Fastest Pitchers in Baseball History
Few positions in professional sports render an athlete more helpless than standing in the batter's box and facing down a pitcher who can zip the ball past you at over 100 miles per hour.
Fortunately for major league hitters, those kinds of pitches and the pitchers that throw them don't come around very often. Only a few players have ever been able to throw the ball at that speed.
These are the fastest pitchers in baseball history, based on miles per hour of their fastest pitch.
37. Dwight Gooden (Tie)
Top speed: 100.0 miles per hour (1990)
Career: 16 seasons (1984-94, 1996-2000)
Teams: New York Mets (1984-94), New York Yankees (1996-97, 2000), Cleveland Indians (1998-99), Houston Astros (2000), Tampa Bay Devil Rays (2000)
Career Highlights: Dwight Gooden
- Two-time World Series champion (1986, 2000)
- NL Cy Young Award (1985)
- Triple Crown (1985)
- NL Rookie of the Year (1984)
- Four-time MLB All-Star (1984-86, 1988)
- Silver Slugger Award (1992)
Bottom Line: Dwight Gooden
Dwight Gooden is perhaps the biggest "what if?" story in the history of baseball.
Gooden's first three seasons were unlike almost any baseball had ever seen. He won the National League Rookie of the Year award in 1984 and led the majors in strikeouts, won the National League Cy Young Award and the Triple Crown in 1985, and helped lead the New York Mets to a World Series championship in 1986.
Gooden's career came undone due to a crippling addiction to cocaine and alcohol. He was eventually suspended for the entire 1995 season but returned to pitch a no-hitter with the New York Yankees in 1996 and won another World Series with the Yankees in 2000.
37. Bartolo Colon (Tie)
Top speed: 100.0 miles per hour (1999)
Career: 20 seasons (1997-2009, 2011-18)
Teams: Cleveland Indians (1997-2002), Montreal Expos (2002), Chicago White Sox (2003, 2009), Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels (2004-07), Boston Red Sox (2008), New York Yankees (2011), Oakland Athletics (2012-13), New York Mets (2014-16), Atlanta Braves (2017), Minnesota Twins (2017), Texas Rangers (2018)
Career Highlights: Bartolo Colon
- AL Cy Young Award (2005)
- Four-time MLB All-Star (1998, 2005, 2013, 2016)
- AL wins leader (2005)
Bottom Line: Bartolo Colon
For sheer longevity, Bartolo Colon deserves our respect. Colon pitched 22 seasons in the majors and had his best season with the Angels in 2005, when he won his lone Cy Young Award. The way he did was mostly with overpowering fastballs.
Later in his career, Colon became known for statistical oddities — the last MLB player to play for the Expos and the oldest MLB player to hit his first home run, finally going yard at 42 years old.
37. Roger Clemens (Tie)
Top speed: 100.0 miles per hour (2001)
Career: 24 seasons (1984-2007)
Teams: Boston Red Sox (1984-96), Toronto Blue Jays (1997-98), New York Yankees (1999-2003, 2007), Houston Astros (2007)
Career Highlights: Roger Clemens
- Two-time World Series champion (1999, 2000)
- Seven-time Cy Young Award (1986, 1987, 1991, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2004)
- AL MVP (1986)
- Two-time Triple Crown (1997, 1998)
- Four-time MLB wins leader (1986, 1987, 1997, 1998)
- Seven-time MLB ERA leader (1986, 1990-92, 1997, 1998, 2005)
- Five-time AL strikeout leader (1988, 1991, 1996-98)
- MLB All-Century Team
Bottom Line: Roger Clemens
Roger Clemens is the only member of the 300 win club not in the Hall of Fame despite being eligible for induction since 2013.
It's worth noting that the ultimate outcome of the thing keeping Clemens out of Cooperstown — accusations of steroid use — was one mistrial and one acquittal on all six counts of lying to Congress during its hearings on steroids in baseball.
It's also worth noting that Clemens' fastest pitches in his career all occurred after he'd been in the majors for a decade.
37. Josh Beckett (Tie)
Top speed: 100.0 miles per hour (2003)
Career: 14 seasons (2001-14)
Teams: Florida Marlins (2001-05), Boston Red Sox (2006-12), Los Angeles Dodgers (2012-14)
Career Highlights: Josh Beckett
- Two-time World Series champion (2003, 2007)
- Three-time MLB All-Star (2007, 2009, 2011)
- World Series MVP (2003)
- ALCS MVP (2007)
- MLB wins leader (2007)
Bottom Line: Josh Beckett
Josh Beckett was a dominant pitcher for almost his entire career, leading two different franchises to World Series championships with the Florida Marlins in 2003 and Boston Red Sox in 2007.
