Ranking The Top-Ten Greatest Pitchers in MLB History

Written by: Tre LyDay – Staff Writing Intern (@trelyday03)

| 10 – Tom Seaver

Tom Seaver spent 20 years in the majors, most of them with the Mets. With a career record of 311-205 a 2.86 career ERA and 3,640 strikeouts, Seaver was nothing short of fantastic. Seaver spent 12 years of his career with the Mets where he compiled a 198-124 record, and a 2.57 ERA. Seaver captured a plethora of accolades. Twelve time All-Star, three time Cy Young winner, three time NL wins leader and ERA leader and a five time NL strikeout leader. Seaver also managed to throw a no hitter on June 16th, 1978. His number 41 has been retired by the Mets, and he’s also in their Hall of Fame along with the Reds Hall of Fame.

| 9 – Bob Gibson

If you didn’t know Bob Gibson once pitched on a broken leg. He got hit by a line drive, which broke a bone in his leg. Three batters later, snap. There goes the leg. Bob Gibson spent his entire 17 year career with the St. Louis Cardinals compiling a 251-174 record with a 2.91 ERA and 3,117 strikeouts. He was a nine time All-Star, two time World Series champ and MVP and a nine time Gold Glove winner, and that’s just to name a few awards. Bob Gibson was a first ballot Hall of Famer back in 1981, and was named to the MLB All-Century Team. An illustrious career for an illustrious player.

| 8 – John Smoltz

John Smoltz cracks the top ten, because of his work as a starter, and his work in the bullpen. Not only did he have a record of 213-155, he also managed to save 154 games. You see it every now and again, a pitcher getting demoted to the bullpen, but not quite like Smoltz. Back in in the early 2000’s the Braves staff was so good, that there wasn’t much room for Smoltz. So he decided to become an elite closer. He even has a Silver Slugger award. Smoltz was a first ballot Hall of Famer back in 2015, and has his number retired for the Braves.

| 7 – Greg Maddux

Maddux spent 23 years in the league, and he’s mostly known for his time in Atlanta in the early 2000’s with the rest of their insanely good pitching staff. He compiled a career record of 355-227 with a 3.16 ERA and 3,371 strikeouts. He was a 1995 World Series champion along with Smoltz. He also won four Cy Youngs, and a whopping 18 Gold Gloves. Maddux a first ballot Hall of Famer in 2014 receiving a whopping 97.2% of the votes. So there’s no reason he shouldn’t crack the top ten.

| 6 – Pedro Martinez

There’s no way I can leave Pedro off this list. No matter who you put in your list it’s a given that he be there. In his 18 year career he compiled a record of 219-100 a 2.93 ERA and 3,154 strikeouts. Most prominently known for his time in Boston, that’s where he made he a name for himself. With a record of 117-37 and 2.52 ERA, not to mention a World Series ring back in 2004. It really pains me to talk to about that. Pedro has a whole room full of accolades that include three Cy Young Awards and a three AL strikeout titles. Martinez was a first ballot Hall of Famer in 2015 receiving 91% of the votes.

| 5 – Warren Spahn

Warren Spahn. I bet you didn’t expect to see him on this list. Nicknamed “Hooks”, not for his breaking ball, but for his nose. He finished 363-245 with a 3.09 ERA and 2,583 strikeouts. His wins total is good for sixth all-time, and found himself in 14 All-Star Games. He’s one of a handful of guys who have thrown multiple no-hitters. He and Johnny Sain even inspired a poem way back in the day called “Spahn and Sain and Two Days of Rain” after they combined to go 8-0 in 12 days back in 1948. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame back in 1973. Although not first ballot, he was still deserving.

| 4 – Randy Johnson

The Big Unit. Like Pedro Martinez you have to put him on the list. With a record of 303-166 he was without question one of the greatest pitchers, if not one of the greatest players of all time. I actually witnessed Johnson take a no-hitter into the ninth inning. Until it was broken up with I believe one out in the ninth. He did actually throw a no-hitter on June 2nd, 1990, along with a perfect game on May 18th, 2004. Johnson was a first ballot Hall of Famer in 2015 receiving a whopping 97% of the votes.

| 3 – Nolan Ryan

The man who tried to beat Robin Ventura’s brains, and is the all-time leader in strikeouts is definitely in the top ten. With a record of 324-292 and 5,714 strikeouts, Ryan owns a record that nobody will ever break. He pitched for 27 years, and it never seemed like he was going to retire. Oddly enough Nolan Ryan only has one World Series ring. He has more MLB records than rings. The second MLB record he owns is seven career no-hitters, which again will probably never be broken. Ryan received a higher percentage of votes than Randy Johnson in becoming a first ballot Hall of Famer in 1999.

| 2 – Sandy Koufax

Sandy Koufax had one of the shorter careers as a pitcher. He only pitched for 12 years. Even though that seems like a long time, back in the 50’s up until pretty much the 90’s pitchers would pitch until their arm pretty much fell off. In his 12 year career he piled up a record of 165-87, and led baseball in wins three times, ERA five times and strikeouts four times. He had three years of 305 strikeouts or more, including his 382 strikeout season back in 1965. He had three years with an ERA under two. His career ERA was a 2.76, and the only reason it was that high was because of the first seven years of his career. In his first seven years the lowest ERA he had was 3.02, but after that he never had an ERA over 2.54. He also has four no-hitters and a perfect game if that wasn’t enough. Obviously enough he was a first ballot Hall of Famer, but only received 86% of the votes in 1972.

| 1 – Cy Young

Who else would be number one? There’s a reason the award for the best pitcher in baseball is named after him. MLB’s leader in wins with 511, which will never be broken, and a miniscule 2.63 ERA, it’s really a shame that he only struck out 2,803 batters in his 22 years in the league. Along with the record for career wins, Young has the most innings pitched (7,356), most career games started (815), complete games (749) and 25 ⅓ consecutive hitless innings. Cy Young was pretty much untouchable, it’s really a shame he was only able to win one World Series ring back in 1903. He did throw three no hitters and a perfect game. He was also named to MLB’s All-Century Team. As if he didn’t have enough awards. It’s crazy to think that Cy Young of all guys was a second ballot Hall of Famer, and even then he barely snuck in with 76% of the votes.


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