Top 10 Starting Pitchers of All Time

Selecting the top 10 starting pitchers is not as difficult as one might think,...after #10 it becomes desperate work, as Bill James used to say. A word on the selection criteria before we get started.

A starter is any pitcher who started at least 50 percent of the games in which they appeared during his career.

The Top Ten

1 Walter Johnson

I'm a huge Nolan Ryan fan, but Walter Johnson was the best.

His record is probably the best combination of career + peak value among the top 10

2 Cy Young

The award for the best pitcher is called the "Cy Young Award" for a reason.

He got an award named after him he was so good

Set the standard for longevity and excellence in the closing years of the 19th century into the 'modern' era of the new century.

511 wins will likely never be topped. - tribe95

3 Christy Mathewson

One of the truly great ones,... his deteriorating health shortened his career and eventually took his life way too soon

4 Lefty Grove

Far and a way the best pitcher of his era,.. if he lasted a little longer,... he would be at the top of this list

5 Nolan Ryan Nolan Ryan Lynn Nolan Ryan Jr., nicknamed The Ryan Express, is a former Major League Baseball pitcher and a previous chief executive officer of the Texas Rangers. He is currently an executive adviser to the owner of the Houston Astros.

The reason he's all bloody in that picture is because he was hit by a line drive. He just calmly picked the ball up for the out. When he faced the same batter later in the game, he struck him out with four very determined fastballs (his fastballs were consistently above 100 mph).

Great player should be 1

Way overrated at #3

6 Warren Spahn

He won 363 games and was the best lefty pitcher ever

He was absolutely beast mode. I consider him the best lefty of all time

He should be number 1 or 2

Very good

V 3 Comments
7 Bob Gibson

He could throw fire

8 Sandy Koufax

He was universally recognized as the greatest pitcher of his time.

He pitched 4 No Hitters


9 Greg Maddux

His curveball and slider pitches were nasty - Sabbath

A model of consistancy for a very long time

10 Juan Marichal

He was the 2nd best Giants pitcher of all time

The Contenders

11 Roger Clemens

A record very similar to Johnson's,... not quite as dominate in relation to his peers as Walter was in his time.

12 Tom Seaver

A throwback to the power pitcher in the mold of the 'Big Train'

Nope you guys lie lie lie lie lie lie lie.

13 Steve Carlton

He was spectacular and he had double wins than losses

He dominated and won with teams.


14 Jim Palmer
15 Randy Johnson

In spite of a late start and having to pitch in a pitcher's era,... he was able to carve out a remarkable career

There are many knocking at the door to get in,... however I would argue that none can match the performance recorded by these folks,

Not that good 4 5

16 Pete Alexander

Was a sensation in his early career,... the bottle eventually removed his effectiveness in later years

Best Giants pitcher ever

17 Pedro Martinez Pedro Martinez
18 Roy Halladay Roy Halladay
19 James Augustus "Catfish" Hunter

No words can describe how good he was

20 Don Drysdale

Son was a sensation even in his early years he deserves to be higher

One of the best Dodgers pitchers ever

21 Kid Nichols

Dominate,... if he didn't have to compete with his own business interests, might have gone on to compile the best record in baseball history

22 Clayton Kershaw Clayton Kershaw Clayton Edward Kershaw is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball.

Not as good as others

Already in Kofax's league


23 Jim Bunning

Beast. Could pitch in both leagues, throw no hitters, and had the 2nd best strikeout record on his team

He won 100 games in each league and a no hitter in each league

24 Bob Feller
25 Robin Roberts

He won so many games

26 Dwight Gooden
27 Ferguson Jenkins

Very underrated

28 Orel Hershiser


29 Curt Schilling Curt Schilling
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