Ranking the greatest pitchers in baseball history: Nos. 80-61
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
  • Josh Wegman, News Editor

80. Ted Lyons

W L K ERA WHIP
260 230 1073 3.67 1.35

Lyons has remained an integral figure in Chicago White Sox history since his retirement in 1946, as his 260 wins still stand as the most in franchise history. Had he not missed three seasons at the end of his career due to military service, Lyons could very well have joined the illustrious 300-win club. Nevertheless, his impact for the White Sox garnered him an All-Star selection in 1939, the AL ERA crown in 1942, and the eventual retiring of his No. 16 by the team. -- Perego

79. Vic Willis

W L K ERA WHIP
249 205 1651 2.63 1.21

Willis was a pitcher who liked to finish what he started. Of his 471 career starts - spanning 13 seasons - the Hall of Famer completed 388 of those games. In 1902, he tossed 410 innings and completed 45 of his 46 starts and even appeared in five other contests for good measure. But, things weren't always great for Willis. The "Delaware Peach" lost a league-leading 29 games in 1905. -- Mcwilliam

78. Jimmy Key

W L K ERA WHIP
186 117 1538 3.51 1.23

One of the better and more underrated left-handers of the 1980s, Key twice finished second in Cy Young voting, including his stellar 1987 campaign with the Blue Jays. He also exhibited remarkable control and rarely issued walks (2.3 BB/9 for his career, and had five top-10 finishes in this category). Key pitched well in the playoffs (3.15 ERA), and was a critical piece of World Series-winning rotations for the Blue Jays (1992) and Yankees (1996). He got the win in the clinching games of both those World Series. -- Sharkey-Gotlieb

77. Cliff Lee

W L K ERA WHIP
143 91 1824 3.52 1.20

At 28, Lee nearly flamed out. His 2007 was a disaster of injuries, ineffectiveness, and tension with teammates. He was demoted, and what looked like a promising career in the making was in danger of being extinguished. He won a Cy Young Award the following season, when he went 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over 223 1/3 innings. He became one of baseball's workhorses until injuries reared their ugly head again. Lee never won a World Series ring, though he did appear in back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. -- Wilson

76. Red Faber

W L K ERA WHIP
254 213 1471 3.15 1.30

Faber was one of the first pitching stars in White Sox history, finishing with four 20-game seasons while leading the league in ERA twice. His best season came as a 33-year-old in 1922, when the Iowa native went 21-17 with a 2.81 ERA, a league-best 31 complete games, and an AL-leading 1.19 WHIP while throwing a career-high 352 innings. -- Bisson

75. Jerry Koosman

W L K ERA WHIP
222 209 2556 3.36 1.26

As a 25-year-old rookie, Koosman set franchise records for a young New York Mets franchise in wins (19), shutouts (7), and ERA (2.08). While Koosman would never quite recapture that magic, and all those records would be broken by the remarkable Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden, the left-hander played an integral role for the Miracle Mets, famously carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning of Game 2 of the 1969 World Series. -- Bradburn

74. Mickey Lolich

W L K ERA WHIP
217 191 2832 3.44 1.23

Lolich went from good to great in the late 1960s and early 1970s, earning three All-Star nods in a four-year span while finishing in the top three in Cy Young Award voting twice. Lolich hit a high-water mark of 25 victories in a sensational 1971 season in which he led the majors in starts (45), innings (376), and strikeouts (308). And let's not forget his astounding performance in the 1968 World Series, when he racked up three complete-game victories - capped by a five-hit masterpiece in the seventh and deciding game. -- Bisson

73. Frank Tanana

W L K ERA WHIP
240 236 2773 3.66 1.27

Renowned for his blazing fastball, Tanana went 13th overall in the 1971 draft and was a cog in the Angels' rotation shortly thereafter. The hard-throwing left-hander formed a formidable one-two punch with Nolan Ryan - "Tanana and Ryan, then start cryin" - for the latter half of the decade. A shoulder injury in 1979 cost him his heater, though, and Tanana was forced to reinvent himself. He was never quite as good after that, but Tanana sure was durable, averaging 198 innings per season from 1980 through 1993; his 4,188 1/3 career innings rank 18th among modern era pitchers. -- Birenbaum

72. Chuck Finley

W L K ERA WHIP
200 173 2610 3.85 1.38

Finley's name is littered all over Los Angeles Angels record books to this date, as the southpaw still stands as the franchise leader in games started (379), wins (165), innings pitched (2,675), and strikeouts (2,151). Finley's name also pops up in obscure pages of the record books, as he was the first pitcher in history to strike out four batters in one inning on two separate occasions. Finley was named an All-Star on five separate occasions, and was eventually inducted into the Angels' Hall of Fame. -- Perego

71. Vida Blue

W L K ERA WHIP
209 161 2175 3.27 1.23

Widely considered as the hardest-throwing left-hander of his era, Blue used to routinely touch 100 mph with his fastball when that number was uncommon on the radar gun. Blue's powerful pitching earned him the Cy Young and MVP awards in 1971 with the Oakland Athletics and he's one of only five pitchers to start the All-Star Game for both the AL and NL (Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay, Randy Johnson, and Max Scherzer). -- Mcwilliam