The only thing really missing from Beckett's career was a Cy Young Award, but in place of one of those, he won a World Series Most Valuable Player in 2003 and an ALCS Most Valuable Player in 2007.
36. Joba Chamberlain
Top speed: 100.2 miles per hour (2008)
Career: 10 seasons (2007-16)
Teams: New York Yankees (2007-13), Detroit Tigers (2014-15), Kansas City Royals (2015), Cleveland Indians (2016)
Career Highlights: Joba Chamberlain
- World Series champion (2009)
Bottom Line: Joba Chamberlain
The hype around how good Joba Chamberlain was going to be coming out of the University of Nebraska was largely centered on how fast he could throw the ball, and the New York Yankees rolled out the red carpet on his way to making the big league roster.
When Chamberlain finally got his chance in the starting rotation in 2009 — the last year the Yankees won the World Series — he fell flat, going 9-6 with a 4.75 ERA and led the majors with 12 hit batters.
30. Billy Wagner (Tie)
Top speed: 101 miles per hour (2003)
Career: 16 seasons (1995-2010)
Teams: Houston Astros (1995-2003), Philadelphia Phillies (2004-05), New York Mets (2006-09), Boston Red Sox (2009), Atlanta Braves (2010)
Career Highlights: Billy Wagner
- Seven-time MLB All-Star (1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010)
- NL Rolaids Relief Man Award (1999)
- Houston Astros Hall of Fame
Bottom Line: Billy Wagner
Billy Wagner wasn't overwhelming physically, at just 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, but he was overwhelming for batters that tried to step in the box against him over his 16 seasons in the majors.
Wagner finished his career with 422 saves — one of just six players in MLB history to have over 400 saves. Diving even deeper into the stats, Wagner averaged 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.
That's the highest strikeouts per nine innings average for any player in MLB history with over 800 innings.
30. Tony Pena (Tie)
Top speed: 101 miles per hour (2007)
Career: 6 seasons (2006-11)
Teams: Arizona Diamondbacks (2006-09), Chicago White Sox (2009-11)
Career Highlights: Tony Pena
- Made MLB debut in 2016 at age of 24
- Pitched in 313 careers games
- Recorded 264 career strikeouts
Bottom Line: Tony Pena
The Tony Pena most baseball fans remember was the great catcher from the 1980s — not the Tony Pena who made this list.
This Tony Pena's career ended up being defined by a bizarre decision he made at the very start, when he signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks using the identity of his nephew and pitched his first two years for the Diamondbacks' Double-A farm team under the name Adriano Rosario.
Pena did so, presumably, to try and extend his career. He was three years older than Rosario and had a fastball that landed consistently in the 90s.
30. Guillermo Mota (Tie)
Top speed: 101 miles per hour (2002)
Career: 14 seasons (1999-2012)
Teams: Montreal Expos (1999-2001), Los Angeles Dodgers (2002-04. 2009), Florida Marlins (2004-05), Cleveland Indians (2006), New York Mets (2006-07), Milwaukee Brewers (2008), San Francisco Giants (2019-12)
Career Highlights: Guillermo Mota
- Two-time World Series champion (2010, 2012)
Bottom Line: Guillermo Mota
Guillermo Mota actually spent the first six years of his professional baseball career as a pretty average midfielder in the New York Mets farm system until the Montreal Expos picked him in the Rule 5 Draft and converted him to a pitcher.
That decision sparked a 14-year MLB career for Mota, who closed things out with two World Series championships with the San Francisco Giants over his final three seasons.
Mota wasn't always the best teammate though. While playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, he hit catcher Mike Piazza twice with pitches during intrasquad games, both times sparking brawls.
30. Seth McClung (Tie)
Top speed: 101 miles per hour (2007)
Career: 6 seasons (2003, 2005-09)
Teams: Tampa Bay Devil Rays (2003, 2005-06), Milwaukee Brewers (2007-09)
Career Highlights: Seth McClung
- Drafted by Tampa Bay Devil Rays in fifth round of 1999 MLB draft
- Pitched in 177 career games
Bottom Line: Seth McClung
Seth McClung — nicknamed "Big Red" — cut out a respectable seven-year career in the majors thanks in large part to his blazing fastball.
McClung bounced back and forth between the bullpen and the starting rotation throughout his career, which was more of a testament to his ability to adapt more than anything else.
In a pop culture prism, McClung also is the uncle of former Texas Tech basketball star and current NBA player Mac McClung.
