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The 9 Best MLB Pitchers Ever

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.

A list of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball (MLB) history has to include old-timers like Walter Johnson, Lefty Grove, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Cy Young, Warren Spahn, Christy Mathewson, Kid Nichols, Bob Feller, and Satchel Paige. Since most folks these days are not familiar with those men, let's set them aside as greats of a different era. Therefore, I've produced a list of the best MLB pitchers since the 1960s, once the sport was fully integrated, and it's hard to imagine these athletes not succeeding in the earlier era.

9. Jim Palmer
8. Sandy Koufax
7. Bob Gibson
6. Pedro Martinez
5. Steve Carlton
4. Tom Seaver
3. Greg Maddux
2. Randy Johnson
1. Roger Clemens

Jim Palmer

Jim Palmer

9. Jim Palmer

Jim Palmer finished his career with the lowest lifetime earned run average (2.86) of any American League pitcher since Whitey Ford (2.75). Palmer pitched his entire career for the Baltimore Orioles (1965-1984), winning three World Series and three Cy Young Awards during that time. He's the only pitcher to participate in the World Series in three different decades.

Palmer won 20 games or more in a season eight times, on his way to a career record of 268-152. An outstanding fielder, he won four Gold Gloves in addition to his three Cys. He was born in New York City and moved to California at age nine, graduating from high school in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Today, he is the television commentator for the Orioles. Palmer once said, "The only thing Earl (Weaver, his manager) knows about big league pitching is that he couldn't hit it."

Teammate Mike Flanagan once said of him, "Cakes (Palmer) has won 240 games, but it took a picture of him standing in his underwear to get nationally known."

Sandy Koufax

Sandy Koufax

8. Sandy Koufax

Sandy Koufax spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1955-1966). He only won 165 games (against 87 losses), so he can't compare with the others on this list in terms of career victories. His career was cut short from overuse and he retired at 30, pitching his final few seasons with significant arm pain. Sandy is on this list because he was an awesome pitcher.

Koufax was the first pitcher to win three Cy Young Awards and throw four no-hitters. He went 27-9 in his last season with a 1.73 ERA and won 25 games or more three times. Since then, no left-handed pitcher has won more games or posted a lower ERA. That's why he was the youngest player (36) ever named to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Koufax, born and raised in Brooklyn, finished his career with more strikeouts (2,396) than innings pitched—the first to do so. He once said, "Pitching is the art of instilling fear."

Longtime opposing manager Gene Mauch said of Koufax, "He throws a 'radio ball,' a pitch you hear, but you don't see."

Bob Gibson

Bob Gibson

7. Bob Gibson

Bob Gibson was known as the meanest man in baseball when he dominated for the St. Louis Cardinals (1959-1975). He is from Omaha, Nebraska, and he lived there until he passed away in 2020. He was a pitching instructor for the Cardinals.

Gibson had a career ERA of 2.91 and a record of 251-174. He was a great fielder, winning 9 Gold Glove Awards. Gibson was a two-time World Series MVP and a two-time Cy Young award winner.

In 1968, Bob posted a modern record low ERA of 1.12 while winning 22 games with 13 shutouts. He so overwhelmed batters that MLB lowered the pitching mound the following year to give hitters a chance.

Gibson was the first National League pitcher to reach 3,000 strikeouts. He once said, "In a world filled with hate, prejudice, and protest, I find that I too am filled with hate, prejudice, and protest."

Hank Aaron had this to say: "Don't dig in against Bob Gibson, he'll knock you down. He'd knock down his own grandmother if she dared to challenge him. Don't stare at him, don't smile at him, and don't talk to him. He doesn't like it. If you happen to hit a home run, don't run too slow, don't run too fast. If you happen to want to celebrate, get in the tunnel first. And if he hits you, don't charge the mound, because he's a Gold Glove Boxer."

Pedro Martinez

Pedro Martinez

6. Pedro Martinez

Pedro Martinez emerged from humble origins in the Dominican Republic to post the best winning percentage (.687) of any MLB pitcher in over 50 years, with 219 wins versus only 100 losses. His career ERA (2.93) is startling when you consider that his peak coincided with the highest scoring era in baseball history.

Martinez has struck far more batters (3,154) than innings pitched with few walks (760). Though of relatively small stature (5'10"), he has had a career far superior to his peers. While he has pitched for five teams, he is best known as a member of the Boston Red Sox.

In 1997, Martinez became the first right-hander in 85 years to strike out over 300 batters and post an ERA under 2.00 in the same season. His best year was 1999, when he went 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA and 313 strikeouts—and he followed that by going 18-6 with and ERA of 1.74 in 2000, winning his third Cy Young Award.

