MLB: Greatest Starting Pitchers of All-Time

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Top Pitchers FeaturedThis week, the writers of Sports Unbiased tackle one of the greatest and most heated debates you can have in sports – Who are the Greatest Starting Pitchers in MLB History?

Each writer was tasked with ranking their Top-5 Starting Pitchers in MLB History and explaining why they picked each pitcher.  The votes were tallied (with points being award for each place – five points for 1st, four points for 2nd, down to one point for 5th).

The writers taking part this week were Rich Stowe, Josh Madas, Matt Strobl, Mike Santangelo, Kimani Gregoire, John Yeomans, Mark Cebulski, and Brian Podoll.

When all was said and done, we ended up with 16 pitchers appearing on the ballots and 13 places being decided with no pitcher appearing on all ballots (most ballots appeared on was six).  This shows you just how difficult it is to determine the greatest starting pitchers in baseball history.  As you’ll see, there was a close race for 1st and 2nd, and the top-5 are clear, then there is a big drop off to the other pitchers in this list.

We had several ties after the points were tallied and to break the ties we used the following as tie-breakers in this order:

–       Number of ballots appeared on

–       Highest place vote

If those tie-breakers couldn’t break the ties, the pitchers simply remained tied (as you’ll see).

Without further adieu, let’s get started with the pitchers who finished in 13th and 12th place.


13th Place


Old Hoss Radbourn


Old Hoss RadbournBallots Appeared on: 1
1st Place Votes received: 0
2nd Place Votes received: 0
3rd Place Votes received: 0
4th Place Votes received: 0
5th Place Votes received: 1
Total Points: 1

Brian Podoll:  Radbourn does not often rank among the very highest of all-time greats, but he seized upon the advantage of allowing fully overhanded delivery by 1884. In our current age of treating pitchers like fine crystal with pitch counts, his physical feat of going out and being credited with 48 wins (ERA+ 150, 66 complete games) in 1883 and 59 wins (ERA+ 205, 73 complete games!) in 1884 will never come within a whiff of ever being duplicated. In an era of iron man pitchers, Radbourn went above and beyond. While debate about whether overuse in the early part of his career shortened it to 11 years, at age 35 in 1890, he still went 27-11, nearly equaling Steve Carlton’s prime 27-10 record at age 27 in 1972. Unlike the large modern “Lefty,” Radbourn was a very average-sized man for his time.


12th Place


Bob Gibson


Bob GibsonBallots Appeared on: 1
1st Place Votes received: 0
2nd Place Votes received: 0
3rd Place Votes received: 0
4th Place Votes received: 1
5th Place Votes received: 0
Total Points: 2

Kimani Gregoire:  Perhaps the most intimidating pitcher in MLB history, Gibson amassed 251 wins, 3117 strikeouts, and a 2.91 career ERA during his career. He is a 2-time Cy Young award winner and the 1968 NL MVP (the last NL pitcher to win MVP). His 1968 season, where he posted an all-time best 1.12 ERA, was so dominant that baseball was forced to lower the mounds. Gibson’s dominance also extended into the post-season and the World Series. His 35 strikeouts in the World Series are an all-time best as well as his 17 strikeouts in Game 1 of the 1968 World Series.


Up Next:  11th and 10th Place

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