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Teams With 3+ SP Under Age 30 With 30+ GS & ERA+ > 99 In Same Season

Posted by Steve Lombardi on September 20, 2011

Since 1901, how many teams had 3+ starters, age 29 or younger, with 30+ Games Started and an ERA+ of 100+ in the same season?

Here is the list -

Rk Year Lg Tm #Matching  
1 2003 NL Chicago Cubs 4 Matt Clement / Mark Prior / Kerry Wood / Carlos Zambrano
2 1993 NL Atlanta Braves 4 Steve Avery / Tom Glavine / Greg Maddux / John Smoltz
3 1986 NL New York Mets 4 Ron Darling / Sid Fernandez / Dwight Gooden / Bob Ojeda
4 1905 AL Chicago White Sox 4 Nick Altrock / Frank Owen / Frank Smith / Doc White
5 2011 NL San Francisco Giants 3 Madison Bumgarner / Matt Cain / Tim Lincecum
6 2010 AL Oakland Athletics 3 Dallas Braden / Trevor Cahill / Gio Gonzalez
7 2010 NL San Francisco Giants 3 Matt Cain / Tim Lincecum / Jonathan Sanchez
8 2009 NL Colorado Rockies 3 Jason Hammel / Ubaldo Jimenez / Jorge de la Rosa
9 2009 AL Detroit Tigers 3 Edwin Jackson / Rick Porcello / Justin Verlander
10 2009 AL Tampa Bay Rays 3 Matt Garza / Jeff Niemann / James Shields
11 2008 AL Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 3 Ervin Santana / Joe Saunders / Jered Weaver
12 2008 AL Chicago White Sox 3 Mark Buehrle / John Danks / Gavin Floyd
13 2008 AL Tampa Bay Rays 3 Matt Garza / James Shields / Andy Sonnanstine
14 2007 NL Chicago Cubs 3 Rich Hill / Jason Marquis / Carlos Zambrano
15 2006 NL Colorado Rockies 3 Aaron Cook / Jeff Francis / Jason Jennings
16 2006 AL Detroit Tigers 3 Jeremy Bonderman / Nate Robertson / Justin Verlander
17 2005 AL Oakland Athletics 3 Joe Blanton / Dan Haren / Barry Zito
18 2004 AL Oakland Athletics 3 Rich Harden / Mark Mulder / Barry Zito
19 2003 AL Oakland Athletics 3 Tim Hudson / Ted Lilly / Barry Zito
20 2003 NL Montreal Expos 3 Livan Hernandez / Tomo Ohka / Javier Vazquez
21 2002 AL Oakland Athletics 3 Tim Hudson / Mark Mulder / Barry Zito
22 2001 AL Minnesota Twins 3 Joe Mays / Eric Milton / Brad Radke
23 2001 AL Oakland Athletics 3 Tim Hudson / Mark Mulder / Barry Zito
24 2000 NL San Francisco Giants 3 Shawn Estes / Livan Hernandez / Kirk Rueter
25 1997 NL Houston Astros 3 Mike Hampton / Chris Holt / Darryl Kile
26 1996 NL Los Angeles Dodgers 3 Pedro Astacio / Hideo Nomo / Ismael Valdez
27 1993 AL Chicago White Sox 3 Wilson Alvarez / Alex Fernandez / Jack McDowell
28 1992 NL Atlanta Braves 3 Steve Avery / Tom Glavine / John Smoltz
29 1992 AL Milwaukee Brewers 3 Chris Bosio / Jaime Navarro / Bill Wegman
30 1992 AL Minnesota Twins 3 Scott Erickson / John Smiley / Kevin Tapani
31 1991 NL Atlanta Braves 3 Steve Avery / Tom Glavine / John Smoltz
32 1987 AL Kansas City Royals 3 Mark Gubicza / Danny Jackson / Bret Saberhagen
33 1987 AL Seattle Mariners 3 Mark Langston / Mike Moore / Mike Morgan
34 1985 AL Kansas City Royals 3 Danny Jackson / Charlie Leibrandt / Bret Saberhagen
35 1985 NL San Diego Padres 3 Dave Dravecky / Andy Hawkins / Eric Show
36 1984 AL Minnesota Twins 3 John Butcher / Mike Smithson / Frank Viola
37 1983 AL Chicago White Sox 3 Floyd Bannister / Richard Dotson / LaMarr Hoyt
38 1983 AL Toronto Blue Jays 3 Jim Clancy / Luis Leal / Dave Stieb
39 1982 AL Toronto Blue Jays 3 Jim Clancy / Luis Leal / Dave Stieb
40 1980 AL Oakland Athletics 3 Matt Keough / Rick Langford / Mike Norris
41 1980 AL Seattle Mariners 3 Glenn Abbott / Floyd Bannister / Rick Honeycutt
42 1977 NL Los Angeles Dodgers 3 Burt Hooton / Doug Rau / Rick Rhoden
43 1975 AL Kansas City Royals 3 Steve Busby / Al Fitzmorris / Dennis Leonard
44 1975 NL Los Angeles Dodgers 3 Burt Hooton / Andy Messersmith / Doug Rau
45 1975 AL Minnesota Twins 3 Bert Blyleven / Dave Goltz / Jim Hughes
