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MLB ERA Leaders By Year—1970s

Updated on May 27, 2008

JR Richard

Ron Guidry

Tom Seaver


Guys like Tom Seaver and Luis Tiant dominated the earned run average leader board in major league baseball in the early ‘70's. But later in the decade there were a few other names surfacing that you may or may not recognize or remember. Here is a complete list of those leaders in the 1970's.

1979-JR Richard, Houston Astros (2.71)-JR Richard was so dominant that he could have become one of the game's all-time great pitchers. But an injury derailed his career and Richard was never the same. In 1979, he led the majors with a 2.71 ERA. That season, Richard went 18-13 with 313 strikeouts in 292 innings of work, 19 complete games and four shutouts.

1978-Ron Guidry, New York Yankees (1.74)-1978 was a magical season for Ron Guidry (a.k.a. "Louisiana Lightning") and the New York Yankees, as the team won its second straight World Series title. Guidry won the AL Cy Young and came in second for AL MVP, as he went 25-3 with a league low 1.74 earned run average, 248 strikeouts to just 72 walks in 273 innings of work, 16 complete games and 9 shutouts.

1977-John Candelaria, Pittsburgh Pirates (2.34)-John Candelaria pitched for 19 seasons with a few different teams, but he was never as effective as in his first few years with the Pittsburgh Pirates. "The Candyman" had a deceptive lefty sidearm delivery. In 1977, Candelaria led the league in ERA with a 2.34 mark. He also went 20-5 with 133 strikeouts and 6 complete games.

1976-Mark Fidrych, Detroit Tigers (2.34)-Mark "The Bird" Fidrych's story is another relatively sad one, as he won the AL Rookie of the Year honors in 1976 and came in second for the AL Cy Young, with a remarkable rookie season. But an injury slowed and eventually ended his career in 1980. In that 1976 season, Fidrych went 19-9 with a league low 2.34 ERA, 24 complete games and 4 shutouts.

1975-Jim Palmer, Baltimore Orioles (2.09)-Jim Palmer was the ace of the Baltimore staff for many years, and helped them win a few championships. But in 1975, Palmer had maybe his best overall season, leading the majors with a 2.09 ERA and winning a career best 23 games against 11 losses. Palmer also had 193 strikeouts, 25 complete games and 10 shutouts.

1974-Buzz Capra, Atlanta Braves (2.28)-Just like Nolan Ryan, Buzz Capra was a Mets' pitcher who was floundering, and then had a breakout season with another team. That was 1974 for Capra after being traded to the Braves, as he went 16-8 with a league low 2.28 earned run average. Capra struck out 137 batters with 11 complete games and 5 shutouts.

1973-Tom Seaver, New York Mets (2.08)-Tom Seaver is not only one of the greatest Mets pitchers of all-time, he's one of the game's greats. In 1973, Seaver helped the Mets reach the World Series, and posted a major league low 2.08 ERA. He also went 19-10 with 251 strikeouts in 290 innings pitched, 18 complete games and 3 shutouts, winning his second NL Cy Young Award.

1972-Luis Tiant, Boston Red Sox (1.91)-It wasn't quite as good as his 1968 season, when Luis Tiant went 21-9 with a career best 1.60 ERA-but in 1972, Tiant led the majors with a 1.91 ERA. Tiant also went 15-6 with 123 strikeouts in 179 innings pitched, with 12 complete games, 6 shutouts, and even 3 saves coming out of the bullpen.

1971-Tom Seaver, New York Mets (1.76)-In 1971, Tom Seaver had one of his best overall seasons, posting a career best 1.76 ERA. Seaver went 20-10 on an average Mets team (83-79, third place in NL East), striking out a career high 289 batters with just 61 walks in 286 innings, with 21 complete games and four shutouts.

1970-Diego Segui, Oakland Athletics (2.56)-Even though he only won 10 games in 1970 (against 10 losses), Oakland pitcher Diego Segui led the majors with a 2.56 ERA. He also had 3 complete games, 2 shutouts, and 2 saves in relief.


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