Elite baseball pitchers are elite for a reason. They seem to have it all: a variety of pitches that one can lay a bat to; cool heads and confidence in their stuff when they get in a jam; and the kind of dexterity that makes difficult plays seem easy. Is elite status revealed through statistics? Though the author of this book considers statistics of both the traditional and sabermetric sort, he argues that the greats are proved t by broad statistical comparison with all other pitchers, but by their record against one ather. In a thoughtful discussion of the evidence of head-to-head matchups, he finds the nine pitchers who make up the true elite: Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Grover Alexander, Lefty Grove, Warren Spahn, Tom Seaver, Roger Clemens, and Greg Maddux. For each pitcher the book provides biographical information, career highlights, and a list of the feats that put him in the record books.
Warren N. Wilbert, a veteran baseball historian and SABR member, is the author of numerous books about baseball. He lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.