The 100 Greatest Pitchers in MLB History
Hitting puts fans in the seats, but great pitching wins championships, and over the history of Major League Baseball, there have been some truly phenomenal pitchers toe the rubber.
At times, that rubber was at a different distance from the plate or a different elevation. At times, the pitcher was throwing a ball, nearly impossible to hit, out of the park or pitching to hitters juiced up to do nothing but hit the ball out of the park. To point out, comparing players across eras is never an easy thing to do.
With that in mind, here's my take on the 100 greatest pitchers in the history of the MLB, from the pitch everyday guys of the 1880s to the carefully managed five-man rotation pitchers of today and everyone in between, here are the greatest to ever take the mound.
No. 100 to No. 96
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
No. 100: Jesse Haines (210-158, 3.64 ERA, 109 ERA+, 1.350 WHIP, 981 Ks)
Perhaps, the least-known pitcher in the Hall of Fame, Haines spent 18 seasons with the Cardinals and was in his prime during the 1920s. He had 11 seasons with double-digit wins and won a pair of World Series titles in his career.
No. 99: Justin Verlander (107-57, 3.54 ERA, 124 ERA+, 1.194 WHIP, 1,215 Ks)
While there is still plenty career left for the 29-year-old right-hander, Verlander is coming off one of the greatest pitching seasons in baseball history as he went 24-5, 2.40 ERA, 250 Ks to win the pitching Triple Crown, Cy Young and MVP. He will continue to move up this list as his career progresses.
No. 98: Chuck Finley (200-173, 3.85 ERA, 115 ERA+, 1.376 WHIP, 2,610 Ks)
One of the most underrated pitchers of the 1990s, Finley anchored the Angels staff for 14 seasons as he won over 15 games seven different times and consistently ranked among the best starters in the league. He is among the most consistent left-handers of the last 30 years and likely would have garnered more attention pitching somewhere else.
No. 97: Dennis Martinez (245-193, 3.70 ERA, 106 ERA+, 1.266 WHIP, 2,149 Ks)
Martinez spent 23 seasons in the big leagues, and he was still going strong at the age of 40 when he fronted the rotation on a good Indians team and was named an All-Star. He had 15 seasons of double-digit wins and won a wins title and ERA title in his career.
No. 96: Jimmy Key (186-117, 3.51 ERA, 122 ERA+, 1.229 WHIP, 1,538 Ks)
Much like Finley, Key pitched very well in the late-80s and early-90s and went largely unnoticed, as he helped pitch the Blue Jays to the World Series in 1992 before doing the same with the Yankees in 1996. For a 10-year stretch from 1985-1994, he posted an average line of 15-9, 3.32 ERA, 117 Ks as he was consistently among the game's best.
No. 95 to No. 91
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
No. 95: Herb Pennock (241-162, 3.60 ERA, 106 ERA+, 1.348 WHIP, 1,227 Ks)
Pennock came to the Yankees from the rival Red Sox in 1923 and had the good fortune of pitching for a team that featured Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Nonetheless, he had eight season with 15-plus wins and was an impressive 5-0 with a 1.95 ERA in 10 postseason appearances.
No. 94: Fernando Valenzuela (173-153, 3.54 ERA, 104 ERA+, 1.320 WHIP, 2,074 Ks)
Fernando-mania was in full force during the 1981 season when the Mexico native took the baseball world by storm with a 13-7, 2.48 ERA, 180 Ks season as a 20-year-old rookie that ended in the NL Rookie of the Year, NL Cy Young and a World Series ring as the Dodgers won it all. He went on to enjoy a solid 17-year career as one of the best pitchers of the 1980s.
No. 93: Hoyt Wilhelm (143-122, 227 Sv, 2.52 ERA, 147 ERA+, 6.4 K/9)
A knuckleballer who spent the majority of his career in the bullpen, Wilhelm spent 21 seasons in the big leagues and was 49 when he finally hung it up. He spent three years serving his country and did not begin his big-league career until the age of 29 or who knows what his numbers would have looked like.
No. 92: Burleigh Grimes (270-212, 3.53 ERA, 108 ERA+, 1.365 WHIP, 1,512 Ks)
Grimes spent the prime of his career with the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1918-1926, winning 158 games over that stretch including over 20 on four separate occasions. He won a pair of wins titles, a strikeout title and was a true workhorse, consistently ranking among the league-leaders in innings pitched.
No. 91: Will White (229-166, 2.28 ERA, 121 ERA+, 1.111 WHIP, 1,041 Ks)
While his career spanned just 10 seasons, seven of those as a full-time rotation member, White racked up the wins and set a number of records that will never be broken. In 1879, he started 75 games (record) and went 43-31, 1.99 ERA, 232 Ks over 680 innings (record) and he completed all 75 of those starts (record).
No. 90 to No. 86
No. 90: Mike Cuellar (185-130, 3.14 ERA, 110 ERA+, 1.197 WHIP, 1,632 Ks)
After pitching to minimal success as a member of the Reds, Cardinals and Astros, Cuellar joined the Orioles in a trade in 1968, and at the age of 32, his career took off. He went 23-11 and won the Cy Young in his first season with the team and would go 139-75 with a 3.08 ERA in his seven full seasons as a starter in Baltimore.
No. 89: Rube Marquard (201-177, 3.08 ERA, 103 ERA+, 1.237 WHIP, 1,593 Ks)
Over his 18-year, big-league career, spent mostly with the Dodgers and Giants, Marquard was dominant at his best. His best baseball came over a three-year span from 1911-1913 when he went 73-28 with a 2.52 ERA.
