Where Does Halladay Belong?
On the way home from work the other day, I heard an intriguing discussion about Roy Halladay, should this be his last year as a Phillie. Basically they were discussing where he would fall on the list of best Phillies pitchers of all-time. For some reason, it sounded like they wanted to put Schilling ahead of Halladay which I think is nonsense, even when you consider Schilling was a Phillie for longer. They weren’t done their conversation, but they had Carlton first, then Robin Roberts followed by Schilling, maybe Hamels then Halladay I think. But let’s take a look at the numbers.
Looking at Carlton’s numbers, I never realized that he didn’t have great control. Nothing crazy, but definitely not pinpoint. Carlton pitched 15 years for the Fightin’s and went 241-161 with an ERA of 3.09 and a WHIP of 1.211. The high point, of course, was his first year on the team when he won 27 games with a 1.97 ERA and a WHIP of .993. He also won all four of his Cy Young Awards during his years with the Phils. Oh, and he threw 30! complete games and almost 350 innings pitched. A different era, indeed.
Now, let’s look at Robin Roberts, one of the Whiz Kids. He pitched 14 years for the Phillies winning 234 games and losing 199. He had an ERA of 3.46 and a WHIP of 1.170. His best season for the Phillies came in 1952 when he went 28-7 with an ERA of 2.59 and a WHIP of 1.021. He threw another 30 complete games and was also first runner-up for the MVP.
Next up is Schilling who came to the Phillies as a relief pitcher. In 9 years for the Phillies, Schilling went 101-78 with an ERA of 3.35 and a WHIP of 1.120. His best season in pinstripes came in 1992 when he went 14-11 with an ERA of 2.35 and a WHIP of .990. Unlike the other two, his best years did not come with the Phillies, but with Arizona and Boston where he was Cy Young runner up three times.
How about Hamels? Now, does he get a boost due to his post-season performance in 2008? Let’s take a look at the numbers first. In 8 years, Hamels is 92-65 with a 3.37 ERA and a WHIP of 1.143 in Philadelphia. His best season was 2011 when he went 14-9 with an ERA of 2.79 and a WHIP of .986.
Following Hamels is Halladay. He’s had the shortest career as a Phillies which might hold him back a little. Roy Boy has only been on the team for 4 years (including this year). In that time he is 53-28 with an ERA of 3.37 and a WHIP of 1.104. Of course, his first two years were very dominant, both with ERAs under 2.50 and with WHIPs of 1.041 or lower. He won a Cy Young and was second runner-up the next year. But we have to look at the whole picture.
One name that wasn’t mentioned while I was listening was Jim Bunning, another Hall of Famer. I don’t care for Bunning’s politics, really, but that is neither here nor there. He pitched six years for the Phillies compiling a record of 89-73, but with a sparkling ERA of 2.93 and a WHIP of 1.111. Now, he was pitching for the team just before the height of the mound was lowered due to the dominance of pitching in the league. Let’s take a look at league ERA averages for each.
During Bunning’s years as a Phillie, the league’s ERA was about 3.60. His Phillie ERA was 2.93. for a difference of .67
During Halladay’s years on the team, the league’s ERA was 3.90. His Phillie ERA is 3.37 for a difference of .53.
While Hamels has been a Phillie, the league’s ERA has 4.13. His ERA as a Fightin’ has been 3.37 for a difference of .76
During Schilling’s tenure, the league ERA was 4.15. His ERA in his 9.5 years was 3.35 for a difference of .80.
The league had an ERA of 3.97 while Roberts pitched for the team and his Phillies’ ERA was 3.46 for a difference of .51.
And lastly is Carlton who pitched for the Phillies while the league’s ERA was about 3.63. When his team ERA of 3.09 is subtracted, you get a difference of .54.
So if you just go by ERA compared to the league average, Curt Schilling comes out on top. I’m not sure if you can just go by that factor. However, it is interesting. I think length of career should matter, too. While Halladay had two very dominant years, it was just two years. Post-season should factor in as well, so Carlton and Hamels get points there. In the end, I would have to make the ranking in this way:
1. Carlton 2. Hamels 3. Schilling 4. Bunning 5. Halladay
I’d love to put Halladay in front of Schilling and even Hamels, but it doesn’t seem the numbers are there, plus just hasn’t been on the team long enough. Feel free to comment. I wouldn’t be shocked if there are math errors, though.