MLB: Roger Clemens and Baseball's 10 Best Starters of the Past 40 Years
When looking at the rosters for Major League Baseball’s All-Star game this year, there isn't a pitcher on either roster who has 200 or more lifetime wins.
In fact, the winningest pitcher in Major League Baseball playing today is Boston’s Tim Wakefield with 198 wins.
We’ve become accustomed to seeing so many great starting pitchers in the All-Star game the past few decades, so here is my list of Major League Baseball’s 10 best starting pitchers from the last 40 years.
10. Gaylord Perry
Gaylord Perry played from 1962-1983, and accumulated 314 wins, 265 losses, a 3.11 ERA, 3,534 strikeouts and two Cy Young awards.
Perry won 20 games or more five times and also had two 19-win seasons. He led his league in wins on three occasions and had eight seasons with 200 or more strikeouts. In 1972, Perry had a 1.92 ERA, and in 1978, he posted a 21-6 season.
A five-time All-Star, Perry was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.
9. Tom Glavine
From 1987-2008, Tom Glavine recorded 305 wins, 203 losses, a 3.54 ERA and 2,607 strikeouts. He was a 10-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young winner.
A five-time 20-game winner, Glavine led the National League in wins five times. In 1993, he posted a 22-6 record.
As a finesse pitcher, Glavine never struck out 200 batters in a season but is a certain future Hall of Famer.
8. Nolan Ryan
Nolan Ryan played from 1966-1993, notching 324 wins, 292 losses, a 3.19 ERA, a record 5,714 strikeouts and eight All-Star selections.
Ryan pitched a record seven no-hitters, and also threw 12 one-hitters and 18 two-hitters. He led the American League in shutouts three times, had two 20-win seasons and two 19-win seasons, but he never won a Cy Young award.
Ryan had nine shutouts in 1972 and in 1981 with a 1.69 ERA. He led the league in strikeouts 11 times and struck out a record 383 batters in 1973. Ryan struck out 200 batters in a season 15 times, 300 batters in a season six times and was named to Major League Baseball's All-Century Team.
The Texas Rangers' president was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.
7. Pedro Martinez
Pedro Martinez entered the league 1992 and stayed until 2009. In that time, he managed 219 wins, 100 losses, a 2.93 ERA and 3,154 strikeouts. Martinez was also an eight-time All-Star and won three Cy Young awards.
He led the National League with a 1.90 ERA in 1997, and in 2000, led the American League with a 1.74 ERA. He led his league in ERA five times and led the American League in strikeouts three times.
Martinez won 20 or more games in a season twice and also had one 19-win season. With a 23-4 record in 1999, Pedro won the pitching Triple Crown that season. He struck out 200 or more batters in a season nine times with two seasons of more than 300 strikeouts and has a lifetime average of 10 K’s per nine innings.
Pedro is a certain future Hall of Famer.
6. Jim Palmer
Jim Palmer played from 1965-1984 with 268 wins, 152 losses, a 2.86 ERA and 2,212 strikeouts to his credit. Palmer was a six-time All Star and winner of three Cy Young awards.
He won 20 games or more in a season eight times and had 53 career shutouts. Palmer led the American League in ERA twice and posted a 2.07 ERA in 1972.
Palmer was also a four-time Gold Glove winner and elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990.
5. Randy Johnson
From 1988-2009, Randy "The Big Unit" Johnson posted a ridiculous 303 wins, 166 losses, 3.29 ERA and 4,875 strikeouts.
A 10-time All-Star, winner of five Cy Young awards and the 2001 World Series MVP, Johnson had three 20-plus win seasons and two other 19-win seasons. He led his respective league four times in ERA and nine times in strikeouts with a high of 372 strikeouts in 2001. Johnson struck out 200 or more batters in a season 13 times and 300 or more batters five times.
Johnson had 37 career shutouts and won the pitching Triple Crown of wins, strikeouts and ERA in 2002. In 1995, Johnson was a dominating 18-2 and was only the second pitcher in history to win the Cy Young award four consecutive seasons.
Without question, Johnson is a lock first-ballot Hall of Famer.
4. Steve Carlton
Over a career spanning more than 20 years (1965-1988), Steve Carlton recorded 329 wins, 244 losses, 3.22 ERA, 4,136 strikeouts and 55 career shutouts. He was a 10-time All-Star and winner of four Cy Young awards.
In one of the greatest seasons ever for a pitcher, Carlton led the National League with a 1.97 ERA in 1972, winning a league-high 27 games for the last-place Philadelphia Phillies who only won 59 games that season. He also led the league in strikeouts that year with 310 to win the pitching Triple Crown.
Carlton also had six 20-win seasons, led the National League in wins four times and in strikeouts five times. He struck out 200 or more batters in a season eight times and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994.
3. Greg Maddux
Greg Maddux played from 1986-2008 and recorded 355 wins, 227 losses, a 3.16 ERA, 3,371 strikeouts and four Cy Young Awards.
Maddux won 20 games in a season twice and had five 19-win seasons. He was an eight-time All-Star who led the National League in shutouts five times and four times in ERA.
In 1994, Maddux had a 1.56 ERA, and followed that up with a 19-2 record and a 1.63 ERA in 1995. Maddux is the only pitcher in the history of baseball to win 15 games or more in 17 consecutive seasons and was the first pitcher to win the Cy Young award in four consecutive seasons.
Maddux also won a record 18 Gold Gloves and is a first-ballot future Hall of Famer.
2. Roger Clemens
From 1984-2007, Roger Clemens posted 354 wins, 184 losses, a 3.12 ERA, 4,672 strikeouts and won a record seven Cy Young awards. Clemens was an 11-time All-Star, and was named American League MVP in 1986 and the All-Star game MVP that same year.
Clemens led the American League in ERA in 1990 with a 1.93 ERA and 15 years later led the National League in ERA with a 1.87 ERA in 2005. He led his respective league in ERA seven times and won 20 or more games in a season six times.
Clemens also had 12 seasons with more than 200 strikeouts, leading the American League in strikeouts five times and in shutouts six times. He had 46 career shutouts and won the American League pitching Triple Crown in 1997 and 1998. In 1986, Clemens had a 24-4 record, and 15 years later was 20-3 in 2001.
He was also voted to the Major League Baseball All-Century team.
1. Tom Seaver
Tom Terrific played from 1967-1986, and racked up 311 wins, 205 losses, a 2.86 ERA and 3,640 strikeouts.
Seaver was a 12-time All-Star, won three Cy Young Awards and had five 20-win seasons. He led the National League in strikeouts five times, had 61 career shutouts and a 1.76 ERA in 1971.
Seaver struck out 200 or more batters in a season 10 times and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992.
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