Written By Jason Voorhees
In the past I have done posts on top positional rankings of all time in the NFL. Undertaking the task of compiling a top all-time positional ranking is daunting. It requires in depth research and analysis as well as having a key eye for the unknown.
Many times these lists are controversial due to the wide range and differences of opinion. However; that is what makes these lists unique. Top Lists are always based on a number of key variables most notably statistical analysis and postseason success. However, there are also other measurables and intangibles that must be factored in when generating the flow of the list.
For these reasons, it is very possible for one player to have lesser statistics but fall higher on the list. This can be argued by proving world class dominance during short periods of time. Parameters must be set to limit the amount of sway due to the changing variables. For purposes of this list, current and past players are eligible for the list and it may include relief pitchers or starting pitchers.
Before we get to the top 20 list, we will provide a list of players that did not make the cut but do require honorable mention. The following is a list of players that were on the bubble but ultimately did not crack the list.
Juan Marichal (1960-1975)
Career Stats: 243Wins/142Losses/2.89ERA/1.10WHIP/2,303K's/63.0WAR/244CG/52Shutouts
Marichal was a six-time 20-game winner and ten-time All-Star. He was known for his signature high leg kick and dart board accuracy. He was relentless when it came to throwing inside and pushing batters off the plate. He played most of his 16 year career with the San Francisco Giants and was one of the original stars to import from the Dominican Republic. Juan twice lead the league in complete games and shutouts.
Jim Palmer (1965-1984)
Career Stats: 268Wins/152Losses/2.86ERA/1.18WHIP/2,212K's/68.9WAR/211CG/53Shutouts
Jim Palmer was the greatest pitcher in Baltimore Orioles history. During his nineteen year hall of fame career, he was a three- time Cy Young Award winner and six-time All-Star. Jim was an eight-time 20 game winner and lead his team to six world series appearances. In 17 Postseason appearances, Jim won 3 world series championships while going 8-3 and posting a 2.61ERA, 1.21WHIP, and 90 strikeouts in 124.1 innings pitched. Not too shabby and definitely worthy of the top 20!
Bob Feller (1936-1956)
Career Stats: 266Wins/162Losses/3.25ERA/1.32WHIP/2,581K's/63.9WAR/279CG/44Shutouts
Bob may have cracked the top fifteen-ten if not for missing four years during his prime where he served in the military during World War II. Even with his four missing seasons, he still compiled one of the greatest resumes in baseball history. He was a six-time 20-game winner that threw three no hitters, had 12 one hitters and one triple crown. During his 18 year career, he lead the league in wins six times and lead the league in strikeouts seven times. He would have smashed the 300 win barrier if not for his missing time in the service.
Ferguson (Fergie) Jenkins (1965-1983)
Career Stats: 284Wins/226Losses/3.34ERA/1.14WHIP/3,192K's/84.4WAR/267CG/49Shutouts
The man they called "Fergie" did not have overpowering stuff. He was not flash and dash. However, what he did bring to the table was confidence. During his 19 year career, he was a seven-time 20-game winner as well as a three-time All-Star while winning the Cy Young award in 1971. Fergie spent the majority of his hall of fame career pitching for terrible teams in hitters parks which makes his accomplishments that much greater. The model of consistency.
Tom Glavine (1987-2008)
Career Stats: 305Wins/203Losses/3.54ERA/1.31WHIP/2,607K's/80.8WAR/56CG/25Shutouts
Along with Greg Maddux and John Smoltz, Glavine was part of one of the greatest pitching trios of baseball history for the Atlanta Braves. He was a two-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series MVP. During his 22 year career he was a ten-time All-Star and five-time 20-game winner including three years in a row (1991-1993). Tom Glavine was often overshadowed by Greg Maddux but his achievements were outstanding nonetheless.
