Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Best Pitching Duos in History (Part VI--1950-1959)

Robin Roberts and Curt Simmons/ Philadelphia Phillies (1950-1954)

Among the most dominant hurlers of the 1950's Roberts was at one time the franchise leader in wins and strikeouts (both marks were later broken by Steve Carlton). He won no fewer than 20 games every year from 1950 through 1955. A workhorse, he tossed more than 300 innings in six straight seasons. He once held the dubious record of most home runs allowed, but Jamie Moyer did him a tremendous favor when he broke it in 2010. A statue of Roberts stands outside Citizens Bank Park in Philly.

A left-hander, Simmons rarely got his due with Roberts in the rotation, but he was a fabulous pitcher in his own right. A three-time All-Star, he led the AL in shutouts during the '52 slate and won at least fifteen games in five seasons. The 1950 Phillies were known as "The Whiz Kids" for their youth and spirit. Unfortunately, Simmons missed out on a World Series opportunity when he was called to the Army reserve with a few weeks left in the season. The Phillies went down in flames versus the Yankees.

                                                                               1950            1951            1953            1954
Robin Roberts                                                           20-11          28-7             23-16           23-15
Curt Simmons                                                           17-8           14-8             16-13           14-15*
*-Simmons ERA was a highly respectable 2.81 despite his sub-.500 record

Sal Maglie and Larry Jansen/ New York Giants (1950-1952)

Maglie earned the nickname "The Barber" because he liked to throw inside on hitters. "When I'm pitching, the plate is mine," he once insisted. Maglie jumped to the outlaw Mexican League after the '45 slate and was suspended until 1950. His peak seasons came between '50 and '52. He led the league in wins during the '51 slate. He posted the highest winning percentage and lowest ERA in 1950. He later became famous as Jim Bouton's ornery pitching coach in the classic book Ball Four.

Jansen set a record in the 1950 All-Star Game when NL skipper Burt Shotton left him in the game for 5 innings. He was the winning pitcher in the '51 NL playoff game that featured Bobby Thomson's famous "Shot Heard 'Round the World." Though he suffered from asthma, Jansen had five excellent seasons for Giants, winning 15 games every year from 1947-1951.

                                                                                   1950            1951            1952
Sal Maglie                                                                    18-4             23-6             18-8
Larry Jansen                                                                 19-13           23-11           11-11*
*- Jansen's season was cut short in early-September by a back injury.

Don Newcombe and Preacher Rowe/ Brooklyn Dodgers (1949-1951)

"Newk" was a big man at 6-4, 220 pounds. He was one of the first black players in the majors. In his '49 debut, he shut out the Reds. He remains the only player ever to win a Cy Young, MVP and Rookie of the Year Award. His best year came in '56, when he led the league with 27 wins and a .794 winning percentage. He had paced the loop in the latter category the previous year with a 20-5 record.

Roe was never in a hurry to finish a game, gaining a reputation as one of the slowest workers in the majors. He was known to mix in an occasional spitball along with his other slow offerings. "I got three pitches," he once said. "My change. My change off my change and my change off my change off my change." Roe's career was interrupted by injuries, but he had his best years with the Dodgers. From '51 through '53, he appeared in more than 80 games and lost only 8.

                                                                                      1949            1950            1951
Don Newcombe                                                               17-8            19-11            20-9
Preacher Rowe                                                                15-6            19-11            22-3

Early Wynn and Bob Lemon/ Cleveland Indians (1951-1956)

