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10 Greatest Pitchers Of All Time to Grace Major League Baseball

Every baseball game has a simmering conflict between the greatest pitchers of all time and their insane arsenal, in addition to the batters and the balls. With steely arms and the sharpness of a fox, these mound masters determine the outcome of the game with each throw. We will set out on a quest to name the all-time best pitchers who are the true monarchs of the rubber!

Imagine sliders that bend reality itself, curveballs that leave hitters looking like bewildered owls, and fastballs that scream like banshees. These are the weapons that our baseball legends have been using to carve their names into the annals of baseball history. We’ll be recreating their historic moments, the strikeouts that broke records, the no-hitters that stopped crowds in their tracks, and the determination that made them champions.

But raw power isn’t the only factor. We’ll also explore the clever brains that crafted the throws. These pitchers were not simply throwers; they were also artists and poets on the diamond thanks to their cunning, lies, and mind tricks. You will witness their lasting stamp on the game, how they converted weakness into strength, and how they outwitted the strongest batters.

Also Read: The 10 Highest Scoring MLB Games in History

10 Best Pitchers of All Time And Their Exceptional Baseball Careers

In baseball’s illustrious history, some pitchers have risen to iconic status, leaving an enduring legacy. Here, we will uncover the 10 greatest pitchers whose remarkable feats and accomplishments have solidified their places among the immortals of the sport.

1. Nolan Ryan (1966-93, 324 wins, 3.19 ERA, 2.05 K/BB)

Nolan Ryan-greatest pitchers of all time
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Born on January 31, 1947, Nolan Ryan Jr. is a well-known American pitcher and sports executive who is considered one of greatest baseball players of all time. Known by his nickname “the Ryan Express,” he pitched for renowned clubs, including the Texas Rangers, New York Mets, California Angels, and Houston Astros, throughout his incredible 27-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career.

Achievements:

  • In the Hall of Fame, he cemented his place among the league’s all-time great pitchers in 1999.
  • Ryan has the greatest ERA among MLB pitchers.
  • He holds the MLB record with an astounding 839 more strikeouts than the runner-up, Randy Johnson, with 5,714 career strikeouts in total. 
  • He became one of the greatest pitchers of all time, a successful right-hander with an incredible 12–6 curveball, and played every other position in baseball at the start.
  • Ryan served as the CEO of the Texas Rangers and a key advisor to the Houston Astros after his playing career.

2. Bert Blyleven (287 wins, 3.31 ERA, 2.80 K/BB) (1970–1992)

Bert Blyleven-greatest pitchers of all time
10 Greatest Pitchers Of All Time to Grace Major League Baseball 12

The Dutch-American baseball hero Bert Blyleven, also known as “The Dutch Master,” played for 22 years, from 1970 to 1992. He began his first Major League Baseball at the tender age of nineteen. His incredible curveball, which was rather underappreciated in his day, is what has made him most famous.

Achievements:

  • Threw a “no-hitter” in his final game as a starter, allowing no hits to be collected by the opposition.
  • Regarded as one of the Red Sox’s top pitchers and received a nomination for the Cy Young honour, which is akin to the MVP honour for pitchers.
  • 2011 saw him elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame, demonstrating the extent of his influence on the game.
  • When he retired, he assisted in educating the Netherlands national baseball team and became a commentator for Twins games.

3. Tom Seaver (1967-86, 311 wins, 2.86 ERA, 2.61 K/BB)

Tom Seaver-greatest pitchers of all time
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Baseball’s “Tom Terrific”, or Tom Seave, was a great pitcher who impacted baseball for two decades. Between 1967 and 1986, he played, amassing an incredible 311 victories and holding his opponents’ batting average to an extremely low 2.86 ERA. Known for his incredible control, he struck out a far higher number of hitters than he walked (2.61 K/BB). 

Tom regrettably died in 2020. He is recognized as a genuine baseball icon due to his extraordinary skill and enduring influence. Without a doubt, he is someone to admire!

Achievements:

  • He was one of the greatest pitchers ever, having won the Cy Young Award thrice by 1975.
  • He was unexpectedly transferred to the Cincinnati Reds in 1977, slightly altering his playing approach.
  • He accomplished a significant milestone in 1985 when he won his 300th game!
  • In 1986, he called it quits on his career with the Boston Red Sox.
  • He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992 with one of the highest voting percentages ever!

Also Read: 5 Hidden Gems in MLB – Potential Breakout Trade Targets of the Season

4. Lefty Grove (1925-41, 300 wins, 3.06 ERA, 1.91 K/BB)

Lefty Grove-greatest pitchers of all time
10 Greatest Pitchers Of All Time to Grace Major League Baseball 14

Baseball’s Predominant Lefty, Lefty Grove, was born Robert Moses Grove in 1900. For 17 years, this legendary left-handed pitcher, widely considered one of the greatest pitchers of all time, left an enduring mark on Major League Baseball, solidifying his spot among history’s elite.

