Every hitter’s worst nightmare: facing you as their pitching opponent. Some pitchers have made it big in baseball, finding their way onto the list of the greatest pitchers of all time by living by this saying.
Baseball’s beating heart is its pitchers. When the game begins, the pitching staff sets the tone for the rest of the field.
A good pitcher has a wonderful blend of precision, concentration, strong arms, velocity, mental toughness, and movement.
Many great pitchers have graced the field of Major League Baseball. This list is based on Bleacher Report and ESPN content.
Our ranking of the greatest pitchers of all time is here. What are we waiting for?
10 Best Pitchers of All Time
10. Bob Gibson
Pack A professional baseball pitcher by the name of Bob Gibson is Robert Gibson. Born on November 9, 1935, he died on October 2, 2020, at the age 84. He passed away with pancreatic cancer.
Similarly, Gibby spent 17 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, from 1959 to 1975. He didn’t play for another MLB team after that.
With 251 wins, 3,117 strikes, and a 2.91 earned run average (ERA), he was the most successful pitcher in major league history.
His career apex came in 1968, when he posted a 1.12 ERA and struck out 17 batters in the first game of the World Series.
In terms of career strikeouts, Bob was second only to Walter Johnson when he called it a day in 1975. Baseball, coaching, and training the Cardinals’ players occupied much of his post-retirement activities as well.
Gibson played in nine All-Star games and twice won the World Series. Two CY Young medals and the National League MVP award in 1968 are among the honors he has received. In 1981, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
His impact on baseball was far greater than simply pitching. He led a civil rights drive in MLB to ensure that all players had equal access to the clubhouse and hotel rooms.
St. Louis became the first sports team to eliminate segregation as a result of his efforts.
9. Greg Maddux
American baseball pitcher Gregory Alan Maddox has passed away. Coaching collegiate baseball right now is his present occupation. At the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a pitching coach is working with students.
He was a professional baseball player for the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres during a career that spanned from 1986 to 2008.
During the 1984 MLB draft, the Chicago Cubs selected Maddux in the second round of the selection process. In the American Legion, he made his debut before making it to the majors.
Maddux’s winning percentage is 355-227. The average of his four seasons at the plate was 171 – a total of 171 throughout his career. At least a 200.
He also has five home runs and an average of 84 RBIs per game. His superb pitching mechanism has always been lauded by both his contemporaries and specialists.
Six times he won 20 games, five times he won 19, twice he won 18, once he won 16, and once he won 16. In addition, he won four ERA championships.
In addition, Maddux maintains the MLB record for most seasons in the top ten with 18 wins. As a result, he holds the record for the most Golden Gloves.
To put it another way, he was one of only ten pitchers in the 1990s to win 300 games and throw 3,000 strikeouts.
In addition, he is the only pitcher to have won more than 300 games, struck out more than 3,000 times, and walked less than 1,000 times at the same time in the same season.
On January 8, 2014, Maddux was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He is now a special assistant to the general manager of the Texas Rangers and the Chicago Cubs..
8. Roger Clemens
William Roger Clemens was a pitcher in major league baseball. His professional baseball career began in 1984 after the Boston Red Sox selected him in the first round of the 1983 Major League Baseball draft.
Before that, he had two All-American seasons at the University of Texas at Austin, where he went 25–7.
Having played for the Toronto Blue Rays, the New York Yankees, the Houston Astros, and, of course, the Boston Red Sox throughout his career, his playing days came to an end in 2007.
As a pitcher, Clemens is recognized as one of the all-time greats in the Major League Baseball. For the third-highest number of strikeouts in the history of major league baseball, he has 354 wins and a 3.12 earned run average (ERA).
As a rookie, he has the distinction of becoming the only MLB pitcher to begin a season with a 20–1 record. In the same game in 2003, he also won his 300th game and struck out his 4,000th batter.
The only other pitcher in MLB history with more than 350 wins and over 4,500 strikeouts is Clemens. There have been several 20-strikeout performances in his career.
Similar to the American League Cy Young Award and the All-Star Game MVP Award, which he has won numerous times, he has also been honored with numerous other accolades, including the American League MVP.
He was also inducted into the Boston Red Sox and Pawtucket Red Sox Hall of Fames in 2014 and 2019, respectively.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame has yet to honor him. The best pitcher of all time, however, he is.
