Tale of Two Pitchers

Kershaw GreinkeOldHossSweeney

Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke combine to be one of the best starting pitcher duos ever.  Many people have referred to them as Ace #1 and Ace #1A.  Of course, another great pitching duo for the Dodgers was Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.  How do Kershaw and Greinke compare to Koufax and Drysdale?  Are there other historical duos that have put up numbers similar or better than these Dodger Duos?

Look at the following statistics:  Won-Loss record, ERA, FIP (fielding independent pitching), WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched), and total innings pitched for the season.  Kershaw and Greinke’s numbers are shown for the 2015 season so far, obviously less than a full season.  All other duos are shown for a full season.  I researched pitching duos that have low WHIP’s, in other words, both starting pitchers were very good at keeping runners off the base paths.

W-L   ERA   FIP   WHIP    IP     Year   Name                     Team

9-6    2.37  2.12  0.912  148   2015  Clayton Kershaw   Dodgers
11-2  1.71  2.62  0.853  152   2015  Zack Greinke         Dodgers

26-8  2.04  1.93  0.855  335  1965  Sandy Koufax        Dodgers
23-12 2.77  3.18  1.090  308  1965  Don Drysdale        Dodgers

17-8  2.40  2.60  1.027  232  2011  Cliff Lee                  Phillies
14-9  2.79  3.05  0.986  216  2011  Cole Hamels          Phillies

20-4  2.26  2.24  0.923  199  2002  Pedro Martinez      Red Sox
21-8  2.58  2.34  0.974  219  2002  Derek Lowe           Red Sox

18-9  2.22  2.81  0.980  251  1998  Greg Maddux         Braves
20-9  2.47  3.50  1.203  229  1998  Tom Glavine           Braves

22-9  1.12  1.77  0.853  304   1968  Bob Gibson           Cardinals
14-8  2.26  2.45  1.105  215   1968  Ray Washburn      Cardinals

31-6  1.96  2.53  0.905  336   1968  Denny McLain       Tigers
17-9  3.19  2.99  1.105  220   1968  Mickey Lolich         Tigers

29-9  1.47  1.87  0.842  312   1908  Mordecai Brown     Cubs
12-10 2.00  2.19 1.087  252   1908  Jack Pfiester           Cubs

39-24 1.74  2.10  0.918  595   1880  John Ward            Grays
13-8   1.38  2.21  0.837  196   1880  George Bradley    Grays

59-12 1.38  2.75  0.922  678  1884  Old Hoss Radbourn  Grays
17-8   1.55  2.59  0.824  221  1884  Charlie Sweeney      Grays


So, here are the rankings based on the straight average of each duo’s WHIP:

  1.  Radbourn/Sweeney 0.873
  2. Ward/Bradley  0.878
  3. Kershaw/Greinke 0.883
  4. Martinez/Lowe 0.948
  5. Brown/Pfiester 0.965
  6. Koufax/Drysdale 0.973
  7. Gibson/Washburn 0.979
  8. McLain/Lolich 1.005
  9. Lee/Hamels 1.007  [note:  Halladay was at 1.040]
  10. Maddux/Glavine 1.092


I may have missed some that should be in the top ten.  I don’t think that I missed any that would beat the top three, however.  Kershaw and Greinke, should they keep it up throughout the end of the season, will be in some rare company.

Story Time

Who were Old Hoss and Charlie?  Why did Charlie Sweeney have much fewer innings pitched than did Old Hoss Radbourn?  How in the world did Old Hoss amass a record of 59-12?  What happened to Charlie?

Not that I was there, but here’s the story.  Old Hoss was 29 years old in 1884 and had already been pitching for the Providence Grays since 1881, starting when he was an “old” 26 years of age.  In 1884, he would proclaim “Old Hoss is ready”, after he warmed up for each game.  Charlie Sweeney was just a 21 year old whippersnapper, and he had gotten his start with the Grays in the previous year, pitching in just 20 games.  Back in the 1880’s, professional baseball teams would usually have a starting rotation of just two pitchers, as teams would play anywhere from 80 to 110 games per season.

