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Tom Seaver(Pro) Vs. Nolan Ryan(Con)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/19/2016 Category: Sports
Updated: 7 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 467 times Debate No: 86921
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)




R1 Acceptance
R2 opening arguments
R3 rebuttals
R4 Closing arguments only

Gl to My opponent.


I accept this challenge. Considering both pitchers were on my favorite team, the New York Mets, this debate is going to be fun. I like both pitchers. Both are extemely talented. However, due to this debate, one has to be better than the other. I choose Tom Seaver over Nolan Ryan. Four main reasons include: three Cy Young Awards, winning twenty games five times, and a higher ERA, plus a higher winning percentage. I look forward to your argument. Good luck.
Debate Round No. 1


Nolan Ryan's Career is a storied one most people can agree on but what makes him a better pitcher that Tom Seaver You may ask well I am going to go piece by piece to prove that Nolan Ryan is the better man.

1.Career length
Tom Seaver had a 20 year long career lasting from 1967-1986 while Nolan Ryan's career lasted 27 years from 1966-1993. [1]

Nolan Ryan had 5,714 Strikeouts during his career which is about 211 a year.
Tom Seaver however only had 3,640 averaging about 164 a year.
If you think that the difference is only due to the difference in career length then let me say that if Tom Seaver would have had to average 296 strikeouts a year over the seven years separating them to hit the same number as Ryan. [1][2]

My opponent stated above that Mr. Seaver had a higher Era then Nolan Ryan.
The higher your Era the worse it is.

4.Misc. Stats
Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver both had 61 Shutouts. [1][2]
Tom Seaver had 1 save Nolan Ryan had 3. [1][2]
Tom Seaver gave up 380 home runs in 20 years While Nolan Ryan only gave up 321 is 27. [1][2]

Nolan Ryan overall is a better pitcher than Tom Seaver due to their Strikeouts over their careers and amount it would take to make up the difference over the time, Era and various other stats that show that Ryan is the better player.



Ryan does have an impressive record as my opponent shows, with having a higher number of strikeouts than Seaver and having more no-hitters than Seaver. However, Seaver's record is something not to ignore.

Earlier, I said that Seaver had a higher era. I apologize if I confused my opponent. He had a lower era than Ryan, which is better, or in this case "higher" in value, in the sport of baseball. Seaver had an era of 2.86, while Ryan had an era of 3.19. The era is arguably one of the most important average in baseball. The lower era, the better pitcher you are. This is just one point on how Seaver beats Ryan as the better pitcher.

Cy Young Award
For this debate, we must mention the importance of the Cy Young Award. The Cy Young Award is given annually to the best pitcher in the MLB, one for the American League conference (AL), and the other for the National League conference (NL). Tom Seaver won 3 Cy Youngs. It is very hard to win one, yet alone 3, which is impressive. For someone like Ryan, with record -breaking numbers in strikeouts and no-hitters, with no Cy Young at all, is something to think about. To be considered one among the elite, the Cy Young is the most important step. I know there are many great pitchers with no Cy Young however, if you want to be labeled among the greatest pitchers of all time, the Cy Young must be taken into account. For a pitcher, you would definitely want this on your resume. Seaver achieved this, three times in fact (in 1969, 1973 and 1975), Ryan did not.

Other stats and records
Tom Seaver walked less people. He had a BB of 1,390, while Ryan had a BB of 2,795, the most in major league history. Seaver also had a lower whip with 1.12, than Ryan with 1.25. Seaver had more complete games with 231, while Ryan had 222 complete games. Seaver furthermore had a better winning percentage with .603, when Ryan had a winning percentage of .526, plus the fact that Seaver appeared in more all-star games (12), than Ryan with 8. Lastly, Tom Seaver had a better career record 311-205, while Nolan Ryan had a worse career record with 324-292. Both Seaver and Ryan are a World Series champion, considering both were on the 1969 New York Mets team.

