5. Randy Johnson
Randy “The Big Unit” Johnson was one of the most dominating pitchers in baseball history. This 6 foot 10 inch behemoth pitched for several different teams in his career and had consistent quality in all of them, finally retiring after pitching for the San Francisco Giants in 2009. The big lefty threw fastballs that clocked over 100 MPH regularly and finished first in strikeouts per nine innings omong starting pitchers all time. He is second only to Nolan Ryan in career strikeouts and threw two no-hitters including one perfect game.
4. Walter Johnson
Walter Johnson, known as “Barney” or “The Big Train” was a pitcher celebrated for being one of the most dominant in history. Making his debut in 1907 for the Washington Senators, he played his entire career there, ending on September 30, 1927. After pitching, he would serve as a manager for both the Senators and the Indians. Johnson led the league in strikeouts 12 times, a record, including 8 straight seasons and was the only pitcher in the 3,000 strikeout club for 50 years until Bob Gibson joined him in 1974. Known for his sidearm delivery and explosive fastball, Johnson was one of the game’s best on the mound during its early celebratory years as the Nations Pastime.
3. Roger Clemens
Perhaps the most controversial entry on this list, Roger Clemens dominance cannot be denied. With 354 wins over a 24 season career, Clemens 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts are amazing numbers. This along with his seven Cy Young awards which is the most of any pitcher ever, The Rocket Roger Clemens won virtually every award a pitcher can win during his career. While his later career may be tainted due to allegations of PED use, he was found not guilty of lying to Congress that he never knowingly took performance enhancing drugs. The 11 time all star and 2 time World Series Champion hopes to one day soon join the Hall of Fame and shake the cloud of suspicion over drug use. If he can, his credentials are certainly the stuff legends are made.
2. Cy Young
In 1890, the Cleaveland Spiders introduced a young rookie who would revolutionize pitching in the major leagues forever. Cy Young, who won 511 games during his career (94 ahead of second place), has a career ERA of 2.63 and threw three no-hitters, 76 shutouts and won at least 30 games in a season five times and 20 or more ten times. Even for the dead ball era, those statistics are mind boggling and Young, a hard thrower in the days before the radar gun, was the most dominant of the time. Known as a bridge from the game’s earliest days to its more modern era, Young pitched against all the greats of the pre-Babe Ruth time and is generally seen as the ‘pitchers pitcher.’
1. Greg Maddux
“The Professor” Greg Maddux is one of the greatest pitchers of all time and simultaneously one of the most humble. Known for his quiet demeanor, Maddux was no less a star on the mound during his career winning the Cy Young a record four times in a row and won at least 15 games a season for 17 straight seasons which is a MLB record. Perhaps the best control pitcher ever, Maddux rarely lit up the radar gun, but instead employed a variety of curveballs, changeups and sliders to compliment his modest fastball and was known for being able to outthink just about anyone. With a career ERA of 3.16, Maddux survived and even thrived during a time period when home runs were the rule of the day and most pitchers ERA’s were ballooning. An incredible 18 time Gold Glove winner, Maddux was the perfect pitcher and has had his number (31) retired for both the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves teams.