The Indians were one of the most pitching-rich clubs of the '40's and '50's. In my last post, I paired the illustrious Bob Feller with Hall of Famer Bob Lemon. When Feller began to fade, Lemon was backed by Early Wynn for several years. Though the subject of this post is "Pitching Duos," a third Indians' staff member--Mike Garcia--warrants honorable mention.  A three-time All-Star, the burly right-hander picked up the nickname "the Big Bear." Between '51 and '54, he won no fewer than 17 games and reached the 20-win threshold twice. Lemon and Wynn were even better, combining for no fewer than 35 victories in six straight seasons. Early Wynn was one of the most universally feared pitchers of his time, throwing at hitters often. "A pitcher has to look at the hitter as his mortal enemy," the irascible hurler once said. Iconic slugger Mickey Mantle griped: "That s.o.b. is so mean, he would f--ing knock you down in the dugout."  Lemon was mild-mannered and soft-spoken--the antithesis of Wynn. He used his curveball, slider and sinking fastball (his money pitch) to fashion five 20-win campaigns.

                                                        1951          1952         1953          1954          1955        1956
Early Wynn                                       20-13        23-12         18-9           23-11        17-11         20-9
Bob Lemon                                        17-14        22-11         21-15         23-7          18-10        20-14

Warren Spahn and Lew Burdette/ Milwaukee Braves (1956-1961)

Spahn was featured in my last post paired with Johnny Sain. When Sain defected to the Yankees in '51, Spahn more or less carried the entire pitching staff. He would eventually form a potent tandem with right-hander Lew Burdette. The dynamic duo would remain effective for the better part of a decade, leading the Braves to consecutive World Series appearances in '57/'58 (they split with the Yankees).
Like Spahn, who was forced to employ a screwball after his fastball began to fade, Burdette was more of a finesse pitcher who relied on pinpoint control. During his career, he averaged less than 2 walks per 9 frames. Burdette was accused of throwing spitballs on several occasions and always denied the charge, stating that it was part of his strategy to make batters think he was throwing them. According to the Baseball-Reference website, Burdette was known for his "constant agitation" on the mound.

                                                  1956          1957          1958          1959         1960          1961  
Warren Spahn                              20-11        21-11         22-11         21-15        21-10         21-13
Lew Burdette                               19-10         17-9          20-10         21-15        19-13         18-11 

Billy Pierce and Dick Donovan/ Chicago White Sox (1955-1958)

Pierce spent thirteen years with the White Sox and won 186 games--among the top totals in franchise history. The Sox retired his number and posted his image on the outfield wall at U.S. Cellular Field. Using a fastball/slider combo, the left-hander won 15 or more games eight times during his career.

Donovan's name is known to few nowadays, though he enjoyed several fine seasons with the White Sox. He later led the AL with a 2.40 ERA in '61 while playing for Washington. Traded to Cleveland the following year, he won 20 games. In '57, Donovan posted the highest winning percentage in the league and also paced the loop with 16 complete games. He tossed a pair of one-hitters that year.
Chicago finished in the first division every year from '55-'58 when Pierce and Donovan were at their peak together. Donovan was slowed by a sore shoulder and Pierce was hampered by a hip injury when the Sox finally won the pennant in 1959.

                                                                          1955           1956          1957           1958
Billy Pierce                                                          15-10          20-9          20-12          17-11
Dick Donovan                                                       15-9           12-10         16-6            15-14


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Best Pitching Duos in History (Part V--1940-1949)

Kirby Higbe and Whit Wyatt/ Brooklyn Dodgers (1941-1943)

Higbe was a "good ole boy" from South Carolina. An incessant talker, he loved to brag about his pitching skills. He once told a writer: "I developed my arm throwing rocks at negroes and of course they returned the favor." Higbe threw at major league hitters throughout his career, frequently resorting to brushbacks and knockdowns. In 12 seasons, he won 118 games.

Wyatt had a great fastball and a deceptive changeup, which he developed in the minors after playing several seasons and getting demoted. He put up two quality starts against the Yankees in the '41 World Series, compiling a 1-1 record with a 2.50 ERA. He didn't enjoy his first great season until the age of 32. From 1940-1943, he averaged 17 wins per year, leading the NL in '41.