So Old Hoss and Charlie were the starting rotation for Providence.  Early in the 1884 season, Charlie was pitching better than Old Hoss.  In fact, on June 7, 1884, Charlie struck out nineteen batters, which set a major league record.  [That record would stand for 102 years until Roger Clemens struck out twenty batters in one game.]  Old Hoss was not a happy camper.

On July 21, 1884, Charlie got really drunk the night before one of his starts.  He showed up too late for practice, but in time to start his game.  The manager wanted to take him out after five innings.  Charlie refused to yield, then finally quit the team after the manager insisted on removing him after the seventh inning.

Old Hoss told the manager that he would take on Charlie’s duties for the remainder of the season, if he was paid both his salary and Charlie’s salary.  The manager agreed, Old Hoss wound up winning a major league record 59 games, and Providence won the pennant.  Old Hoss went on to pitch every inning of a three game exhibition series against the American Association pennant winner, New York Metropolitans.

What about Charlie?  Charlie moved to St Louis and the Union Association league, and finished the season with a 24-7 Win-Loss record for the Maroons.  What a Maroon!


134 Responses to Tale of Two Pitchers

  1. crash24now says:

    Side note: The Maroons won the pennant in the Union Association league.

  2. crash24now says:


    Rollins SS
    Kendrick 2B
    Gonzalez 1B
    Ethier LF
    Grandal C
    Puig RF
    Callaspo 3B
    Pederson CF
    Kershaw P

  3. Dodger4life says:

    Nice job, crash.

  4. crash24now says:

    Second side note: Old Hoss hit .230 for the Grays in 1884. Charlie outdid him with the bat, hitting .298

    I’d like to see the bat flip!

  5. The Beav says:

    Nice write-up Crash!

    49-10 will get you a WS ring 99 times out of a hundred I’d imagine.

  6. oldbrooklynfan says:

    Well the Dodgers play a contender this weekend. Go Kershaw.
    Nice story on top, Crash.

  7. crash24now says:

    Justin Turner may be out until Thursday.

  8. crash24now says:

    Kershaw got lit up by Polanco. Pirates 1-0

  9. oldbrooklynfan says:

    We don’t have to worry about any streak tonight.

  10. crash24now says:

    Yeah, let’s get some runs and win the game.

  11. crash24now says:

    Howie comes through with a 2-RBI single! Rollins put himself in scoring position with the stolen base.

    It’s about time Donnie started to use the running game again.

  12. trublu4ever says:

    Just want you all to know I’m still here. Having computer problems and don’t like posting from my phone too much. Go Dodgers!

  13. Dodger4life says:

    I overslept my nap… I’m tuned in now though.

  14. JhallWally says:

    Awesome post Crash!!

    Let’s Go Dodgers!!! Get some runs.

  15. Zonadodger says:

    This bp wow..So disappointing

  16. oldbrooklynfan says:

    So we’re not the only team that has trouble with the bases loaded.

  17. JhallWally says:

    Bonus Baseball!! Let’s Go Dodgers!!

  18. Dodger4life says:

    Johnson sucks!!

  19. JhallWally says:

    KA-BOOM!!! The bullpen blows another one.. Geez!!!

  20. oldbrooklynfan says:

    Well, we’re still 3 games up.

  21. 32and53fan says:

    Nice post Crash.
    Bummer to let this game get away.

  22. The Beav says:

    Think the FO better make the bullpen a priority this off season.

  23. griz says:

    Outstanding post, crash!
    Not the result we wanted, but what-the-hell. Even Koufax had his bad days in a pennant race.
    I think from here on in Rollins will be a key part to this offense’s success or failure. I’m voting for success.

    • oldbrooklynfan says:

      I agree Rollins is playing a big part in this second half. I think picking up Grandal, Kendrick and Rollins was a shrewd move by the FO this passed off season.

  24. Dodger4life says:

    …Latos and Liriano.

  25. Dodger4life says:

    Johnsons turning into a failed addition.