Former teammate Tom Glavine said this about Martinez: "Pedro’s a great competitor. He stares at hitters and pumps his fist when he pitches, but that’s all part of his competitive nature. After the game, he’s back to being humble. He’s always respectful of his opponents."

Martinez has said, “I actually realized that I was somebody important, because I caught the attention of 60,000 people, plus the whole world watching a guy that if you reverse time back 15 years ago, I was sitting under a mango tree without 50 cents to pay for a bus.”

Steve Carlton

Steve Carlton

5. Steve Carlton

Steve Carlton, who hailed from Miami, pitched most of his career (1965-1988) for the Philadelphia Phillies. He ranks second all time in Major League Baseball for both victories (329) and strikeouts (4,136) by a left-hander.

Carlton, simply known as "Lefty" by Phillies fans, was the hardest working, best-conditioned baseball player of his generation. He is the last pitcher to win 27 games in the National League—for a team that only won 59 games, an all-time record 46% of his team's wins!—and the last to pitch over 300 innings in an MLB season.

Carlton was the first pitcher ever to win four Cy Young Awards. He was a fine fielder and excellent hitter. His 144 base-runners picked off is by the far the all time MLB record—nearly double the 2nd place total.

Richie Ashburn, former great center fielder for the Phillies, said this about Carlton: "Lefty was a craftsman, an artist. He was a perfectionist. He painted a ballgame. Stroke, stroke, stroke, and when he got through (pitching a game) it was a masterpiece."

A quote from Lefty: "(Not talking to the media from 1974 through the end of his career) was perfect for me at the time. It took me two years to make up my mind. I was tired of getting slammed. To me it was a slap in the face. But it [his silence] made me concentrate better. And the irony is that they wrote better without access to my quotes. It's all quotes, anyway, and it all sounds the same to me. After that they wrote better and more interesting stuff. I took it personal. I got slammed quite a bit. To pick up the paper and read about yourself getting slammed, that doesn't start your day off right."

Tom Seaver

Tom Seaver

4. Tom Seaver

Tom Seaver is considered by some to be the best MLB pitcher ever. His career spanned from 1967 to 1986, mostly with the New York Mets. His career ERA of 2.73 is the lowest of our era.

Seaver, from Fresno, California, finished with a lifetime record of 311-205—including many seasons with mediocre teams—with 3,640 strikeouts and three Cy Young Awards. In 1992, Tom received the highest ever percentage of the vote (98.84%) for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Tom Seaver said, "A good professional athlete must have the love of a little boy and the good players feel the kind of love for the game that they did when they were little leaguers."

His teammate Cleon Jones said, "Tom does everything well. He's the kind of man you'd want your kids to grow up to be like. Tom's a studious player, devoted to his profession, a loyal cat, trustworthy—everything a Boy Scout's supposed to be. In fact, we call him 'Boy Scout.'"

Greg Maddux

Greg Maddux

3. Greg Maddux

Greg Maddux is the only pitcher in MLB history to win at least 15 games in 17 consecutive seasons. In 1995, he became the only pitcher to ever win four straight Cy Young Awards.

Maddux, born in Texas, spent much of his childhood in Madrid before graduating from high school in Las Vegas, where he still lives today. He began his career with my beloved Chicago Cubs, but he is best known for his time as an Atlanta Brave.

Greg Maddux has won 355 Major League games—the most in over 50 years—against 227 losses. He has only walked 999 hitters in over 5,000 innings, while posting a career ERA of 3.16 over 24 seasons (1986-2008).

Maddux went 19-2 with a 1.63 ERA in 1995. He is the best fielding pitcher in baseball history, winning 18 Gold Gloves. Maddux may be the most brilliant man to ever throw a baseball.

Hall of Fame hitter Wade Boggs said this about him: "It seems like he's inside your mind with you. When he knows you're not going to swing, he throws a straight one. He sees into the future. It's like he has a crystal ball hidden inside his glove."

Maddux makes it sound simple: "I try to do two things: locate my fastball and change speeds. That's it. I try to keep as simple as possible. I just throw my fastball (to) both sides of the plate and change speed every now and then. There is no special food or anything like that, I just try to make quality pitches and try to be prepared each time I go out there."

Randy Johnson

Randy Johnson

2. Randy Johnson

Randy Johnson stood 6'10" and for most of his career, "The Big Unit" could throw the ball 100 miles per hour. He won five Cy Young Awards—only one baseball player has won more—and pitched in the big leagues until just past his 46th birthday.

Johnson played for six teams, but is best known as a Seattle Mariner. He struck out more batters per nine innings than any pitcher in the history of the game. His 4,875 strikeouts are 2nd all time behind Nolan Ryan—tops for all left-handers.