30. Jose Mesa (Tie)
Top speed: 101 miles per hour (1993)
Career: 19 seasons (1987, 1990-2007)
Teams: Baltimore Orioles (1987, 1990-92), Cleveland Indians (1992-98), San Francisco Giants (1998), Seattle Mariners (1999-2000), Philadelphia Phillies (2001-03, 2007), Pittsburg Pirates (2004-05), Colorado Rockies (2006), Detroit Tigers (2007)
Career Highlights: Jose Mesa
- Two-time MLB All-Star (1995, 1996)
- AL Rolaids Relief Man Award (1995)
- AL saves leader (1995)
Bottom Line: Jose Mesa
Jose Mesa had a truly memorable career, for better or worse, pitching in over 1,000 career games with an 80-109 win-loss record and 321 career saves.
Whatever we may say about Mesa and his amazing arm strength, his career will forever be defined by one game. With a 2-1 lead over the Florida Marlins in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series and three outs away from winning, the Cleveland Indians brought Mesa in, and he blew the save.
30. Tim Lincecum
Top speed: 101 miles per hour (2007)
Career: 10 seasons (2007-16)
Teams: San Francisco Giants (2007-15), Los Angeles Angels (2016)
Career Highlights: Tim Lincecum
- Three-time World Series champion (2010, 2012, 2014)
- Four-time MLB All-Star (2008-11)
- Two-time NL Cy Young Award winner (2008, 2009)
Bottom Line: Tim Lincecum
Several dozen pitchers tied for reaching 101 miles per hour, so we just chose one to represent all of them. The "chosen one" got the call because of his rare place in baseball history.
Checking in at just 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds, Tim Lincecum was nicknamed "The Freak" because of his athletic ability and ability to contort his body to throw a baseball at the speed he did.
He also was a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, won three World Series championships and threw two no-hitters.
29. Rob Dibble
Top speed: 101.5 miles per hour (1992)
Career: 8 seasons (1988-95)
Teams: Cincinnati Reds (1988-93), Chicago White Sox (1995), Milwaukee Brewers (1995)
Career Highlights: Rob Dibble
- World Series champion (1990)
- NLCS MVP (1990)
- Two-time MLB All-Star (1990, 1991)
Bottom Line: Rob Dibble
Baseball fans from the early 1990s remember Rob Dibble well. He helped define the "forgotten era" of baseball because of his intimidating presence on the mound and by how darn hard he threw the ball.
Dibble was one of the "Nasty Boys" for the Reds when they won the World Series in 1990. That was the nickname they gave the pitching staff on the way to a sweep of the powerful Oakland A's to win the championship.
Dibble also loved to throw down — with other teams and with his own manager on one occasion.
28. Nathan Eovaldi
Top speed: 101.6 miles per hour (2015)
Career: 11 seasons (2011-present)
Teams: Los Angeles Dodgers (2011-12), Miami Marlins (2012-14), New York Yankees (2015-16), Tampa Bay Rays (2018), Boston Red Sox (2018-present)
Career Highlights: Nathan Eovaldi
- World Series champion (2018)
- MLB All-Star (2021)
Bottom Line: Nathan Eovaldi
There must be something in the water at Alvin (Texas) High School. Nathan Eovaldi is one of two all-time flamethrowers to come out of the school alongside GOAT pitcher Nolan Ryan.
Eovaldi pitched eight seasons in the majors before his career really took off, winning a World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2018, then making his first All-Star appearance in 2021.
27. Emmanuel Clase
Top speed: 101.8 miles per hour (2021)
Career: 2 seasons (2019, 2021-present)
Teams: Texas Rangers (2019), Cleveland Indians/Guardians (2021-present)
Career Highlights: Emmanuel Clase
- Made MLB debut in 2019 at age of 21
- 2021 Rookie of the Year (fifth in voting)
Bottom Line: Emmanuel Clase
Emmanuel Clase is one of the youngest players on this list at just 23 years old but already has some stink on his name thanks to an 80-game suspension for using anabolic steroids in 2020.
Clase didn't even have to serve the suspension because he didn't play for the Cleveland Indians at all during the 2020 season and due to the shortened season/pandemic — which seems like a weird way to deal with a positive PED test.
Clase bounced back in 2021 and was named AL Reliever of the Month in August after converting all six of his save opportunities.
21. Brad Lidge (Tie)
Top speed: 102.0 miles per hour (2006)
Career: 11 seasons (2002-12)
Teams: Houston Astros (2002-07), Philadelphia Phillies (2008-11), Washington Nationals (2012)
Career Highlights: Brad Lidge
- World Series champion (2008)
- Two-time MLB All-Star (2005, 2008)
- NL Comeback Player of the Year (2008)
Bottom Line: Brad Lidge
Notre Dame product and former Big East Player of the Year Brad Lidge was one of the more dominant relief pitchers in the majors during most of his decade-long career.
