Friday, December 26, 2008

Tribute to 2008 Topps - Bob Tewksbury

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Bob Tewksbury was a legitimate Cy Young candidate in 1992.

Compare him to the winner that year, Greg Maddux:

Maddux
2.18 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 268 IP

Tewksbury
2.16 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 233 IP

Nearly identical, right? About 35 innings - and four wins - was all that separated Maddux and Tewksbury.

Well, that and over 100 strikeouts. Tewk had an absurdly low K/9 -- we're talking 3.52 per nine innings. Only Touchdown Hernandez (Livan) had a lower K/9 in 2008 (3.35 K/9).

And yet the results are drastically different. Livan, 6.05 ERA. Tewksbury, 2.16 ERA.

Tewksbury's secret? Pinpoint control. In 1992, Tewksbury had 0.77 BB/9. That's the eighth best single-season mark since 1900. His company?

Player (age that year) Bases on Balls/9IP Year
Carlos Silva (26) 0.430 2005
Babe Adams (38) 0.616 1920
Christy Mathewson+ (32) 0.618 1913
Bret Saberhagen (30) 0.660 1994
Christy Mathewson+ (33) 0.663 1914
Cy Young+ (37) 0.687 1904
Red Lucas (31) 0.737 1933
Bob Tewksbury (31) 0.773 1992

Pretty good, other than Carlos Silva (and even then, that was a great year for Silva).

The net result of this great season was a third place finish in the Cy Young voting, but pretty far behind luminaries Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine. Nothing to be ashamed of. And in the context of history, the voters probably got it right. Maddux and Glavine had far superior careers. Still, as a kid following his first year of Major League Baseball, I was a little disappointed. The Cardinals were my team (inherited from my older cousin), and and I had hoped Tewksbury would take home the hardware.

I chose 2008 Topps as the card for Tewksbury so that he'll match the Ozzie Smith card I did a few weeks ago. Two of the first players I remember rooting for as a kid.

Hope you enjoy!

2 comments:

  1. Nice.

    I always enjoyed watching Tewksbury pitch because he let the hitters put the ball in play. The pitchers that seemed afraid to let the batters touch the ball always drive me crazy.

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  2. Carlos Silva...who knew?

    Tewksbury has also become a pretty good baseball analyst since his playing days have ended. No coincidence given how smart he was as a player.

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