No. 88: Al Spalding (252-65, 2.13 ERA, 132 ERA+, 1.193 WHIP, 248 Ks)
The professional game was just a fledgling one when Spalding played from 1871-1877, but there's no ignoring the fact that he led the league in wins in six of his seven seasons in the league and topped 40 victories four times—and twice had over 50. He has the best career win percentage of all time and was baseball's first great pitcher.
No. 87: Charlie Buffinton (233-152, 2.96 ERA, 115 ERA+, 1.234 WHIP, 1,700 Ks)
Another baseball pioneer, Buffinton pitched from 1882-1892 and registered seven 20-win seasons over that span. He also played some first base and outfield and was a solid hitter with a career offensive line of .245 BA, 7 HR, 255 RBI.
No. 86: Babe Ruth (94-46, 2.28 ERA, 122 ERA+, 1.159 WHIP, 488 Ks)
Speaking of pitchers who could also handle the bat, none is more renowned than Babe Ruth who began his storied career as a 19-year-old pitcher with the Red Sox. He led the league with a 1.75 ERA two seasons later and pitched one of the greatest games in World Series history that same season as he picked up a 14-inning victory, giving up one run in the first inning and shutting out the Dodgers over the next 13 frames.
No. 85 to No. 81
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
No. 85: Jack Chesbro (198-132, 2.68 ERA, 111 ERA+, 1.152 WHIP, 1,265 Ks)
One of the premier pitchers of the turn of the century, Chesbro pitched just nine full seasons, but he more than asserted himself as one of the best in that time. His 1904 season in particular was phenomenal, as he went 41-12, 1.82 ERA, 239 Ks.
No. 84: Waite Hoyt (237-182, 3.59 ERA, 112 ERA+, 1.340 WHIP, 1,206 Ks)
Hoyt paired with Herb Pennock to front the rotation for the great Yankees teams of the 1920s, and from 1921-1928, he went 145-87 with a 3.38 ERA, winning at least 15 games in all but one season. He was dazzling in the postseason as well, with a 6-4 record and 1.83 ERA in 12 appearances.
No. 83: Rollie Fingers (944 G, 114-118, 341 Sv, 2.90 ERA, 6.9 K/9)
The first real closer, Fingers led the league in saves three times but was used at all points of the game to quell the opposition at the first sign of trouble. He pulled off the rare feat of winning the Cy Young and MVP in 1981 with the Brewers, as he saved 28 games with a 1.04 ERA to help Milwaukee to the ALDS.
No. 82: Bret Saberhagen (167-117, 3.34 ERA, 126 ERA+, 1.141 WHIP, 1,715 Ks)
A full-time starter by the age of 20, Saberhagen had posted a record of 92-61 with a 3.23 ERA before he turned 26 and had a pair of Cy Young awards to his name. The second half of his career did not go nearly as well, as injuries became an issue, as the 1989 season marked the peak of his career when he went 23-6, 2.16 ERA, 193 Ks at the age of 25.
No. 81: Andy Pettitte (240-138, 3.88 ERA, 117 ERA+, 1.352 WHIP, 2,251 Ks)
It looks as though Pettitte will be adding to that career line after it was announced that he will return to the Yankees this coming season after spending 2011 in retirement. He has 13 seasons with at least 13 wins over the course of his 16-year career and holds a 19-10 record with a 3.83 ERA over a whopping 42 postseason starts.
No. 80 to No. 76
Mike Powell/Getty Images
No. 80: Roy Oswalt (159-93, 3.21 ERA, 133 ERA+, 1.194 WHIP, 1,759 Ks)
Few pitchers in recent memory have been so good so quickly, as Oswalt went 14-3 with a 2.73 ERA as a rookie in 2001 and proceeded to rattle off a 129-64 record with a 3.13 ERA over the first eight seasons of his career. Back injuries have been an issue of late, and it looks as though he will at least sit out the beginning of the 2012 season.
No. 79: Dwight Gooden (194-112, 3.51 ERA, 111 ERA+, 1.256 WHIP, 2,293 Ks)
Oh, what could have been, as Gooden looked like a lock to wind up somewhere in the top quarter of this list when he introduced himself to the MLB with a 17-9, 2.60 ERA, 276 Ks season as a 19-year-old in 1984. Before his age 24 season, he already had a career record of 91-35, but drugs derailed what was a career of limitless potential.
No. 78: Eppa Rixey (266-251, 3.15 ERA, 115 ERA+, 1.272 WHIP, 1,350 Ks)
Rixey split his 21-year career between the Phillies and Reds, and he topped the 15-win mark eight time, leading the league with 25 in 1922. His career was an up-and-down one, as he also topped the 15-loss mark five times, but when he was at his best, he was up there with anyone in the league.
No. 77: C.C. Sabathia (176-96, 3.51 ERA, 125 ERA+, 1.227 WHIP, 2,017 Ks)
As reliable a starter as there is in baseball today, Sabathia has made at least 28 starts and won at least 11 games in each of his 11 big-league seasons. Since 2007, he has gone 95-40 with a 3.09 ERA, and he has finished in the top five in Cy Young voting each season, winning the award in 2007.
No. 76: Lefty Gomez (189-102, 3.34 ERA, 126 ERA+, 1.352 WHIP, 1,468 Ks)
While his career spanned just 14 seasons, Gomez was as good as they came in his prime, and from 1931-1939, he went 163-84 with a 3.17 ERA, twice leading the league in wins, twice in ERA and three times in strikeouts as he won the pitching Triple Crown twice.
