At times I've rated Pedro Martinez as the greatest pitcher in Major League History and I'm still not completely convinced he wasn't.
But his prime was rather short, and at this point, it seems pretty clear he will not pitch several more seasons at an All-Star level.
Pedro is in the same boat as Christy. He dominated for about a decade, but by his mid-30s, was essentially done.
Pedro's prime, in my opinion, is unmatched.
What he did from 1997 to 2003 was incredible, and his two year stretch from 1999 to 2000 is easily the greatest in the history of the game.
Pedro came into the league, in 1993, as a relief pitcher. In 107 innings, he went 10-5 with a 2.61 ERA. After a few good seasons as a starter, Martinez broke out in 1997.
At just 25 years old, he led the league with a 1.90 ERA, 13 complete games, and 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings. He won his first Cy Young award that season, and that offseason, was traded to the Boston Red Sox.
Pedro had a highly successful first year as a Red Sox, winning 19 games with a 2.89 ERA. He finished second to Roger Clemens in Cy Young voting, but he was only getting started.
In 1999, he led the league with a 2.07 ERA, and 23 wins. He lost only four games all season, striking out 313 batters and walking just 37.
The following year, his ERA dropped to 1.74, and he posted a 291 ERA+, the highest figure in baseball history. He again led the league with 284 strikeouts, and walked just 32 batters. The leagues next best ERA was more than twice Pedro's, and he set a Major League record in WHIP.
After making only 18 starts in 2001 (18 very good starts), he again led the league in ERA, WHIP, and Winning percentage, in 2002 and 2003. Pedro finished second and third in Cy Young voting. In 2004, he finished fourth, winning 16 games with a 125 ERA+, and leading the Red Sox to their first World Series in 86 years.
That offseason, he signed with the Mets. His first year in New York was quite successful. The 32 year old led the league in both WHIP and K/BB rate. But he has since dealt with several major injuries, failing to reach 150 innings in each of the last four seasons.
I think Pedro could quite reasonable rank higher on this list, and I don't like putting him sixth.
He didn't have as many good years as other pitchers on this list, but he had as many all time great years as just about anyone. But given his short career, and low number of innings, I can't rank him higher than this.