70. Old Hoss Radbourn

W L K ERA WHIP
309 194 1830 2.68 1.15

Old Hoss has an incredible all-around resume and a case as one of the great 19th-century hurlers, but that ridiculous 1884 season still stands out on its own. After pitching nearly every game from July 23 onward Radbourn finished 1884 with a record 59 wins, a 1.38 ERA, 441 strikeouts, and 73 complete games in 75 appearances over 678 2/3 innings pitched for the NL champion Providence Grays. He then started, and won, all three of the Grays' World Series games. That 1884 workload likely played a part in his career ending after just 11 seasons. Despite the short career, Radbourn still stands as an all-time great. -- Sharkey-Gotlieb

69. Dizzy Dean

W L K ERA WHIP
150 83 1163 3.02 1.21

Injuries shortened what otherwise could have been a legendary career. His six seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals from 1932-37 are evidence enough. Dean went 133-75 with a 3.00 ERA and 1.20 WHIP while leading the majors in strikeouts on four occasions. He also threw two complete games in three World Series starts against the Tigers in 1934, securing the team's third championship in a decade. At 37, six years after retirement, and working as a broadcaster for the St. Louis Browns, he declared, "I can pitch better than nine out of 10 guys on this staff." Well, the Browns tabbed him to start a game and he went four scoreless innings. -- Wilson

68. Mark Buehrle

W L K ERA WHIP
214 160 1870 3.81 1.28

You don't get more consistent than Buehrle. The fast-working southpaw reached the 200-inning plateau in all but one of his 15 seasons as a starter - the season he missed the mark he still logged 198 2/3 innings - and won at least 10 games in each of those years. His reliability on the mound earned him five All-Star nods, while his athleticism secured four Gold Gloves. Buehrle was also World Series champion, and author of both a perfect game (2009) and no-hitter (2007). -- Wile

67. Jim Kaat

W L K ERA WHIP
283 237 2461 3.45 1.26

Kaat was deprived of ever winning a Cy Young by pitching concurrently with Sandy Koufax at a time where the National League and American League shared the honor. In fact, the award began being issued to the best pitcher in each league the year after Kaat won 25 games and posted a 2.75 ERA for the Twins. Still, Kaat's longevity is almost unprecedented, lasting 25 years in the bigs, appearing in 898 games and throwing more than 4500 innings. -- Bradburn

66. Early Wynn

W L K ERA WHIP
300 244 2334 3.54 1.33

To label Wynn a late bloomer does some disservice to his work in his 20s, which included an All-Star campaign in 1947. But Wynn really took off in his 30s, leading the majors in wins twice while copping the AL Cy Young Award as a 39-year-old in 1959 after posting 22 victories and a league-high 37 complete games. He was the 14th pitcher to join the 300-win club. -- Bisson

65. Rube Waddell

W L K ERA WHIP
193 143 2316 2.16 1.10

At the turn of the century, Waddell was the greatest curiosity in baseball, a constantly distracted, fire truck-chasing, alligator-wrestling hayseed who, according to the great Connie Mack, also had "the best combination of speed and curves" of any pitcher in the game. From 1900 through 1909, after all, only Cy Young and Christy Mathewson proved more valuable than the mythical Waddell, who led the American League in strikeouts six times over that span, managing a 2.11 ERA (136 ERA+) while averaging 284 innings per season. -- Birenbaum

64. Cole Hamels

W L K ERA WHIP
147 102 2227 3.37 1.16

Consistency has been one of Hamels' biggest strengths during his career as he has made a name for himself as one of the best left-handed pitchers in baseball today. Known for his devastating change-up, Hamels has repeatedly racked up the strikeouts, exceeding 175 in nine of his 12 seasons. He has also put together eight seasons of 200-plus innings, making him one of the more durable pitchers of his era. -- Perego

63. Rick Reuschel

W L K ERA WHIP
214 191 2015 3.37 1.28

You've got to be good to earn the nickname "Big Daddy," which is exactly what Reuschel was during his 19-year career. Although Reuschel's career record of 214-191 may not turn any heads, he did accumulate 68.2 fWAR and a 3.37 ERA with the Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, and New York Yankees and twice finished in the top three for the NL Cy Young. -- Mcwilliam

62. Orel Hershiser

W L K ERA WHIP
204 150 2014 3.48 1.26

Hershiser continued the long line of great Dodgers pitchers during his run of excellence in the 1980s. A three-time All-Star, his finest season came in 1988 when he won the NL Cy Young Award after leading the league in wins, innings pitched, complete games, and shutouts, plus a 59-inning shutout streak that remains the major-league record - then he won both the NLCS and World Series MVP. Though he was never the same after shoulder surgery in 1990, Hershiser remained a reliable pitcher into his later years, and was named the 1995 ALCS MVP while with Cleveland. -- Sharkey-Gotlieb

61. John Clarkson

W L K ERA WHIP
328 178 1978 2.81 1.21

Only Old Hoss Radbourn has the distinction of finishing a single season with more wins than Clarkson's 53 in 1883. He won 49 in 1889, and in each of those seasons he completed 68 games. He threw a smattering of curveballs at different arm angles, toying with batters when at the top of his game. Following his playing career, Clarkson sadly suffered a breakdown and spent several years in an insane asylum. -- Wilson

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

Comments
Ranking the greatest pitchers in baseball history: Nos. 80-61
  Got something to say? Leave a comment below!
Daily Newsletter
Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox