The 1970s are widely considered baseball's "Golden Age." Stars were born in the MLB and they were everywhere as the sport started to gravitate toward the marketing of personalities. Pete Rose, Brooks Robinson, Johnny Bench, Jim Palmer, Nolan Ryan, Willie Stargell and Reggie Jackson. The birth of free-agency occurred in the 70s, which changed the landscape of the game forever. The pursuit of "game changing players" skyrocketed salaries all around as teams threw money around in an apparent auction to buy the best players possible. Baseball players were "hip" now and had the smoothest last names. Pete Rose was "Charlie Hustle," "Hammerin" Hank Aaron, "The Ryan Express" Nolan Ryan, "Space Man" Bill Lee and the one and only "Mr. October" Reggie Jackson. Jackson epitomized "swagger" way before there was a such thing. His confidence was reflected by his style of play and his quotes are classic and endless. "I didn't come to New York to be a star, I brought my start with me." And his most famous quote, "I am the straw that stirs the drink."
It was also the "Golden Age" for pitchers as there was no such thing as a "pitch count." Nobody kept track of that blasphemy! In today's game, if a pitcher reaches 100 pitches they are immediately taken out of games for fear of an arm injury. In the 70s, pitchers routinely threw over 200 pitches and nobody give it a second though. Complete games were the norm and relief pitchers were non-existent. And these guys still pitched successfully for decades! Protein shakes after games or workouts? No, these guys had a beer and a cigar! Yes it was that type of game: raw! If you started a game, you had every intention of finishing it. 100 pitches meant you were halfway through! The game was now dominated by bigger than life stars and pitchers who did not hesitate to hit you in the head and stare you down after you got up and dusted yourself off. These are the Top 5 MLB Pitchers of the 1970s: