Greatest Pitchers of All Time

Granted, the list is primarily comprised of pitchers who played after World War II even though there are many pitchers who put up staggering numbers prior to that period, but it is hardly a fair comparison to include the earliest pitchers who played in a far less competitive era when many of the best players weren't even allowed to join the league. Don't agree with the list? Vote for an existing item you think should be ranked higher or if you are a logged in, add a new item for others to vote on or create your own version of this list.

The Top Ten

Nolan Ryan
Throws the hardest fastball and meanest headlock of anyone on this list. Ask Robin Ventura if you need a second opinion.
This is subjective based on fans, but I think Ryan is the best all-time with stats, longevity, numerous pitching records, and his ERA was 3.18 over 5, 000 plus innings which is amazing. Consider the steroid era of pitchers like Rogeroids Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Glavine, Maddux, and even Randy Johnson.
He was the Author of pitching and many pitchers learned/are learning from him.


[Newest]I hate him he sucks

2Walter Johnson
Nolan Ryan only beat Johnson here because of he leads in the most "glamorous" pitching stat, everybody knows Ryan, Johnson is so underappreciated. Johnson only beats him in wins, ERA, Shutouts, and Complete Games... Not that they're important.
417 Career Wins - 2nd All-Time, but not following Cy Young is his loses. 2.17 ERA, one of the best ever. 110 SHUTOUTS. Pitchers today would be lucky to get 11 in a career. 12 time 20 game winner, 2 time 30 game winner, 2 time MVP, 3,509 strikeouts which held until Nolan broke it 60 years later, even has 34 saves. 24 Homers as a batter. For the time he pitched his fastball looked faster than Nolan's.
The Big Train, who held the all-time strikeout record for half a century, is not 4th, folks... his magnificence is gradually disappearing into the mists of time.
[Newest]Best pitcher ever Nolan Ryan had terrible control and hit and walked a ton of people

3Sandy Koufax
The date was September 9, 1965. The place was Dodger Stadium. The pitcher on the mound that evening for the Dodgers was Sandy Koufax. I remember it so well, even now almost 50 years later, there are times when it seems as it was yesterday, because you see, I was just a 15 year old lad who had the great fortune of sitting in the stands that night with my dad watching the game.

A grand total of 27 Chicago Cubs came to the plate that night, and every single one of them was retired in order that by the greatest pitcher of all time, Sandy Koufax. It was the southpaws first perfect game, but the forth in which he threw a no hitter, breaking the previous all time record of three by Bob Feller. Koufax also set a new all time record of 14 strikeouts by a pitcher hurling a no hitter, a record that to this very day has never been surpassed.

If the legendary Bob Feller believed Koufax was the best there ever was, that's good enough for me too, brother, for you see, on September 9, 1965 I saw Sandy Koufax pitch the greatest game of all time.
Would have been the greatest ever by far if he didn't get injured. Here is my top 5 list.

1. Walter Johnson
2. Sandy Koufax
3. Warren Spahn
4. Lefty Grove
5. Christy Mathewson

Nolan Ryan is not the best ever.


If bob feller who had an ego problem, called koufax the best, that's good enough for me. I saw him pitch and never saw a ball that moved like his.

4Cy Young
Even among his peers at the time he was the best. Just a freak of nature. If around today would still be at the top. Great control and fantastic speed. Imagine nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens in one person
If he is the best then he should have the most strikeouts he may have more wins bet nolan ryan had more strikeouts so nolan ryan is 1st and cy young 2nd
Cy Young is amazing, as a matter of fact I am related to him, no joke. Best pitcher of all time, in my opinion.
[Newest]The award for best pitcher of the year is named after him so that tells you how good he was.