  26. Dodger4life says:

    Rollins SS
    Kendrick 2B
    Gonzalez 1B
    Van Slyke LF
    Puig RF
    Hernandez CF
    Ellis C
    Guerrero 3B
    Latos P

  27. koufax1963 says:

    and it seemed like the pirates were offering the game away, poor hitting from an unusual cast, A-gon and Grandal. Just one of theose days. The pirates loaded the bases three times, cant expect hold off that, but they scored on a walk only util the 3rd time in the 10th. This Johnson guy now has two dings with me, hasnt done anything I like! This team is a good test. Wasnt there a Baez or something else rather than have Johnson pitch two innings?
    Ok Lets go get the win today.

  28. Dodger4life says:

    Luis Avilan
    Pedro Baez
    J.P. Howell
    Kenley Jansen
    Jim Johnson
    Juan Nicasio
    Joel Peralta
    Where do you use these guy’s, and when?

  29. messagebear says:

    Well, Johnson was a closer, so that immediately resonates with Donnie, and Johnson will have to continue to fail for some time before Donnie gives up and tries something else. Today we have obviously another righty lineup, and I’m sick of Donnie’s automatic change of lineups caused by the opposition’s selection of pitcher rather than who has the hot bat at the moment. Of course, I’m old fashioned from the days of the 50’s and 60’s when right hand batters and left hand batters just had their place in the lineup and performed pretty much equally well no matter whom they faced on the mound. So, I think that today’s wholesale maneuvers, and particularly Donnie’s efforts in that respect, to just largely change the lineup for the side from which the pitches are thrown is total crap. It diminishes the careers of many otherwise worthy players, because they never get much chance to develop their hitting for the other side of the plate. I don’t think they go through the minors restricted that way – Ethier comes to mind in particular. At one time he used to hit left-handers pretty well, but then our management decided that he couldn’t, and by God now he can’t – what they call a self-fulfilling prophecy. I think VanSlyke is being misused in the same respect and could be an all the time useful major leaguer somewhere else. Donnie probably isn’t the only one who practices this management technique, but he is the most stubborn in its implementation.

    • oldbrooklynfan says:

      It’s easy to know what will happen to the lineup when the Dodgers are schedule to face a lefthander. Especially when it comes to Ethier & Pederson.

  30. Dodger4life says:

    Gid-Gid, Giddy Up!

  31. The Beav says:

    Puig couldn’t hit his way out of a wet paper bag with a razor blade bat.

  32. The Beav says:

    Sure am glad Ellis is playing instead of someone that can hit.

  33. crash24now says:


    Can get on base. Check
    Can run the basepaths. Check.
    Can hit with RISP. Check

    TIe score.

  34. crash24now says:

    Get Latos to play right field. This guy can hit.

  35. crash24now says:

    A-Gon hitting with RISP.

  36. crash24now says:

    Crap! 3-run HR by the opposing pitcher!

  37. Dodger4life says:

    Kiki connected!!

  38. The Beav says:

    Perfect opportunity to put some distance between themselves and the Giants, and this team is so pucking fathetic they can’t do anything but play their usual mediocre game.

  39. vl4eccjr says:

    Good afternoon ladies & germs!
    Latos sure did peg the old suck-o-meter today!

  40. koufax1963 says:

    Just wondering if those of that watched the game yesterday, how kruk was constantly critiquing the swing of Joc, saying his hip is flying out and that is a reason he cannot adjust, my question here is, if a seasoned player, who is now announcing , can figure out what Joc’s hitting problem is , then why cant the entire dodgers coaching staff can get Joc going in the right direction.????
    This game , Holy smoke, it looks like a repeat of yesterday, only this time A-gon is hitting and J-roll isn’t.

  41. Dodger4life says:

    All we need are three little runs.

  42. crash24now says:

    Van Slyke keeps us alive.

  43. vl4eccjr says:

    Puig was safe!!!

  44. vl4eccjr says:


    • oldbrooklynfan says:

      No he as out. At least what I saw on the Pirate telecast.

      • vl4eccjr says:

        Fox telecast clearly showed the angle where the 1st Base mans foot came off the bag prior to the catch. His foot did not get back on the bag in time. From the other angle with the white cleats, you can’t tell.

  45. oldbrooklynfan says:

    We actually gain another day on the Giants.

  46. The Beav says:

    Pretty much the ending you’d expect from these assholes. Can’t even put the ball in play.

