Roy Halladay: The Modern Day Sandy Koufax

Sandy Koufax is rightfully considered one of the greatest pitchers in the history of baseball. His run from 1963 to 1966 – before his career was cut short by injury – is one of the best four year stretches of pitching in the history of the game, and his dominance is why he was elected to the Hall Of Fame the first time he was eligible in 1972. He might not have had the career length of other all-time greats, but his peak was so good that it was impossible to come to any other conclusion than that he belonged in Cooperstown.

It’s time we say the same thing about Roy Halladay.

At this point in his career, he’s at a similar place to when Koufax had to hang them up. Koufax pitched in 397 games, while Halladay has pitched in 363, but Halladay has thrown 100 more innings because he spent less time in relief early in his career. Halladay is just shy of 10,000 batters faced in his career, while Koufax retired at a little under 9,500. Their career lengths are currently very similar, and if Halladay had to retire tomorrow, he could point to Koufax as a comparable player in terms of quantity of innings.

Halladay isn’t viewed as being as dominant as Koufax was in large part due to the difference in strikeouts. Koufax once struck out an amazing 382 batters in a season, and he has 550 more career whiffs than Halladay even while throwing slightly fewer innings. However, dominance shouldn’t just be viewed through the lens of strikeouts, and if we expand our look beyond just that one measure of pitching, we find that Halladay stacks up with Koufax very well.

If we look at ERA relative to the league average (ERA- here on FanGraphs), you’ll notice that Halladay actually has a slight advantage. He’s been 28 percent better than average given the environment he’s pitched, while Koufax was 25 percent better than average for his time frame. Koufax’s raw ERA is over half a run lower, but the game was different in the 1950s and 1960s, and Koufax benefited a higher mound than what Halladay has had to pitch off of.

Of course, ERA measures more than just pitching, since it includes the impact of a pitcher’s defenders as well. This is somewhat minimized over a multi-thousand inning sample, but it’s still useful to look at the components that a pitcher is mostly in control over – walks, strikeouts, and home runs. These are the variables that make up FIP, of course, so we can look at FIP relative to league average to see if either of them benefited from their teammates more than the other.

The answer? Not really. Both were 25 percent better than their league average in FIP as well. Halladay’s ERA is marginally better than his FIP would suggest, but that’s more due to the sequencing of when he’s given up his home runs than great defense from his teammates – his career BABIP is .292, just slightly better than league average compared to the norm during his career.

Over the course of their entire careers, spanning similar lengths, it’s tough to argue that Koufax was significantly better than Halladay. Of course, the legend of Koufax isn’t based on his entire career, but on just how great he was over the final four years of his career. From 1963 to 1966, Koufax posted a ridiculous 1.86 ERA, 42 percent better than the average pitcher during that period. He made Juan Marichal – the next best pitcher over those four years – look like chump change. It really was an historically dominating run.

That said, Halladay is currently in the midst of a run that isn’t too far off the mark. Since the beginning of the 2008 season, he’s posted a 2.63 ERA – a mark that doesn’t sound as crazy as Koufax’s mark, but it’s 38 percent better than the league average of the last 3 1/2 years, pretty close to Kofuax’s ’63-’66 stretch.

His consistency over those four years is pretty incredible as well – since 2008, his ERA- by year: 64, 63, 60, 62. He hasn’t carried the same crazy workload that Koufax did in his final four years, but he’s still the biggest workhorse of the current era – a guy you can count on for nearly 250 innings per season, year in and year out.

Koufax’s run was a little bit better than what Halladay is doing now, but Halladay was better than Koufax in early career performance. Both were the best pitchers of their time, and both are legitimately among the greatest who ever lived. None of this is meant to disparage Koufax – I just think it’s worth pointing out that Roy Halladay has had a very similar career to date. He’s almost going to Cooperstown even if he never takes the hill again, but he shouldn’t just get in – he should be recognized as an inner-circle guy. Those of who weren’t alive in the 1960s didn’t get to see Koufax in person, but we’ve seen something pretty similar in Roy Halladay… and he’s not done yet.




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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


108 Responses to “Roy Halladay: The Modern Day Sandy Koufax”

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  1. NEPP says:

    I love Halladay but you could easily call him a poor man’s Greg Maddux more than Sanford Braun. Pedro feels like a better modern day comp for Sandy than Doc.

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    • Matt says:

      Pedro’s stats are like the gift that keeps on giving. Every time I go back and look at them I find something new to astound me. How bout this for a peak: from 1997-2003, ERA-‘s of 45, 61, 42, 35, 52, 50, 48.