5Greg Maddux
My name is James Filippi... I pitched against "the baby faced assassin" in 1985 in Peoria Illinois (mid west league Chisox) and before the first inning was over I knew it would be very difficult to beat him... This in itself was a great weapon! He had an exploding fastball and the hitters just could not get a good swing on his pitches! If we got one run against him that was an accomplishment... All game and all the time it was like this... Very tough! Great fielder too! Extremely smart pitcher... He had great command of everything he threw and he threw very hard and strode incredibly long at that time... I thought I had a long stride but when I took the mound I was landing at the back of his landing which I thought was unusual because it had never happened before! He only got better from there! I still think "POUND FOR POUND THE BEST PITCHER EVER TO PLAY THE GAME" I believe this! And he was maybe 6ft 150lbs at that point!
I was lucky enough to get to see Greg Maddux in my lifetime. True pitcher there is Maddux and then everyone else. Nolan Ryan come on people fall in love with the strikeout. He was an average pitcher win loss wise. He had a fastball and whoever there said 110 come on here lets get real. He never broke 100. Maddux, Gibson, Koufax, Clemens*, and Seavers. Cy Young voters look at his numbers it was the dead ball era. Nolan Ryan was the Ryan Howard of our day hit the big home runs (hard fastball) but struckout most the time (overall pitcher) Ryan get real here.


No Question Maddux was an absolute dominate pitcher for the reasons mentioned. I actually believed he did the things stated above. He pitched on brain power. That however does not make him the best Pitcher although I would consider putting him near the top of the list. If I was starting a dream team today, I may pick him first. The only issue I have with Maddux in that the Umpires were in love with him. I don't know why. But a lot of balls were called strikes when he was on the mound. Can't take anything from him but I never really understood why.

6Tom Seaver
The first player ever to be referred to as "The Franchise", need I say anything more?
awesome player this is my fav met of all time
Highest vote percentage to get into Cooperstown. Must I say anything else.

7Randy Johnson
His strikeout ratios were absurd. In my opinion, that's how you measure true dominance. I think the Unit is underrated. He was a beast and I'm saying that as a fan of the game and a Dodgers fan. He was an intimidator and we haven't seen one since.
You have to give the benefit of the doubt to the lefties. Its harder to pitch in the majors as a lefty and Randy did better than all lefties and righties of his era.
He just went out there and pitched. He's the strongest thrower I've ever seen. He was the last true great of his generation.
[Newest]He is the best pitcher of all time in my opinion

8Bob Gibson
yeah they did lower the mound because of him... he was unbelievable. he could hit too. he was amazing just amazing... two times better than pedro hahaha don't give me crap about pedro.. he was good but not gibson good, by any means
Hands down, the greatest competitor in any sport... Ever. Ending the 1968 season with an ERA of 1.12? Insanity! He did not want to give up ever ONE run per game!
Gibby's just a beast. When MLB has to alter the game to make it fair for the rest of the league, you know you have left your mark. He's 78 today and could probably still give them 7 strong innings.

9Roger Clemens
Played at a high level for what seemed like forever.
Nolan Ryan couldn't hole his jock

10Pedro Martinez
I agree... while you have to take into account that his arm failed him as he got older, you also have to take into account that his ERA was often well below other pitchers of his day, and he man-handled hitters during the heart of the steroid era.

In his prime he was THE best. There are very very few others that you could argue were better.


by far the best ever, no doubt. From 1997-2003 no one could ever touch him! at one point his ERA was 1.74 and THE NEXT GUY (Clemens) was over two RUNS HIGHER! hands down the best! if it wasn't for his injuries (Koufax) he would have dominated even longer
Pedro Martinez is the most dominat pitcher I have ever seen. He also has the best fastball in the history of baseball.


The Contenders

11Christy Matthewson
Way to underrated. He got 373 wins despite playing only 17 years. great friend. once played 13 checker players at the same time blindfolded, won 7 and DREW 6. Here is my list:
1. Christy mathewson(by far)

2. Cy Young(by even more far)

3. Walter Johnson(just barely)

4. Warren Spahn

5. Gregg Maddux
Mathewson was way better than Nolan Ryan. He tops him in everything but strikeouts. One overlooked aspect of his game is his postseason mastery. He pitched single-handedly won a World Series by pitching 3 shutouts in 5 days! His World Series ERA was 0.97 in 101.2 innings! Sorry Ryan, sorry Koufax, you guys shouldn't be close to Big Six.
Underrated old times pitcher

12Steve Carlton
I have a autograph ball of this man


You have got be kidding me. You put walter J. In front of carlton here is my 5 list
Sandy koufax
Steve carlton
Nolan ryan
Walter johnson
Satchel page

13Lefty Grove
This list is a disgrace. Nolan is nowhere near number one. He is more like number 75. Grove is the best. Look at his minor league stats. Read bill James


14Warren Spahn
665 starts, 382 complete games. 63 shutouts, 13 -20 games seasons. 363 victories. The BEST!