Ok...so these were players that just missed the cut. I am sure that some people will disagree and that's the fun part of these lists when there will always be differences of opinion. There are also many other current pitchers that I could have included like Madison Bumgarner, Max Sherzer, C.C. Sabbathia, or Justin Verlander, but I don't believe any of those guys are quite there yet. Anyways...without further ado...lets get to the list of Top 20 Pitchers of All-Time in Jason Voorhees Perspective.
20. Mariano Rivera
In 2019, Mariano Rivera became the first major league baseball player ever to be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame unanimously. Many people were floored by this idea considering how many great players had entered the hall before him that were everyday players on the field; and yet no one was ever unanimous. Nonetheless, this accomplishment speaks volumes about the greatness of Rivera and what he did as the New York Yankees star closer for almost two decades.
And the same goes for putting Rivera on a top all-time list for pitchers. But not only is Mariano Rivera the greatest relief pitcher of all-time, but he also belongs right here with the top pitchers in MLB history. During his 19 year career as the Yankees closer, he was a 13-time All-Star, 5-time Rolaids Relief Man Award Winner, 3-time Delivery Man of the Year winner, 3-time MLB saves leader, 2003 ALCS MVP, and 1999 World Series MVP. He was a world class talent at the closer position and the author of one of the nastiest cutters the game has ever seen.
Not only did Rivera have Hall of Fame statistics...but he also had a penchant for helping his team win. In fact, he helped guide the New York Yankees to Five World Series titles, four of which came during their dynasty in the late 1990's. They won four titles in five years and Rivera had a lot do with those wins. His major league postseason statistics are legendary: 78 Appearances, 141 Innings Pitched, 8-1, 0.70ERA, 42 Saves, 1 Blown Save, 110K's, 21BB. That is some serious numbers folks.
Starter or no starter, what Mariano Rivera did in his career is nothing less than remarkable. He definitely belongs in the Top 20 and maybe someday he will be even higher on the list.
19. Whitey Ford
Another Yankee to crack the list...go figure. All joking aside Whitey was an astronomical part of the New York Yankees organization and greatest starting pitcher of all time. He was a six time world series champion and Cy Young Award winner in 1961. Ford lead the American League in wins three times and innings pitched twice.
Ford missed two seasons earlier in his career due to military service and would have had even better stats. His regular season stats are not as good as many others on the list but he did most of his damage during the postseason where it counts. He still holds multiple World Series Records, most importantly 10 Career Wins. He also threw 33 consecutive scoreless innings in the World Series.
Overall Postseason Numbers look like this...22 Games Started, 10-8, 2.71ERA, 146 Innings, 7 Complete Games, 3 Shutouts, 94 K's, 34 BB's. Whitey Ford is the definition of a Big Game Pitcher. His performance on the big stage is what places him at #19 on the list.
18. Eddie Plank
Who is Eddie Plank? When talking about all-time great pitchers that name definitely does not come to mind. However; what he accomplished on the diamond was utterly amazing. Plank started 529 games during his career and completed 410 which comes out to roughly 77 Percent! That's a ridiculous stat when In todays game the season leader for complete games may be six!
During his 17 year career he was an eight-time 20-game winner which included four years in a row (1902-1905). He was a 2x MVP and 2x World Champ. His other statistics are amazing in itself but the 410 complete games puts him far ahead of the nearest competition. Eddie is definitely a gamer and deserves to be on the list!
17. Grover Alexander
Grover Alexander was another complete game machine tossing 436 of those gems including 90 shutouts which is second all-time in MLB history. He began his career with the Philadelphia Phillies and had one of the greatest rookie seasons as a pitcher in baseball history. That year he lead the league with 28 wins and 7 shutouts. He only allowed 7 hits per nine innings, had 31 complete games and tossed 367 innings. Alexander also posted a 2.57ERA and struck out 227 batters while finishing third in the NL MVP race.