No. 75 to No. 71
No. 75: Rick Reuschel (214-191, 3.37 ERA, 114 ERA+, 1.275 WHIP, 2,015 Ks)
Reuschel was one of the few positive things for the Chicago Cubs in the 1970s, as he won 125 games in his first nine seasons in the league, including a 20-win campaign in 1977. He bounced around after leaving the Cubs but enjoyed a career renaissance like few before him as he combined to go 36-19 with a 3.04 ERA in 1988 and 1989 with the Giants in his 39 and 40-year-old seasons.
No. 74: Jerry Koosman (222-209, 3.36 ERA, 110 ERA+, 1.259 WHIP, 2,556 Ks)
Overshadowed on his own staff by the likes of Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan, Koosman was a consistent performer for the Mets throughout the 1970s. He was twice a 20-game winner and in his 12 seasons with the Mets to begin his career he won 140 games and posted a 3.09 ERA.
No. 73: Mickey Lolich (217-191, 3.44 ERA, 105 ERA+, 1.227 WHIP, 2,832 Ks)
Lolich was the anchor of the Tigers' rotation throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, as he won 14 or more games in 11 straight seasons from 1964-1974. However, he will be best remembered for his performance in the 1968 World Series when he went 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA in three complete games, as he outdueled Bob Gibson for a 4-1 win in Game 7.
No. 72: Chief Bender (212-127, 2.46 ERA, 112 ERA+, 1.113 WHIP, 1,711 Ks)
The ace of some great Philadelphia Athletics teams at the turn of the century, Bender had an ERA under 3.00 in all but three of his 16 seasons in the majors, and he won over 15 games on nine different occasions. In 10 postseason starts, he went 6-4 with a 2.44 ERA on his way to three World Series titles.
No. 71: Catfish Hunter (224-166, 3.26 ERA, 105 ERA+, 1.134 WHIP, 2,012 Ks)
Hunger lacks the complete body of work of some of his 1970s contemporaries, but in his prime, he was right there with the likes of Seaver, Carlton and Palmer. He had 20 wins in five straight seasons from 1971-1975, and he took home the AL Cy Young in 1974. He was later the first big-name, free-agent signing in baseball history when he joined the Yankees in 1975.
No. 70 to No. 66
No. 70: Amos Rusie (246-174, 3.07 ERA, 129 ERA+, 1.349 WHIP, 1,950 Ks)
Another pitching great from the 1890s, Rusie was the New York Giants' ace, and he was effectively wild as he led the league in walks five times in his 10-year career but topped 20 wins eight different times. He was the first true strikeout pitcher, leading the league five times, and he was a horse completing 393-of-427 starts.
No. 69: Rich Gossage (1,002 G, 124-107, 310 Sv, 3.01 ERA, 7.5 K/9)
With 13 seasons of double-digit saves, Gossage was among the first true closers in the sense that he entered games in the eighth and ninth inning as opposed to whenever the team happened to need him. A nine-time All-Star, Gossage was an intimidating presence on the mound and among the most dominant relief arms in league history.
No. 68: Vic Willis (249-205, 2.63 ERA, 118 ERA+, 1.209 WHIP, 1,651 Ks)
A turn of the century arm who pitched for Boston and Pittsburgh, Willis had eight 20-win seasons in 13 big-league seasons. He consistently ranked among the ERA leaders and had a big season in 1902, winning 27 games with a 2.20 ERA while leading the league in starts, innings and strikeouts.
No. 67: Clark Griffith (237-146, 3.31 ERA, 122 ERA+, 1.313 WHIP, 955 Ks)
Best-known as the owner of the Washington Senators, Griffith was also a very good pitcher, especially during his eight seasons with the Chicago Cubs. as he topped the 20-win mark six times and led the league in ERA in 1898 with a 1.88 mark.
No. 66: David Cone (194-126, 3.46 ERA, 121 ERA+, 1.256 WHIP, 2,668 Ks)
The perfect example of what a difference a trade deadline addition can make, Cone twice switched teams for a pennant race and twice helped lead that team to the postseason, joining the Blue Jays in 1992 and Yankees in 1995. He won 20 games twice, led the league in strikeouts twice and took home the 1994 AL Cy Young.
No. 65 to No. 61
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
No. 65: Trevor Hoffman (1,035 G, 61-75, 601 Sv, 2.87 ERA, 9.4 K/9)
On the back of a dominant changeup, Hoffman retired as baseball's all-time saves leader, and while he has since been passed by Mariano Rivera, his career was impressive nonetheless. With 14 seasons of at least 30 saves, the converted shortstop was among the league's premier stoppers throughout his 18-year career.
No. 64: Bob Lemon (207-128, 3.23 ERA, 119 ERA+, 1.337 WHIP, 1,277 Ks)
After missing the first three seasons of his career serving his country, Lemon began his big-league career at the age of 25, and in his nine seasons with at least 30 starts, he never won less than 17 games. He led the league in wins three times, innings four times and ranks right behind Bob Feller as the best pitcher in Indians' history.
No. 63: Jim Kaat (283-237, 3.45 ERA, 108 ERA+, 1.259 WHIP, 2,461 Ks)
Over a career spanning 25 seasons, Kaat reached double digits in wins 15 straight seasons from 1962-1976, topping 20 wins three times, including a league-high 25 in 1966. He was also a fantastic defensive pitcher, winning 16 Gold Glove awards.