46 1974 AL Oakland Athletics 3 Vida Blue / Ken Holtzman / Catfish Hunter
47 1973 AL Oakland Athletics 3 Vida Blue / Ken Holtzman / Catfish Hunter
48 1972 AL Oakland Athletics 3 Ken Holtzman / Catfish Hunter / Blue Moon Odom
49 1971 AL Baltimore Orioles 3 Pat Dobson / Dave McNally / Jim Palmer
50 1971 AL Chicago White Sox 3 Tom Bradley / Tommy John / Wilbur Wood
51 1971 AL Milwaukee Brewers 3 Skip Lockwood / Bill Parsons / Marty Pattin
52 1971 AL New York Yankees 3 Steve Kline / Fritz Peterson / Mel Stottlemyre
53 1970 NL Atlanta Braves 3 Pat Jarvis / Jim Nash / George Stone
54 1970 NL Cincinnati Reds 3 Jim McGlothlin / Jim Merritt / Gary Nolan
55 1970 AL New York Yankees 3 Stan Bahnsen / Fritz Peterson / Mel Stottlemyre
56 1969 NL Chicago Cubs 3 Bill Hands / Ken Holtzman / Fergie Jenkins
57 1969 NL New York Mets 3 Gary Gentry / Jerry Koosman / Tom Seaver
58 1968 AL Baltimore Orioles 3 Jim Hardin / Dave McNally / Tom Phoebus
59 1967 AL Minnesota Twins 3 Dave Boswell / Dean Chance / Jim Kaat
60 1966 NL San Francisco Giants 3 Bobby Bolin / Juan Marichal / Gaylord Perry
61 1965 AL California Angels 3 Dean Chance / Marcelino Lopez / Fred Newman
62 1965 NL Los Angeles Dodgers 3 Don Drysdale / Sandy Koufax / Claude Osteen
63 1962 AL Minnesota Twins 3 Jim Kaat / Jack Kralick / Camilo Pascual
64 1961 NL Los Angeles Dodgers 3 Don Drysdale / Sandy Koufax / Stan Williams
65 1961 AL Minnesota Twins 3 Jack Kralick / Camilo Pascual / Pedro Ramos
66 1960 NL Los Angeles Dodgers 3 Don Drysdale / Johnny Podres / Stan Williams
67 1958 AL Detroit Tigers 3 Jim Bunning / Paul Foytack / Frank Lary
68 1956 AL Chicago White Sox 3 Dick Donovan / Jack Harshman / Billy Pierce
69 1956 AL Detroit Tigers 3 Paul Foytack / Billy Hoeft / Frank Lary
70 1943 NL Boston Braves 3 Nate Andrews / Red Barrett / Al Javery
71 1936 AL Detroit Tigers 3 Elden Auker / Tommy Bridges / Schoolboy Rowe
72 1935 NL Chicago Cubs 3 Larry French / Bill Lee / Lon Warneke
73 1932 AL Cleveland Indians 3 Clint Brown / Wes Ferrell / Mel Harder
74 1921 AL Boston Red Sox 3 Bullet Joe Bush / Sad Sam Jones / Herb Pennock
75 1917 AL Boston Red Sox 3 Dutch Leonard / Carl Mays / Babe Ruth
76 1916 AL Washington Senators 3 Bert Gallia / Harry Harper / Walter Johnson
77 1915 FL Kansas City Packers 3 Nick Cullop / Chief Johnson / Gene Packard
78 1915 FL Pittsburgh Rebels 3 Frank Allen / Elmer Knetzer / Clint Rogge
79 1914 NL Boston Braves 3 Bill James / Dick Rudolph / Lefty Tyler
80 1914 AL Washington Senators 3 Doc Ayers / Walter Johnson / Jim Shaw
81 1913 AL Chicago White Sox 3 Eddie Cicotte / Reb Russell / Jim Scott
82 1912 NL Cincinnati Reds 3 Rube Benton / Art Fromme / George Suggs
83 1911 NL Pittsburgh Pirates 3 Babe Adams / Howie Camnitz / Lefty Leifield
84 1910 NL Cincinnati Reds 3 Harry Gaspar / Jack Rowan / George Suggs
85 1909 AL Detroit Tigers 3 George Mullin / Ed Summers / Ed Willett
86 1909 NL New York Giants 3 Christy Mathewson / Bugs Raymond / Hooks Wiltse
87 1907 AL Cleveland Naps 3 Addie Joss / Glenn Liebhardt / Bob Rhoads
88 1906 AL Chicago White Sox 3 Nick Altrock / Frank Owen / Ed Walsh
89 1906 AL Cleveland Naps 3 Otto Hess / Addie Joss / Bob Rhoads
90 1905 AL Detroit Tigers 3 Bill Donovan / Ed Killian / George Mullin
91 1905 AL Philadelphia Athletics 3 Andy Coakley / Eddie Plank / Rube Waddell
92 1904 AL Boston Americans 3 Bill Dinneen / Norwood Gibson / Jesse Tannehill
93 1904 AL Detroit Tigers 3 Bill Donovan / Ed Killian / George Mullin
94 1904 AL Philadelphia Athletics 3 Weldon Henley / Eddie Plank / Rube Waddell
95 1901 NL Boston Beaneaters 3 Bill Dinneen / Togie Pittinger / Vic Willis
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/20/2011.