                                                                    1941               1942               1943
Kirby Higbe                                                    22-9                16-11              13-10
Whit Wyatt                                                    22-10               19-7               14-5*
*- Wyatt's season was shortened by an injury

Mort Cooper and Max Lanier/ St. Louis Cardinals (1942-1945)

 Cooper was among the most dominant hurlers of the war years. A big man at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, he won 20 games three years in a row ('42-'44), leading the league twice. He was NL MVP in '42. Largely because of his efforts, the Cardinals made three straight World Series appearances. Bone chips in his elbow slowed him down in '46. He was out of the majors after the '49 slate.

Lanier broke his right arm twice as a child and learned to pitch left-handed. He enjoyed his peak seasons during the Cardinals run of dominance during the mid-'40's. He led the NL with an ERA of 1.90 in '43. He was among a handful of players suspended for jumping to the outlaw Mexican League.

                                                                         1942               1943               1944
Mort Cooper                                                       22-7                21-8                22-7
Max Lanier                                                         13-8                15-7               17-12

Johnny Vander Meer and Bucky Walters/ Cincinnati Reds (1941-1943)

Vander Meer became famous for tossing two consecutive no-hitters in 1938. During his next start, he twirled 3 more hitless frames before Debs Garms finally broke the string. "I could have kissed him," admitted Vander Meer. "The tension was eating me up." Vander Meer struggled with control issues throughout his career. He compiled a lifetime mark of 119-121, averaging close to 5 walks per nine frames.

Bucky Walters was paired with Paul Derringer in my last post. Beginning in 1938, he gathered no fewer than 15 wins in seven straight seasons. Extremely durable, he pitched 300-plus innings every year from '39-'41. He led the league three times in victories.

                                                                         1941               1942               1943
Johnny Vander Meer                                           16-13              18-12              15-16
Bucky Walters                                                   19-15              15-14              15-15

Hal Newhouser and Dizzy Trout/ Detroit Tigers (1944-1946)

Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser won back-to-back MVP awards in '44/'45. The most successful hurler of the war years, he led the league in wins four times between '44 and '48. He won 2 games in the '45 World Series against the Cubs though he got hit hard in two of his starts. Known for his overhand curve, catcher Birdie Tebbetts remarked in '46: "It's the best pitch I've ever seen. He threw three of 'em to Joe DiMaggio and Joe couldn't even foul 'em off."

A right-hander, Trout got his nickname for his oddball behavior. "I figured that by acting a little screwy, I could draw extra customers for the club, furnish copy for the newspapers and make more money for myself," he explained. Along with Newhouser and Mort Cooper, Trout was among the top pitchers of WWII. He averaged 19 wins per year between '42 and '45, leading the league in '43. His 2.12 ERA in '44 was tops in the junior circuit.

                                                                              1944               1945               1946
Hal Newhouser                                                         29-9                25-9               26-9
Dizzy Trout                                                              27-14             18-15             17-13

Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain/ Boston Braves (1947-1950)

Spahn won 363 games--sixth on the all time list and most by a left-hander. He would have won even more had he not lost several years to the war cause. He served in the Army and won a Purple Heart along with a Bronze Star. On the diamond, he won a Cy Young award and was honored by the Sporting News as NL Pitcher of the Year four times.

Right-hander Johnny Sain enjoyed his best years in Boston, winning 20 games four times between '46 and '50. He later gave his last great efforts to the Yankees. He played in four World Series altogether and compiled a 2.64 ERA in 6 games. 
Spahn and Sain really clicked in '48, leading the Braves to a long awaited World Series berth. Sports editor Gerald Hern penned a famous poem: "First we'll use Spahn, then we'll use Sain, then an off day, followed by rain. Back will come Spahn, followed by Sain, and followed, we hope, by two days of rain." The Braves actually had two decent starters behind the aforementioned hurlers in the rotation. Bill Voiselle and Vern Bickford combined for a 24-18 record.

