Show Mobile Navigation

Top 10 Major League Pitchers

bucslim . . . Comments

Talk about your difficult lists to compile! There are wild differences from numerous sources as to who should be on this list. I particularly liked Bill James’ method of ranking pitchers based on either a player’s entire career or his peak value. Mr. James has his own method of ranking these men, others have theirs. I found familiar names in the top 5, but crazy variations from then on out. From my research, the top two are almost interchangeable. A lot of these men we never saw, so we have to rely on stats and baseball writers of the day.


Satchel Paige


Played For: Numerous Negro League and MLB teams.

This list is arguably somewhat tainted because of a shameful segregation policy that kept many great black ball players out of the major leagues. There is little discussion as to who was the greatest of them all. Paige was as dominant as they come. It’s impossible to list his records either because they simply don’t exist or they are inaccurate.


Sandy Koufax

Sandykoufax 001

Played For: Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers.

Another three time Cy Young winner, his career was cut short by arthritis. In each of his Cy Young seasons he won the pitcher’s triple crown. Despite the short career, Koufax ranks 7th on the all time strikeout list.


Tom Seaver


Played For: New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox.

Seaver was the NL rookie of the year in 1967 and a part of the 69 Miracle Mets squad who won the World Series despite being one of the worst teams in baseball from 1962-1968. He was a three time winner of the Cy Young award and finisthed his career with 311 wins.


Greg Maddux

Example Scapularloading Good Gregmaddux 199X 012

Played For: Chicago Cubs, Atlana Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres.

Maddux was the first pitcher in major league history to win 4 Cy Young Awards for four consecutive years – 1992-95. During that time he had an impressive 75-29 record with a ridiculous 1.98 ERA. He also holds the distinction of winning at least 15 games in 17 consecutive seasons, a stunning accomplishment.


Cy Young


Played For: Cleveland Spiders, St. Louis Perfectos, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Naps, Boston Rustlers.

Yeah, the dude’s name is on the award for the best pitcher each season. It’s difficult to understand how anyone could possibly win 511 games, but Cy Young holds that record. Along with that remarkable number, he also holds the record for innings pitched (7355) most career games started, (815) and most complete games (749) In some respects it was a different game back then, some could make a case that these numbers are an inflated total that reflected the infancy of the game. But no on can deny that he was one of the greats.


Christy Mathewson


Played For: New York Giants, Cincinnati Reds.

In 1905 and 1908 he won the pitcher’s equivalent to the triple crown – leading the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts. And he was a member of the ‘First Five’ players to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame along with Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson and Honus Wagner. He was also known for being one of the games most beloved players.


Grover Cleveland ‘Pete’ Alexander

275Px-Grover Cleveland Alexander Baseball

Played For: Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals.

Pete had an awe inspiring 90 shutouts. He is third all time in wins with 373 with a 2.76 ERA


Roger Clemens


Played For: Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays.

In light of recent events, it’s difficult for me to place the Rocket on this list. It’s true he consistently appeared in plenty of top 5 lists of great pitchers, but there’s always going to be question marks when it comes to his career due to alledged steroid use. Steroids or not, he was the most dominate pitcher of the day who ended his career with 354 wins and a 3.17 ERA.


Walter Johnson

Picture 1-65

Played For: Washington Senators.

There are plenty of reputable sources that have Johnson in the top five, if not in the top 2. Ty Cobb said he was “the most threatening site he ever saw on a ballfield.” Because precision instruments were lacking at the time, it’s hard to say how hard he threw, but most agree it closed in on 100 MPH. He had 417 wins with a sizzling 2.17 ERA. His strikeout record of 3509 was broken by Nolan Ryan in 1983.


Lefty Grove


Played For: Philadelphia Athletics/Boston Red Sox.

Bill James comes right out and says Lefty Grove is the greatest pitcher of all time. Other sites and sources have him regularly in the top 5. Grove won 300 games even though he didn’t break into the majors until age 25. He led the league in ERA 9 times. That is a ridiculous stat. The next closest, Roger Clemens, has done that 7 times. He finished his career with a .680 winning percentage with 300 wins.

Notable omissions: Warren Spahn, Bob Gibson, Bob Feller, Carl Hubbell, Steve Carlton, Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson Juan Marichal, Whitey Ford, Gaylord Perry

Contributor: bucslim

  • pyderz

    I know nothing about baseball.. and dont want know anything about this boring american sport :D x

    • rivverz

      just because you don’t doesn’t mean show your ignorance. :)

    • It’s not just a “boring American sport” either. It’s also a national pastime of Japan. Next time, make a constructive comment about the list, rather than just denigrating it.

  • DJS

    No Bob Gibson??!!
    * 1.12 era in 1968 season!!

    Plus being widely considered the most intimidating pitcher ever to step on the mound, in fact he was the major reason they decided to lower the pitching mound. Pure dominance that struck fear into opposing batters. He deserves a spot.

    • Zach


  • Interesting, although I know nothing about baseball. =)

  • ChuChu353

    Replace Roger Clemens with Nolan Ryan.

  • Tricia

    Would you mind defining all of those stats you put in there? I watch baseball, but don’t know what any of thos details, like ERA mean.

  • Clantargh

    Nolan Ryan should have made the list over Maddux. And Bert Blyleven is a personal fave, otherwise fantastic lisr

  • Kiwimate

    interesting read, My Dad and brothers will be interested in this list :)

  • jajdude

    Curveballed guns on the list, g – baseball is my favorite remedy for insomnia and preventing premature ejacs yo.

  • Redcaboose

    ERA means earned run average, which is a stat used for pictures.

    Glad to see Sandy Koufax on the list. He was always my favorite. He pitched left handed and batted right handed. When the Dodgers moved to LA, kids could get into games for a buck, and it was a great way to spend the afternoon (instead of school).

  • Crêpe

    I would hate for one of them to pitch a baseball to me. I would probably duck and hide haha. Great list – keep it up.

  • astraya

    Ummm, too American?

  • jajdude: I constantly hope that one day I will understand your comments :)

  • astraya: baseball is played all over the world!

  • the_cloaked_schemer


    In japan Baseball is HUGE, one might say it is more Japan’s pass time than America’s, since they even keep track of High school Baseball on a national level.

  • Mullaccio

    I do not find baseball the slightest bit interesting. There is no fluidity to it. I played it once when I lived in Canada and 95% of the time your standing there doing nothing. No offence to baseball fans. Its just not my cup of tea.

  • MPW

    I like this list, but where is Nolan Ryan!? Having struck out more than 5000 batters should earn him a spot on this list.

    I believe Cy Young also holds the record for most losses as well.

    I agree with the others who say baseball is not just an American Sport. In many countries baseball is a way of life.

    Football, now that’s my way of life!, the Superbowl should be considered a holiday.

    I mightshould make a list of the tob QBs, although that would definitely be American oriented.

  • MPW

    that should be might not mightshould. Sorry :)

    Hi Vera Lynn!!

  • Iain

    Actually JF – that was one of JAJs more comprehensible comments – to paraphrase – ‘Baseball is so boring it can send you to sleep and thinking about it during sex can prevent ejaculation.” – and I tend to agree. That’s not knee-jerk anti-americanism by the way. Cricket is equally boring and I love American football.

    P.S – we all know Astraya’s just funnin’.

  • LJT

    NO NOLAN RYAN!!!!! No latin pitchers? Marichal ring anybel?…ok that’s bias on my part….but RYAN has got to be right up there….

    BTW: baseball is american (the whole continent) and some countries in asia…and THAT’S IT.

    Its not a worldwide sport, even rugby is bigger…cricket and of course Football (the real one played with the feet, not the american “version”) lol


  • astraya

    I thought you knew me better than that by now, Jamie. So why aren’t there any non-Americans on this list????

    Last August I watched the Olympic baseball final with my Korean wife. I (usually the introvert) suggested going somewhere public, but she (usually the extrovert and always the driver) wanted to stay at home. For someone who grew up watching 5 days of cricket in a row, I’ve got say how mind-bogglingly tedious baseball is – a lot of standing around followed by a flurry of activity. The last inning was a cracker though – Korean ahead by one, one out, bases loaded, so they bring on a new pitcher, who drills two dead-accurate strikes, then forces a double-play to become a national hero. (And not of Cuba, either.) (See, I know enough about baseball to say all of that.)

    A colleague at school asked me if baseball is played in Australia. It is, but I had to look up the details. There is no professional league in Australia, but an amateur league, and some Australians play overseas. I found out a) that Australia beat Korea at the 2000 Olympics and b) Australia won the silver medal at Athens.

  • someonelse


  • geez

    no nolan ryan?

  • ronsantohof

    Wake up! Nolan Ryan is not even one of the top 20 pitchers of all time and his omission from this list is Correct! I was looking forward to arguing with this list but I can’t find anything wrong with it. Roger Clemens had the same career arc as Tom Seaver until he started taking steroids/HGH. BTW, the annual award for best pitcher is named for the man with the most losses in Major League Baseball history.

    • blasnagaraf

      Most losses, cuz in his time, there were no such things as relief pitchers and starting pitchers pitched once every two days.

  • rushfan

    Hey, Bucslim! Cool list! I haven’t watched baseball since the Mets won the world series in like 1985, but hey, great list. Gotta love a dude with a lady name. Oh, and, “Call it both way, Ref!”

  • rushfan

    *both ways :(

  • Suskis

    I did read an article about USA sports. They stated that the majority of US people have some ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and this prevents them to enjoy any kind of sport that lacks frequent stops (unless they are extremely simple to be followed, like a NASCAR race).
    Basketball, Football, Bowling, Golf.. maybe there is some truth in that article?
    In europe all US sports are laughed at because of their convoluted rules and continuous halts. Football and Baseball (along with NASCAR) are the least appreciated!
    I’d say it’s a matter of tastes maybe?

  • MattyGtheMusician

    hmm compelling list. I read about this stuff all the time and the “Top 10 Pitchers List” is completely different for most people. I’d say most experts would put Bob Gibson on the list, as well as Pedro Martinez, and probably withdraw ALexander, Paige or even Cy Young. But whatever. Koufax, Clemens, and the rest are pretty established as the best ever

  • astraya

    Someone once said that American football combines the two worst aspects of American life: violence and committee meetings.
    (I just checked and it was someone called George Will.)

  • MattyGtheMusician

    Oh yeah, and Cy Young played in a time where pitchers might pitch 50-something games in one season, which helps explain his insanely high win total.

  • astraya

    Charlie Brown?

    (Sorry, MAJOR LEAGUE pitchers.)

  • Tim

    Dittos on Lefty Grove. His could have ended with close to 400 wins. He won nearly 100 games for the Baltimore Orioles, which at the time were in the International League in an era where some minor league clubs would have made better major league teams than the Browns or Phillies.

  • Ernmas

    Rushfan…hate to tell you but Christy (if that is whom you are referring to as having a girl’s name) is actually a unisex name.

    Great list, btw…

  • Brosiusjb

    Those who dont like baseball probably wouldn’t like chess and other games of strategy. There is almost an infinite amount of strategy in baseball well past what pitch to throw a given hitter, fielders positioning themselves in position based on the pitch and the situation, etc., etc. The best part about baseball is you can never know everything there is about it. It is called the “thinking man’s game” for good reason, no other game in the world, yes friends even that communist sport soccer, has commanded great writers to write about it. Not only that but those gifted in numbers rather than words have a field day with the statistical analysis of the sport. This is possible due to the profound depth to the game. Those who think its boring with not action don’t know whats going on. Chess is 99% still but I still enjoy it. It is metaphorically relevant as almost every situation in baseball reflects a situation outside. Baseball is a much more pastoral sport than football mixed with sudden flourishes of action bordering on rage. Baseball is as popular as ever– I really suggest those who are not fans of the game to learn more about it. I played in college and consider myself lucky to have milked as much as I did out of it. It remains a real pleasure.

