Ranking the greatest pitchers in baseball history: Nos. 100-81
theScore

Throughout the month of January, a cast of editors from theScore will share their rankings of the greatest teams, performances, pitchers, and position players in baseball history. This list focuses on the greatest pitchers.

100-81 | 80-61 | 60-41 | 40-21 | 20-1

Voter list:

  • James Bisson, National Sports Editor
  • Brandon Wile, Senior MLB Editor
  • Jonah Birenbaum, MLB News Editor
  • Michael Bradburn, MLB News Editor
  • Jason Wilson, MLB News Editor
  • Bryan Mcwilliam, MLB News Editor
  • Simon Sharkey-Gotlieb, MLB News Editor
  • Dylan Perego, News Editor

100. Larry Jackson

W L K ERA WHIP
194 183 1709 3.40 1.24

Jackson was one of the best pitchers in the majors during the late 1950s and 1960s, even if his teams weren't very good. Despite winning 194 games across his 14-year career, Jackson never tossed a single postseason inning. In fact, the right-hander holds the record for the most wins by a NL starter who never played for a first-place team. -- Wile

99. Sam McDowell

W L K ERA WHIP
141 134 2453 3.17 1.31

A 6-foot-5 left-hander, McDowell was one of the most prolific strikeout artists of an era, but his career was short-lived due to alcoholism. He washed out of the majors at age 32, his marriage crumbled, and he was left broke. His story ends happily, though: McDowell turned his life around, went back to school, and ended up serving as a sports addiction counselor with the Blue Jays and Rangers. It's such an amazing story that McDowell's life inspired the character of Sam Malone in the TV sitcom "Cheers," though the six-time All-Star later contended he was "better with women than (Sam) was." -- Bradburn

98. Jack Quinn

W L K ERA WHIP
247 218 1329 3.29 1.30

Quinn was one of baseball's earliest trumpeted "closers," recording 56 career saves while leading the league in the category twice. That he did so at age 47 and 48, respectively, is impressive - as is his longevity overall. He pitched in four different decades, racking up 247 wins and more than 1,300 strikeouts. He made his last appearance in 1933, six days after his 50th birthday. -- Bisson

97. Chris Sale

W L K ERA WHIP
91 58 1552 2.98 1.05

The most amazing thing about Chris Sale is that he hasn't yet won a Cy Young Award. Since breaking into the big leagues in 2010, at 21, the lanky left-hander has been more valuable than every pitcher except Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and David Price, and he's finished in the top six in AL Cy Young voting in each of the last six years. This past season, Sale, a six-time All-Star, managed a career-high 7.7 WAR, crafting a 2.90 ERA (157 ERA+) over 214 1/3 innings while becoming just the fourth pitcher this century to reach the 300-strikeout plateau. -- Birenbaum

96. Jon Lester

W L K ERA WHIP
159 92 2041 3.51 1.24

Lester is in the prime of a potential Hall of Fame career, but he accomplished perhaps his most remarkable feat at the beginning. His rookie season ended early when he was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma at 22. The southpaw was able to beat the disease and has gone on to win three World Series championships thus far. Lester currently sits seventh among active players in wins (159), 10th in games started (348), and 11th in strikeouts (2,041). -- Perego

95. Steve Rogers

W L K ERA WHIP
158 152 1621 3.17 1.23

No, not Captain America. This Rogers actually spent his entire career in Canada, pitching for the Montreal Expos. Despite a 22-loss and a 17-loss season, the righty was a five-time All-Star with three top-five finishes in Cy Young voting. Rogers' 1982 campaign (19-8, 152 ERA+, 277 IP) was the best of his 13-year career. -- Mcwilliam

94. Billy Pierce

W L K ERA WHIP
211 169 1999 3.27 1.26

Pierce was one of his era's most dominant southpaws. Armed with both a powerful fastball and knee-buckling slider, the longtime White Sox ace actually racked up more career strikeouts than his contemporary, Hall of Fame left-hander Whitey Ford. But because of Ford's dynastic Yankees, Pierce and the White Sox teams won just a single pennant in the 1950s, and his brilliance is often overlooked as a result. His No. 19 is retired by the White Sox. -- Sharkey-Gotlieb

93. Urban Shocker

W L K ERA WHIP
187 117 983 3.17 1.26

At his brief peak, Shocker hurled complete games and also served as a reliever in his spare time. His best seasons came as a member of the St. Louis Browns, especially when he went 51-29 with a 3.25 ERA across 674 2/3 innings (!) over two seasons (!!) from 1921-22. Months after being released by the Yankees, Shocker died of pneumonia at the age of 37. -- Wilson

92. Javier Vazquez

W L K ERA WHIP
165 160 2536 4.22 1.25

While Vazquez's numbers aren't eye-popping, he was a model of consistency across his 14 seasons in the majors. From 2000-11, the right-hander reached the 200-inning plateau nine times, and struck out more than 200 in five of those seasons. Vazquez never won a Cy Young, but came close in 2009, finishing fourth after posting a 2.87 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 238 strikeouts in 219 1/3 innings. -- Wile

91. David Wells

W L K ERA WHIP
239 157 2201 4.13 1.27

The only pitcher to appear in the postseason with six different clubs and the author of a perfect game (while nursing a hangover, no less), Wells - nicknamed "Boomer" - finished his career with a 4.13 ERA over 3,439 innings between an incredible nine teams and 21 seasons. While he never finished better than third in Cy Young voting, Wells collected a pair of World Series rings (one each with the Blue Jays and Yankees) and pitched into his mid-40s despite being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes late in his career. -- Bradburn

