Greg Maddux, the all-time leader in putouts by a pitcher

In baseball statistics, a putout (denoted by PO or fly out when appropriate) is given to a defensive player who records an out by tagging a runner with the ball when he is not touching a base, catching a batted or thrown ball and tagging a base to put out a batter or runner (a force out), catching a thrown ball and tagging a base to record an out on an appeal play, catching a third strike (a strikeout), catching a batted ball on the fly (a fly out), or being positioned closest to a runner called out for interference. 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.

Pitchers typically record putouts by catching line drives or pop-ups, or by covering first base on ground balls to the first baseman. On pop-ups, however, pitchers will often instead act as a defensive supervisor, evaluating the ball's arc and selecting which infielder should make the catch. Pitchers can also record a putout while covering home plate by tagging a runner attempting to score a run if the catcher is retrieving a wild pitch, passed ball, or errant throw. Because of the relative rarity of such plays, as well as their reduced playing time, pitchers record far fewer putouts than players at any other position; players at every other position have recorded between five and forty-three times as many putouts as the top pitcher. Only four pitchers in history – none since 1886 – have recorded 50 putouts in a season, a total which a first baseman might reach in a week.

Career putout totals for pitchers have generally risen with the increase in long careers, and the lengthening of the major league season in the early 1960s. The top 11 career leaders are all starting pitchers who have been active since 1962. Right-handed pitchers generally record more putouts due to their facing first base after the follow-through of their pitching motion; the top 24 leaders are all right-handed. Greg Maddux is the all-time leader in career putouts by a pitcher with 546;[1][2][3] he is the only pitcher to record more than 400 career putouts.

Key

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

List

Zack Greinke, the active leader in putouts by a pitcher and 7th all-time
Jack Morris holds the American League record.
Tony Mullane held the major league record for 87 years.
Kid Nichols held the National League record for 81 years.
Jamie Moyer holds the record for left-handed pitchers.
Walter Johnson held the American League record for 60 years.
Rank Player (2024 POs) Throws Putouts as a pitcher Other leagues, notes
MLB American League National League
1 Greg Maddux* R 546 0 546 Held the modern National League single-season record, 1990-1999 (tie)
2 Kevin Brown R 388 187 201 Holds the modern National League single-season record of 41 (set in 1999)
3 Jack Morris* R 387 387 0 Held major league record, 1994-2000
4 Phil Niekro* R 386 46 340 Held major league record, 1985-1994; held National League record, 1982-1998
5 Ferguson Jenkins* R 363 176 187 Held major league record, 1981-1985
6 Gaylord Perry* R 349 141 208
7 Zack Greinke (0) R 340 151 189
8 Don Sutton* R 334 64 270
9 Orel Hershiser R 332 56 276
10 Rick Reuschel R 328 6 322
Tom Seaver* R 328 48 280
12 Tony Mullane R 326 0 106 Includes 220 in American Association (league record); held major league record, 1894-1981; held the single-season record, 1882-1886
13 Pud Galvin* R 325 0 276 Includes 26 in American Association, 22 in Players' League, 1 in National Association; held major league record, 1889-1894; held National League record, 1891-1901
14 Roger Clemens R 320 296 24
John Smoltz * R 320 4 316
16 Dennis Martínez R 319 196 123
17 Chick Fraser R 317 35 282 Held the modern single-season record, 1901-1902
18 Robin Roberts* R 316 64 252
19 Kid Nichols* R 313 0 313 Held National League record, 1901-1982
20 Jim Palmer* R 292 292 0 Held American League record, 1982-1990
21 Bob Gibson* R 291 0 291
Juan Marichal* R 291 4 287
23 Bert Blyleven* R 287 252 35
24 Christy Mathewson* R 281 0 281
25 Jamie Moyer L 279 203 76
26 Mike Moore R 278 278 0
27 Walter Johnson* R 276 276 0 Held American League record, 1922-1982
28 Dave Stieb R 272 272 0
29 Vic Willis* R 271 0 271 Held the modern National League single-season record, 1902-1999
30 Doug Drabek R 266 27 239
31 Doyle Alexander R 264 220 44
32 Bob Lemon* R 263 263 0
Jim McCormick R 263 0 250 Includes 13 in Union Association; held major league record, 1885-1889
34 Tom Glavine * L 262 0 262
Jim Kaat* L 262 214 48 Held record for left-handed pitchers, 1980-2008
36 Tim Keefe* R 260 0 196 Includes 49 in American Association, 15 in Players' League
37 Tim Hudson R 258 114 144
Kenny Rogers L 258 254 4
39 Larry Jackson R 257 0 257
40 Dan Petry R 255 251 4
41 Joe Niekro R 253 56 197
42 Mike Boddicker R 245 245 0 Holds the modern single-season record of 49 (set in 1984)
Ted Breitenstein L 245 0 244 Includes 1 in American Association; holds the single-season record for left-handed pitchers (46 in 1895)
Lew Burdette R 245 8 237
Milt Pappas R 245 133 112
46 Adonis Terry R 244 0 106 Includes 138 in American Association
47 Bob Welch R 243 102 141
48 Mel Stottlemyre R 242 242 0
49 Freddie Fitzsimmons R 237 0 237
Mark Gubicza R 237 237 0
Tommy John L 237 191 46
Steve Rogers R 237 0 237
53 Murry Dickson R 236 10 226
Bobby Mathews R 236 0 60 Includes 139 in National Association, 37 in American Association; held major league record, 1883-1886
Adam Wainwright R 236 0 236
Doc White L 236 219 17
57 Charlie Hough R 235 193 42
58 Bob Forsch R 234 0 234
59 Ed Walsh* R 233 232 1
60 Mike Mussina* R 231 231 0
61 Tom Candiotti R 230 154 76
Charles Radbourn* R 230 0 214 Includes 16 in Players' League
63 George Mullin R 229 219 0 Includes 10 in Federal League; held the modern single-season record, 1903-1904 (tie)
Eddie Plank* L 229 216 0 Includes 13 in Federal League
Cy Young* R 229 72 157
66 Bob Friend R 228 3 225
Roy Halladay* R 228 188 40
68 Tim Wakefield R 227 213 14
69 Frank Tanana L 226 215 11
70 Burleigh Grimes* R 225 1 224
Catfish Hunter* R 225 225 0
72 Dwight Gooden R 224 33 191
73 Scott Erickson R 223 219 4
Mike Torrez R 223 130 93
75 John Lackey R 222 156 66
Warren Spahn* L 222 0 222
77 Bronson Arroyo R 221 47 174
John Clarkson* R 221 0 221
Derek Lowe R 221 108 113
Luis Tiant R 221 218 3
81 David Cone R 220 119 101
Nolan Ryan* R 220 125 95
83 Ted Lyons* R 219 219 0
84 Tommy Bond R 218 0 149 Includes 59 in National Association, 8 in Union Association, 2 in American Association
85 Mickey Welch* R 217 0 217
86 George Bradley R 216 0 120 Includes 52 in National Association, 33 in Union Association, 11 in American Association; held the single-season record, 1876-1882
Guy Hecker R 216 0 8 Includes 208 in American Association
88 Mike Morgan R 215 77 138
89 Mike Leake R 213 35 178
Brad Radke R 213 213 0
91 Tim Belcher R 212 118 94
Vern Law R 212 0 212
93 Bob Buhl R 211 0 211
Liván Hernández R 211 7 204
Albert Spalding* R 211 0 47 Includes 164 in National Association; held major league record, 1874-1883
Rick Sutcliffe R 211 77 134
97 Camilo Pascual R 210 209 1
98 Mel Harder R 209 209 0
Harry Howell R 209 192 17
100 Bullet Joe Bush R 208 203 5
Dennis Eckersley* R 208 160 48