Johnson's lifetime record of 303-166 gives him one of the highest winning percentages ever (.648). Many left-handed hitters give up before they step into the batter's box. His fierce demeanor has made him the most feared pitcher since Bob Gibson.

In 1995, Johnson went 18-2 and became the first starting pitcher in MLB history to strike out more than a third of all batters faced. He also became the first Seattle Mariners pitcher to win the Cy Young Award. In 2001, Johnson struck out 373 batters, a feat only bested by two pitchers in the modern era (Koufax and Nolan Ryan). Finally, on May 18, 2004, at the ripe old age of 40, he threw a perfect game, the oldest player ever to do so.

Randy Johnson once said, "I had a long conversation with Steve Carlton. He told me that on the days he pitched, he felt it was his responsibility to make everyone around him better, to lift his teammates. That's what I try to do."

His longtime catcher Dan Johnson said, “He's Randy Johnson for a reason."

Roger & Debra Clemens

Roger & Debra Clemens

1. Roger Clemens

Roger Clemens is the greatest pitcher who ever lived. Only "The Rocket" has won seven Cy Young Awards—and he is the oldest pitcher to ever win one. While he pitched for four teams from 1984-2008, he is best known as a member of the Boston Red Sox.

In 1986, Roger Clemens won the Most Valuable Player award—he is still the only starting pitcher to do so since 1971.

In 1986, Roger became the first pitcher to strike out 20 batters in a game—a feat he repeated 10 years later. His career record is 354-184 with a 3.13 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts.

Roger Clemens has said, "I am intense, no question about it. Every time I toe the rubber, it's no different for me than it was in the World Series. That might be somebody's only chance to see me pitch. They might have driven four hours to get there. I'm going to be out there if I can help it."

According to Derek Jeter, "Roger is in another world when he's pitching. He's there, but he's not there."

Honorable Mention

Other pitchers I considered for inclusion:

  • Whitey Ford
  • Gaylord Perry
  • Robin Roberts
  • Juan Marichal
  • Ferguson Jenkins of my beloved Cubs
  • Nolan Ryan (the all time strikeout leader)
  • Phil Niekro
  • Don Sutton
  • Tommy John

I did not include any relief pitchers in this survey. They are of a special category that I may address later.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 18, 2019:

Fifawomens ~ Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article. I am glad you enjoyed it so.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 29, 2019:

Kathleen Cochran ~ Thank you for sharing that fascinating quote with me. I appreciate the visitation from you.

Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on March 27, 2019:

Charlie O'Brien was the first Atlanta Braves' catcher to work with Greg Maddux. At the end of the season, he said he had never heard so many batters walk away from the plate saying, "How the Hell does he do that?!"

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 10, 2015:

lorigrinstead-spa~ Amen! I love the way you think. Thanks for reading my article and leaving your brilliant comments. It is a pleasure to hear from you.

lorigrinstead-spa on April 06, 2015:

Baseball is the lone "thinking womans" sport. It is a well known fact that truly understanding the sport automatically qualifies someone for membership in MENSA

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 31, 2015:

Billrrr~ Nice to hear from you. Thanks for revisiting my Hub here. I've actually got Big Train in first place among my pitchers but I included him in my previous Hub called the ' which features nine men, one for each position. No doubt Spahn was one of the all-time greats.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 31, 2015:

Thank you Raymond Bureau for taking the time to read my article. I am glad we are in agreeance. And I am always pleased to meet another Cubs fan. This could be the year!

Bill Russo from Cape Cod on May 10, 2013:

Hi James, I first visited this list 17 months ago and I liked it then. Revisiting today, I still like it.

I don't think any of the current crop of flingers, including Doc Halliday, is ready to be added to this magnificent group.

As a Warren Spahn, Walter Johnson fan, I am hoping for an all time great list.

My list would put the Big Train in first position followed by Warren Spahn in the second slot. I am not sure where I'd go from there but The Rocket might be number three - steroids or no, he was the best pitcher of his time and certainly one of the best of all time.

I have been studying Cy Young and am ready to release a report debunking him as one of the top ten pitchers of all times. He may be in the top twenty, but I think I can prove that he's no higher than that.

Raymond Bureau on May 09, 2013:

James, I cannot argue with any of these pitchers. In fact, as I kept thinking, "What about...?" I kept scrolling and found the names I wanted: Carlton, Maddux, and Jenkins to name a few. I would like to add Tom Glavine if I may.

P.S.: I am also a big Cub fan.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 31, 2012:

elfego— Thank you for taking the time to read my article about the Best Baseball Pitchers Ever. I really appreciate hearing from such a knowledgeable baseball fan as yourself. Your comments are outstanding!