The pitch that Lidge could really turn up the heat on was his four-seam fastball, and the two-time All-Star used it to help the Philadelphia Phillies record the final out of the 2008 World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays.
21. Rob Nenn (Tie)
Top speed: 102.0 miles per hour (1997)
Career: 10 seasons (1993-2002)
Teams: Texas Rangers (1993), Florida Marlins (1993-97), San Francisco Giants (1998-2002)
Career Highlights: Rob Nenn
- World Series champion (1997)
- Three-time MLB All-Star (1998, 1999, 2002)
Bottom Line: Rob Nenn
Robb Nenn was a dominant relief pitcher in the late 1990s and early 2000s, helping lead the Florida Marlins to a World Series championship in 1997. The team didn't lose a game in which Nenn made an appearance.
Nenn was part of the Marlins' fire sale following the 1997 championship and made three All-Star appearances with the San Francisco Giants following that. Nenn had 40 saves in his first season as the Giant's full-time closer and led the National League with 45 saves in 2002.
He officially retired in 2005 as the franchise's career saves leader.
21. Matt Lindstrom (Tie)
Top speed: 102.0 miles per hour (2007)
Career: 8 seasons (2007-14)
Teams: Florida Marlins (2007-09), Houston Astros (2010), Colorado Rockies (2011), Baltimore Orioles (2012), Arizona Diamondbacks (2012), Chicago White Sox (2013-14)
Career Highlights: Matt Lindstrom
- Drafted by New York Mets in 10th round of 2002 MLB draft
- Pitched in 469 career games
- Recorded 327 strikeouts
Bottom Line: Matt Lindstrom
Matt Lindstrom played eight seasons in the majors but never lasted more than three seasons for the six teams he played for. Lindstrom had his best season with the Houston Astros in 2010, picking up 23 saves.
Lindstrom is also part of an interesting piece of sports trivia. He threw the last in-game pitch at Shea Stadium in 2008, earning a save for the Florida Marlins against the New York Mets.
21. Randy Johnson (Tie)
Top speed: 102.0 miles per hour (2004)
Career: 22 seasons (1988-2009)
Teams: Montreal Expos (1988-89), Seattle Mariners (1989-98), Houston Astros (1998), Arizona Diamondbacks (1999-2004, 2007-08), New York Yankees (2005-06), San Francisco Giants (2009)
Career Highlights: Randy Johnson
- World Series champion (2001)
- Five-time Cy Young Award (1995, 1999-2002)
- World Series MVP (2001)
- 10-time All-Star (1990, 1993-95, 1997, 1999-2002, 2004)
- Triple Crown (2002)
- MLB wins leader (2002)
- Four-time ERA leader (1995. 1999, 2001, 2002)
- Nine-time MLB strikeouts leader (1992-95, 1999-2002, 2004)
Bottom Line: Randy Johnson
Five-time Cy Young Award winner Randy Johnson, at 6-foot-10, had a career record of 303-166 and was one of the most intimidating pitchers of all time.
Batters who faced Johnson in his prime routinely talked about their fear for their own physical safety at the plate because of his size and the speed at which he threw the ball.
This fear was best (and most comically) evidenced by John Kruk's reaction when Johnson threw a fastball threw a fastball over Kruk's head during the 1993 All-Star Game.
21. Bobby Jenks (Tie)
Top speed: 102.0 miles per hour (2005)
Career: 7 seasons (2005-11)
Teams: Chicago White Sox (2005-10), Boston Red Sox (2011)
Career Highlights: Bobby Jenks
- World Series champion (2005)
- Two-time MLB All-Star (2006, 2007)
Bottom Line: Bobby Jenks
Bobby Jenks was called up to the majors with the Chicago White Sox in July 2005 and became a key part of their run to the World Series championship.
Jenks pitched in all four games of the World Series that year and earned the save in the series-clinching Game 4. In fact, Jenks and Adam Wainwright are the only two rookies in MLB history to earn a save in the final game of the World Series.
Jenks set the MLB record with 41 consecutive retired batters in 2007. His career was cut short following a botched back surgery in 2011. Jenks eventually sued the hospital and the doctor who performed the surgery and received a $5.1 million settlement.
