Cards All-Time Top 40 – John Tudor #29

The Top 40 countdown of the greatest St. Louis Cardinals of all time continues with their ace starting pitcher during the mid-1980's championship seasons, John Tudor.

John Thomas Tudor

The Basics

Position

Throw

Total Yrs

Yrs in StL

W

ERA

SO

SV

Pitcher

Left

1979-1990

1985-88, '90

62

2.52

448

0

The Awards

Hall of Fame

Retired #

World Champ

All-Star

MVP

Cy Young

Gold Glove

 -

 -

 -

 -

 -

 -

 -

Note: All stats and awards listed are for years as a Cardinal only.
Tudor's career stats available from baseball-reference.com.

Voter Comments

Rob Rains (23): Tudor spent only five years in a Cardinal uniform, but that was long enough to establish himself as one of the best pitchers in franchise history. His career .705 winning percentage and 2.52 ERA rank him at the top of the team's all-time charts in both categories.

Tudor should have won the Cy Young award in 1985, when he turned in what likely ranks as the second best pitching performance by a Cardinal in history, trailing only Bob Gibson's 1968 season. After starting the year 1-7, he won 20 of his next 21 decisions, including 10 shutouts, and finished with a 1.93 ERA. His only loss in that stretch came when the Cardinals were shut out by Fernando Valenzuela.

Jerry Modene (36): Like Carlton, Tudor rates this low only because of the relative brevity of his career in St. Louis, just five seasons. His 1985 season – in which he started off 1-7 and then won 20 of his next 21 decisions, including 10 complete-game shutouts, remains one of the top five seasons ever for a Cardinal hurler. For the record, I'd rate Gibson's 1968, Dean's 1934, Dean's 1935, Tudor's 1985 and Carpenter's 2005 as the top five.

The "Cranky Yankee" (as Whitey Herzog has referred to him) won 62 games and lost only 26, for a .705 winning percentage, tops on the Cardinal list – although Carpenter's 51-18, .739 is about to eclipse that mark. In addition, although nobody knows this, Tudor's career 2.52 ERA as a Cardinals pitcher tops the all-time list.

Ray Mileur (34): Tudor's won-loss record of 62-26 for a .705 winning percentage in five seasons with the Redbirds, had ranked him first among Cardinals pitchers with at least 50 decisions.

His historic 1985 season ranks as one of the best pitching performances in modern baseball history. He finished with a 21-8 record and a 1.93 ERA, after starting the season with a 1-7 record. Tudor in spite of this great performance, finished second to Dwight Gooden of the New York Mets for the Cy Young Award.

Most baby boomers will remember those numbers and winning streaks, but what is often forgotten is that John pitched 14 complete games that season to include an NL-leading 10 shutouts. To put this in perspective, the 2006 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals' combined pitching staff, had five complete games, (Chris Carpenter -4 and Anthony Reyes -1) and just three shutouts (Chris Carpenter, 3).

One of the premier left-handers in his time, Tudor in his prime, was a left-handed version of right-hander and future Hall of Famer, Greg Maddux.

Brian Walton (24): One of the benefits or drawbacks in this case, of editing this series is having seen the others' comments in advance. What can I add about Tudor that hasn't been said?

Exceptional pitcher for a relatively-short period, but was not well-recognized even at the time. Led the Cardinals to two pennants in 1985 and 1987, but they never made it to the promised land during his time with the club.

What strikes me about Tudor is not just that he won, but how dominant he was in doing so. His 1.93 ERA in the 1985 championship season was the sixth-best Cardinals season ever and his ten shutouts were tied for third-most ever in a single year. Of pitchers with at least 700 innings with the club, Tudor's 2.52 career ERA is the best in the history of the franchise.

Again, the best ever. If fact, it is so good that it not only eclipses that of the franchise's best starters, Hall of Famers like Gibson and Dean, but it is lower than the Cardinals' greatest closers in history, too. Lee Smith, Izzy, Sutter, Worrell, Eckersley – every one of them posted higher Cardinals ERA's than John Tudor!

Voter Comments Key: Voter (Individual Ranking); NR = Not Rated

Master List: To see our entire list of the greatest 40 Cardinals players of all-time as they are unveiled daily, click here.

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