  • Brosiusjb

    *no other game in the world, yes even that communist sport soccer, has commanded AS MANY great writers to write about.

  • DiscHuker

    a list with all americans. let’s see…we should be offended. but wait, it is an american sport. ummm…then let’s just make fun of americans.

    suskis: “a majority of americans have ADD”? are you serious? please provide a citation for such a wildly inaccurate statement.

  • LordCalvert

    i always find it amusing when there’s a list about something “American” to watch the non-Americans go wild about how inferior America is. instead of bitching about us, go back to your soccer game and wait for your turn to get crushed in the next stampede.

  • Shadow

    MPW – PLEASE, make that list of QBs! Football, note I did NOT mean SOCCER, is an awesome sport, and deserves a good number of lists of its own.

    I admit, I’m a newcomer to the game, only been into it for about seven years, but oh how I love to see my Steelers play!

  • bucslim

    To those who feel Nolan Ryan should be on this list: He’s my all time favorite pitcher. His strikeout record will probably never be broken. But from the sources I relied on, and there were many, Ryan was rarely in the top 15, the same is true for another favorite of mine Bob Gibson. Out of the list above I would much rather be at the plate facing them with the possible exception of Walter Johnson, than Ryan or Gibson. Gibson would just as soon throw a 90 MPH fastball in your back than down the strike zone.

    As I stated in the introduction, the top 4-5 pitchers were pretty consistently in quite a number of top 5 lists. After that it’s a crapshoot.

    rushfan: I got that, and I will next time I’m umpiring a tee-ball game. Bless you for taking the time.

  • bucslim

    Brosiusjb – my feelings exactly. I think George Will said the same thing. For those who truly understand the game, it is far from boring. There are literally hundreds of decisions in both dugouts being made between pitches.

  • 1oriolesfan1

    I am a HUGE baseball fan(and sports fan)! Great list, but ranking pitchers is really hard(too many factors-errors by teammates, lack of batting by your team, the DH, etc.). If you’re not a fan, you probably weren’t exposed to the sport as a kid(like me w/my Dad and 3 TVs in our living room-and, no remotes back then)! That is all-GO O’s!!!

  • damien_karras

    Wow, looking through the archives, there are not alot of sports lists. Bucslim, you could start a whole new category with this being the pioneering list. Good job.

  • Keith

    This list is Bush league!
    First of all, Sandy Koufax is #9?? What is that? His short career was perhaps among the most dominant baseball has ever seen; and if you’re going to speculate about Paige, then at least do so about Koufax who retired at the peak of his career.

    And Roger Clemens; what are you doing? He’s a juicer and a cheat, get him off this list.

    If you’re going to include Maddux, then include other 90’s pitchers who were just as dominant, if not moreso. Pedro Martinez’s 2000 season was arguably the best pitching performance of the modern era.

    Nolan Ryan, the career strikeouts and complete game leader, is no where to be seen but it seems that horse has been beaten. I’m more upset that Clemens isn’t just on the list, but is so high on it.

    I think this list should have also been divided between old-time players and modern-era pitchers.

  • bucslim

    #3 Tricia – ERA can be simply put as to how many runs the opposing team would score over the course of a 9 inning game while facing this particular pitcher. The lower the number, the better the pitcher has kept the opposing team from getting on base and scoring runs, along with the help of his teammates in the field.

  • RandomPrecision

    Roger Clemens has no place on the list.

    As a phillies fan it was nice to see Grover Cleveland Alexander.

    Steve Carlton all the way.

    Americans like baseball because its the most democratic sport. It is fundamentally American. You have to give every guy his chance at the plate, you can’t run out the clock and sit on a win. There is a great monolague about it in the play “Take Me Out” and I’ll look for it.

  • bucslim

    Keith – I understand completely with your arguments and have the same feelings about Clemens. I’m simply going with the sources I had. It’s difficult to say where the records for the steroid era is going to end up. But I struggled to include his name on the list because I feel very strongly that he cheated.

    And from the sources I relied on, Koufax was rarely mentioned in the top 15, because of what you mentioned, speculation. But there’s no doubt he belongs on this list. Again, the top 4-5 are pretty consistently mentioned, and after that the next 30-40 names are wildly different. Ryan is in my notable omissions. Pedro’s incredible season and career is noteworthy, but it might be too ‘new’ for the writers and sources I consulted to compile this

  • Callie

    1orioles fan…are you my dad? Cause if you aren’t he holds that title as well.

    He’s by no means the greatest..his ERA was 4.25 when he retired, but I want to give a big ups to Jim Abbott (even though he was a Yankee!) because I can’t even pitch a no hitter with both hands. He’s truely inspirational.

  • KingofLondon

    I am an English, and used to share the short sighted and pompous views on American sports that are often posted by non Americans in response to lists such as this.

    What a ridiculous point of view to hold considering I had never even watched a baseball game – something which I’m sure others that are badmouthing the sport have not done either.

    In recent years (partly as a result of having a girlfriend from LA) I have got much more into US sports, and I really do genuinely enjoy them a lot, and think they do compare well in some ways to sports such as football (soccer).

    In addition to basketball and NFL games which I have been to and enjoyed greatly, I have also had the pleasure of visiting Dodger Stadium on three different occasions now, and on each visit I had an amazing time. Eating peanuts and drinking (vastly overpriced) beer contributed towards this, but the game itself I found to be very enjoyable. It’s strategic, psychological, and exciting. I would recommend to anyone to go and see a game if you get the chance.

    Football will always be my favourite sport (although supporting Spurs is severely testing at times) but baseball is a great game, and is a lot of fund to see live.

    This list is great. Would be good to see a list of greatest basketball players too.

  • Jazoo

    The Maddux ERA is wrong…

  • jake ryder

    I’m not a huge baseball fan and therefore would never argue the inclusion or exclusion of anyone. However I always find it reassuring on any list when it is not dominated by very recent entries. It always shows a great knowledge of ones field when they look way back to the past. Well done.

  • Oshafir

    Definitely an interesting list since i am a huge baseball fan (i’ve been a life-long Mets Fan… so pity me =-) )

    I dont know all these players but im surprised neither Bob Gibson, nor Pedro Martinez were on this list.

    Pedro Martinez is especially glaring simply because he played during the Steroids era of the 1990’s where the league average for runs in a game was the highest it’s ever been and he simply dominated. consider he had a 2.00 ERA (earned run average) when the average pitcher had a 4.50 ERA. Thats absolutely terrifying to consider how good he actually was. Most people consider his peak years in the 90’s to be the most dominating pitching performance of all-time

    • ""Definitely an interesting list since i am a huge baseball fan (i've been a life-long Mets Fan… so pity me =-) ) ""

      im a life-long cubs fan
      no pity for you!

  • Blacknimbus

    Nolan Ryan should be here.

    Clements shouldn’t be on the list.

  • Freshies

    Nolan Ryan?

  • Doc

    No Steve Carlton? No Bob Gibson? Please remember that MANY of the pitchers you listed played in the dead ball era, inflating their stats.

    For all you Nolan Ryan lovers out there, he was a great pitcher, but he never even won a Cy Young Award.

    It’s hard for me to not give a bonus shout to Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson, the two best non-steroid abusing pitchers of the late-90’s, and early 00’s.

  • bucslim

    Jazoo – you are correct, that should read 1.98 – pretty sure that was a typo

  • Jazoo

    Nolan Ryan was a great strikeout pitcher, but his winning percentage was lower than these guys on the list, and his ERA was higher.

  • Fore11

    Pretty good list. My amendments, for what it’s worth.

    Spahn should be on the list. The award for the best left handed pitcher is named after him and there are 2 lefties on the list.

    Cy Young should be top 3. (Grove and Johnson are both solid in the top 3 as well)

    Clemens is an embarrassment to baseball. He shouldn’t be only list but a banned list.

    I think Bob Gibson should be top 10 at least. He was one of the most feared pitchers of all time. Best part about him was if he felt you crowded the plate, it was comin’ at your noggin.

    I also agree that Pedro should be at least an honorable mention, and glad that you named Marichal.

    Of course, it’s all subjective and somewhere, someone is calling me an idiot for my picks. :)

    Great list and may I suggest more baseball lists in the future?

  • bucslim

    For those of you wanting Pedro Martinez to be recognized. I went through plenty of resources to compile this list – I read many of the books I have on Baseball history by respected writers and trusted internet resources. Pedro was never mentioned in the top 10 of anything I could come up with.

    He has impressive credentials – I believe he won the Cy Young award 3 times, was a member of a championship team and has a very low ERA. That being said, he most certainly isn’t better than the pitchers listed. Definitely not in the top 5.

    Keep in mind every player on this list appear in someone’s top 5 list. As I said in the introduction, a lot of these guys played long before you and I were born so we have to rely on the record and most of these guys have over 300 wins – something Pedro can’t say.

  • Jazoo

    Fore11- Good call. Spahn has to be on any list of the top 10.

    “First we’ll use Spahn
    then we’ll use Sain
    Then an off day
    followed by rain
    Back will come Spahn
    followed by Sain
    And followed
    we hope
    by two days of rain.”

  • Nick

    I have been coming to this site for a long time now and have read every list.
    so now i am stuck to one a day!!
    anyway you can publish two each day?

  • silvernano

    20/20 cricket is more EXCITING!

  • slipstick

    I agree that Nolan Ryan should be on the list instead of Roger Clements. Also for honorable mentions, I’d say Dennis Eckersley, Jack Morris, Denny Mclaine, and Mark “The Bird” Fidrich… but I grew up near Detroit.

  • Mattc

    Ryan was a great pitcher, but not top 10 all time. I would acquate him to Randy Johnson. Also, would have expected Koufax to higher. Gibson should also be here (They changed the mound height due to his dominance).

    Poeple who want to discount Clemens for his steorid use can do that, but he was an all time great prior to abusing PED’s.

    Pedro Maritnez was a domiant a pitcher as there ever was for a period of about 5 years, but not enough to merit top 10 all time.

  • Fore11

    bucslim, while I agree that Pedro shouldn’t be on this list, if you limit the top 10 pitchers list of all time, to 300 winners, we’re only going to see pitchers from the past on this list. IMO, we’ll never see another 300 game winner, minus of course the very few that are at the end of their careers that have an outside chance of getting there. I don’t have any argument to the pitchers on your list, except Clemens. They’re all the best of the best. Paige is probably one of my favorites, because I LOVE reading the books about the Negro leagues. Some trmendous stories, and outstanding ball players.

    Anything baseball is fine with me. Once again, this list was awesome.

  • Fore11

    Mattc, he was a great pitcher before the PEDs, but not top 10 of all time.

  • Iain

    Interesting personal baseball fact. Every time I have visited an American city, their baseball team has gone on to win or appear in the world series (with one significant exception).

    2000 – New York
    2002 – San Francisco
    2004 – Boston

    The major exception was in 2007 when I was in Chicago. However, I was in a bar and ended up talking to a whole bunch of Red Sox fans visiting for a series against the White Sox. Those fans obviously intercepted the mojo, as the Red Sox went on to win the title.

  • JLo

    I can’t believe Bob Gibson is not on this list.

  • Fore11

    Iain, I wish you would’ve spent more time in Flushings instead of the Bronx, in 2000. :)

  • psychosurfer

    33. Brosiusjb, hire Kasparov to coach the Yankees then ;)

  • Fore11

    I completely agree with Brosiusjb.

