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30-65 IP & ERA+ Of 200+

Posted by Steve Lombardi on December 3, 2010

How many pitchers have worked between 30 and 65 innings in a season while posting an ERA+ of 200 or better - more than once?

Here's the list -

Rk   Yrs From To Age  
1 Darren O'Day 2 2009 2010 26-27 Ind. Seasons
2 Arthur Rhodes 2 2005 2008 35-38 Ind. Seasons
3 Mike Gonzalez 2 2004 2006 26-28 Ind. Seasons
4 Rafael Soriano 2 2003 2010 23-30 Ind. Seasons
5 Troy Percival 2 2002 2007 32-37 Ind. Seasons
6 Mariano Rivera 2 1998 2010 28-40 Ind. Seasons
7 John Wetteland 2 1997 1998 30-31 Ind. Seasons
8 Michael Jackson 2 1994 1998 29-33 Ind. Seasons
9 John Franco 2 1992 1996 31-35 Ind. Seasons
10 Steve Howe 2 1991 1994 33-36 Ind. Seasons
11 Tom Henke 2 1985 1995 27-37 Ind. Seasons
12 Bill Castro 2 1978 1979 26-27 Ind. Seasons
13 Skip Lockwood 2 1975 1979 28-32 Ind. Seasons
14 Terry Fox 2 1961 1962 25-26 Ind. Seasons
15 Don McMahon 2 1957 1973 27-43 Ind. Seasons
16 Carmen Hill 2 1915 1918 19-22 Ind. Seasons
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/3/2010.


With no question, in terms of leader boards, sorts, etc., this one is a real cherry-picking effort. But, I did find it interesting that no one has done this three times in a career - yet, there are some names on this list who could do it a third time in 2011. Of those, who do you think is most likely?

Me? Given his age, and the fact that he's not used much past 60 innings a season these days, and the fact that he's still brilliant, my money is on Mo Rivera.

27 Responses to “30-65 IP & ERA+ Of 200+”

  1. --bill Says:

    Lockwood really cashed in as a free agent after his second such season.

  2. Raphy Says:

    Why are you setting the limit at 65 IP?
    What are you accomplishing,demonstrating or even artificially creating?
    I don't understand.

  3. John Q Says:

    Skip Lockwood is completely overlooked and forgotten by Mets fans and the Mets franchise for some odd reason. He is never brought up as being a very good player for the team.

    His 246era+ 1.49 era was one of the few bright spots other than Mazzilli & Swan on one of the worst teams of the last 50 odd years (1979 Mets). And before that Lockwood had a 234era+ 1.49 era for the 1975 Mets.

  4. Tmckelv Says:

    Here's one of my fun lists again...can't get enough Bill Castro.

  5. John Q Says:

    Good point about Lockwood Bill, I think the Red Sox paid him something like a million dollars back in 1980 which was just an insane amount of money back then. I think he pitched one lousy season for the Sox and then was released.

    Lockwood ranks 25th all time in WAR for a Mets pitcher, 7.4, which is pretty good for a relief pitcher who only played for the team 5 years. He actually has more WAR for the Mets than Pedro Martinez, (5.8WAR).

    Lockwood ranks 7th all time in ERA+ (126) by a Met with at least 350 innings pitched.

  6. Tmckelv Says:

    I agree with Raphy, though...what are we looking for here? I guess we need the limit @ 65 innings otherwise almost every closer would be in here.

    Rivera has eleven 200+ seasons (including two 300+) with a career OPS + of 205. Honestly his appearances on this list are far from his best seasons, and I probably would not characterize them as necessarily positive outcomes overall (for Mariano and many other closers). Although, like you said, at Rivera's age, 65 inning limit is probably where the Yankees would want to keep him for future seasons.

  7. Richard Says:

    Why did you use 30-65 as a criteria? If you had set the higher IP at 80 or so, Mo has done it about ten times.

  8. Paul O'Neill's Love Child Says:

    Raphy: I agree with you 100% bro. For example, if you look at Mo's career, he has had 11 seasons in which his ERA+ has been over 200. Is he being penalized for pitching more than 65+ innings? I would think it would be more difficult to do that then pitch between 30-65 innings. I'm begging you guys...please stop with these ridiculous posts!!!

