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Mizzou 25: Joann Rutherford Regional (Quarterfinal #4)

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UPDATE: Called after 51 votes.  Scherzer wins 74%-25%.

It's Mizzou 25, the tournament to decide the best, most influential, most likable Mizzou athlete of the past 25 years!  It's like Who's Now or The Greatest Highlight, only, uhh, cool.  

Mizzou 25 is set up in four 8-athlete regions: the Norm Stewart Region (basketball), the Larry Smith Region (football), the Joann Rutherford Region (all sports), and the Spider Region (fan favorites).  Here's the Mizzou 25 bracket in all its resplendent glory.

We're now knee-deep in the Joann Rutherford Region!  Here are the matchups. Mizzou’s had one great player in just about every sport in the last 25 years, so this is the best against the best.

3/6: Renee Kelly (Women’s Basketball) vs Ben Askren (Wrestling)
3/7: Nikki Thole (Soccer) vs Christian Cantwell (Track & Field)
3/8: Derrick Peterson (Track & Field) vs Lindsey Hunter (Volleyball)
3/9: Barb Wright (Softball) vs Max Scherzer (Baseball)

Barb Wright vs Max Scherzer

vs

1994-97

2004-06

Barb Wright was the Babe Ruth of Mizzou Softball.  She was a standout as a pitcher (31-9 with a 1.04 as a senior) and hitter (.333 average with 10 HRs and 38 RBIs that same season).  She was named Big 12 Player of the Year in '97, the year Mizzou claimed its only Big 12 title (in any sport!!), and finished her career in Mizzou's Top 5 in career HR's, RBIs, slugging percentage, doubles, and hits, not to mention complete games, innings pitched, strikeouts, and games pitched.  Good god.

From the '94 Women's College World Series to the '97 Big 12 Regular Season and Tournament title, Wright's career represented a high point for the Mizzou softball program.  Mizzou won 165 games over her four years, an average of 41.3 wins per season.  As a point of comparison, in the ten years since her career ended, Mizzou has yet to win more than 41 games.
In the early-'00s, Tim Jamieson's tenure at Mizzou seemed to have plateaued.  After a 2nd-place conference finish and 39 wins in his second season ('96), Mizzou had averaged only 32 wins and a 7th place finish.  Then he put the ball in Max Scherzer's hands.

Now...I don't want to over-generalize here.  It took many good hitters and pitchers to turn the program around--Nathan Culp was possibly as valuable as Scherzer, and the new crop of Mizzou pitchers might be even better--but with Scherzer's development from wild freshman to unhittable sophomore/junior, he became the face of a pitching staff that has only gotten better and better.  In 2005, Scherzer earned the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year award with a 1.84 ERA and 131 K's in 106 innings.  In 2006, he shook off an injury and pulled off a 2.25 ERA with 78 K's in 80 innings, saving his best performances for the stretch run of the season.  His emergence coincided with Mizzou's surge in both visibility and quality.

Poll

Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    Barb Wright
    (21 votes)
  • 72%
    Max Scherzer
    (56 votes)
77 votes total Vote Now