Otherwise known as "Cleveland", Grover was an extremely dependable starter that posted consistent top end stats during his entire career. He won the triple crown of pitching four times during his illustrious career. The Cy Young Award was not yet in existence during his time; but had it been around he would have qualified eight times and would have had a great shot at winning it all eight times. This was dominance at its peak.
For as good as Grover was, he only made the postseason three times but he did win a championship with the Saint Louis Cardinals in 1926. Cleveland lead the NL in wins six times (each with 27 wins or more, including three 30-win seasons). He also won five ERA titles and lead the league in strikeouts six times. In essence, he was the greatest pitcher of his time and definitely one of the all-time greats.
16. Clayton Kershaw
Through 11 seasons, Clayton Kershaw has won an MVP Award, three Cy Young Awards, four ERA titles, three strikeout crowns, a Gold Glove, and a Triple Crown. This is amazing for a pitcher that is still only 30 years old. Kershaw has been the best pitcher of the past decade and if he can stay healthy will finish much higher on this all-time list. Unfortunately, Kershaw has had some injuries the past few seasons or his stats would have been even greater.
Clayton's best season came in 2014 when he went 21-3 with a 1.77ERA and throwing 239 Strikeouts and only 31 walks. At this point in his career he has a tremendous 4.24 Strikeout to Walk ratio. He is definitely one of the greatest pitchers of his generation and that is why he cracks the list. He still has some work to do, but has been one of the most consistent starters the past ten years. He is the active career leader with a 2.39ERA as well as 1.00 WHIP, 6.62 hits per nine innings and 15 career shutouts. He is second all-time with an adjusted 159 career ERA+.
15. Gaylord Perry
Gaylord Perry is most famous for the illegal spitball that he created. However, he was more than just a prankster. He was a BEAST on the diamond. Perry was the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in both the American and National League. He was a five time all-star and two time Cy Young Award winner. Over his 22 year career, he accumulated one of the best WAR all-time for pitchers and is eighth all-time in strikeouts.
Unfortunately, Perry played on some very bad teams and only had one postseason appearance. He bounced around a lot during his career and played for nine teams. He did win his second Cy Young Award at the ripe old age of 39 with the San Diego Padres. That season he finished 21-6 while posting a 2.73ERA, 260.2Innings, 154K's and only 66 walks. Perry had five 20-win seasons during his career. His best season came in 1972 with the Indians when he went 24-16 with a miniscule 1.92ERA , 29 Complete Games, 5 Shutouts, 234K's and 82 Walks. Perry is a member of the Hall of Fame and lands at #15 on our list.
14. Warren Spahn
Warren Sphan made his major league debut at 21 years old in 1941, only appearing in 4 games. He then was drafted into the military and was out of baseball from 1942-1945. However; when he returned it did not take long for him to round into form. In 1947, he went 21-10 while posting a league leading 2.33ERA, 22 Complete Games, league leading 7 shutouts, in 289.2 innings of work. He struck out 123 batters and walked 84. This was his coming out party and Warren never looked back.
From 1947-1954, he finished in the top 5 for MVP voting in the National League. He won the Cy Young Award in 1957 and finished as the runner up in 1958, 1960 and 1961. Spahn was one of the top control pitchers in history and won the ERA title three times in his 21 year career. He was one of the most consistent pitchers of his day and produced as a front line starter in three decades. His 63 shutouts is sixth all-time and he has more wins than any pitcher of the live-ball era.
13. Lefty Grove
One of the most dominant left handers of all time, Lefty led the American League in strikeouts in each of his first seven seasons. He also won five ERA titles in those first eight seasons. After leaving Philly, he went on to win four more ERA crowns with the Boston Red Sox. So that's nine ERA titles in 17 years, over half his career. That is a sick statistic and shows how dominant Grove was. Of course they did not have the Cy Young Award during that time, but he probably would have won at least nine of those as well!