No. 62: Billy Pierce (211-169, 3.27 ERA, 119 ERA+, 1.260 WHIP, 1,999 Ks)
Acquired from the Tigers along with $10,000 for an aging catcher, Pierce was among the best pitchers of the 1950s, best known for his head-to-head battles with Yankees ace Whitey Ford as he went 7-7 against a stacked Yankees team when their ace was on the mound. He had 10 seasons with over 14 wins and led the AL with a 1.97 ERA in 1955.
No. 61: Johan Santana (133-69, 3.10 ERA, 142 ERA+, 1.120 WHIP, 1,877 Ks)
Santana arrived in Minnesota under somewhat odd circumstances, as the Marlins selected him from the Astros in the Rule 5 draft, then traded his rights to the Twins for reliever Jared Camp. After three decent seasons, Santana broke out with a 12-3, 3.07 ERA season as a swingman in 2003. He joined the rotation full-time in 2004, and over the next three seasons, went 55-19 with a 2.75 ERA, winning a pair of Cy Young awards as he had as dominant of stuff as anyone in recent memory.
No. 60 to No. 56
No. 60: Red Faber (254-213, 3.15 ERA, 119 ERA+, 1.302 WHIP, 1,471 Ks)
Faber spent all 20 of his big-league seasons as a member of the Chicago White Sox, recording four seasons of 20-plus wins and twice leading the league in ERA. It was his consistency though that made him so good, as he won double-digit games 14 different times and only twice had an ERA over 4.00.
No. 59: Dennis Eckersley (1,071 G, 117-171, 390 Sv, 3.50 ERA, 6.6 K/9)
Eckersley began his career as a starter, spending the first 12 seasons of his career in the rotation and winning 151 games, including a 20-8, 2.99 ERA in 1978. He then joined the Athletics and immediately became the best closer in baseball, winning the Cy Young and MVP in 1992 when he won 51 games with a 1.91 ERA.
No. 58: Jack Morris (254-186, 3.90 ERA, 105 ERA+, 1.296 WHIP, 2,478 Ks)
While his 3.90 career ERA and lack of a Cy Young award have kept him out of the Hall of Fame to this point, Morris was the winningest pitcher of the 1980s with 162 victories. However, it was his ability as a big-game pitcher that made him so great, as he went 4-2 with a 2.96 ERA in seven World Series starts, including his 10-inning shutout in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series to lead the Twins to a title.
No. 57: Red Ruffing (273-225, 3.80 ERA, 110 ERA+, 1.341 WHIP, 1,987 Ks)
Ruffing spent 15 of his 22 big-league seasons with the Yankees, serving as the team's ace throughout the 1930s as he went 175-98 with a 3.59 ERA during the decade. His career line is deceiving, as he went 39-93 with a 4.57 ERA over the first six seasons of his career, then went 234-132 with a 3.54 ERA the rest of the way.
No. 56: Tommy John (288-231, 3.34 ERA, 111 ERA+, 1.283 WHIP, 2,245 Ks)
Famous more so for the surgery that bears his name than for his actual pitching career, John won 124 games with a 2.97 ERA over the first 12 seasons of his career before undergoing an experimental procedure that is now commonplace in the MLB. He came back even better, winning 20-plus games three times in his first five seasons back from injury, and in total, he pitched 26 big-league seasons.
No. 55 to No. 51
No. 55: Stan Coveleski (215-142, 2.89 ERA, 128 ERA+, 1.251 WHIP, 981 Ks)
Coveleski spent 11 full seasons as a member of the rotation, winning over 20 games five times, leading the league in ERA twice and topping the circuit in strikeouts once. His performance in the 1920 World Series alone earns him a place in baseball history, as he pitched three complete games and went 3-0 while allowing just two earned runs.
No. 54: Ted Lyons (260-230, 3.67 ERA, 118 ERA+, 1.348 WHIP, 1,073 Ks)
Lyons spent his entire 21-year career pitching for the Chicago White Sox, never appearing in a postseason game but enjoying significant success in the regular season. He won 20 games three times, twice leading the league, but more impressively, he posted 17 seasons with double-digit wins pitching for some poor White Sox teams.
No. 53: Mickey Welch (307-210, 3.71 ERA, 114 ERA+, 1.226 WHIP, 1,850 Ks)
Welch debuted as a 20-year-old in 1880 and pitched until 1892, and in what amounted to 11 full seasons, he averaged 27 wins per year. He topped the 20-win mark eight times, eclipsing 30 victories four times as the ace of the New York Giants.
No. 52: Orel Hershiser (204-150, 3.48 ERA, 112 ERA+, 1.261 WHIP, 2,014 Ks)
Hershiser enjoyed one of the greatest pitching seasons in baseball history in 1988 when he went 23-8, 2.26 ERA, 178 Ks while setting an MLB record with 59 consecutive scoreless innings. In total, he won double-digit games 13 times, as he was known as a fierce competitor on the mound.
No. 51: Hal Newhouser (207-150, 3.06 ERA, 130 ERA+, 1.311 WHIP, 1,796 Ks)
Newhouser debuted at the age of 18 for the Tigers but went just 34-52 over his first five seasons in the league. Everything clicked though at the age of 23, as he led the league in wins four of the next five seasons and took home a pair of AL MVP awards. His prime of seven seasons accounted for 151 of his 207 wins, but during that stretch, he was in the top tier of pitchers in baseball.