In addition to being among the all-time leaders with a lifetime ERA of 3.06, he is ranked second all-time among the best pitchers in MLB history by Bill James’ Historical Baseball Abstract.

Achievements:

  • He led the league in strikeouts seven times in a row from 1925 to 1933! 
  • He guided the Philadelphia Athletics to two World Series championships (1929–1930) and three consecutive American League titles (1929–1931).
  • In 1929 and 1930, he led the league in strikeouts, wins, and ERA, earning the esteemed Triple Crown for pitchers. 
  • He was referred to as the Most Valuable Player in the league in 1931.
  • With an illustrious legacy with an astounding 300 victories and a winning percentage of .680, he retired in 1941. 

5. Grover “Pete” Alexander (1911-30, 373 wins, 2.56 ERA, 2.31 K/BB)

Grover "Pete" Alexander-greatest pitchers of all time
10 Greatest Pitchers Of All Time to Grace Major League Baseball 15

Grover Cleveland Alexander, sometimes known as “Old Pete,” was born in Elba, Nebraska, and during his 20-year career, he became one of baseball’s most renowned pitchers. He overcome early obstacles and financial difficulties to leave his mark on Major League Baseball (MLB) with outstanding accomplishments and enduring contributions. 

Achievements:

  • Traded following the 1917 season to the Cubs, he was drafted into the Army during World War I
  • He returned to MLB in 1919, served as a pitcher with the Cardinals and was awarded another Triple Crown in 1920.
  • The World Series victory of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1926, where he was a key player, helped the team win Game 7.
  • 1927’s final season with 20 wins, he kept playing with Grover Cleveland Alexander’s House of David Team throughout the late 1930s and early 1940s. 

6. Bob Gibson (1959-1975, 7.22 K/9, 3.10 K/BB, 82.3 WAR)

Bob Gibson-greatest pitchers of all time
10 Greatest Pitchers Of All Time to Grace Major League Baseball 16

Bob Gibson was a renowned Major League Baseball (MLB) right-handed pitcher from the United States who was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on November 9, 1935. Gibson was one of the best pitchers of all time in baseball history during his whole career with the St. Louis Cardinals. 

He overcame ailments as a child to achieve success in basketball and baseball. He exhibited his athletic skills while attending Omaha Technical High School and received a scholarship to play basketball at Creighton University. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July 2019 and passed away on October 2, 2020, at the age of 84.

Achievements:

  • 1959 saw him sign with the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • In 1961, he transitioned to a full-time starting role under manager Johnny Keane, which significantly impacted the Cardinals’ decision to eliminate segregation.
  • He set a World Series record in 1968 in Game 1 by striking out 17 batters. 
  • Against the ace of the Detroit Tigers, Denny McLain, in Game 4 pitched.

7. Greg Maddux (1986-2008, 6.06 K/9, 3.37 K/BB, 116.7 WAR)

Greg Maddux-greatest pitchers of all time
10 Greatest Pitchers Of All Time to Grace Major League Baseball 17

Born on April 14, 1966, Greg Maddux is a retired Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher who spent 23 seasons in the league. Among his monikers are “Mad Dog” and “The Professor.” Throughout his brilliant career, Maddux mainly played for the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves.

Achievements:

  • In Atlanta Braves against the Cleveland Indians, Maddux won the 1995 World Series. 
  • In MLB history, he is the only pitcher to have won the Cy Young Award four times in a row (1992–1995).
  • Maddux owns the record for Eighteen Gold Gloves, most by any player. 
  • He is the only pitcher in history to win 17 straight seasons with at least 15 victories. 
  • With 355 career wins, Maddux is ranked eighth all-time in lifetime wins, and Just eight pitchers have had 300 victories and 3,000 strikeouts, including him.
  • In 1986, Maddux began playing for the Chicago Cubs and had 17 seasons in a row with 15 or more victories. 
  • Maddux took home his second Cy Young Award during his first season with the Braves in 1993. 

8. Roger Clemens (1984-2007, .55 K/9, 2.96 K/BB, 133.7 WAR)

Roger Clemens-greatest pitchers of all time
10 Greatest Pitchers Of All Time to Grace Major League Baseball 18

Known by most as “Rocket,” Roger Clemens is an American who pitched professionally for 24 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). Clemens, who was born August 4, 1962, was a player for the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, and Houston Astros, among other illustrious teams. As one of the greatest pitchers of all time in Major League Baseball history, Clemens won multiple awards and had a lasting impression on the game.

