(For those who need it, here’s a quick explanation of ERA+)
- ERA measured against the league average, and adjusted for ballpark factors. An ERA+ over 100 is better than average, less than 100 is below average. The specific formula divides the league ERA by the pitcher’s ERA (and adjusts for ballpark). So an ERA+ of 125, for instance, means that the league ERA was 25% higher than the pitcher’s ERA (which means that the pitcher’s ERA was 80% of the league ERA). Careful with those ratios.
While comparing Starters and Relievers has it’s difficulties, the fact remains that Mariano is the only pitcher who qualifies that is above 200 ERA+ for his career, and is roughly 1/3 ahead of the next closest player on the list. Which is almost unfathomable given that were dealing with a list populated by the greatest pitchers in the history of the game. You have to go back to Babe Ruth to find this kind of dominance at a position across history. When pundits tell you ‘there will never be another Mariano Rivera again in our lifetime’ this is a good stat to illustrate what they mean. Pitching at the MLB level is not as easy as Mo makes it look, and never has been.
BTW-As an aside, Dan Quisenberry deserved far more HOF consideration than he received. He quickly dropped off the ballot at a time when Relievers weren’t deemed worthy. I’ve written about this in the past.
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