21. Armando Benitez (Tie)
Top speed: 102.0 miles per hour (2002)
Career: 15 seasons (1994-2008)
Teams: Baltimore Orioles (1994-98), New York Mets (1999-2003), New York Yankees (2003), Seattle Mariners (2003), Florida Marlins (2004, 2007), San Francisco Giants (2005-07), Toronto Blue Jays (2008)
Career Highlights: Armando Benitez
- Two-time MLB All-Star (2003, 2004)
Bottom Line: Armando Benitez
Armando Benitez's postseason struggles with the Baltimore Orioles in the 1990s weren't exactly all his fault. He was the pitcher who gave up the infamous "Jeffrey Maier home run" against the New York Yankees in Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS. Maier, a 12-year-old Yankees fan, reached onto the field of play and caught the ball as it was about to drop into the glove of outfielder Tony Tarasco.
Benitez still had a lengthy career. He played 15 seasons for seven teams, led the National League in saves in 2004 and was a two-time All-Star.
18. Joe Kelly (Tie)
Top speed: 102.2 miles per hour (2017)
Career: 10 seasons (2012-present)
Teams: St. Louis Cardinals (2012-14), Boston Red Sox (2014-18), Los Angeles Dodgers (2019-present)
Career Highlights: Joe Kelly
- Two-time World Series champion (2018, 2020)
Bottom Line: Joe Kelly
The son of a former NFL linebacker, Joe Kelly has made his name over the last five years thanks to his blazing arm speed, quirky off-field persona and winning two World Series championships with two different franchises.
Despite all of Kelly's accomplishments, he's better known for running his mouth than his blazing fastball and accomplishments on the mound. He told the media he would win the American League Cy Young Award in 2015, then proceeded to go 10-6 with a 4.25 ERA and lead AL pitches in errors.
18. Brian Wilson (Tie)
Top speed: 102.2 miles per hour (2009)
Career: 9 seasons (2006-14)
Teams: San Francisco Giants (2006-12), Los Angeles Dodgers (2013-14)
Career Highlights: Brian Wilson
- World Series champion (2010)
- Three-time MLB All-Star (2008, 2010, 2011)
Bottom Line: Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson was one of the more notable players in the majors in the late 2000s and early 2010s as the closer for the San Francisco Giants thanks to his fiery persona and trademark jet-black beard.
Wilson made three All-Star appearances in a four-season stretch from 2008 to 2011, and was at his best in 2010, when he had a 1.81 ERA, led the National League with 48 saves, and picked up the save in the World Series-clinching win over the Texas Rangers.
18. Jacob deGrom (Tie)
Top speed: 102.2 miles per hour (2020)
Career: 8 seasons (2014-present)
Teams: New York Mets
Career Highlights: Jacob deGrom
- Two-time NL Cy Young Award winner (2018, 2019)
- Four-time MLB All-Star (2015, 2018, 2019, 2021)
- NL Rookie of the Year (2014)
Bottom Line: Jacob deGrom
Jacob deGrom has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the majors over the last decade, leading the National League in strikeouts twice, ERA once and picking up two Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019. DeGrom was also the NL Rookie of the Year in 2014.
Incredibly, he's done all of that while playing the entirety of his career with the New York Mets.
17. Brusdar Graterol
Top speed: 102.5 miles per hour (2021)
Career: 3 seasons (2019-present)
Teams: Minnesota Twins (2019), Los Angeles Dodgers (2020-present)
Career Highlights: Brusdar Graterol
- World Series champion (2020)
Bottom Line: Brusdar Graterol
Brusdar Graterol was signed as an international free agent by the Minnesota Twins at just 16 years old, made his professional debut at 17, and underwent Tommy John surgery and missed a full season at 18.
After his return from surgery, Graterol shot up through the minor leagues and was called up to the Twins in September 2019, when he pitched 9.2 innings and struck out 10 batters.
Graterol was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2020 and helped the franchise to a World Series championship in 2020 and back to the NLCS in 2021.
16. Jonathan Broxton
Top speed: 102.6 miles per hour (2009)
Career: 13 seasons (2005-17)
Teams: Los Angeles Dodgers (2005-11), Kansas City Royals (2012), Cincinnati Reds (2012-14), Milwaukee Brewers (2014-15), St. Louis Cardinals (2015-17)
Career Highlights: Jonathan Broxton
- Two-time MLB All-Star (2009, 2010)
Bottom Line: Jonathan Broxton
By the time Jonathan Broxton was a high school senior at Burke County High School in Waynesboro, Georgia, he was 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds and had pro baseball scouts salivating.
Broxton was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second round of the 2020 MLB draft and made his major league debut in 2005, striking out the first batter he faced — St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols.
Broxton had two great seasons as the full-time closer for the Dodgers, making back-to-back All-Star appearances in 2009 and 2010.