  9. Steve Lombardi Says:

    Re: the 65 IP cap.
    It's just a "didn't pitch all that much" line in the sand.
    Rivera threw 60 in 2010 and, IIRC, 66 in 2009. So, I decided to use 65 on the sort. Again, as I mentioned in the piece, it's cherry-picking. I could have used 70, or 75, or whatever. But, pie in the sky, willy-nilly, I took 65. And, it had no serious intent behind it.

  10. John Autin Says:

    @2, Raphy -- I can't speak for Steve, but I'm treating this as just having some fun with numbers. I'm most interested in the less-well-known guys on this list, such as....

    -- Terry Fox, RH reliever for Detroit in the '60s, began his career with 2 dazzling seasons -- combined 1.56 ERA, 263 ERA+ over 115 IP. Fox held the mark for best ERA+ in their first 3 seasons (min. 100 IP), since topped by Jonathan Papelbon & Andrew Bailey.

    -- Carmen Hill, the only teenager on the list. His 2 "qualifying" seasons were basically cups-of-coffee with the 1915/18 Pirates. Through age 30, Hill bounced around, majors & minors, to the Giants and back to Pittsburgh, but never got more than 8 games or 47 IP in a MLB season. But in 1927, he suddenly became an ace for the NL-champion Pirates; he led the team with 22 wins and was 2nd with 278 IP and a 127 ERA+. Hill had one more effective year, but then quickly faded.

  11. John Autin Says:

    Interesting note on Lockwood from his transactions register:

    The Yankees traded for him in December '74, then released him in '75 on the eve of Opening Day. The A's signed him and sent him to AAA Tucson, where he pitched OK in a swing role. The Mets bought him at the end of July, pitched him 3 times in relief at Tidewater (5 IP, no hits or runs, 5 Ks), then brought him up in early August. The season was already 2/3 gone, so his 24 appearances and 48 IP in the team's last 55 games was actually a pretty heavy workload.

    I don't know if it was the shift from starting to relief, or if Lockwood found a new pitch in '75, but his K rate abruptly doubled, from 5.0 K/9 in his first 6 years to 11.4 in '75. He became the Mets' closer in '76 and kept up his high K rate (10.3) and fine overall work, with a 2.67 ERA in 94 IP.

    Before Dwight Gooden came up in '84, Lockwood's 1975-76 seasons were the only ones over 10 K/9 by a Mets pitcher (min. 10 IP). His Mets career rate of 8.72 K/9 is tied with David Cone for #2 in Mets history (min. 300 IP).

  12. Tmckelv Says:

    John A @10,

    Nice info on those old-timer's. got me interested in looking them up.

    One additional highlight for Carmen Hill. As you mentioned, he was a top starter for NL-champ Pirates in 1927. But that gave him the opportunity to throw a "quality start" against Murderer's Row in game 4 (final game) of the WS. He went 6 innings allowing 3 runs (no decision).

    He handled Gehrig. Got him out all 3 times (2 groundouts and a K).

    Unfortunately, Babe touched him up for a single and Home Run ( 3RBI) in his three plate appearances.

    Pretty historical stuff for someone that happened to come out of a simple IP/ERA+ query that retruned just a few names.

    Again, I say it every day, I love this site.

  13. Tmckelv Says:

    John A @11,

    Nice catch on Lockwood and the Yanks, I never knew about that.

    I can't imagine what happened there. Not sure if they picked him up to maybe use him in the rotation, but then signed Catfish 3 weeks later which cost Skip a chance (doesn't seem too likely since they also released Mel Stottlemyre - unless that was a planned retirement thing). Either that or he just had a horrensous spring training, because the '75 yankees could have definitely used some RH relief help.

  14. Peter Says:

    how about something a little more telling?

    200+ era+ and < 0.800 whip
    minimum 35 innings

    I think I know the answer already...

  15. John Autin Says:

    "T-Mac" -- The B-R Bullpen page for Carmen Hill opens with this quote:

    "Yes, Dorothy, the man gave your daddy a low curve on the inside this time." - Babe Ruth speaking to his daughter, after he had hit a home run off of Carmen Hill in the 1927 World Series.

