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Famous Baseball Pitchers

Famous Major League Baseball Pitchers

By Loot, MLB Handicapper,

Cy Young: When the award for the best pitcher in the league is named after you, that means you did something right. Pitching statistics were a bit inflated back in his era (1890-1911), but his 511 wins are still almost 100 wins ahead of the second-place Walter Johnson. Many of his pitching records simply have zero chance of being eclipsed. Nowadays, a pitcher would have to have a 100-year prime to touch Young’s records when it comes to stats like his mark for complete games (749). Young was a 5-time 30-game winner, while compiling 15 seasons of 20 or more wins. There were years where Young would win over a third of the total games his team won all season. Year after year, Young was a workhorse and the most historic pitcher of baseball’s early days and maybe of all-time.

Walter Johnson: The next great pitcher following Young, Johnson pitched for the Washington Senators from 1907-1927. “Big Train” is an illustrious name in the annals of baseball history. Some of his records appear to be unbreakable. Among his more impressive ones are his career marks for shutouts at 110 and leading the league in strikeouts 12 times. His 417 wins are good for second-best of all-time, only behind the immortal Cy Young. His career strikeout mark lasted until two decades after his death. One of the first true-blue premier power pitchers, Johnson’s sidearm approach gave right-handed hitters fits. With an arm like a cannon, Johnson is one of the very best pitchers to have ever lived.

Sandy Koufax: A half-century after he last threw, Koufax is still considered by many to be the greatest left-hander in the history of the game. The fireballing Dodgers star did his legacy a favor by going out while still on top. In Koufax’s final season, he won 27 games, in addition to winning his fifth straight ERA title at 1.73. He won 25 or more games and won the strikeout title in 3 of his final 4 seasons. His 3 Cy Young awards (which were then not divided among the two leagues) also came in his final 4 seasons. In his final two seasons, he threw 54 complete games. “The Left Hand of God” battled arthritis, which eventually contributed to his early retirement, but the memories he left were good. He might not have the longevity of other all-time greats, but his place among the top pitchers is secure. He was the youngest Hall of Fame inductee at 36.


Randy Johnson: Standing nearly 7-feet tall, Johnson was a looming figure on the mound, where he dominated for many years. Johnson became a 300-game winner, despite not debuting in the bigs until he was 24 and not hitting his stride until his late-20’s. Johnson was a power pitcher of the highest order. He won 9 strikeout titles, but his 4-year stretch from 1999-2002 was incredible. During that 4-season span, he struck out 1417 batters. He aged well, going 24-5 and winning the triple crown (wins, strikeouts, and ERA) of pitching at 38 years of age. In 1995, he won the strikeout title while going 18-2. The stats only tell part of the story. Johnson, simply put, was one of the more intimidating pitchers of his day.

Pedro Martinez: His career stats might not match some on this list, but during his prime, it’s hard to find a more dominant pitcher. In his heyday, he was heads-and-tails above the rest. He debuted at 20 with the Dodgers, before making his bones in Montreal. In his final year with the Expos, he won the ERA title at 1.90. He went to Boston the next year and quickly established himself as one of the top hurlers in the sport. Beginning in 1999, he won 4 of the next 5 ERA titles. During that period, his WHIP was under 1.000 each season, including an incredible 0.737 in 2000. From 1999 to 2003, his record was 82-21. From 1999 to 2001, Martinez had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than 8 to 1. While he was only truly great for 7-8 years, those seasons were good enough to make him stick out as one of the best of his time.

Related: Famous MLB Managers.

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