Monday, April 27, 2015

How Legendary Is Brandon League?

As I finished researching the best pitcher seasons for my piece about the most exciting pitcher Days in history, I Googled the phrase "best pitchers ever" to double-check that I hadn't omitted someone important. Basically, I just didn't want to look incompetent and overmatched, like the writing version of Didi Gregorius. Anyways, here's what that Google search yielded:


The image is a little small, but you get the picture. It looks pretty much as you would expect a list of the best pitchers ever to look. Except, read all those names just to make sure ... Randy Johnson? Good. Cy Young? Ditto. Brandon League? Makes sense.

WAIT, WHAT????


Brandon League???? Is Google fucking high????

As far as I can tell, someone with the Twitter handle @xMetsmatician noticed this wonderful glitch last year, but it hasn't been discussed very much. Let's change that. I was wondering why League appears on this list and I've settled on a few possible explanations:

Explanation 1: Brandon League's brother is a Google programmer and he rigged this simple search to position Brandon as a baseball legend.
Explanation 2: Brandon League actually is one of the best pitchers ever. Let's check his stats to find out. In 2011, League pitched to a 2.79 ERA, which is lower than the career marks of Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Phil Niekro, and a host of other Hall of Famers. But that's only one season. In order to be considered a legend, League needs more statistical evidence. Let's consider League's 2009 and 2012 campaigns. In those years, he struck out 9.2 and 8.9 batters per nine innings, respectively. Those numbers are better than any of Greg Maddux's K/9 rates in his 23 seasons. So, yeah, maybe Brandon League actually is one of the best (and therefore most underrated) pitchers in baseball history.
Explanation 3: Google is fucking high.

League is scheduled to miss about another month with an injury. Regardless of the reason for Google's lofty opinion of the right-hander, the Dodgers should be happy to be adding one of the best pitchers ever to their loaded roster. Nay, one of the best players ever.


A legend among legends...



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