I agree with you that Roberto Clemente was one of a kind; an extremely rare talent. I did not know his stats were so awesome against HOF pitchers. That is fascinating and I am glad you enlightened me about that. There has never been any doubt about his fabulous defensive skills and performance.


elfego on August 28, 2012:

The one thing most of these guys had in common was that Roberto Clemente was the most successful hitter against them...he hit about .309 against hof pitching...even Pete Rose has said Clemente is the best hitter he's seen! Good pitching beats good hitting except for Clemente and Aaron was just a notch below him in this rareist of categories. Clemente is considered the very best defensive outfielder ever mostly due to that arm that killed even the fastest runners desire to chance an extra base. Now, given this man has the two(2) rareist honors of our national pastime ; home runs vs. home run derby hurlers makes for 'monster stats' but do little to keep me awake when I know these guys will hit about .220 in a world series with hof pitching and may indeed go homerless to boot! Fear 'The Great One'

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 23, 2012:

TrevorBasile— Thank you! I appreciate the visitation and your excellent comments. I look forward to reading some of your articles, which I shall attend to soon. I love your taste in music as featured on your profile page. Thanks again for making contact.

Trevor Basile from Rockaway, NJ on June 19, 2012:

Nice article, love when people make up their own listed cause every has there own idea of who is great. Koufax would top my list and I agree with a couple peoples comments on Cy Young. The one record that will never be broken is his wins total. Nice hub!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 05, 2012:

Mad Hungarian— Thank you! I appreciate the visit and your excellent and thoughtful remarks.

Gosh you are right that I made a mistake about the mound. I will correct that right now. Thanks for noticing and telling me.

I am with you on Maddux. Glad you came by to check out my Hub.

Mad Hungarian on June 02, 2012:

Great Hub! All of these guys were awesome pitchers, I think I enjoyed watching Maddux the most. Just to clarify the mound was lowered a year after Gibson dominated, had it been raised his ERA might have been 0.00

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 17, 2012:

CriticalMessage— Welcome to the HubPages Community! I too am a life-long Cubs Fan. I am well pleased to meet a kindred soul.

No doubt Fergie is at the top of my personal list. There was a man who could and did throw nine.

I think we have a great team in place in the front office now. Maybe by 2014, the Cubbies will be ready.

Thank you for visiting my Hub. I appreciate your thoughtful and insightful comments.


Murphy from Chicagoland, Illinois on May 11, 2012:

I would include Ferguson Jenkins on the list too..

Yes, I am a Cub fan.

Yet, Cub fans have no justified ability to brag about our teams performance.

So we need to focus on some of the great individual accomplishments by those who had the misfortune of being stuck with our miserably lovable team..

Where win or lose is not the concern at Wrigley Field.

Where the bathrooms are, is.


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 11, 2012:

Jason Marovich— Hello! Welcome to my fellow Michigander. I look forward to reading some more of your Hubs soon.

Thank you very much for the accolades. I am glad we are in agreeance. I appreciate the visit and your excellent, insightful remarks.


Jason F Marovich from Detroit on May 08, 2012:

Hey, James. You've obviously a very keen eye for noting what really makes a great pitcher: DOMINATION. Pedro Martinez and Sandy Koufax don't have the big career numbers, but they absolutely dominated hitters for several seasons. THAT's what makes a great pitcher. Kudos on you're fine selections.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 04, 2012:

proudtobeadad— Yes, they did. :D

Thanks again for engaging on one of my favorite subjects: Baseball.

proudtobeadad on March 03, 2012:

... but somehow your Tigers found a way in Game 7....

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 02, 2012:

proudtobeadad— Welcome to the HubPages Community! Thank you very much for coming by and reading my article. Gibson was awesome! He sure tamed those Tigers of mine. Gibby was a fearsome man all the way around.

I appreciate your excellent and insightful remarks.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 02, 2012:

seattleamilehigh1— Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article. I do appreciate your suggestion of adding Phil Niekro to this list of the Best Baseball Pitchers Ever. I had the good pleasure of seeing Mr. Niekro pitch many times and he was awesome, no doubt.