      I’m happy to compare Roy Halladay (career to date) with Koufax, and put Pedro by himself.

      Watching Pedro’s starts in ’99-’00 was the only time I can think of when I wanted the team I was rooting for to go down in order so I could see the pitcher work.

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      • NEPP says:

        Pedro is the best pitcher I’ve ever seen pitch.

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      • Barkey Walker says:

        That puts Walter Johnson’s numbers in perspective. His best three (39,42,46) are slightly out shined by Martinez’s (35,42,45).

        but check out his longevity. Starting in 1910

        57, 57, 42, 39, 62, 53, 66, 82, 46, 47, 84, 85, 77, 91, 67, 72

        It is amazing to see that not only did he have a Pedro like stretch there, but he just kept going.

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    • Alan says:

      This is exactly what I was thinking when I read this article. Maddux and Pedro both had far more dominant spans than Halladay, with Maddux’s lasting 7+ years. It seems pretty lazy to just skip over them when their runs of dominance are still relatively recent.

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      • Shane says:
        FanGraphs Supporting Member

        I thought the author was talking about active pitchers. Pedro and Maddux were already well into their greatness when Doc was just getting started.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        I don’t know what “Modern Day” means. I interpreted it to mean “recent history” or “history in an advanced period”.

        If it meant “currently playing”, I would have thought the title would have read “Present Day Sandy Koufax”.

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  2. cb says:

    Ssory Doc….

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    • nuke says:

      What is the point of this comment?

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      • Rex says:

        It’s Cody Ross backwards bud, the same Cody Ross who went yah-yah twice off him in the championship series last year.

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      • nuke says:

        I was aware of that. Honestly, the comment is completely irrelevant to this discussion. Those two home runs have just as much chance of keeping Halladay out of the Hall as they do of sending Ross to it, and it frankly has no place in this discussion. It’s a troll comment.

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  3. Joel says:

    I don’t know if you can compare Pedro Martinez to any other pitcher, as he derived his peak value from being exceptionally dominant, but in fewer innings than even his modern counterparts.

    What about Halladay as the modern Jim Palmer? Replete with the 1971 Orioles rotation…

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  4. Telo says:

    I think you meant to title this article: “The modern day guy who, while he was almost as good as Sandy Koufax, pitched nothing like him.”

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    • The Ancient Mariner says:

      I think you meant to title yourself “The guy who has nothing of his own to contribute but a pathological inability to see a Dave Cameron post without sniping.”

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      • Telo says:

        I think if you weren’t hilariously biased you’d notice that I give credit where credit is due, provide consistently logical analysis (when I’m not trolling), and make fun of the stuff that I want to make fun of. You get the good with the bad. Sorry you keep making yourself read it.

        See below? Gary likes it.

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      • Sultan of Schwinngg says:

        I elect Telo to be my official Fangraph’s critic. If it ain’t good, ain’t right, I want to see you, Telo, let me know about it.

        Don’t let me down.

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      • The Ancient Mariner says:

        Everyone thinks they provide consistently logical analysis, Telo. It’s only when many other people thinks someone provides consistently logical analysis that it means anything much.

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      • The Ancient Mariner says:

        Ehh, “think,” not “thinks” . . . hit “submit” in mid-edit.

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    • gary says:

      Good take.

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    • joe says:

      I don’t know them both that well but I know they both have good curve balls.

      Also they style of pitching is irrelevant, he is commenting on their value or production and HOF.

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      • Telo says:

        Koufax was a wild strikeout machine with nasty rising fastball and a hammer 12/6 curve. He finally figured out how to consistently throw strikes and became the best pitcher ever.

        Halladay has almost always been a control freak, and ever since he developed his cutter, has been able to effectively mix 4 (or 5) pitches like an alchemist to dismantle hitters. He is amazing. He’s just really not anything like Koufax in terms of pitching style. I know Dave never said he was, I was just making fun of the dramatic and mostly wrong title.

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      • q says:

        “Modern Day Sandy Koufax” is correct when looking at overall performance. It could but doesn’t have to mean “same pitching style.”

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      • The style of pitching is quite relevant unless your in to comparing apples and oranges on the basis of their ’roundness’ or red and white wines on the basis of their ‘wetnes’.

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      • Telo says:

        Thank you, CC.

        Koufax is like Bicardi 151, and Halladay is like a double shot of tequila, no lime.

        They are both devastating, but will put you out in very different ways. Kind of. Wait… maybe Koufax is like a blunt and Halladay is like a barrel of whiskey… I’m lost.

