Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Youngest and Oldest Pitchers to Throw a Maddux

It was just over a year ago that I first wrote about the Maddux, a baseball accomplishment I've been tracking since ~1998, when I'd just graduated from high school (the original post can be found here). A Maddux is a complete game shutout (of at least 9 innings, no '5 innings, then rain' games) in which the pitcher uses fewer than 100 pitches. The statistic can be fully tracked going back to 1988, when MLB began keeping complete pitch count records for every game. In that first post, I listed the career leaders for Madduxes (with Greg himself atop the list, quite naturally and comfortably), the fewest pitches in a Maddux, and many other tidbits about the accomplishment. Today, I look at the youngest and oldest pitchers ever to throw one.

LAST UPDATE: End of 2013 season

Youngest pitchers to throw a Maddux:
1) Felix Hernandez (20 years, 142 days) - August 28, 2006, Mariners over Angles, 95 pitches
2) Jerome Williams (21, 205) - June 27, 2003, Giants over Athletics, 96 pitches
3) Henderson Alvarez (22, 16) - May 4, 2012, Blue Jays over Angels, 97 pitches
4) Jeff Pico (22, 197) - August 27, 1988, Cubs over Braves, 95 pitches
5) Ben McDonald (22, 239) - July 21, 1990, Orioles over White Sox, 85 pitches
6) Dave Fleming (22, 292) - August 25, 1992, Mariners over Indians, 97 pitches
7) Jim Abbott (22, 297) - July 13, 1990, Angels over Blue Jays, 93 pitches
8) Derek Holland (22, 304) - August 9, 2009, Rangers over Angels, 96 pitches
9) Carlos Zambrano (22, 341) - May 7, 2004, Cubs over Rockies, 97 pitches
10) Steve Avery (23, 54) - June 7, 1993, Braves over Padres, 97 pitches

Greg Maddux was 24 years, 15 days old when he pitched his first Maddux. He did also throw one shutout before the Maddux era, on July 1, 1987. There is no pitch count data, but it's entirely possible that game was a Maddux, as he allowed just 4 hits and 1 walk, and had only 2 strikeouts. Maybe Greg knows how many pitches he threw that game. If anyone sees him, ask. He was only 21 years and 78 days old then.

Jose Fernandez, Julio Teheran, Trevor Bauer, Shelby Miller, Brandon Maurer, and Jonathan Pettibone are the only pitchers who've started a game in 2013 that are still young enough to crack the list. Maurer and Pettibone will both be too old by season's end though, whereas Fernandez is yet to turn 21 (he is older than Felix was when he threw his though).

Oldest pitchers to throw a Maddux:
1) Jamie Moyer (43 years, 196 days) - June 2, 2006, Mariners over Royals, 93 pitches
2) David Wells (39, 325) - April 10, 2003, Yankees over Twins, 96 pitches
3) Jerry Reuss (39, 316) - May 1, 1989, White Sox over Brewers, 87 pitches
4) Rick Reuschel (39, 93) - August 17, 1988, Giants over Mets, 97 pitches
5) R.A. Dickey (38, 240) - June 26, 2013, Blue Jays over Rays, 93 pitches
6) Bert Blyleven (38, 103) - July 18, 1989, Angels over Blue Jays, 95 pitches
7) Bert Blyleven (38, 10) - April 16, 1989, Angels over Mariners, 90 pitches
8) Danny Darwin (37, 297) - August 18, 1993, Red Sox over White Sox, 94 pitches
9) Pedro Astacio (37, 260) - August 15, 2006, Nationals over Braves, 89 pitches
10) David Wells (36, 324) - April 8, 2000, Blue Jays over Rangers, 89 pitches

I find it really, really cool that the youngest and oldest guys ever to throw a Maddux did it less than three months apart, for the same team. Sadly, Moyer had been traded away nine days' before Felix's Maddux, meaning they were only teammates for Moyer's.

