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20 of the All Time Best Pitchers

There is no doubt about it– being a major league baseball pitcher is the hardest position in the game. You are literally front and center in the field and how well you pitch greatly influences the score at the end of the game. You have a lot of pressure because as soon as you start pitching badly, the coach will start contemplating calling the bullpen for a new pitcher. Throughout the 113 years that MLB has been around, there have been many notable pitchers who have stood out from the rest for their dominance on the mound. These men have broken records, proved the impossible and gave their fans one hell of a show.

Here are 20 of the all time best pitchers!

20. Ron Guidry

Know as Louisana Lightning, Ron Guidry was a left-handed pitcher for the New York Yankees between 1975 and 1988.

Ron Guidry

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With a pitching score of 66.9, he is the 20th all time best pitcher in major league baseball.

19. Mike Scott

Mike Scott was a right-handed pitcher for both the New York Mets (1979-1982) and the Houston Astros (1983-1991).

Mike Scott

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He is best known for striking out 300 players the same season he threw a no-hitter. Amazing!

18. Lefty Grove

His real name is actually Robert Moses but baseball fans simply know the pitcher as Lefty. He pitched for the Philadelphia Athletics (now the Oakland A’s) between 1925 and 1933 until he was traded to Boston, where he played until 1941.

Lefty Grove

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Lefty was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1947 for his accomplishments, which included winning the Triple Crown twice and having a win-loss record of 300 to 141.

17. Tom Seaver

Tom Seaver, also known as Tom Terrific and The Franchise, was a pitcher between 1967-1986, where he played for 4 teams but was more popular when he was with the New York Mets.

Tom Seaver

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He is only one of two players who were inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of the NY team in 1992 and is the all-time leader in wins for the Mets (311).

16. Kevin Brown

The right-handed pitcher pitched for 6 teams over the span of 19 years (1986-2005), ending his career playing for the New York Yankees.

Kevin Brown

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Kevin Brown led the Miami Marlins to the World Series (where they beat the Indians) after pitching a complete game in Game 6 of the playoffs in 1997.

15. Johan Santana

He was a pitcher from Venezuela, who debuted for the Minnesota Twins in 2000. Johan Santana stayed with the team for 7 years, where, in 10 straight starts, he gave up 4 or fewer hits and became the first pitcher in 43 years to do so.

Johan Santana

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In 2008, Santana was traded to the New York Mets, and four years later, he would throw his first no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals.

14. Pete Alexander

More commonly known as Old Pete, he was a Hall of Fame pitcher who played for the Philadelphia Phillies (1911-1917), Chicago Cubs (1918-1926) and St. Louis Cardinals (1926,1929).

Pete Alexander

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Pete Alexander has won the Triple Crown 3 times, was the National League wins leader 6 times, ERA leader 4 times and strikeout leader 6 times. His 373 wins still has not been broken in the National League, although, he is tied for first with Christy Mathewson.

13. J.R. Richard

James Rodney Richard was a right-handed pitcher for the Houston Astros during the years 1971 and 1980. He had a pitching score of 67.7 and was the National League strikeout leader twice.

J.R. Richard

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His career ended abruptly in 1980 when a blood clot in his neck caused him to have a stroke. Poor guy.

12. Sandy Koufax

Sandy Koufax was the youngest player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972 at age 36, and he certainly earned it.

Sandy Koufax

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During his 12 seasons he pitched for the Brooklyn/LA Dodgers (1955-1966), Sandy became the first player to ever throw 4 no-hitters and the 8th pitcher in history to pitch a perfect game in 1965. He is one of four Hall of Fame pitchers who had more strikeouts (2,396) than innings pitched!

11. Jake Arrieta

Jake Arrieta is currently the Chicago Cubs pitcher, and just this past April, he pitched his second career no-hitter! He made his MLB debut with the Baltimore Orioles before being traded to the Cubs 3 years later.

Jake Arrieta

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Last year, he brought his team to the postseason and became the first pitcher to carry out a shutout while striking out at least 10 batters and walking no one. Arrieta ended the 2015 season with an NL Cy Young Award and was the MLB wins leader.

10. Bob Feller

The pitcher Bob Feller was nicknamed Bullet Bob and Rapid Robert for a reason. He began his career at age 17 and became the first pitcher to win 24 games in a season before turning 21.

