Juan C. Rodriguez
According to the official Walter Johnson website, Ty Cobb after facing the "Big Train" for the first time said: "I watched him take that easy windup — and then something went past me that made me flinch. I hardly saw the pitch, but I heard it. Every one of us knew we'd met the most powerful arm ever turned loose in a ballpark."
The surly Cobb didn't seem the type to heap praise on just anybody, especially a pitcher.
Comparing pitchers from different eras is problematic. You can't definitively say Johnson or Cy Young was better than Roger Clemens or Greg Maddux.
One of the greatest hitters ever thought Johnson was the best. Anecdotal evidence can be as powerful as the numbers.
Don't forget the Babe
In Game 2 of the 1916 World Series, Boston's George Herman Ruth took the mound against the Brooklyn Robins. The game lasted 14 innings. And Ruth, a southpaw, pitched them all, giving up just six hits as the Red Sox won 2-1.
His record for the longest complete game in World Series history still stands, and that game highlighted a dominant 23-12 season for Ruth, who led the American League in starts (40), earned-run average (1.75) and shutouts (nine).
Ruth would stack up a 78-40 record from 1915 to 1918, but not long after somebody figured he'd be better as an everyday player. What could've been…