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Readers Respond: Who Is The Best Left-Handed Pitcher Of All-Time?

Responses: 12


Randy Johnson and Tom Glavine could enter the Hall of Fame together sometime in the next decade. But how do they measure in the history of the game? Please make your argument about the best lefty in baseball history.

Lefty Grove

Highest WAR for a left-handed pitcher ever, was great for a long time, MVP, WS champ, etc.
—Guest Alex

Babe Ruth is an outfielder

Don't tell me he was a pitcher for the sox blah blah blah. If you think Ernie Banks (who was elected to HOF as SS) isn't SS because "he played more games as 1B", then why in the world would I see Babe Ruth, who played much, much more of his career in the outfield, to be on this list! Because he is Babe Ruth? That's just wrong!
—Guest Yilan

Sandy Koufax

After seeing Koufax's Game 1 performance, Yogi Berra said, "I can see how he won 25 games. What I don't understand is how he lost five," to which Maury Wills responded, "He didn't. We lost them for him."
—Guest Yilan

Babe Ruth

As good as Ruth was at pitching, he played more games at Right Field. If you are going to say that he counts as both a pitcher and right fielder, then Jim Rice is a DH and LF, Ernie Banks is a SS and 1b, and Pete Rose is a variety of positions. I understand how you put Ruth here, and I know i sound like an annoying dweeb, but I just want it to be recognized that Ruth should be a right fielder, not both.
—Guest jay


If Koufax has a normal playing span he would have been No. 1. And with only two pitches, which he telegraphed.
—Guest Dr. Rico


Strange for five years Sandy Koufax was not just the best left-hander, but pitcher, but lifetime, and I got to see a lot of it. Warren Spahn, and give some notice to Steve Carlton.
—Guest David Silverwood

Lefty Grove or Randy Johnson

Warren Spahn pitched forever, but was almost never dominant. He was merely very good. And Sandy Koufax was dominant, but for less than half of a career. Randy Johnson and Lefty Grove were dominant by every criteria that matters, and for a very long time.
—Guest Wade8813

Sandy Koufax

The best I've seen is Koufax. He is probably the best pitcher ever over a 5-year stint. I'd be interested in hearing what the best all around player in history (Willie Mays) has to say about Koufax. I would take the 1963 Koufax over anyone to pitch the seventh game of a World Series, as long as it wasn't being played on Yom Kippur. By the way, he was one of the last to stand by his convictions.
—Guest Francis Galvin


The criteria for defining greatest of all time is pretty vague, even impossible to define. Except for Grove, I've seen those mentioned. I watched batters look befuddled by Spahn, even look afraid of Carlton's and Randy Johnsons' slider. But for a few years, batters looked hopeless against Koufax. He faced lineups where half the hitters just wanted to take their three pitches and go sit down again. Stats can be used to argue any point of view you want to support, but the greatest left-handed pitcher of all time that I've witnessed, starting with Spahn and up until now, was Sandy Koufax.
—Guest Michael Mann

Greatest LHP ever is Warren Spahn

2nd-best ERA+ of any pitcher of live ball era with 5000+ IP. Most 20+ win seasons. Most complete games/shutouts by a left-hander. 2nd-highest WAR by a lefty. So many great stats I could go on for so long and he kept it all up through a 21-year career in which he lost what would have been his 2nd, 3rd and 4th seasons fighting in WWII.
—Guest BaseballFanatic21

best lh pitcher of all time

Warren Spahn, Sandy Koufax - no, it's Lefty Grove. Main reason it's these three is because of innings and wins per start.
—Guest David Silverwood

Best Lefty of All Time

One can argue for the longevity of a Warren Spahn or a Lefty Grove who pitched in a small ballpark and still won 300; or the incomparable best years of Sandy Koufax; but there's only one Steve Carlton who pitched in a relatively small ballpark with a second-rate team and did more than anyone else has in the way of strikeouts and wins in that position. He has my vote.

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