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    • Snoth says:

      STFU TELO STFU

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  5. TMorgan says:

    Yeah I think the biggest reason for Koufax’s place in history is that he was striking out a batter per inning when league average k/9 was under 6. Further he was the first pitcher to really sustain that k rate over multiple seasons and demonstrated that success in the World Series. Relative to league average that’s why he’s more comparable to Pedro. Halladay isn’t one of the four present or future HoF starting pitchers who had long careers and had a lifetime k/9 above 9.

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  6. SC2GG says:

    I remember some years ago the talking heads at ESPN were discussing who’s going to get into the Hall after Maddux, Johnson and (at the time) Clemens retired, and no one thought anyone would, their best choice was Santana, who at the time was a very reasonable choice. I told them Roy would and got laughed at. :P

    Thus, this article makes me feel vindicated towards some online mockery that occurred years ago. Success!!

    Roy – come back to Toronto, please. Demand a trade or something un-Roy-like, maybe wait for your contract to run out. We all know you’re going to be just as great at age 38 or whatever it is, and by that time it’ll be Toronto’s turn to get back to the WS. It’d be absolutely heartwarming! Someone could get Kevin Costner to star in a movie about it!

    Also, you know we all love you.

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    • Mac says:

      why isn’t there another mlb team in Canada, like Vancouver area??

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      • NEPP says:

        Good question actually…the market (Vancouver metro area) is comparable to a mid-20s US market in size. I believe it would be similar to Pittsburgh or Cincy in population size actually…but then, so is Portland, Oregon. Both could theoretically sustain MLB teams as smaller to mid-sized markets in that aspect.

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      • Robert says:

        I bet Montreal could support a team if they were given competent ownership and made the playoffs more than once every 40 years.

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        You can’t just look at size, you have too look at want. If a Canadian city really wants a team, they’ll get it.

        My thinking is that teams need to build smaller stadiums. In NYC, Chicago, LA, you can get away with capacities close to 50K, but in like Oakland, Pitt, Miami, or any of the cities that you guys think could support one but don’t have one, a 25-30 seat stadium is better. Cheaper, costs less to maintain, and won’t look like shit when 20K show up in mid June.

        that’s part of Atlanta’s problem. People think they do awful attendance, but it’s actually always around league average. It’s just that 30,000 people in a 55,000 seat stadium looks worse than it is. Gotta fit the stadium to your market.

        Personally I think it’d work really well in Portland and maybe Montreal, as long as the canadians don’t make the playoffs. It’s competition within the city. Hockey/basketball and baseball don’t really overlap except unless the hockey/basketball team make it to the 2 month playoffs that go into June. So I think it’d be okay, just scale down everything but make it nice. Like PNC.

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      • Mac says:

        @ NEPP – i’d like to see Vancouver preferably (or even Montreal again) get a team in mlb….seems like there’s a fair number of Canadians being taken in mlb draft so there must be some interest….

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      • Vancouver Riotous Thugs says:

        “why isn’t there another mlb team in Canada, like Vancouver area??”

        Bats…..Yummy.

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      • Rex says:

        Vancouver had a AAA team that had to move to Sacramento, and also saw an nba team that had to move to memphis. If it aint on ice, it aint staying.

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      • sc2gg says:

        I remember hearing someplace that Portland has a problem getting a team because of the Mariners or something like that (maybe even in an Orioles / Nats sort of way), which made little sense to me.

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    • Eric R says:

      “who’s going to get into the Hall after Maddux, Johnson and (at the time) Clemens retired, and no one thought anyone would, their best choice was Santana, who at the time was a very reasonable choice. I told them Roy would and got laughed at. :P”

      I can’t figure a single year where it looked like noone after those four wasn’t looking like a HoFer.

      late 90s-early 00s: Pedro, Brown, Glavine, Mussina, Schilling, Smoltz or Hampton would seem to get some agreement?

      mid-00s: still some of those, plus maybe Zito, Hudson, Oswalt, Santana, Peavy, Halladay…

      I doubt there is a single year where looking at all active players stats to that point and age you can’t pick out 5-10 of them that atleast appear to be on a HoF track at that time

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        Win totals were down. The media shits themselves over high win totals. I think someone led the league in wins with like 16 in the mid 2000s, maybe Webb? I’m guessing that’s why they didn’t think of any HOFers.

        Plus the numbers Clemons put up, as suspect and erradic as they were are pretty awesome, same with Johnson. Especially the counting stats. Maddux is just incredible and one of the top 5 pitchers ever. So I wonder if they were more saying “will we ever see guys like this again?”