  • jayhawk

    Man I hate being a Royals fan…

  • Fore11

    Brett Saberhagen, my man. ;)

  • mike

    I def. agree that Pedro and Ryan belong on the list. Perdo’s 1999 and 200 season’s were as good as anyone ever. and saying he wasnt great for long enough, remember koufax was only great 1961-1966. Before that he wasnt that good. Pedro was very very good from 1997 (cy young in NL) through 2003. And he won 2 Cy Young’s and shoulda won another in the AL. And as for Ryan, forget he won 300 games and struck out more than 1000, thats right 1000 more than anyone else, He has 7 no hitters and ELEVEN one hitters. Think about that? if nearly half of them were no hitters, he’d have like what? 13 or more? No one else has more than 4. And from April 1973 till Sept. 1974, he had FOUR no hitters. Sick just how dominant he could be. Just was on bad teams, thats all. And what about Mariano? or Spahn? or Smoltz?

  • Burgerbuddy

    Too bad every Pitcher in every picture looks so goofy..
    Like watching dogs defecate..

  • d

    Sandy Koufax should be Top 5 (and is on many of these lists). In addition to retiring very young at the peak of his career, Koufax never played a day in the minor leagues. Instead of learning to pitch in the minor leagues, the first six years of his career were wasted sitting on the Dodgers bench. But for the next six years, he was the most dominant pitcher in baseball. His stats were simply overwhelming.

    Juan Marichal? A really good pitcher, but always played second fiddle to Koufax. Marichal wasn’t even the most dominant pitcher of his era, much less all time.

  • chi_chick

    Please move Roger Clemens somewhere lower on the list at the very least. I refuse to believe that he should be listed so close to #1, especially closer than Greg Maddux or Cy Young. Come on!

  • d

    To paraphrase Rod Stewart, “Every pitcher tells a story, don’t it?”

  • jayhawk

    I am from Kansas City, and had the pleasure of meeting Buck O’neal once. The stories around Satchel Paige, who played for the Kansas City Monarchs, are epic. In many accounts, his velocity and ball movement were said to be astounding. Beyond this when he finally made it to the majors, he was well past his prime, losing much of his velocity, however he was still dominant. It truly is a shame that his records have not been kept. Although, the word of mouth and stories alomost bring him to legendary status.

  • Tricia

    bucslim: Thank you very much. That was much easier than the baseball fans I’ve asked. They get way too technical. :)

    Also, Go Angels!!!

  • MHogan

    Great List!!! There are a few players not mentioned on the list who I would have considered but then its hard to assess who you would take off. I think Schmoltz and Ryan deserve some consideration and I also feel that maybe a closer should have gotten a nod.

    As far as the Clemons hating goes, he definatly deserves to be on the list for his accomplishments. He and Maddux are the two greatest pitchers in modern baseball. If you want to keep him off the list for doping then I can sympathize with that though I personally would still keep him on.

  • I love baseball, but live at the park, not on tv.
    I totally believe Sandy Koufax should be in the top 5, for reasons already mentioned.
    Still, all in all, bucslim, a beautiful list. You caught all of the truly top pitchers in the league’s life (and I was particularly pleased to see the inclusion of Satchel Paige, after such a dismal beginning for the black man in professional sports), and I was glad for the little bits of historical stats attached to each name.
    Well done!

  • charlimara

    Nolan Ryan should be on the list also Bob Gibson…
    maybe a best lefties list and best righthanded pitchers list?

  • Schiesl

    Ok, WTF??? Johnson is numbero uno of all time, no questions asked. Why Is Sandy Koufax on this list??? He had like 4 great seasons the rest where ok. Why is Roger Clemens on here? Ever heard of steroids??? I love the game of baseball with all my heart and some of the people you left off of this list are unforgivable. Bob gibson was by far the most feared pitcher of the 1960’s. Also you forgot to mention how Christy Mathewson pitched THREE complete game shutouts in the 1905 world series, THREE SHUTOUTS IN A WORLD SERIES!!!

  • Schiesl

    other than that though, great list! love baseball

  • Schiesl

    My top ten

    10. Cy Young
    9. Bob Gibson
    8. Greg Maddux
    7. Eddie Plank
    6. Warren Spahn
    5. Tom Seaver
    4. Lefty Grove
    3. Christy Mathewson
    2. Grover Pete Alexander
    1. Walter Johnson

  • Fore11

    Cy #10? Wow.

  • Brosiusjb

    sorry psychosurfer I would rather have Deep Blue as a coach. He would probably make a good accountant though.

  • Schiesl

    o btw, mistake on mine, Lefty is 3 Christy is 4 my bad.

    Walter Johnson did have 3509k’s. A record that was deamed unbreakable at the time. Untill 1950, not a single pitcher got within 700 strikeouts of the record. not even close. You also failed to mention about warren spahn who didnt win his Cy untill he was 36 and still was in the Cy Young running till his fourties.
    Nolan Ryan has the lowest win percentage in the hall of fame at 52% barely over a 50/50 pitcher, he also has almost 3000 walks. He never won the Cy Young award, yeah never.

    Sandy Koufax, From 1961-1966 he went 129-47, great seasons. from 1955-1960 however he went 36-40 with an ERA above 4.00 so six seasons of failure and six seasons of greatness. give me the consistent durable pitchers please. As much as i love Satchel Page, he shouldn’t be on the list if you are talking major league pitchers. He went just 28-31 in the majors. He was great in the Negro leagues and didn’t pitch in the majors until 40, but still.

  • bucslim

    I think a case could be made for Bob Gibson as well. They did change the rules of the game simply because he was so good. That’s an astounding fact when you consider that the pitcher’s mound had remained relatively the same height for generations. And he was certainly one of the most dominant pitchers of the 60’s with some crazy numbers. I would probably piss myself if I were at the plate and he whizzed a heater near my temple.

    I’m simply following the research I did, and his name was rarely mentioned on anyone’s top ten. You would have to take off someone, in my opinion, who was better than he was. Top 15? Most likely. But the great thing about baseball is it’s history and arguing for your man. None of this is lost on me.

    I personally think Warren Spahn should be on here too, but he just didn’t show up enough in the research I did.

    Finally, I did not do any research on relievers which in terms of baseball history is relatively a new position. Pitchers were traditionally expected to go the entire 9 which explains much of Cy Young’s numbers. No, this is a starting pitcher’s list.

    All in all I’ve enjoyed reading your comments and am impressed with the level of baseball knowledge out there.

  • Brosiusjb

    I agree with DiscHusker, how soon the world forgets that before the US got into WWII Germany was running wild all over Europe. We saved you and rebuilt you, I guess it’s similar to a young man wanting to out do is daddy.

  • Fore11

    I agree about Paige, he’s one of my all time favorites, but if it’s MLB pitchers, he’s gotta be out. Also agree about Ryan and Koufax.

  • Schiesl

    A better early African American baseball pitcher would be Don Newcombe, the first Black player to lead the league in strikeouts

  • Fore11

    Appreciate that bucslim, and I was gonna fend off the relievers comments, but I figured I’d let you explain that one.

    “But the great thing about baseball is it’s history and arguing for your man. None of this is lost on me. ”

    Pretty much sums up my feelings about this as well.

  • Fore11

    BTW, you would “probably piss yourself” if he fired one at your dome? I’m impressed with your bladder control. :)

  • Schiesl

    Sometimes instead of the research you do, make your own opinions and back it up, haha. think outside the box. like for example Warren Spahn pitched for 21 years in the major leagues, he was never the #1 dominent pitcher but he was durable and consistent. He almost always went 20-10 every season, you knew what you where going to get out of him, 100% and a good solid season. He won the Cy Young award once, but his 362 wins put him first in the modern era of pitching. He is the 20th century Cy Young. Lots of Innings, starts, and wins, but also his fair share of losses. He also had a successful Postseason campaign posting a winning record.

  • Schiesl

    Very true about defending your man, gotta love baseball

  • this is a great list!
    like someone said most of these players played in the deadball era.

    since the 90’s we’ve been in the steroids era as i call it. you really have to define top ten pitchers by era and whatnot. if we’re talking about 90’s…. yeah pedro… randy johnson… curt schilling… greg maddux…clemens.
    cy young only won so many games because of the time he played in. if he played now… he would have a 3.5 era maybe and close to 300 wins….

  • Schiesl

    dude if you think he belongs in the top ten, you put him there and defend it and stop caring about what Bill James has to say

  • Chris

    Suskis (#26): The majority of Americans have ADD? That’s an interesting stat. Did you, by a chance, read that in The Onion or another similar news source?

  • islanderbst

    Wow, a sports list?!? About baseball? Woo-hoo! Very nice to get something different in here, so thanks Bucslim.
    Mordecai 3 fingers Brown should get some love, check out his mangled hand. 1.04 era in 1906, and helped the Cubs to their last world series wins

  • Nelia

    Bucslim – Just to beat a dead horse for a second… Clemens? Argh! Give that spot to one of your honorable mentions. I know you explained your reasons, but surely an honest player deserves the spot more than a man who was willing to cheat, lie, and betray in order to stay on top.
    Jayhawk – Oh Royals… My husband makes it a tradition to watch them devotedly until they eliminate themselves mathematically from playoff contention. Then he is willing to watch my team instead. And VERY cool meeting Buck. Some of my husband’s family spent time with him a few years ago. Fascinating person.
    Someone really ought to do a Negro leagues info list. It is a very interesting part of baseball history.

  • bucslim

    Schiesl – I included Bill James’ research in this list, but he wasn’t the only source. I did add my own opinion Satch and Koufax mainly. Satch is on here because he was unquestionably the best in a flawed system. There isn’t any doubt in my mind that he would be in the top 5 had we not had our heads up our asses at the time. And there isn’t any argument for that from the sources I looked into. Who the hell knows how many others would have been listed if only black ball players were included in the Major leagues.

    He has to be on this list, there just isn’t any two ways about that.

  • Fore11

    Nelia… “Jayhawk – Oh Royals… My husband makes it a tradition to watch them devotedly until they eliminate themselves mathematically from playoff contention. ”

    So you’re saying he watches your team more than his own? ;)

  • bucslim

    Nelia – it is rather odious to have someone accused of cheating on a Top Ten list. I really questioned my own choice for that.

    Consider where he would be on this list had he not had steroid accusations over his head? Where would Bonds be? McGuire?

    There are some baseball historians out there who are playing around the fact that different eras have different circumstances and should be noted as such. I think the steroid era most certainly falls into that realm. I put him up there even though I disagreed personally with the choice, but every list and data I came up with had him consistently in the top 5. I’ll leave it to others to decide if I’ve been honest with the research. He’s worthy of consideration even before allegations of steroids – which will probably keep him out of the Hall of Fame.

  • islanderbst

    about Clemens, I think what people arent realizing is how wide spread the use was. I dont have any facts, but my feeling is that “most” players were using something, be it hormones, questionable supplements, or full blown roids. Clemens was awesome in the 80’s before all this, and then was among the best of the roid era.
    Yeah, it would have been nice for no one to have used illegal substances, but it happened, and now its up to Major League Baseball to keep it clean.

  • mike

    I Think your all underestimating Ryan though. I know he had alot of walks and losses – but still 7 no hitters and 11 one hitters is VERY impressive and if he’d have been on other teams that actually won anything, who knows? Just like Satchel Paige, who knows? and if we’re gonna go back that fat, Christy Mattewson would have been probably #1 or 2 not 5, since his career ended early cause he was hurt by poison gas in WW 1. He was never the same and died not too much after. Yeah, it was at the end of his career, but remember, dying young and being liked by the media makes a world of difference in legacy.

