Gary Gentry / RHP / starter
Gentry threw hard early in his career. He had a free and easy motion that produced a fastball that must have approached 95 mph at times. He backed up his fastball with a slider and 12 to 6 curveball. The slider was used as his strikeout pitch, thrown away from RHs or inside to LHs. Gentry’s curveball looked like a good way to mix up velocities, but he seemed erratic with it. Lastly, Gentry tried some changeups, but he slowed his delivery to throw it, which must have tipped off even the worst hitters. 10/22/08 CSJ
[fastball, slider, curve, changeup (1969 WS Game 3)]
Dick Hall / RHP / reliever
Hall had one of the strangest deliveries I’ve ever seen. He was listed at 6’6″, but he finished his windup by crouching down into a ‘drop and drive’ position, only to lower his arm and throw from a low 3/4 angle, and sometimes fully sidearm. He threw a running fastball and a tight slider out of that arm slot. Hall also showed the ability to get on top of some pitches, throwing a curveball and 4-seamer. Basically, the guy looked like a mess out there, but actually had good control. 10/22/08 CSJ
[2-seam fastball (3/4 or sidearm), slider, curve, 4-seam fastball (1969 WS Game 4)]
Jimmy Key / LHP / starter
Jimmy Key was a crafty lefty that had the ability to sneak a good fastball by hitters. He consistently pounded the outside corner to both RHs and LHs with a tailing 2-seamer. Once ahead in the count against RHs, Key would turn to his sinking changeup or sweeping curveball. Against LHs, Key preferred throwing a tight slider that broke away and off the plate. He controlled all his pitches well, but didn’t miss many bats. He relied on his movement and change of speeds to get batters out. Occasionally, he could bring a 4-seam fastball up in the zone to get a K. 4/1/09 CSJ
[2-seam fastball, changeup, curve, slider, 4-seam fastball (1996 WS Game 6)]
Jerry Koosman / LHP / starter
Koosman dealt a rising fastball and an 11-5 curveball. His stuff suggests he would have been a flyball pitcher but his numbers don’t show that he was prone to allowing homeruns. I’m sure Koosman used some type of changeup, but I didn’t see any in the one game I’ve seen him pitch. Koosman was an enormous part of the Mets’ ’69 World Series run. 10/22/08 CSJ
[fastball, curve, changeup (1969 WS Game 5)]
Dave Leonhard / RHP / starter – reliever
Leonhard had an average fastball that was very hittable. He did mix in lots of tight sliders and slow curves, which helped him keep hitters off-balance. I noticed him throw a changeup as well, but he didn’t go to it often. 10/22/08 CSJ
[fastball, slider, curve, changeup (1969 WS Game 3)]
Greg Maddux / RHP / starter
Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres
Maddux used just three pitches the majority of the time; fastball, changeup, and cutter. His 2-seam fastball got tons of sink and tailing action towards his armside. He had great control of the pitch and consistently painted corners with it, inside and outside. Off of his fastball he used his dropping changeup. The changeup seemed to get some natural cut, not necessarily tailing like the fastball. However, during his dominant years, his changeup got excellent running and sinking action, and none of the ‘cut’ that his later changeups got. He used the change-piece against both LHs and RHs throughout his career. The cutter was primarily used inside to LHs. The pitch didn’t move a ton, but it was enough to throw off a batter looking for the tailing fastball, inducing a weak infield out. In his 1996 WS Game 6 start, Maddux threw a bunch of standard sliders, a pitch that looked to be his worst offering. I’m willing to bet he used the slider most often in these younger years, because that pitch was all but shelved in his final few seasons. Lastly, Maddux also threw a very slow curveball, averaging about one per start. 4/1/09 CSJ
[2-seam fastball(84-90), changeup(79-82), cutter(83-86), curve(74-75), slider(79-82)]
Dave McNally / LHP / starter
McNally was a Montana guy. Born there, died there. In between he made a career out of shutting down hitters with a full repertoire. In game 5 of the 1969 WS, he threw a good fastball and overhand curveball. Occasionally he mixed in changeups and a tight slider inside to RHs. 10/22/08 CSJ
[fastball, curve, changeup, slider (1969 WS Game 5)]
Ramiro Mendoza / RHP / starter – reliever
Mendoza put together a 10-year career by using an excellent sinking fastball and soft changeup. Mendoza owned a soft curveball that had a tendency to get banged around. Ramiro was a versatile pitcher, throwing long relief, spot starting, and setting up for the Yankees from 1996-2002. 4/1/09 CSJ
[sinker, changeup, curve]
Mark Mulder / LHP / starter
Oakland A’s, St. Louis Cardinals
Mulder started his professional career after being selected with the 2nd overall pick in the 1998 amateur draft. He was quickly pressed through the Oakland A’s minor league system, starting 27 MLB games as a rookie in 2000. Mulder became famous for being part of Oakland’s “Big Three” pitchers with Tim Hudson and Barry Zito. The trio formed the backbone of one of the best starting rotations of all time. They helped the A’s make the playoffs in four straight seasons, 2000-2003, and helped create the widely popular, yet widely misunderstood “Moneyball” culture in today’s game.
The “Big Three” took turns leading the American League in wins during that time. Hudson led with 20 wins in 2000, Mulder with 21 in 2001, and Zito with 23 in 2003. Zito was the only of the three to win the Cy Young Award (in 2002), although it’s quite clear that Pedro Martinez was a better pitcher that season. However, in 2001, Roger Clemens was given the Cy Young trophy, when the trophy belonged to either Mark Mulder, Freddy Garcia, or Mike Mussina.
Cy Young Awards aside, there was no debating that Mulder was a special pitcher. The former Michigan State left-hander led the AL in Complete Games twice and Shutouts twice. From ’01-’03, he pitched brilliantly, keeping his WHIP around 1.15 and his ERAs under 3.50, no easy task in the Steroid Era.
Mulder used a variety of pitches and excellent control to make him successful. He started with a 2-seam fastball around 90 mph with good movement. After getting ahead of hitters, “Fox” would then go to his biting cutter/slider pitch. He could get inside on RHs with the cutter, or spin it away from LHs. He released the ball from a 3/4 arm angle, but could still get on top of a good 11 to 5 curveball that buckled knees and dropped under bats. To neutralize RHs, Mulder would work in a soft changeup that he controlled well. And finally, his strikeout pitch was a splitter that he tried to locate down in the zone.
His strikeout rate was average, but his walk rates were excellent. I always felt like each of his pitches was equally effective due to his plus control.
Unfortunately for Mark, major shoulder surgery ended his career early. Mulder threw his last pitch in the major leagues as a St. Louis Cardinal at age 30. 1/30/12 CSJ
[2-seam fastball(87-92), cutter(81-86), changeup(78-82), curve(67-74), splitter(82-86)]
Mike Mussina / RHP / starter
Mussina ended his career with a fastball that touched 88 mph, but got significant movement due to his varied arm angles. In his early years, he threw mostly 4-seamers, but could consistently hit the low to mid-90s. His signature pitch was a good knuckle-curveball. He mixed his arm angles with the curve too, dropping down to throw it practically sidearm. Moose didn’t stop there though, he’d try anything to get an out. He had a little slider which he started relying on more and more, especially inside on LHs. Then he mixed in some straight changes that were really slow. At different times, Mike tried mixing in split-finger pitches, but that pitch never stuck in his repertoire for very long. Mussina had great control and command of all his stuff and that was likely his best asset. 3/11/09 CSJ
[Late career: 2-seam fastball(82-90), slider(78-85), curve(61-78), change(65-71), splitter]
[Early career: 4-seam fastball(89-95), curve, change, slider]