Best pitches I've seen

It's a longtime baseball debate: Who has the best fastball? Slider? Curveball? Here are my picks for the best pitches I've seen in nine categories.

Originally Published: June 15, 2004
By Tom Candiotti | Special to ESPN Insider
It's a debate baseball fans have engaged in for years in front of living-room TVs, in bars and at stadiums nationwide: Which pitcher has the best fastball? What about the best slider? Or curveball? Here are my picks for the best pitches I've seen (in nine categories) in my career as a major-league pitcher and TV analyst. Let the debate begin again...

Four-Seam Fastball
Best I've Seen Firsthand -- Nolan Ryan | Randy Johnson
Honorable Mention -- Roger Clemens
When I saw Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, he was already in his 40s. I can't imagine what his fastball was like when he was in his 20s. Johnson, a left-hander, is in the same class as Ryan. Clemens is right behind these two among four-seam fastballs I've seen. Ryan, a Texan, played most of his career in Texas, while fellow Texan Clemens is finishing his career there. (The four-seam fastball is gripped with two fingers across the seams.)
Tom Candiotti provides analysis for select ESPN Major League Baseball coverage, working at various games throughout the season. Candiotti joined ESPN's baseball coverage team in 2001, shortly after closing the door on his 17-year pitching career.