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Top 10 MLB Best Pitchers of All Time Rankings

Ranking the best Pitchers in MLB history such as Walter Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, and more

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By admin | July 11, 2022

The game of baseball has been played for a long time with the history filled with a long list of great players to play the game.

This includes the long list of the greatest MLB pitchers to ever play the game. With this long list a strong debate could be made on which pitchers are deserving of a spot on the Top 10 MLB Pitchers of All-Time list. 

One of those debates could include whether or not relief pitchers of modern MLB baseball were as dominant.

While another debate could be made whether the games evolution has made it difficult for pitchers of today to rack up the numbers of pitchers of the past.

Nonetheless one thing is for sure and that is the game of baseball has yielded some great MLB pitchers over the course of history.

From the likes of Walter Johnson and Sandy Koufax to Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez to Marian Rivera and Justin Verlander. With that said, here is our list of the Top 10 MLB Pitchers of All-Time.

Honorable Mention

Clayton Kershaw

Team(s): Los Angeles Dodgers

One of two modern day MLB starting pitchers to land on the list despite still pitching at the top of their game, is the Los Angeles Dodgers great Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw is just one of many Dodgers greats that are deserving a spot on this list including Sandy Koufax. Over his career entering 2022, Kershaw has racked up a 185-84 career record to go along with the 2014 NL MVP award, three Cy Young Awards, the Triple Crown for a pitcher, and eight NL All-Star nods.

In today’s game, Kershaw has pitched to a career 2.48 earned run average while finishing the season with an ERA below a three in 11 of his 14 seasons.

Accolades:
  • 9× All-Star (2011–2017, 2019, 2022)
  • World Series champion (2020)
  • NL MVP (2014)
  • All-MLB Second Team (2020)
  • 3× NL Cy Young Award (2011, 2013, 2014)
  • Triple Crown (2011)
  • Gold Glove Award (2011)
  • Roberto Clemente Award (2012)
  • 3× NL wins leader (2011, 2014, 2017)
  • 5× NL ERA leader (2011–2014, 2017)
  • 3× NL strikeout leader (2011, 2013, 2015)
  • Pitched a no-hitter on June 18, 2014

Roger Clemens

Team(s): Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees & Houston Astros

It is hard not to include the “Rocket” Roger Clemens as one of the Top MLB pitchers of All-Time.

While he lands outside of the Top 10 due to questions about potential steroid use, Clemens is still one of the greatest to play the game and do it during the “Steroid ERA”.

Clemens racked up an All-Time record of 354-184to go along with a 3.12 career earned run average. His dominance on the mound led to him winning the 1986 AL MVP Award, seven Cy Young Awards and being named to 11 MLB All-Star teams.

Accolades:
  • 11× All-Star (1986, 1988, 1990–1992, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003–2005)
  • 2× World Series champion (1999, 2000)
  • 7× Cy Young Award (1986, 1987, 1991, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2004)
  • AL MVP (1986)
  • 2× Triple Crown (1997, 1998)
  • 4× MLB wins leader (1986, 1987, 1997, 1998)
  • 7× ERA leader (1986, 1990–1992, 1997, 1998, 2005)
  • 5× AL strikeout leader (1988, 1991, 1996–1998)
  • MLB record 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game (twice)
  • Major League Baseball All-Century Team
  • Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame

Top 10 Pitchers

10. Cy Young

Team(s): Cleveland Spiders, St. Louis Perfectos/Cardinals, Boston Americans/Red Sox, Cleveland Naps and Boston Rustlers

It is difficult to put in words how good Cy Young was without the modern-day video but from all accounts, Cy Young is one of the greatest MLB pitchers to play the game.

In addition, when the award for the Most Valuable Pitcher (MVP) is named after you (Cy Young Award), it is easy to slot you near the top as one of the Top 10 MLB Pitchers of All-Time. 

Looking at his career he holds MLB records for career wins (511), innings pitched (7,356), games started (815), complete games (749) and most consecutive innings pitched without allowing a hit (25 1/3). Young has a career record of 511-315 to go along with a 2.63 career earned run average.

Accolades:
  • World Series champion (1903)
  • Triple Crown (1901)
  • 5× Wins leader (1892, 1895, 1901–1903)
  • 2× ERA leader (1892, 1901)
  • 2× Strikeout leader (1896, 1901)
  • Pitched a perfect game on May 5, 1904
  • Pitched three no-hitters (1897, 1904, 1908)
  • Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame
  • Cleveland Guardians Hall of Fame
  • Major League Baseball All-Century Team
  • 511 career wins
  • 7,356 career innings pitched
  • 815 career games started
  • 749 career complete games
  • 251⁄3 consecutive hitless innings pitched

9. Justin Verlander

Team(s): Detroit Tigers & Houston Astros

The second modern day starter landing on the list that continues to dominate is former Detroit Tigers All-Star and current Houston Astros starter Justin Verlander.

Verlander has a career 3.30 earned run average to go with an 226-129 record all while pitching in a game built around high scoring offenses and the home run.