  • When the Dodgers first moved to Los Angeles, I was very young, but a baseball fan anyway. There was a sports equipment store down the block and across the street, and Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, and Pee Wee Reese were appearing there one day.
    I knew I wouldn’t get permission to go, so I took my baseball and snuck out my bedroom window. I got all three to sign my baseball, and all three were charmed that a little girl was there alone to visit her heroes.
    Times were different then.

  • ian

    im not gonna take the time to explain why but i highly disagree with 75% of this list

  • bucslim

    islanderbst – 3 Finger Brown is one of my favorite baseball nicknames. I saw him mentioned several times when I was compiling this. Great pitcher, no doubt.

  • bucslim

    ian – please take your best shot. I’d love to hear it. This isn’t set in stone and that’s the great thing about baseball, we can all argue about who should be here. But take note, I did a lot of reading on this topic so I will respond to your list.

  • Fore11

    Please, take the time to explain.

  • Stuck-in-DC

    Bucslim – great list!! i think if you could add their career years it would be great to reference (so you really can understand which era they pitched in)

    Its a shame Satchel Paige cannot be properly moved up the list. If even half the stories about him are true he definitely was better than #10; but I also realize you limited it to “Major League” pitchers which precludes Negro League years.

    Reminds me of a sports radio interview I heard back in 2003. A former Negro League player was on the show talking about what it was like playing with guys like Paige and Josh Gibson (I really wish I could remember his name right now). They asked him if there was much resentment among his fellow players that they couldn’t play in the majors… He responded NO WAY!! That they felt the better players were in the Negro Leagues so why would they want to play the inferior competition. They were also treated like gods in their neighborhoods so they were set.

    Also at that time the pay wasn’t much different (because the negro league players made lots doing barnstorming tours).

    Was a great interview

  • Fore11

    Also, which half of what player do you disagree with?

  • Stuck-in-DC

    Iain –
    I will gladly pay you to never visit New York City again!!!!

  • bucslim

    Stuck in DC – sounds like Buck O’Neil from the Kansas City Monarchs

  • marc

    bucslim…great list. Not only is it good, but you’ve actually backed up your list with comments. And according to many lists that I’ve seen in the past, your right . Still think Gibson deserves a spot though. As for all the anti-US sports trash, read a different list.

  • bucslim

    segue – please tell me you still have that ball. That’s an absolute treasure!

  • RobertSean

    Nolan Ryan, Warren Spahn, Don Drysdale

  • SuperHero3

    No Nolan Ryan?
    No Dennis Eckersley?
    No Jack Morris? (should be in the hall of fame)
    No Bob Gibson?
    No Randy Johnson?
    No Pedro Martinez?
    No Todd Van Popple?…..just kidding lol

    Koufax is #1 in my books.

  • dustin

    no bob gibson? this is a joke right?

  • bucslim

    Thanks marc. I agree, there’s got to be somewhere I could place Gibson. But I’d probably have to take down someone who is his equal or had better stats. It’s a shame.

  • Nightbird

    Any list without Nuke LaLoosh or Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn is a travesty.

  • bucslim

    ***Just FYI Maddux ERA has been corrected, thanks Cyn!

  • Fore11

    Wild Thing was a reliever. ;)

  • Realist

    Spahn and Gibson should be on there. Otherwise a great list. Baseball is one of the greatest things, games or otherwise, ever invented.

  • mike

    my top ten:
    10 Spahn
    9 Pedro
    8 Seaver
    7 Young
    6 Koufax
    5 Maddox
    4 Alexander
    3 Grove
    2 Mattewson
    1 Johnson

  • Jim

    I’d hate to pick a nit here, but the list is titled Top 10 *Major League* pitchers, and Satchel Paige didn’t do that much damage in MLB. If this were a list of Greatest Pitchers Ever, then sure. But again, it’s a minor nit.

    Nolan Ryan fans need to get over it. He was good, no one is denying that, but there’s more to pitching than strikeouts. He given up more walks than anyone in history, and he was only eight losses away from 300 losses. (3rd most ever.) And while I’m not certain, I’m pretty sure his winning percentage of .526 may be the lowest of any starter in the HOF.

  • bucslim

    SuperHero3 – all good mentions, but top 10? It’s difficult for me to see who you would take down and replace with guys on your list. I think a good case could be made for Gibson, as I’ve stated before. But you gotta take someone down and the guys you listed aren’t going to stand up to the research, with the exception of Gibson.

    Anywhoo, Jack Morris was a member of one of my all time favorite teams. Just my opinion, but I would put that line up against almost any team in history, save the early Yankees and possibly the Big Red Machine. I played a lot of Strato-Matic Baseball in the 80’s and that team was almost impossible to beat.

  • Clantargh

    Growing up in Massachusetts I was always (and still am) a Red Sox fan. During Clemens 2nd season I met him and Todd Benzinger (a backup player) at an autograph session. Todd was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, we even chatted about how we both liked the Dead Milkmen. Roger was abrupt and rude and acted like I’d shoved a pile of cards in his face while he was eating with his family rather than I had paid for his autographs at an event at which he had agreed to attend. I lost a lot of respect for him. However his pitching was amazing. Before the steroid era he was the best, during it he was the best. Blame baseball for allowing probably 60% of all players to get away with using it.
    As for whether Clemens, Bonds (also dominant before and ludicrous during), and others deserve to be in the Hall of Fame I say yes. Ok they cheated, baseball knew they were doing it, and let them.
    Gaylord Perry who made your bonus list is in the Hall of Fame and he made it there by cheating (everyone knew he threw a Spitball, an illegal pitch his entire career). If he can, then why not the Roiders.
    By the way, Phil Niekro should have been mentioned somewhere by now, c’mon!

  • SuperHero3

    I see your point bucslim. The game has changed so much over the years. I am really pushing for Jack Morris. I mean the guy did pitch the single greatest game in MLB history. The 1-0 10inning shut out in Game 7 of the World Series. I know I know, Don Larson perfect game. But I am not old enough to remember of have seen that. Thats also why I say Barry Sanders is the greatest RB of all-time too. I am not old enough to have seen Jim Brown or really remember Walter Payton. Still, out of the footage I have seen Barry Sanders is the greatest RB of all-time period.

  • Fore11

    Yeah, the Tigers had some serious pop back in those days.

  • JayArr

    IMHO, Clemens needs to be moved to 6th position in this particular list, and positions 4 through 6 move up a rank each. That is, if the list were to remain with its current membership intact. Otherwise, reasonable list, with some good info. Bucslim, it would have been nice to see some quantifiable element of precisely how you came to this particular order and membership.

  • SuperHero3

    In my personal opinion I don’t think alot of the old-timers on this list would stand a chance against the batters of today. Just the same, I think the top pitchers of today would have no problem mowing down the hitters of “back then”. Steroids or no steroids todays player is quite simply bigger, stronger, and faster. As far as better is concerned, well I think that more has to do with the amount of effort put forth.
    Its the same as in football. I am a die hard dolphins fan but even I know the ’72 Dolphins would not stand a chance against the ’07 Patriots. The size of the o-line and d-line alone would be too much of a difference.
    I think only in basketball would the teams of the past be able to beat the teams of today. But that is because I think the NBA has gotten away from ‘team ball’. Too focused on one-man operations.

  • RandomPrecision

    MLB Network is the greatest thing ever, by the way.
    I watched the entirety of Don Larsen’s perfect game. It was amazing. Then they interviewed him and Yogi. Don didn’t even know he had pitched a perfect game until he got to the clubhouse.

  • YogiBarrister

    Too many Americans on this list :( Americans are so arrogant they call their national championship the World Series :( Pitchers and catchers report in three weeks :)

  • Joss

    Blerg. We need another unsolved mystery/bizarre things/incredible recordings list…

  • Richard S

    Whitey Ford

  • bucslim

    JayArr – This list was inspired by the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. James separates the pitchers out into Right handed and Left Handed Starters. James is also widely considered the father of sabermetrics – sort of a statistical breakdown of baseball that goes beyond any stats you would see in the paper or on TV. I’d have to say I was heavily influenced by his rankings. But just to back it up and compare I went elsewhere. Other sources have come from books I’ve read by writers from the Baseball Writers Association and some hours surfing the web for similar lists. Of course, wikipedia came into play when I was writing some of the summaries. Many authors listed Grove and Johnson in the top spots with James outright saying no one could touch Grove. Looking at his record, it’s hard to argue that point, but I’d have no problem putting Johnson up there considering what Ty Cobb said about him.

    Not to repeat myself, but each of these men, with the exception of Satch all appeared in someone’s top 5. From there I looked at the records and read what people have written about them and then made my decision as to where to place them. Others who appeared in top ten lists were considered, but I had enough trouble placing my bottom 5, so I just couldn’t justify making more room for equally deserving pitchers.

    It’s true that Satch didn’t play much in the Major Leagues and I could have easily left him off in favor of Gibson or Spahn. But I put him in to acknowledge the legitimate place where he belongs. As I stated earlier, who knows how this list would look if black ball players would have been allowed to play. I sincerely believe we’d be looking at a different top ten.

  • YanksFan

    A agree that Nolan Ryan should be on this list instead of Roger Clemens. Clemens was certainly dominant during his time, though. I’d also like to see Jack Chesbro on this list. He went 41-12 with 48 complete games in 1904. His lifetime ERA was 2.68, and that after a career cut short.

  • YogiBarrister

    SuperHero3 #132, that’s the kind of question that fascinates me. As far as football, basketball(I disagree with you here, how could players before the shot clock and integration possibly compete? Even the great Celtic teams from the ’60s would be too small to compete), and hockey are concerned, there is no way the oldtimers would be able to compete. With baseball it’s not as cut and dry. First of all, whose rules and equipment are you going to use? I’m also interested in who would fare better in today’s game, the hitters or the pitchers? Would there be a difference in fielding abilities? My guess is that the top pitchers from previous eras would succeed, while the hitters would struggle. The great fielders of previous eras would be as good or better than today’s.

  • Fore11

    1,000,000% agree with ya Yogi.

  • Cyn

    123. bucslim –

  • Fore11

    Let me rephrase, I agree with a lot of the things you said, BUUUUUUT… I don’t know that the top hitters would struggle. Balls were softer back then. Parks were bigger. Pitchers had the distinct advantage (higher mounds, spit, sand paper, pine tar). A ton of the long fly balls that Babe Rught hit, would be monster bombs in some parks today, and by the same token a lot of the HRs today, would be fly outs in earlier eras. Fielding isn’t even close, the earlier eras would be far superior. I think the pitching may just be a wash.

  • Fore11

    Ruth… damn fat fingers

  • YogiBarrister

    Bucslim #137, Bill James revised his rankings in an updated Historical Abstract(2001). He now has Walter Johnson first and Lefty Grove second. In his ’85 edition, he adamantly posited that Grove was the best and there was no point in arguing about it.
    And yes absolutely Satchiel Paige belongs on this list. He was a major league pitcher and helped the ’48 Indians win a World Series, although obviously his best years were in the Negroe Leagues. Thanks for including him. Speaking of the Negroe Leagues, someone mentioned Buck O’Neil on this thread. I would love to kick the ass of every person who voted against him making the Hall of Fame, a grave injustice that has since been corrected, but not until after he died.
    RE Nolan Ryan, Bill James ranked him 24th, that seems low, but James weighs winning percentage and ERA most heavily, and Ryan isn’t outstanding in either of these categories. BTW I’ve only attended one World Series game in my life, the third game of the ’69 series. Nolan Ryan came on to get a save in his only WS appearance ever. Ryan hated playing in New York so screw him. I’ll change my mind if I ever read where he says, that game, and his game against the Braves that got the Mets into the series are his two fondest baseball memories. Most of his other accomplishments, the no hitters, the strikeouts, benefitted only himself.

