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The Top 10 Greatest Pitchers of all Time who dominated the Baseball Arena

greatest pitchers of all time

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Last weekend, while discussing baseball’s current events, I had a serious debate with my friends on who are the greatest pitchers of all time? I think we all have encountered such debates in our lives. So to answer their question, I began my research on Greatest Pitchers of all Time.  

Pitching is one of the most important attributes of baseball. The game starts with pitching and a good beginning boosts the team’s morale up by multiple folds. A good pitcher has to have a blend of qualities like concentration, accuracy, strong arms, and good movement. Throughout history, the game of baseball has witnessed some exceptional pitchers who—on their night—could change the complexion of the game within minutes.    

Among these legends, choosing the greatest pitchers of all time is a daunting task. Many believe that different eras cannot be compared as the nature of competition in the past was totally different from what it is today. Also, various statistics like career ERA, shutouts, Innings pitched, etc. contribute while determining the dominance of a pitcher. Taking into account these and several other factors, we have compiled the list of The Top 10 greatest pitchers of all time that dominated the baseball arena with their unrivaled skillset.

1. Cy Young

greatest pitchers of all time

Innings Pitched (IP): 7356

Wins/Losses: 511/316

Earned Run Average (ERA): 2.63

Career Shutouts: 76

Career Highlights:

  • National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937
  • Inclusion in the list of ‘Baseball’s 100 Greatest Players’ by ‘The Sporting News’.

Cy Young was undoubtedly one of the greatest MLB pitchers of all time. Known as one of the hardest throwing pitchers in the game, Young started his career in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the National League’s Cleveland Spiders in 1890. He retired in 1911, finishing his career with the Cleveland Naps and Boston Rustlers. In his exemplary career, Young established numerous records—some of which are still unbroken. His records include most career wins of all-time, as well as most career losses, games started, innings pitched, and complete games. In the honor of his astonishing career, the Cy Young Award was created in 1956.

2. Walter Johnson

greatest pitchers of all time

Innings Pitched (IP): 5914

Wins/Losses: 417/279

Earned Run Average (ERA): 2.17

Career Shutouts: 110

Career Highlights:

  • One of the five inaugural members of the Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Highest ranked pitcher in Baseball’s 100 Greatest Players
  • Part of Major League Baseball All-Century Team

Walter Johnson was an American baseball player and manager known as one of the greatest in the game. A right-handed pitcher, Johnson played for the Washington Senators throughout his 21-year long career. He also holds numerous pitching records like most shutouts, second-most wins, and fourth-most games played. He is the only player in the major league history to have over 400 wins and strikeout over 3500 batters. Besides his astounding career statistics, Johnson was also known for his sportsmanship spirit.

3. Christy Mathewson

greatest pitchers of all time

Innings Pitched: 4780

Wins/Losses: 373/188

Earned Run Average (ERA): 2.13

Career Shutouts: 79

Career Highlights:

  • His pitching performance in the 1905 World Series is selected as the “Greatest Playoff Performance of all time” by ESPN
  • Elected in the Baseball Hall of Fame as one of the first five members (only one of the five to be inducted posthumously)

The list of greatest pitchers of all time is incomplete without the inclusion of Christy Mathewson. Despite having a shorter career than some of his counterparts, Mathewson was one of the most dominant pitchers of his time. At the start of his career, he played minor baseball leagues. Later, he joined the New York Giants and led the team to an impressive victory in the 1905 World Series by pitching three shutouts. In 1925, Mathewson was exposed to chemical weapons during his training, resulting in tuberculosis and untimely death. In the honor of his legacy, Christy Mathewson Day is celebrated in Pennsylvania on the Saturday closest to his birthday

4. Randy Johnson

Innings Pitched: 4135

Wins/Losses: 303/166

ERA: 3.29

Career Shutouts: 37

Career Highlights:

  • 5 times winner of the Cy Young Award
  • Part of the Mariners Hall of Fame
  • Elected in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015

Nicknamed as ‘The Big Unit’, Johnson is one of the tallest players in MLB history with a height of 6ft 10 in (2.08m). He debuted in 1988 with the Montreal Expos and finished his career in 2009 with the San Francisco Giants. His peak season came between 1998 and 2002, where he won four consecutive Cy Young Awards. Johnson features in the exclusive list of 20 pitchers in the history of the game who have a win against all 30 MLB franchisees.