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      • sc2gg says:

        It was right after Pedro retired, no one really gave the others much chance, because among pitchers who weren’t like 40 yrs old Halladay was the career win leader with like 129 or something low like that (forget exact number), and everyone was of the opinion that in this day and age if you don’t have 300 wins you shouldn’t get in the hall.

        There were a lot of, “Well, it would be close but….” cases.

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  7. jessef says:

    It’s almost incredible how well he stacks up. After last season, I ran some quick numbers on Halladay’s Hall of Fame case and found that he stacked up pretty well to Koufax. Comments are closed by now but anyone interested in taking a peak can go ahead:

    http://www.bluebirdbanter.com/2010/10/17/1756828/look-at-whats-in-store-for-me-heads-will-turn-in-disbelief-is-roy

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  8. TheTallOne0602 says:

    I don’t really see these two pitchers as comparable in any way, except for their greatness. Halladay has been incredibly good for a long time. If his numbers got better over the last couple of years, it probably has more to do with his move to the NL than anything else.

    Koufax was not good at all for some time early in his career, and then he became unhittable, before quickly petering out due to injuries. I think Pedro (while still not a perfect analogy) is closer to that career track.

    Not to mention that the way they went about their dominance was also completely different, as you mentioned.

    But of course, I think the main point of the article is that Halladay is Koufax-like in his greatness. i.e. He is not just another HoF pitcher but one of the transcendant pitchers. And that I completely agree with. I hate the Phillies, but man is he amazing.

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  9. Brandon says:

    Koufax also had the luxury of pitching with a higher mound and in a notorious pitcher’s park, while Halladay has been in the same division as the Red Sox and the Yankees. The raw numbers quoted above may include park effects (which might not be as effective a measure for extreme parks), but they definitely don’t include level of competition. I believe the comparison is even better than Dave expected.

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    • bender says:

      Yeah they do ERA- is park and league adjusted

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      • Bill says:

        ERA – is League adjusted, but this still does not account for the disproportionate number of games that he had to pitch against New York, Boston, and the Rays. If the schedules were balanced it would, but adjusting to the league average doesn’t account for unbalanced scheduling. Of course, he also pitched a disproportionate number of games against Baltimore and the Devil Rays, so maybe it evens out. .

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  10. Mike Green says:

    Halladay had a late start due to psychological issues which he overcame. From age 25, he has been pretty comparable to Maddux, and I think that he’s going to have a better end of career than Greg. Efficiency and mastery would be the words that came to mind, rather than overpowering and dominant (although both Maddux and Halladay could be that when the occasion demanded it).

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    • If Halladay has done one thing to maximize his effect, career length, and staying power, it has been to recognize the value of the groundball vs. the strikeout. Koufax was unable to do that for many reasons in his career, not the least of which was wildness in his first 6-7 years coupled with having to pitch contemporaniously with the likes of Gibson and Marichal.

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        Are you saying that pitching at the same time as Gibson and Marichal make Koufax’s ERA+ less impressive? Does that made Maddux’s more impressive then since he pitched at the same time as Matinez, Johnson, and Clemens?

        I think with Halladay it’s not that there aren’t a lot of really really great pitchers, but more pretty good pitchers. It seems to me that a lot of pitchers are interchangeably good today.

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      • I’m saying that the competitive style of pitchers of his era and that trying to pitch corners unsuccessfully, tailored his skills in a certain direction. Although not identical, comparing style of Kufax to most pitchers is not terribly useful, with the possible exception of Lincecum.

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      • My comment on ‘groundballs’ actually comes from comments Halladay has made himself when asked about his ability to control pitch count and therefore finish games..

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    • NEPP says:

      Go back and look at Greg’s stats…Doc will not have a better career than him. Maddux was ridiculously good in his prime. He posted a 171 ERA+ from Age 26 to Age 36 (11 full seasons). Doc isn’t even close to that sadly.

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        He said “better end”. Which may be true, Doc may be as good as Maddux looking at their age 34, 35, and 36 season (150ish ERA+) and maybe he’ll be better past that. However, Maddux isn’t (not so much) arguably the best pitcher of most living people’s memory because of how he pitched after 35. Maddux has 4 seaons of BB/9 lower than Halladay’s best, during his 4 consecutive Cy Young years Maddux’s ERA+ averaged a ridiculous 217.75. Those are heavily weighted by 2 seasons of 271 and 262 but still, the other 2 years of 166 and 162 (which are just his 5th and 6th best BTW), are better than all but 1 of Roy’s seasons in which he had over 200 IP.