His best season came in 1931, when he went 31-4 while posting a 2.06ERA, 175K's, 62BB's, and 1.07WHIP, all enroute to an MVP Award. He won two pitching triple crowns during his career and lead the Athletics to three consecutive World Series appearances where they won two. In three postseason appearances, Lefty went 4-2 with a 1.75ERA, 51.1 Innings Pitched, 4 Complete Games, 36 Strikeouts and only six walks. Two World Championships and a World Series MVP Award. Grove was also a six time all star and MVP. The definition of dominance and the first greatest lefty.
12. Sandy Koufax
Sandy Koufax is the example of the player that makes the list while having lesser stats. Koufax only comes in with a 49.0WAR and did not even crack the 200 win barrier. However; when you look back at his career, its the intangibles and the levels of dominance that he showed that earns him the spot on the list. How much weight do we put on players when it comes to shorter careers? That's the question that has to be answered here. Koufax was a 7-time All-Star, 3-time World Series Champion, 3-time Cy Young Award winner, 5-time ERA Champ, 1963 NL MVP, and two time World Series MVP winner. That's a ton of hardware for a player that only played 12 seasons.
The awards only show a small sample size of Sandy's dominance on the mound. Koufax was unhittable literally as he tossed four career no hitters, second all-time to Nolan Ryan and also pitched a perfect game in 1965. Along with his MVP award, he also finished as the MVP runner up two other times. He is only one of four pitchers to retire with more strikeouts than innings pitched and posted a 9.27 Strikeout Rate per nine innings which ranks 11th all-time. If not for the career ending elbow injury that cut his career short at age 30, Koufax probably would have been the best all-time if you projected his numbers out through a full career.
Sandy Koufax was brilliant in the postseason as well. 4 World Series Appearances, 3 World Series Championships, 2 World Series MVP Trophies, 4-3 Record, 0.95ERA, 4 Complete Games, 2 Shutouts, 57 Innings Pitched, 61 K's, and only 11 Walks. Now that's dominant Folks. Big game pitcher for a big game squad. One of the slam dunks for the Top 20.
11. Bob Gibson
Bob Gibson was so dominant that major league baseball changed the rules. He was absolutely unhittable for a long period of time. Prior to 1969, MLB lowered the pitching mound after 1968's "Year of the Pitcher." During that year Gibson posted a 22-9 Record, 1.12ERA, 28 Complete Games, 13 Shutouts, 304.2 Innings, 268 K's and only 62 Walks with a miniscule 0.85WHIP. Those are some serious numbers and Major League Baseball lowered the mound the next season...Talk about making a difference.
Gibson was the MVP winner in 1967 and went on to win two Cy Young awards along with a triple crown. He was also a nine-time All-Star. But his true stardom came in the postseason. Bob flexed his muscles even more in October. He had 3 World Series Appearances...Won 2 World Series and 2 World Series MVP Awards. During those World Series he was 7-2, 1.89ERA, 8 Complete Games, 2 Shutouts, 81 Innings Pitched, 92 Strikeouts, 17 Walks, 0.89WHIP, and 10.2 Strikeouts/per nine innings. That is legendary and makes Bob Gibson one of the greatest postseason pitchers as well.
10. Steve Carlton
In 1972 the Philadelphia Phillies won 59 games. Steve Carlton won 27 of those games as the Phillies ace. Steve Carlton, otherwise known as "Lefty", dazzled hitters for much of his 22 year career. He began his career in Saint Louis where he was a three time All-Star, but was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1972 after a 20-win season for the Cardinals. He went on to become the first pitcher ever to win four Cy Young Awards. Lefty shined after the trade and was known for his unhittable slider.
That first season for Carlton with the Phillies was magical. He posted a 12.0WAR which was the second highest single season WAR only bested later by Dwight Gooden's 12.2 in 1985. He went 27-10, while posting a 1.97ERA, 310 Strikeouts, 346 Innings pitched and 40 Complete Games. That season earned him the Cy Young award which he would go on to win three more. The 1972 season was the beginning of Carlton's stardom and he never looked back. 10 All Star Games, 4 Cy Young Awards, 1 World Series Championship later he was basking in the greatness of the Hall of Fame. Lefty was an unhittable force that dominated MLB for a long period of time and cemented himself as an all-time great.
