Best Indians/Reds players of all-time – pitchers
The staff at FOX Sports Ohio has been debating a topic recently, and we would like your input.
As the All-Star Game approaches, we’ve been looking at past seasons and asking ourselves “who were the greatest Reds/Indians players ever to play each position?” Trust us, making the list wasn’t easy – we went through several drafts and researched players of the past.
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Now we turn it over to you.
Between now and the All Star Game (July 16 on FOX), we will be asking you to vote for your favorite Reds player and favorite Indians player at each position.
Today’s position – the pitchers.
Arroyo was named an All-Star in his first season with the Reds (2006) and has earned 98 wins for Cincinnati ever since. In addition to winning the Golden Glove Award in 2010, Arroyo has pitched in many big games and has been an anchor for the Reds for 7 years.
Nicknamed “The Whip”, for his sidearm snap-back delivery, Blackwell spent nine seasons with the Reds and was named to six straight All-Star games. In 1947, he threw a no-hitter against the Boston Braves. In his next start, he carried a no-no into the ninth inning, coming close to repeating the feat of Johnny Vander Meer’s back-to-back no-hitters.
Browning pitched for the Reds during 10 of his 11 big league seasons. He threw the 12th perfect game in MLB history on September 16th 1988 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Lifetime record of 123-88 with an ERA of 3.94.
Derringer played ten seasons in Cincinnati and 16 overall. He was named to six All-Star Games and finished third in MVP voting in 1939. Lifetime record of 223-212 with an ERA of 3.46.
Seven of his nine seasons in the majors were with the Reds. He never made an All-Star team, but was in the top seven for Cy Young voting in back-to-back seasons (1974-1975). Lifetime record of 109-50 with an ERA of 3.11.
Jay was an average starter for the Milwaukee Braves when the Reds took him in 1961, and he immediately paid dividends. He got 21 wins in each of his first two season with Cincinnati, going to the All-Star game in 1961 and finishing fifth in MVP voting. Lifetime record of 99-91 with a 3.77 ERA.
Ohio native Lawrence had an abbreviated 7-year career (five with the Reds). He was named to one All-Star Game (1956) when he went 19-10. Lifetime record of 69-62 with an ERA of 4.25.
Maloney pitched 11 of his 12 seasons in Cincinnati. He was named to one All-Star team and grabbed MVP votes in two seasons. He was twice a 20-game winner. Lifetime record of 134-84 and an ERA of 3.19.
Nolan played ten seasons with the Reds, and only threw five games with any team besides Cincinnati. He played in one All-Star Game, finished third for Rookie Of The Year in 1967, and cracked the top 6 for Cy Young twice. Lifetime record of 110-70 with an ERA of 3.08
Purkey played 7 of his 13 MLB season in Cincinnati. He was named to three All-Star Games, and in 1962 he went 23-5 which earned him the third-most votes for NL Cy Young. Lifetime record of 129-115 with an ERA of 3.79.
Rijo spent 10 of his 14 seasons with the Reds, but had a five-year layoff with injuries. He was named to one All-Star Game, and finished in the top 5 in Cy Young voting twice. Lifetime record of 116-91 with a 3.24 ERA.
Rixey played 13 seasons with the Reds, 21 overall. His entire career was before the introduction of the All-Star Game. In 1922, he threw for 25 wins. Lifetime record of 266-251 and an ERA of 3.15.
A member of the Reds from 1977-1982, Seaver pitched the only no-hitter of his Hall of Fame career with Cincinnati in 1978. His long list of prestigious awards include 12x All-Star, 3x Cy Young Award winner, 3x NL ERA Champion, 5x NL Strikeout Champion, 3x NL Wins Champion and it all started in 1967 when he was named Rookie of the Year.
Every game of Soto’s career was played in a Reds uniform. He was named to three All-Star Games, and finished second in Cy Young voting in 1983 when he threw 18 complete games. Lifetime record of 100-92 with an ERA of 3.47.
Johnny Vander Meer
Vander Meer pitched for nine seasons in Cincinnati. He is mostly famous for being the only pitcher to throw consecutive no-hitters. Vander Meer appeared in four All-Star games and pitched three scoreless innings in the 1940 World Series.