        So yea, Roy might be better after age 35, probably not considering a lot of guys rapidly decrease around then, but he might.

        Maddux pitched 200 innings a year (or really close), with a better than average ERA+ every year until he was 40. At 34, 35, and 36 his ERA+ was 153, 149, 156.

        Roy is good, but let’s not be ridiculous. What next? People think LeBron is as good as Jordan?

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      • Mike Green says:

        I know that Halladay will not have seasons like Maddux’s 1994/95, and I am not trying to argue that he is as good bearing in mind particularly the peak differences. It may be that he will end up with broadly comparable numbers when he finishes, but my point was that Halladay is more of a Maddux type than a Koufax type.

        I had a quick look at Maddux’ splits in 1994. That year, opponents hit 127 fly balls against him, 14 went for hits including 2 for doubles and 1 leaving the yard for a line of .114/.110/.154. The outfield behind him for much of the time was Klesko, Kelly and Justice. I checked and there were some deep fly balls caught. Obviously, Maddux was otherworldly those 2 years, but 2 doubles among 127 fly balls is unlikely to be solely skill.

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        Is it though? I mean, you can’t just say “well it’s luck”. I bet it was mostly skill. Weak contact is weak contact. Were they “line drives”? If not, it’s pretty reasonable to think that an average MLer is athletic enough to camp under.

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  11. johngomes says:

    the mound was different then… adv. pitchers.

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    • GMH says:

      You have no evidence to support your “higher mound” theory.

      The only thing a higher mound has been proven to cause is a greater amount of stress on the pitching shoulder (A study funded by MLB in 2007 led by the team doctor of the Brewers documented this problem, and there have been other studies since which have corroborated the 2007 study). And this is due to the inherent timing problem that occurs when throwing downhill; that is, the proper pitching arm position in relation to when the front foot hits the ground. Baseball used high mounds during the offensive explosions in the 30s and 50s. So why didn’t pitchers capitalize on this “advantage” in those eras? In 1972, three years after the mound was lowered, the AL league ERA returned to its 1968 level. To say that mound height made Koufax great is like saying maple bats have made Albert Pujols great.

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      • I suspect your more right than wrong, but the mound in LA was measured at an incredible 24 inches. Similar heighths were found in St. Louis and San Francisco, although not that extreme. The Brewers study never contemplated those kind of mound elevations. The info is in an old SI article from 1969, I believe, after mounds were normed. Today mounds in cities like St. Louis are more subtly ‘tricked’. The field mound and bullpen mounds are graded differently. That is believed, to the unwary visitor, to induce a few higher strikes and therefore a small advantage.

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        The mound height may not have much of a factor, but what about pitchers supposedly getting away with more inside pitches and being able to intimidate hitters? I haven’t seen statistical studies, but you always hear about it.

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  12. Dan says:

    The crazy thing about Doc, is that when you watch him pitch, hitters rarely make good contact against him. It’s really amazing and a pleasure to watch every game he pitches.

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  13. guy says:

    Wouldn’t it be more accurate to call Halladay’s current run a “poor man’s Pedro Martinez?”

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  14. Antonio Bananas says:

    I think it’s a good comp. People don’t like it because they didn’t pitch the same, or because their careers are a lot different, (Halladay already 4 years older than when Koufax retired), and because some people hold Koufax in a special spot.

    Statistically yea they’re similar, but I wonder if it’s not so much Halladay is a version of Koufax, or that all really really good, top 3 in his generation type of pitchers are all similar if you look at effectiveness.

    You can look at games started, innings, etc but when you do different eras, that changes too. Koufax had 3 40 start years in his last 4 years. Roy will never have a 40 start year unless the season lengthens because of the 5 man rotation. 3 years with 40 starts is 120 starts, or about 4 years in today’s terms.

    I’m not sure how legit it is, or how it’s computed, or even exactly what it means, but baseball-reference’s “most similar pitcher” things compare Halladay more to guys like Hudson, Pettite, Mussina, etc. I think he’s definately better than them, but maybe he’s closer to them than he is to Martinez, Koufax, and definately Maddux.

    Roy’s ability to stick around and be a horse and rely on smart pitching and location is what will get him into the hall. Him and Maddux are the reason I never get hyped up by huge hard throwing college kids, but love guys who are young, have tons of control, decent stuff, and smarts.

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    • An interesting statistic upon which Halladay and Koufax diverge significantly is BABIP. I would guess that is a reflection of how superior those Dodgers teams were defensively. If so, it makes one wonder what Halladay could have done in front of a Dodger defense.