15Grover Cleveland 'Pete' Alexander
A great pitcher with as many wins as Christy Mathewson. But Alexander pitched for worse teams. 373 wins. Period.


16Satchel Paige
if you look only at MLB numbers not too impressive. but he didnt pitch that long in the MLB. His numbers in the negro leagues...unreal.


17Mariano Rivera
Best era in the live ball era and with the DH which adds 1/2 a run to your era-he would be even lower that anyone. Lowest WHIP except for addie Joss-dead ball era-no dh. And the 9th inning pitchers face the best hitters (PH) the team can put up. ERA plus-amazing check out those numbers-no one ever even close! Single most dominating pitch in history and no one can throw it like he has! You can argue that a starting pitcher might be more valuable to a team than a releiver or even a closer, but if the question is the best pitcher those stats don't lie. But look at the playoffs and world series and he has been even greater there-walter johnson is the closest and its not that close.
My top ten:
1. Mariano Rivera
2. Nolan Ryan
3. Sandy Koufax
4. Roger Clemens
5. Randy Johnson
6. Walter Johnson
7. Warren Spahn
8. Pedro Martinez
9. Cy Young
10. Tom Seaver
He'll move up. In the end he gets the job done.


[Newest]It'll be sad when he retires after this year

18Bert Blyleven
No one threw a curve ball better than Bert. No one.

19Bob Feller

20Don Sutton

21Fernando Valenzuela
Lasorda didn't use this guy properly. He could have lasted years if he wasn't kept in the game as much as he was.

22Tim Lincecum
He throw to no hitter


23Gaylord Perry

24Mark Buerhle

25Tom Glavine

26Whitey Ford

27Curt Schilling
Since Roy Halladay isn't in the top 5 ill go with Schilling. Hamels shouldn't be in the top 4, 000 pitchers.
Three World Series Rings, 200+ wins, 2,000+ stikeouts. Truly amazing.

28Johan Santana

29Aroldis Chapman
He is the best closer ever! Number 1 will ever be better 105 mph that is insane! Aroldis chapman could absoulutely, definitely be a starter! I think he could be one of the top starters ever! A blazing fastball and an oustanding slider leaves batters scared to come to theplate and devistated when they leave! And I'm not over exadrating one bit! And what can I say I'm a reds fan

30Clayton Kershaw
He is simply the greatest pitcher ever, in my opinion
Are you kidding? 32nd? His stats are probably the best in pitching history better than Koufax he should deserve that #2 Spot right under Cy Yung

31Zach Greinke
7-1.61 era... Enough said!


32Orel Hershiser

33Catfish Hunter

34Babe Ruth
He could've been the greatest pitcher ever.


He should've stayed a pitcher but he made a smart choice
He's not even a pitcher

35Don Drysdale
I grew up watching Drysdale and remember how he would finish almost every game he ever threw. I think he was 22-20 one season... May be off a win or loss but he finished. there is a great story of when Willy Mays faced Drysdale... Mays stepped into the box and started to dig in his back foot.. Without looking up he all of a sudden called time and filled in the hole and stepped back into the box... Drysdale threw right under his chin and put him on his butt.. Nobody dug in against Drysdale

36Jaba Chamberlin
one of the youngest pitchers to throw 100 give the new yankees pitcher some props guys cmon


37Justin Verlander
The Greatest Pitcher ever, Cy Young and MVP both in the same year.
MVP, that's all I'm saying'.

38Roy Halladay
Perfect game under his belt with multiple no hitter what wrong with you this is clearly a top 5 guy
By far the best philly of all time
He has been clever and durable.

39Cole Hamels

40Yu Darvish
Young with lots of games to come. Fastest ever to reach 500 strikeouts. Given time, will be the BEST.
Will be one of the best

41Jerry Koosman
You have to be kidding

42Danny Salazar

43Masahiro Tanaka

44Jim Palmer

45CC Sabathia

46Mordecai Brown

47Cliff Lee

48Roy Oswalt

49Dwight Gooden

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This list was created 9 years, 105 days ago and has been voted on over 1,000 times. This top ten list has been remixed 7 times and has been blogged about 3 times.

Updated Tuesday, March 24, 2015

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