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Top 11 Starting Pitchers of the 1970s

Ranking the Top 11 Starting Pitchers of the 1970s!
Publish Date:09/07/2023
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

11) Fergie Jenkins

Jenkins won at least 20 games during six consecutive seasons from 1967-1972. That is the longest streak of at least 20 wins during the last 45 seasons of MLB. In addition, he picked up the Cy Young award following his magical 1971 season. Find the best baseball strategie1 for betting on baseball.

Video: Looking at Fergie Jenkins' career

Looking at Fergie Jenkins’ career

10) Andy Messersmith

Out of the eight HOF starting pitchers from the 1970s, Andy Messersmith has the best H/9 on that list, and any of the eight HOFers does not get better than his 2.86 ERA. If that’s not enough for you, he has the second-best W%+, the third-best ERA+, the third-best SHO/40, and the third-best WHIP of the eight HOFers.

Video: The Birth of Free Agency | Retro Report on PBS

The Birth of Free Agency | Retro Report on PBS

9) Luis Tiant

Tiant is one of the 10 best pitchers not in the hall of fame. His shining moment was in the 1975 World Series, where he shut out the Big Red Machine at Fenway Park.

Video: Luis Tiant Baseball Career Highlights

Luis Tiant Baseball Career Highlights

8) Gaylord Perry

Perry had the best spitball in the game, too bad it was an illegal pitch! I do not think he threw as much as we are told, but I think the advantage came from batters being worried about the pitch.

Video: 1974 ASG: Gaylord Perry's four strikeouts

1974 ASG: Gaylord Perry’s four strikeouts

7) Don Sutton

Sutton had an array of different pitches and was so smart he would usually call his own game. His 325 wins and 60 career shutouts should tell you how good he was.

Video: MLB Tonight: Don Sutton's Legacy

MLB Tonight: Don Sutton’s Legacy

6) Phil Niekro

Niekro ended up recording 45 SHO and almost 320 wins by the time his career was through. He led the league in wins twice, and during his career, he also led the League in W%, ERA, Ks, and ERA+ at one time or another. In addition, he was the best knuckleball pitcher in history. Check out the top baseball odds.

Video: MLB Network remembers Phil Niekro

MLB Network remembers Phil Niekro

5) Catfish Hunter

Hunter won over 20 games for five consecutive seasons from 1971-1975. He ended up helping his teams to five World Series Championships and picked up the Cy Young award during his 1974 season.

Video: Catfish Hunter Athletics Career Highlights

Catfish Hunter Athletics Career Highlights

4) Steve Carlton

Carlton was one of the greatest left-handed starting pitchers of all time. He had over 4,000 strikeouts during his career and won 4 Cy Young awards.

Video: Legend Series: Steve Carlton Highlights

Legend Series: Steve Carlton Highlights

3) Nolan Ryan

Although the Angels were a sub-.500 team and remained one for much of his time there, Ryan managed to post winning records, notably 19–16 in 1972, 21–16 in 1973 and 22–16 in 1974 (the 22 wins tied what remains the Angels franchise record, set by Clyde Wright in 1970). He finished 2nd in the Cy Young balloting (losing to Jim Palmer 88–62) in 1973. It was the closest he ever came in the Cy Young balloting, yes you read that right! Nolan Ryan never won a Cy Young award! Ryan also led the league in losses in 1976 with a 17–18 record (one short of the franchise record for losses). In the early 1970s, many teams used a four-man rotation and expected the starter to complete the game; thus, most games Ryan started ended in a decision.

Video: Nolan Ryan Highlights

Nolan Ryan Highlights

2) Jim Palmer

Palmer won at least 20 games during eight of the nine seasons from 1970-1978, including leading the league in wins for three consecutive seasons from 1975-1977.

Video: Jim Palmer Highlights

Jim Palmer Highlights

1) Tom Seaver

Seaver was a winner. Seaver’s teams weren’t all that good, .500 ball clubs, give or take. But even being on mediocre teams, he still never posted a losing record during each of his first 15 seasons in the League. During his career, he also led the league in strikeouts five times, K/BB three times, WHIP three times, ERA+ three times, ERA three times, and SHO twice. Seaver also threw a no-hitter in 1978 as a Cincinnati Red.

Video: Seaver Strikes Out 19

Seaver Strikes Out 19

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