Any surprises on here for you?

32 Responses to “Teams With 3+ SP Under Age 30 With 30+ GS & ERA+ > 99 In Same Season”

  1. D Forrest Y Says:

    First thing I notice about this list... not a lot of playoff teams. Very few win the World Series with a rotation like this. I know, that's expectable, 'cause this is usually the kind of rotation that says "rebuilding well.. almost there". So in that context, it makes the 2010 Giants achievement all the more awesome.

  2. george barnard Says:

    Was Livan Hernandez ever under 30 years old?

  3. jiffy Says:

    Any mention of the 2003 Cubs causes immediate anger and sadness at the same time. Not really surprised by those top 3, and teams from 100+ years ago are barely even relevant so nothing really jumping out here. Somewhat surprised at the low number of teams but 30+ GS is a pretty high bar (need a lack of injuries).

    My first thoughts were the 1990s Braves, 1990s/2000s A's, and the recent SF Giants, and they're all here.

  4. mik Says:

    Oakland did it five years in 5 years in a row, but they didn't win a playoff series in any of those years. Also, if Cory Lidle had started one more game, the 2001 A's would have had 4 pitchers qualify.

    Concerning the three modern teams with 4 pitchers qualifying: The Mets won the world series, the Braves went on to win a world series two years later with those four pitchers (none of the pitchers started 30 games in '95), and the Cubs were and still are the Cubs.

  5. pauley Says:

    1- Almost a third (31) of the list made the postseason, 17 made the World Series and 9 teams won it. I think that's a pretty good percentage.
    My first thought was the Hudson/Mulder/Zito A's and guess I didn't realize that the dynasty A's of the early 70's fit the qualifications age wise. I guess the mustaches made them seem older.

  6. Charles Says:

    26 out of the last 29 teams finished 1st or 2nd in the division with 18 playoff teams. A lot of 1st and 2nd place finishers from 1965 to 1980 (no playoffs 1965-1968). 69, 72, 73, 74 WS winners and the 70,71 losers. 1985, 1986 WS winners. Pauley found more by going through the entire set.

