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September 26, 2009

The Big 3

My friend Dan Murray left a comment on my previous post about Bobby Cox's retirement. Dan brought up an interesting point that Maddux, Smoltz and Glavine might be tougher for the Braves to replace than Cox. I thought I'd look into it.

Some notes to the data:
  1. This data covers 1991-2008 (the entire period that they pitched for the Braves). During this time Smoltz was a Brave for all 18 years, Maddux was with the Braves from 1993-2003 and Glavine from 1991-2002.
  2. Smoltz was the Braves closer for the 2nd half of 2001 through the 2004.

I find all of this quite impressive. Sure, they made a lot more money, but they backed it up. Their ERA was 21% better than the rest of the team, they won 9% more games, clearly had a better ERA year after year, and more than pitched their fair share of innings.

In fact, the most impressive stat to me is that between 1993-1998 the Big 3 threw 50.3% of the total innings for the Braves. Three pitchers throwing that many innings is simply incredible. I can't imagine there are too many, if any, teams in the last 50+ years that could even come close to that.


  1. I knew they were great..but I didn't know they were 21% better or won 9% more games or that they threw 50.3% of the total innings.

    You can be a great manager...but you need great players to win over the long term.

    Nice stats Andy.

  2. I agree, they sure made Bobby look good. Before scouring through these stats, I had no idea they were THAT good. Three hall-of-famers for sure.