                                                                               1947               1948               1950
Warren Spahn                                                           21-10             24-15             20-13
Johnny Sain                                                             21-12              15-12             21-17

Bob Lemon and Bob Feller/ Cleveland Indians (1948-1951)

Hall of Famer Bob Lemon started his career as a position player in the minors. He was converted to a pitcher after WWII. Between 1948 and 1956, he won no fewer than 17 games and led the majors three times. He posted 20 or more victories on seven occasions. Extremely durable, he led the AL in innings pitched four times and complete games five times. He also hit .232 with 37 homers.

Feller started in the majors at age 17 and lost three seasons to military duty after leading the American League in wins for three straight seasons. He almost certainly would have reached the 300-victory mark otherwise. Feller had one of the most explosive fastballs in history, leading the AL in strikeouts seven times. In 1940, he claimed a triple crown with 27 wins, 261 K's and a 2.61 ERA.

                                                                        1948               1949             1950            1951
Bob Lemon                                                        20-14             22-10            23-11           17-14
Bob Feller                                                          19-15             15-14            16-11            22-8

Vic Raschi and Eddie Lopat/ New York Yankees (1948-1951)

Lopat was sometimes referred to as "the Junk Man" for his use of slow curves and other assorted slop. Casey Stengel once joked: "Lopat looks like he's throwing wads of tissue paper. Every time he wins a game, fans come out of the stands asking for contracts." Lopat, a southpaw, was among few pitchers to appear in five consecutive World Series ('49-'53). He compiled a 4-1 record and 2.60 ERA.

Right-hander Vic Rashci had his best years during the Yankees incredible World Series run in the late-'40's/early-'50's. Raschi was the most successful hurler on the squad, averaging 18 wins per year in a five year span. He won six World Series rings in all, going 5-3 with a 2.24 ERA in 11 games. Raschi used a fastball/ slider/ changeup combination. He was traded to the Cardinals after the '53 campaign when he refused to take a pay cut. He was finished in the majors after the '55 slate.

                                                                       1948              1949            1950              1951
Vic Raschi                                                        19-8               21-10            21-8             21-10
Eddie Lopat                                                       17-11            15-10             18-8             21-9

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Best Pitching Duos in History (Part IV--1930-1939)

Lefty Grove and George Earnshaw/ Philadelphia Athletics (1929-1932)

The hard-throwing, ultra-competitive Grove was paired with Rube Walberg in a previous post.When the 1930's arrived, Walberg was losing his effectiveness and Grove teamed with right-hander George Earnshaw to form a potent one-two punch. At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Earnshaw was nicknamed "Moose." He used his blazing fastball to lead the league in victories during the '29 slate. From '29-'32, he was the A's top starter behind Grove and a key contributor to a run of 3 straight pennants. A late arrival in the majors at 28 years of age, Earnshaw lasted just 9 seasons. 

                                                             1929            1930            1931            1932
Lefty Grove                                             20-6             28-5             31-4            25-10
George Earnshaw                                    24-8            22-13            21-7            19-13

Guy Bush and Lon Warneke/ Chicago Cubs (1931-1934)

A right-hander, Warneke had one of the great nicknames of the era. He was known as "The Arkansas Hummingbird" in reference to his state of origin and his "darting form of delivery." In the lower ranks, Warneke had a habit of looking at his feet instead of batters. Once he corrected the problem, he became a major star. His peak seasons came between 1932 and 1937, when he won no fewer than 16 games.

One good nickname deserves another. Guy Bush was known as "The Mississippi Mudcat." He once claimed that his most valuable trait was the ability to warm up quickly. Bush was a gullible fellow. After complaining to Cubs' trainer Andy Lotshaw about a sore arm one day, he began asking for Lotshaw's "secret liniment" before every start. When Lotshaw ran out of the mixture, he resorted to using Coca-Cola. Bush didn't know the difference.