It takes a lot to be included in a list with only nine men on it. You might notice that Niekro is one of only nine pitchers on my honorable mention list, which is featured right at the end of my article. :)

proudtobeadad on March 01, 2012:

Excellent topic! I enjoyed reading it. I am a Gibby fan and vote for him. I had the opportunity to see him way back in the day. What a treat! He had 10Ks and knocked in the winning run. I didn't know he was a gold gloves boxer. But I did know he played for the Harlem Globetrotters before MLB. What an athlete and talent!

seattleamilehigh1 from Seattle, Washington on February 29, 2012:

I have one more addition, or conversation starter. Phil Niekro anyone? I wasen't even old enough to see him play live, but that guy is the reason I throw a knuckleball today! He sure was a hell of a pitcher for a lot of years. Talk about durable, he didn't start less than 30 games until the age of 48. I bet had he not played for those bad Atlanta teams for so so long, his career would sing a much different tune.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 24, 2012:

Craig— Thank you!! Thank you very much! :D

Craig on February 23, 2012:

Great list..and FINALLY an accurate one!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 05, 2012:

WD Curry 111— I am glad you enjoyed this Hub. You made quite interesting observations about how television flattened out the game back then.

I was nine-years-old when Sandy Koufax no-hit the Phillies. I didn't see that game but I was by then watching the Chicago Cubs nearly every day after school (when they were at home).

Thank you for checking out this article. I enjoyed reading your comments.

WD Curry 111 from Space Coast on January 03, 2012:

This was fun for me. I remember the first baseball game I watched from beginning to end on TV was Sandy Koufax pitching a no hitter against the Phillies. Back then, the shot from behind the pitcher was flattened by the telephoto lens in the center field bleachers. The pitcher and batter were the same size. There was no distance between the mound and the plate. The perspective was wacky and it bothered me to watch. My Dad was so excited, that I got caught up in the game.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 23, 2011:

Fullerman5000— Good to "see" you again, my friend. As a life-long Cub fan I will always have a warm spot in my heart for Greg Maddux. He is surely one of the all-time greats. Thank you for visiting and commenting.

Ryan from Louisiana, USA on December 23, 2011:

Great to see Greg Maddoux on this list. He was so much fun to watch. Great work. glad i got to read this one.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 23, 2011:

seattleamilehigh1— I appreciate you coming back by with your additional comments. I, too, remember the days of guys like Fergie Jenkins—who you expected to finish their starts. I suppose, even outside of baseball, we live in an age of specialization.

You named three tough hombres there. And you gave me an interesting idea for another Hub. Thank you!

seattleamilehigh1 from Seattle, Washington on December 21, 2011:

you should put together a list of best post-season starters as well. I could't justify putting Andy Pettite on your current list, but he was a post season machine.

seattleamilehigh1 from Seattle, Washington on December 21, 2011:

no problem. I hate the way the game is set up now. there is a set up man for the setup mans setup man. The bullpen is supposed to come save the starter when he's done, not to match-up every batter after the middle of the 6th. Halladay really is the only the pitcher in the league in my book, other than Cliff Lee and Justin Verlander, that really embodies the STARTER aspect of the role. I'm a career starter and I have always been of the mind that unless I'm out of gas, it's my game to finish.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 21, 2011:

seattleamilehigh1— Excellent point! I see that Halladay's 66 complete games makes him # 1 among all active starting pitchers. I had not realized that until you said it. Thank you!

seattleamilehigh1 from Seattle, Washington on December 17, 2011:

don't forget about his complete game numbers as well. that's what gets him on the list for me. not many starters finish what they started in today's game.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 17, 2011:

seattleamilehigh1— I will have to take another look at Mr. Halladay. No doubt he is among the best pitchers today. And maybe ever. I would say that at 188-92 with a career ERA of 3.23 he might should be on this list.

Thank you for visiting my Hub. I appreciate your comments. I look forward to reading some of your articles. Welcome to the HubPages Community!

seattleamilehigh1 from Seattle, Washington on December 16, 2011:

It's a great article, and it's put together well. Scratching my head on why Doc Halladay isn't on the list though. He'll be in the HOF by the end of his career and we haven't seen stuff like his SINCE Maddux. Just some friendly banter :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 01, 2011:

Billrrrr— I surely agree with you that Warren Spahn has to be on any list of the greatest pitchers ever. There were so many great ones that to keep the length of this Hub short I decided to only include those I was old enough to see pitch. Spahn was barely just before my time. As I explained in the few sentences of this article:

"A list of the best baseball pitchers of all time would have to include Walter Johnson; Lefty Grove; Grover Cleveland Alexander; Cy Young; Warren Spahn; Christy Mathewson; Kid Nichols; Bob Feller; and Satchel Paige. Since most folks these days are not familiar with these men, I have produced a list of the best baseball pitchers since the 1960s."

Warren Spahn might be the best left-hander ever. It is good of you to post this tribute to him here.

I have been meaning to publish another Hub on the greatest pitchers ever—to accompany this one—that would be about the nine men I mention in my first sentence on this page. I think I will get right on that.

