Jesse Orosco, the all-time leader in games played as a pitcher

Games played (most often abbreviated as G or GP) is a statistic used in team sports to indicate the total number of games in which a player has participated (in any capacity); the statistic is generally applied irrespective of whatever portion of the game is contested. In baseball, the statistic applies also to players who, prior to a game, are included on a starting lineup card or are announced as ex ante substitutes, whether or not they play;[1] however, in Major League Baseball, the application of this statistic does not extend to consecutive games played streaks. A starting pitcher, then, may be credited with a game played even if he is not credited with a game started or an inning pitched. The pitcher is the player who pitches the baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. The pitcher is often considered the most important player on the defensive side of the game, playing the most difficult and specialized position, and as such is regarded as being at the right end of the defensive spectrum. Pitchers play far less than players at other positions, generally appearing in only two or three games per week; only one pitcher in major league history has appeared in 100 games in a single season. There are many different types of pitchers, generally divided between starting pitchers and relief pitchers, which include the middle reliever, lefty specialist, setup man, and closer. In the scoring system used to record defensive plays, the pitcher is assigned the number 1.

The sharp rise in the importance of relief pitching after 1950, and increased specialization in later decades, has led to a great increase in the number of players with high totals in games as a pitcher. Through the 2023 season, the top 24 players in career games pitched were all relief pitchers whose careers began after 1950, only two of whom were active before 1968; the top three pitchers are all left-handed. Jesse Orosco is the all-time leader in career games played as a pitcher with 1,252.[2][3] Only sixteen different players have pitched in over 1,000 games during their careers.[4]

Key

Rank Rank amongst leaders in career games played. A blank field indicates a tie.
Player (2024 Gs) Number of games played during the 2024 Major League Baseball season
Throws Denotes right-handed (R) or left-handed (L) pitcher
MLB Total career games played as a pitcher in Major League Baseball
* Denotes elected to National Baseball Hall of Fame
Bold Denotes active player[a]

