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At 6’1″, 193 lbs., Ed Walsh was a beast for his time. Even in an era when pitchers pitched a ton of innings every year, Walsh was a workhorse, leading the league in IP four times, and in strikeouts twice. He pitched for a Chicago White Sox team that was constantly overshadowed by the crosstown rival Cubs, and Walsh’s Win-Loss record paled in comparison to the Cubs’ ace Mordecai Brown. Luckily, we know today that Wins and Losses are next to meaningless, and we can look back and appreciate what Walsh did in his prime.

In 1907, Walsh lead his team in IP, ERA, Complete Games and Strikeouts. The Sox finished third in the AL, but with a winning record. What he did compared to the rest of baseball was even more impressive. He pitched 422.1 innings that year, 65 more (15% more) than anyone else in either league. His ERA was a minuscule 1.60, good for 4th, though he pitched nearly 200 innings more than the 3rd place pitcher, and more than twice as many innings as the pitchers who finished 1st and 2nd. That’s 422.1 innings at a 1.60 ERA.

True, ERAs of the time were all smaller than they are now, so let’s take a look at ERA-, which gives us his standing relative to his league in that year. Walsh’s ERA- was a 67. For reference, in 2014, Cole Hamels had a 67 ERA- (his ERA was 2.46), and AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber was a 66, his ERA 2.44. Those same two pitchers pitched 202.1 and 235.1 innings (respectively) this year. David Price lead the league with 248.1 innings pitched. Imagine if either Hamels or Kluber had pitched 15% more than Price? That would mean that Hamels and Kluber would have pitched 285 innings at a ~2.45 ERA. Kluber won the Cy Young Award anyway, and while Hamels would likely still not have beaten Kershaw, the race would have been much closer.

Ed Walsh, 1907

G – 56 (1st)

GS – 46 (1st)

CG – 37 (1st)

IP – 422.1 (1st)

ERA – 1.60 (1st in AL, 4th overall)

WHIP – 1.01 (7th)

K/BB – 2.37 (7th)

fWAR – 6.8 (3rd)

RA9 WAR – 9.7 (1st)