This is a new installment of my top 10 lists. Every couple of days I will make a new top 10 of a different position in baseball. Today focuses on pitchers.
1. Walter Johnson – 1907-1927 (WSH) In 802 games piched, Johnson threw 531 complete games and recorded 110 shutouts. He is second all time with 417 wins and has a career ERA of 2.17. He also has more than 3,500 strikeouts and was a 2 time American League MVP. The Big Train won the triple crown for pitchers (leader of ERA, wins and strikeouts) 3 times. He was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.
2. Nolan Ryan – 1966-1993 (NYM, CAL, HOU, TEX) Ryan had 5,714 strikeouts and 7 no-hitters, both being major league records. He was an 8 time all-star and won the World Series in ’69 with the Mets. He played 27 seasons and recorded 324 wins. He is known as the most dominant strikeout pitcher in history. Ryan was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999 with 98.2% of the vote.
3. Cy Young – 1890-1911 (CLE, STL, BOS, CLE, BOS) Cy Young retired with 511 career wins, 94 more than 2nd place Walter Johnson. He pitched 749 complete games out of the 815 games he started. Cy also pitched 3 no-hitters and the first perfect game on record. He also owns the major league record of 7,354 2/3 innings pitched. Young has been a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame since 1937.
4. Bob Feller – 1936-1956 (CLE) Feller is the Indians winningest pitcher ever with 266 victories and led the league in wins 6 times. He could throw over 102 mph early in his career, before serving in the Navy from 1942-46. If Feller had chosen not to serve in the military, he would have easily recorded over 300 wins and 3,000 strikeouts. Feller was also an 8 time all-star and recieved 93.8% of the vote to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962.
5. Christy Matthewson – 1900-1916 (NYG, CIN) Matthewson had a career ERA of 2.13 and struckout more than 2,500 batters. He pitched 79 shutouts and 2 no-hitters. He is also credited with the invention of the fadeaway, now called the screwball. Christy and his brother hold the record for most combined wins for brothers playing for the same team (Christy 373, Henry 0). Matty is one of the original members in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was elected in 1936.
6. Warren Spahn – 1942-1965 (BOS/MIL, NYM, SF) Spahn had the most impressive career for any left handed pitcher. He won 363 games and had a 3.09 ERA along with 2,583 strikeouts. Spahn won 23 games at the age of 42. He was a 14 time all-star and won the World Series in 1957 with the Braves. Warren has been a member of the Hall of Fame since 1973.
7. Greg Maddux – 1986-present (CHC, ATL, CHC, LAD, SD) Maddux currently has 350 wins in his 22 season career, including the record of winning 15 games in 17 consecutive seasons. The Mad Dog has won 17 Gold Gloves, another pitcher record. Although he is a groundball pitcher, he has 3,340 strikeouts due to his longevity. He is more well known for the late movement and superb, pinpoint accuracy.
8. Sandy Koufax – 1955-1966 (BRK/LA) Koufax was only able to record 165 wins in his career, before arthritis made him retire early at the age of 30. He struckout nearly 2,400 batters and was a 6 time all-star. He was a 2 time World Series MVP and won the Series 3 times. 44% of games that he started were a complete game. Sandy was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972 as a first ballot Hall of Famer.
9. Randy Johnson – 1988-present (MON, SEA, HOU, ARZ, NYY, ARZ) Johnson is known for his 6′ 10″ height and for his side arm delivery. He is also known for his ability to throw a fastball more than 100 mph and having one of the greatest sliders of all time. He has 4,715 strikeouts, good for 2nd behind Nolan Ryan and is on pace for more than 300 wins (currently at 291). The Big Unit is a 10 time all-star and won a World Series with Arizona in 2001.
10. Trevor Hoffman – 1993-present (FLA, SD) Hoffman is the best closer in history and that is why he is closing out this list. He has 542 saves and averages over 36 saves per season. He is a 6 time all-star. Trevor was known for his fastball early in his career, but now boasts one of, if not the best, change-up in the history of the game. Hoffman has recorded at least one save against every team except the Yankees, Twins, Tigers and Padres (with who he has spent nearly his entire career).