Thank you very much, Bill, for visiting and for your excellent comments. :)

Bill Russo from Cape Cod on November 28, 2011:

James, since you did include two old-time players (Koufax & Gibson), it would not have been amiss, to include perhaps the greatest Boston/Milwaukee Brave ever: Warren Spahn. He pitched up until 1965, won close to 400 games and won between 17 and 23 games every single year for 17 straight years (except for one season of 14 and one season of 15 wins). He won 20 or more 12 times!!!!!!!!!!

He did it for the Boston Braves and the Milwaukee Braves, when it was not so easy to win as it was for Mr. Maddux et al who toiled for the ubiquitous & seemingly always victorious Atlanta version of the Braves.

I know someone else mentioned this great Southpaw, and your list is fabulous, but would certainly be notched up with the addition of 'Spahnnie'.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 28, 2011:

Fred— Thank you for visiting my Hub. I appreciate you notifying me of the flaw in this article, which I have corrected. Good eye! :D

Fred on November 13, 2011:

"In 1986, Roger Clemens won the Most Valuable Player Award—still today the only pitcher to do so since 1971."

You mean starting Pitcher, simce we had Fingers in '82, Hernandez on '84m and Eckersley in '82, relief winners all. Vida bLue won the MVP as a starting pitcher in 1971.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 13, 2011:

Richie— Thank you for visiting my Hub. You made excellent suggestions. In my first sentence I disclose the fact that this article is only about pitchers from the 1960s til today. I will have to do a followup article about the old-timers.

As far as Walter Johnson goes, I wrote about him here:

Richie on October 11, 2011:

Walter Johnson?

Christy Mathewson?

Cy Young?

Lefty Grove?

Rube Waddell?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 19, 2011:

docbruin— Thank you. Welcome again to HubPages.

It was hard to narrow down the potential "best baseball pitchers ever" to just these nine. I wanted to go to 20 but I thought it would make the Hub too long for today's MTV attention spans. :D

You are quite welcome.

docbruin on September 17, 2011:

Good hub, James. There have been so many great pitchers that it is hard to narrow them down to a short list. I like your choices and I'd agree that Nolan Ryan should be in there. Thanks for your list!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 10, 2011:

cmdugan— I understand completely, my friend. I'll take care of it. And you are welcome.

Cory Dugan from Arlington, TX on September 09, 2011:

Thanks James for the welcome. I'm a Rangers fan so I'm a little biased towards Nolan.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 09, 2011:

cmdugan— I forgot that I am going to add Nolan Ryan to this list. Thank you for the reminder. I appreciate the visit and your comments. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

Cory Dugan from Arlington, TX on September 08, 2011:

I like this list, but like other people on here, I think Nolan Ryan deserves more than just "considered for inclusion" status. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 25, 2011:

Tim Chirillo— I love it too. He is chillin' alright. Lucky man. Thanks for the comment and welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

Tim Chirillo from Florida on August 24, 2011:

love that pic of the rocket, he's just chillin ! lol

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 11, 2011:

UhOhChongo— Thank you! I think you are right on the money. I appreciate your comments. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

UhOhChongo from Philadelphia, PA on June 09, 2011:

Good hub! My top 5 would be Clemens, Randy, Pedro, Maddux and probably Carlton.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 28, 2011:

????? ??— Thank you for your comment. I appreciate the visitation!

バイアグラ 販売 on May 25, 2011:

Sandy was definitely one of my faves..

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 21, 2011:

FAU Baseball— Thank you for reading my article and leaving your comment. I agree with you!

FAU Baseball on May 19, 2011:

Sandy Koufax, enough said.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 19, 2011:

Wesman Todd Shaw— Thank you for the link! I doubt Cliff Lee will have time to put together a career like these pitchers, who all were successful early on and stayed that way. Great hurler, though.

I do think we'll have more 300 game winners. Greg Maddux did it in our times (the bullpen era). Maybe Tim Lincecum or Felix Hernandez?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 19, 2011:

Sports_Fan— Thank you! I am glad you enjoyed my article. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community.

I have steadily gained 100 Followers each month since I started on HubPages. Some find me because I have written something that interests them, and others followed me because I read and commented on their Hubs first.

Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on April 17, 2011:

Happy to link to you! I wonder if Cliff Lee will someday make a list such as this? Maybe not, he's been injured a whole lot, but he's pretty amazing just the same. He could become something akin to a Josh Hamilton, as someone with a whole world of talent, but without the time put in to accumulate all of the stats.

Do you think we'll ever get another 300 game winner?

Sports_Fan on April 17, 2011:

Outstanding article James! I enjoyed reading it. I myself am a college student studying sports management and I'm trying to gain followers to my sports articles. How did you get so many followers?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 16, 2011:

randy gray— I have to wonder if steroids really helped pitchers pitch better. Batters? Sure.

