You can never have too much pitching. Pitching wins championships. Momentum is only as good as your next day’s starting pitcher. General managers, broadcasters and baseball columnists tell us as much each and every year, and each and every year these beliefs are reinforced when the biggest Free Agent starter on the market is signed to a massive contract that takes him into his late 30s.

No player on the field can have more impact on a game than a dominant starting pitcher. It’s no surprise then that over the past 35 years, pitchers have consistently ranked as some of the most highly paid players in the game.

This offseason, former Ranger Cliff Lee, perhaps the second best pitcher in the game, is a free agent. The Rangers want Lee back and are willing to pay. The Yankees, a team Lee helped knock out of the playoffs, also want his services and a mystery team has supposedly stepped up with a seven-year offer for $20-$25 million a year.

We all know about Lee. He’s undeniably one of the best free agent pitchers in the history of baseball, but his situation is far from unique. Let’s take a trip back in time, starting in 1975, to look at a time-line of the most coveted free agent pitchers ever.

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