  • Rosa14

    Nolan Ryan has the most strikeouts, most no-hitters, 324 wins, 8 time All-Star, he has a world series ring. He HAS to be in the top ten.

  • rolo tomasi

    Love this list. my favorite list so far in 09. probably becasue I love baseball so much. Especially fantasy baseball, nothing beats it.

    All these pitchers are top 10 Caliber. I agree with all of them. I dont necesarily agree with the order. (Paige too low, Clemens too high). You could make a case that clemens doesnt belong due to the almost certain probability that he abused steroids.

    Warren Spahn is the only pitcher I would place on this list. Removing either Seaver or Clemens. Seaver would be 10A Gibson being 11.

    Anyway nice list.

  • bucslim

    Yeah, Ruth’s diet and whoremongering are the opposite of performance enhancing drugs. I think it was Denis Leary who imitated Babe Ruth by saying, “I ate raw red meat right off the bone, smoked 25 goddamn cuban cigars and slept with a different whore every night!” The Babe was known to eat hotdogs during the friggen game and still blow bombs out of the park.

    How many homers is that guy gonna hit if he took care of himself? Can you imagine Ruth at Coors Field in Denver?

  • Fore11

    Can you imagine Ruth with anything other than a wooden stick and a hangover?

    With all of this said, if I could see one player play, it would have either been Cool Papa Bell or Josh Gibson.

    New list idea, Top 10 Negro Leaguers (or less known negro leaguers? hmmmmm) Can ya tell baseball is my sport?

  • bucslim

    Yogi – I have both editions, and I distinctly remember James saying that about Grove, wonder what changed his mind?

    I fell in love with the Astros when I was a kid. Mainly because of those sweet polyester rainbow uniforms that helped opposing pitchers find the strike zone and because they had two pitchers who could throw 100mph – Ryan and JR Ritchard. Can you imagine having a three game series with those two throwing back to back games? The third guy was Joe Niekro – the pitches he threw must have looked like leaves blowing in the wind compared to Ryan and Richard.

  • bucslim

    JR Richard not Ritchard

  • rolo tomasi

    could any other active pitcher ever end up on this list. Johan? Lincecum? Sabathia? Pedro? Smoltz?

    Assuming they all stay healthy maybe Johan Santana. Yet, Lincecum is phenomenal. C.C is great but fat, he’s young but he has a ton of innings pitched.
    I’m not sure if he can hold up.

  • Fore11

    I doubt it.

  • YogiBarrister

    Rolo, Johan Santana would definitely make the top ten for peak value (five consecutive years). He pitched brilliantly during the steroids era. Still too early to give him a top ten spot in career value though. Lincecum and Sabathia, Laurel and Hardy, one’s too skinny, one’s too fat. If I had to bet, I’d say Sabathia will have the longer career.

  • mchuta

    Clemens should be in the 10-8 slot and nolan ryan should be somewhere towards the top 3. Nolan Ryan had 7 no hitters and two perfect games, that is an unbelievable stat. Oh pyderz, this is not a boring sport your just too lazy to try and understand it. Great list though.

  • scottm

    Um, Nolan Ryan never threw a pefect game and nobody hasever thrown two. Ryan walked far too many people to come colse to doing that.

  • damien_karras (41): First off, nice nick :) Second, the reason for so few sports lists is that I don’t really have any knowledge of sport so I have to rely on others to submit them to me.

  • CJ

    Personally, I’m rooting for Ryan to come out of retirement and out of the front office and pitch for the Rangers again.

    *frustrated lifelong Rangers fan here*

    As far as the list goes, I like it, except for Clements. I don’t care what his stats are, and how many other players did steroids and didn’t get caught – there’s enough doubt about him to keep him out of the HOF and enough that should keep him off this list.

    Like my daddy used to ask me, “If all your friends walked off a 300-foot cliff, would you?”

  • bucslim

    Nolan Ryan is my favorite pitcher of all time. The 7 no hitters is remarkable as well as the strikeout record. As an Astro’s fan for most of my life, I enjoyed the hell out of watching him pitch. Probably the biggest problem with the Express is that he got very little run support from the Astros. They had an enormous field, and very few power hitters. So even though he would pitch his heart out, he would lose very often in low scoring games at home.

    There are compelling reasons why he should be listed, most of which would be my bias. The two players that have the most reason to be listed are Bob Gibson and Warren Spahn, in my opinion. It’s true Ryan put up some big numbers, but the fact remains that he walked quite a high number of batters and has a very low winning percentage compared to the pitchers listed. I love the guy and he was blowing people away in his later years still hitting 100mph on the gun in later innings. That fight with Robin Ventura showed how friggen tough he was. But he just didn’t garner enough respect from the writers I read to put him up there.

  • Fore11

    nchutta, of course Ryan should be on there if you can just make up his stats

  • YogiBarrister

    Bucslim, the walks were a greater drag on Ryan’s winning percentage than the offense of the teams he played for. If he had outstanding control, he might not have pitched as many no-hitters or gotten as many strikeouts, but he would rank higher onj this list. He would never, as they say, pitch to contact, even to weak hitters. I wonder what his average pitch count was?

  • Pablo

    “That being said, he most certainly isn’t better than the pitchers listed. Definitely not in the top 5.”

    Your rationales for not including Pedro (not even as an honorable mention!!!???) are, frankly, retarded. Do your own research, stop relying on the lists of others.

  • bucslim

    Of course I did’t see some of the oldies, but I’d have a hard time believing they had better control than Maddux. That guy was just a wizard in his prime.

    Anyone wanting a good read later today should go to the Satchel Paige wikipedia article. The names for his pitches is reason enough to go there.

  • Blogball

    Nice list bucslim. I enjoyed your short but to the point descriptions too. My only gripe is I would have liked to see the years that they played included. A subjective list like this also takes courage to write because you know right off the bat (pun intended) you will get hammered for not including this guy or that guy etc. Can you imagine if you could clone all these guys and have them all play on one team? It would be interesting to see who would be the 4 starters and who would be the best relievers and closers. I’m a Chicago Cubs fan and as you probably know they haven’t won a world series in over a hundred years. So if there was a way to clone these guys and they all played for the Cubs I would be afraid the Cubs would still find a way to loose.

  • Steve

    Pedro not being on this list, while Koufax is, is baffling. Koufax is probably the best comparison for Pedro, since they both had such incredibly high peaks. Pedro threw 2780 innings of 154 ERA+ ball, while Koufax threw 2320 IP of 131 ERA+ ball. Further, Pedro’s peak was higher than Koufax’s, pitched in a much better hitters era and played his home games in Fenway Park, a much better hitter’s ballpark than LA. Relative to their peers, Pedro was much better, for more innings, in a more difficult environment.

    I can understand leaving him out of the top 10 if you’re looking at longevity more than peak dominance, but you’re obviously not if Koufax is on your list.

    And finally, wins are a team-based statistic. Relying on them for any real analytical value is foolish. You should not penalize a pitcher for what his batters did or did not do behind him.

  • bucslim

    Yeah Blogball, I should have. It was an oversite I won’t make again.

    Maybe with new ownership the Cubs will make an effort.

  • bucslim

    Steve – I did not rely soley on wins to compile the list. I put Lefty Grove and #1 and Walter Johnson #2 despite Johnson winning 117 more games than Grove. It’s true that every pitcher on this list save Koufax had more wins than Pedro

    The list was a combination of what others said about top 10 pitchers of all time and additional reading on my own. Pedro’s name rarely came up, while Koufax was mentioned several times. To cement his selection further, he won the pitching triple crown three times. It’s a judgement call, but I think Gibson and Spahn have more of an argument to be there than Pedro.

  • RandomPrecision



    check out

  • PC

    I have heard of only one baseball player ever. Babe Ruth.

    And he’s not even on the list.

  • Cyn

    157. jfrater –
    “damien_karras (41): First off, nice nick ”
    having a crisis of faith, J? she asks w/ a sly, wicked grin. ;)
    & think i’ve seen this before…

  • ViewARandomList…

    Good list, but i have a bunch of comments:

    1)Nolan Ryan?

    2)I think Pedro martinez in his prime is on this list. short career

    3)Cy Young won more than 500 games, but also lost more than 300!

    4)Roger Clemens was a beast in his hgh-induced 40’s, but I can’t have him on here

  • ronsantohof

    Pedro Martinez has too many seasons where he didn’t even pitch 200 innings. While those great innings, I would rather have Clemens or Johnson or Schilling pitching 250+ innings than Martinez.

    Bucslim- Have you ever read a Bill James Baseball Abstract (I believe it was the last yearly one he put out in 1988) that had Koufax’s road stats for his entire career? They were basically the same. What happened is that the Dodgers moved from the LA Coliseum which was a major hitters park into the new Dodger Stadium which was a major pitchers park. He always was a good pitcher; it’s just that nobody knew it at the time because most people ignored home/road splits.

  • ViewARandomList…

    Steve don’t get all buttsore cause they left your favorite player off the list. You can argue for problably 10 other guys to make it on so it’s not a definite 10 players…

  • ronsantohof

    ERA+ is a stat that puts a pitchers ERA in a neutral environment relative to his home park and league stats. The average is 100 and the higher the number the better. Here are some pitchers ERA+ for their career.

    Ryan 111
    Martinez 154
    Maddux 132
    Randy Johnson 137
    Seaver 132
    Kevin Appier 121
    Blyleven 118
    Bob Welch 106
    Dave Stieb 122

  • Paulb

    Takashi Saito!! not yet… soon though

  • Paulb

    This list is too AMERICANIZED!!! lol jk, I had to say it

  • bucslim

    ronsantohof – I had a roto buddy of mine in college who was crazy about the guy and he had every abstract the guy put out. My natural hatred for math at the time led me to scoff, but he was a terrific writer. I particularly liked some of the baseball myths he dispelled like ‘baseball is 75% pitching’ and other stuff we hear but rarely question.

  • bucslim

    PC – Babe Ruth actually had a very good pitching career with the Red Sox before he became known as the bambino.

  • astraya

    Paulb: I already did. See comment 10.

    A well-known Australian sports writer spent part of his holidays in Havana, Cuba. He reports:

    [I] was fascinated by a scene I came across in a green park in the old part of that wondrous city. While in various spots people were playing chess, smoking or chatting, in the middle was a group of 40 men, seemingly shouting at each other as they waved their arms around. What was going on? They were arguing about baseball. Why, I asked one, were they doing that? “It is what we like to do,” he said, “and this is the place we do it.” And so it was. Every day for the next five days, just as the shadows started to lengthen, they gathered in that spot and started to shout at each other, over who was going to win the Cuban or American leagues this season, who was the greatest pitcher or batter, particular umpire decisions and so forth …

    “It is what we like to do, and this is the place we do it.” A motto for the List Universe, maybe?

  • Adam

    No Bob Gibson? He had arguably the greatest season of any pitcher.

    What about Pedro Martinez’ ’99 and ’00 seasons?

    or Don Drysdale?

    and Clemens might not deserve to be on the list with all the steroid allegations.

  • astraya

    76 d: To paraphrase Rod Stewart, “Every pitcher tells a story, don’t it?”

    Maybe, and maybe a pitcher is a worth a thousand words, so as soon as this discussion reaches 10,000 words, we have to stop.

