of the game. Then, up 6-0, he did surrender a three run HR to Mickey Mantle in the top of the sixth. That's about the point in the game that Clemens or Pedro would've made his exit. Instead, Gibson labored on, and took a 7-3 lead into the ninth. He gave up two HRs in the ninth, but finished with a complete game victory to give St. Louis the win, 7-5, and the World Series. For the game, Gibson struck out nine. For the Series, he fanned 31, with two complete games and a 3.00 ERA; he was voted the World Series MVP.
In 1967, Gibson threw three complete games, going 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA and 26 Ks. He again won game seven, this time 7-2. He again was voted MVP.
In 1968, Gibson again pitched three complete games, going 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA and 35 Ks. Twice he outdueled Denny McLain, a 31 game winner. Gibson did lose game seven, 4-1, but even then he tossed six shutout innings. In the seventh inning, with two outs, Gibson gave up a 2 run triple to Jim Northrup to break up a scoreless tie. The hit by Northrup was scored as a triple, but the ball was misplayed by Gold Glove centerfielder Curt Flood--but for that miscue, Gibson would've taken a shutout into the ninth. Perfect? No. Lackluster? Not in my book.
All that said, based upon career performance, Clemens clearly ranks ahead of Gibson, and by that measure was the greater pitcher. However, if my life depended upon the outcome of game seven of the World Series, picking Gibson over Clemens as my starting pitcher would be an easy decision to make.

Four runs in 1968 was like 10 in 2006. You've got to adjust for inflation. He had runs to work with in 1964. It's the difference between blazing into the history books as an indomitable workhose vs. being a guy who gave up five runs on three homers. Such is the stuff of legends.

To his credit, six of his nine postseason starts, including all three in 1967, were stellar. But his offense won him one game 7 and Mickey Lolich out-pitched him in another. If you had to hand a ball to a guy to win one game, Bob Gibson would be an awfully good choice, but I'd give him some runs to work with too.

RANDY IN INDY
01-07-2007, 08:28 PM
Koufax.

:beerme:

Cyclone792
01-07-2007, 10:35 PM
I asked a few people this question last year: I think it was something like 7th game of the World Series. Who is your starting pitcher assuming each is in their prime: Clemens, Pedro or Maddux?

Pedro's 2000 season is probably greater than any single season among that trio, and Pedro also likely has a slight edge in peak value (five best seasons) over the other two. Clemens and Maddux have a massive edge over Pedro in career value, which is why in terms of overall greatness (career value + peak value), I rank both Clemens and Maddux higher than Pedro.

I will say this ...

Many baseball fans likely haven't realized this yet, especially due to the offensive boom of the last dozen years, but fans have been privileged to watch four of the greatest pitchers in baseball history during the last 10-20 years. Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, and Randy Johnson are among the elite of the elite as far as pitchers go, and it's likely all of them rank among the game's top dozen or so pitchers in baseball history.

Goten
01-09-2007, 12:59 AM
This isn't close. Clemens statistically is one of the three greatest pitchers ever - Infact, only Walter Johnson has a good statistical case over Clemens. Cyyoung has a decent one, but ERA adjustments make me choose Clemens. The ones voting for Gibson won't admit it, but they are docking Clemens because of allegations of steroid use, which is ridiculous, because nothing's been proven. We also don't know if Gibson was experimenting with any PED'S himself.

RFS62
01-09-2007, 07:43 AM
Koufax.

Absolutely

vic715
01-10-2007, 12:55 PM
Koufax.

No doubt. You can take all the ERA's and WHIP's you want. If There was a game that I had to win and my life depended on me winning it Koufax is the man.

Team Clark
01-10-2007, 03:02 PM
This one is really tough. I will have to go with Clemens. It came down longevity and how good Clemens has performed into his forties. Gibson is great. One of the greatest ever. He was dominant and played in a much different game he only has a sub 3.00 ERA 7 times in 17 Seasons compared to Clemens' 12 in 23 seasons. Clemens has 3 after turning 40. You can make a legitimate case for each and be right.

Team Clark
01-10-2007, 03:03 PM
Absolutely

I'll second and third that!:beerme:

Jpup
01-10-2007, 03:06 PM
Clemens is the answer and it doesn't matter what the question is, IMO. He's the greatest I have ever watched.

ThatPitchIsDunn
01-10-2007, 03:49 PM
This is a little off-topic, but regarding Cyclone's stat post side by side with Johnson and Martinez.....Big Train threw 369 innings in 1912 and was second to someone. And as I look it up, it's Big Ed Walsh (Were all pitchers nicknamed Big back then?) with 393. That's not even Big Ed's most innings pitched in a season; do I really see 464 innings in 1908? My gracious.


I digress; I give the career edge to Clemens, but I think I'd want Gibson for one game. He scares the (bleep) out of me.