I am starting to waver on Clemens but not yet ready to write him off.

Thank you for reading my Hub. I appreciate your comments.

randy gray on March 15, 2011:

interesting list,,,, i would delete clemens for his drug use and questionable morals. he is NO role model!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 07, 2011:

4yearstrong— You have met them!? That's awesome! I will come over and read your Hub soon. Thanks for visiting. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

4yearstrong on March 06, 2011:

Great hub! I have met many of these pitchers! I have been collecting autographs and meeting players since I was about 8. I've gotten to know the ins and outs of meeting your favorite players. I actually wrote a hub about how I do it. Check it out!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 02, 2011:

CMerritt— I love Nolan Ryan, and always have. Especially when he put knots on Robin Ventura's head! :D

I just couldn't get past that .526 winning percentage when it came to a list of only nine greatest pitchers ever. I did have him in my top 18 for sure.

About Clemens: I am not sure steroids even helps a pitcher anyway. Hitters? Absolutely.

It hurt me deep when the Cubbies lost Maddox too. He is maybe the smartest pitcher ever. Go Cubs!!

Chris Merritt from Pendleton, Indiana on February 28, 2011:

James, I got to tell you, I TOO, am jumping on the Nolan Ryan Bandwagon.....That man was the epitome of an American athlete....he was a hard core, hard throwing, hard working ball player. A Class act on and off the field.

With that said, It was fun to read about your selections. Being a life long Cubbie fan, I was heart broken when we lost Maddux....I think HE would have brought us the World Series we have been waiting for over a hundred years now...

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 25, 2011:

Wesman Todd Shaw— Hey friend! I suppose Roger did cheat. Maybe I should remove his name and substitute Nolan Ryan. That seems to be the consensus. Thank you very much for reading my baseball Hub. Always good to hear from you.

Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on February 24, 2011:

Clemens was really good, but he cheated, I think, with the steroids. I also thought he should have kept pitching for another year or two.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 14, 2011:

Brent Hale— Thank you for saying so. Lincecum is surely on his way to joining this list. I am glad you liked it. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

Brent Hale on February 12, 2011:

Awesome page Mr. Watkins. Hopefully someday this list will include my favorite, Tim Lincecum.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 26, 2011:

10aeinhorn— Welcome to HubPages! I will check out your Hub soon. Thank you for visiting. And you are welcome.

10aeinhorn from West Chester PA on January 26, 2011:

Roger Clemens, the best pitcher to ever live. agreed.

check out my new hub guys


James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 25, 2011:

justine dable— I hope your dreams come true. Thank you for commenting on my Hub.

justine dable on January 15, 2011:

im m ah baseball player i want to go to amirica and ply base ball thats all

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 12, 2011:

Skip55— I did! Thank you. Dwight was as good as any while he was good. Tragic case.

I love baseball. And have for decades. I love everything about it. You might enjoy another baseball Hub I published:

Skip55 on January 11, 2011:

James, glad you like my response. I like your work. Good you will get Warren Spahn in their somewhere and of course, Nolan Ryan. Another pitcher who much can be said about and could well use a good long article, is Dwight Gooden. Not necessarily as a career, but I believe one of this years was possibly a top two or three in MLB history.

Baseball is my beginning, middle and end. Each baseball game is an art work, it contains its own reason for being, its own beginning, middle and end.

The beauty about baseball is that when there is nothing going on there are a million things going on. I don't remember who said that, Red Barber? I like it.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 11, 2011:

skip55— Why, thank you very much! I am glad to read your remarks about Lincecum's delivery, which has generated some controversy.

This list is only since the 1960s. That is why I neglected Warren Spahn. I was going to do another article on the best pitchers before 1960 but never got around to it. I also promised a few people I would add Nolan Ryan to this page but forgot. I made a note to get her done soon! :D

I appreciate the visit. Always good to meet another baseball fan. Welcome to the Hub pages Community!!

Skip Murray from Somerville, MA on January 10, 2011:

Great, great article on pitchers. I teach baseball pitching and have pictures of most of the guys you wrote about on my bull pen wall. I also include the winningest lefthander in MLB history, Warren Spahn, and, of course, Nolan Ryan. Spahn, like Juan Marichal and Tim Lincecum, had an unorthodox delivery. They are good deliveries. They are healthy deliveries. There has been so much debate about Lincecum's delivery. There is no debate. His delivery is about as perfect as it gets. It is just unusual. He catapults his energy perfectly, no extra strain on anything anywhere. Expect to see him around for years.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 06, 2010:

bogerk— I am glad we are in agreeance. Yea, that delivery is a bit scary. How about Juan Marichal? He had quite a delivery too.