  • eroe777

    I’m partial to Nolan Ryan as one of the greatest myself, but I understand the arguements against him- the most walks in a career (by a long shot), only 324 wins (almost entirely with mediocre to bad teams), the feeling that almost every batter could be either struck out or knocked out.

    Please take Roger Steroids off the list. Like Barry Bonds, his hall-of-fame quality early career was completely jettisoned when he took steroids.

    I like the large number of pre-expansion pitchers on the list, but where’s Bob Gibson?

    One more for consideration: Don Drysdale. Once he was told to walk a batter (Frank Robinson, I think). In those days there was no intentional walk like we have now, where the catcher steps 5 miles away from the plate for four softball lons. Drysdale walked him with 4 high and inside fastballs that just about knocked the batter down each time.

  • Killersprinkler

    Yo, Suskis,

    The modern game of baseball and all its rules was actually developed before the rules of modern (European) football. Plenty of people play soccer – and other sports that are popular in Europe – in the U.S., its just that the United States being separate from Europe, other sports emerged as more popular over the years. And when you’re trying to insult baseball by calling the rules convoluted, you probably shouldn’t try to make the argument that all Americans have A.D.D. at the same time. Because maybe the people who are obsessed over a sport that a 3 year old can play (kick the goal into this big net, just don’t use your hands!) have A.D.D.

    Also, I hate NASCAR. But I’ve been to Europe. I’ve seen F1 racing. Give it a break. Europeans aren’t anymore cultured or enlightened than Americans.

  • k1w1taxi

    Brosiusjb (90) And your point is?

    Bucslim (and anyone else thinking of a similar style list). As a non fan of baseball two things I would have appreciated in the synopses would have been MLB career dates, and brief stats in the (3?) major areas on which they are judged.


  • bucslim

    k1w1taxi – yeah you’re probably right. I could have done a better job at that. It’s my first attempt, so next time I’ll have better breakdowns for all to see.

  • jazjsmom

    I love American Football, I don’t understand why people feel the need to put down sports they might not like or really comprehend. I think there is something good in any sports played, at least they are really great for children. I played a variety of sports growing up, played soccer for 13 years, as well as basketball. I personally am not a huge fan of baseball, but I think all sports are good for learning discipline and hard work to attain your goals. American football is almost a religion where I’m from and you are born a diehard Bama fan or a diehard Auburn fan. It’s just fun to do. I enjoy watching it and I am not ashamed of it. So, there.

  • bosoxrule148927

    I’m glad Nolan Ryan is not on this list. He is famous for two things, striking out 5,714 batters and throwing seven no-hitters, but anyone who knows baseball knows that strikeouts is not a very good stat for determining a pitcher’s value. Nolan Ryan only won 20 games twice in his career even though he played 27 seasons and never won a Cy Young award. Definitely not top 10. I would put Walter Johnson number 1. He had 110 career shutouts, if you take the top 4 active shutout leaders (Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Curt Schilling) they have 109. 12 seasons winning 20 or more games, 14 seasons with an ERA under 3.00 and 11 seasons with an ERA under 2.00. He won the pitcher’s Triple Crown 3 times, and the MVP twice.

  • rushfan

    Ernmas ~ Sorry to tell you, but a dude named Christy has a lady’s name. I know there are dudes named Chelsea, too, but alas, also a lady name. Terry. Unisex. Pat. Unisex. Christy. Ladyname. I calls’em as I sees’em. ;)

  • rushfan

    As far as Satchel Paige’s wikipedia page…let’s just say I went for the pitch names but stayed for the rules for staying young…

    “Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society — the social ramble ain’t restful.”
    “Avoid running at all times.”
    “And don’t look back — something might be gaining on you.”


  • Vera Lynn

    A bit off topic but still interesting, I worked with a man for 10 years and we talked sports all the time. He played semi-pro football til he blew out his knee. The day he retired he told me his uncle was Willie Mays. His mother’s brother. You could’ve knocked me over with a feather. I kid you not.

  • Vera Lynn

    I remember the day the Cubs traded Maddux. I was like WTF? We didn’t want to pay up. So he left for greener fields, so to speak. Another short sighted mistake by the Cubs franchise. One of many.

  • harmdogg34

    No Nolan Ryan OR Gibby?! Crazy…

  • lil nick

    Baseball is not a sport. There actually needs to be some athleticism in an activity for it to be considered a “sport”. Football, American football, and even hockey are “sports”. Baseball, poker, curling, and cricket are not “sports”. Everytime I pass a channel on the television and baseball is on, there is never anyone panting or sweating. They are usually just spitting and chewing a fat piece of gum that is way too big for their own mouths. Baseball, is not a SPORT!!!

  • ronsantohof

    When Maddux left after the ’92 season the Cubs made him a good offer; obviously not the best offer he got. He actually turned down more money from the Yankees to sign with the Braves because he wanted to play for a winning team. It was a good move for him but definitely bad for the Cubs. It’s not like they were going to win if they re-signed him.

  • bucslim

    lil nick, that’s probably one of the most ignorant posts I’ve read on this site in a while. Some of the best athletes the world has ever seen have been baseball players.

    After playing baseball and basketball at the University of Minnesota, Dave Winfield was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA, the Utah Stars of the ABA, the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL, AND the San Diego Padres of the MLB. So I’m guessing he wasn’t sitting around picking his ass in college. He didn’t play on the football team in college and still got drafted by an NFL team. And as we all know NFL teams are just banging down the door to get all the Poindexters they can find.

    Additionally, your definition places the ‘sport’ label on something that we all value as a real sport and that’s the steroid bad actin freaks in Pro Rasslin. And I pant and sweat alot when I’m trying to get my fat ass up the stairs in my third floor walkup, so I suppose that’s a sport too.

    And get this dipshit, that isn’t gum in their mouth, it’s tobacco. Something that only real men do. So keep your 5th grade education horseshit offa my list.

  • Killersprinkler


  • TheOddball

    I do have to admit, Baseball is manly.

  • MattK08


    7 no-hitters!!
    All-time leader in strikeouts!!
    1st ballot hall of famer!!

    He was the best pitcher for 3 decades, one of the most feared pitchers for 3 decades!

    easy to say this list is absolute shit especially because roger “syringe” clemens is number 3.

    Leave the sports list to people who know what the hell they are talking about

  • Rascalian

    Great list bucslim, and i actually cringed reading lil nick’s post. I was not dissapointed to see swift and righteous retribution from you. While no one who reads this list will concur %100 (it is sports after all, i think the only thing that anyone can agree on is that the greatest basketball player was MJ) it pisses me off to see posts that say : “Boring!” So obviously from this statement we can determine that the person does not like baseball…okay, thats cool. Whats not cool is clicking on a list that is titled Top 10 Major League Pitchers and having nothing to conntribute other than letting everyone know what a mouth breather you are. If the name of the list denotes something that you find boring, chances are the list itself will not enthrall you either…mouthbreathers.

  • Tricia

    Tell that lil nick what’s up bucslim! I like you more and more every time I read your comments. :)

  • Stiggle

    A person does NOT HAVE TO BE A GOOD ATHLETE to play baseball. Many baseball players are good athletes, but it is NOT an absolute. You need to be a good athlete to dunk a basketball in someone’s face, run a 4 minute mile, break two tackles and run 40 yards for a touchdaown, run a soccer field for an entire game, the list goes on. Many baseball players are good athletes, but you certainly do not need to be to play baseball. (Prince Fielder couldn’t do a four minute mile if you pushed him out of an airplane.)

  • John Drupe

    HA! Very true, Prince Fielder is fat tub of goo who is just good at swinging a bat really hard. He can barely run to first. Some “athlete.”

  • Weeper

    A-Rod and Derek Jeter are really good athletes (I’m a Yankees fan), but do agree that not all baseball players are necessarily good athletes.

  • Enoooo

    I can almost guarantee that the only reason why people outside of America hate American sports is because they didn’t grow up watching them. If America and Europe traded sports it would be a completely different story. Just as I’m sure most Americans think European sports are dumb/boring. And great list by the way. We need another Tom Seaver, maybe THEN the Mets would win a world series in my lifetime..

  • ronsantohof

    Swinging a bat really hard only gets you a strikeout. Hitting the ball is the hard part. Hitting the ball into fair territory and not getting thrown out is also hard. If the batter succeeds 3/10ths of the time he is considered a good hitter. The greatest basketball player of all time (Michael Jordan) could not succeed 2/10ths of the time in Double A minor league ball (2 steps down from the major leagues). And John Drupe, Prince Fielder could probably outrun you.

  • slipstick

    I thought of another honorable mention. Jim Abbot. While he doesn’t have the numbers, he has the heart. He didn’t do too bad in the majors for having only one hand.

  • I’m Randy Lets Roger

    All the nerds and geeks are upset because theres no mention of Star Wars on this list? How about another list of a genre of bands or more science fiction books for a certain decade. Or a list on how to save money while buying shoe laces for Arbor Day. All the non Americans are complaining because you have no interest in the subject. They say its because theyre dim witted and have no attention. Well next time theres a list for poetry, cooking, opera, or classic music, I’ll assume its written by a Brit/Aussie/Kiwi because its so fancy/dainty/flat out gay.

  • Killersprinkler

    First off, LOVE Jim Abbot. Got a signed ball from him when I was a kid. Secondly, baseball players aren’t athletes in the most obvious ways, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t at all. Anybody ever seen a shotputter or olympic weightlifter? Don’t look much like athletes at all. Neither do linebackers. But anybody who’s impressed by a soccer player’s ability to bend a ball but says that it doesn’t take incredible physical, mental or tactile skill to throw a ball (or ANYTHING) at 85 mph (or 140 kph) and have it CURVE but still hit the spot you intended within a foot square must be an idiot. Or to hit an object going anywhere from 90 to over 100 mph with only about that inch square on the bat that would send it into fair territory with enough force to send it 500 ft. Come on. I don’t like cricket, I wouldn’t watch it, but I respect it. I have no problem calling cricket players athletes.

  • Killersprinkler

    Ha, that last part was supposed to be an aside. Separate that cricket bit from the rest of what I wrote.

  • Nelia

    195 – You tell ‘im Bucslim :)

  • Brad P

    Yes, Nolan Ryan should be on the list. Bob Gibson is a big notable omission. Don’t forget Tom Glavine, Randy Johnson, Dave Stewart and Steve Carlton…not top ten, but close.

  • Brad P

    BTW, thank you Bucslim for your retorts. Your list isn’t bad and thinking about it…it’s pretty good.

    There’s just a lot of really good MLB pitchers through the years.

  • 204. Enoooo: Just as I’m sure most Americans think European sports are dumb/boring.
    I don’t know where you live, but every single town and suburb has “soccer” leagues, starting with the youth leagues, from about age 4 through adult.
    Furthermore, Rugby is catching on. My younger daughter started playing 10 years ago, became a hooker, and now, a prop. She also coaches youth rugby.
    Hockey is a big time sport in the U.S., both professional and amature.
    Need I go on?
    There will always be a number of loudmouthed asshats who make us all look bad. We can’t do anything about that…well, I suppose we could go around and kill them, one by one, but that’s against the law, and I’d be sure to be caught. I’m just not good at that sort of thing.

  • bucslim

    Uh Stiggie, I really hate to tell you this but there are a lot of track stars and athletes from other sports who probably couldn’t run a 4 minute mile. As a matter of fact I would say about 99.9999 percent of the earth’s population couldn’t do a 4 minute mile. It made headlines all over the world when the first guy did it in 1954.