Achievements:

  • In 1999, the trade with the Yankees contributed to the Yankees’ two World Series victories (1999 and 2000) and the 2000 MVP title in the World Series.
  • He was among the best pitchers to begin a season with a 20-1 record in 2001. 
  • 2001 also saw him win his sixth Cy Young Award.
  • In 2004, at the age of forty-two, he became the oldest player to win the Cy Young Award. 
  • He tallied 4,137 strikeouts in his career, good for second place all-time, and pitched in an 18-inning thriller in 2005 that was the longest postseason game in MLB history.

Also Read: Game-Changers: 10 Best Baseball Catchers Of All Time

9. Clayton Kershaw (2008-Present, 2.36 ERA, 9.86 K/9, 4.18)

Clayton Kershaw-greatest pitchers of all time
10 Greatest Pitchers Of All Time to Grace Major League Baseball 19

Born on March 19, 1988, Clayton Kershaw is among the highly skilled left-handed pitchers from the United States. Having been a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2008, he has a plethora of accomplishments to his name, including three NL Cy Young Awards, ten All-Star selections, and a 2020 World Series championship. 

Achievements:

  • Kershaw had an outstanding 2011 season, winning his first Cy Young Award among his many other victories. 
  • He won the pitching Triple Crown by leading the National League in victories, strikeouts, and ERA. 
  • Kershaw continued to excel the next year, coming in second in the NL Cy Young contest. 
  • Kershaw signed a one-year contract to rejoin the Dodgers in 2022; he finished the season with 2,696 strikeouts, tying and eventually surpassing Don Sutton’s franchise record. 
  • He equalled Pee Wee Reese for the most All-Star selections made by a Dodgers player when he recorded his 200th career victory. 

10. Sandy Koufax (1955-1966, 9.28 K/9, 2.94 K/BB, 54.5 WAR)

Sandy Koufax-greatest pitchers of all time
10 Greatest Pitchers Of All Time to Grace Major League Baseball 20

Born on December 30, 1935, Sandy Koufax is a renowned professional baseball pitcher named “Dandy Sandy” and “the Left Arm of God.” From 1955 until 1966, he spent 12 seasons as a Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers player. Though he began his career as a basketball player and encountered difficulties early in his career, Koufax adjusted in 1961 and became one of the greatest pitchers of all time. 

Achievements:

  • On June 4, 1964, he pitched his third career no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies. 
  • On September 9, 1965, Koufax pitched a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs. It was a historic achievement, as he retired all 27 batters he faced.
  • Koufax won the Cy Young Award three times in his career (1963, 1965, and 1966).
  • He was named the National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1963, becoming the first pitcher to win the award since 1952.
  • In 1963, Koufax achieved the pitching Triple Crown by leading the league in wins, strikeouts, and earned run average (ERA). 

Conclusion

These 10 great pitchers of all time have left their mark on baseball history. From Sandy Koufax’s perfect game to Nolan Ryan’s blistering fastball, these players overpowered hitters, won titles, and astounded viewers with their unique repertoire of throws and stunts. These pitchers, whether it was Roger Clemens with his rocket arm or Tom Seaver with his perfect control, were artists who created enchantment with each delivery.

Thus, remember these legendary players who formerly dominated the mound the next time you hear a bat crack. The rich tapestry of baseball’s pitching greats is much larger than just ten, and each one has a legacy that inspires and a narrative to tell.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1. Who is considered the greatest pitcher of all time?

Although it’s difficult to declare one pitcher who is the best of all time, names like Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, and Sandy Koufax are frequently included among the best.

2. Is Clayton Kershaw one of the best pitchers of all time?

Yes, Clayton Kershaw is widely regarded as one of the best pitchers of his era, known for his skill and numerous accolades.

3. What is the fastest a pitcher can throw?

The fastest a pitcher can throw is around 105 miles per hour, achieved by some of the hardest throwers in baseball.

4. Which pitcher has the best ERA?

The pitcher with the best Earned Run Average (ERA) can vary by season. In recent years, Jacob deGrom and Shane Bieber have had outstanding ERAs.

5. Who has the lowest ERA in history?

Dutch Leonard holds the record for the lowest single-season ERA in modern baseball history, with an incredible 0.96 in 1914.

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Monika Ahuja
Monika Ahuja
Monika is a sports fanatic who loves expressing her emotions through her words. She always holds the spirit of the game when writing about them. She has an extensive understanding of different sports formats that prevent her from making any unsubstantiated accusations towards a player or sport. Her understanding, combined with her rigorous research skills, helps her deliver the best sports content.

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