A guy at work and myself got into this little discussion yesterday — pretty interesting stuff. This list is NOT a compilation of who could simply throw the hardest, so you will not find guys like Joel Zumaya.
1) Randy Johnson — I can’t imagine anything more frightening than standing in against the Big Unit, just ask John Kruk. Truthfully, he and Nolan Ryan are probably 1 and 1a — but I had to rank them, and the fact that Johnson is a lefty put him over the top. Triple digits from damn-near the firstbase-line?? Yep, dominant. Besides, batters used to actually fake sickness/injury on RJ day…..hillarious, and an extremely high form of praise from one’s peers.
2) Nolan Ryan — Loved hearing that sizzle and pop. The Express was amazing — longevity plus velocity that wouldn’t quit. His 7 no-hitters will never be matched — and he’s got ol #1 to thank for all of them.
3) Bob Gibson — I don’t think it was Gibby’s velocity that had batters worried as much as the fact that he would (and did) dial up some chin-music on any given pitch, count be damned. Plus, I don’t know much, but I do know that when your league literally changes the rules and playing fields you play on because of you, you’re freaking awesome! MLB lowered the mound from 15 inches down to 10 in 1969, the season following Gibson’s 1.12 ERA. One-point-one-two??? Yo!
4) Don Drysdale — Much like Gibson, Drysdale OWNED the plate. Batter’s didn’t, hell, COULDN’T dig in and the Cheddar just kept hissing by.
5) Roger Clemens — Don’t like anything about Roger (including the fact that he’s a longhorn), but the guy could hum it — truthfully, he is probably the most well-rounded on the list, but his Heater paid the bills.
Tags: Baseball, Nolan Ryan