                                                                1931            1932            1933            1934
Guy Bush                                                 16-8             19-11          20-12           18-10
Lon Warneke                                            22-8             18-13          18-13           22-10        

Red Ruffing and Lefty Gomez/ New York Yankees (1931-1938)

A left-hander, Gomez was nicknamed "Goofy" for his wit and good humor. After his Hall of Fame career with the Yankees was over, he became a sought after public speaker, providing some of the most memorable quotes in baseball history. He once proposed the invention of a revolving bowl for goldfish to "save them the trouble of swimming around." The quirky southpaw had good seasons mixed with mediocre ones. He won a pair of triple crowns in 1934/ '37.

The right-handed Ruffing wasted several years with the lowly Red Sox during the 1920's before enjoying his peak seasons in the 1930's with the Yanks. He won 20 games in four straight campaigns and retired with 273 victories. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1967.

                                                                1931            1932          1934            1937            1938
Lefty Gomez                                              21-9             24-7          26-5             21-11           21-7
Red Ruffing                                               19-14            18-7         19-11             20-7            18-12

Carl Hubbell and Hal Schumacher/ New York Giants (1933-1935)

Hubbell was so valuable to the Giants during the 1930's, he received the regal nickname of "King Carl." He was also known as "the Meal Ticket." The left-handed screwball specialist won 20 games every year from '33-'37, leading the league three times. He was named to nine All-Star teams and won two MVP awards. The violent action of his screwball left him with bone chips in his arm that eventually ended his career.

Every king must have an heir and Schumacher was dubbed "Prince Hal." From '33-'35, he was the #2 man in the rotation behind Hubbell, winning 61 games. After that, he developed arm problems that rendered him less effective. Still, he finished in double digits for wins in seven straight seasons (though he never collected as many as 15).

                                                                                1933            1934            1935
Carl Hubbell                                                              23-12           21-12          23-12
Hal Schumacher                                                        19-12           23-10           19-9

Tommy Bridges and Schoolboy Rowe/ Detroit Tigers (1934-1936)

A waif of a player at 5-foot-10, 155 pounds, the right-handed Bridges was deceptively overpowering. He finished among the top ten in strikeouts twelve times during his career. During the 1930's, he was one of the American League's most dominant hurlers, gathering 14 or more wins on seven occasions. In 1932, he came within one out of a perfect game.

Rowe had three great seasons with the Tigers from 1934 through 1936. After that, he was beset by injuries and struggled to regain his form. He did have a handful of good seasons outside of Detroit, but never demonstrated the stamina of earlier years. Rowe was a superstitious man known for carrying "lucky" trinkets such as a rabbit's foot.
The Tigers won two pennants and one World Series when Bridges and Rowe were at their peak together.

                                                                               1934            1935            1936
Schoolboy Rowe                                                      24-8             19-13          19-10
Tommy Bridges                                                        22-11           21-10          23-11

Paul Derringer and Bucky Walters/ Cincinnati Reds (1938-1940)

Walters began his career with the lowly Phillies, leading the league in losses during the '36 campaign. In '38, he made his "escape" in a midseason trade to the Reds. He won 11 games for Cincinnati that year then averaged 20 wins per season over the next six campaigns. He led the league three times. Walters was originally a third baseman so he knew how to swing a bat as well.

Nicknamed "Duke" or "Oom Paul," Derringer had a promising debut with the Cardinals in 1931, winning 18 games. Two years later, he led the league with 27 losses despite a serviceable 3.30 ERA. His best seasons came between '34-'40, when he reached the 20-win threshold four times. Derringer had a notorious temper. He once threw an inkwell at GM Larry MacPhail during an argument, missing MacPhail's head by inches.
Derringer and Walters helped the Reds to consecutive pennants in '39/'40. The Reds defeated the Tigers in the 1940 Fall Classic, earning their first championship since the controversial 1919 affair. 

                                                                                  1938            1939          1940
Paul Derringer                                                             21-14           27-11          22-10  
Bucky Walters                                                            11-6*            25-7            20-12
* - Walters arrived in a June trade. He collected a total of 15 victories that year.

