Since Sept. 2, the baseball world has endured the loss of four Hall of Famers: Tom Seaver, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson and, on Thursday, Whitey Ford.
All except Brock were starting pitchers. Seaver won Rookie of the Year with the New York Mets in 1967, Ford's final season of a 16-year career in New York Yankees pinstripes.
For that reason, the trio is better-described as a bridge through baseball history rather than as contemporaries. But it's still interesting to assess their dominance across the decades.
With that in mind, let's see if you can guess which stat line belongs to which player (answers are below, and extra credit for correctly guessing the season) before declaring which of these all-time great pitchers had the best individual season.
New York Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford pitches during Game 6 of the 1960 World Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. (Photo: AP)
The blind resumés
25-4, 283 IP, 209 K, 3.21 ERA, 3.14 FIP, 1.18 WHIP, 3 shutouts, All-Star, Cy Young, World Series MVP
22-9, 304 2/3 IP, 268 K, 1.12 ERA, 1.77 FIP, 0.853 WHIP, 13 shutouts, All-Star, Cy Young, MVP, Gold Glove
20-10, 286 1/3 IP, 289 K, 1.76 ERA, 1.93 FIP, 0.946 WHIP, 4 shutouts, All-Star
Player A: Ford, 1961
Player B: Gibson, 1968
Player C: Seaver, 1971
The verdict: Gibson's 1968 season
Picking one season for each man was no easy choice, aside from perhaps Gibson. Ford pitched on six World Series teams, but in 1961 he won the Series MVP after pitching a complete game shutout (two hits, one walk) in Game 1 and five scoreless innings in Game 4 as the Yankees swept the Cincinnati Reds. Plus, the Cy Young was for the entire league at that point. Seaver dominated the late 60s and early 70s with three Cy Young Awards, but he was bested for the trophy in 1971 by Fergie Jenkins. In 1968, Gibson was a misplay in center field away from winning World Series MVP and a championship, which he did in 1964 and 1967.
The stat that jumps off the page is more than deserving. Bob Gibson's 1968 will never be replicated.
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.
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