5. Mike Cuellar — 1,011 SO
A crafty lefty with an outstanding screwball, Cuellar spent the better part of the 1970s as one of the most effective pitchers in the American League. The man known as Crazy Horse was already 31 years old when he arrived in Baltimore, but his maddening off-speed pitches helped him stay effective deep into his career.
Born in Cuba in 1937, Cuellar pitched for various teams in Latin America before signing with the Cincinnati Reds in 1957. He bounced around the minors for a few years before being traded to Houston, where he posted a 2.67 ERA over three strong seasons as a starter.
But while he was solid with the Astros, Cuellar didn’t become a household name until he landed with the Orioles ahead of the 1969 season. Baltimore sent Curt Blefary and John Mason to Houston in exchange for Cuellar and two prospects, making for one of the most lopsided trades in either team’s history. The Birds got a quick payoff when their newly acquired southpaw posted 23 wins and a 2.38 ERA en route to the Cy Young Award, sharing the honor with Denny McLain.
Two years later, Cuellar was an integral part of the Orioles’ legendary 1971 rotation, which featured four 20-game winners. He kept it up for several more years, reaching 18 wins on three more occasions and making the All-Star team as a reserve in 1974, when he was 37.
Cuellar was never a premium physical talent, but he still became known as one of the premier strikeout pitchers of his era. With his impressive longevity and confounding breaking ball, he managed to fan over a thousand batters during his time in Baltimore.