For what it is worth, those who use their left hands in everything have a place in society. And interestingly, they are recognized in the world of baseball as an exclusive group of people found in the upper rungs of baseball history. More so, the best left-handed pitchers of all-time in baseball are referred to as southpaws.
And, it would please you to know that two dominant southpaw pitchers are alive today. They are Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw. Even with plenty of dominant pitchers that are righties, there are also plenty that is left-handed. However, this article will showcase some of the best left-handed pitchers of all time.
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Best Left-handed pitchers of all time
While many pitchers from the southpaw group deserve a worthy mention, we have picked some of the best to ever give their best shot in baseball history. Enough talking. Here are the best left handed pitchers of all time:
From 1982 to 1984, Steve Carlton was at the peak of his career, and he held the title of the all-time strikeout pitcher. Also, this left handed pitcher was the first to have won the Cy Young award four times.
He had a long career with 329 wins over 24 seasons. Lest we forget, he was a player for the Philadelphia Phillies, and in 15 seasons, Steve won 241 games.
Since he pitched 300 innings in 1980, no pitcher, be it a southpaw or right-handed player, has ever done it. At the end of his career, he walked out with an ERA of 3.22 and struck out 4136 hitters.
In addition to these, Steve had one of the greatest seasons a left-handed pitcher could ever have in 1972. Lastly, he became a Hall of Famer in 1994. Back when this player was at his peak there wasn’t even a list of the best baseball gloves.
Koufax was a famous southpaw that managed to last just twelve years in the bigs due to arthritis in his elbow. This caused him severe pain. Even in 1961, Koufax led the league with strikeouts that accumulated to 269.
He played for Brooklyn and then the Los Angeles Dodgers. And Koufax won an excellent total of 165 games with a 2.76 ERA. Though he is said to have had a short career, he still managed to have four no-hitters.
Koufax has pitched a minimum of 323 innings in his last two seasons. He also won the Cy Young award three times in 1963, 1965, and 1966.
Also, in 1963, he won the Most Valuable Player award. If not for his injury, everyone still wonders how many wins he would have had. His induction into the Hall of Fame happened in 1972.
It is imperative to note that one of the best left-handed pitchers of all-time amassed 363 wins, which is the most of any of the southpaw pitchers.
One thing you must know about Warren is that he missed roughly three years of his career because he left for military service. Even though this happened, he still won more than 20 games 13 times.
He is known to have pitched for 22 seasons and had a 3.09 career ERA. As for the Cy Young Award, he won it once in 1957. Warren led the league in full games for about seven straight seasons.
This was from 1957 to 1963. Everyone believes he would have had more than four hundred wins if he had not missed the 1943-1945 seasons. This was when he left for the military. Up to this moment, Warren’s numbers are still off the charts.
Tom Glavine’s career started in 1987 and ended in 2008. Overall, he had 305 wins over 22 seasons. Also, he was a consistent southpaw pitcher with an average of fifteen wins per season. In 1991, Tom won the Cy Young award and then had three straight 20-win seasons from 1991 to 1993.
He played for the Atlantic Braves, and one can say you will not find many left-handed pitchers as good as Tom today. He got his place in the Hall of Fame in 2014.
With the nickname Lefty, he was born Robert Moses Grove and won 300 games while playing for the Majors. He led the AL in strikeouts in every of the first seven seasons. He was put in the Hall of Fame in 1947.
And he ended up winning 9 ERA titles while at the peak of his career. He was legendary in 1931 as he went 31 – 4 with 175 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.06.
Interestingly, Lefty pitched for 17 years and was classified as among his generation’s dominating pitchers. From 1927 to 1933, Lefty won a minimum of 20 games.
He completed 27 of his starts, plus five saves, that were over 288 two-thirds innings. During this season, he was awarded the Most Valuable Player or MVP award. If you are looking for one of the first big-time strikeout pitchers, then you are looking for Lefty.
As a 6’10” hurler, Randy had an overpowering dominance on the pitch. He ended his career with 303 wins plus 4875 strikeouts. Randy was second only to Ryan Nolan.
At the peak of Randy’s career, he got five Cy Young awards, of which he won about four back to back. He finished second three times but led the league in ERA four times.
Randy had a 1.04 ERA and went on to win the co-MVP award. One time, Randy struck out about twenty guys in just one game. Nevertheless, he pitched 22 seasons for six different teams.
With his size, scowl, hair, and speed, he was a terrifying force and was recognized as the greatest left-handed pitcher of all time. He got a place in the Hall of Fame in 2015.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
Due to the commonality of right hand pitchers compared to left handed ones, most batters have minimal experience with southpaws. As such left hand pitchers have a distinct advantage when standing at the mound. Therefore lefties are traditionally a bit better than right-hand pitchers.
There are about 128 pitchers in the Hall of Fame, 71 are right handed, and 59 are left handed. Also, eight pitchers are switch hitters meaning they can switch their pitching arms easily.
In terms of strikeouts, the GOAT is Nolan Ryan with his impressive 5,714 strikeouts. Furthermore, Roger Clemens holds the American League or AL strikeout leader title with 4167 strikeouts. In the National League or NL, with 4000 strikeouts, Steve Carlton is the strikeout king.
It is a matter of practicality. Basically, left handed shortstops will have an awkward time throwing the ball where it needs to go due to them having to waste milliseconds getting into position.
There are many pitchers wearing their Wilson outfield gloves and whatnot hoping to land themselves on the same level as these legends. There are dads wearing gloves teaching their kids how to pitch a fastball for the first time making the kid dream of one day pitching in the Yankee stadium.
So many left-handed pitchers were great in the history of Major League Baseball. There were hard throwers and soft tossers. However, we have been able to identify about six of the best left-handed pitchers of all time. These ones made this list because of their wins, longevity, and dominance over the mound.