Giants' Top 5 righty starters: Guardado's take

May 26th, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO -- No one loves a good debate quite like baseball fans. With that in mind, we asked each of our beat reporters to rank the top five players by position in the history of their franchise, based on their career while playing for that club. These rankings are for fun and debate purposes only. We also asked fans to weigh in on Twitter:

Here is Maria Guardado’s ranking of the top five right-handed starting pitchers in Giants history. Next week: left-handed starting pitchers.

Giants' All-Time Team: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | LF | CF | RF | UTL

1. Christy Mathewson, 1900-16
Key fact: One of five players in the Hall of Fame’s inaugural induction class in 1936.

Armed with his famous fadeaway pitch (now known as a screwball) and precise control, was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball history, going 372-188 with a 2.12 ERA over his 17 seasons with the New York Giants. “Big Six” won 20 or more games 13 times, recorded at least 30 wins each season from 1903-05 and captured five National League ERA crowns.

“Mathewson was the greatest pitcher who ever lived,” Hall of Fame manager Connie Mack once said. “He had knowledge, judgment, perfect control and form. It was wonderful to watch him pitch -- when he wasn’t pitching against you.”

During the 1905 World Series, Mathewson tossed three shutouts as the Giants beat the Philadelphia Athletics in five games to clinch their first championship title. He won a career-high 37 games in ’08, setting a modern NL record. Mathewson, who died from tuberculosis at 45 in 1925, continues to hold several franchise records, including wins (372), complete games (434), shutouts (79), innings (4,779 2/3) and strikeouts (2,504).

2. Juan Marichal, 1960-73
Key fact: He won 191 games during the 1960s, more than any other pitcher during the decade.

developed into one of the Giants’ best homegrown international players after signing with the club for $500 out of his native Dominican Republic in 1957. Known for his distinctive, high leg kick, Marichal went 238-140 with a 2.84 ERA over his 14 seasons with the Giants. He won at least 20 games six times and led the NL in ERA (2.10) in 1969. A 10-time All-Star, Marichal was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1983.

3. Amos Rusie, 1890-95, ’97-98
Key fact: Rusie was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977.

Nicknamed “The Hoosier Thunderbolt” for his blazing fastball, Amos Rusie went 234-163 with a 2.89 ERA over his eight seasons with the New York Giants. He won five NL strikeout titles in six seasons from 1890-95 and led the league in ERA twice. Rusie enjoyed his finest season in 1894, when he went 36-13 with a 2.78 ERA while leading the NL in wins, ERA, starts (50), shutouts (three) and strikeouts (195).

While he was blessed with elite velocity, Rusie battled control issues over the course of his distinguished career. He led the NL in walks in five consecutive seasons from 1890-94 and issued a career-high 289 free passes in 1890, which remains a single-season Major League record. In December 1900, the Giants traded a declining Rusie to the Reds for a 20-year-old Mathewson, resulting in one of the most lopsided deals in baseball history. Rusie pitched only three games for the Reds and logged an 8.59 ERA over 22 innings before announcing his retirement.

4. Gaylord Perry, 1962-71
Key fact: Perry was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.

gained notoriety for his blatant use of the illegal spitball, though he was not ejected for doctoring the ball until 1982, his 21st season in the Majors. Perry spent the first decade of his Hall of Fame career in San Francisco, where he went 134-109 with a 2.96 ERA. He enjoyed his breakout season in 1966, earning his first All-Star selection while going 21-8 with a 2.99 ERA. Perry threw a no-hitter for the Giants at Candlestick Park in 1968. Following the 1971 season, the Giants traded Perry and shortstop Frank Duffy to Cleveland in exchange for left-hander Sam McDowell.

5. Tim Lincecum, 2007-15
Key fact: He became the first pitcher to win Cy Young Awards in each of his first two full seasons in the Majors.

became a cult figure over his nine seasons with the Giants, winning back-to-back NL Cy Young Awards in 2008 and ’09 and leading the league in strikeouts three consecutive years (2008-10). “The Freak” was a member of the club’s three championship teams in 2010, ’12 and ’14, earned four All-Star selections and tossed two no-hitters with the Giants. Lincecum produced some of the most brilliant pitching seasons in franchise history at his peak, though hip issues and diminished velocity hastened his decline.

Honorable mentions
Mickey Welch helped the Giants capture their first two NL pennants in 1888 and ’89 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1973.

• Welch’s rotation mate and fellow Hall of Famer, Tim Keefe, won the pitching Triple Crown in 1888, leading the NL in wins (35), strikeouts (335) and ERA (1.74).

spent his entire 13-year career with the Giants and tossed the first perfect game in franchise history in 2012.