The Wildest Pitchers in Baseball History

Nolan Ryan Led The League In Wild Pitches Six Times

Nolan Ryan Led The League In Wild Pitches Six Times

Not wild, like party wild. Not wild, like big beards, purple parachute pants or daring ‘dos. Not wild, like Mitch Williams.

These guys threw the most wild pitches ever.

Not so wild they couldn’t make it in the big leagues or even just make the big leagues. Just the opposite. A handful are even Hall of Famers, including the wildest of them all, Nolan Ryan. The others are Phil Niekro, Steve Carlton, Gaylord Perry, Walter Johnson and Tom Seaver.

It helps to have a lengthy career. Most of these pitchers played nearly 20 years or more than 20.

Ryan missed the mitt 277 times, a full 51 more than second place, knuckler Niekro. Niekro is considered the best knuckle ball pitcher of all time and Ryan is baseball’s all-time strikeouts leader (and has a likely untouchable seven no-hitters).

Naturally, knuckle ballers pepper the list: both Niekros (brother Joe), Charlie Hough and Tim Wakefield.

It’s a colorful list of interesting players overall. They played all of their careers in the 20th and 21st centuries (no dudes from the 1800’s here). I excluded pitchers who accumulated wads of wild pitches before the unification of the National and American Leagues in 1901 (including Cy Young).

Most are right-handers. Then again, most pitchers have been right-handed.

And there’s one active. Where will A.J. Burnett finish up? He’s already in the top 10.

1. Nolan Ryan 277 R 1966, 1968-1993 New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros, Texas Rangers
2. Phil Niekro 226 R 1964-1987 Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays
3. Jack Morris 206 R 1977-1994 Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians
4. Tommy John 187 L 1963-1974, 1976-1989 Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, California Angels, Oakland A’s
5. Steve Carlton 183 L 1965-1988 St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins
6. Charlie Hough 179 R 1970-1994 Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, Florida Marlins
7. Joe Niekro 172 R 1967-1988 Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, Detroit Tigers, Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros, New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins
8. Gaylord Perry 160 R 1962-1983 San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Seattle Mariners, Kansas City Royals
9. Walter Johnson 154 R 1907-1927 Washington Senators
10. A.J. Burnett 152 R 1999-present Florida Marlins, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies
11. David Cone 149 R 1986-2001, 2003 Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox
12. John Smoltz 145 R 1988-1999, 2001-2009 Atlanta Braves
13. Roger Clemens 143 R 1984-2007 Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Houston Astros
14. Sam McDowell 140 L 1961-1975 Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates
15. Mike Moore 135 R 1982-1995 Seattle Mariners, Oakland A’s, Detroit Tigers
16. Tim Wakefield 134 R 1992, 1993, 1995-2011 Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Red Sox
17. Chuck Finley 130 L 1986-2002 California/Anaheim Angels, Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals
18. Bobby Witt 128 R 1986-2001 Texas Rangers, Oakland A’s, Florida Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Cleveland Indians, Arizona Diamondbacks
19. Jim Kaat 128 L 1959-1983 Washington Senators, Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals
20. Tom Seaver 126 R 1967-1986 New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox



Posted on July 21, 2014, in MLB Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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