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      • GMH says:

        Koufax was predominantly a flyball pitcher, while Halladay induces far more grounders than flies. This would explain the disparity in BAPIP: groundballs find holes more often than flies.

        The 1965 Dodger defense was considered very good due to a number of upgrades in personnel in the offseason. But the 1963 and 1964 Dodger teams were considered poor defensively; yet Koufax had a very low BAPIP in those years as well. I don’t think the Dodger defense had much of an influence on Koufax’s brilliance.

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      • And yet over their best 4 year period, they gave up not wildly dissimilar numbers of HR. Didn’t see a % GB statistc on Koufax.

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        Or in Dodger Stadium on a higher mound. I think it’d probably be the same numbers as far as ERA+ goes. His raw numbers would be lower though, as everyone’s were in that era.

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  15. Joe says:

    Yeah the title of this article was a bit misleading since their pitching was completely different from each other. The way they got their outs and their stuff was all totally different. You could definitely have just changed the article to, “Roy Halladay is really good at baseball”…even so I still would have read the article since you know…Roy Halladay is really good at baseball.

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  16. Garrett says:

    “Both were the best pitchers of their time, and both are legitimately among the greatest who ever lived.”

    Std Faggraphs insanity. Maddux/Clemens/Johnson are all better with overlapping careers. Why don’t we look at a useful faggraphs tool: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/roy-halladay-the-modern-day-sandy-koufax/

    Oh wao. Hallagay is still an Cy Young season from Johnson and we only sampled half Johnson’s career. (Also a shit ton of IP, though that is to some degree a controllable skill IE Efficiency, health).

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    • DavidCEisen says:

      Really? Faggraphs? Hallagay? Are you trying to come off as an ignorant teenager?

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        I’m guessing he’s a redneck. His name is probably “Jarrett” that was just spelled wrong.

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    • Garrett says:

      I will assume the overbearing veracity of my argument forces you to nitpick my verbiage rather than understanding this just another poorly thought out (mental byproduct may be more apropos) “article” by DC. Apparently now words like “best” have weird and bizarre meanings. Or perhaps we can just use multiple endpoints to call Halladay the “best pitcher of his era”. hurr durr durr

      Fangraphs is the new BP.

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        Who else in the last 5-10 years has been better? I don’t mean “existed in MLB over the last 5-10 years” I mean, who was pitching for the last 5-10 years.

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      • DavidCEisen says:

        I will assume that you do not know the definition of ‘overbearing.’ Therefore I stopped reading.

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      • DavidCEisen says:

        Actually I decided to keep reading, and I now assume that you also don’t know the definitions of verbiage or apropos (your usage was apropos). You misused three words in one sentence.

        So basically you are still coming off as an ignorant (redneck) teenager.

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      • DavidCEisen says:

        should have written “your usage was apropos of nothing.”

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      • Garrett says:

        Antonio,

        Multiple endpoint much? Or did you gloss over that part.

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  17. troy says:

    First, whomever is comparing Pedro to these guys must be on cocaine, or something. He doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as guys like Koufax, Palmer, Halladay, etc… I think that Halladay is the best pitcher today, but he is not even close to Koufax. People are slobering over the fact that he has 5 or 6 complete games or something. Back in the pitching rich sixties, all of the great pitchers pitched 20-25 complete games/year. Plus, they went up against better hitters. This is just another stupid article by somebody who thinks they know something about sports.

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    • Garrett says:

      Comparing peaks? Yeah. Its an insult.

      Except in the exact opposite way. Pedro is a man amongst a bunch of retarded children.

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        Pedro from age 25 to 31 is freakin sick. ERA+ of 219, 163, 243, 291 (all time record), 190, 202, and 211. That’s insane, 5 seasons of a 200 ERA+ or higher. The percentage thing may be a better way to go, and I don’t have the time or care enough to calculate that, but I doubt there was any pitcher since…probably ever to have a stretch like that. Maddux was amazing for 4 years, and really really good for about 12.

        In my opinion, Pedro had the greatest peak but Maddux was the most consistent, so I go with him. Plus as most know, I’m a bias Braves fan most of the time.

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    • Antonio Bananas says:

      I hate it when people overrate the pitchers of the 60s. They played in bigger parks on higher mounds. They faced “better hitters”? How? What proof? Maddux’s 1994 and 1995 as well as Pedro’s 2000 were better than Gibsons 1968 season. Yea yea “1.12 ERA” but when the rest of the league’s ERA is super low, as damn impressive as that is, it’s still not as impressive as what Maddux or Pedro did.

