Debate: Greatest Left-Handed Pitcher Ever
August 13, 2012 is the 36th year that the world will celebrate “Left-Handers Day.” As such, it is only right that the baseball world celebrate some of the best lefties to ever step on the Major League mound. Here is my list of the five greatest southpaw pitchers ever:
1. Randy Johnson
Not only do I think that Johnson is the greatest left-handed pitcher ever, I think that he was the most intimidating pitcher of all time. He led the league in strikeouts an incredible nine times, had almost 5,000 career strikeouts and won the Cy Young five times. This 6’10” monster dominated MLB hitters during arguably the most offense-driven time in the game’s history, and that fact alone helped give him the nod on this list.
2. Robert “Lefty” Grove
This Hall of Famer was one of baseball’s first dominant southpaws. He won exactly 300 games, led the league in ERA nine seasons, led the league in strikeouts every season for his first seven seasons and even picked up an MVP award in 1931. His stuff was good enough to help him dominate MLB for much of the 1920’s and 1930’s.
3. Warren Spahn
Spahn’s greatness is personified in his career numbers and the unbelievable longevity that he had. He won 363 career games over an incredible 18 Major League seasons while stockpiling 13 20-win seasons. His numbers could have been even better but he did not pitch from ages 22-24 because of military service.
4. Sandy Koufax
Had Koufax not retired at the age of 30 due to injuries, he could very well have been the best pitcher ever. He pitched for seven years in the majors before he began to really dominate, but the last five years of his career (1962-1966) might be the most dominant five-year period for any pitcher of all time. During that period, he threw four no hitters (one of them a perfect game), and had an ERA of 1.99.
5. Whitey Ford
His career numbers might not be overwhelming at first glance, but they definitely get better as you dig deeper. He won 236 games, but his win/loss % was .690. He also won 10 World Series game while compiling a 2.71 ERA in all of his Series starts. I also have to give him a ton of respect for pitching his entire career with one team.
Also considered: Steve Carlton & Rube Waddell
That is my list. Now it's time to make your voice heard by tweeting to @MLBFanCave and @KyleOKC with your top five lefties of all time. Happy Left-Handers Day 2012.