To be a pitcher isn’t always the flashiest job on the market. In direct contrast to batters, who can spark a certain level of exhilaration simply by whacking a ball out of a park, the pitchers are there to do the exact opposite. They are there to stifle the noise. They are the peacekeepers, the defenders of the truth, the mommies and daddies who are finally putting their foot down, because bedtime is bedtime. For anyone who’s ever been a parent, they know how hard that can be. And for that reason, we must acknowledge just how hard it is to be an MLB pitcher in a league with the best sluggers in the entire world.
In order to combat these batters, what you need is something ferocious in return. You need someone like Randy Johnson, who can make an opposing batter squirm simply by looking at him dead in the eye. It’s not just about the ability to throw a pitch at 100 miles an hour (which he can, incidentally). It’s a psychological game that you must play with the batter. It’s a dance, a tantalizing tango where you have the power to beat your opponent for good – or in fact be their savior. It takes a strong mental capacity to be able to pull this off, and this is why we must give recognition where it is due when it comes to pitchers.
In addition to the Big Unit, there are countless of other pitchers in the history of the game that made their mark is a monumental, and sometimes swagger induced fashion. From the old time guns from the early 20th century, to the modern rocketeers of today, it sure hasn’t been easy to decide who falls into the top 20 group – but there are some who we believe are deserving without a doubt. But beware, because there may be a strong well of nostalgia ready to burst from the moment you start reading about your all time favorite pitchers – especially the ones who made the game you loved so exciting to watch.