Wednesday, October 29, 2014


What you see is what you get with the chart below, our own trademarked display of "history in a grid."

Today, here are the top pitching performances in World Series history, as measured by Game Scores.

The chart shows you all of the games where the starter's Game Score was 80 or higher, in our semi-unique historical distribution.

(The Game Score formula can be found at Forman et fils if you are interested in those details. We are only partially keen on it, in fact, since it strongly fetishizes strikeouts--but it's still a useful tool when handled properly.)

What's interesting here is to see how the games have clustered--or not--over time. Who would have thought, for example, that the longest gap between top starter performances would occur in the mid-1970s (1973-77, to be exact)? Particularly seeing as how the 1967 World Series had only recently produced the record number of 80+ Game Scores in history?

One hundred years ago baseball was in the midst of an eightteen-year streak where there was at least one top starting pitcher performance per World Series (1905-1922). It was jump-started by Christy Mathewson (three shutouts in the 1905 Series), whose name you've been hearing a lot this post-season. Things became relatively sporadic until the sixties, when the last sustained string of 80+ Game Score performances occurred. Even with the recent re-ascendancy of pitching, we are still living in a time of embers when it comes to dominating starting pitcher performances.