Greg Maddux was 34 years, 152 days old at the time of his last Maddux.

Andy Pettitte, Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey*, Hiroki Kuroda, Tim Hudson, and Ted Lilly are the only pitchers who've started a game so far in 2013 that are old enough to crack that list. Either Pettitte or Colon would become the second oldest on the list.

*This list was updated after Dickey DID in fact throw a Maddux!

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There have been some close calls so far in 2013, but so far only Clayton Kershaw and Jordan Zimmermann have thrown a Maddux. Just last night, Matt Harvey of the Mets didn't throw his 100th pitch until there were 2 outs in the 9th (ultimately he needed 105 pitches to get through nine innings and the Mets didn't bother to score any runs, so the game didn't end at that point anyway). Who will be next? Josh Beckett was the last to pitch more than one Maddux in the same season (2009), but both Kershaw and Zimmermann are scheduled to start Wednesday night, maybe one of them will toss another...

23 comments:

  1. Great little corner of the baseball stat world! Glad Jonah Keri turned me on to your blog. I'm diving in to multiple posts!

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    1. Thanks, I'm glad you're enjoying it. Jonah's appreciation of the Maddux has helped a lot of people find out about it, which I'm thankful for.

      I'm about to have more time on my hands with summer arriving, so I look forward to being able to post more frequently than I've been able to of late.

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  2. Bartolo Colon just missed a Maddux tonight against the White Sox. 106 pitches.

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  3. Is R.A. Dickey the first knuckleballer to throw a Maddux?

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    1. I can't be certain someone who threw a Maddux didn't occasionally feature a knuckleball, but Dickey is the first guy thought of as "a knuckleball pitcher" to accomplish it.

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    2. I require you to watch every Maddux game pitch for pitch to confirm this.

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  4. Clearly not. See Moyer, Jamie, above.

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  5. http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/boxscore?gameId=330626130

    Jamie Moyer's a knuckler in spirit only.

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  6. Yes, but on straight definition, R.A. Dickey is the first knuckleballer since 1988 to throw a Maddux.

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  7. Yes. Everything is going Everything Went.

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  8. I was wrong... Steve Sparks threw one: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/DET/DET200106190.shtml

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    1. Nope! Close, but no cigar. The game must be a shutout (and Sparks allowed one run).

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    2. Gosh! I'm a fool. Thanks Jason.

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    3. No worries. Thank YOU, for checking out my blog.

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    4. This is interesting Steven Wright threw a Maddux for AAA Pawtucket on July 1: http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?gid=2013_07_01_swbaaa_pawaaa_1&t=g_box&sid=t533

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    5. Very cool. I can't imagine there are many in the minors, since there aren't many complete games, period.

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  9. Do you have a list anywhere of every game a pitcher threw a Maddux?

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    1. I used to write them down in a notebook when I saw one in a newspaper (starting in 1998), and eventually looked for them in online box scores many days (starting somewhere around 2002). I'm certain I missed more of them than I found. Baseball-Reference is what allowed me to find them all.

      Here is a link. I'm not sure if it works if you're not logged into B-R:

      http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/2Eeq5

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  10. Chris Archer of the Rays threw a Maddux today... 97 pitches in a 1-0 shutout.

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    1. I was out of country for that one, and re-watching the first-half season finale of Breaking Bad during Starsburg's yesterday. Cool to see two young pitchers (not nearly as young as Felix was though) each putting up a Maddux. Hopefully there are more of them in their respective futures.

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  11. Fantastic, interesting! If I may submit a small suggestion. Perhaps the plural of a Maddux should be "Madduxi." Per cacti, octopi etc. Any way you like is grammatically correct since "Maddux" is a new word invention and the world is still muddling through the conventions of its usage. But, because phonetically Maddux has the -us suffix...you get the idea. Madduxi.

    Great stuff!

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    1. Thanks.

      I like Madduxi, and would like for everyone to pluralize Maddux however they see fit!

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