Bob Feller

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During the 18 seasons he played for the Cleveland Indians, he pitched 3,827 innings and had a win-loss record of 266-162.  In his first ballot appearance in 1962, Feller was rightfully inducted into the Hall of Fame.

9. Frank Tanana

In 1971, the Los Angeles Angels picked 18-year-old Frank Tanana in the first round of the draft pick. He would stay with this team until 1980 when he was traded to the Boston Red Sox.

Frank Tanana

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Tanana ended his career in 1993, having appeared in 3 All-Star games, was an MLB strikeout leader in 1975 and the American League ERA leader in 1977.

8. Dwight Gooden

Dwight Gooden, whose nickname was Dr. K, is a 3 time World Series Champion with 3 different teams (the Mets, The Yankees, and the Astros).

Dwight Gooden

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The pitcher has many notable achievements, including winning the NL Cy Young Award and Triple Crown in 1985, and in 1996, Gooden pitched a no-hitter while playing for the Yankees.

7. Bob Gibson

A St. Louis Cardinals pitcher during the years 1959 and 1975, Bob Gibson earned two World Series rings, two NL Cy Young awards and an NL MVP award. In the 1967 World Series games, he pitched two complete games, and in 1971, he pitched a no-hitter against the Pittsburg Pirates.

Bob Gibson

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Also known as the Hoot, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981, with a ballot percentage of 84! Gibson is also in the Cardinals Hall of Fame and the team retired his number, 45.

6. Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling is a right-handed pitcher who is part of the 3,000 strikeout club and, of those members, he has the highest strikeout-to-walk ratio. He is also number 3 on the most 300-strikeout seasons list.

Curt Schilling

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Schilling played for 5 teams and pitched in the World Series 4 times, bringing home the ring for 3 of them (1 with the Diamondbacks and 2 with the Red Sox). He was also the MVP of the 2001 World Series and the NLCS MVP in 1993, even after losing the championships with the Phillies.

5. Dazzy Vance

Another Hall of Famer (1955), Dazzy Vance, whose real name was Charles Arthur, was known for his fastball, which led to 2,045 strikeouts. He played in MLB for 20 years with 7 different teams.

 Dazzy Vance

National Baseball Hall of Fame Library/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Dazzy is still the only pitcher for the National League to be the strikeout leader for 7 consecutive seasons. Other accomplishments include throwing a no-hitter in 1924, winning the Triple Crown that same year and was a World Series champion in 1934 (St. Louis Cardinals).

4. Roger Clemens

In the 24 seasons (with four teams) the Rocket played in MLB, he became the most dominant pitcher in history with a win-loss record of 354-184 and a total of 4,672 strikeouts (third most of all-time).

Roger Clemens

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Roger Clemens is the only pitcher to have won 7 Cy Young Awards and holds the record for striking out 20 batters in a single game. He won the Triple Crown twice while playing for the Toronto Blue Jays and won 2 World Series rings pitching for the New York Yankees.

3. Greg Maddux

Nicknamed Mad Dog, Greg Maddux accomplished a lot of “firsts”. From 1992 t0 1995, he won 4 Cy Young Awards consecutively, which only 1 other pitcher has achieved, and he also is the only player to win 18 Golden Gloves.

Greg Maddux

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In his first year of eligibility, Maddux was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014 with a vote of 97.2%! He does not have a team on his plaque, though, because he played for 4 teams and couldn’t choose between the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves.

2. Randy Johnson

With his towering height at 6’10”, Randy Johnson’s nickname was the Big Unit for much of his career as a left-handed pitcher in 1988-2009. He played for 6 teams but is commonly known for his time with the Seattle Mariners and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Randy Johnson

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Last year, Johnson was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his accomplishments of having the 2nd most strikeouts in history (4,875) and won the Cy Award 5 times, placing him behind Greg Maddux, who has 7. He has pitched and won against all 30 MLB teams throughout his career.

1. Pedro Martinez

With a pitching score of 78, Pedro Martinez is currently the all-time best pitcher in major league baseball. The Dominican-American right-handed pitcher was hated and booed by Yankees fans because he had a strikeout rate of 10.04 per 9 innings.

Pedro Martinez

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The Hall of Famer (as of last year) ended his career in 2009 with 3,154 strikeouts, an ERA of 2.93 and a win-loss record of 219-100.

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