15. Kelvin Herrera
Top speed: 102.8 miles per hour (2012)
Career: 10 seasons (2011-20)
Teams: Kansas City Royals (2011-18), Washington Nationals (2018), Chicago White Sox (2019-20)
Career Highlights: Kelvin Herrera
- World Series champion (2015)
- Two-time MLB All-Star (2015, 2016)
Bottom Line: Kelvin Herrera
Kelvin Herrera is one of the most respected middle relief pitchers of all time. And the trio of Herrera, Greg Holland and Wade Davis was a key component of the back-to-back World Series teams for the Kansas City Royals in 2014 and 2015, winning the title in 2015.
Herrera was so well-respected in his role with the Royals that he made back-to-back All-Star appearances in 2015 and 2016. He eventually became the Royals' full-time closer in 2017 and retired from professional baseball in 2021.
14. Yordano Ventura
Top speed: 102.9 miles per hour (2014)
Career: 4 seasons (2013-16)
Teams: Kansas City Royals
Career Highlights: Yordano Ventura
- World Series champion (2015)
Bottom Line: Yordano Ventura
Yordano Ventura was a shooting star for the Kansas City Royals in the mid-2010s, helping lead the team to back-to-back World Series appearances in 2014 and 2015 and winning the World Series championship in 2015.
Ventura died on Jan. 22, 2017, at just 25 years old in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic and had $20 million left on his contract with the Royals.
Ventura was one of two major leaguers in the Dominican Republic to die in a car crash that day, along with Andy Marte.
11. Mark Wohlers (Tie)
Top speed: 103.0 miles per hour (1995)
Career: 12 seasons (1991-2002)
Teams: Atlanta Braves (1991-99), Cincinnati Reds (2000-01), New York Yankees (2001), Cleveland Indians (2002)
Career Highlights: Mark Wohlers
- World Series champion (1995)
- MLB All-Star (1996)
Bottom Line: Mark Wohlers
Massachusetts native Mark Wohlers turned his back on a baseball scholarship from the University of Maine to turn pro, and became a key member of the Atlanta Braves on their great teams in the 1990s.
Less than one month after turning pro in 1991, Wohlers combined with Kent Mercker and Alejandro Pena for a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres at Fulton County Stadium. Four years later, Wohlers was the Braves' full-time relief pitcher and closed out a World Series-clinching Game 6 against the Cleveland Indians.
11. Bobby Parnell (Tie)
Top speed: 103.0 miles per hour (2010)
Career: 9 seasons (2008-16)
Teams: New York Mets (2008-15), Detroit Tigers (2016)
Career Highlights: Bobby Parnell
Bottom Line: Bobby Parnell
Bobby Parnell broke into the majors with the New York Mets at 23 years old and had some decent seasons with the team, most notably with a career-high 22 saves in 2013.
Parnell didn't begin pitching until his freshman season at Charleston Southern and struggled with his control. The problem didn't fix itself when he finally made it to the majors.
But Parnell worked his way up from middle relief to be the closer for the Mets in 2013. Then an injury shut him down for the season in July. In 2014, he was named the closer for the Mets again and blew a save in the season opener, when he also tore his ulnar collateral ligament and underwent Tommy John surgery and was out for the season.
By 2016, he was gone from the majors for good.
11. Goose Gossage (Tie)
Top speed: 103.0 miles per hour (1978)
Career: 22 seasons (1972-89, 1991-94)
Teams: Chicago White Sox (1972-76), Pittsburgh Pirates (1977), New York Yankees (1978-83, 1989), San Diego Padres (1984-87), Chicago Cubs (1988), San Francisco Giants (1989), Texas Rangers (1991), Oakland Athletics (1992-93), Seattle Mariners (1994)
Career Highlights: Goose Gossage
- World Series champion (1978)
- Nine-time MLB All-Star (1975-78, 1980-82, 1984, 1985)
Bottom Line: Goose Gossage
Rich "Goose" Gossage is one of the most well-known relief pitchers of all time, most notably from his time with the New York Yankees and San Diego Padres, including when he won a World Series championship with the Yankees in 1978.
Gossage had straight flames coming out of his powerful right arm, topping out at 103 miles per hour on a pitch during that 1978 season. Gossage also made nine All-Star teams.
8. Henry Rodriguez (Tie)
Top speed: 103.2 miles per hour (2010)
Career: 6 seasons (2009-14)
Teams: Oakland Athletics (2009-10), Washington Nationals (2011-13), Chicago Cubs (2013), Miami Marlins (2014)
Career highlights: None
Career Highlights: Henry Rodriguez
- Pitched in 150 career games
- Recorded 151 strikeouts
Bottom Line: Henry Rodriguez
Henry Rodriguez's arm strength helped him carve out a six-year career in the majors. His inability to effectively develop other pitches prevented him from staying longer.
