Numbers Don't Lie, Or Do They? The Tale of Two Relievers

Moving forward, we will be periodically reviewing our All-Franchise and All-Decade teams to ensure that we haven't missed names and to keep up with the ever-changing faces of baseball.  Guys like Dustin Pedroia will likely play their way onto the All-Time teams, requiring us to reevaluate our teams.  And because we're not perfect, there will be instances where we may have missed on a player.  We will re-post our teams as we feel necessary.

In this post, I'd like to give you a chance to help us make a decision as to whether we may have missed on a specific player by comparing the two players side-by-side.  I'm not going to give you the names because the challenge that we face in picking players for our all-decade teams is separating career performance from respective performance in a specific league during a specific decade.  I'll present you with the stat lines of two relief pitchers for the decade that we're looking at with as much supporting information as possible.  Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to pick the one reliever that should represent the all-decade team.  Two players, one roster spot... good luck.

Note: All stats and supporting information reflects stats earned during the decade we're referencing and within the respective league.

Player A

Player A is a Hall of Famer.  He started the decade as a starter before switching to relief full-time midway through the first season.  He also spent the final three seasons in the other league (switched leagues late in the decade). He earned four all-star appearances in the decade, showed up on the Cy ballot twice and the MVP ballot three times (league and decade respective, of course).  He was also named the WS MVP for his efforts in one of his postseason appearances.  In his best season in the decade, he went (7-8) with a 1.91 ERA while saving 22 games, throwing 126 innings.  He led the league in games twice and games finished once during the decade.

Cumulative stats for Player A:
 441 G (29 starts), 61W-54L-124 SV, 2.76 ERA (123 ERA+), 1.106 WHIP, 895 IP, 3604 BF, 740 H, 275 ER, 251 BB, 723 SO

Per 162 stats for Player A:
64 G, 9W-8L-18SV, 2.76 ERA, 1.106 WHIP, 130 IP, 523 BF, 105 SO, 37 BB, 2.88 SO/BB

Postseason stats:
27 G, 3W-4L-8SV, 52.2 IP, 13 ER, 43 H, 16 BB, 40 SO, 2.56 ERA, 3 WS rings

Player B

Player B was a three time all-star during the decade.  He won a Cy Young award during the decade and showed up on four MVP ballots and two Cy ballots (including the one that he won).  He led the league in saves and games finished twice and games once.

Cumulative stats for Player B:
600 G, 69W-59L-190 SV, 2.61 ERA (141 ERA+), 1.214 WHIP, 960, 3947 BF, 847 H, 278 ER, 319 BB, 590 SO, 16.7

Per 162 stats for Player B:
68 G, 8W-7L-22SV, 2.61 ERA, 1.214 WHIP, 109 IP, 447 BF, 67 SO, 37 BB, 1.85 SO/BB

Postseason stats:
10 G, 3W-0L-1SV, 19 IP, 4 ER, 13 H, 1 BB, 8 SO, 1.89 ERA, 1 WS ring


  1. These stats were AL only in the 1970's. Player A was Rollie Fingers and Player B was Sparky Lyle. In hindsight, Lyle may have been a better choice but on name alone, Rollie is going to be the favorite pick of most.


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