This is much more difficult than the hitting/fielding teams. Why? Well, I’m pretty sure you could put together 4 complete pitching staffs of 10 pitchers and you’d be hard pressed to be able to argue one more definitively over the next. So what I’m going to do is build a rotation that could be one of these “best” groups, by having a variety of types and guys that I would absolutely want to go into a series with. So what would this rotation look like? Well for one, I’m not using middle relief. There will be 9 starters an 1 closer. In addition, post-season prowess, intimidation and downright bias will all factor into some of these decisions. So here we go:
1. Walter Johnson – I could wow you with his 36 win, 240+ K, & 1.14 ERA season, but the one that I love the most is the season that he won 20 games and batted .400. At that rate, I might just use my DH to hit for Johnny Bench instead of the pitcher.
2. Satchel Paige – The greatest Negro Leagues pitcher ever. Oh, and he was able to pitch in the major leagues up until he was nearly 60 year old. That is utterly ridiculous. And was he up for clutch situations? The story goes that one day he intentionally walked two batters in the ninth inning to load the bases just so he could face Josh Gibson (a.k.a. the greatest Negro Leagues home run hitter). And he struck Gibson out on three straight fastballs.
3. Greg Maddux – Every rotation needs the most cerebral pitcher of all time, as well as the winningest pitcher in major league history. Mad Dog never took a game off and put up a sub 1.60 ERA one season… DURING THE STEROID ERA!
4. Tom Seaver – 2 World Series appearances, 3 Cy Young Awards, Rookie of the Year…and the token New Yorker on my team.
5. Bob Gibson – The King of Intimidation. He’d drill you with a pitch if he thought you wore footed pajamas as a child. Oh, and he was so dominant that they lowered the pitching mound to try to help out all of the hitters! (Of course, I want to know how you lose 9 games in a season where you pitched 28 complete games and had a 1.12 ERA!?!)
6. Sandy Koufax – Over a 4 year span he averaged over 27 wins, won 3 strikeout titles, 3 shutout titles, and had a sub 2.00 ERA.
7. Randy Johnson – He’s scared a man who beat cancer senseless, killed a bird in flight, and been voted the ugliest player in major league baseball. Oh, and he’s struck out over 3,000. And in two particular post-seasons he had one with 3 wins in 7 games, and another with 2 wins in 3 games pitching the clutch extra innings on 1 day of rest.
8. Cy Young – I’m simply going to go on name recognition here.
9. John Smoltz – Absolutely the most dominant post-season pitcher. Ever. I want him on the mound every game seven. And the 200+ wins and 150+ saves is fairly amazing.
10. Mariano Rivera – In his prime, Rivera was positively untouchable. I don’t even feel like I need to make a defense here.
So there you have it. I’ll take this crew against anything you can come up with.