    OK, I get it, Prince Fielder gots the junk in the trunk and would do a mile by next Thursday. He’s probably sitting at home right now surrounded by a pile of Bud empties and Krispy Kreeme boxes. But my friend, he is the exception. For every Prince Fielder out there on the field, there are ten guys like Pujols, Jeter and Manny. So let’s drop this ridiculous argument that you don’t have to be an athlete to play the game. It’s stupid, banal and just plain wrong.

    And Tricia, Nelia, Brad P, Killersprinkler, and Rascilian, welcome to the bucslim posse.

  • bucslim

    segue, sorry to hear about your daughter becoming a hooker. One piece of advice, I’m not sure you want her coaching rugby to youngsters. When the other parents find out what she does for extra cash, they might not be too happy about it.

  • 215. bucslim: Silly boy.

  • bucslim

    #205 ronsantohof – that was a brilliant post.

  • HellcatHoney

    I don’t particularly care for this list, but it’s nice to see bucslim arguing something simple and petty, that he might actually know something about. Keep it up baby, leave the intelligent conversations for the “big kids”.

  • BooRadley

    218. HellcatHoney

    That was just rude and uncalled for.

    Bucslim: I love the way you’ve stayed right here through over 200 comments, defending your choices. You own this list!

    “So keep your 5th grade education horseshit offa my list.”

    Way to go, bucslim!

  • bucslim

    HellacatHoney – I can out philosiphizzil you on any number of subjects, if you just read carefully and slowly. You know, better come correct and recognize! My girl Boo feels me.

    You come at the king, you best not miss.

  • YogiBarrister

    Prince Fielder is not as slow as he looks. He’s stolen 12 bases and has a few triples.

  • Grundle

    Just give baseball a timeclock and when you delay game the other guy gets a walk. No more switching pichers in mid inning either. Cut an hour and a half out of the game I think. Also Nolan Ryan will grab you by the head and pound your face into submission.

  • Shauna

    I totally agree Clemens should be removed and replaced with Nolan Ryan. I also think Randy Johnson should be somewhere on the list – even as a bonus.

  • astraya

    segue: It is open to possible interpretation. If bucslim hadn’t said anything, I would have.

    And Tricia, Nelia, Brad P, Killersprinkler, and Rascilian, welcome to the bucslim posse.
    Be afraid, be very afraid. The next step …
    My girl Boo feels me.
    That’s what buc expects from his posse. Then he orders you to kill Laura Palmer.

  • bdeans

    Baseball *is* a sport played around the world, as evidenced by the fact that the championship is called the World Series. And an American team has won it almost every year. Curious, that. And the one time a Canadian team won, they flew our flag upside down.

    Alas, it’s true that I’m not a big fan of sports, save for women’s beach volleyball.

  • Enoooo

    Seague: I never said i thought they were, I said that most Americans would say that European sports are boring just because they didn’t grow up watching them. I for one played soccer for 10 years, which was actually one of the bigger sports in my school, and I love it. But most of the stubborn people who call certain sports boring either just don’t give them a chance because they are “foreign” sports or are lazy and hate sports all together.

  • earlywynnfan

    3 Things that need to be said:

    Sure, Bob Gibson’s fantastic year was, well, fantastic, but it isn’t THAT out of the norm for that year and era. They didn’t lower the mound because of Bob Gibson, they lowered it because pitching in general had become dominant. Check out Luis Tiant’s stats for 1968 if you don’t believe me.

    For everyone who thinks Nolan Ryan HAS to be on this list, let me ask you this: you are picking a team for a season. Are you going to pick the flashy .500 pitcher with the gaudy numbers, or someone who wins 3/4 of the time? THAT’S why Nolan Ryan isn’t ever on “top pitchers” lists.

    It’s true that you can’t compare sports players across eras, but you can make a reasonable case in baseball. Walter Johnson is going to throw 100 mph in any era. The hitters are bigger, stronger, and faster? Aren’t the pitchers and defenders, too?? Wouldn’t Johnson win a lot more games with defenders with giant, supple gloves and groomed infields behind him? And with stretching, a better diet, and year-round training?

    For anyone touting Koufax’s dominance, his “in a 5-year stretch he was unhittable with a 129-47 record” (I’m talking you, Keith #42), check out Grove’s record from 1928-1933: 152-41!! And this was done in the most intense hitter’s era we’ve ever had, so don’t try to come back with ERA. Just before the 6-year peaks of these two, Koufax went 8-13, Grove went 20-13! And Grove went on to be very very good for many years afterward, while Koufax went home to try to lift his arm.


  • earlywynnfan

    Duh, make that 4 things!

    Overall, this is an excellent list.


  • SilverExl

    No love for Fernando Valenzuela huh?

  • d

    Think what Koufax’ stats could have looked like if he’d had a chance to learn his craft in the minor leagues for a season or two or three. Unfortunately, major league baseball had an odd rule at the time that forced him onto the Dodgers’ major league roster, where he wasted six years NOT pitching. At the other end of his career, injury forced him into retirement at his peak. Except for these two twists of fate, he would have been a great pitcher earlier in his career and his career would have lasted far longer.

    Now how about Babe Ruth. Everyone knows what a great hitter he was, but most people don’t realize what an incredible pitcher he was. Babe was already pitching in the major leagues by the time he was 19. He won 94 and lost 46 which translates to a .671 career winning percentage. That’s 8th best of all time. Of the pitchers on this list, only Lefty Grove is higher. Babe’s career ERA was 2.28 which is lower than any pitchers on this list except Christy Mathewson (2.13) and Walter Johson (2.17). Surely, Ruth would have run up some incredible pitching stats, but he transitioned to full-time hitter by the time he was 25, long before reaching his pitching prime.

  • bucslim

    earlywynnfan – I enjoyed reading your post – I think since it is often referred as the “Bob Gibson rule” that everyone assumes they lowered the mound for him. Even after they did that, he still won 20 games the next season with a 2.18 ERA. I’m going to look into that a little more and see what I can find out.

    And as I’ve written before, I did put a little personal preference into the compiling of this list regarding Koufax. Some writers out there are positively giddy about the guy and looking at his peak years, there’s no question about his dominance, but not all of his seasons are dominant. Taking into account the ‘what if’s,’ I think some baseball writers get a little carried away with him. So I conceded that he probably should be mentioned. But I was leaning heavily on listing Gibson or Spahn in his place with full careers and statistics to back it up.

  • PastTime491

    Roger is a cheater!

  • Shauna

    Amen PastTime 491!

  • Alex

    I think someone forgot to mention Nolan Ryan.

  • novemestranged

    any list of best pitchers that doesn’t include Nolan Ryan is a hack list- while the pitchers on this list all rank high all time this list loses all credibility without having Nolan Ryan on it.

  • bucslim

    Alex and novemestranged – I did mention Nolan Ryan – he is a notable omission. And if you’re going to suggest that he belongs here then you need to give me reasons. Who would you take off the list and replace with Ryan? And why?

    You’re going to have problems with that because of his relatively low winning percentage and high number of walks.

  • Kylo

    You need Bob Gibson and Warren Spahn for this list to be complete. Roger Clemens shouldn’t be on this list, anybody who cheated to get at least part of their wins and awards doesn’t deserve it. Koufax maybe on the most dominant pitchers ever but not the best, 6 years of good pitching does not make you the best. Is Terrell Davis one of the best RB’s ever, hardly, but for 4 years he was.

  • BishopWhiteT

    Dock Ellis should at least get a mention here for pitching a no-hitter on LSD. I can’t even imagine what that game must’ve been like for him.

    Maybe if there was a list of the most entertaining pitchers he would’ve made it in.

  • Cdavis


  • Sam

    Nolan Ryan should be on there if for nothing else, kicking someone’s ass almost 20 years younger than him

  • Nicosia

    “And get this dipshit, that isn’t gum in their mouth, it’s tobacco. Something that only real men do. So keep your 5th grade education horseshit offa my list.”

    I laughed out loud when I read that!

  • bait

    hi bucslim
    I think Nolan Ryan belongs in the top ten notwithstanding as you say (correctly) his relatively low winning percentage and high number of walks because of the truely terrible teams he played with esp early in his career. He has to have the record for most 1 run games lost (I dont know for sure), and possibly 1 or two hitters. I remember watching him on TV and he dominated, no doubt you can say the same for all of the pitchers on this list.

    Now who should he replace on a top ten list, that is a really tough question. I cant say respecting the older pitchers as I never saw them, however their reputation and stats speak for themselfs. Of those perhaps Paige, only because he was so late getting into the Majors, just the same his “greatness” is not in doubt. OF the “newer” pitchers on your list I feel that if Nolan Ryan played on the teams that they did not only should take there place on the list he would have had a very good chance of being the greatest of all time.

    This is a very good list btw, I thing you gave yourself a very hard task to keep it to ten

  • Ironcross

    Over 5700 strikeouts, a fast ball that approached 100 mph, an all star with no steroids and you failed to name NOLAN RYAN? And yet you mention Satchel Paige who has nothing recorded? Puhlease, enough with the racist golly gee those were awful times for minorities, if you haven’t noticed sports today, blacks have been repaid in SPADES

  • YogiBarrister

    Ironcross, maybe Nolan Ryan does deserve to be on this list, but one thing’s for certain, neither Satchiel Paige nor the Listverse readers deserve your snide racist remarks. Why was he the guy keeping Ryan off the list?

  • NumberSix

    A shame Bob Feller isn’t in the 10 but at least he got a little mention at the end. As for Nolan Ryan there is no way he is one the best 10 pitchers, so good call on that one. Another personal fave. of mine is Rube Waddell.

  • bucslim

    My feelings on Nolan Ryan are well stated in the comments above. Love the guy but I don’t believe he is a top 10 pitcher, perhaps top 20. He was one of the reasons I fell in love with baseball as a kid, but he couldn’t replace the guys on the list. I’m sticking with my opinion that Gibson and Spahn are more deserving than Ryan.

  • Johnny Yaya

    To all those clamoring for Nolan Ryan: You’re fools. He was a very entertaining and captivating pitcher, but he also walked around 5 batters per 9 innings. He was tough to hit, very durable, and he threw very hard. All these factors also make him very overrated. Forget about his poor W-L record, any baseball analyst worth his salt knows it’s not very relevant.

    Also Jack Morris has no business being in the Hall of Fame, much less on this list.

  • Hall of Famer

    Bob Gibson. Enough said.

  • somnolence

    If you don’t have Carl Hubbell on this list something is definitely wrong.

  • bucslim

    somolence: see notables at the bottom of the list

  • Toledoman

    ummmmmm……how about Bob Gibson and Nolan Ryan?

  • Loma

    Bob Gibson has to be on this list! I’d also have to pick Randy Johnson over Tom Seaver.

  • jack

    Thank you for not putting Nolan Ryan its about time hes not even top 25. Koufax should be 1 because he without question is the most dominant and clutch pitcher of all time. Also Gibson and Johnson should be on there cause Gibson is the reason they lowered the mound and Johnson is the best strikeout picther ever

  • Mickie

    Nolan Ryan should be on the list. True, he lost a lot of games, not because he was a bad hurler, but because he played on some of the wordt teams ever. Almost 6ooo strikeouts, 12 one hitters, 18 two hitters, 7 no hitters, 324 wins… and a life time ERA better than Bob Feller… Voted to 9 All Star games: On the All-Century Team Ryan came in at #1.. of the nine pitchers mentioned with 922,040 votes… and when he went into the Hall of Fame he went in with 98.8% of the vote: 491, out of 497 votes. The list goes on.. Guys who don’t appreciate Ryan’s feats are not dealing with a full deck… Mickie M

  • Hobbs

    Wins and losses are a bad measure of a pitcher’s quality. As mentioned before Nolan Ryan was on a lot of bad teams. In 1987, he led the NL in ERA yet had an 8-16 record. Although his W-L% was only slightly above average, it’s of course absurd to think of him as only a slightly above average pitcher. He was always regarded by baseball players has a highly dominant pitcher. It’s a pretty tough interpretation of his stats that excludes him from a top ten list.