List

Kenley Jansen, the active leader and tied for 41st all-time in games played as a pitcher.
John Franco holds the National League record.
Mariano Rivera holds the American League record, as well as the record for right-handed pitchers.
Hoyt Wilhelm held the major league record for 30 years.
Cy Young held the major league record for 63 years.
Walter Johnson held the American League record for 61 years.
Rank Player (2024 Gs) Throws Games as pitcher Other leagues, notes
MLB American League National League
1 Jesse Orosco L 1,252 686 566
2 Mike Stanton L 1,178 560 618
3 John Franco L 1,119 0 1,119
4 Mariano Rivera* R 1,115 1,115 0
5 Dennis Eckersley* R 1,071 869 202 Held major league record, 1998-1999; held American League record, 1995-2008; held record for right-handed pitchers, 1998-2013
6 Hoyt Wilhelm* R 1,070 622 448 Held major league record, 1968-1998
7 Dan Plesac L 1,064 627 437
8 Mike Timlin R 1,058 894 164 Held American League record, 2008-2009
9 Kent Tekulve R 1,050 0 1,050 Held National League record, 1986-2004
10 LaTroy Hawkins R 1,042 525 517
11 Trevor Hoffman* R 1,035 0 1,035
12 José Mesa R 1,022 540 482
Lee Smith* R 1,022 251 771
14 Roberto Hernández R 1,010 696 314
15 Mike Jackson R 1,005 650 355
16 Rich Gossage* R 1,002 656 346
17 Lindy McDaniel R 987 343 644
18 Todd Jones R 982 530 452
19 David Weathers R 964 47 917
20 Fernando Rodney R 951 771 180
21 Francisco Rodriguez R 948 520 428
22 Rollie Fingers* R 944 679 265
23 Gene Garber R 931 104 827
24 Eddie Guardado L 908 878 30
25 Cy Young* R 906 390 516 Held major league record, 1905-1968; held American League record, 1902-1911
26 Arthur Rhodes L 900 666 234
27 Sparky Lyle L 899 807 92 Held American League record, 1982-1995; held record for left-handed pitchers, 1980-1997; held AL record for left-handed pitchers, 1977-2008
28 Jim Kaat* L 898 620 278
29 Kyle Farnsworth R 893 473 420
30 Tom Gordon R 890 669 221
31 Paul Assenmacher L 884 379 505
32 Mike Myers L 883 456 427 Held the single-season record for left-handed pitchers, 1997-2001 (tie)
33 Alan Embree L 882 463 419
34 Jeff Reardon R 880 352 528
35 Don McMahon R 874 331 543
36 Joe Smith R 866 714 152
37 Phil Niekro* R 864 124 740
38 Charlie Hough R 858 402 456
39 Billy Wagner L 853 15 838
40 Roy Face R 848 2 846 Held National League record, 1967-1986; held NL record for right-handed pitchers, 1966-1986
Kenley Jansen (31) R 848 82 766
42 Doug Jones R 846 574 272
43 Chad Qualls R 844 153 691
44 Paul Quantrill R 841 587 254
45 Javier López L 839 172 667
46 Bob Wickman R 835 564 271
47 Steve Reed R 833 201 632
48 David Robertson (38) R 830 700 130
49 Julián Tavárez R 828 218 610
50 Tug McGraw L 824 0 824 Held the National League record for left-handed pitchers, 1982-1998
51 Sergio Romo R 821 238 583
52 Craig Kimbrel (38) R 818 250 568
53 Tyler Clippard R 807 291 516
Nolan Ryan* R 807 420 387
55 Walter Johnson* R 802 802 0 Held American League record, 1921-1982; held AL record for right-handed pitchers, 1917-1995
56 Francisco Cordero R 800 417 383
57 Jeff Nelson R 798 798 0
58 Rick Honeycutt L 797 606 191
59 Steve Kline L 796 87 709 Held the single-season record for left-handed pitchers, 2001-2010
Bryan Shaw (5) R 796 567 229
61 Joe Nathan R 787 656 131
62 Buddy Groom L 786 749 37
63 Gaylord Perry* R 777 318 459
64 Jeremy Affeldt L 774 184 590
Don Sutton* R 774 174 600
66 Joakim Soria R 773 687 86
67 Bob Howry R 769 434 335
68 Aroldis Chapman (38) L 766 378 388
Darren Oliver L 766 621 145
70 Mark Guthrie L 765 397 368
Darold Knowles L 765 470 295 Held record for left-handed pitchers, 1979-1980
72 Joaquín Benoit R 764 592 172
73 Armando Benítez R 762 239 523
Kenny Rogers L 762 750 12
75 Tommy John L 760 578 182
76 Octavio Dotel R 758 331 427
77 Jack Quinn R 756 563 103 Includes 90 in Federal League
78 Ron Reed R 751 51 700
79 Warren Spahn* L 750 0 750 Held National League record, 1964-1967; held record for left-handed pitchers, 1964-1979; held NL record for left-handed pitchers, 1964-1982
80 Matt Thornton L 748 652 96
81 Tom Burgmeier L 745 745 0
Gary Lavelle L 745 98 647
83 Willie Hernández L 744 358 386
Greg Maddux* R 744 0 744
85 Guillermo Mota R 743 34 709
86 Steve Carlton* L 741 46 695
87 Ryan Madson R 740 171 569
Russ Springer R 740 139 601
89 Brad Ziegler R 739 256 483
90 Steve Cishek R 737 207 530
Ron Perranoski L 737 280 457 Held the single-season record for left-handed pitchers, 1962-1965
92 Ron Kline R 736 402 334
93 Rick Aguilera R 732 520 212
Steve Bedrosian R 732 56 676
Mark Melancon (0) R 732 56 676
96 Clay Carroll R 731 37 694
97 Randy Myers L 728 164 564
98 Jason Isringhausen R 724 210 514
Mike Marshall R 724 231 493 Holds the single-season record of 106 (set in 1974); holds the American League single-season record of 90 (set in 1979)
100 Roger McDowell R 723 105 618
John Smoltz* R 723 8 715