In conclusion: Tom Seaver is regarded by baseball analysts, fellow pitchers, and baseball magazines as one of the best pitchers of all-time. Seaver was one of the most dominant, if not, the most dominant pitcher of the 1970's. He won twenty games in a season five times, a huge accomplishment. Nolan Ryan was a great pitcher no doubt, but there is one question to ask: was there ever a time during his career when people would say that he is the best pitcher in baseball? When Ryan was gathering his strikeout and no-hitter records, pitchers like Vida Blue, Jim Palmer, Gaylord Perry, Steve Carlton and most of all Tom Seaver were winning the Cy Young award, the answer would be probably not. When it comes down to Tom Terrific vs. The Ryan Express, I will give this one to Tom Seaver as being the better pitcher. Although, I am sure that my opponent can agree with this: one of the worst trades in baseball and in New York Mets history was when they traded a young, inexperienced Nolan Ryan to the Angels in 1971. Ryan became star for the Angels, later playing for the Astros and Rangers afterwards. For all evidence, please use the chart found here
Debate Round No. 2


As you said Seaver's record is nothing to ignore However does it really stack up to that of Nolan Ryan. Lets look at your points and see shall we.

Seaver had a better ERA over his entire career however the extra 7 years of Ryan's career has to be taken into account when calculating these numbers for comparison. During the first 20 years of Ryan's time playing professional baseball he had a 2.82 ERA .04 better than Seaver during his career. [1]

2. Cy Young
While you are correct that Seaver's 3 Cy Young's to Ryan's 0 is a thing to take into account you also have to look at how many times Ryan was in the top 5 multiple times and the reasons behind him never getting one. In 1972, 73, 74, and 77 there was a large cry for him to win the Cy Young however his win loss record was never quite there due to the angles inability to score runs. Though Cy Young voters failed to recognize Ryan"s greatness, the true greatness of a pitcher is not decided by the amount of awards he holds but by what type of emotions they put into batters. Ryan was notorious for causing "Ryanits" which would cause batters on the opposing team to be "ill" for one day causing them to sit out against Nolan Ryan. Some players even went on to say that against Ryan you hoped for a "good night" which was 0-4 and not dying.[2]

3. Other
While Seaver had 9 more complete games than Ryan did Ryan also had the most games pitched proving his longevity.
The Career record can be partially put onto the teams they both played for during their careers Seaver having much better luck in that regard.
Just to add a fun fact Nolan Ryan's career spanned 4 decades and he is the only MLB pitcher to strikeout 7 pairs of father and son.

Conclusion: Nolan Ryan is seen by batters as one of the most dominant forces to ever step on a pitchers mound and even though he has not won a Cy Young he was and still is considered one of the Greatest the game has ever seen.



Let's go over a few things about Nolan Ryan's career in terms with Tom Seaver's; in terms of dominance, reasoning behind no Cy Young, and stats.

You said that with the seven extra years in Ryan's career, at one point, Ryan had a better era than Seaver. This whole debate, you decided to find points where Ryan was better than Seaver, throughout the years.. What you said is true, however, it is more professional to look at their era's overall, not at different time periods. As said before, Seaver had a lower era than Ryan, overall. This is the final result at the end of their careers. Ryan was away from Seaver by .33 at the end of his career, in terms of era, even when he lasted longer in the league than Seaver. The overall average counts, not the era at different periods of time.

Cy Young
As stated before, Tom Seaver received 3 Cy Young Awards, the highest achievement for a pitcher in major league baseball. Nolan Ryan received none, even though he holds a high record of 5,714 strikeouts and seven no-hitters. The question is how can a pitcher, with these records, not have even one Cy Young Award? The answer is not hard to explain. Ryan was nominated for the award multiple times, 4 times in fact. He was nominated in 1972, 1973, 1974, and 1977. He could of won the award in one of these years, but didn't. The voters did not recognize Ryan's greatness, but more or less believed that there were better pitchers out there than Ryan himself. The people voting could of voted for him, recognizing his greatness, but instead chose a pitcher they believed was better than him. Not to mention, Ryan had serious competition around him in the American League, making his chances of winning the Cy Young even tougher. Gaylord Perry won in 1972, Jim Palmer in 1973, Catfish Hunter in 1974, and Sparky Lyle in 1977. These guys were great pitchers, all testing Ryan's power. Tom Seaver however, won the award three times for a few reasons. He had no serious competiton compared to Ryan, he was recognized for his greatness, and simply was a great pitcher. Ryan had four chances, all with no results.

