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Mets fans will have to wait to watch Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom pitch together, with deGrom’s stress reaction in his right scapula expected to sideline him around two months. But when both are healthy this season, they could join this group of the best to ever do it in New York City. Call them the Fine Nine:
1. Christy Mathewson/Joe McGinnity, Giants, 1903-06
Viewed through the prism of the modern sport, the numbers are hard to believe, almost cartoonish. But McGinnity won 31, 35, 21 and 27 (with a 2.26 ERA) games those four years … and was a clear No. 2 on his own staff to Big Six, who won 30, 33, 31 and 22 those four years (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 while he was plagued by chronic arm issues, this righty/lefty combo kept a lot of Mets teams with mediocre offenses afloat.
3. Lefty Gomez/Red Ruffing, Yankees, 1936-39
The Yankees were an offensive juggernaut winning four straight championships, averaging 102 wins those years, but they also threw two Hall of Famers at you 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, by now in his early 30s, wasn’t quite as dominant as he’d been 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 matched prime-years Gooden (132-53 in their shared years) but still went 99-70, and in the fabled season of 1986 actually finished higher in Cy Young voting (fifth) than Gooden (seventh).
6. Don Newcombe/Sal Maglie, Dodgers, 1956
Newk’s finest year (27-7, 3.06 ERA, 0.989 WHIP) culminated in a Cy Young/MVP parlay for him at age 30. And for one year he joined with former Dodgers antagonist Maglie, who went 13-5 with a 2.97 ERA and finished runner-up in both categories.
7. Whitey Ford/Ralph Terry, Yankees, 1961-63
Ford was the ace and the confident face of those Yankees teams. He compiled a 66-19 record in those years, including the ’61 Cy Young when he was 25-4. But Terry was a bulldog No. 2 who led the AL in starts 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 a year later is almost forgotten, but it was good enough for third in the Cy Young vote. Second? That was John, in his first year as a Yankee, who was 21-9 with a 2.96 ERA. The two combined for 39 wins in 1980, too.
9. David Wells/David Cone, Yankees, 1998
The 114-win Yankees excelled at everything and they had a two-headed ace for most of the season thanks to Wells, whose 18-4/3.49 included a perfect game, and Cone, who went 20-7/3.55, winning 20 games a decade after doing that the first time. They finished Nos. 3-4 in the Cy Young vote.