    I also looked to see if the team was better than the year before. With Oakland since they had the string from 2001 to 2005, I only compared 2000 vs 2001. I had to go all the way back to 1992 before I saw a team that declined. The Twins were WS champs in 1991 with 95 wins. In 1992, they finished 2nd with 90 wins. It wasn't unusual to see a team pick up 10-20 wins. I didn't look at the pitchers the year before to see if an older pitcher retired, or maybe all 3 pitchers didn't hit 30 starts or failed to reach 100 ERA+.

    I noticed a huge gap from 1936 to 1956. From 1954 to 1961 there were 22 to 33(2.1 per team) pitchers with 30 or more starts each year total in both leagues. With the expansion from 16 to 20 teams, the numbers ranged from 39 in 1962 to 55 (2.75/team) in 1968. In the 1960s, pitchers started to routinely get 40 starts which was rare in the 1950s.

    Another thing, I noticed. About 80% of the 30 game starters also relieved in the 50s. Some might have 10 relief appearances. Most of the team saves were from pitchers who also started a significant number of games. In the 1960s when pitchers started close to 40 games, they might have 1 or 2 relief appearances. In the late 60s, about 1/2 the 30 game starters had at least 1 Game finished, very few more than 2.

  7. Dvd Avins Says:

    From the start of the home rune era until the mid 1950s, pitching rotations were all messed up with double headers, and scheduled off days, as well as rain-outs that have become less frequent over time. Very few teams make the list from those years, but I bet relatively few would qualify even if you got rid of the age requirement.

  8. Dvd Avins Says:

    It's a sort of neat, sort of sad surprise that the only times the Yanks did it was two years in a row when I was a kid watching Stottlemyre and Peterson do their thing.

  9. pauley Says:

    Seems pretty clear that the advent of 5 man rotations has played a large part in this over the last 30 years. '85 KC is really impressive when you consider that Gubicza missed being a fourth member by two starts and Bud Black missed by a small margin in the ERA+ category, they might have had five. I think it was Bill James analysis of the 85 series in the 86 abstract that won me over to baseball from football.

  10. Dvd Avins Says:

    IIRC he had two essays for KC that year, instead of the usual one per team, and both essays were classics.

  11. mik Says:

    @9 - they've been playing the 85 WS on one of the many ESPN channels lately. KC85 is still pretty fun to watch.

  12. Mike Gaber Says:

    I'm mostly amazed with entry # 70 on the list:
    The 1943 Boston Braves.

    That they could have 3 pitchers in 1943 during the exact middle of World War 2 playing in the majors was amazing.

    In 1943 I was 10 years old and had been following baseball for at least 4 years and I well remember almost every able bodied man under 35 was in the military.

    Yet I looked up the Braves team on and see they had a lot of 20-29 year old players.

    I don't know what the average age of players was between 1942 and 1945 but It seems the Boston Braves could have had the lowest Average Age per team of the 16 teams in the Majors.

    Here is the Link for the 1943 Boston Braves:

    P.S. In those days if you had a top job in a defense plant you were exempt from the military.
    Men with flat feet were considered 4-F and not qualified for Military service but you were required then to work in a Defense Plant.

    In 1943-44 & 45, several ball players had top jobs in defense plants in the off season and they did not get to do spring training. They went straight from the job to play opening day.

  13. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I don't know what the average age of players was between 1942 and 1945 but It seems the Boston Braves could have had the lowest Average Age per team of the 16 teams in the Majors.

    1943 Braves were one of the younger teams in the majors

    And the average ages clearly rose during the war.

  14. pauley Says:

    @10- the most memorable one for me was the breakdown of how Dick Howser outmanaged Bobby Cox, and how Cox's early pinch hitting cost him Al Oliver in late inning situations. It always made me wonder if Cito Gaston read Bill James since in the '92 World Series the same thing happened. In the deciding game six, Gaston brought in David Wells to face Deion Sanders (2-3, 8-15 in series) and Cox pinch hit Ron Gant (1-6) I immediately bet my dad that in the ninth inning Gant would end up facing Tom Henke with the game on the line instead of Deion. Otis Nixon gets caught stealing, inning over. In the bottom of the 8th, Duane Ward enters to face Gant- platoon advantage lost and the Braves hottest hitter lost. In the ninth, the Braves tie the game on a Nixon single so with two out, runners on 2nd and 3rd who is up? Ron Gant. Braves lose the game and series in extra innings. And the sad thing is (for Braves fans- I'm not, but I was screaming at the TV) Cox never had a clue.