9. Tom Seaver
Not only is Tom Seaver one of the greatest pitchers of all-time, he may be the New York Mets greatest player of all-time! In 1967, Seaver's rookie season, he won NL rookie of the year and he even garnered some MVP votes. Two years later he guided the "Miracle Mets" to their first World Championship in 1969, en-route to his first of three Cy Young Awards. He also finished second in MVP voting. Seaver was downright dominant for the Mets his during his entire decade with the club. From 1967-1973, Seaver posted an ERA under 3.00 and in 1971 he had microscopic 1.76 ERA while winning 20 games.
He was traded to the Reds in 1977, and although he did not have the same success, he did manage to finish top three in the Cy Young voting three more times. Tom Seaver was one of the most consistent starters in the history of the game. He was the definition of a quality start. Every time he took the mound the team knew that they would be kept in the ball game. Seaver is seventh all time on the WAR list among pitchers. He was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1992 with a 98.84 Percent vote which stood as a record until 2016. Seaver is also seventh all-time in strikeouts. Mr. Met is an all-time great and comes in at #9 on the list.
8. Nolan Ryan
Nolan Ryan may not have been the most dominating pitcher in baseball history but he definitely was the most intimidating. In fact, he is the all-time leader in strikeouts and its not even close (Randy Johnson-2nd 839 Less). Ryan was blessed with an above average fastball that proved to be unhittable more than its share of time. When Nolan let his fastball fly, more often than no batters would swing and miss. He holds the MLB record of No Hitters with seven. And as mentioned, he is the all-time strikeout king with a whopping 5,714 K's. Ryan is the perfect example of a player that finishes higher on a list despite lack of statistical greatness in other areas and missing hardware.
Ryan never won a Cy Young award and only had eight all star appearances in 27 seasons of work. However, he did his damage when the chips were down. His 9.54 Strikeouts per nine innings ranks seventh all time. Moreover, he posted 6 300-Strikeout campaigns including a career high of 383 in 1973. He was also a shutout machine where he posted 61 in his career (tied for 7th all-time) with Tom Seaver. Ryan won 11 strikeout crowns and 2 ERA titles in his 27 seasons as well. Unfortunately, Ryan only won one world championship with the Mets as he played for some really bad teams the rest of his career. Nonetheless, Ryan makes the list due to his fierceness and competitive prowess.
7. Greg Maddux
What Greg Maddux accomplished during the steroids era was epic. Pitching in the same era as flamethrowers Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens, Maddux managed to rely on pinpoint accuracy and control. He was an 8-time All-Star award winner to go along with 4 Cy Young Awards. He was the model of consistency in a league that was dominated by inconsistency. He won 15 games or more seventeen straight seasons which is still an all-time record. He also won those four Cy Young Awards in four consecutive seasons which had also never been done.
Maddux began his career with the Cubs and quickly established himself as an upper echelon ace in the league. 1988 was his coming out party when he went 18-8 while posting a 3.18 ERA. He bested those numbers the next season going 19-12 and posting a 2.95 ERA. His best season came with the Braves in 1995 when he went 19-2 with a miniscule ERA of 1.63, while throwing 10 complete games and 3 shutouts.
All in all, Maddux won four ERA titles, while leading the NL in ERA five times. He ranks eighth all-time in wins with 355 which is more than any other pitcher that pitched after 1965. Maddux was the complete package. He wasn't overpowering but knew how to get the job done and the results speak for themselves. He lead the Braves to 10 straight division championships and a World Series title in 1995. Maddux is the epitome of consistency and one could argue that he is the greatest of all-time...he was that good.