      Think of it like this, you can’t really compare players’ numbers in their absolute value across eras because players change, ballparks change, technology changes. It’s like saying I’m faster than you because I ran a mile in 6 minutes on a road with no hills and you ran a mile in 7 minutes in sand on a beach. Maybe I’m faster, but maybe I’m not, it’s hard to tell. So instead you compare guys to their peers. Maddux and Martinez were “more better” than their peers than Gibson and Koufax were.

      As far as thinking it’s ridiculous to compare Halladay and Koufax because Koufax was so amazing; I don’t think it’s that crazy. It’s not the best comp, but they’re both near the top of their eras.

      finally, you say “pitching rich 60s” and “had better hitters”. So basically you think the 60s were better in every way. Which sounds incredibly bias to me.

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  18. MikeS says:

    Since the beginning of the 2008 season, he’s posted a 2.63 ERA – a mark that doesn’t sound as crazy as Koufax’s mark.

    Actually, it does. I wasn’t around for Koufax, but a 2.63 ERA wasn’t all that uncommon then. These days if a pitcher did that in any one year he would be a Cy Young candidate. To average that over 4 years in this era is unbelievable,

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  19. Phantom Stranger says:

    The obvious modern comparison to Koufax would be Kershaw, not Halladay. Halladay doesn’t really pitch like anyone else, he throws every single pitch with unpredictable movement in the strike zone. Most pitchers have consistent breaks on most of their pitches. Even Halladay’s fastball moves more than normal. That is what makes his ability to keep walks down so amazing.

    But Doc is nowhere in Maddux’s league. Maddux is the smartest pitcher I have ever seen, he was a virtuoso on the mound. He never had the raw stuff of any of his other great contemporaries, like Pedro or Clemens.

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    • NEPP says:

      I think Maddux’s incredible location and movement on his pitches should be considered great Stuff. Sure, he didnt throw 97 mph but his fastball was unhittable regardless.

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  20. Bill says:

    If Halladay spent his career in the NL he would be Greg Maddux.

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    • Antonio Bananas says:

      What a crock of shit this is. His ERA+ isn’t anywhere near Maddux’s. His raw numbers aren’t close and his ERA+ isn’t close. If he was as good, even if his raw numbers aren’t close, his ERA+ would be.

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  21. Fett42 says:

    It’s worth pointing out for sake of awesomeness that King Felix’s ERA from the beginning of 2008 to now is 2.77–and that’s ages 22-25!

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  22. Janet says:

    The craziest thing is that this season is looking like Roy Halladay’s BEST so far and you wonder if this is not the latter half of his prime, but rather closer to the start of it. After a couple good but not amazing seasons following his return from a line drive to the leg in ’05 (a year in which he most certainly would’ve won the Cy), he has truly gotten better in each successive season from ’08 to now. More strikeouts, less walks, same or more complete games.

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    • Antonio Bananas says:

      It doesn’t work like that though. Not everyone has a nice peak. Maddux’ career is pretty much a perfect bell curve and peaking at the right times. Age catches up to everyone and we test for roids so there will be no Clemens-esque resugence at 40. Halladay will be very good for a while but likely won’t be Cy Youngish after his year 35 season.

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  23. Ron says:

    There are a lot of reasons to ignore the Hall of Fame. If Roy Halladay isn’t inducted, that will be a reason to completely ignore it.

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  24. CircleChange11 says:

    Pedro’s peak has no equal. His best season (2000) is just disgustingly sick nasty. That he did it in the heart of the “Rx Era” is astounding.

    Koufax’s home/road splits during the peak is always a downer for me. A run better a home than on the road, in the best pitcher’s park in the extreme pitcher’s era.

    Halladay will be even more appreciated after he retires. Right now, Greg Maddux is still in everyone’s mind.

    Anyone over 45, automatically turns to Koufax’s peak as the image of pitching dominance. I know it’s natural to glamorize the heroes of your youth. There have been multiple peaks that were better or equal to Koufax, while acknowledging that we’re talking about the peaks of 4-5 guys over the last 50 years (insulting none of them).

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  25. maqman says:

    I’ve been watching pro baseball since 1947 and lived in LA for much of the 60’s and I’ve never seen any pitcher dominate hitters like Koufax did. He’s the greatest player, not just pitcher, I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen all of the above.

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  26. KGR says:

    This is a joke. He isn’t Koufax, and will never be Koufax.

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  27. George says:

    I don’t think it’s been mentioned in this thread, but the only reason Halladay’s career ERA+ is as high as it is is because he had to pitch in the AL East with the two best offensive teams in baseball for 10 years. If he hadn’t, who knows what kind of numbers he would have put up.