No. 50 to No. 46
No. 50: Kevin Brown (211-144, 3.28 ERA, 127 ERA+, 1.222 WHIP, 2,397 Ks)
Best known as baseball first $100 million man when he inked a seven-year, $105 million contract with the Dodgers, Brown ended his career on a sour note with the Yankees but had a great career. He won over 15 games six times and put together one of the best seasons in recent memory in 1996 going 17-11 with a league-high 1.89 ERA.
No. 49: Dazzy Vance (197-140, 3.24 ERA, 125 ERA+, 1.230 WHIP, 2,045 Ks)
The ace of the Dodgers back in the 1920s, Vance was one of the top strikeout pitchers of his era, leading the league in whiffs seven straight seasons and K/9 a total of eight times. He took home the 1924 MVP when he won the pitching Triple Crown with a 28-6, 2.16 ERA, 262 Ks line.
No. 48: Jim Bunning (224-184, 3.27 ERA, 114 ERA+, 1.179 WHIP, 2,855 Ks)
Bunning began his career with the Tigers, winning 110 games with a 3.35 ERA in seven full seasons in the rotation before being traded to the Phillies at the age of 32. He proved to have plenty left at that point, winning 74 games with a 2.48 ERA over his first four seasons in Philadelphia.
No. 47: Joe McGinnity (246-142, 2.66 ERA, 140 ERA+, 1.188 WHIP, 1,068 Ks)
McGinnity began his big-league career at the age of 28 but still managed to rack up 246 wins in 10 big-league seasons. He led the league in wins five times, and he topped the 20-win mark in each of his first eight seasons in the majors.
No. 46: Dizzy Dean (150-83, 3.02 ERA, 131 ERA+, 1.206 WHIP, 1,163 Ks)
Dean managed just six full big-league seasons, as he broke his toe in the 1937 All-Star game and altered his mechanics in an effort to rush back from the injury, ruining his arm in the process. That said, over those six seasons, he went 133-75 with a 3.00 ERA, leading the league in wins twice and strikeouts four times, while starring for the Cardinals famed Gashouse Gang.
No. 45 to No. 41
No. 45: Luis Tiant (229-172, 3.30 ERA, 115 ERA+, 1.199 WHIP, 2,416 Ks)
With a quirky delivery that saw him turn away from the pitcher while going into his windup, Tiant tallied four 20-win seasons and led the AL in ERA twice with mark of 1.60 in 1968 and 1.91 in 1972. He is largely considered the best pitcher not currently in the Hall of Fame, and he could gain recognition in the very near future.
No. 44: Curt Schilling (216-146, 3.46 ERA, 128 ERA+, 1.137 WHIP, 3,116 Ks)
From his pairing with Randy Johnson to lead the Diamondbacks to the World Series, to the infamous bloody sock game in the postseason for the Red Sox, Schilling pitched best when there was the most on the line, going 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 19 postseason starts. In the regular season, he tallied nine seasons with at least 14 wins and twice led the league in strikeouts with over 300.
No. 43: Early Wynn (300-244, 3.54 ERA, 107 ERA+, 1.329 WHIP, 2,334 Ks)
Wynn spent 23 seasons in the big leagues, pitching primarily for the Indians and Senators, and he was as consistent as they come, tallying 15 season with double-digit victories. He had five 20-win seasons, led the league in wins twice, in ERA once and in strikeouts twice. He picked up his 300th victory in his final big-league season at the age of 43.
No. 42: Rube Waddell (193-143, 2.16 ERA, 135 ERA+, 1.102 WHIP, 2,316 Ks)
Waddell starred for the Philadelphia Athletics at the turn of the century, and he was an elite strikeout pitcher leading the league in whiffs six times. He had a monster season in 1905, going 27-10, 1.48 ERA, 287 Ks to win the pitching Triple Crown, while he also posted an ERA under 2.50 nine times.
No. 41: John Smoltz (213-155, 154 Sv, 3.33 ERA, 125 ERA+, 8.0 K/9)
Smoltz was among the best starters in all of baseball during the 1990s, winning 143 games and taking home the 1996 NL Cy Young as he led the league with 24 wins and 276 strikeouts. After missing the 2000 season with injury, he returned in the closer's role and served in that role for four seasons, topping 40 saves three times including 55 in 2002, before returning to the rotation for three more solid seasons.
No. 40 to No. 36
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
No. 40: Mike Mussina (270-153, 3.68 ERA, 123 ERA+, 1.192 WHIP, 2,813 Ks)
It took him until his final season to finally reach the 20-win plateau, after tallying 18-or-more wins in five other seasons. He was also a terrific defender winning seven Gold Gloves, and in his 17 full seasons in the league, he never had less than 11 wins.
No. 39: Don Drysdale (209-166, 2.95 ERA, 121 ERA+, 1.148 WHIP, 2,486 Ks)
The Robin to Sandy Koufax's Batman, Drysdale won 17-plus games in six seasons, and he took home the NL Cy Young in 1962 with a 25-9, 2.83 ERA, 232 Ks line. The eight-time All-Star was an intimidating presence on the mound, consistently leading the league in hit batsmen.
No. 38: Tom Glavine (305-203, 3.54 ERA, 118 ERA+, 1.314 WHIP, 2,607 Ks)
While he was not even the best pitcher on his own team many years, pitching behind Greg Maddux in the Braves rotation, Glavine was still one of the top pitchers of the last 30 years and a perennial Cy Young candidate. He won two Cy Young awards and had another four Top-three finishes.