6. Roger Clemens
Otherwise known as "The Rocket", Roger Clemens burst on to the scene with the Boston Red Sox at age 21 and became their ace very quickly. Unfortunately, Clemens will always be looked at in a different light due to his ties to steroid use. Although the accusations were never officially proven, Clemens continues to be denied the Hall of Fame. The bottom line is that Clemens was an absolute BEAST despite the steroid claims and his numbers were off the charts, putting him at the top of the all-time greats. Clemens is the all-time leader in WAR coming in just south of 140 which is insane.
Clemens is a 7-time Cy Young Award winner, MVP winner, and 2-time triple crown winner. Not to mention a six-time 20-game winner, including a his 24-4 season in 1986. That season he posted a 2.48 ERA in 254 innings, 238 Strikeouts and only 67 walks, while winning the Cy Young and MVP awards. Not including his seven Cy Young Awards, he also finished second for another Cy Young Award in 1990 when he posted a 21-6 record with a 1.93 ERA.
His postseason numbers were also off the charts. He finished with a 12-8 record, 3.75 ERA, 199 Innings Pitched, 173 Strikeouts, 70 Walks, 1 Complete Game and 1 Shutout and of course a world series championship with the New York Yankees. He was also an 11-time All-Star. Clemens is third all-time in strikeouts only behind Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson. He is ninth all-time in wins. And as mentioned...7 Cy Young Awards is tops all-time and shows the dominance that "The Rocket" displayed over three decades. Despite being forever linked to the black cloud of steroids...Roger Clemens remains one of the all-time greatest pitchers of all-time.
5. Christy Mathewson
Christy Mathewson was absolutely dominant pitching at the beginning of the century. He won at least 20 games thirteen times out of his seventeen year career. He won at least 30-games 4-times including a career high of 37 in 1908. In 1908, Mathewson went 31-9, posting a 1.28 ERA with 206 Strikeouts and only 64 walks. It was his third consecutive strikeout title and the ERA was one of the lowest all-time. He actually bested it in 1909 with a microscopic 1.14 ERA. Insane numbers folks.
He lead the Giants to a championship in 1905 at 24 years old. His postseason numbers were also ridiculous when it comes to runs allowed. He was 5-5, with a 0.97 ERA, 10 Complete Games, 4 Shutouts, 101.2 Innings Pitched, 48 Strikeouts and only 10 Walks. Mathewson was a gamer that consistently lead the league in all pitching categories. If the Cy Young Award was in existence he projected to win ten of those which definitely would have made him the best ever.
4. Pedro Martinez
Pedro Martinez does not have the numbers that some of the others on the list have. However, Pedro may have been the most dominant pitcher during a seven year period ever. From 1997-2003, he enjoyed a peak that only a few others have matched. In 1997, he threw 13 complete games while posting a 1.90 ERA and lead the league In strikeouts with 305. He won the Cy Young Award that season, his first of three. Then in 1999 and 2000, he was the unanimous Cy Young winner in the American League for the Boston Red Sox.
On top of his hardware that he did win, he also finished top 3 in 1998, 2002 and 2003. In 2001, he finished with 163 Strikeouts in only 116.2 Innings despite a torn rotator cuff injury. During the seven year peak, he averaged 11.26 Strikeouts per nine innings and almost 6 strikeouts per walk while posting a minute 2.20 ERA. Pedro was unhittable at times and stymied hitters despite his extremely small frame. He was an 8-time All-Star and just missed an MVP award in 1999.
Pedro was just as dominant in the postseason. In 1999, he had a 17 inning scoreless innings streak. He also went at least six innings in thirteen of his sixteen postseason starts. He finally won a World Series in 2004 with the Boston Red Sox. In game 3, he went seven scoreless innings with 6 Strikeouts and 2 walks. Pedro only played 18 seasons and retired after the 2009 season. Martinez slowed down at the end of his career but that dominant seven year period earns him #4 on the list.