7. Clayton Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw is a Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the United States. He was drafted seventh overall in the 2006 MLB draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In the Dodgers’ starting rotation, No. 22 is a lefty. When Clayton made his MLB debut in 2008, he was the league’s youngest player.
A 4.26 earned run average in 22 appearances, 21 of which he threw the starting pitcher’s spot. Sandy Koufax has been likened to a left-handed strikeout on numerous occasions.
From 2011 to 2014, Kershaw became the first pitcher in MLB history to lead the league in ERA for four straight years. Three-time National League victories and three-time National League strikeouts leaders.
Among his many honors are being named to eight All-Star teams between 2011 and 2019, excluding 2018, winning the World Series in 2020, being named the National League MVP in 2014, and winning the National League Cy Young Award three times.
Kershaw’s teammates have referred to him as a “perfectionist” because of his incredible fielding prowess.
Besides that, he’s not your typical baseball pitcher. He is a long-time volunteer who has devoted his life to helping others.
Roberto Clemente and Branch Ricky Awards were given to Kershaw for his exemplary work off the field.
He and his wife started “Kershaw’s Challenge” and penned a book to generate money for a Zambian orphanage.
6. Sandy Koufax
Sanford Koufax, a former pitcher with the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers from 1955 through 1966, is a notable figure in the history of baseball.
At the time, he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers for a hefty sum, which he decided to put toward his college education in the event that his baseball career didn’t pan out.
His 12-year career saw him compile a 165-87 record, an ERA of 2.76, 2,396 strikeouts, 137 complete games and 40 shutouts.
To his credit, he was the only pitcher to allow fewer than seven (7.69) hits per nine innings pitched while also striking out more than nine (9.28) opponents per nine innings pitched.
The only other pitcher in MLB history with two games with 18 or more strikeouts was Sandy Koufax. In addition, he was the first to have eight games with at least 15 strikeouts in a season.
In four World Series appearances, he posted a 4–3 record with a 0.95 ERA and a won–loss record of 4–3.
It was a career filled with honors for him. There have never been any pitchers who have won more than one CY award and no one has ever won the Cy Young Award unanimously.
In addition to becoming a six-time All-Star, Koufax won the National League MVP award in 1963.
At the age of 36, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as the sport’s youngest member.
5. Pedro Martinez
Pedro Jaime Martinez was a pitcher in the Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1992 to 2005. He had stints with the Dodgers, Expos, Red Sox, Mets, and Phillies, among others.
When Martinez was an amateur free agent in 1968, he was signed by the Dodgers. Pedro became one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history during the period from 1997 to 2003.
He finished his career with 219 wins and 100 losses, making him the fourth-highest winning percentage in MLB history.
He had a lifetime ERA of 2.93 and a strikeout total of 3000 in his final season. He’s the only pitcher in history with at least 3,000 career strikeouts and less than 3,000 innings worked.
For eight seasons, he has been an All-Star, and he has won three Cy Young Awards.
Additionally, Martinez holds the MLB record for the lowest WHIP in a single season, with a 0.737 mark in 2000.
With a FIP as low as 1.39, in 1999, he set an all time record for lowest single season FIP among live-ball pitchers.
The Boston Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years under his leadership. In his first year of eligibility, in 2015, the baseball player was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
4. Cy Young
Every pitcher on this list has received the Cy Young Award, which is named after Denton True “Cy” Young, an American professional baseball player.
Cy Young’s legacy in baseball pitching will never be equaled. Cy Young Awards are given to the best pitchers in every MLB division.
After a brief stint in the Tri-State League, Young made the jump to the National League. 1890 saw him sign with the now-major-league Cleveland Spiders (Cleveland Indians, the renamed Spiders).
Against the Chicago Colts, he earned an 8-1 win with a three-hitter. Along the way, he’d play for the St. Louis Perfectos and Cardinals as well as Boston Americans and Red Sox as well as teams in Cleveland and Boston.
Additionally, he worked for Boston Americans as a manager. Although he died nearly 70 years ago, Young is still held in such high regard. He’s a baseball legend, no doubt about it.
In MLB, he amassed 511 career victories. While leading his league in victories and pitching three no-hitters, he also compiled a remarkable record of a 1904 perfect game.
