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Ron Guidry

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Ronald Ames Guidry (Louisiana Lightning or Gator)

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[edit] Biographical Information

"The best soap opera was the [Yankees] team we had here in the '70s. . . [People] couldn't wait to pick up the papers the next morning to see what was going on." - Ron Guidry

Cy Young Award (1978 AL) winner Ron Guidry spent his entire playing career with the New York Yankees and was named their pitching coach following the 2005 season. His 18 strikeouts in a game on June 17, 1978 against the California Angels remains a Yankees team record. His 25-3 record in 1978 is the highest winning percentage in history for a starting pitcher (Roy Face was 18-1 as a reliever for the Pirates in 1961).

His career record was 170-91, and he also won 3 World Series games. He was a four-time All Star, and was also in the top 5 in balloting for the Cy Young Award three times besides his winning the award in 1978. Guidry led the league twice in ERA and won the Roberto Clemente Award in 1984. He led the league twice in wins and twice in winning percentage. Two of his ten most similar pitchers, according to the similarity scores method, are in the Hall of Fame, one of them being Sandy Koufax.

In Hall of Fame voting by the BBWAA, his highest percentage was 9% in 2000. His candidacy for the Hall of Fame suffers from the fact that his 170 victories are fewer than almost all of the starting pitchers elected to the Hall of Fame, and some of the pitchers with fewer victories than Guidry are in the Hall for special reasons. For example, John Ward won 164 games but was also a position player and manager and baseball executive. Addie Joss, who won 160 games, died while his career was in progress. Dizzy Dean, with 150 victories, became a beloved sportscaster after his playing days.

On the other hand, Guidry played for very high-visibility teams, and his winning percentage is higher than the vast majority of Hall of Fame starting pitchers. It is very similar to that of Sandy Koufax. Four of the six most similar players (before the beginning of the 2011 season) are active players. The most similar retired pitcher to Guidry is another Yankee pitcher, Ed Lopat, but Lopat's winning percentage was not nearly as high as Guidry's. Bret Saberhagen, the second most similar retired pitcher to Guidry, is not in the Hall of Fame.

Guidry as a Yanks pitching coach.

Since his playing days ended, Guidry served as the pitching coach of the Yankees for the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 4-time AL All-Star (1978, 1979, 1982 & 1983)
  • AL Cy Young Award Winner (1978)
  • 5-time AL Gold Glove Winner (1982-1986)
  • 2 time AL ERA Leader (1978 & 1979)
  • 2-time AL Wins Leader (1978 & 1985)
  • 2-time AL Winning Percentage Leader (1978 & 1985)
  • AL Complete Games Leader (1983)
  • AL Shutouts Leader (1978)
  • 15 Win Seasons: 6 (1977-1980, 1983 & 1985)
  • 20 Win Seasons: 3 (1978, 1983 & 1985)
  • 25 Win Seasons: 1 (1978)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 7 (1977-1980, 1982, 1983 & 1985)
  • 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 2 (1978 & 1979)
  • Won two World Series with the New York Yankees (1977 & 1978)


AL Cy Young Award
1977 1978 1979
Sparky Lyle Ron Guidry Mike Flanagan

[edit] Records Held

  • Winning percentage, season (minimum 20 wins), .893, 1978

[edit] Further Reading

  • Harvey Araton: Driving Mr. Yogi: Yogi Berra, Ron Guidry, and Baseball's Greatest Gift, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, NY, 2012.

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