    Speaking of Ruth in the WS, you've probably heard of this quote:

    "Why shouldn't we pitch to Ruth? I've said before, and I'll say it again, we pitch to better hitters than Ruth in the National League."
    -- Giants manager John McGraw, before Game 2 of the 1923 World Series

    From that point on -- from Game 2 of the '23 Series, through the end of his career -- Ruth WS scorecard showed 14 HRs in 24 games, 32 Runs, 25 RBI, .407 BA and 1.526 SLG. The Yankees went 19-5 and won 4 out of 5 WS.

  16. Morten Jonsson Says:


    How were the 1979 Mets one of the worst teams of the last 50 years? They went 63-99. That's awful, but not historically awful. It's not even one of the Mets' worst teams of the last 50 years. And that same year, the Blue Jays went 53-109 and the A's went 54-108.

    Lockwood was great, though.

  17. John Autin Says:

    @4, Tmckelv -- Your mention of Bill Castro got me to reminiscing ... My buddy Paul, who introduced me to Strat-O-Matic in the late '70s, beat my brains out in almost every tourney, mainly by exploiting "Moneyball" tactics (before anyone even knew that word). While I and others spent high draft picks on batting titleists and "RBI men," 20-game winners and Firemen of the Year, Paul would stock up on non-stars like Castro and his teammate, Gorman Thomas, platoon at half-a-dozen positions, and cruise to victory.

    Before playing Strat-O, I had barely heard of on-base percentage. I knew, vaguely, that drawing walks was good, but I had no grasp of the range of difference among players in that regard, nor of just how empty a .300 BA could be. I had no idea what a scoring impact someone like Gorman Thomas could make, despite a batting average that would make my dad scowl. I didn't know just how much good luck could be concealed in a Cy Young season, or bad luck in a losing record.

    Seeing a player's entire season boiled down to a simple table of outcomes -- all the possible outcomes -- and feeling the brunt of my All-Stars losing to a bunch of Gene Tenaces and Darrell Evanses, was a revelation. I know there's a lot more to baseball than can be gleaned from S-O-M cards, but I'm confident that a team of Strat-O all-stars will take a 7-game series from the "real" All-Stars more often than not.

    P.S. on Castro: From 1978-80, Castro compiled a 170 ERA+, despite averaging just 3.0 strikeouts per 9 IP. In his best years (which also included his '75 rookie season), Castro rarely walked anyone, kept the ball in the park and racked up the GIDPs.

  18. Jeff J. Says:

    I am really missing something, like why these guys aren't on the list


  19. John Q Says:

    @16 Morten J.

    I guess you had to be there.

    Yeah, you're right there were plenty of teams with worse records but it was something about the whole depressing mood & feeling of that 1979 team. Heck the Mets of the early 60's had worse records but there was a sense of optimism and fun with those teams. That '79 team was at the Nadir of that down period in Mets history from 1977-1983. The only team that was worse than the '79 squad in Mets history was the '93 debacle.

    The Mets Lost 99 games that year.

    They finished 6th (last) in the National League Eastern Division 35 games back.

    They finished last in attendance in the NL (12/12) with an attendance of 788, 900. I think it was the worst attendance in Mets history but I'm not sure. Shea was just a depressing place to be that year. Even if you look at old films, it looks kind of in disrepair from the de Roulet family. Basically the franchise had hit rock bottom and would be sold in 1980.

    Jerry Koosman was traded during the winter and there were no big name free-agents signed.

    In the Bronx, the Yankees just won back to back WS and won 3 straight AL Pennants.

    The Mets had possibly the worst sports mascot in history in "Mettle the Mule".

    It was the last year of the de Roulet/ Payson family owning the team so the team seamed completely lost.

  20. John Autin Says:

    @18, Jeff J. -- The list is pitchers with at least 2 years of ERA+ over 200 and 30-65 IP. Of the guys you mentioned, I think only Gossage had even 1 such season. Others had one or more seasons with ERA+ > 200, but with too many IP to "qualify" for the narrowly-drawn list. (Gossage had 2 such years with IP of 133 and 142 -- too dang good to make this list!)