Walters played 16 seasons in the bigs, 11 with Cincinnati. He was named to five All-Star Games, and won the NL MVP in 1939, when he won 27 games as a starter. Lifetime record of 198-160 with an ERA of 3.30.
10 of Borbon’s 12 years were with the Reds, spanning throughout the Big Red Machine years. Nine of his seasons, he finished with an ERA under 2.00. Lifetime record of 69-39 with 80 saves and a 3.52 ERA.
Franco began his 21-year career in Cincinnati and was a mainstay of the Reds bullpen in the 80’s. His 424 career saves ranked second in major league history when he retired, and remains the most by a left-hander. He holds the NL record for career games pitched at 1,119, which is ranked third in major league history.
1978, his first season with the Reds, was the best season of Bair’s career. He recorded 28 saves, which ranked the fourth highest in the National League that year and had an ERA of 1.97 in 100.1 innings pitched. He spent nearly four seasons with the Reds, before he was traded in September of 1981.
The 2x All-Star spent nine seasons with the Reds, leading the team in saves from 1999-2004, except for 2003 when he was a starting pitcher. Graves has 182 career saves and his lifetime ERA is 4.04.
Shaw spent four seasons with the Reds as a dependable arm out of the bullpen. His best season was in 1997 when he won the Reliever of the Year Award, after recording 42 saves with an ERA of 2.12 in 94.2 innings pitched.
Dibble was drafted by the Reds in 1982 and made his big league debut in 1988. One of the members of the legendary 1990 Reds bullpen nicknamed the “Nasty Boy” trio. He posted an ERA of 2.74 in his six seasons with the Reds.
The 4x All-Star was traded to the Reds for John Franco in 1990. That season, the most successful member of the “Nasty Boy” trio won the NLCS MVP award and played an integral part in the Reds’ World Series Championship. He finished his career with 347 saves and an ERA of 3.19.
The third member of the “Nasty Boy” trio, Charlton pitched for the Reds from 1988-1992, and again in 2000. In his career with the Reds, he went 31-24 with an ERA of 3.14 and 29 saves.
In 1948, Bearden had arguably the best rookie year of any Cleveland professional athlete in history. He went 20-7 with a league-leading 2.43 ERA, and he completed 15 of his 29 starts with six shutouts. He closed out game six of the ’48 World Series to clinch the championship in one of the most memorable wins in franchise history.
With 450 career games, Coveleski pitched 224 complete games, 38 shutouts, and posted a 2.89 lifetime ERA. He spent nine seasons as a Cleveland Indian, earning three wins in the 1920 World Series.
The 8× All-Star, 6× AL wins leader, 7× AL strikeouts leader, 1940 Triple Crown winner pitched three career no-hitters and led the Indians to a World Series Championship in 1948. He spent his entire career in Cleveland.
Ferrell first came up with the Indians in 1927. He was named an AL All-Star, pitched a no-hitter and had four consecutive 20-win seasons from 1929-1932 before being traded to Boston in 1934.
Garcia played 12 of his 14 major league seasons for the Indians. In his rookie season (1949), he led MLB with an ERA of 2.36. He had two 20-win seasons, was a 3x All-Star and an integral part of the 1948 World Series Championship team.
The 4x All-Star spent 36 seasons overall with the Indians, as a player from 1928-1947 and pitching coach from 1949-1963. He led the AL in putouts in 1932, 1933, 1935 and 1938. Harder has 1,160 career strikeouts with a lifetime ERA is 3.80.
Joss pitched for the Cleveland Bronchos, later known as the Naps, between 1902 and 1910. He still holds the record for the second-lowest career ERA (1.89) in MLB history. In addition to pitching two no-hitters and several one-hitters, he pitched a perfect game on October 2, 1908.
The 4x All-Star pitched for the Indians from 2002-2009. In 2008, he went 22-4 with a league-leading ERA of 2.54, which earned him the Cy Young Award and AL Comeback Player of the Year.
The Hall of Famer spent his entire playing career (1941-1942, 1946–1958) with the Cleveland Indians. He was an All-Star in seven straight seasons (1948–1954), 2x MLB wins leader, AL strikeout leader in 1950 and pitched a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers in 1948, the year the Indians won the World Series.