  47. koufax1963 says:

    what a weird game, the challenges: dodgers couldnt win, and because donnie shot his and lost, another facet of the game we lost, oh and I will point out the Dodgers Bull pen did not allow a run.
    Pirates are good, not taking anything away from them, Dodgers arent there, waiting for the cyclindrs to all be firing together, lots of inconsistency in the line up….. GO Dodgers ESPN SUNDAY NIGHT GAME! (I just dont want kruk to talk about JOc’s hitting)

  48. oldbrooklynfan says:

    All I can say is that they were two hard fought games and the Dodgers came very close to winning in both of them. Luckily, of course, the Giants are having just as much trouble with the Cubs. No doubt these teams are hard to beat.
    Let’s face it, they’re good.———-Let’s hope we can avoid a sweep tomorrow night.

  49. messagebear says:

    Not often that I get to watch the game on TV, but saw it on FS1. It was also exciting to see a genuine playoff quality team in action.

  50. crash24now says:

    Bitchin’ throw by Puig from right field to second base!

  51. JhallWally says:

    Pathetic effort!! Latos sucked!! 11 LOB is unacceptable!!

  52. Dodger4life says:

    The Pirates are a good team!!

    The Pirates may sweep us!!

  53. The Beav says:

    Best wake-up call in the world for this FO would be to be overtaken by the Giants for the division then lose the WC game against another team that shouldn’t be in the playoffs either.

    FO to do list this offseason: 1. Get rid of Donnie, McGwire and Bundy; 2. Get a bullpen; 3. Get some guys that can actually make contact with the ball.

    • oldbrooklynfan says:

      All wild card teams belong in the postseason. You seem to dislike wild card winners for some reason, Beav.

      • The Beav says:

        I totally disdain the wild card OBF. All it is to me is a gimmick to extract more money from the fans by allowing more teams into the postseason that don’t deserve to be there because they didn’t win their division. What’s the point in playing 162 games and being the best in your division if the team behind you can play slightly above average ball, lose the division by 8-10 games, and still waltz it into the playoffs? It isn’t fair to the teams that proved over the long haul they deserve to be there. Then you get average teams that get hot like the Giants and Royals last year that play for it all when they shouldn’t have even been there in the first place. And now there’s the second wildcard spot which lets in an even poorer team.

        Back before the league expanded to 30 teams, you had the east and the west and you had to win the division to play for the pennant. It should be the same now. There were some pretty decent teams back then that finished second, but that was their fault for not playing better over the course of 162 games. When you allow lesser teams to be in the playoffs it renders the season moot. Look at hockey and basketball. Why play the season when it only eliminates about half the league?

        If its a problem of 15 teams in each league, then either expand to 32 and have eight 4-team divisions, or play a double elimination tourney like college. I want winning the division to actually mean something again.

        • messagebear says:

          I too hate the wild cards.

        • oldbrooklynfan says:

          I totally disagree. The wild card team deserves to be in the postseason, even more now than before since the wild card game has added an extra hurdle for them. Most of the time their won and loss record is either equal or better than some of the division winners. I am against a four division set up because there is a very good chance of having a weaker team in the postseason.

    • messagebear says:

      All three would be good. I’d even settle for #1 for starters. It might surprise us how that could shake up the team and mold a different team attitude all together.

      • The Beav says:

        If nothing else bear, that’s what this team needs is a change in attitude. Other than Kersh and Greinke, I don’t see anyone get upset when they lose. The attitude change needs to start at the top, and it doesn’t seem Donnie cares all that much one way or another. It would be nice to see a manager that can inspire a player to be better than he thinks he can be. Lasorda did that. I doubt Hershiser would’ve been anywhere near the pitcher he was if Donnie had been his manager. How many times have we seen a good player come here and suck? There’s no winning attitude, just a bunch of horsing around with bubbles or bananas and a blasé, well we’ll just get them tomorrow instead.

        They need some no nonsense, play the game fundamentally sound, put the ball in play leadership. Until they get that they’ll never win anything.

  54. Dodger4life says:

    Did I hear, wake-up call???

  55. oldbrooklynfan says:

    I don’t think it makes any difference, if the Dodgers get in as division winners or via the wild card. Why do people belittle the wild card?

  56. Dodger4life says:

    Go Cubs!!