Other Hall of Famers

Player Throws Putouts as a pitcher Other leagues, notes
MLB American League National League
Jim Bunning* R 206 105 101
Joe McGinnity* R 202 24 178
Early Wynn* R 193 193 0
Grover Cleveland Alexander* R 189 0 189
Don Drysdale* R 188 0 188
Clark Griffith* R 179 32 137 Includes 10 in American Association
Amos Rusie* R 176 0 176
Stan Coveleski* R 174 174 0
Chief Bender* R 173 148 13 Includes 12 in Federal League
Whitey Ford* L 173 173 0
Mordecai Brown* R 171 0 159 Includes 12 in Federal League
Rube Waddell* L 170 122 48
John Montgomery Ward* R 169 0 169
Carl Hubbell* L 155 0 155
Pedro Martínez* R 155 89 66
Waite Hoyt* R 153 121 32
Red Ruffing* R 153 153 0
Bob Feller* R 146 146 0
Addie Joss* R 144 144 0
Hal Newhouser* L 135 135 0
Eppa Rixey* L 131 0 131
Red Faber* R 130 130 0
Dazzy Vance* R 126 1 125
Hoyt Wilhelm* R 114 68 46
Mariano Rivera* R 110 110 0
Steve Carlton* L 109 4 105
Rollie Fingers* R 108 77 31
Jesse Haines* R 107 0 107
Jack Chesbro* R 103 71 32
Herb Pennock* L 101 101 0
Candy Cummings * R 100 0 15 Includes 85 in National Association
Babe Ruth* L 95 95 0
Randy Johnson* L 90 64 26
Bruce Sutter* R 90 0 90
Rich Gossage* R 78 59 19
Dizzy Dean* R 76 0 76
Hank O'Day* R 76 0 46 Includes 19 in American Association, 11 in Players' League
Bullet Rogan* R 69 0 0 Includes 69 in Negro National League (first) (incomplete)
Trevor Hoffman* R 66 0 66
Lefty Grove* L 65 65 0
Sandy Koufax* L 64 0 64
Rube Marquard* L 63 0 63
Satchel Paige* R 57 17 0 Includes 18 in Negro American League, 13 in Negro National League (second),
9 in Negro National League (first) (incomplete)
Lefty Gomez* L 56 56 0
Lee Smith* R 52 10 42
Andy Cooper* L 51 0 0 Includes 46 in Negro National League (first), 5 in Negro American
League (incomplete)
Ray Brown* R 38 0 0 Includes 32 in Negro National League (second), 4 in East–West League,
2 in Negro National League (first) (incomplete)
José Méndez* R 30 0 0 Includes 30 in Negro National League (first) (incomplete)
Bill Foster* L 25 0 0 Includes 12 in Negro National League (first), 12 in Negro National
League (second), 1 in Negro American League (incomplete)
Hilton Smith* R 24 0 0 Includes 24 in Negro American League (incomplete)
Martín Dihigo* R 17 0 0 Includes 10 in Negro National League (second), 6 in Eastern Colored League,
1 in American Negro League (incomplete)
Leon Day* R 16 0 0 Includes 16 in Negro National League (second) (incomplete)
Smokey Joe Williams* R 10 0 0 Includes 7 in American Negro League, 3 in East–West League (incomplete)
Tommy Lasorda* L 3 3 0
Rube Foster* R 0 0 0 Unavailable pre-Negro league figures

Notes

  1. ^ A player is considered inactive if he has announced his retirement or not played for a full season.

References

  1. ^ "Greg Maddux Career Stats". Baseball Reference. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
  2. ^ Thornley, Stew. "Greg Maddux Bio". Society For American Baseball Research. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
  3. ^ "Greg Maddux Hall of Fame Profile". National Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved August 1, 2021.