Yankees: The Five Most Effective Pitchers In Franchise History

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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Louisiana Lightning  #49

In much the same way as Sandy Koufax, Ron Guidry dominated baseball for a brief, but memorable, period. Weighing in at less than 200 lbs and standing a mere 5’11” tall, Guidry pounded the strike zone with fastball after fastball, daring hitters to lay their bat on his pitches

Lighting up Yankees Stadium every game he pitched at home, Guidry earned not one, but two nicknames. More familiarly known as Lousiana Lightning, he also answered to (simply) Gator.

Guidry can be credited with the revival of the Yankees that began in 1977 with the arrival of Reggie Jackson, and a team that would later become known as the Bronx Zoo. Guidry spearheaded a pitching staff to consecutive World Championships in 1977 and 1978, winning both games he started.

Standing only 5’11” tall, Guidry pounded the strike zone with fast ball after fast ball, daring hitters to lay their bat on his pitches

He saved his best season, and what some argue is the best season ever for a starting pitching,  for 1978 going 25-3. Over those two brilliant seasons, he went 41-10, with 25 complete games, and 14 shutouts. In 1878, Guidry swept the Cy Young Award and finished second in the Most Valuable Player balloting.

Depicted in the above video, strikeouts (18) represented two-thirds of the outs he recorded in a complete game shutout.

A good ole boy from Cajun country, Guidry appeared fascinated by the drama and bright lights of the New York Yankees, explaining to the Washington Times:

"“That era there was the best soap opera in the country,” Guidry said, “because everybody that I would speak to on the street, they couldn’t wait to pick up a paper every morning and see what happened to the Yankees last night.”"

Asked to comment on teammate Reggie Jackson while speaking at a dinner in Syracuse, New York recently, Guidry put it this way:

"“Reggie’s Reggie. He’s not like you or I. He’s flamboyant. He just liked the big stage, and I always felt like he had to have that. There’s a lot of us, we don’t need it. We can perform on the big stage, but we don’t have to have it. I would rather you not know who I am when I go out. Reggie wants everybody to know who he is, and he liked that.”"

41-10 over two successive years and back-to-back World Championships. That about sums up Ron Guidry, doesn’t it?