Dizzy and Daffy Dean/ St. Louis Cardinals (1934-1935)

Though the Dean brothers enjoyed just two good seasons together, they deserve honorable mention. Dizzy was one of the most colorful characters in baseball history--a swaggering, trash-talking, loveable bumpkin who took the baseball world by storm for five phenomenal seasons. Dean often boasted of the feats he would accomplish on the hill beforehand. He was famous for the statement: "It ain't bragging if you can back it up." When Paul joined the Cardinals in 1934, Dean predicted that "Me and Paul are gonna win 45 games." He was right. In fact, they won 49 and added 4 more victories in the '34 World Series. While pitching in the '37 All-Star Game, Dizzy was hit by a line drive off the bat of Earl Averill. Told that his toe was fractured, he retorted: "Fractured, hell, the damn thing's broken!" He returned to action too soon and ended up throwing his arm out. Paul was not fond of the nickname "Daffy" but played along just to humor the masses. Dizzy convinced Paul to hold out for more money in the spring of '36. He joined the club with little or no training and ended up sustaining an arm injury that robbed him of his effectiveness. He bounced around the majors until 1943, but was never successful again.

                                                                                    1934            1935
Dizzy Dean                                                                   30-7             28-12
Paul "Daffy" Dean                                                          19-11           19-12

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Best Pitching Duos in History (Part III--1920-1929)

Waite Hoyt and Bob Shawkey/ New York Yankees (1921-1924)

A self-proclaimed "fastball pitcher," Hoyt had stints with the Giants and Red Sox before arriving in the Bronx. He gave his best years to the Yankees, winning 16 or more games seven times between 1921 and 1928. In '28, he led the league with 8 saves while also collecting 23 victories.

Shawkey's best years came between 1916 and 1924, when he won 20 games on four occasions. He began his major league career with the A's at the end of the club's deadball dynasty. Shawkey once struck out 15 batters in a game--a Yankee record that stood for decades.
                                                               1921        1922        1923        1924
Waite Hoyt                                        19-13        19-12        17-9         18-13
Bob Shawkey                                    18-13        20-12       16-11        16-11

Stan Coveleski and George Uhle/ Cleveland Indians (1921-1923)

Coveleski appeared in a previous post paired with Jim Bagby. His time of dominance extended into the 1920's as he won 20 games three times during the decade and captured 2 ERA titles. The right-hander found baseball to be rather stressful. "The pressure never lets up," he once said. "Lord, baseball is a worrying thing." 

Uhle picked up the nickname of "The Bull" because of his durability. He tossed 280-plus innings three times during his prime and led the league in complete games twice. Hefinished 63% of his lifetime starts. Uhle was an excellent hitter, compiling a .289 batting average with 90 extra-base hits and 187 RBIs.

                                                               1921        1922         1923
Stan Coveleski                                  23-13       17-14         13-14*
George Uhle                                      16-13       22-16         26-16
*--Despite his sub .500 record, Coveleski led the league with a 2.76 ERA

Eppa Rixey and Pete Donahue/ Cincinnati Reds (1922-1926)

Rixey is one of those Hall of Famers who has gained very little attention over the years. He spent 8 seasons with the Phillies and led the league in losses twice on account of poor run support. Traded to the Reds in 1921, he was the ace of their staff several times, winning 15 or more games on five occasions between 1921 and 1928. He was a smooth fielder, logging five errorless seasons.  

Donahue, a right-hander, had five dominant years in the majors. Like many players of his era, he was overworked and it would prove to be his undoing. He led the league twice in innings pitched and averaged 265 frames per year from 1922-1926. After that, he never posted a record above .500.

