The 20 Best Pitchers in Baseball History (Highest Career W-L Percentages)

Whitey Ford Has The Best W-L Percentage Of Any Pitcher With At Least 300 Decisions, 6.9 Wins Out Of Every 10

Whitey Ford Has The Best W-L Percentage Of Any Pitcher With At Least 300 Decisions, 6.9 Wins Out Of Every 10

So many ways to grade the best pitchers of all time.

And here’s another – when it comes down to it, it’s about wins, right? But more than that – it’s about not many losses, either.

These guys – and let’s go for the cream of the crop with a minimum of 300 decisions – have the best career W-L percentages of all time.

Whitey Ford rules the roost with an unbelievable .690 winning percentage – and he did it all with one team – but he’s followed closely by Pedro Martinez (.687). Check out Martinez’ outrageous 117-37 (.760) record during his years with the Boston Red Sox.

Just about every pitcher on this list is a Hall of Famer, will be or would’ve been (Roger Clemens).

But there are a couple of surprises. We all knew Dwight Gooden was preposterously dominant in his early years – but look at this, Doc actually finished up, despite all those ups and downs, with the 15th best record of any pitcher (again, minimum 300 decisions). It’s doubtful he’ll make the Hall, though.

What about 10th best, and active, Tim Hudson? Drumbeats from ESPN and NBC Sports say maaaybe, or at least ask the question.

Carl Mays is oh so close.

Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte are really on the bubble, but so far it doesn’t look good.

And I think CC Sabathia gets in.

Just look at these amazing lifetime records below.

I had to include Bob Feller at No. 21. It was just too close (.0001).

  PITCHER W-L PCT. W L ARM SEASONS TEAM(S)  
1. Whitey Ford .690 236 106 L 1950, 1953-1967 New York Yankees 236-106
                 
2. Pedro Martinez .687 219 100 R 1992, 1993 Los Angeles Dodgers 10-6
            1994-1997 Montreal Expos 55-33
            1998-2004 Boston Red Sox 117-37
            2005-2008 New York Mets 32-23
            2009 Philadelphia Phillies 5-1
                 
3. Lefty Grove .680 300 141 L 1925-1933 Philadelphia Athletics 195-79
            1934-1941 Boston Red Sox 105-62
                 
4. Christy Mathewson .668 373 185* R 1901-1916 New York Giants 372-185
            1916 Cincinnati Reds 1-0
                 
5. Roy Halladay .659 203 105 R 1998-2009 Toronto Blue Jays 148-76
            2010-2013 Philadelphia Phillies 55-29
                 
6. Roger Clemens .658 354 184 R 1984-1996 Boston Red Sox 192-111
            1997, 1998 Toronto Blue Jays 41-13
            1999-2003, 2007 New York Yankees 83-42
            2004-2006 Houston Astros 38-18
                 
7. Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown .652 208^ 111^ R 1903 St. Louis Cardinals 9-13
            1904-1912, 1916 Chicago Cubs 188-86
            1913 Cincinnati Reds 11-12
                 
7. Chief Bender .652 208# 111# R 1903-1914 Philadelphia Athletics 193-102
            1916, 1917 Philadelphia Phillies 15-9
            1925 Chicago White Sox 0-0
                 
9. Randy Johnson .646 303 166 L 1988-1989 Montreal Expos 3-4
            1989-1998 Seattle Mariners 130-74
            1998 Houston Astros 10-1
            1999-2004, 2007, 2008 Arizona Diamondbacks 118-62
            2005, 2006 New York Yankees 34-19
            2009 San Francisco Giants 8-6
                 
10. Tim Hudson** .644 213 118 R 1999-2004 Oakland A’s 92-39
            2005-2013 Atlanta Braves 113-72
            2014 San Francisco Giants 8-7
                 
11. Pete “Grover Cleveland” Alexander .642 373 208 R 1911-1917, 1930 Philadelphia Phillies 190-91
            1918-1926 Chicago Cubs 128-83
            1926-1929 St. Louis Cardinals 55-34
                 
12. Mike Mussina .638 (.6383) 270 153 R 1991-2000 Baltimore Orioles 147-81
            2001-2008 New York Yankees 123-72
                 
13. Jim Palmer .638 (.6381) 268 152 R 1965-1967, 1969-1984 Baltimore Orioles 268-152
                 
14. CC Sabathia** .636 208 119 L 2001-2008 Cleveland Indians 106-71
            2008 Milwaukee Brewers 11-2
            2009-2014 New York Yankees 91-46
                 
15. Dwight Gooden .634 194 112 R 1984-1994 New York Mets 157-85
            1996, 1997, 2000 New York Yankees 24-14
            1998, 1999 Cleveland Indians 11-10
            2000 Houston Astros 0-0
            2000 Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2-3
                 
16. Juan Marichal .631 243 142 R 1960-1973 San Francisco Giants 238-140
            1974 Boston Red Sox 5-1
            1975 Los Angeles Dodgers 0-1
                 
17. Andy Pettitte .626 256 153 L 1995-2003, 2007-2010, 2012, 2013 New York Yankees 219-127
            2004-2006 Houston Astros 37-26
                 
18. Eddie Plank .625 305+ 183+ L 1901-1914 Philadelphia Athletics 284-162
            1916, 1917 St. Louis Browns 21-21
                 
19. Carl Hubbell .622 (.6216) 253 154 L 1928-1943 New York Giants 253-154
                 
19. Carl Mays .622 (.6216) 207 126 R 1915-1919 Boston Red Sox 72-51
            1919-1923 New York Yankees 80-39
            1924-1928 Cincinnati Reds 49-34
            1929 New York Giants 6-2
                 
21. Bob Feller .622 (.6215) 266 162 R 1936-1941, 1945-1956 Cleveland Indians 266-162

* Christy Mathewson was 0-3 for the New York Giants in 1900, not included. Rankings are from 1901-present, the NL-AL unified era.

^ Mordecai Brown was 31-19 for the St. Louis Terriers, Brooklyn Tip-Tops and Chicago Whales of the Federal League in 1914 and 1915. Not included here.

# Chief Bender was 4-16 for the Baltimore Terrapins of the Federal League in 1915. Not included here.

+ Eddie Plank was 21-11 for the St. Louis Terriers of the Federal League in 1915. Not included here.

** Active in 2014

Photo: espn.com

Posted on July 28, 2014, in MLB Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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