5. Roger Clemens

Roger Clemens

Innings Pitched: 4916

Wins/Losses: 354/184

ERA: 3.12

Career Shutouts: 38

Career Highlights:

  • Seven Cy Young Awards
  • Two Pitching triple crowns
  • Part of the all-time team by the Sports Illustrator

Roger Clemens is one of the top 10 greatest pitchers of all time who played a whopping 24 seasons in the MLB. Clemens started his career with the Boston Red Sox and anchored the team’s pitching staff for 12 years. An 11-time All-star member, Clemens won seven Cy Young Awards throughout his career (the most by any pitcher in history). He was known for his ability to throw fast and accurate pitches. Barring some controversies, his career was an utterly successful one.

6. Pedro Martinez

Pedro Martinez

Innings Pitched: 2827

Wins/Losses: 219/100

ERA: 2.93

Career Shutouts: 17

Career Highlights:

  • 3 times winner of the Cy Young Award
  • Featured in the All-star game for 8 times
  • Lowest Single season WHIP in the history of the Major League

Pedro is one of the integral members of the greatest pitchers of the all-time list. Although being slightly built for a modern-day power pitcher, Martinez is recognized as one of the best pitchers to have ever played the game. He was at his peak from 1997 to 2003, where he posted a mere 2.20 ERA and averaged 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings. Throughout his exceptional career, Martinez represented five teams namely Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, and Philadelphia Phillies.

7. Bob Gibson

Innings Pitched: 3884

Wins/Losses: 251/174

ERA: 2.91

Career Shutouts: 56

Career Highlights:

  • Nine-time All-star and two-time world-series champion
  • Two Cy Young Awards
  • 1968 National League (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) award

Widely recognized as one of the greatest MLB pitchers of all time, Bob Gibson played 17 seasons in the league for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was fiercely competitive in the field and was renowned for intimidating the batters on the opposition side. St. Louis Cardinals retired Gibson’s jersey no 45 in 1975. He was included in the baseball hall of fame as soon as he became eligible for the same in 1981.

8. Greg Maddux

Innings Pitched: 5008

Wins/Losses: 355/227

ERA: 3.16

Career Shutouts: 35

Career Highlights:

  • 18 Gold Gloves
  • 4 Cy Young Awards
  • 8-time member of the National League All-star team

Greg Maddux is a legendary former pitcher as well as an American college baseball coach. He represented several teams in his prolific career, his major accomplishments came while he was playing for the Atlanta Braves and the Chicago Cubs. He holds the record for being the first pitcher in the history of the game to win four consecutive Cy Young awards. Besides his impressive statistics, Maddux was known for his cool and calm demeanor on-field.

9. Tom Seaver

Innings Pitched: 4782

Wins/Losses: 311/205

ERA: 2.86

Career Shutouts: 61

Career Highlights:

  • 16 Opening-Day starts
  • Nine consecutive 200-strikeout seasons
  • Three Cy Young Awards

Widely known as ‘Tom Terrific’ or ‘the Franchise’, Tom Seaver is a veteran who played for four different MLB teams through his eminent career. He was instrumental in New York Mets’ victory over the Baltimore Orioles in the 1969 World Series.  Seaver was included in the Baseball Hall of Fame by the highest percentage of votes ever registered.  Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic—combined with Lewy Body Dementia saw the demise of the legendary pitcher in 2020.

10. Sandy Koufax

Innings Pitched: 2324

Wins/Losses: 165/87

ERA: 2.76

Career Shutouts: 40

Career Highlights:

  • The youngest player of that time to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame
  • The first pitcher to win multiple Cy Young awards

Sandy Koufax is widely hailed as one of the greatest pitchers of all time although suffering from numerous injuries throughout his 12-year career. The period between 1963 and 1966 was the pinnacle of Koufax’s career—in which he significantly dominated the baseball arena. This led him to win three Cy Young awards as well as one MVP. Had injuries not grappled his career, Koufax would probably have been right up there among the top 3/5.

Honorable mentions

Besides all The Top 10 Greatest Pitchers of all-Time, I have included a few of my favorite greatest pitchers of all time.

  1. Roy Halladay
  2. Trevor Hoffman
  3. Juan Marichal
  4. Nolas Ryan
  5. Don Drysdale
  6. Justin Verlander
  7. Warren Spahn
  8. Carl Hubbell
  9. Lefty Grove
  10. Mariano Rivera

If you know someone that loves baseball or these top pitchers, get them baseball customized pins. They will allow them to show off their love for the game, and it will also be a gift that they use every day. Such baseball gifts would make an excellent party favor for a birthday party, or a gift for all the players on a team.

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Utkarsh Deshpande

Also Read: The Most Addictive and Exhilarating 20 Android Games



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