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’75 Dodgers SP – One Of Best Units Ever?

Posted by Steve Lombardi on March 8, 2010

I've read that an average start (by a starting pitcher) would have a Game Score around "50." (Related, one start in 300 reaches a score of 90 or better, and an all-time great performance would reach 100.)

Thinking about this, I wondered which team, since 1954, had the most games in a season where their pitchers had a Game Score of 50+. Thanks to's Play Index Pitching Game Finder, here's that answer:


That's interesting - but, what would happen if we bumped the bar up to a Game Score of 65+? Here's that list:


O.K. this drops the '75 Dodgers staff down a bit - but, most of the staffs topping them here are from the era where pitchers ruled the earth - due to a higher mound, larger strikezone, no-DH, etc.

So, does this mean that the 1975 Los Angeles Dodgers starting staff (seen below) is one of the best ever in the last half-century, or so, of baseball history? Granted, their home park helped them out...most likely. But, in terms of making decent starts, these guys got the job a group.

Rk Pos   Age W L W-L% ERA G GS 6 IP ERA+
1 SP Andy Messersmith 29 19 14 .576 2.29 42 40 321.2 149
2 SP Doug Rau* 26 15 9 .625 3.11 38 38 257.2 110
3 SP Don Sutton 30 16 13 .552 2.87 35 35 254.1 119
4 SP Burt Hooton 25 18 7 .720 2.82 31 30 223.2 121
5 RP Rick Rhoden 22 3 3 .500 3.08 26 11 99.1 111
6 RP Al Downing* 34 2 1 .667 2.89 22 6 74.2 118
7   Juan Marichal 37 0 1 .000 13.50 2 2 6.0 25
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 3/8/2010.


12 Responses to “’75 Dodgers SP – One Of Best Units Ever?”

  1. Innuendo Says:

    This table ( gives more details about the Game Score data for the '75 Dodgers starters. We see that 3 of them were above 60, two above 50 and that the team average was 60, which is quite a rare accomplishment.

  2. cubbies Says:

    its funny to see juan marichal on a list like this, but as one of the extras who didnt contribute much.

  3. Richard Says:

    Well, how many teams have had 4 starters with 15+ wins? I would guess this is quite rare. If it is, then I would say that they had one of the best rotations ever.

  4. Innuendo Says:

    68 teams had 4 starters with 15+ wins, Richard. 8 of them even had 5. And look closely : last few times happened not so long ago.

  5. JeffW Says:

    It is odd seeing Juan at the bottom of that list. But just think that this staff was as good as it was...even without the still-in-recovery Tommy John, who was at the peak of his career when he got hurt.

  6. steven Says:

    ...And the Reds won the pennant.

  7. steven Says:

    Most of the Dodger hitters tailed off that year. The pitching stats are similar to the 1969 Cardinals, who had trouble scoring runs and didn't repeat as pennant winners, either.

  8. Rich Says:

    I don't particularly understand Game Score. According to your site, it's calculated this way:

    Start with 50 points. Add 1 point for each out recorded, (or 3 points per inning). Add 2 points for each inning completed after the 4th. Add 1 point for each strikeout. Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed. Subtract 4 points for each earned run allowed. Subtract 2 points for each unearned run allowed. Subtract 1 point for each walk.

    So, conceivably, a perfect game would be 50+27+10=87
    So how could one get a game score higher than 87? Aside from pitching more than 9 innings, of course. I also notice that Buehrle's perfect game was a 93. How did that add up?

  9. Djibouti Says:

    1 point per K, Buehrle had 6 K's

  10. JR Says:

    I am confused as to how this works out. Especially when you have the 1971 Orioles, who had 4 20 game winners. To me, that is a better staff than the 1976 Dodgers.

  11. Gerry Says:

    The 1975 Dodgers had three guys who pitched 250+ innings. That's partly because they were good, but it also speaks to pitcher usage patterns of days gone by.
    Last year, no one in all of MLB pitched over 240. To get a game score of 65+, you generally have to go fairly deep into a game. So, to some extent, the chronological makeup of these lists reflects the changes in managerial style more than the quality of pitching staffs.

  12. BSK Says:

    Gamescore seems like essentially a fantasy stat (as in, fantasy baseball). It doesn't really tell you anything except the guy had an impressive line by traditional standards.