  21. Morten Jonsson Says:


    Yes, Gossage is the only one with a season within that range. Billy Wagner had four seasons with an ERA+ over 200. Robb Nen had three. Bruce Sutter had two. Pete Moylan has had two. J. J. Putz has had one, though he did it in style, going over 300. But all of them got careless and went over 65 innings. Usually well over.

    I think it would be a more interesting question if the range were broader--from, say, 40 or 50 innings to just under the number of innings needed to qualify for an ERA title. I'm pretty sure the winner would be Rivera, but I'd be curious to see who else is high on the list.

  22. rico petrocelli Says:

    Don McMahon -- somewhat forgotteb but interesting:

    Grad of Eramsus High in Brooklyn. classmate of Roger Kahn (The Boys of Summer)

    did it this ERA+ feat 16 years apart (1957,1973 when he was 43)

    ERA+ was also over 200 in 1962 (a 3rd time) but pitched 79 innings.

    When McMahon retired, only Hoyt Wilhelm, Lindy McDaniel, and Cy Young had pitched in more games.

    Teammate of Petrocelli in 1967.

    Held Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Johnny Bench, Harmon Killebrew, Bill Mazeroski, Joe Morgan, Stan Musial, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, and Willie Stargell to a .149 collective batting average (28-for-188)

    Died on the mound,pitching B.P.

  23. DoubleDiamond Says:

    That 1979 season got the Mets Darryl Strawberry as the first overall pick in the 1980 draft. (Although they didn't have the worst record in the majors, it was the NL's turn to have the first pick in 1980. These days, the team with the worst record the previous year, regardless of league, gets to pick first.)

  24. John Q Says:

    Good point DoubleDiamond, that was the silver lining to the Mets' 1979 season.

  25. rico petrocelli Says:

    DonMcMahon pitched in exactly 1,100 professional games over a 25-year span. Never once did he spend a day on the disabled list.

    Brooklyn born McMahon played high school ball at Ebbets Field, and could stand out near the wall and gun the ball to home plate same as Carl Furillo. He could throw it harder McMahon could gun it in there on one hop, too.

    “I was one of the first pitchers to get groomed in the minors as a reliever. That was the only way I knew I could get to the major leagues because I only had one pitch. I relied completely on the fastball and sheer strength … there was no finesse about it.”

    A 1957 debut for 27-year-old rookie. Milwaukee Braves in a tight battle for first place against the Reds and Cardinals

    “My first major league appearance was against the Pirates. I was up maybe four days and here we were losing, top of the ninth, and they brought me in to pitch. And I struck out two of the three guys I faced. I was very strong, I got the ball over the plate and was extremely fast.

    “In the bottom of the ninth Felix Mantilla hit a home run with a man on to tie it up. And then I pitched the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth. And Eddie Mathews won the game with a home run off Luis Arroyo. We won the game and I got all the headlines.”

    He would record four saves before he allowed his first big league run. McMahon instantly became the ace of the Braves’ bullpen, compiling a 1.54 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 46 innings. The team won its first National League pennant and then defeated the favored New York Yankees in a close-fought seven-game World Series.

    May of 1962. Milwaukee Braves soured on McMahon, believing him washed up at the age of 32.

    For the expansion Colt .45s he had a a 1.53 ERA (245 ERA+) in 51 games and 77 innings.

    “The heat won an awful lot of games for us. We were the only team in ’62 that Koufax didn’t beat. , it just ate teams up. Especially the Giants, when they’d come in from the cold weather and get in there they’d just pass out.”


    Perhaps a secret to McMahon's amazing freedom from arm trouble had been his own regimen: He threw -- every day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, whether a little or a lot.

    In early July of 1973, he Giants re-activated the 43-year-old McMahon, to the status of relief pitcher-pitching coach. He was the oldest player in the majors, and in 22 games and 30 innings over the second half, McMahon was brilliant. He was 4-0 with six saves and an ERA+ of 260.

  26. andyr Says:

    @25 Rico Petrocelli- If not mistaken, Don McMahon went to Erasmus High at the same time as Al Davis...

  27. rico petrocelli Says:

    Class of 47