3. Cy Young
What would the top list of all-time pitchers look like without the pitcher that the games best yearly award is named after. Cy Young has the stats. He is Baseballs all-time leader in wins (511), Losses (315), Innings Pitched (7,356), Starts (815) and Complete Games (749). And these all-time numbers trump the next best to him by a landslide folks. Cy Young won at least 20 games fifteen times and 30 games five times. He also won two starts during the first modern day World Series against Pittsburgh going 2-1 while posting a 1.85 ERA in 34 innings pitched. He struck out 17 and only walked 4 during that series.
Cy Young set the bar and standard for every guy that appears on this list. He was consistent for a very long period of time. His best season was in 1892 where he was 36-12 while posting a 1.93 ERA, 168 Strikeouts, 48 Complete Games and 9 Shutouts. He also won the triple crown of pitching. Cy Young was a dominant force on the mound and has the lifetime numbers to prove it. Not much more that we can say about the guy as evidenced by the best pitching award that bears his name.
2. Randy Johnson
Known as "The Big Unit," Randy Johnson was an imposing and intimidating figure on the mound that struck fear in opposing batters minds. At 6'10" and 225 Pounds, he looked like a Giant playing in a midgets game. Johnson was a 5-time Cy Young Award winner and nine-time strikeout champ. He finished his career second all-time to Nolan Ryan in strikeouts. He had an unhittable fastball that routinely hit 100mph on the gun that would break like a Slider. That fastball also lead to a 10.6 Strikeouts per nine innings mark which is best all-time in history.
Johnson began his career with the Expos and was traded to the Seattle Mariners after his first season. He won his first Cy Young award with the Mariners in 1995 at age 31. He went 18-2 with a 2.48 ERA and 294 Strikeouts. He went on to win four more Cy Young Awards including 2002 at age 38. Johnson also was a ten-time All-Star over a career that spanned three decades.
The best work on his resume came during his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks where he won a World Series Championship in 2001. He was also the World Series MVP as the Diamondbacks upset baseball's goliath New York Yankees. Playing the role of David, Johnson went 3-0 while posting a microscopic 1.04 ERA in 17.1 innings of work. He struck out 17 and only walked 3 while also throwing a complete game shutout. His overall postseason work was marred by a few seasons where he had ERA's that were ballooned by a few bad starts. With that being said, that 2001 postseason run was one of the greatest for a starting pitcher that MLB has ever saw.
1. Walter Johnson
Another player...another Johnson on the list. Walter Johnson was known as "The Big Train." One of the few stars on this list that spent an entire career with one team...a very rare feat. During that career he won 417 games which is second to Cy Young. He is also fifth all-time with 531 complete games and the all-time leader in shutouts with 110. In 1914 he won an astounding 51 games and averaged over 26 wins over a nine year stretch from 1910-1919. He lead the league in wins, complete games and shutouts six times and was a 12-time strikeout champ.
Walter Johnson did not have much postseason experience as he played on some very bad teams. However, he was able to enjoy some postseason success at the end of his career. His final numbers in October included a 3-3 record, 2.52 ERA, 5 Complete Games, 1 Shutout over 50 innings pitched. He struck out 35 while walking 15. His team finally won the World Series in 1924. Speaking of hardware...Johnson was a 2x MVP. Had the Cy Young Award been in existence he would have won at least thirteen which would have been tops ever. He finished his career third all-time in WAR at 165.2.
He finished 14 seasons in the Top Ten in Wins and ERA. That's an amazing accomplishment in its own right. Then to top that off he enjoyed 18 seasons in the Top Ten in strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings. Those dominant numbers over a consistent long period of time are what puts "The Big Train" at #1 on our list. He was simply incredible and rounds out the top all-time list of pitchers.
About Jason Voorhees
Jason resides in Norristown, PA and writes about all things sports and heavy metal music.