  15. Andy Patton Says:

    who could forget the Mariners dominating 1980 rotation with Glenn Abbott, Floyd Bannister and Rick Honeycutt!?!

  16. Dan Says:

    If we raised the ERA+ bar a little, how would that change this list?

  17. Brent Says:

    Royals fan here since birth (same year the Royals were born actually). What Howswer did in Game 6 and 7 in 1985 to Bobby Cox could only be done because he used 4 starting pitchers in the two games. Started Gubicza and Saberhagen, and then used Bud Black and Charlie Leibrandt in the middle innings, then when the LH hitters (Oliver, Whitt, Mullinks) were gone, Quiz got to face a lot of righties in the late innings (and Quiz was a lot better against Righties than lefties. Guys like Al Oliver, Ben Oglivie, Oscar Gamble, killed the Quiz.

    And before we are too hard on Bobby Cox, Bucky Harris used essentially the same tactic to take Bill Terry out of the 1924 WS. And in that case, it was John McGraw getting outwitted. So it happens, even to the best managers.

  18. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @12/ Mike Gaber "... In 1943 I was 10 years old and had been following baseball for at least 4 years and I well remember almost every able bodied man under 35 was in the military...".

    The WWII era of baseball (1943-45) is quite fascinating, it seems that the local draft boards had as much to do with the success of any MLB team as the actual players on the roster. There was an interesting book written about this period called "Even The Browns", referring to the St Loius Browns (usually a second-division team) winning the pennant in 1944.

    I need to make the obligatory mention of Pete Grey (the one-armed OFer), who played for the Browns, here.

    One factoid I've heard about this period is that rosters were expanded from 25 to 28 players in early 1946, to accomodate all of the former players returning from military service. Is this true?

  19. Charles Says:

    1924 World Series
    It was tied 3-3 after 6 games. Washington lost all 3 games when they started right handers (Walter Johnson was 0-2) and they won all three games they started left handers. Bill Terry only started in the 3 games vs right handers and got 6 hits. For game 7, the Senators started Curly Ogden, a right hander. The Giants put Terry in the lineup at #5. Curly is replaced after two batters with a left hander. Terry is taken out after 2 ABs going 0-2 with a SO. The Senators win in 12 innings with Walter Johnson getting the win, pitching 4 innings.

  20. Tmckelv Says:

    The 2 New York Teams are interesting. Both have 2 entries on the list.

    The Yankees from 1970 and 1971...those seasons are not exactly the cream of the Yankee crop, right in the middle of their first playoff drought.

    But the Mets are from 1969 and 1986 - the 2 best seasons in franchise history.

  21. Charles Says:


    I remember reading that somewhere. They were allowed to take 3 extra players, if they were veterans. I don't recall how many years that lasted.

  22. James Says:

    The Braves played 114 games in 1994 (something about a labor dispute, I believe), so the proportionate start threshold would be 21.1. Maddux (25 starts, ERA+ of 271), Glavine (25, 106), and Avery (24, 105) were already there, and Smoltz (21, 102) was really close.

    In 1995, the last year before Maddux and Glavine turned 30, the Braves played 144 games, which translates to a start threshold of 26.7. Again, they had three starters who hit the mark—Maddux (28, 262), Glavine (29, 139), and Smoltz (29, 135)—and nearly a fourth, Kent Mercker (26, 103). And one more good start from Steve Avery (29, 92) could've made it five.

    So, if not for the strike, it's very likely there would've been five consecutive Braves' pitching staffs on this list, matching the 2001-05 Oakland A's.