Verlander has led the Majors in wins twice, earned run average once and complete games. In addition, Verlander has made eight All-Star teams, won the AL MVP Award (2011), won two Cy Young Awards and completed the Triple Crown for pitching.

Accolades:
  • 9× All-Star (2007, 2009–2013, 2018, 2019, 2022)
  • World Series champion (2017)
  • AL MVP (2011)
  • All-MLB First Team (2019)
  • 2× AL Cy Young Award (2011, 2019)
  • Triple Crown (2011)
  • AL Rookie of the Year (2006)
  • ALCS MVP (2017)
  • 3× MLB wins leader (2009, 2011, 2019)
  • AL ERA leader (2011)
  • 5× AL strikeout leader (2009, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2018)
  • Pitched three no-hitters (2007, 2011, 2019)

8. Randy Johnson

Team(s): Montreal Expos, Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees & San Francisco Giants. 

All you must do is google Randy Johnson and look at his YouTube footage and his career numbers to see how good the Big Unit was.

From his high-speed velocity leading to him striking out 4,875 career hitters to him knocking a bird out of air on a pitch to the plate. Johnson posted a career 303-166 record over 22 MLB seasons.

Johnson’s list of accolades includes throwing one no hitter, one perfect game, leading MLB nine times in strikeouts, winning one World Series MVP Award and being named to 10 MLB All-Star teams.

Accolades:
  • 10× All-Star (1990, 1993–1995, 1997, 1999–2002, 2004)
  • World Series champion (2001)
  • 5× Cy Young Award (1995, 1999–2002)
  • World Series MVP (2001)
  • Triple Crown (2002)
  • MLB wins leader (2002)
  • 4× ERA leader (1995, 1999, 2001, 2002)
  • 9× Strikeout leader (1992–1995, 1999–2002, 2004)
  • Pitched a perfect game on May 18, 2004
  • Pitched a no-hitter on June 2, 1990
  • Arizona Diamondbacks No. 51 retired
  • Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame

7. Bob Gibson

Team(s): St. Louis Cardinals

The debate could be made that Bob Gibson is well deserving of a spot among the top three starters in the history of Major League Baseball.

Nonetheless, the longtime St. Louis Cardinals great lands at number seven on our list of the Top 10 MLB Pitchers All-Time. Gibson was a nine time All-Star and two-time World Series Champion.

In addition, Gibson pitched to a career 2.91 earned run average while posting 3,117 strikeouts and a 251-174 career record.

The Cardinals great won 20 games in five different seasons and finished with at least a below 3.00 earned run in 10 different seasons including posting a 1.12 earned run average in 34 starts back in 1968.

Accolades:
  • 9× All-Star (1962, 1962², 1965–1970, 1972)
  • 2× World Series champion (1964, 1967)
  • NL MVP (1968)
  • 2× NL Cy Young Award (1968, 1970)
  • 2× World Series MVP (1964, 1967)
  • 9× Gold Glove Award (1965–1973)
  • NL wins leader (1970)
  • MLB ERA leader (1968)
  • NL strikeout leader (1968)
  • Pitched a no-hitter on August 14, 1971
  • St. Louis Cardinals No. 45 retired
  • St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame
  • Major League Baseball All-Century Team

6. Greg Maddux

Team(s): Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers & San Diego Padres

Greg Maddux wasn’t one starter throwing a 100 mile per hour fastball or considered overpowering with his velocity.

Despite that, Maddux racked up a long list of accolades and achievements over his career while being one of the most dominant starters of the 1990’s.

The MLB Hall of Famer, won one World Series title, took home four Cy Young Awards and 18 MLB Gold Glove Awards all while pitching to a career 3.16 earned run average and 355 career wins. 

Accolades:
  • 8× All-Star (1988, 1992, 1994–1998, 2000)
  • World Series champion (1995)
  • 4× NL Cy Young Award (1992–1995)
  • 18× Gold Glove Award (1990–2002, 2004–2008)
  • 3× MLB wins leader (1992, 1994, 1995)
  • 4× MLB ERA leader (1993–1995, 1998)
  • Chicago Cubs No. 31 retired
  • Atlanta Braves No. 31 retired
  • Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame
  • Braves Hall of Fame

5. Sandy Koufax

Team(s): Brooklyn Dodgers & Los Angeles Dodgers

Landing at number five on the Top 10 MLB Pitchers of All-Time rankings list is the great Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers starter Sandy Koufax.

Koufax, who pitched in 12 MLB seasons, finished his career with a 165-87 record to go along with a 2.76 earned run average. The Dodgers starter posted a career high 27 wins while leading the NL in his final season of baseball in addition to yielding just a 1.74 earned average.

Over his final four seasons of baseball, Koufax won at least 25 games in three seasons and lower than a 2.04 earned run average in each of those seasons.

Koufax threw four no hitters, led MLB four times in strikeouts, won two World Series MVP awards, three Cy Young Awards and was named to seven All-Star teams.