No. 37: Robin Roberts (286-245, 3.41 ERA, 113 ERA+, 1,170 WHIP, 2,357 Ks)
Four times the NL wins leader, Roberts was among the best pitchers of the 1950s, and he had six straight seasons of 20-plus wins from 1950-1955. He was a workhorse, topping the 300-innings mark six times and leading the league in that category five times.
No. 36: Phil Niekro (318-274, 3.35 ERA, 115 ERA+, 1.268 WHIP, 3,342 Ks)
A knuckle-ball pitcher who spent 21 of his 24 big-league seasons pitching with the Braves, Niekro pitched until the age of 48. He did not become a full-time starter until the age of 28, yet still managed to enjoy success over a lengthy stretch with 19 seasons of double-digit wins.
No. 35 to No. 31
Rob Carr/Getty Images
No. 35: Pud Galvin (365-310, 2.85 ERA, 108 ERA+, 1.191 WHIP, 1,807 Ks)
Pitching in the 1880s, Galvin racked up 10 straight seasons with at least 20 wins, including three with over 30 wins. He pitched just 15 seasons but ranks fifth on the all-time wins list.
No. 34: Roy Halladay (188-92, 3.23 ERA, 138 ERA+, 1.168 WHIP, 1,934 Ks)
An old school pitcher toeing the rubber in the modern era, Halladay is the premier pitcher in the league today, and he has led the league in complete games in seven of the past nine seasons. He has topped 15 wins eight times, has won the Cy Young in each league, and at 35 years old, has time to climb up this list before all is said and done.
No. 33: John Clarkson (328-178, 2.81 ERA, 134 ERA+, 1.209 WHIP, 1,978 Ks)
Over the span of eight seasons from 1885-1892, Clarkson put together a line of 293-146, 2.64 ERA, 1,783 Ks as he pitched just 12 total seasons in the big leagues. Still, he was the definition of a workhorse during his time in the league, and despite retiring at 32, he still ranks among the all-time greats.
No. 32: Don Sutton (324-256, 3.26 ERA, 108 ERA+, 1.142 WHIP, 3,574 Ks)
Sutton debuted for the Dodgers as a 21-year-old in 1966 and was still pitching as a 43-year-old in 1988. He had double-digit wins in the first 19 seasons of his career and consistently ranked among the leaders in WHIP as he kept runners off the basepaths.
No. 31: Addie Joss (160-97, 1.89 ERA, 142 ERA+, 0.968 WHIP, 920 Ks)
A member of the Indians at the turn of the century, Joss spent just nine seasons in the league as he died suddenly of tubercular meningitis at the age of 31. He has the best career WHIP in baseball history and had five seasons with an ERA under 2.00.
No. 30 to No. 26
No. 30: Whitey Ford (236-106, 2.75 ERA, 133 ERA+, 1.215 WHIP, 1,956 Ks)
The ace of the Yankees staff throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, Ford helped lead the Yankees to 11 World Series appearances and six titles. He topped the 15-win mark 10 times and won the AL Cy Young in 1961.
No. 29: Bert Blyleven (287-250, 3.31 ERA, 118 ERA+, 1.198 WHIP, 3,701 Ks)
While never the premier pitcher in the league, Blyleven sustained success over his 22-year, big-league career, and he was finally rewarded with induction into the Hall of Fame. He ranks fifth on the all-time strikeout list.
No. 28: Fergie Jenkins (284-226, 3.34 ERA, 115 ERA+, 1.142 WHIP, 3,192 Ks)
Pitching for some terrible Cubs teams, Jenkins topped the 20-win mark six straight seasons from 1967-1972 and took home the 1971 NL Cy Young award. He was a workhorse, racking up 267 complete games and leading the league in that category four times.
No. 27: Tim Keefe (342-225, 2.63 ERA, 127 ERA+, 1.123 WHIP, 2,564 Ks)
Pitching prior to the turn of the century, Keefe won over 30 games six times, including a 42-win campaign in 1886. He was one of the first superstar pitchers in baseball history, and he belongs among the best of all time.
No. 26: Ed Walsh (195-126, 1.82 ERA, 146 ERA+, 1.000 WHIP, 1,736 Ks)
Walsh holds the record for best career ERA of all time and also ranks third in career WHIP. He had five seasons with an ERA under 2.00 and had a 40-win campaign in 1908 as a member of the White Sox.
No. 25: Mariano Rivera
J. Meric/Getty Images
1,042 G, 75-57, 603 Sv, 2.21 ERA, 8.3 K/9
The most dominant reliever in baseball history, Rivera has converted 603-of-657 (91.8 percent) saves during his big-league career, topping the 30-save mark 14 times in his career on his way to becoming the all-time saves leader.
He has been even better in the postseason, converting 42-of-47 save opportunities with an 8-1 record and a minuscule 0.70 ERA.
No. 24: Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn
309-194, 2.68 ERA, 120 ERA+, 1.149 WHIP, 1,830 Ks, 4,527.1 IP
Despite pitching just 11 seasons, Radbourn managed to reach the 300-win milestone, and he put up some eye-popping numbers in his brief career.
He set the single-season wins record in 1884 when he went 59-12, 1.38 ERA, 441 Ks, 678.2 IP in 75 games (73 starts).
No. 23: Gaylord Perry
314-265, 3.11 ERA, 117 ERA+, 1.181 WHIP, 3,534 Ks, 5,350 IP
Over his 22 seasons in the big leagues, Perry played for eight different teams and tallied 20 wins five different times, winning the Cy Young in 1972 and 1978.