Nolan Ryan was a pitcher to be scared of, as you explained with a direct quote. This made him look dominant, especially his style of throwing a fastball, curveball, etc. Tom Seaver, however, was something else. Average batters couldn't stand to even look at him, never mind scared to hit a ball off of him. They didn't want a pitcher like Tom Seaver standing across from them, on the mound, because they knew they would be roasted. No matter what type of baseball pitch, Seaver would throw fireballs to the plate, making him look powerful to hitters and other pitchers around the league. Seaver was probably, or the most dominant pitcher in the whole National League conference. And there was a point where Seaver was regarded as the greatest pitcher at the time. The years would be from 1973-1975, which was his peak. Seaver was more dominant than Ryan. His stats including the era, whip, BB, and cg will further examine his dominance on the mound.

Other stats
Even though Ryan played longer than Seaver, he couldn't beat his stats, which included the era, whip, BB, and cg. Seaver even had more complete games than Ryan, even though he played started less games than Ryan. This is a major flaw in your argument with Ryan's longevity. You would think someone that played longer would gain more complete games, but no. the pitcher that started less games did. Better stats gets you more recognition. This goes with Seaver. He had the better stats. Ryan has the no-hitter and strikeout count. He also holds more walks, or BB's than Seaver. Every other stat belongs to Seaver.

Nolan Ryan was great pitcher. Seven no-hitters and 5,714 strikeouts is an accomplishment by itself. Tom Seaver and his stats can not be ignored. Although Ryan made batters sickly, Seaver made his presence well-known. His dominance in the league made him earn 3 Cy Youngs, and an impressive record of stats. Ryan again, great pitcher no doubt. Seaver was unique.
Debate Round No. 3


Before I conclude I would like to address some of the points that my opponent made in the 3rd round.

This is a major flaw in your argument with Ryan's longevity.
-I would like my opponent to better explain what he means by this.

You would think someone that played longer would gain more complete games, but no. the pitcher that started less games did.
-If you look at the times they played in this fact makes sense

Tom Seaver however, won the award three times for a few reasons. He had no serious competition compared to Ryan, he was recognized for his greatness, and simply was a great pitcher.
-As you state he had little to no competition in the race. Was this due to a weak division?

For my actual conclusion I will restate the fact that Nolan Ryan was a more dominant pitcher than Tom Seaver. This is due to his ERA during the time they both played, The amount of strikeouts and no hitters, and various other miscellaneous stats provided in he arguments above.

Lastly thank you to my opponent for accepting this debate and following through with it and I wish you luck in the voting.


Ryan's era in regard of longevity and the complete games.

My opponent has a couple of questions about my arguments from the previous round. I will answer them. Here is my take on Nolan Ryan's longevity. You have mentioned about Ryan pitching longer in the league than Seaver. It is good in a way because it shows how elite a pitcher like Ryan was for so many years in the league. However, there is a bad side to it. Because Ryan lasted longer in the league, this effected his era. It is true Ryan had a better era than Seaver at the same time in the league, but his longevity effected this. People look at their careers overall, no matter how short or long, not at a certain time, as my opponent showed earlier. But really, experts compare their careers from their debut to their last game. My opponent compared mainly when they were around at the same time. However, analysts and myself compare at their careers from beginning to end. Seaver won with his era by the end of his career. And this counts. Also, when discussing Seaver having more complete games, let's not forget that Seaver walked less people. Nolan Ryan holds the record for walking the most batters. That is horrible. Had Ryan walked less people, there would have been a great chance of Ryan having more complete games than Seaver.

Cy Young Award Competition

I had mentioned earlier that Tom Seaver had less competition compared to Ryan's competition for the Cy Young. For Seaver, the only threats to him were Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton. Carlton battled Ryan for the strikeout record for years. Carlton was better than Ryan in my opinion personally. Personally, he was better than Ryan, Perry, Palmer and Lyle. There was no weak division which was my opponents question. Seaver was also recognized for greatness and dominance.


Tom Seaver was the better pitcher than Nolan Ryan. He had better stats overall, had three Cy Youngs and threw the ball extremely hard from the mound, making him one of the most dominant pitchers of the 1960s and 1970s. Nolan Ryan was great, however with the strikeout record and the no-hitter record with seven, he also walked the most people and had worse stats than Seaver, with no Cy Young. But great pitcher. I want to thank my opponent for this debate, it was great. I wish him luck in the voting section and hope to debate with my friend and opponent on other topics soon.
Debate Round No. 4
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