                                                             1922        1923        1924        1925        1926
Eppa Rixey                                       25-13       20-15       16-9          21-11        14-8
Pete Donahue                                   18-9         21-15        15-14       21-14        20-14

Burleigh Grimes and Dazzy Vance/ Brooklyn Robins (1922-1924)

Hall of Famer Burleigh Grimes was the last legal spit-baller in the majors. He moistened the ball by chewing slippery elm bark. The resin irritated his skin so he avoided shaving on the days of his starts, earning the nickname of "Ol' Stubblebeard." Grimes was fiercely competitive and threw at hitters often. He remained effective into his late-thirties, gathering 270 lifetime victories.

Another Hall of Famer, Vance was a late-bloomer, recording his first 20 win season at the age of 31. He captured a triple crown in '24 with 28 wins, 262 strikeouts and a 2.16 ERA. He led the league in K's for seven straight seasons. He also paced the loop in shutouts four times and ERA three times.

                                                                 1922            1923            1923
Burleigh Grimes                                  17-14           21-18            22-13
Dazzy Vance                                         18-12          18-15             28-6

 Ray Kremer and Lee Meadows/ Pittsburgh Pirates (1925-1927)

Unless you're a fan of Pittsburgh Pirates history, you've probably never heard of Kremer or Meadows.
Kremer spent his entire ten-year career with the Pirates and was a mainstay in the rotation for 7 of those seasons. Between 1924-1930, he averaged 18 wins per year. He led the league in ERA twice. In Pirates' World Series win over Senators in 1925, he won 2 of 3 decisions and posted a 3.00 ERA. He used various arm angles and speeds to keep hitters off balance.

Meadows was the first modern major leaguer to wear glasses on the field and picked up the nickname "Specs." He began his career with the dreadful Cardinals and Phillies, leading the league twice in losses. Joining the Pirates in 1924, he won no fewer than 19 games in three straight seasons. He turned in a quality start in the '25 Series, but the Pirates offense failed him as he was strapped with a loss.

                                                                   1925        1926           1927
Ray Kremer                                            17-8         20-6             19-8
Lee Meadows                                         19-10       20-9             19-10

Lefty Grove and Rube Walberg/ Philadelphia A's (1927-1929)

Grove was so fast, one writer famously commented that he could "throw a lamb chop past a wolf." Among the sorest losers in history, he was known to tear apart the clubhouse on the heels of a tough defeat. He led the AL in strikeouts every year form 1925-1931. A nine-time ERA leader, he captured two triple crowns (in '30 and '31). He hung around just long enough to collect 300 wins then retired at the age of 41.

Another left-hander, Walberg was at the heart of the A's turnaround in the late '20's. Before then, the club had been the laughing stock of the majors for roughly a decade. Between 1927 and 1932, Walberg posted 16 or more victories five times. He had the distinction of giving up 17 homers to Babe Ruth--more than any other hurler. An excellent fielder, he enjoyed two error-free campaigns. He was among the top ten in strikeouts five times and finished second to Grove in 1927.     

                                                                                   1927         1928        1929
Rube Walberg                                                       16-12         17-12         18-11
Lefty Grove                                                             20-13         24-8         20-6

Waite Hoyt and Herb Pennock/New York Yankees (1926-1928)

 After Bob Shawkey lost his effectiveness, Hoyt teamed with fellow Hall of Famer Herb Pennock.
Pennock was on the pennant winning A's squad in 1914, posting an 11-4 record. After the Series sweep at the hands of the underdog Braves that year, he was dealt to the Red Sox. The Sox were loaded with lively arms at the time and Pennock wouldn't have a chance to prove himself until 1919-'20, when he won 32 games. Dished to the Yankees in Harry Frazee's infamous roster purge, the left-hander would had his best seasons between 1923 and 1928, averaging 19 wins per year. He helped the Yanks to three World Series championships. Hoyt pitched beside him in two.

                                                                                1926          1927          1928
Waite Hoyt                                                        16-12           22-7            23-7
Herb Pennock                                                   23-11           19-8             17-8