The Top 10 Baseball Pitchers of My Generation

Top Ten Pitchers of All Time Randy Johnson

Ok, so here it is folks. My Top 10 Baseball Pitchers of My Generation. As with my past lists, we’ll call my generation 1990-2010. And because this is my list, I get to exclude one player from the list again.

I’ll go with Roger Clemens. My reasons? Not important. But hold your horses Yankees fans before you going telling me this is biased against New York. I’m pretty sure Clemens had some of his best years on the Red Sox, so breathe easy. If it will make you sleep better at night, call the list the 10 best pitchers of my generation not including Roger Clemens.

Without further adieu.

1) Pedro Martinez — 162 game averages of 17-8 with a 2.93 ERA. Pedro averaged 10 strikeouts and 2.4 walks per 9 innings. Ultimately it is his .687 career winning percentage, by far the highest on this list, that gets him the #1 spot. He won 3 Cy Young awards and his best season was 1999 when he went 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA. That same season, he started the all-star game by striking out Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, and Jeff Bagwell. That was the season immediately following McGwire and Sosa’s home run race.

2) Randy Johnson — Randy ending up this high on the list surprised me. Johnson’s averages were 17-9 with a 3.29 ERA. He averaged 10.6 K’s per 9 innings to go with 3.3 walks. He won 5 Cy Young awards and had a .646 winning percentage. His best season: 24-5 with a 2.32 ERA. Oh yeah, and he led the league in strikeouts 9 times.

3) Mariano Rivera — Rivera has 548 saves and a 2.21 career ERA. He averages 8.3 K’s per 9 innings and 2.1 walks. His post season resume consists of 88 appearances, 39 saves, and a .74 ERA. He’s probably the best closer ever, but hurts his chances at one of the top 2 spots because he has only led the league in saves 3 times and he’s blown a world series.

4) Greg Maddux — Maddux was 355-227 on his career, putting him way up high on the career wins list. The guy was the definition of consistency — he won 15 or more games 17 consecutive season. That’s got to be the most underrated statistic in baseball history. His average season was 16-10 with a 3.16 ERA. He won 4 Cy Young’s, and leads this list with only 1.8 walks per 9 innings — a very underrated statistic in my opinion. His career winning percentage was .610 and his best season was 19-2 with a 1.63 ERA.

5) Curt Schilling — Schilling’s place on this list is hurt by his .597 winning percentage. His average season was 15-10 with a 3.46 ERA, and his best season was 22-6 with a 2.98 ERA. 8.6 strike outs per 9 innings with 2.0 walks. Schilling claims this spot for his postseason prowess —  he was the definition of a big game pitcher. Remember everything from Schilling starting 3 games of the World Series for Arizona to the bloody sock in Boston. Schilling is 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in the postseason — making him arguably the most reliable postseason pitcher — ever.

6) Johan Santana — While Johan doesn’t have quite as many games under his belt as many of these players, his .667 winning percentage gets him this spot. He averages 15-8 with a 3.12 ERA. 2 Cy Young awards.

7) Trevor Hoffman — The second best reliever of our generation, after Mariano. Hoffman actually has more saves (596) and has led the league twice. His career ERA is 2.85 with 9.4 strike outs and 2.5 walks per 9 innings — dominant stuff over a long term.

8)Roy Halladay — Halladay also hasn’t played as many games (160-84), but his .656 winning percentage is superb. He averages 17-9 with a 3.34 ERA. He’s also great averaging 1.9 walks per 9 innings. 1 Cy Young award.

9) John Smoltz — Smoltz career numbers almost keep him off the list. His 3.33 ERA was good, and his best season was 17-3 with a 2.9 ERA. That being said it’s his 15-4 postseason record (a .789 winning percentage) and 2.67 ERA that get him this spot.

10) Andy Pettite — I’ll hate on this pick, but Pettite still makes the list I think. Petite is 240-137, a 17-10 average, but his career ERA is by far the highest at 3.87. One season he actually went something like 20-8 with an ERA over 4.00. That being said, there’s a New York run producing factor that got him a lot of wins he wouldn’t otherwise have. But he’s still done it over the long haul, he’s been consistent with age, and he’s done it in the playoffs.

Let me know what you think.

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Filed under Baseball, Player Comparisons

33 responses to “The Top 10 Baseball Pitchers of My Generation

  1. j-bone

    you are a trouble maker

    • I do my best. I got Pettite and Mo on there, so cut me some slack.