Rodriguez's four-seam fastball was tough to hit, but the dropoff between his main pitch and his two other pitches — a curveball and changeup thrown in the low-to-mid 80s was pretty remarkable.
Rodriguez could never catch on as a full-time closer because he struggled so much with his control. He had a career walk rate of 5.6 per nine innings and led the National League in wild pitches in 2011 and in 2012 despite throwing only 21 innings.
8. Mauricio Cabrera (Tie)
Top speed: 103.2 miles per hour (2016)
Career: 1 season (2016)
Teams: Atlanta Braves
Career highlights: None
Career Highlights: Mauricio Cabrera
- Made MLB debut in 2016 at the age of 22
- Pitched in 41 career games
Bottom Line: Mauricio Cabrera
Mauricio Cabrera is another pitcher on this list who could throw a blazing four-seam fastball, but his inability to develop other pitches led to a strikingly short career in the majors.
Cabrera had a pretty impressive rookie season, making his short amount of time in the majors even more confounding. He went 5-1 with six saves and a 2.82 ERA in 2016. Cabrera and his brother, Alberto, both pitched in the majors.
8. Justin Verlander (Tie)
Top speed: 103.2 miles per hour (2011)
Career: 17 seasons (2005-present)
Teams: Detroit Tigers (2005-17), Houston Astros (2017-present)
Career Highlights: Justin Verlander
- World Series champion (2017)
- AL MVP (2011)
- Eight-time MLB All-Star (2007, 2009-13, 2018, 2019)
- Two-time AL Cy Young Award (2011, 2019)
- AL Triple Crown (2011)
- ALCS MVP (2017)
- AL Rookie of the Year (2006)
Bottom Line: Justin Verlander
Justin Verlander has been one of the best pitchers in the majors for almost two decades and can take his place among the greatest pitchers of all time. He is a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer whether he ever pitches another game or not.
Verlander, who won a World Series championship with the Astros in 2017, was the American League Most Valuable Player in 2011, led the AL in strikeouts five times, led the majors in wins three times and threw three no-hitters.
7. Neftali Feliz
Top speed: 103.4 miles per hour (2010)
Career: 10 seasons (2009-17, 2021)
Teams: Texas Rangers (2009-15), Detroit Tigers(2015), Pittsburgh Pirates (2016), Milwaukee Brewers (2017), Kansas City Royals (2017), Philadelphia Phillies (2021), Los Angeles Dodgers (2021)
Career Highlights: Neftali Feliz
- MLB All-Star (2010)
- AL Rookie of the Year (2010)
Bottom Line: Neftali Feliz
Neftali Feliz was only 21 years old when he made his MLB debut in 2010 and took the league by storm. He posted 38 saves that season and recorded the final three outs of the American League Championship Series to send the Texas Rangers to the World Series for the first time in franchise history.
Feliz also recorded a blazing,103.4 miles per hour pitch that season and was named American League Rookie of the Year.
He returned to the World Series with the Rangers in 2011 and gave up a crucial triple against the St. Louis Cardinals with the lead in Game 6 and the Rangers just a few outs from winning the series.
6. Joel Zumaya
Top speed: 104.8 miles per hour (2006)
Career: 5 seasons (2006-10)
Teams: Detroit Tigers
Career highlights: None
Career Highlights: Joel Zumaya
- Drafted by Detroit Tigers in 11th round of 2002 MLB draft
- Pitched in 171 career games
- Recorded 3.05 career ERA
Bottom Line: Joel Zumaya
Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez said no one he ever caught threw the ball harder than Joel Zumaya. The problem was, Zumaya was never able to develop an off-speed pitch, which is why his career only lasted five seasons.
Zumaya's inability to develop more than one pitch relegated him to middle relief and a role as setup man for his five seasons in the majors. He was very good during that time, but a string of injuries ultimately ended his career.
The first one was the most bizarre. That's when Zumaya sat out the 2006 American League Championship Series because he injured his wrist playing the video game "Guitar Hero."
5. Steve Dalkowski
Top speed: 105.0 miles per hour (unknown)
Career: 10 seasons (1957-66)
Teams: Minor leagues
Career Highlights: Steve Dalkowski
- Signed with Baltimore Orioles out of high school for $4,000 signing bonus
- Pitched in 236 minor league games
Bottom Line: Steve Dalkowski
Steve Dalkowski is the only player to make this list who never actually pitched in the majors. But we could not have put together a list of the fastest pitchers of all time without including Dalkowski, even if his top miles per hour on a pitch is largely anecdotal.
