As I was doing research for an article (Best Jays pitcher - Dave Stieb or Roy Halladay? for those who are interested) I came across two interesting points.
Leading the American League in win shares every season from 1982 - 1985. Win Shares is an old sabermetric stat championed by Bill James. He even devoted an entire book to the stat back in the 90's. It's the fore-runner for collective stats such Tom Tango's as WAR (wins above replacement level).
Simply thumbing through my copy of the Total Baseball I couldn't see a pitcher that matched Stieb's four year streak. Even Sandy Koufax didn't string together four straight win share leading seasons during his dominating decade of the 1960's.
Now I'm not saying Stieb > Koufax but it is an impressive stat nonetheless.
Pitcher abuse points is a metric created by the guys over at baseball prospectus. It was their answer to the age old 'Dusty' debate over Kerry Wood & Mark Prior. Dave Stieb would certainly earn maximum pitcher abuse points. Stieb was a converted outfielder that pitched less than 30 innings during his college career. The Jays drafted him as a pitcher and put him to work ASAP. In only his second big league season (1980) he pitched an astounding 242 innings. He followed that up with 183. Then in his fourth season, at the age of 24 mind you, he threw 288 IP!!! He followed that up with 278, 267 and 265. He never pitched more than 208 innings after that and was plagued with arm and should issues for the rest of his career.
Put these two facts together (greatness and abuse) and one can only help but wonder exactly how great Dave Stieb could have been.