  • Juancho

    Not counting Negro League players; their stats are unknown, but their greatness was clear. I just don’t know how to compare them to MLB players of the time. I’m also not counting Cy Young because a lot of his stats were racked up very early under different rules than used today. Roger Clemens is also excluded.

    It’s hard to rank players one by one, but here’s sort of my general idea for the list, taking both career and peak value into account:

    Walter Johnson
    Christy Mathewson
    Lefty Grove
    Greg Maddux
    Warren Spahn
    Bob Feller
    Tom Seaver
    Pedro Martinez
    Pete Alexander
    Sandy Koufax
    Bob Gibson
    Randy Johnson
    Carl Hubbell
    Whitey Ford
    Steve Carlton
    Juan Marichal
    Dennis Eckersley
    Nolan Ryan
    Fergie Jenkins
    Tom Glavine
    John Smoltz
    Mariano Rivera

    Babe Ruth would be on this list for sure if he’d stayed a pitcher. Roy Halliday is the active pitcher most likely to make it. Keep an eye on Zack Greinke – guy just struck out 15 in his next-to-last start, and then threw a one-hitter in his last one. And he’s backed up by the worst defense in the AL.

    Note to non-Americans: Please stop bitching about lists about American topics. If JF wants to make a list of the ten best American (or British or French or Chinese or whatever) transvestite hermaphroditic trisexuals, let him do it and just ignore it if it doesn’t interest you.

  • Juancho

    Oh, yeah. Honorable mention to Dock Ellis for throwing a no-hitter against San Diego while tripping on LSD back in about 1970.

  • jakexxxwbu

    Nolan for sure. For once, a classy player. Remember when Robin Ventura charged the mound. Ryan pommeld him. Remember Bo Jackson lineing a drive off Ryan’s foot, ricocheting up to his face, Ryan wipped and spit blood all over ther place and kept pitching!
    Honorable Mention…Charlie Hough! He would smoke cigaretts in the dugout while his team was batting….Now that a ball player!

  • kennypo65

    This is for Iain(65): Please come to Pittsburgh! I’ll even put you up!

  • Pingback: Cool Link Of The Day -

  • daved

    wtf!!! wers nolan ryan at?!!!..nand randy johnson i dont like this list =/

  • Greyson Peltier

    Replace Roger Clemens with Nolan Ryan.

  • pounder

    @Iain (65):

    Iain please make arrangements to come to Detroit as soon as possible!!!! I will protect you from the gunfire.

  • KASS

    The list is OK, but could really use some editing. Kofax is easily number 1. Greg Maddox isnt the best pitcher of his generation(Pedro,RJ) let alone top 10 of all time.

    Side note: Why do euro fags get so butthurt at the mention of American sports? Seriously.

  • JD

    Good list, although I would avoid putting anyone on this list prior to 1960.

    Why? well, chances are you have never seen them nor can you find any actual video to watch, that is worth anything. So maybe the title should be “best pitchers of the last 50 years”.

    Most of those old timers you put on there pitched during the dead ball era. Read: pitchers cheating era.

  • Vince

    GREAT list! I have a slightly different ranking.

    I could not however put Clemens in any pitcher list because of STEROIDS. Imagine Walter Johnson on steroids. Other than that it is a good list.

    • The one thing that really ticked me off about the STEROIDS scandal is what it did to the value of Baseball Cards. I had an estimated 400 cards of Barry Bonds alone and when he got nailed for his usage of STEROIDS, I couldn’t even GIVE them away much less sell them !!!

  • Pingback: Crowdsourcing the Greats: The Top 10 Starting Pitchers of All Time |

  • JPV

    Whoever thinks Maddux shouldn't be here knows very little about baseball in general and pitching specifically.

    Nolan Ryan should probably be on the list, I would replace Tom Seaver with Ryan, but that's truly subjective of course.

    You could easily make a list of the top 100 pitchers and leave some great ones off.

    I personally think Koufax or Johnson should be #1, but anyway…

    • Casey Stengel said himself about Koufax “You can forget the other guy, Rube Waddell he meant, the “Jewish Kid” (Koufax) was the greatest he ever saw”.

  • Jonathan Novak

    I would love to have seen Mariano Rivera on here. I know people like to say he has no stamina and can’t last more than two innings, but he is a remarkable closer, and his cutter is the most feared in baseball.

  • tim

    Nolan Ryan doesn’t belong in a top 30 list, you crazy savages.

  • Ackmed teh idiot

    What about Nolan Ryan, and Willy Mays? And Satchel Paige was GREAT!!!!

    • Hold on a minute……..Willie Mays “The Say Hey Kid” was a centerfielder and not a pitcher. For you trivia buffs of Baseball like me, Willie Mays was in the on-deck circle when Bobby Thompson hit his “Shot Heard Around The World” on October 3rd, 1951

  • guest

    nolan ryan???

  • Go Rangers!

    So many things to address!

    I agree Paige was arguably one of best pitchers to ever play the game- but not as a MLBer. So, unfortunately he may not really belong on "this" list.

    Koufax was awesome, and belongs in the top 15 or maybe even in the top 10, but was he really a better lefty than the "Big Unit"? The career numbers would def. prove otherwise & remember that Randy was very, very dominant in the "juiced" era. Also threw two no-no's.

    As for Nolan Ryan. He's one of my favorite people to ever play the game & wrastle a cattle. I'd say he's one of the top 20 pitchers of all-time, but not in the top 10. Horrible control, to many walks. Because of his lack of pinpoint control, he doesn't even compare to the other pitchers on the list. Maddux put the ball where he wanted it- as did Clemens. I'll add that Bob Gibson had minor control problems too (this can happen when you throw pure lightening!) but I personally would rank him above Ryan on this list. He was maybe the most dominant of any pitcher other than Pedro.

    Spahn, Carlton, & Ed Walsh are the others I'd consider…

    Oh, and as for Roger.. he used steroids. He used them in September for a couple seasons, injected them into his glut to give his tired legs more strength, & to get his aging body through the post season. Is this cheating? Yes. Did Andy Pettite do it too? Yes. Did Clemens ABUSE steroids like many of the hitters he faced for 20+ years- not likely. It is well know that abusing steroids causes problems with tendons, causing them to breakdown. As a pitcher, Clemens couldn't have abused them if he wanted- his arm would have ended up falling off. Hence, one reason they were shot into his glut. I've lost respect for Clemens for not coming clean. That said, there may not be a pitcher who's worked as hard on his body/legs and game as the Rocket. Inspired by Ryan, he changed the way pitchers worked out & has been a big inspiration to many of the young pitchers that anchor our favorite teams' pitching staffs.
    Good list!

  • G.W. Spicer

    A shame Mordecai “Three Fingers” Brown didn’t make the top 10. Brown got the nickname because as a young boy he lost half his index finger and permanently damaged his thumb and middle finger in a corn cropper. The injured hand allowed him to grip the ball in peculiar ways, giving his slow fast ball knuckleball-like movement and his curveball unheard of slicing movement.

    His career in MLB was short, but in head to head matchups he owned Christy Mathewson when no one owned Christy Mathewson. His ‘stud’ season: 1906 – 26 wins, 6 loses, ERA of 1.04, and lead the Chicago Cubs again (one of the four straight times he did it) to the World Series, where they lost to the White Sox. In his time, he helped the Cubs win two World Series. He wasn’t flashy, but he was a hall-of-famer, and at least should get an honorable mention.

  • Tony

    Hack again?!

  • Adam

    Where is Mordecai ‘three finger’ Brown?
    He should be withought a doubt in the top 5.

  • Zach Hippie

    Does the name Ferguson Jenkins ring a bell?

  • Pingback: Baseball Betting – America’s Favorite Past Time » Article Evolution()

  • TenDuenearide


  • abmformad43


  • First, the statistics that you mention on this list regarding Greg Maddux is extremely compelling. Second, its been speculated that Satchel Paige may have pitched 2,500 games and won 75% of the games he pitched in the Negro Leagues, but then again, the Negro Leagues we’re only concerned with just winning or losing a game and perhaps a home run tally along with batting average, plus Satchel was always changing his age and birthdate. And Third, under Honorable Mention, There are 2 that I would have picked. Bert Blyleven and Jim Kaat.

  • And No Rube Waddell on either the Top Ten List, nor the Notable Omissions. That is a travesty !!!!

  • Notable Omissions. Let us PLEASE not forget the great Bert Blyleven of both the Minnesota Twins and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Baseball Hall Of Fame Veteran’s Committee finally woke up and started using there brains. Now let’s put Jim Kaat into the Hall Of Fame.

  • Jim Palmer of the Baltimore Orioles. The only pitcher in Major League Baseball History to have won more than 250 games in a career (he had 266) and never gave up a Grand Slam Home Run !!

  • Juan Marichal, on this list under notable mentions, NO. A great pitcher, YES. A vile and vicious temper A BIG TIME FRICKEN YES !!!!!!!

  • Here are 20 more Major League Pitchers who are neither on this Top Ten List or the Honorable Mentions : 1). Bert Blyleven, 2). Eddie Ciccote, 3). Jim Kaat, 4). Phil Niekro, 5). Jim Palmer, 6). Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown, 7). Rube Waddell, 8). Pedro Martinez, 9). Babe Ruth (Yes, he was that good !!), 10). Dizzy Dean, 11). Addie Joss, 12). Robin Roberts, 13). Dennis Eckersley, 14). Rollie Fingers, 15). Ed Walsh, 16). Trevor Hoffman, 17). Lefty Gomez, 18). Mariano Rivera, 19). Bob Lemon, 20). Luis Tiant

  • Pausiaflell


  • petet2112

    I do agree with the submission of Cy Young. But be careful of Lists that are the Greatest Baseball Pitchers of the 20TH CENTURY. Every single Top 10 list that I have ever seen that is Top 10 Baseball Pitchers of the 20th century always include Cy Young. FYI, Cy Young pitched half of his career in the 19th century (1890-1899) and retired in 1911. To me, that kind of eliminates the Theory. Remember, The Modern Era of Baseball began in the year 1900 !! Jackie Robinson is credited for being the first Black player to enter the Major Leagues on April 15, 1947. But a Black man named Moses Fleetwood Walker played Professional Major League Baseball in 1884 for a team called the Toledo Blue Stockings. He played 62 games, was a payed professional, and he was Black. But he played before 1900 which eliminated him from being credited for being the first Black Man to play Pro Ball. My Source ? I called the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City and spoke to the curator of the museum who just happened to have a Ph.D in Negro League Baseball and explained the whole situation about the Modern Era and pre-Modern Era.

  • pletchernrc


  • tom clancy

    I do trust all of the concepts you’ve presented for your post. They are very convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are too quick for newbies. Could you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

  • cestas empresa

    We’re a group of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community. Your site provided us with valuable information to paintings on. You’ve done a formidable job and our entire group will probably be grateful to you.

  • Pingback: Top 10 Major League Pitchers | 10 Best Network Marketing Companies()

  • Pingback: Top 10 Major League Pitchers – IMA()

  • Pingback: Top 15 Worst Sports Moments of All Time - Helping Us With Photography | Helping Us With Photography()