  57. Dodger4life says:

    Rollins SS
    Kendrick 2B
    Gonzalez 1B
    Ethier RF
    Grandal C
    Crawford LF
    Callaspo 3B
    Pederson CF
    Wood P

  58. The Beav says:

    What’s with all the SBs tonight? Donnie finally discover he’s in the NL?

  59. oldbrooklynfan says:

    Another tough game.

  60. oldbrooklynfan says:

    This night is almost over.

  61. oldbrooklynfan says:

    Well, just one of those one sided nights.

  62. griz says:

    Johnson has been quite a find.

  63. oldbrooklynfan says:

    I think things will be better when the Dodgers get back home.

  64. Dodger4life says:

    Donnie just watched as Johnson gave up 8 runs.

  65. JhallWally says:

    Un-Freaking-Acceptable!!! Good Grief!! At least it didn’t matter that Dildon brought in Peralta in a lost cause. What in the hell is wrong with Johnson? He was a decent if not above average reliever before we got him…. We will probably find out that Johnson is injured.. Way to go FO.

  66. griz says:

    Now what? Obviously you regroup and have another go at it back in LA, but the overhaul of the pitching staff sure doesn’t make me confident going forward. So…what kind of roster/waiver moves are available to us now?

  67. The Beav says:

    Even Ned’s acquisitions weren’t this bad. And leave it to Donnie to keep trotting them out there.

    But Donnie still believes in this team.

    Glad someone does because I sure as hell don’t.

    • JhallWally says:

      If they keep playing their current brand of uninspired baseball, they will not make the playoffs… I agree Beav, Ned did this well with almost no money. These no it alls have unlimited money and this is what they put out there… Pathetic!!!

  68. Dodger4life says:

    Inning 7 and the game is tied with two outs. Honeycutt has already been to the mound. Your pitcher has beaned a guy and given up 3 singles, while allowing 2 runs. Again the game in which you lead, 5 minutes ago, is now tied. What does Donnie do??

    • Dodger4life says:

      He becomes a spectator as he watches Johnson serve up a well hit ball to center. (Runners on 1st and second)

      • Dodger4life says:

        With Howell in the bully and seemingly ready to go, Grandal and Johnson have a mound meeting, you know, because Donnie has become a spectator.

        • Dodger4life says:

          Donnie then watches Johnson get cute with Polanco and run the count on him to full…whoops! I mean ball 4, the bases are loaded…

  69. oldbrooklynfan says:

    I hope the Dodgers do better against the Nats because the Mets fans will never let me hear the end of it. The Dodgers will probably get more coverage in the New York newspapers since their games will be important to the Mets.

  70. koufax1963 says:

    The first two games of the series were entertaining and fought hard.
    I knew the Pirates were a good team. Last night the dodgers came out swinging, made 5-1, then Mr. MVP puts one out 5-3 (cant fault being beat by a legit MVP, unlike Liriano’s HR), What really is troubling is the way Donnie let Johnson continue to throw, Not Pitch, there is something Kasten should go talk to Donnie about, including his contract continuing. Even losing the lead to 6-5 made the game still in reach, but that johnson was stuck, and no help. Shit with the late game and travel west (who schedules such suff?) the dodgers will be flat for Monday. and looking at the gnats they at least put up a 9th inning fight, which puts them one better than the Dodgers.
    Im not sorry, but I have tried to make the players on the field responsible for the game, but Last night the dodgers had it going until the 7th, but donnie didnt pull the alarm, didnt think, Im already thinking we have to have two relievers warming in close game from the 7th on, but Donnie? I just dont get it, give donnie the loss. the curb and a plane ticket back to Indiana, He is DFA; which does not mean Designated For Assignment this time!

  71. griz says:

    The worse thing about the fiasco in Pittsburgh is Kendrick will no doubt be out for a while.
    I think Ned must be laughing up his sleeve a little bit. The reasoning behind the moves at the deadline and the new players acquired all made sense at the time, but three of the four new pitchers look to be duds so far. Lucky for us the giants also chose to make the NL West look like a bunch of dip-s***s. Can’t blame the bat rack this time. They scored enough to win behind a real pitching staff.

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