  23. pauley Says:

    17- I don't think I (or Bill James) was being too hard on Cox. Not being able to look a few innings ahead and see Quisenberry (or Henke) waiting is bad enough. But for it to happen and cost you a shot at the World Series, to get called out in a major publication, then to have the same scenario happen again in the World Series just seven years later is a major mistake. And in '92 it wasn't just losing a left handed bat, it was losing your best hitter in the series, and pinch hitting for a guy who was 2-3 with a double in that game. Plus he broke an unwritten cardinal rule- (maybe its not an unwritten cardinal rule but it should be) never pinch hit for a Hall of Famer. It doesn't matter that the particular Hall of Fame is Canton in this case.

  24. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    The 1971 Brewers still make me scratch my head. Marty Pattin was a legitimately good pitching prospect drafted from the Angels organization who had a solid big-league career — no mystery there. But journeyman Skip Lockwood was the 23rd of 30 players whom the Pilots picked in the '68 expansion draft; he'd gone 5-12 for the Brewers in 1970. And Bill Parsons, drafted in the 7th round out of community college in 1968, was a raw rookie in 1971 who had a poor 1972 and whose career ended in 1973 when he came down with a worse case of Steve Blass Disease than Steve Blass. It was a very obscure trio, but of course they all got plenty of chances with an expansion club in its third year of existence.

    Here's another fact that makes the '71 Brewers' good starting pitching so surprising. In February 1971, in an effort to shore up their feeble offense, the Brewers had traded veteran lefty starter Al Downing (2-10 as a Brewer in 1970, 113 ERA+, three days too old to play as a 29-year-old in 1971) to the Dodgers in exchange for veteran corner IF/OF Andy Kosco. Downing had a career year for L.A. in 1971, going 20-9 and finishing third in the NL Cy Young voting. Kosco hit .227 with 10 homers for Milwaukee; he was traded to the Angels after the season for the even more obscure corner IF/OF Tommie Reynolds.

  25. Brent Says:

    Charles @19

    Can you imagine if Bucky Harris had pulled a stunt like that in today's media? He starts his 6th best pitcher in Game 7 of the WS?? For a team that had never been to a WS, let alone win one? Against, to that point, the greatest franchise in baseball.

    All to get a rookie 1bman out of the lineup (albeit a very hot rookie IBman who went on to have a HOF career), so his closer (Firpo Marberry) and best pitcher (W. Johnson) wouldn't have to face him in the later innings, if the game went that far.

    Oh yeah, against the most famous and probably best (certainly considered the best at that time) manager in baseball.

    Big cajones. Very big cajones.

  26. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @21/ Charles - Thanks

    Another roster-size oddity is that in the mid-80s (1986?) the roster size was cut to 24 for a year or two. Odd.

  27. Splash Hits: Cody Ross, Brett Pill, Ian Kennedy » Giants Nirvana | SF Giants Blog Says:

    [...] Teams With 3+ SP Under Age 30 With 30+ GS & ERA+ > 99 In Same Season » Baseball-Reference Bl... Since 1901, how many teams had 3+ starters, age 29 or younger, with 30+ Games Started and an ERA+ of 100+ in the same season? [...]

  28. Dvd Avins Says:

    @26 The official roster limit was still 25, but clubs were not required to fill all 25 slots and agreed with each other that they would not. I don't think the lack of requirement to fill the slots was new, just the decision to not fill them. I don't think it lasted more than a few months, but I'm not sure.

  29. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @28/ DvD Avins - I think this "optional" approach to a full 25 man roster was the same year (1986) that the collusion judgement was handed down against all 30 MLB teams. I'm sure this is not a coincidence...

    While we are on the roster subject, does anyone know when the 25 man roster became standard? 1912? 1915? I know that roster sizes grew rapidly in the first decade of the 1900s, as the economic strength of MLB improved.

  30. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    One small correction to your post #29, Lawrence — there were only 26 MLB teams in the collusion year 1986.

  31. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @30/ Kahuna Tuna - I'm glad someone else is reading my comments more closely than I am, thanks for the correction.

    I did a little research and discovered that rosters were around 14-15 c. 1900, varied a lot the next decade but stabilized at 25 around 1910, still going down every now and then for several decades. From 1957 to 1968, Opening Day rosters were 28 till May 1st, when they went back to 25.

    I am sure there are many other wrinkles to the history of roster-sizes.

  32. Brendan Says:

    I am the first person to mention Bartman in this conversation.