The Best Left Handed Pitchers of All Time! Vote for Your Favorite

The southpaws hold a special place in our MLB hearts. Vote for your all time favorites and see who wins!

#1 Sandy Koufax

Teams
Brooklyn Dodgers (1955-57), Los Angeles Dodgers ('57-66)

Honors
Seven-time All-Star (1961-66*), MVP ('63), three Cy Youngs ('63, '65-66), two-time World Series MVP ('63, '65), Hall of Fame ('72)

*Played in two All-Star Games in '61

Championships
4 -- Brooklyn/Los Angeles (1955, '59, '63, '65)

Career stats
W-L: 165-87, 40 shutouts, 2,324.1 innings pitched, 2.76 ERA, 2,396 strikeouts, 1.106 WHIP

The player

Sandy Koufax went 97-27 in his final four years, then retired. In 1965, he struck out 311 more batters than he walked, the only pitcher to ever strike out 300 more than he walked in a season. -- Tim Kurkjian, ESPN senior writer

There is no greater peak value argument than Koufax. He didn't pitch well in Brooklyn, and before 1962 he'd led the league in strikeouts and wild pitches once apiece. Nice pitcher, but not OMG THAT'S SANDY FRICKIN' KOUFAX! That's because from 1962 through 1966 he gives us five incredible years, going 111-34 with a 1.95 ERA, striking out 27 percent of opposing hitters when that simply wasn't done, not like that, not to that extent. And then, he went away, unable to continue because of arthritis in his elbow, leaving on his terms, unblemished, unchallengeable, impossibly awesome, done at 30. No grubby comeback, no gritty rebound story, just an effortless ascension out of any understanding, having delivered a string of performances almost beyond explanation. The park helped, as did the high-mound era and a mid-career decision to get serious about conditioning, but other people had those things going for them, and they weren't Sandy Koufax. In essence, it was his rising fastball paired with the best overhand curve maybe ever thrown, but that sounds way too easy, and nothing about Koufax should be easy, not for the rest of us. Given that brief run of brilliance, to put him No. 1 you basically chuck everything we might talk about with everybody else about career performance, and you credit this one man for doing this incredible thing, and it's plausible because he really was that incredible. -- Kahrl

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#2 Madison Baumgartner

Teams
San Francisco Giants (2009-present)

Honors
Four-time All-Star (2013-16), World Series MVP ('14), two Silver Sluggers ('14-15)

Championships
3 - San Francisco (2010, '12, '14)

Career stats*
W-L: 95-62, 6 shutouts, 1,300.2 innings pitched, 2.93 ERA, 1,276 strikeouts, 1.096 WHIP

*Stats as of July 10, 2016

The player

He's having his best season yet and he has the legendary 2014 postseason that will live forever, but he has pitched in a low-scoring era (until this season) in a pitcher's park, so he really shouldn't be a serious candidate for the top 100 just yet. If his first half of 2016 is a new level and he can pitch close to this level for five more years, then we'll start talking. -- David Schoenfield, ESPN senior writer

Bumgarner's regular-season numbers don't suggest he's going to be good enough for the Hall of Fame when his career is over. His 24.3 WAR is far off pace for typical HOF standards. That being said, his postseason accolades will at least get him a foot in the door for the discussion. It could be argued that his 2014 was the best postseason put up by any athlete in any major professional sport. -- Kenneth Woolums, ESPN Stats & Information

Bumgarner's 2014 Game 7 performance was just par for the course for one of the most intense pitchers in the game. As a 21-year-old rookie in 2010, he threw eight shutout innings on the road in the World Series. Bumgarner doesn't have a Cy Young award or a no-hitter yet, but both seem inevitable for a pitcher who has a chance at something historic every time he pitches. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Infomation

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#3 Randy Johnson

Teams
Montreal Expos (1988-89) Seattle Mariners ('89-98), Houston Astros ('98), Arizona Diamondbacks ('99-2004, '07-08), New York Yankees ('05-06), San Francisco Giants ('09)

