Before Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom, these pitching duos ruled New York

Mets fans will have to wait to see Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom together, with deGrom’s stress response in his right shoulder blade expected to sideline him for about two months. But if both are healthy this season, they could join this group of the best ever in New York City. Call them the Fine Nine:

1. Christy Mathewson/Joe McGinnity, Giants, 1903-06

Seen through the prism of modern sport, the numbers are hard to believe, almost caricatural. But McGinnity won 31, 35, 21 and 27 (with a 2.26 ERA) games over those four years… and was a clear No. 2 on his own staff for the Big Six, going 30, 33, 31 and 22 won (with a 2.09 ERA).

2. Tom Seaver/Jerry Koosman, Mets, 1968-76

Seaver may have been The Franchise (with a 182-107 record, a 2.47 ERA, and three Cy Youngs). But Koosman (129-100, 2.94) showed up in 1968 and immediately won 19 games, and despite being plagued by chronic arm problems, that right-left combo kept many Mets teams afloat with mediocre offenses.

Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman
Tom Seaver (left) and Jerry Koosman helped the Mets win the 1969 World Series.
Bettmann Archive

3. Lefty Gomez/Red Ruffing, Yankees, 1936-39

The Yankees were an offensive juggernaut, winning four straight championships averaging 102 wins over those years, but they also threw two Hall of Famers every four days in Ruffing (82-33, 3.29 ERA) and Gomez 64-38 , 3.27).

4. Christy Mathewson/Rube Marquard, Giants, 1911-13

Mathewson, now in his early 30s, wasn’t quite as dominant as he was a decade earlier, but still went 74-36 with a 2.06 ERA. He was joined by young Fireballer Marquard, who went 73-28, 2.52 and led the league in 1911 with 237 strikeouts.

5. Dwight Gooden/Ron Darling, Mets, 1984-91

In many ways this mimicked the Seaver/Koosman dynamic. Darling never quite got close to Gooden from prime (132-53 in their years together), but still went 99-70, and in the storied 1986 season he actually finished higher in the Cy Young vote (fifth) than Gooden (seventh).

6. Don Newcombe/Sal Maglie, Dodgers, 1956

Jacob deGrom Max Scherzer
Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer will attempt to recreate the double strikes of legendary Mets teams.
Mike Stobe/Getty Images; Mark Brown/Getty Images

Newk’s best year (27-7, 3.06 ERA, .989 WHIP) culminated in a Cy Young/MVP parlay at age 30. And for a year, he joined former Dodgers antagonist Maglie, who went with a 2.97 ERA and 13-5 to finish second in both categories.

7. Whitey Ford/Ralph Terry, Yankees, 1961-63

Ford was the ace and the confident face of these Yankees teams. He posted a 66-19 record during those years, including 61’s Cy Young when he was 25-4. But Terry was a No. 2 Bulldog who led the AL in two of those years while going 56-40.

8. Ron Guidry/Tommy John, Yankees, 1979-80

Guidry was so dominant in 1978 that his 18-8/2.78 season is all but forgotten a year later, but it was good enough for third place in the Cy Young poll. Second? That was John in his freshman year as a Yankee, who was 21-9 with a 2.96 ERA. Also in 1980 the two achieved 39 victories together.

9. David Wells/David Cone, Yankees, 1998

The 114-win Yankees excelled at everything and had most of the season thanks to Wells, whose 18-4/3.49 included a perfect game, and Cone, who went 20-7/3.55 and won 20 games two-headed ace a decade after I first did this. They finished 3-4 in the Cy Young poll. Before Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom, these pitching duos ruled New York


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