Accolades:
  • 7× All-Star (1961–1962, 1963–1966)
  • 4× World Series champion (1955, 1959, 1963, 1965)
  • NL MVP (1963)
  • 3× Cy Young Award (1963, 1965, 1966)
  • 2× World Series MVP (1963, 1965)
  • 3× Triple Crown (1963, 1965, 1966)
  • 3× MLB wins leader (1963, 1965, 1966)
  • 5× NL ERA leader (1962–1966)
  • 4× MLB strikeout leader (1961, 1963, 1965, 1966)
  • Pitched a perfect game on September 9, 1965
  • Pitched four no-hitters
  • Los Angeles Dodgers No. 32 retired
  • Major League Baseball All-Century Team
  • Major League Baseball All-Time Team

4. Jim Palmer

Team(s): Baltimore Orioles

One starter who often gets overlooked as one of the greatest MLB pitchers All-time is the Baltimore Orioles great Jim Palmer.

Palmer, who pitched from 1965 to 1984 all with the Orioles, racked up a career 268-152 record to go along with a 2.86 earned run average and 2,212 strikeouts. In addition, Palmer won the World Series in three different decades (1966, 1970, 1983).

The Orioles great won three Cy Young Awards, four Gold Gloves, led AL in wins three times and threw one no hitter all while helping the team to be one of the best in the game over the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Accolades:
  • 6× All-Star (1970–1972, 1975, 1977, 1978)
  • 3× World Series champion (1966, 1970, 1983)
  • 3× AL Cy Young Award (1973, 1975, 1976)
  • 4× Gold Glove Award (1976–1979)
  • 3× AL wins leader (1975–1977)
  • 2× AL ERA leader (1973, 1975)
  • Pitched no-hitter on August 13, 1969
  • Baltimore Orioles No. 22 retired
  • Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame

3. Mariano Rivera

Team(s): New York Yankees

The only relief pitcher to land on this list is the New York Yankees great Mariano Rivera who could have easily landed at number one.

Rivera who is the greatest MLB closer of All-Time while doing it all behind nearly just one pitch. That pitch was the cutter which Rivera perfected while leading to many broken bats over his career.

Rivera racked up an 82-60 career record to go along with an MLB record 652 career saves. Over his career Rivera is the only player to receive 100% of Hall of Fame votes while leading the MLB three times in saves, taking home five AL Rolaids Relief Man Awards and one World Series MVP.

Accolades:
  • 13× All-Star (1997, 1999–2002, 2004–2006, 2008–2011, 2013)
  • 5× World Series champion (1996, 1998–2000, 2009)
  • World Series MVP (1999)
  • ALCS MVP (2003)
  • 5× AL Rolaids Relief Man Award (1999, 2001, 2004–2005, 2009)
  • 3× Delivery Man of the Year (2005–2006, 2009)
  • AL Comeback Player of the Year (2013)
  • 3× MLB saves leader (1999, 2001, 2004)
  • MLB record 652 career saves
  • New York Yankees No. 42 retired
  • Monument Park honoree

2. Pedro Martinez

Team(s): Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets & Philadelphia Phillies

These Top 2 MLB Pitchers of All-Time could easily flip flop back and forth while having arguments that could land each one at number one.

That said, Pedro Martinez lands at number two after posting a career record of 219-100 over his career to go along with a 2.93 earned run average and 3,154 career strikeouts.

Despite lacking the size of modern day dominant starters, Martinez was as difficult to hit against as any starter while pitching in the “Steroid ERA”. Martinez was an eight-time MLB All-Star, World Series Champion, and three-time Cy Young Award winner.

Accolades:
  • 8× All-Star (1996–2000, 2002, 2005, 2006)
  • World Series champion (2004)
  • 3× Cy Young Award (1997, 1999, 2000)
  • Triple Crown (1999)
  • MLB wins leader (1999)
  • 5× MLB ERA leader (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003)
  • 3× AL strikeout leader (1999, 2000, 2002)
  • Boston Red Sox No. 45 retired
  • Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame

1. Walter Johnson

Team(s): Washington Senators

Landing at number one on the Top 10 MLB Pitchers of All-Time rankings list is the great Walter Johnson. While there is no video footage or YouTube videos to go around to support this case, his career numbers all help him land at number one.

The longtime Washington Senators great led the AL in strikeouts in 12 different seasons, wins in six different seasons and earned run average in five different seasons.

Johnson compiled a career record of 417-279 to go along with 3,508 career strikeouts, 110 shutouts and a career ERA of 2.17.

Accolades:
  • World Series champion (1924)
  • 2× AL MVP (1913, 1924)
  • 3× Triple Crown (1913, 1918, 1924)
  • 6× AL wins leader (1913–1916, 1918, 1924)
  • 5× AL ERA leader (1912, 1913, 1918, 1919, 1924)
  • 12× AL strikeout leader (1910, 1912–1919, 1921, 1923, 1924)
  • Pitched a no-hitter on July 1, 1920
  • MLB record 110 career shutouts
  • Major League Baseball All-Century Team
  • Major League Baseball All-Time Team
  • Washington Nationals Ring of Honor

How would you rank these great pitchers? Rank below to be added in the Power Rankings.

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