Cooperstown Chronicles – Larry Corcoran

May 14, 2008

Photo courtesy of TSN Archives/Icon SMI

3rd Stone From the Sun, a friend of mine from Sporting News, wanted me to profile Larry Corcoran .  Here are my findings.

The Numbers
Played 1880-1887 (8 Years)
277 Games
268 Starts
2392.3 Innings
177 Wins – 89 Losses
.665 Winning Percentage (16th All-time)
256 Complete Games (72nd All-time)
22 Shutouts
2 Saves
2.36 ERA (2.90 League ERA) (22nd All-time)
1.105 WHIP
1103 Ks
3 No-hitters


Top Ten Finishes

Wins – Five Times (Led league in 1881)
ERA – Five Times (Led league in 1882)
Strikeouts – Five Times (Led league in 1880)
Winning % – Six Times (Led league in 1882)
Games – Five Times
Innings – Five Times
Starts – Five Times
Complete Games – Five Times
Shutouts – Five Times
Saves – Once

This is a tough one.  For five years he was well on his way.  He was among the leaders in every pitching category.  He averaged a 34-17 record (.667).  He won 27+ games five times, 31+ four times, and 43 in his rookie season.  He pitched 355+ Innings five times, 396+ Innings four times, and 500+ Innings twice.  He was one of a handful of pitchers who threw with both arms in a game.  He was the first pitcher to throw multiple no-hitters.  He finished with three, which stood until 1965 when Sandy Koufax broke it.  He played for the Chicago White Stockings, New York Giants, Washington Nationals, and the Indianapolis Hoosiers.  Excellence wasn’t a problem with Corcoran. Longevity was.  He exploded on the scene for five amazing seasons and then he basically disappeared.  His HOF Monitor is 122.  By their standards 100 gets you in.  When drawing comparisons by age he’s linked to Doc Gooden (when he was 20 and brilliant), Hall of Famer Kid Nichols (from age 21-23), Hall of Famer John Ward (24), Bob Caruhters (25), Hall of Famer John Clarkson (26), and Hall of Famer Chief Bender (27).  He was credited as being the first pitcher to use signals with a catcher by shifting his chewing tobacco to indicate what pitch he was throwing.  Now I’m not comparing him to Sandy Koufax, although in his era he was in the same neighborhood, but I do want to mention that Sandy Koufax had four unbelievable seasons and a couple more really good ones.  He had six average ones before his breakout in 1961.  Sandy was a lock for the Hall of Fame.  Yet all of these years later Larry Corcoran is still on the outside looking in.  Well, after much thought and deliberation, I have decided that Larry should join the likes of Sandy Koufax and the rest of the Hall of Famers in Cooperstown. 

Baseball Library

Past Chronicles
Roberto Alomar
Harold Baines
Albert Belle
Pete Browning
Bert Byleven
Joe Carter
Orlando Cepeda*
Rocky Colavito
Dave Concepcion
David Cone
Mike Cuellar
Andre Dawson
Jimmie Dykes (Player/Manager)
Dwight Evans
Chuck Finley
Steve Finley
John Franco
Gary Gaetti
Steve Garvey
Luis Gonzalez
Dwight Gooden
Mark Grace
Charlie Grimm (Player/Manager)
Ron Guidry
Keith Hernandez
Orel Hershiser
Whitey Herzog (Manager)
Gil Hodges
Ralph Houk (Manager)
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Tommy John
Jim Kaat
Tom Kelly (Manager)
Jerry Koosman
Barry Larkin
Sherry Magee
Roger Maris
Billy Martin (Player/Manager)
Dennis Martinez
Edgar Martinez
Bobby Matthews
Don Mattingly
Gene Mauch (Manager)
Fred McGriff
Mark McGwire
Jack Morris
Tony Mullane
Dale Murphy
Graig Nettles
Lefty O’Doul
Tony Oliva
Al Oliver

Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso
Dave Parker
Wes Parker
Lance Parrish
Boog Powell
Tim Raines
Willie Randolph
Jim Rice
Phil Rizzuto*
Brooks Robinson*
Pete Ro$e
Jimmy Ryan
Ron Santo
Ted Simmons
Lee Smith
Rusty Staub
Dave Stieb
Harry Stovey
Alan Trammell
George Van Haltren
Mo Vaughn
Bobby Veach
Frank Viola
Lou Whitaker
Bernie Williams
Maury Wills

* Signifies actual Hall of Famer


Posted by | Categories: Cooperstown Chronicles, MLB |
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4 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. David Funk
    May 14th, 2008 at 9:54 am #

    Good post Lester. I’m actually starting with the 1876 Cubs team on my Chicago Cubs site. I’m going to be doing mini season by season recaps, so it won’t take me long to get to the seasons that Corcoran played for them. He was dominant for five seasons like you said and being that teams had two-man pitching staffs in those days, it’s a wonder careers didn’t tail off more like his did. And your assessment of comparing Corcoran and Koufax are dead on. Nice work.

  2. Ryan Lester
    May 14th, 2008 at 9:57 am #

    Thanks David. If I threw that many innings (amazing ones at that), my arm would fall off.

  3. Larry Novak
    May 14th, 2008 at 1:25 pm #

    I agree that he should be in.
    The problem is that the Hall Of Fame voters have always had a 10 year career as a requirement, and he only played 8. What is wrong with that logic is that you good be Great for 5 or 6 years and just be OK for the other 5 and you are in (see Sandy Koufax) and then another could be Great for 8 Years and not play another day and you are SOL!

  4. Ryan Lester
    May 14th, 2008 at 1:41 pm #

    Larry – Thanks for clarifying.

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