In those 22 seasons, he only appeared in one postseason series, but during the regular season, he sustained success as long as any big-league pitcher has.
No. 22: Juan Marichal
243-142, 2.89 ERA, 123 ERA+, 1.101 WHIP, 2,303 Ks, 3,507 IP
One of the first great pitchers to come out of the Dominican Republic, Marichal used a high-leg kick and fantastic control to not only dominate on the mound but to intimidate as well.
He won 20 games six different times and made nine All-Star appearances as one of the most dominant pitchers of the 1960s.
No. 21: Jim Palmer
268-152, 2.86 ERA, 126 ERA+, 1.180 WHIP, 2,212 Ks, 3,948 IP
A force throughout the 1970s, Palmer won 20-plus games eight times during the decade and took home three Cy Young awards.
He also helped lead the Orioles to six World Series appearances and three titles with an 8-3, 2.61 ERA, 90 Ks line over 17 postseason appearances.
No. 20: Bob Feller
266-162, 3.25 ERA, 1.316 WHIP, 122 ERA+, 2,581 Ks, 3,827 IP
With a blazing fastball, Feller could have wound up with even better numbers if he did not miss the 1942-1944 seasons while serving his country, missing his age 23-25 seasons.
He thew three no-hitters and 12 one-hitters while leading the league in wins six times and strikeouts seven times as Rapid Robert is among the most overpowering pitchers to ever tow the rubber.
No. 19: Carl Hubbell
253-154, 2.98 ERA, 130 ERA+, 1.166 WHIP, 1,677 Ks, 3,590.1 IP
There were few better than Hubbell while he was in his prime, as he won at least 20 games every season from 1933-1937 with an ERA of 2.52 while taking home a pair of MVP awards.
He is perhaps best known for his performance in an exhibition game though, as he struck out five straight future Hall of Famers in the 1934 All-Star game, whiffing Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin.
No. 18: Nolan Ryan
324-292, 3.19 ERA, 112 ERA+, 1.247 WHIP, 5,714 Ks, 5,386 IP
While his career record is fairly unimpressive, the fact that Ryan managed to pitch 27 big-league seasons over four different decades.
He led the league in strikeouts 11 times and is the all-time strikeout leader but also led the league in walks seven times and is the all-time leader with 2,795 free passes. Nonetheless, he sustained a high level of play longer than most and had some of the most overpowering stuff the game has ever seen.
No. 17: Mordecai "Three Fingers" Brown
239-130, 2.06 ERA, 139 ERA+, 1.066 WHIP, 1,375 Ks, 3,172.1 IP
Known as "Three Fingers" thanks to a farming accident that cost him most of his pointer finger and part of his pinky on his throwing hand, Brown was the ace of some terrific Cubs teams at the turn of the century.
He won 20-plus games in six straight seasons from 1906-1911 and posted a phenomenal season in 1906 when he went 26-6, 1.04 ERA, 144 Ks and posted the third-best, single-season ERA of all time.
No. 16: Pedro Martinez
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
219-100, 2.93 ERA, 1.054 WHIP, 154 ERA+, 3,154 Ks, 2,827.1 IP
While he does not have the win total of of some of the other guys towards the top end of this list, Martinez had was phenomenal from 1997-2003 as he had an average line of 17-5, 2.20 ERA, 252 Ks and won five ERA titles.
He won three Cy Young awards and won the pitching Triple Crown in 1999 when he went 23-4, 2.07 ERA, 313 Ks before fronting the Red Sox staff in 2004 when they finally broke the Curse of the Bambino.
No. 15: Eddie Plank
326-194, 2.35 ERA, 122 ERA+, 1.119 WHIP, 2,246 Ks, 4,495.2 IP
Plank broke into the league in 1901 and had at least 14 wins in each of his first 16 seasons in the league and had an ERA under 3.00 in 15 of his 17 big-league seasons.
He completed 410 of his 529 starts and helped lead the Philadelphia A's to two World Series titles and ranks as one of the best left-handed pitchers in baseball history.
No. 14: Kid Nichols
361-208, 2.96 ERA, 140 ERA+, 1.224 WHIP, 1,881 Ks, 5,067.1 IP
Pitching in the 1890s, Nichols broke into the league in 1890 as a 20-year-old and rattled off 10 straight seasons of 20 or more wins.
He topped the 30-win mark seven times during his career, and despite pitching just 13 full seasons in the majors, he ranks seventh on the all-time wins list.
No. 13: Steve Carlton
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
329-244, 3.22 ERA, 115 ERA+, 1.247 WHIP, 4,136 Ks, 5,217.2 IP
Acquired by the Phillies from the Cardinals in one of the better trades in baseball history, Carlton put up fantastic numbers throughout his career despite playing for some bad Phillies teams.
He ranks fourth on the all-time strikeout list, and his 1972 season was without question his best as he went 27-10, 1.97 ERA, 310 Ks to win the pitching Triple Crown and Cy Young award.
No. 12: Roger Clemens
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
354-184, 3.12 ERA, 143 ERA+, 4,672 Ks, 4,916.2 IP
Were it not for the PED issues, Clemens would rank even higher on this list, but even with the accusations against him, he still ranks among the all-time greats for what he accomplished during his 24-year playing career.
Clemens won seven ERA titles and seven Cy Young awards, with his 1985 season also earning him an MVP award as he went 24-4, 2.48 ERA, 238 Ks at the age of 23.