McDowell spent the first 11 of his 15 MLB seasons with the Indians. He was a 6x All-Star and finished third in Cy Young Award voting for the 1970 season.
The Indians signed Paige in 1948, making him the first Negro League pitcher in the American League. At 42 years old, he was the oldest rookie in MLB history. In 1948, Paige was a boost for the Indians in the pennant race, finishing the season with a 6–1 record with a 2.48 ERA including two shutouts. Paige was the first Negro Leagues player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.
The 5x All-Star pitched for the Indians from 1972-1975. In 1972, Perry went 24–16 with an ERA of 1.92 and one save, earning him the Cy Young Award. He was the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues, with the Indians in 1972 and the San Diego Padres in 1978. His career record is 314–265 with an ERA of 3.11.
The Indians drafted Sabathia in the first round (20th overall) of the 1998 MLB draft. He finished second in Rookie of the Year Award voting in 2001. The 6x All-Star won the Cy Young Award in 2007, the last time the Indians made the playoffs. Sabathia was the ALCS MVP with the Yankees in 2009, before winning the World Series.
Score debuted for the Indians in 1955. In his first season, he went 16-10 with a 2.85 ERA and a record-setting 245 strikeouts for a rookie, which earned him the Rookie of the Year Award. He improved to 20-9 with a 2.53 ERA and 263 the following year. Score was an All-Star in his first two seasons, but after being hit in the face with a pitch early in the 1957 season, he was never the same. Score retired in 1962 and began a 34-year long broadcasting career with the Indians in 1964.
Tiant pitched for the Indians from 1964-1969. The 3x All-Star is one of five pitchers to have pitched four or more consecutive shutouts. He finished fifth in MVP voting in 1968 after going 21-9 with a 1.60 ERA. Tiant won AL Comeback Player of the Year in 1972. His lifetime record is 229–172 with an ERA of 3.30.
During his 25-year long MLB career, the Hall of Famer pitched for the Indians from 1949-1957. In 1950, he had his first 20-win season and was part of one of the best starting rotations of all-time with Bob Lemon, Bob Feller and Mike Garcia. Wynn was an 8x All-Star and won the Cy Young Award in 1959. His lifetime ERA is 3.54 with a record of 300-244.
Jones pitches seven of his 13 seasons for the Indians, notching 129 saves in a Tribe uniform. Three of his five All-Star selections came during his time in Cleveland that lasted from 1986-91. He pitched 80 or more innings in four of his five seasons with the Indians.
Acquired via trade in the middle of the 1992 season, Mesa became a star in Cleveland after a nondescript three-plus seasons in Baltimore. He saved a league-leading 46 games for the AL pennant-winning Indians of 1995 and finished second in Cy Young voting and fourth in the MVP race. He made the All-Star team in ’95 and again in ’96, when he saved 39 games. Mesa played seven of his 19 seasons in Cleveland, saving 104 games for the Tribe and 321 overall.
A lefty from Mexico, Monge spent five of his 10 major league seasons with the Indians. He saved 46 games for Cleveland, including 19 in 1979 when he made his only All-Star team. Monge finished second in the AL with 76 appearances that season and pitched 131 innings out of the bullpen.
A right-hander from New Jersey, Narleski made 224 of his 246 major league appearances in a Cleveland uniform. He was selected for the All-Star Game in 1956 and ’58 and finished sixth in MVP voting in 1955 when he saved a league-leading 19 games. He started 52 of his 266 games with the Indians and fashioned a record of 43-33 with a 3.60 ERA for the club.
He came up as a highly regarded prospect of the St. Louis Cardinals, but Perez has spent the past five seasons playing for the Indians. At the age of 28, he has already made a pair of All-Star games and has 119 saves, including 111 for Cleveland. Perez was fourth in the AL in saves each of the last two seasons.
A 15-year major league veteran, Wickman saved 139 games in his six seasons in Cleveland. Wickman made two All-Star appearances, including in 2005 for the Indians when he saved an AL-best 45 games. Wickman also made the All-Star Game for the Brewers in 2000 prior to a late-July trade that sent him to Cleveland in a seven-player deal.