“I became a good pitcher when I stopped trying to make them miss the ball and started trying to make them hit it,” said legendary pitcher Sandy Koufax. For 12 years, Koufax mystified sluggers all over the country. His career was rather short by some standards, but Koufax and his winning mentality live on in all great MLB pitchers. Do you really know anything about the best pitchers every to step onto the mound?
Even in the early “dead ball” days of pro baseball, pitchers were already perfecting the fastballs, sliders and curveballs that made batters whiff with regularity. The mound performances of guys like Pete Alexander and Cy Young made names for themselves long before the Great War. They were, of course, followed by dozens of phenoms, from Bob Feller to Lefty Grove to Tom Seaver and more. Do you recall the names of the most famous pitchers in our quiz?
Some of these guys were so good that they propelled their teams to not one, but multiple pennant and World Series wins. Do you remember which players racked up the championships … and do you know which teams they were playing for at the time?
Many of the men in our quiz are members of the Hall of Fame, and rightly so. They have the stats and the status to make them memorable for generations to come. Take a swing at this famous pitchers quiz now! Better bring the big stick, because we think you’re going to whiff on some of these!
Cy Young was a baseball icon even before the turn of the 20th century. He may have played in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but more than a century later some of his records still stand.
Martinez is one in a long line of fantastic players to emerge from the Dominican Republic. His family was so poor that he at one point he practiced his game with oranges because baseballs were too expensive.
Robert "Lefty" Grove was, of course, a left-handed pitcher. And even though he pitched way back in the ‘30s and ‘40s, he’s still regarded as one of the best left-handed pitchers ever.
Randy Johnson was "The Big Unit," the guy with the mullet and the scowl and the nearly 7-foot height. And he's still legendary for his feats on the mound.
No other pitcher in MLB history has as many no-hitters as Nolan Ryan. In his long career, he recorded seven no-hitters.
From ‘84 to ‘07, "Rocket" Clemens was one of the fiercest men on the mound, winning seven Cy Young Awards and two World Series titles.
Scott blew through batters with the Mets and Astros, in large part due to his unhittable split-finger fastball. He never played for the Royals.
For 17 straight years, Maddux won a minimum of 15 games. He was — and still is — the only pitcher to accomplish such a feat.
Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement, the holiest day in Judaism, and it happened to fall on the first game of ‘65 World Series. Koufax, a devout Jew, opted to honor his religion rather than worship at the altar of American sports.
Arrieta played three years with the Orioles was traded to the Cubs, where he won the Cy Young Award in 2015. And in 2016, he won a World Series, too.
Gibson played every one of his 17 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. In that span, "Gibby" racked up 3,117 strikeouts and tallied a 2.91 ERA.
Gooden was a powerful pitcher, particularly during his stint with the Mets. He was also effective during his two seasons with the Yankees.
A full century later, no pitcher seems capable of touching Cy Young’s record of 511 wins. He’s still a whopping 94 wins ahead of second-place Walter Johnson.
Martinez was never drafted. Instead, the Dodgers signed him as a free agent in 1988. He immediately went into the club’s farm system.
Seaver played 20 seasons, the best of which came duirng his days with the Mets. He tallied 311 wins, 61 shutouts, and 3,640 strikeouts in his Hall of Fame career.
Feller had already won MVP by time World War II broke out ... but then he lost three years to military service. After the conflict ended, he threw two more no-hitters to go with his single pre-war no-hitter.
In 2001, Randy Johnson unleashed a fastball to Calvin Murray, but a dove swooped into the ball’s path ... and exploded into a poof of feathers. Legend has it, the game was stopped for an impromtu bird funeral, and we probably made that part up.
In the ‘60s and ‘70s, "Catfish Hunter" may have had the the game’s most memorable nickname. He also played a role on five world championship teams.
Gooden struggled with substance abuse for much of his career, and in ‘95, the Mets had had enough. He was suspended for the entire season. He bounced back but ultimately found his sports career harmed by drugs like cocaine.
From ‘29 to ‘31, Lefty Grove nabbed the pitcher’s Triple Crown (ERA, wins, strikeouts) two out of three years. As it happens, he won two World Series during that run, too.
From ‘75 to ‘88, Ron Guidry was a true Yankees star. He was also an extraordinary defender, one who nabbed five Golden Glove awards.
Clemens was a standout wherever he played, but with the Yankees he really hit his stride. He won two World Series titles with the Yanks, one in ‘99 and one in ‘00.
Greg Maddux was an unstoppable force on the mound in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. At one point, he won the Cy Young Award four straight times.
For 27 years, Ryan was a competitive pitcher, one who recorded 5,714 strikeouts, along with 3.19 career ERA.
His 23 1/3 consecutive hitless innings are still the MLB record. Cy Young has also owns the record for complete games — 749.
Martinez weighed only aroun 135 pounds in his early career. Some managers, like Tommy Lasorda, were convinced he’d never be able to carry the weight of a starting job.
Koufax was an extraordinary pitcher for the Dodgers in the ‘50s and ‘60s, but arthritis killed his career when he was just 30. At age 36, he was picked for the Hall of Fame, the youngest player ever to achieve that honor.
In May 2004, Johnson logged a perfect game at the ripe old age of 40. That made him three whole years older than Cy Young, the previous record holder, who recorded his perfect game at the age of 37.
Gibby was a hurricane wind in ‘68, when he blew through batters with his 1.12 ERA. In the first game of the World Series alone, he struck out 17 hapless batters.
Mossi was a standout pitcher in the ‘50s and ‘60s who often had a strikeout-to-walk ratio that was at the tops of the league. Dude also had great big flappy "Ears."