Honors
Five-time AL All-Star ('90, '93-95, '97), five-time NL All-Star ('99-2002, '04), AL Cy Young ('95), four NL Cy Youngs ('99-'02), World Series MVP ('01), Hall of Fame ('15)

Championships
1 - Arizona (2001)

Career stats
W-L: 303-166, 37 shutouts, 4,135.1 innings pitched, 3.29 ERA, 4,875 strikeouts, 1.171 WHIP, 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings (all-time leader)

The player

The lanky left-handed pitcher, nicknamed "The Big Unit" was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015, his first year eligible, by a resounding 97.3 voting percentage. Johnson is a five-time Cy Young Award winner who amassed 303 wins and 4,875 throughout the span of his career. -- Katie Strang, ESPN.com Tigers reporter

Randy Johnson might be the most unique physical specimen the game has ever seen. A 6-foot-10 lefty who could touch triple digits. Once he figured out how to control his ridiculous stuff, it was game over for opposing hitters. -- Woolums

I'm always going to love Randy Johnson, mostly because of what his career taught us about possibility. For the longest time, he was too wild to be taken seriously as a great pitcher. Then he was too tall to be able to be durable enough to win 300 or go to Cooperstown. Yet at almost every point you might have said, "that's as good as he'll get," he'd blow you away, like with that late career kick with the Snakes, going 103-49 with a 2.65 ERA, all after his 35th birthday. The next time you hear any of us "experts" saying a guy is too this or too that, that he's built different from most or unlike anybody else ever, embrace the possibilities and enjoy the ride. The Big Unit is, bar none, the best pitcher I've ever seen, and I'm willing to bet he's the best you've probably seen too. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN MLB writer

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#4 Whitey Ford

Teams
New York Yankees (1950, 1953-67)

Honors
10-time All-Star (1954-56, '58-61*, '64), Cy Young ('61), World Series MVP ('61), Hall of Fame ('74)

*Named to two All-Star teams in '60 and '61

Championships
6 -- New York (1950, '53, '56, '58, '61-62)

Career stats
W-L: 236-106, 45 shutouts, 3,170.1 innings pitched, 2.75 ERA, 1,956 strikeouts, 1.215 WHIP

The player

He was 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, and was famous for his curveball more than his fastball -- and for scuffing the ball, throwing a spitball and even a mudball he said he learned from Lew Burdette. His .690 career winning percentage is the best ever for a pitcher with 200 wins, even though Casey Stengel, in the days before a rigid rotation, often saved him for the Yankees' toughest opponents. He was a superlative World Series pitcher, with a 2.71 ERA in 22 starts, and in the 1960 and 1961 World Series started four games without giving up a run. -- Schoenfield

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#5 Warren Spahn

Teams
Boston Braves (1942, '46-52), Milwaukee Braves ('53-64), New York Mets ('65), San Francisco Giants ('65)

Honors
17-time All-Star (1947, '49-54, '56-59*, '61-63*), Cy Young ('57), Hall of Fame ('75)

*Played in two All-Star Games in '59, '61 and '62

Championships
1 -- Milwaukee (1957)

Career stats
W-L: 363-245, 63 shutouts, 5,243.2 innings pitched, 3.09 ERA, 2,583 strikeouts, 1.195 WHIP

The player

It's almost impossible to be underrated and on this list, but somehow I think we collectively don't give Warren Spahn his due. Let's start with ​*13*​ 20-win seasons. I mean, yes, the pitcher win is out of fashion as a descriptor of value, but Spahn threw 382 complete games, so yes, he really did deliver wins in the sense that he reliably delivered winnable games thanks to his remarkable durability. He's still the all-time record holder for innings pitched from a lefty, and second only to deadballer Eddie Plank for southpaw shutouts. Doing all of that during the high-offense "Golden Era" without breaking down, he doesn't just belong in this conversation, he might even belong on top. -- Kahrl

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#6 Lefty Grove

Teams
Philadelphia A's (1925-33), Boston Red Sox ('34-41)