Other Hall of Famers

Player Throws Games as pitcher Other leagues, notes
MLB American League National League
Pud Galvin* R 705 0 610 Includes 61 in American Association, 26 in Players' League,
8 in National Association; held major league record,
1888-1905; held the single-season record, 1883-1964
Grover Cleveland Alexander* R 696 0 696 Held National League record, 1928-1964
Bert Blyleven* R 692 587 105
Eppa Rixey* L 692 0 692 Held the National League record for left-handed pitchers, 1928-1964
Early Wynn* R 691 691 0
Tom Glavine* L 682 0 682
Robin Roberts* R 676 113 563
Waite Hoyt* R 674 458 216
Red Faber* R 669 669 0
Ferguson Jenkins* R 664 255 409
Bruce Sutter* R 661 0 661
Tom Seaver* R 656 97 559
Christy Mathewson* R 636 0 636 Held National League record, 1915-1928
Red Ruffing* R 624 624 0
Eddie Plank* L 623 581 0 Includes 42 in Federal League; held American League record, 1911-1921;
held AL record for left-handed pitchers, 1902-1906, 1907-1933
Kid Nichols* R 621 0 621 Held National League record, 1905-1915
Randy Johnson* L 618 341 277
Herb Pennock* L 617 617 0 Held the American League record for left-handed pitchers, 1933-1977
Burleigh Grimes* R 616 10 606
Lefty Grove* L 616 616 0
Tim Keefe* R 600 0 444 Includes 126 in American Association, 30 in Players' League
Ted Lyons* R 594 594 0
Jim Bunning* R 591 304 287
Bob Feller* R 570 570 0
Mickey Welch* R 565 0 565
Jim Palmer* R 558 558 0
Jesse Haines* R 555 0 555
Jack Morris* R 549 549 0
Mike Mussina* R 537 537 0
Rube Marquard* L 536 0 536 Held the National League record for left-handed pitchers, 1920-1928
Carl Hubbell* L 535 0 535
John Clarkson* R 531 0 531
Bob Gibson* R 528 0 528
Charles Radbourn* R 527 0 486 Includes 41 in Players' League; held the single-season record, 1883-1964
Don Drysdale* R 518 0 518
Vic Willis* R 513 0 513
Catfish Hunter* R 500 500 0
Whitey Ford* L 498 498 0
Hal Newhouser* L 488 488 0
Mordecai Brown* R 481 0 411 Includes 70 in Federal League
Pedro Martínez* R 476 203 273
Juan Marichal* R 471 11 460
Joe McGinnity* R 465 73 392 Held American League record, 1901-1902
Amos Rusie* R 463 0 463
Bob Lemon* R 460 460 0
Chief Bender* R 459 386 47 Includes 26 in Federal League
Clark Griffith* R 453 153 266 Includes 34 in American Association
Stan Coveleski* R 450 450 0
Dazzy Vance* R 442 10 432
Ed Walsh* R 430 426 4
Roy Halladay* R 416 313 103
Rube Waddell* L 407 335 72
Satchel Paige* R 398 179 0 Includes 91 in Negro National League (first), 85 in Negro American League,
43 in Negro National League (second) (incomplete)
Sandy Koufax* L 397 0 397
Jack Chesbro* R 392 270 122
Lefty Gomez* L 368 368 0
Albert Spalding* R 347 0 65 Includes 282 in National Association; held major league record, 1872-1879;
held the single-season record, 1873-1876
Dizzy Dean* R 317 1 316
John Montgomery Ward* R 293 0 293
Andy Cooper* L 288 0 0 Includes 272 in Negro National League (first), 16 in Negro American
League (incomplete)
Addie Joss* R 286 286 0
Candy Cummings* R 242 0 43 Includes 199 in National Association; held the single-season record, 1872-1873
Bill Foster* L 238 0 0 Includes 162 in Negro National League (first), 43 in Negro National
League (second), 17 in Negro Southern League,
16 in Negro American League (incomplete)
Bullet Rogan* R 214 0 0 Includes 211 in Negro National League (first), 3 in Negro American
League (incomplete)
Ray Brown* R 213 0 0 Includes 181 in Negro National League (second), 16 in Negro National
League (first), 16 in East–West League (incomplete)
Hank O'Day* R 201 0 105 Includes 53 in American Association, 43 in Players' League
Babe Ruth* L 163 163 0
Hilton Smith* R 158 0 0 Includes 157 in Negro American League, 1 in Negro Southern League
(incomplete)
Leon Day* R 91 0 0 Includes 91 in Negro National League (second) (incomplete)
José Méndez* R 69 0 0 Includes 69 in Negro National League (first) (incomplete)
Martín Dihigo* R 60 0 0 Includes 31 in Eastern Colored League, 21 in Negro National
League (second), 8 in American Negro League (incomplete)
Smokey Joe Williams* R 53 0 0 Includes 23 in Eastern Colored League, 18 in American Negro
League, 12 in East–West League (incomplete)
Tommy Lasorda* L 26 18 8
Rube Foster* R 0 0 0 Unavailable pre-Negro league figures

References

  1. ^ A player is considered inactive if he has announced his retirement or not played for a full season.
  1. ^ Section 20 of the official scorer guidelines
  2. ^ "Jesse Orosco Career Stats". Baseball Reference. Retrieved July 23, 2021.
  3. ^ Costello, Rory. "Jesse Orosco Bio". Society For American Baseball Research. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  4. ^ "Career Leaders & Records for Def. Games as P". Baseball Reference. Retrieved July 24, 2021.