No. 11: Sandy Koufax
165-87, 2.76 ERA, 131 ERA+, 1.106 WHIP, 2,396 Ks, 2,324.1 IP
No pitcher in baseball history has enjoyed a more dominant stretch than Koufax did from 1963-1966, as he went a combined 97-27, 1.86 ERA, 1,228 Ks en route to winning three Cy Young awards and one MVP.
Had it not been for an arthritic left arm that forced him to retire at the age of 30, who knows how many wins Koufax would have racked up, but as it is, his absolute dominance over a short span earns him a spot among the all-time greats.
No. 10: Warren Spahn
363-245, 3.09 ERA, 119 ERA+, 1.195 WHIP, 2,583 Ks, 5,243.2 IP
The winningest left-handed pitcher in baseball history, Spahn was not a full-time member of the Braves' rotation until the age of 26, as he went on to pitch until the age of 44.
He led the league in wins eight times, winning 20-plus games 13 times, tied for the most all time with the great Christy Mathewson.
No. 9: Bob Gibson
251-174, 2.91 ERA, 128 ERA+, 1.188 WHIP, 3,117 Ks, 3,884.1 IP
One of the most overpowering pitchers in baseball history, Gibson excelled when the stakes were highest going 7-2 with a 1.89 ERA in nine World Series starts, pitching eight complete games and two shutouts.
His 1968 season is considered by many to be the single-greatest pitching season in baseball history, as he went 22-9, 1.12 ERA, 268 Ks with 13 shutouts and a 0.853 WHIP in a season that largely contributed to the pitcher's mound being lowered.
No. 8: Randy Johnson
Donald Miralle/Getty Images
303-166, 3.29 ERA, 136 ERA+, 1.171 WHIP, 4,875 Ks, 4,135.1 IP
Among the most intimidating pitchers in baseball history, Johnson began his career as a hard-throwing pitcher with no control before refining his devastating fastball-slider repertoire.
A future Hall of Famer, Johnson won five Cy Young awards and led the league in strikeouts nine times on his way to ranking second all time in strikeouts and becoming the most recent, and perhaps, final member of the 300-win club.
No. 7: Lefty Grove
300-141, 3.06 ERA, 148 ERA+, 1.278 WHIP, 2,266 Ks, 3,940.2 IP
Pitching for the A's and Red Sox, Grove posted the fourth-best ERA-plus in baseball history and has the best winning percentage of any pitcher with 300 career wins.
He led the league in wins four times, ERA a whopping nine times and strikeouts seven times, and he goes down as the best left-handed pitcher in baseball history.
No. 6: Tom Seaver
311-205, 2.86 ERA, 128 ERA+, 1.121 WHIP, 3,640 Ks, 4,783 IP
Arguably the top pitcher during what was the best era of pitching in baseball history, Seaver tallied 178 wins during the 1970s alone, and over the course of his career, he took home the Rookie of the Year award and three NL Cy Young awards.
With three wins titles, three ERA titles and five strikeout titles he was among the league's best year-in and year-out, and he helped lead the Miracle Mets to a World Series title in 1969.
No. 5: Greg Maddux
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
355-227, 3.16 ERA, 132 ERA+, 1.143 WHIP, 3,371 Ks, 5,008.1 IP
A four-time Cy Young winner, Maddux used pinpoint control rather than overpowering stuff to roll through National League hitters throughout the 1990s in helping to make the Braves a perennial playoff team.
His 1995 season ranks among the most dominant pitching seasons in baseball history, as he went 19-2, 1.63 ERA, 181 Ks as he fronted a Braves' staff that included fellow future Hall of Famers Tom Glavine and John Smoltz.
No. 4: Cy Young
511-316, 2.63 ERA, 138 ERA+, 1.130 WHIP, 2,803 Ks, 7,356 IP
Baseball's all-time leader in wins (511), losses (316), innings pitched (7,356), starts (815) and complete games (749) and the namesake for baseball's biggest pitching award, Young sustained his dominant level of play of 22 seasons.
He tallied 15 20-win seasons and captured five wins titles, two ERA titles and two strikeout titles as he spent most of his career in Cleveland and Boston.
No. 3: Grover Cleveland Alexander
373-208, 2.56 ERA, 136 ERA+, 1.121 WHIP, 2,198 Ks, 5,190 IP
Alexander did not make his big-league debut until the age of 24 but still managed to pitch 20 seasons and rack up the third-most wins of all-time.
He had six wins titles, four ERA titles and six strikeout titles pitching for the Phillies, Cubs and Cardinals, and his 90 shutouts ranks as the second-most of all time.
No. 2: Christy Mathewson
373-188, 2.13 ERA, 136 ERA+, 1.058 WHIP, 2,507 Ks, 4,788.2 IP
Acquired from the Reds before he ever saw the big leagues, Mathewson joined the Giants in one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history.
With four wins titles, five ERA titles and five strikeout titles he was dominant, winning the pitching triple crown twice, and he almost single-handedly won the 1905 World Series for the Giants pitching three complete game shutouts as the Giants took the series 4-1.
No. 1: Walter Johnson
417-279, 2.17 ERA, 147 ERA+, 1.061 WHIP, 3,509 Ks, 5,914.1 IP
The "Big Train" spent his entire 21-year career with the Senators, ranking second on the all-time wins list and taking home six wins titles, five ERA titles and 12 strikeout titles.
He topped the 20-win mark 12 times, with over 30 twice and won a pair of MVP awards as he was a truly dominant force on the mound throughout his career and the greatest pitcher to ever play the game.