Honors
MVP (1931), six-time All-Star ('33, '35-39), Hall of Fame ('47)

Championships
2 -- Philadelphia (1929, '30)

Career stats
W-L: 300-141, 35 shutouts, 3,940.2 innings pitched, 3.06 ERA, 2,266 strikeouts, 1.278 WHIP

The player

Robert Moses Grove should be on the short list for greatest left-hander of all time, or greatest pitcher of either hand for that matter. He won nine ERA titles, the most ever, and his .680 career winning percentage trails only Whitey Ford and Pedro Martinez among pitchers who won 200 games since 1900. He threw hard and was known as one mean S-O-B. He once went 31-4. Look him up. -- Schoenfield

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#7 Carl Hubbell

Teams
New York Giants (1928-43)

Honors
Two-time MVP (1933, '36), nine-time All-Star ('33-38, '40-42), Hall of Fame ('47)

Championships
1 -- New York (1933)

Career stats
W-L: 253-154, 36 shutouts, 3,590.1 innings pitched, 2.98 ERA, 1,677 strikeouts, 1.166 WHIP

The player

First off, he had one of the best nicknames ever: The Meal Ticket. He threw the best screwball in the game's history -- sorry, Fernando! -- and during 1933-1937 went 115-50 with a 2.52 ERA, including 10 shutouts in 1933 when he won the first of his two MVP awards and helped the Giants win the World Series with two complete game wins. Not bad for a guy the Tigers gave up on as a minor leaguer because Ty Cobb told him not to throw the screwball. -- Schoenfield

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#8 Clayton Kershaw

Teams
Los Angeles Dodgers (2008-present)

Honors
Six-time All-Star (2011-16), Gold Glove ('11), three Cy Youngs (2011, '13-14), MVP ('14)

Championships
None

Career stats*
W-L: 125-58, 15 shutouts, 1,732 innings pitched, 2.39 ERA, 1,891 strikeouts, 1.012 WHIP

*Stats through July 10, 2016

The player

Perhaps it's too early in his career to consider him in the discussion for best left-handed pitcher ever. However, he is without a doubt the best pitcher in the game today. Consider this: his ERA since 2013 is 1.90. That's lower than any other qualified pitcher's ERA from the first half this season. -- Woolums

When I first heard of this project, Kershaw was the pitcher I was most interested to see where he landed. You are probably surprised he's here. I am a bit, too. But we have to take the long view on him. He's the Sandy Koufax of our time, the Greg Maddux or Pedro Martinez of right now. When Clayton Kershaw is pitching, I'm staying up to see it happen. When I see him give up a run, I'm surprised every time. He is that good. It's rare that someone who works every fifth day could even be considered in the best player in baseball conversation, but Kershaw has forced his way to the top of the list. -- Dan Mullen, ESPN.com senior MLB editor

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#9 Steve Carlton

Teams
St. Louis Cardinals (1965-71), Philadelphia Phillies ('72-86), San Francisco Giants ('86), Chicago White Sox ('86), Cleveland Indians ('87), Minnesota Twins ('87-88)

Honors
10-time NL All-Star (1968-69, '71-72, '74, '77, '79-82), four NL Cy Youngs ('72, '77, '80, '82), NL Gold Glove ('81), Hall of Fame ('94)

Championships
2 -- St. Louis (1967), Philadelphia ('80)

Career stats
W-L: 329-244, 55 shutouts, 5,217.2 innings pitched, 3.22 ERA, 4,136 strikeouts, 1.247 WHIP

The player

The most inconsistent great pitcher ever. He went 27-10 with an awful Phillies team in 1972, on the short list of best individual seasons ever, then lost the feel for his slider the next three seasons. He then had a late-career peak in his mid-30s, winning two more Cy Young Awards at ages 35 and 37. He was an iconoclast in many ways, the best-conditioned pitcher of his era and notorious for not speaking to the media. He hung on too long. But when the slider was crackling, few were better. -- Schoenfield

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