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Greatest Right Handed Pitchers of All Time

The 10 Greatest Major League Right Handed Pitchers of All-Time

By Loot, MLB Handicapper,

1. Walter Johnson: An old-timer whose legacy still packs a punch all these years later. Read the testimonials of his contemporaries and it’s clear that Johnson was cut from a different cloth than other pitchers from his time. His stuff was just on another level when compared to his peers. Big Train had some incredible seasons. In 1913, he was 36-7 with a 1.14 ERA. He led the league in wins 6 times, in ERA 5 times, and in strikeouts an incredible 12 times. He threw a record 112 shutouts. But stats still don’t do justice, as Johnson was simply on a different planet and is considered by many historians as the top pitcher of all-time.

2. Greg Maddux: His prime was a thing of beauty, as the master of control won 4 straight Cy Young awards with the Cubs and Braves from 1992-95. The 355-game winner was also the best fielding pitcher of all-time, with an incredible 18 Gold Gloves. In 1995, he was 19-2 with a 1.63 ERA and a lot of his seasons looked like that, with Maddux about as difficult to hit as anyone in baseball. From 1993 until he retired in 2008, he never walked more than 45 batters in a season. He wasn’t fast, but one of the better-controlled and intelligent pitchers to ever grace the mound.

3. Christy Mathewson: One of the true greats, Mathewson dominated the National League during his 17-season tenure from 1900-1916. He won 373 games with a lifetime ERA of only 2.13. From 1907 to 1913, his ERA was never higher than 2.06 and he was 187-74 during that period. The New York Giants star also led the league in strikeouts 5 times. One of the very top pitchers of all-time.

4. Tom Seaver: The 3-time Cy young award winner was one of the more dominant forces on the mound for a long prime that stretched from the 60’s well into the 80’s. He led the league in wins and ERA 3 times, in addition to leading the league in strikeouts 5 times. The Mets and Reds star is a member of the 300-win club and has a low lifetime ERA of 2.86. When “Tom Terrific” was really dealing, he was about as sure a thing you could find in the game.

5. Grover Cleveland Alexander: One of the very top pitchers of all-time, Alexander was a 373-game winner with a lifetime ERA of a scant 2.56. From 1915-20, the A’s and Cubs star had 6 straight seasons with an ERA under 2.00 and as low as 1.22. From 1915-1917, he won 94 games. He led the league in strikeouts 6 times and threw an amazing 90 shutouts during his distinguished 20-year career. “Old Pete” was as good as it got.

6. Cy Young: Perhaps the celebrity of his name outshines his actual merit as a pitcher, but even if that’s true, it’s not by much. It’s hard to argue with numbers, regardless of how inflated they may be due to the era in which he pitched. You don’t have the award for great pitching named after you if you’re not great, as evidenced by his 511 career wins, 2.63 ERA and lifetime WHIP of 1.130. He was dominant for a good 20 years and won 18 or more games for 15 consecutive seasons.

7. Bob Feller: The phenom who debuted as a 17-year old fireballer forged a legacy that has stood the test of time. He led the league in every season that wasn’t interrupted by military service from 1939 to 1947 and in strikeouts from 1938 to 1948. If not for his service, he’d be a cinch for the 300-win club.

8. Bob Gibson: The St. Louis Cardinals star is a 2-time Cy Young award winner and probably had the most incredible season of modern history when, with almost no run-support, he went 22-9 with an eye-popping ERA of 1.12, including an amazing 13 shutouts in 1968. In the 3 World Series he threw in, he was 7-2 with a 1.89 ERA. He was also one of the better hitting pitchers of all-time and an expert fielder, illustrated by his 9 straight Gold Glove awards.

9. Pedro Martinez: Another pitcher who may not have had the longevity of others on this list, but whose prime was as dominant as it gets. In a 7-season stretch, Martinez led the league in ERA 5 times and bagged 3 Cy Young awards. In 9 seasons from 1997 to 2005, he led the league in WHIP 6 times and his WHIP rose above 1.000 only twice during that period. Unusual for a modern player, Martinez’ lifetime ERA is only 2.93. At his peak, you couldn’t ask for a more dominant pitcher. From 1999-2003, he was 82-21.

10. Satchell Paige: A little liberty was taken here with the 10th spot, as Paige really doesn’t have the numbers to justify a placement, going only 28-31 in 6 big league seasons, his first coming at age 41 and his last at 59. But when top players from that period say Paige was the best pitcher they ever faced, that says a lot. Paige would have surely been near the top of this list if not for elements out of his control--namely the color line that was in effect during his prime.

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