3. Randy Johnson
His teams included the Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees, and St. Francisco Giants. Randall David Johnson was a former pitcher in major league baseball.
Randy was selected by the Montreal Expos in the second round of the 1985 Major League Baseball draft. In 1988, he made his professional debut, and in 2009, he finished his playing career.
His 303 career victories rank him as the fifth-best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball history. In addition, he tallied 4,875 strikeouts, making him the second-greatest left-handed pitcher of all time.
Five of Johnson’s strikeout totals rank among the top seven all-time for a left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball.
With 10 All-Star appearances under his belt and five Cy Young Awards to his name, he is a true baseball legend. Both in the American League and National League, he is ranked among the top five no-hitter pitchers of all time.
In addition, Johnson set a record by pitching a perfect game at the age of 40, becoming the oldest pitcher in perfect game history. The sixth-highest winning % among left-handed pitchers with at least 200 decisions is his.646 career mark.
The first place in strikeouts per nine innings pitched, the third place in hit batters, and the tenth place in fewest hits allowed per nine innings pitched all belong to his career achievements.
The Baseball Hall of Fame voted to induct Johnson in his first year of eligibility in 2015.
It’s also worth noting that he is the first Hall member to have been represented in an Arizona Diamondbacks outfit on his plaque.
2. Walter Johnson
He was a pitcher in the major leagues, Walter Perry Johnson His playing career spanned seven seasons with the Senators, starting in 1907. For the Washington Senators and the Cleveland Indians, he later serves as a general manager.
In 1907, he was only 19 years old when he was signed by the Washington Senators. He is regarded as one of the best and most dominant power pitchers in Major League Baseball history, and this is still the case today.
For the time, he set numerous baseball records, some of which are still unbroken decades later. Despite his imminent retirement, Johnson still holds the record for most career shutouts with 110.
As a result, his 417 victories are the second-most all-time, while his 531 games played are the most ever.
Over the course of his career, he struck out 3,508 batters, a mark that stood for nearly 56 years. At the time, he was the only player to reach the milestone of 3000 strikeouts.
Among the 18 members in the 3,000-strikeout club, Johnson has the most innings pitched. His 5.34 strikeouts per nine innings pitched is also the lowest in the league.
In 1936, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Of the original inaugural class, he was one of just five people to be given this distinction.
Walter Johnson’s compassionate temperament and superb sportsmanship are still recognized today. Indeed, he’s a legend for a good cause!
1. Christy Mathewson
As Christy Mathewson, Christopher Mathewson was one of baseball’s most dominant players, and he is still considered the greatest.
After making his major league debut in 1900, the American right-handed pitcher went on to have a lengthy career that lasted until 1916. He went on to play for the New York Giants and the Cincinnati Reds after that. For the Reds, he was also a manager.
Mathewson was among the greatest pitchers of all time in terms of wins, ERA, and shutouts.
The same can be said about his 373 victories, 2.13 ERA, 2,502 strikeouts, and a winning percentage of.665.
When he was barely 14 years old, he began playing semi-professional baseball. For a brief period, he was a member of the Pittsburgh Stars of the original NFL.
As an example, consider a player who is good enough to play professional football and baseball. Christy Mathewson has you covered!
Christy tossed three shutouts in the 1905 World Series to help the Giants win their first championship.
Matthewson, a sincere Christian, refused to pitch on Sundays due of his religious convictions and a vow to his mom.
During World War I, he was a chemical warfare specialist in the US Army’s Chemical Warfare Service. In addition, he worked on his writing skills.
As one of the first five baseball players to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936, Mathewson was recognized for his contributions to the sport.
Christy Mathewson has been retired for more than a century, and his death will mark the end of another century in the coming years, but his memory endures in the hearts of baseball fans everywhere. Baseball’s greatest ever player, he is and always will be.
We have listed the best pitchers of all time below:
- Christy Mathewson
- Walter Johnson
- Randy Johnson
- Cy Young
- Pedro Martinez
- Sandy Koufax
- Clayton Kershaw
- Roger Clemens
- Greg Maddux
- Bob Gibson
What is the name of your favorite baseball player? Was your favorite baseball player mentioned? Your thoughts on this list? Remember to leave a message!