Friday, May 05, 2006

Help ESPN get it right

The people at ESPN got loose with a little survey listing the 10 best living pitchers. Allegedly the network asked it’s baseball analysts, announcers, writers and other contributors to compile the rankings.

Apparently they had to restrain Verducci and Klapisch because while there are only two Yankees on the list, Jeter isn’t one of them.

Oh sure, Jeter’s not a pitcher. You think that would stop those guys? "It’s the intangibles, man. He makes all the pitchers better." Whatever. Anyway, here’s the Jeter-less list:

1) Bat-Chucker
2) Tom Seaver (Yes!)
3) Sandy Koufax
4) Bob Gibson
5) Greg Maddux
6) Bob Feller
7) Randy Johnson
8) Pedro! Pedro!
9) Steve Carlton
10) Juan Marichal

What a crock. There are only two Mets on the list. And I suppose we must thank the influence of Mark from the awesome Mets Walkoffs for getting that many on there. But not even he has enough pull to do this properly.

Since he can’t, we will. Now, for your enjoyment, is the proper list of the top 10 living pitchers.

1) Tom Seaver
He is way better than Bat-Chucker. Seaver never gave up six runs in the first inning of an All-Star Game. And he is the closest we’ve ever come to a unanimous Hall of Fame selection, so I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

2) Pedro Martinez
Pedro is so good that Yankee fans claim to have fathered him. You’ve heard that "Who’s your daddy?" chant. They wish. And he threw Yankee mascot Don Zimmer to the ground when it just needed to be done!

3) Tom Glavine
You know Glavine’s going to Cooperstown. I figure that one night he woke up in a cold sweat realizing that he was going to have a Braves cap on his Hall of Fame plaque and needed to get the heck out of Atlanta. Oh, it took Tommy some time to adjust to being in the Apple. But he’s back on track and all is good. And if No. 300 comes in a Mets uniform, that Hall plaque sure will look better.

4) Dwight Gooden
Koufax gets a lot of run because he had four nice seasons before his arm fell off. Well Gooden had four amazing seasons before he had kind of an injury. Of sorts. A self-inflicted one, to be sure. Ah, but 1985 was something to behold.

5) Jerry Koosman
Koosman never got the respect he deserved because he was in Tom Seaver’s shadow. Considering we’ve already anointed Seaver the greatest living pitcher, that’s not bad. He even missed out on a Rookie of the Year award — he was 19-12 with a 2.08 ERA for the last-place Mets in 1968 — because some kid catcher from Cincy put together a decent season. Kooze was so good that he won 20 with the Mets in 1976 when M. Donald was actively trying to screw up the team. Then he went and did it again with the Twins in 1979, which was really impressive. Plus, he’s got one of the coolest autographs.

The former Tidewater Tides cap, worn here by both Gregg Jefferies and Nolan Ryan

6) Nolan Ryan
The ESPN anti-Mets bias was clear on this one. The guy was on the All-Century Team, pitched seven no-nos and is well atop the all-time strikeout list. And none of it would have happened had he not had that great foundation of pitching for the Mets in the early years of his career. The Hall of Fame must have known the Yankee-lovers would have screamed had he been given a Mets cap on his plaque in Cooperstown. So they got a little sneaky and gave him an old Tidewater Tides cap. Only real diehards like you and me know this. But see for yourself.

7) John Franco
Johnny’s the greatest left handed reliever, with 424 career saves. Sure, he usually started the ninth by walking the bases loaded, then got a strike out and double play to get the save. But nobody ever said such things had to be pretty.
8) Al Leiter
It’s a sad story. Al started as a Yankee, escaped and got two rings and tossed a no-no before he staked his claim as a Met. Al pitched well when and he apparently moonlighted as our assistant GM and clubhouse lawyer, which is one of the reasons Scott Kazmir is wearing a Tampa Bay uniform. Then, like so many of us, Al suffered a relapse, seducing Carlos Delgado to become a Marlin instead of a Met then finishing his career as a Yankee.
9) Frank "Sweet Music" Viola
The fact that this Hempstead native managed to survive those early 1990s teams with his reputation in tact alone qualifies him. We endured Vince with his fireworks, Sabes with his bleach, Jeff Torborg with his professional wrestler son ...and Frankie still managed to win 20.

10) Jesse Orosco
Jesse’s glove from the end of Game 7 has yet to land, and Orosco is probably still pitching somewhere, getting that one tough out. You don’t appear in 1,252 games — that’s the most ever for a pitcher, folks — unless you’ve got something special. It can be noted that Orosco worked undercover to sabotage the 2003 Yankees, pitching 4.3 innings over 15 games — think about that for a second — and posted a 10.38 ERA before they caught on to him.

Now that’s more like it!

Hmmm. In scanning this list, it appears that each of these players spent some time with the Mets. A coincidence, I assure you. It’s not like I had Doug Sisk and Mel Rojas on there.

Maybe ESPN will approach people who know what they’re talking about before they compile such a list again.


Metstradamus said...

What, no Bob Ojeda?


G-Fafif said...

At last, a list that makes sense.

Of course the man who brings the Steak n' Shake chili to L.I. always makes sense.

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Ojeda was No. 11.


Anonymous said...

What about David Cone? Coney had a great early career in a Mets uni, only to have it atrished by wearing a Yankee outfit, and pitching a perfect game in it no less. El Sid should be there too, at least to give overweight pitchers and players from Hawaii some hope.

John said...

Hey Dave, How bout them Braves, heh. No offense intended. :)