      • j-bone

        i see that, no complaints there, Mussina get any consideration?

      • Yeah — his numbers are amazingly similar to Pettite’s, which I found surprising. Both average 17-10 with a .637 or .638 winning percentage. It doesn’t get much more similar than that. I think that Mussina was probably a slightly better pitcher, given the fact that his numbers reflect significant time in Baltimore. That being said, I gave Pettite the edge for a much better postseason record (18-9 versus 7-8).

  2. j-bone

    Ok, I am bored at work, Clemens has to be on that list.

  3. j-bone

    I did read, and understand that it is a fruitless argument but I am bored. Clemens has the same evidence against him than Ortiz and less than Manny

    • Teck

      I agree we dont need no stinking Clemens on this list.

      I really like this list and don’t have much to complain about at all. I do think Pedro’s most impressive year was last year, as a Phillie.

      I also think its worth noting that Smoltz was a dominant starting pitcher then moved to the closer role and proceeded to be an amazing closer for 4 years averaging almost 40 saves/year. Then he returned to his role as a starter and proved to still be a very good SP.

      Also I think its worth mentioning that for most of his career Roy Halladay toiled away on the blue Jays and had to consistently face a stacked AL East division. I think it makes his numbers even more impressive, and had he been on a better team in another division I’ve got to think he’d have more CY Young’s and a much higher win percentage.

      • Agreed — this list is awesome, perfect, and exceptional in all ways. Seriously though, you make a great point about Halladay. His numbers are great and he was constantly facing the Yankees, Sox, and Rays.

    • Clemens and Bonds should date.

  4. Teck

    theyre babies would look like human bobble heads

  5. j-bone

    forehead squats

  6. j-bone

    David Wells might get some consideration but I dont know who gets bumped. Kevin Brown has some pretty good numbers. Mussina as mentioned. Tim Hudson also has some pretty good numbers and I think C.C. and possibly Beckett could be in the discussion. I dont love Hoffman on there because I don’t know if he has been really that dominant.

    • I think Kevin Brown is the best argument there. CC hasn’t been around long enough, and his ERA isn’t that low. Beckett isn’t worthy in terms of the regular season, but his postseason record gets him close. Hudson isn’t good enough. Hoffman has flown under the radar by where he has played, but a 2.85 career ERA shows dominance.

  7. Kevin Youkillis


  8. A. Rab Money

    Im behind on comments, but I like this list, seems to have everyone I would think of, and Pettite over Mussina all day, just because he has the most post season wins for a starting pitcher ever. Im not one to look up stats but another name that comes to my mind is David Cone. Does he have a chance at being up there?

    • I looked at David Cone, as well as Dennis Martinez, Orel Hershiser, Tom Glavine, Doc Gooden, Roy Oswalt and several others. Of that group Glavine is the winner — Cone doesn’t quite cut it, although he’s not far off. A cool fact — Glave made $62K his first year in the league. Boy has baseball changed.

      • j-bone

        I was surprised at Cones numbers they were not as good as i thought they were

      • I agree. He’s definately one of those pitchers though that when he was at his best, he was awesome. He had 4 pitches he could throw effectively in any count from a variety of arm angles when he was on.

  9. Kevin Youkillis

    i liked the list.. overall pretty well put together and i have an idea for your next one…”your personal favorite baseball team”.. you can stick with the era you have been working with but shove the stats aside and just pick your favorite player at each position. I will begin working on my list. Just a thought.

  10. Teck

    Hoffman is the all time saves leader…I think that alone has to put him in the top ten. He certainly flew under the radar for most of his career in San Diego and i hate constantly playing “What If?” but imagine him on a better team, think of all of the save opportunites he missed out on as a member on some sub par padre teams.

  11. Teck

    its too bad he went into such a decline this year cause now its unlikely he’ll get those 4 saves to make it 600…although the way things are going he might get to 600 saves before A-Roid gets to 600 HR’s

  12. Teck

    steaming pile of horse plop!

  13. Randy Johnson #1 just for the Cy Youngs and big game pitching. Pedro never had the post season success of the other pitchers on your list(that really have been to the post season).

    Here’s an article I wrote when Johnson retired…

    • Interestingly Johnson is 7-9 in the playoffs — although he’s 3-0 in the world series, which is awesome. Pedro is 6-4 in the playoffs, but 1-2 in the world series. Part of that was a lack of run support in the world series games he pitched though.

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