The Greatest Hitting Pitchers in Baseball History

Over 1.1K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Greatest Hitting Pitchers in Baseball History
Voting Rules
Whether they knocked record home runs or led in OPS, who are best hitting pitchers in MLB history?

Going down as one of the greatest hitting pitchers in baseball history is a difficult feat, especially when you consider a majority of these star pitchers are only batting every 5 games—at most. Now known as "pitchers who rake", these aces aren't just winning games for their teams with strikeouts and dominant pitching in general; they're stepping up to the plate, getting on base, and scoring runs. Of all the MLB's top hitting pitchers, both old and new, who do you think is the best of all time?

Now, there have been some great hitting pitchers since the early days of professional baseball, but it wasn't until 1980 when the Silver Slugger started being awarded and they really started to get recognized for such an uncommon skill. From early winners like Bob Forsch and Rick Rhoden to modern-day baseball's Madison Bumgarner and Carlos Zambrano, these are certainly pitchers who rake. Of course, we can't forget some of the earliest sluggers of the mound, such as Sloppy Thurston, Jack Scott, and Don Larsen, among many others. Another thing to consider here is these aren't just your average pitchers who can swing the bat—many of them are even the MLB's greatest pitchers.

Take a look at the list of greatest hitting pitchers below and vote up your choices for the best of all time—whether you think that comes down to batting average, home runs, or OPS. Feel free to add others to the list as well.

Most divisive: Jacob deGrom
Ranked by
  • Babe Ruth
    Boston Red Sox, Boston Braves, New York Yankees
    512 votes
    • Position: Right fielder, Outfielder, Left fielder, Pitcher
    • Birthplace: Baltimore, USA, Pigtown, Maryland

    Career batting stats: .342 avg., 714 HRs, 2,214 RBIs

    George Herman "Babe" Ruth Jr. (February 6, 1895 – August 16, 1948) was an American professional baseball player whose career in Major League Baseball (MLB) spanned 22 seasons, from 1914 through 1935. Nicknamed "The Bambino" and "The Sultan of Swat", he began his MLB career as a star left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, but achieved his greatest fame as a slugging outfielder for the New York Yankees. Ruth established many MLB batting (and some pitching) records, including career home runs (714), runs batted in (RBIs) (2,213), bases on balls (2,062), slugging percentage (.690), and on-base plus slugging (OPS) (1.164); the latter still stands as of 2019. Ruth is regarded as one of the greatest sports heroes in American culture and is considered by many to be the greatest baseball player of all time. In 1936, Ruth was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame as one of its "first five" inaugural members. At age seven, Ruth was sent to St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, a reformatory where he was mentored by Brother Matthias Boutlier of the Xaverian Brothers, the school's disciplinarian and a capable baseball player. In 1914, Ruth was signed to play minor-league baseball for the Baltimore Orioles but was soon sold to the Red Sox. By 1916, he had built a reputation as an outstanding pitcher who sometimes hit long home runs, a feat unusual for any player in the pre-1920 dead-ball era. Although Ruth twice won 23 games in a season as a pitcher and was a member of three World Series championship teams with the Red Sox, he wanted to play every day and was allowed to convert to an outfielder. With regular playing time, he broke the MLB single-season home run record in 1919. After that season, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Ruth to the Yankees amid controversy. The trade fueled Boston's subsequent 86-year championship drought and popularized the "Curse of the Bambino" superstition. In his 15 years with the Yankees, Ruth helped the team win seven American League (AL) pennants and four World Series championships. His big swing led to escalating home run totals that not only drew fans to the ballpark and boosted the sport's popularity but also helped usher in baseball's live-ball era, which evolved from a low-scoring game of strategy to a sport where the home run was a major factor. As part of the Yankees' vaunted "Murderers' Row" lineup of 1927, Ruth hit 60 home runs, which extended his MLB single-season record by a single home run. Ruth's last season with the Yankees was 1934; he retired from the game the following year, after a short stint with the Boston Braves. During his career, Ruth led the AL in home runs during a season 12 times. During Ruth's career, he was the target of intense press and public attention for his baseball exploits and off-field penchants for drinking and womanizing. After his retirement as a player, he was denied the opportunity to manage a major league club, most likely due to poor behavior during parts of his playing career. In his final years, Ruth made many public appearances, especially in support of American efforts in World War II. In 1946, he became ill with nasopharyngeal cancer and died from the disease two years later. Ruth remains a part of American culture and in 2018, President Donald Trump posthumously awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • Shohei Ohtani
    Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
    536 votes
    • Position: Pitcher, Designated hitter
    • Birthplace: Mizusawa, Iwate
    • Bats: Left-handed