Thanks for for coming back by. Good to hear from you again.

bogerk from Midwest on December 05, 2010:

James - I agree with those four, and Roy Halladay is certainly the best and maybe the most likely to make this list one day. If Tim Lincecum stays healthy, than the sky is the limit, but his delivery scares me a little.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 20, 2010:

bogerk— You know, I made myself two notes to edit this Hub and add Nolan Ryan in, and then I must have lost the note. I'll get to it—by popular demand. He was intense alright. Today? Cliff Lee, Lincecum, Halladay, Sabathia. I see quite a few guys at a similar level right now. I don't see a Koufax or Maddux in the bunch. Who do you think?

bogerk from Midwest on November 19, 2010:

I have to agree with all other comments that discuss Nolan Ryan not being on the list. I haven't seen a better pitcher in my lifetime (born in 1982) or a more intense competitor in any sport (maybe Brett Favre in football) than Nolan Ryan was on the mound. Great Hub, though!

Who do you consider the best pitcher in baseball today?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 16, 2010:

Fullerman5000— I have been taken to task numerous times for excluding Nolan Ryan from this list. I've been meaning to add a capsule about him as a matter of appeasement. I have a note here somewhere to do so. Maddux is the best. I am a Cubs fan and we sure hated it when he left Chicago the first time. Thank you for your insights. I appreciate the visitation.

Ryan from Louisiana, USA on September 15, 2010:

Man it is refreshing to read a writer who knows what he is talking about when it comes to baseball. Greg Maddux is one of my all time favorite. Im a huge Braves fan and i always loved to watch him pitch. It was like watching an artist paint a picture. Was surprised not to see Nolan Ryan on this list. He is one of the reasons i started to get into baseball.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 23, 2010:

dosters— BY popular demand I will be adding Nolan Ryan to this list shortly. There has been a public outcry over his omission. Clemens . . . I think I'll leave him on. I don't think steroids helped pitchers as it obviously did batters.

Thank you for visiting my Hub and commenting. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

dosters from Chicago on August 23, 2010:

This is a pretty good list, but I can't see how you can include Palmer, Koufax, or Pedro without including Nolan Ryan. That man was the most dominant pitcher for such a long time. Also, in light of the recent "activity" surrounding Clemens, any thought to bumping him down/off the list?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 13, 2010:

calebt721— Thank you! Welcome to the Hub Pages Community.

calebt721 on August 12, 2010:

Nice pic of the Rocket!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 19, 2010:

ericsomething— Thank you for visiting and leaving your comments. Nolan Ryan is by far the most often named ommission on my list. Perhaps I should respond to the outcry and add him in. Who shall I remove, would you say?

ericsomething on May 18, 2010:

Good list all around (though being an Angels fan and growing up watching Ryan pitch, well, you know the deal). Of the bunch, Carlton was probably the most unhittable over one year (1972), as you mentioned. Who knows what kind of record the Phillies would have had without him that year?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 16, 2010:

tom hellert— Yes, you are right. Ryan was the last guy I eliminated from about 20 pitchers I listed as finalists. I didn't want too many, so as not to make the Hub too long. Cy Young still has the all time record for wins, but this list is only of pitchers in my lifetime—since the sixties.

I appreciate your comments. Thanks for visiting. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community.

tom hellert from home on May 15, 2010:

I started with a couple guys in mind- as I read on I would say him too ... him too until finally you had the Rocket and I said the list is complete except for Nolan Ryan and Cy Young? NOLAN rYAN WAS AN IRONWORK HORSE and could pitch in any era of baseball I read if he got 1 more run in support per game he would have had 60 more wins... not sure where I saw it

and Cy Young does have a certain pitching award named after him too- I realize he would get rocked by today's hitters but stul for his time.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 04, 2010: This list is only of best baseball pitchers since 1960. I think I will do another Hub about the best before that line and absolutely will include Young and Spahn. Two of the all time greats. No doubt. Thanks for coming by and commenting. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community. on February 04, 2010:

It's probably been said but how can you have a best pitchers ever list & not include Cy Young or Warren Spahn?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 21, 2009:

Double Down— Thank you! I see you correctly predicted the Yankees. Nice work there.

Double Down on December 21, 2009:

Good list, I can't think of any obvious omission's.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 19, 2009:

stars439— I love baseball. Thank you for your fine comments and for coming by to visit so many of my Hubs. I love you, man!

That would be Lou Gehrig's Disease. Sad about Lou. And your doctor friend.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 19, 2009:

drcrischasse— I understand where you are coming from.