90. Madison Bumgarner

W L K ERA WHIP
104 76 1482 3.01 1.10

Recency bias plays a part here - but consistency like MadBum's isn't easy to find in any era. Bumgarner has posted an ERA below 3.40 in every season of his career, and his 8.8 K/9 rate stands out even as strikeouts reach an all-time high. Between his four All-Star nods, four top-10 finishes in National League Cy Young voting, and three World Series rings, MadBum's on his way to becoming an all-time great. -- Bisson

89. Jim McCormick

W L K ERA WHIP
265 214 1704 2.43 1.13

It's probably safe to assume Jim McCormick wouldn't much care for ... well, anything about the way pitchers are used today. In 1879, his second season with the Cleveland Blues, McCormick threw 546 1/3 innings, starting sixty games and coming out of the bullpen in another two. The following year, McCormick logged an even more ridiculous volume, starting 74 games - and completing all but two of them! - to lead the National League with 657 2/3 innings pitched. By the age of 31, McCormick was out of baseball. I wonder why. -- Birenbaum

88. Eppa Rixey

W L K ERA WHIP
266 251 1350 3.15 1.27

Until the emergence of legendary southpaw Warren Spahn, Rixey was the winningest left-handed pitcher in National League history, totaling 266 victories from 1912-33 with the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds. Rixey was known for his penchant to lose as many games as he won, and had two 20-loss seasons to his four 20-win seasons during his career. He led the NL in wins in 1922 as a member of the Reds, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1963 by the Veterans Committee. -- Perego

87. Jack Morris

W L K ERA WHIP
254 186 2478 3.90 1.30

After failing to receive the required 75 percent of the vote to get into the Hall of Fame during his eligible years, Morris was elected into baseball's most exclusive club in December by the Modern Era Committee, along with former Detroit Tigers teammate Alan Trammell. Morris was a five-time All-Star and frequent Cy Young candidate, but might be best known for his work in the postseason (7-4, 3.80 ERA, 64 strikeouts in 13 career starts). -- Mcwilliam

86. Bartolo Colon

W L K ERA WHIP
240 176 2454 4.04 1.31

Today he's best known as "Big Sexy," the lovable right-hander and last remaining Montreal Expo who keeps on plugging away as baseball's oldest active player. But before that popularity surge in about 2014, Colon had already put together one heck of a career. The 2005 AL Cy Young winner has twice led the league in complete games, and has successfully morphed from a dominant strikeout pitcher into a crafty veteran who continues to be an effective component of winning teams this late in his career. -- Sharkey-Gotlieb

85. Kevin Appier

W L K ERA WHIP
169 137 1994 3.74 1.29

Appier never won a Cy Young, and he was only an All-Star once, in 1995. But from 1990-97, he was one of the best pitchers in baseball. Appier averaged 205 innings per season, going 103-74 with a 3.22 ERA over those eight campaigns. That's pretty impressive considering the Royals had just two winning seasons over that time. Only Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux posted a better WPA than Appier's 24.62 during his peak seasons in Kansas City. --Wilson

84. Amos Rusie

W L K ERA WHIP
246 174 1950 3.07 1.35

Looking at Rusie's baseball cards, the numbers don't even seem real. In 1890, the right-hander threw 548 2/3 innings. The following season, he tossed another 500 1/3. Though his career only lasted 10 seasons, Rusie still managed to log 4,527 1/2 innings. The workload wasn't even the most impressive part of Rusie's career, as he was quite good when he was on the mound. From 1890-98, Rusie posted a 2.89 ERA over 427 appearances, winning 234 games. -- Wile

83. Dennis Martinez

W L K ERA WHIP
245 193 2149 3.70 1.27

The first MLB player from Nicaragua, "El Presidente" spent the early portion of his career showing flashes of brilliance with the Orioles. However, Martinez didn't hit his stride until he got traded to the Expos. It was with Montreal that he posted a 3.06 ERA over eight seasons, including a perfect game in 1991. In 1995 with the Indians, Martinez broke Kirby Puckett's jaw with a pitch in what would end up being the last at-bat of the Twins outfielders' career. -- Bradburn

82. Ron Guidry

W L K ERA WHIP
170 91 1778 3.29 1.18

"Louisiana Lightning" electrified the Yankees' rotation for the better part of a decade, leading the league in victories twice while earning AL Cy Young honors in 1978 after going 25-3 with a 1.74 ERA, a 208 ERA-, and 248 strikeouts. He was a three-time 20-game winner who had six top-seven showings in Cy Young voting and finished with 170 wins. -- Bisson

81. Stan Coveleski

W L K ERA WHIP
215 142 981 2.89 1.25

Few pitchers utilized the spitball as effectively - and guiltlessly - as Coveleski, the crafty right-hander who established himself as a big-league ace before the pitch was outlawed in 1920 and was one of the 17 pitchers allowed to continue doctoring the ball after it was banned. Armed with that nefarious offering, Coveleski ended up becoming a Cleveland Indians legend, managing 43.7 WAR - fourth-most in franchise history - with a 129 ERA+ while averaging 278 innings per season in his nine-year run with the club from 1916-24. -- Birenbaum

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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Ranking the greatest pitchers in baseball history: Nos. 100-81
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