Left-handed pitchers are more common than left-hitting catchers. However, only six southpaws have won 300 games or more in their careers. Overall, 24 pitchers are in the elite club, with four joining since 1990. What’s more impressive is that all six pitchers are World Series champions and Hall of Famers. Here’s a look at the pitchers who have accomplished that milestone.
Left-Handed Pitchers 300 Win Club
The First One
Career W-L: 300-141
Years Played: 1925-1941
Robert Moses “Lefty” Grove pitched 17 seasons for the Philadelphia Athletics and the Boston Red Sox. While Grove didn’t win as many games as the all-time leader in wins among lefties, he’s a closer look at his numbers. As a rookie in 1925, he led the American League in strikeouts. Then, he led the AL in strikeouts in his first seven seasons and ERA nine times. From 1929 to 1931, Grove helped the A’s win two World Series titles. Overall, he was 4-2 with a 1.75 ERA in three Fall Classic starts.
Grove did have some quality seasons with Boston. He won four ERA titles in his eight seasons as a Red Sox. He was also pitching for the Red Sox on July 25, 1941. Grove pitched Boston to a complete victory over the Cleveland Indians for his 300th career win.
300 Wins or More
Career W-L: 303-166
Years Played: 1988-2009
Randy Johnson was one of the most intimidating players in his position. Johnson’s fastball regularly hovered around 100mph, but who could forget his incredible slider. Drafted by the Montreal Expos, the “Big Unit” rose to success with the Seattle Mariners in the mid-1990s. From there, he won five Cy Young Awards, pitched two no-nos (one was a perfect game), 10 All-Star Games, and 4,785 strikeouts. His punchouts are second to Nolan Ryan’s for most of all time. But Johnson’s strikeouts are the most by any left-handed pitcher.
He led a lethal 1-2 punch in the Arizona Diamondbacks rotation, dominating batters with Curt Schilling. In the playoffs, Johnson was on another level. He posted a 1.04 ERA over 17 1/3 innings during the 2001 World Series. The pair led Arizona to its first championship as they were named co-MVPs of the Fall Classic. Over his 22-year career, Johnson played with the Astros, Yankees, and Giants, winning his 300th game in 2009.
Career W-L: 305-203
Years Plated: 1987-2008
The Atlanta Braves had a pitcher win the NL Cy Young Award in six of eight years in the nineties. Tom Glavine won two of those Cy Young Awards in 1991 and 1998. Furthermore, he’s a 10-time All-Star and the MVP of the 1995 World Series. Glavine gave up two runs in 14 innings pitched with a 1.29 ERA against the Indians. That includes his eight scoreless inning performances in Atlanta’s series-clinching victory in Game 5. From 1996 to 2002, Glavine averaged at least 15 wins per season. From 1990 through 2007, Glavine started at least 30 games a season, minus the shortened 1994 and 1995 seasons. His 305 wins are fourth all-time among left-handers.
320 Wins or More
Career W-L: 326-194
Years Played: 1901-1917
Eddie Plank was the first southpaw to enter the 300-win club. Plank posted ERAs of 3.31 and 3.30 in his first two years in the majors. They would be the only time in Plank’s career where his ERA was above 3.00. By his third year in 1903, Plank became a reliable pitcher for the Athletics pitching staff. In that season, he went 23-16 with a 2.38 ERA, leading the AL in both appearances in games started. He was a key member of Connie Mack’s Athletics dynasty from 1910 through 1914. Although, his World Series record was 205 with a 1.32 ERA in seven appearances (six starts).
Career W-L: 329-244
Years Played: 1965-1988
Carlton became the first pitcher to win four Cy Young Awards. He won it for the fourth time in 1982 with the Philadelphia Phillies. He is also fourth on the all-time strikeout list with 4,186, which is behind Nolan Ryan (5,714), Johnson (4,875), and Roger Clemens (4,672). Carlton appeared in four World Series in his career, with the first two coming with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1968 and 1969. The other two came in 1980 and 1983 with the Phillies. He helped the Phillies to their first title thanks to winning both of his starts with a 2.40 ERA against the Kansas City Royals.
The King of Left-Handed Pitchers
Career W-L: 363-245
Years Played: 1942, 1946-1965
Spahn has the sixth-most wins in baseball history despite missing three seasons while serving during World War II. He only had four games of MLB experience on his resume as a 21-year-old in 1942 before going away. Spahn would return to the Braves, beginning a triumphant run as one of the best pitchers in baseball during the 1950s. He won 20 games 13 times, the last of which was when he was 42 in 1963. He was also the 1957 NL Cy Young Award winner, then finishing as runner-up in 1958, 1960, and 1961. The 17-time All-Star pitched in three World Series for the Braves, once for Boston and twice for Milwaukee.
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