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    • Antonio Bananas says:

      that’s so stupid to say. You can only act like the AL East is that great for so long before it’s a joke. Maddux had about 6 years better than halladay’s best. Maddux makes Halladay look like Bronson Arroyo.

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        Think about this too, yea, he pitches in the AL East, which means he faces the Orioles, Yanks, Sox, and Rays. For a lot of his career in TOR the Rays sucked. So he was against 2 very bad teams, and 2 of the best offensive teams. However, he’s a pitcher, he gets maybe 30-33 starts a year. How many more times is he facing the yanks and sox that you can’t just use his ERA+ (used with league average)? His ERA+ is pretty reflective of how much better he was than his peers. AL East or not, it still reflects it and he wasn’t as much better than his peers than maddux was.

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      • George says:

        Sorry Antonio, but I don’t think you completely understand how often he had to face the two best offenses in baseball during his time in Toronto. That regular level of competition is really the only reason his ERA was as high as it was during that time.

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      • Fullmer Fan says:

        He’s made 75 career starts out of 337 (22%) against the two best offensive teams of his generation, the Red Sox and the Yankees. And you’re really trying to argue that kind of competition doesn’t make an enormous difference to his ERA?

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      • Fullmer Fan says:

        Roy Oswalt, a guy with a better ERA in his career than Halladay (3.21 to 3.27) and a slightly worse ERA+ than Halladay (134 to 137), has never even faced the Red Sox once in his career and has only faced the Yankees twice out of 316 career starts.

        But yeah, I guess facing the Cubs and Pirates an additional 75 times instead of the Red Sox and Yankees doesn’t make any difference at all.

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        Exactly. Plus offensive clubs, on a game to game average aren’t that different. The difference between the best runs/game and the worst this year is what? 2 runs? Of those how many are scored off the pens?

        Not only THAT but the Sox and Yanks have both had down years. It’s really a freakin joke how much some people overrate the AL East.

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  28. George says:

    Actually, he probably would have put up Greg Maddux numbers.

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    • Antonio Bananas says:

      If Halladay were as good as Maddux he’d be putting up Maddux numbers right now. The NL East doesn’t hit well, so why isn’t his ERA+, when now a lot of people think Halladay is in his prime, as good as Maddux’s?

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      • George says:

        But he is putting up Maddux numbers right now. Have you looked at his WAR total over the last two seasons?

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        WAR is so subjective don’t even get me started on that. I look at ERA+ when comparing guys across generations or similar stats. Like the guy said with the Oswalt comparison, where he pitches doesn’t have much difference on his ERA+. Pedro dominated the Yankees just like Maddux dominated everyone. A truly great pitcher will have a ridiculous ERA+ if they are truly that much better than their peers. Maddux, Pedro, Johnson at times, were all that. Halladay recently is, but not at all to the extent of Maddux.

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  29. THE_SLASHER14 says:

    I DID see Koufax pitch, many times, and I cannot imagine comparing him to Halladay. Koufax had a combination of great strength linked to a pitching motion that gave him enormous leverage. He also threw a curveball that was simply unhittable. I watched him throw it from the CF bleachers and when it left his hand you thought it was going to land somewhere up on the screen — then it broke into the strike zone. Halladay is a great pitcher but he has nothing like that in his arsenal, and his fastball is no better either.

    It’s also incorrect to say his career was ended by injury. It was ended by wear and tear that finally got to the point where he was told he risked losing his left arm entirely. “Injury” implies some event; there was none. Apparently a human arm wasn’t meant to do what his did.

    Statistically, Halladay reminds me most of Robin Roberts in his 1950s prime. And that’s not chopped liver — Roberts was clearly the best pitcher of the 1950s and the HOF voters punched his ticket without a qualm. I suspect Halladay is going to get the same rating and treatment.

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    • Antonio Bananas says:

      “wasn’t ended by injury”? If his arm is bruising after each start, and he’s in an incredible amount of pain, and he’s told if he doesn’t stop he’ll lose it, that’s pretty much an injury.

      It’s not like he’s just chillin, arm feeling fine after each start and a doctor comes up and says “you know I’ve been watching slow motion video of you pitching and you better stop.” He was in a LOT of pain, probably was injured but there wasn’t the same medical tecnology and he gutted it out for years.

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  30. GetajobAntonio says:

    Antonio, you’re quite annoying

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  31. I will immediately grasp your rss as I can not in finding your email subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Please allow me recognise in order that I may subscribe. Thanks.

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