The Greatest Relief Pitchers of All Time

6.1k votes 838 voters 25k views 122 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Only players who are known primarily as relief pitchers or closers. No starting pitchers

The greatest relief pitchers of all time include some of the best current MLB players, as well as some legends who are already in the baseball hall of fame. What do you think: Is Mariano Rivera the best relief pitcher in baseball history? Vote for the players you think deserve the top honor, and vote down any that you don't think are worthy. Also, rerank this list in any order you want.

Here's the thing about a really great relief pitcher: They are golden. They really are, because if you find a great team that's performing extremely well, during the regular or the post-season, the chances are very good that they've got an ace relief pitcher at the end of the rotation. All that work, all those runs accrued, mean absolutely nothing if things fall apart in the ninth inning. A great closer seals the deal, period.

If you want to vote some more, why not head over and decide who you think is the greatest curveball pitcher or the best hittters in baseball history, too?
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
  • 14 ReRanks
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    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
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  1. 1
    + 463
    - 62

    the people's #1
    Relief pitcher, Pitcher

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  2. 2
    + 245
    - 63

    most listed
    Pitcher

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  3. 3
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    Pitcher

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  4. 4
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    Goose Gossage is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Relief Pitchers of All Time


    Goose Gossage Pitcher

  5. 5
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    - 47


    Pitcher

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  6. 6
    + 170
    - 77


    Relief pitcher, Pitcher

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  7. 7
    + 126
    - 47


    Relief pitcher, Pitcher

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  8. 8
    + 125
    - 53
    Lee Smith is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Relief Pitchers of All Time


    Lee Smith Relief pitcher, Pitcher

  9. 9
    + 102
    - 49
    Hoyt Wilhelm is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Relief Pitchers of All Time


    Hoyt Wilhelm Pitcher

  10. 10
    + 99
    - 41

    added by jangulo
    Relief pitcher, Pitcher

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  11. 11
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    - 51


    Relief pitcher, Pitcher

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  12. 12
    + 88
    - 56


    Relief pitcher, Pitcher

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  13. 13
    + 95
    - 46


    Relief pitcher, Pitcher

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  14. 14
    + 74
    - 49


    Relief pitcher, Pitcher

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  15. 15
    + 72
    - 46
    Kent Tekulve is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Relief Pitchers of All Time


    Kent Tekulve Relief pitcher, Pitcher

  16. 16
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    Pitcher

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  17. 17
    + 64
    - 52


    Relief pitcher, Pitcher

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  18. 18
    + 67
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    Relief pitcher, Setup pitcher, Pitcher

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  19. 19
    + 83
    - 53
    Aroldis Chapman is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Relief Pitchers of All Time

    ranked low on reranks & added by Countermoon
    Aroldis Chapman Relief pitcher, Pitcher

  20. 20
    + 57
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Relief pitcher, Pitcher

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  21. 21
    + 50
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    Relief pitcher, Pitcher

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  22. 22
    + 48
    - 23

    ranked low on reranks & added by JoeVatalaro
    Relief pitcher, Pitcher

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  23. 23
    + 39
    - 10
    John Smoltz is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Relief Pitchers of All Time

    ranked low on reranks & added by rcdwhiteley
    John Smoltz Starting pitcher, Pitcher

  24. 24
    + 48
    - 42
    Bobby Thigpen is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Relief Pitchers of All Time


    Bobby Thigpen Pitcher

  25. 25
    + 67
    - 88

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Pitcher

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  26. 26
    + 34
    - 16
    Dave Righetti is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Relief Pitchers of All Time

    added by JoeVatalaro
    Dave Righetti Relief pitcher, Pitcher

  27. 27
    + 44
    - 53
    Mike Marshall is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Relief Pitchers of All Time

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Mike Marshall Pitcher

  28. 28
    + 29
    - 15

    added by slaft
    Pitcher

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  29. 29
    + 27
    - 16
    Jesse Orosco is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Relief Pitchers of All Time

    added by slaft
    Jesse Orosco Pitcher

  30. 30
    + 46
    - 37
    Éric Gagné is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Relief Pitchers of All Time

    added by C_Moorehead
    Éric Gagné Relief pitcher, Pitcher

  31. 31
    + 26
    - 17
    Randy Myers is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Relief Pitchers of All Time

    added by JoeVatalaro
    Randy Myers Relief pitcher, Pitcher

  32. 32
    + 30
    - 58

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Pitcher

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  33. 33
    + 15
    - 13

    added by slaft
    Pitcher

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  34. 34
    + 13
    - 7

    added by rcdwhiteley
    Pitcher

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  35. 35
    + 11
    - 7
    No image

    added by MacSa
    Relief pitcher, Pitcher

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  36. 36
    + 13
    - 9

    added by rcdwhiteley
    Relief pitcher, Pitcher

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  37. 37
    + 13
    - 9
    Bobby Shantz is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Relief Pitchers of All Time

    added by slaft
    Bobby Shantz Pitcher

  38. 38
    + 13
    - 6
    Al Hrabosky is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Relief Pitchers of All Time


    Al Hrabosky Pitcher

  39. 39
    + 15
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    added by slaft
    Pitcher

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  40. 40
    + 15
    - 13

    added by slaft
    Pitcher

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  41. 41
    + 25
    - 19

    added by slaft
    Relief pitcher, Pitcher

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  42. 42
    + 9
    - 7
    No image

    added by slaft
    Pitcher

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  43. 43
    + 9
    - 4
    No image

    added by MacSa
    Pitcher

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  44. 44
    + 24
    - 53

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Pitcher

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  45. 45
    + 8
    - 2
    No image

    added by MacSa
    Ted Abernathy Relief pitcher

  46. 46
    + 9
    - 4

    added by MacSa
    Pitcher

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  47. 47
    + 9
    - 7
    No image

    added by slaft
    Pitcher

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  48. 48
    + 19
    - 47

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Pitcher

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  49. 49
    + 22
    - 23

    added by C_Moorehead
    Pitcher

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  50. 50
    + 11
    - 10
    No image

    added by slaft
    Jeff Montgomery Pitcher

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