Dalkowski was the inspiration for the character Ebby Calvin "Nuke" Laloosh in Ron Shelton's 1988 baseball film "Bull Durham" and was played by a young Tim Robbins.
Dalkowski, who died in 2020 at 80 years old, was written about perfectly by Sports Illustrated's Pat Jordan in an story titled "The Wildest Fastball Ever": "Inevitably, the stories outgrew the man, until it was no longer possible to distinguish fact from fiction. But, no matter how embellished, one fact always remained: Dalkowski struck out more batters and walked more batters per nine-inning game than any professional pitcher in baseball history."
In nine full minor league seasons, Dalkowski registered 1,396 strikeouts and 1,354 walks in 995 innings.
4. Jordan Hicks
Top speed: 105.1 miles per hour (2018)
Career: 3 seasons (2018-19, 2021)
Teams: St. Louis Cardinals
Career highlights: None
Career Highlights: Jordan Hicks
- Drafted by St. Louis Cardinals in third round of 2015 MLB draft
- Made MLB debut in 2018 at the age of 21
Bottom Line: Jordan Hicks
Jordan Hicks is another flamethrower who hails from the state of Texas. The Houston-area native turned his back on a college baseball career at Tulane to turn pro and was in the majors within two years.
Hicks got off to a blazing start in the majors, clocking in with an average velocity of 100.4 miles per hour in his MLB debut and hitting 105.1 miles per hour on a pitch less than one month later.
Hicks was out of baseball for almost two years after Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in June 2019, then he chose to sit out the 2020 season because of the pandemic.
He returned to the majors in 2021 and pitched in 10 games, striking out 10 and walking 10 in 10 innings.
3. Aroldis Chapman
Top speed: 105.8 miles per hour (2010)
Career: 12 seasons (2010-present)
Teams: Cincinnati Reds (2010-15), New York Yankees (2016, 2017-present), Chicago Cubs (2016)
Career Highlights: Aroldis Chapman
- World Series champion (2016)
- Seven-time MLB All-Star (2012-15, 2018, 2019, 2021)
- AL Reliever of the Year (2019)
Bottom Line: Aroldis Chapman
Aroldis Chapman has the fastest recorded pitch on record in MLB history, when he turned a baseball into pure gas against Tony Gwynn Jr. on Sept. 24, 2010, reaching 105.1 miles per hour.
In one of the more amazing unknown stats in baseball history — and one you can feel free to use and impress your friends with — Chapman had all 77 of the fastest-clocked pitches in MLB in 2015.
None of that should take away from the fact MLB allowed him to continue to play and the United States allowed him to become a citizen after a sadistic act of domestic violence that should have landed him in prison for decades.
2. Bob Feller
Top speed: 107.9 miles per hour (1940)
Career: 20 seasons (1936-41, 1945-56)
Teams: Cleveland Indians
Career Highlights: Bob Feller
- World Series champion (1948)
- Triple Crown (1940)
- Eight-time All-Star (1938-41, 1946-48, 1950)
- Six-time AL wins leader (1939-41, 1946-47, 1951)
- AL ERA leader (1940)
Bottom Line: Bob Feller
There's enough historical evidence for us to put Bob Feller at this spot, even if pitch-tracking in regards to speed was still in the stone ages in the 1940s. They used cartography or timed pitches against motorcycles, which is how we got this miles per hour number for Feller.
Feller, who died in 2010, missed three seasons in his prime serving in World War II from 1942 to 1944. He still threw three no-hitters in his career.
1. Nolan Ryan
Top speed: 108.5 miles per hour (1974)
Career: 27 seasons (1966, 1968-93)
Teams: New York Mets (1966, 1968-71), California Angels (1972-79), Houston Astros (1980-88), Texas Rangers (1989-93)
Career Highlights: Nolan Ryan
- World Series champion (1969)
- Eight-time All-Star (1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1985, 1989)
- 11-time MLB strikeout leader (1972-74, 1976-79, 1987-90)
- Two-time NL leader (1981, 1987)
- MLB All-Century Team
Bottom Line: Nolan Ryan
Nolan Ryan was clocked at 101.5 miles per hour on the pitch in question. That number was being clocked 10 feet in front of the plate, which was how pitches were originally clocked for speed.
The math done on the speed of the pitch got us to 108.5 miles per hour. Ryan's fastball was fast enough to throw seven no-hitters over a 27-year career.
The legend of the Ryan Express started as a star pitcher for Alvin (Texas) High School. It wasn't uncommon for opposing coaches to hold batters in the dugout and take the out instead of stepping in the box against Ryan.