|Rube Waddell||0.0241 (4th)||51.6 (3rd)||2137.2 (14th)||1897||1906||20-29||1695 (8th)||2.16 (1st)||2.17 (1st)||143 (3rd)||2.41 (40th)||7.14 (23rd)||2.96 (10th)|
That photo isn’t Rube, but our library is limited and Rube loved wrestling gators so there ya go.
Rube Waddell was a character among characters. He would occasionally leave games to go fishing, play marbles, or chase fire trucks. As I said above, he also wrestled alligators and sometimes was distracted by fans holding up puppies or shiny objects. Yes, this person actually existed and someone needs to make a biopic.
He’s also one of the most dominant lefties ever to grace the mound.
His 7.14 SO/9 doesn’t nearly do him justice. Go back to this list and see that he stuck out batters at nearly twice the league average clip. He also led the league in strikeouts five years in a row during this period (he would make it six in his age-30 season) and won a pitching triple crown in 1905 with an eye-popping 1.48 ERA, 27 wins, and 287 strikeouts.
He ranks at or near the top of this list in ERA, FIP, ERA+, and bWAR. And, taking into account that Waddell led the league in strikeouts by more than 100 K’s in 1904, it’s not hard to argue that Waddell was actually the best strikeout pitcher of everyone on this list. If not for a certain Dodgers’ southpaw coming into prominence in recent years he’d probably hold the top spot in this ranking. But alas, we have to hand it to the lefty who just turned thirty in LA.