Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Pitcher A vs. Pitcher B

(photo caption) The hallowed Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

In honor of today being the announcement of the 2006 inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York in a ceremony to be held later this summer, Fogbot wanted to take this opportunity to present to you the portraits of two pitchers. One pitcher was on this year's ballot, but failed to gain the necessary 5% of votes for future consideration; the other is not yet eligible for enshrinement. Here are the profiles:

First Five Years of Careers

Pitcher A
78 wins
34 losses
50 complete games
18 shutouts
1,031.3 innings pitched
206.3 innings pitched (average)
985 strikeouts
197 strikeouts (average)
3.20 earned run average (average)

Pitcher B
91 wins
35 losses
52 complete games
19 shutouts
1,172.7 innings pitched
234.5 innings pitched (average)
1,067 strikeouts
213.4 strikeouts (average)
2.47 earned run average (average)

Now, imagine you are the General Manager of a Major League Baseball team. You have the incredible opportunity to select one of the two pitchers profiled above to anchor your pitching rotation for years to come. Who do you choose?

Think about it.

Have you made your decision?

Now, for the unveiling...

Pitcher A is named Roger Clemens. "The Rocket" has pitched for four teams over 22 seasons, compiling a 341-172 record, along with 118 complete games, 46 shutouts, 4,704.3 innings pitched, 4,502 strikeouts (2nd all-time), and an earned run average of 3.12. Still active, Clemens has won 7 Cy Young awards and the Most Valuable Player award once.

Pitcher B was the most talented pitcher on this year's Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, but he wasn't selected. He will never be selected. Compared with Clemens, Pitcher B's career totals are significantly lower. Pitcher B pitched for six teams over 16 seasons, compiling a 194-112 record, with 68 complete games, 24 shutouts, 2,800.7 innings pitched, 2,293 strikeouts, and an earned run average of 3.51. Pitcher B won his league's Rookie of the Year award while also winning one Cy Young.

Unlike Clemens, Pitcher B's unbridled talent ran amok due to incidents involving the law, drug and alcohol abuse, and general disinterest. As baseball fans, we will never know how great Pitcher B could have been. Worse yet, neither will he. And Pitcher B only has himself to blame.

As Pitcher B's profile on Baseball-Reference.com reads, "In 1985, we learned how brilliantly sublime talent can shine. What followed showed us what can happen when real life has its say. Thanks for the memories, Doc."

Pitcher B was Dwight "Doc" Gooden. And he could have had it all.

(photo caption) Dwight "Doc" Gooden, pictured at the height of his career on the April 7, 1986 cover of "Time" magazine, while pitching for the New York Mets.


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