    Career batting stats: .292 avg., 36 HRs, 101 RBIs

    Shohei Ohtani (born July 5, 1994) is a Japanese professional baseball pitcher and designated hitter for the Los Angeles Angels of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball's (NPB) Pacific League. Ohtani was the first pick of the Fighters in the 2012 draft. He has officially recorded the fastest pitch by a Japanese pitcher and in NPB history at 165 kilometres per hour (102.5 mph). He was named the 2018 American League Rookie of the Year.
  • Wes Ferrell
    Boston Red Sox, Boston Braves, Brooklyn Dodgers
    180 votes
    • Position: Pitcher
    • Birthplace: Greensboro, North Carolina

    Career batting stats: .280 avg., 38 HRs, 208 RBIs

    Wesley Cheek "Wes" Ferrell (February 2, 1908 – December 9, 1976) was an American professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball from 1927 through 1941. Primarily a starting pitcher, Ferrell played for the Cleveland Indians (1927–33), Boston Red Sox (1934–37), Washington Senators (1937–38), New York Yankees (1938–39), Brooklyn Dodgers (1940) and Boston Braves (1941). He batted and threw right-handed. Ferrell's 38 home runs as a batter remain a career record for a MLB pitcher.
  • Zack Greinke
    Houston Astros
    238 votes
    • Position: Pitcher
    • Birthplace: Orlando, Florida
    • Bats: Right-handed

    Career batting stats: .222 avg., 9 HRs, 32 RBIs

    Donald Zackary Greinke (born October 21, 1983) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Royals selected Greinke in the first round of the 2002 MLB draft, after he won the Gatorade National Player of the Year Award as a high school senior. After playing in the minor leagues, he made his MLB debut in 2004. His career was nearly derailed by his battles with depression and anxiety in 2005 and 2006, and he missed most of the 2006 season. He returned in 2007 as a relief pitcher before rejoining the starting rotation in 2008 and developing into one of the top pitchers in the game. In 2009, he appeared in the MLB All-Star Game, led the major leagues in earned run average, and won the American League Cy Young Award.
  • Mike Hampton
    Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies, Seattle Mariners
    181 votes
    • Position: Starting pitcher, Pitcher
    • Birthplace: Brooksville, Florida, USA
    • Bats: Right-handed

    Career batting stats: .246 avg., 16 HRs, 79 RBIs

    Michael William Hampton (born September 9, 1972) is an American former professional baseball player. Hampton played in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a pitcher from 1993 through 2010. He pitched for the Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, New York Mets, Colorado Rockies, Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks. He was the bullpen coach for the Mariners before resigning on July 9, 2017. Hampton is a two-time MLB All-Star. He won five Silver Slugger Awards and a Gold Glove Award. He was the Most Valuable Player of the 2000 National League Championship Series, and he pitched in the 2000 World Series for the Mets.
  • Madison Bumgarner
    Arizona Diamondbacks
    266 votes
    • Position: Pitcher
    • Birthplace: Hickory, North Carolina
    • Bats: Right-handed

    Career batting stats: .179 avg., 18 HRs, 61 RBIs

    Madison Kyle Bumgarner (born August 1, 1989), commonly known by his nickname, "MadBum", is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball (MLB). Previously, he pitched for the San Francisco Giants (2009–19). Bumgarner has won three World Series championships (2010, 2012, 2014) and two Silver Slugger Awards (2014, 2015). He has also been selected to four National League (NL) All-Star teams and has the most strikeouts in franchise history by a Giants left-handed pitcher.