Can you feel that?

After months of waiting through the cold winter months and listening to nothing but trade rumors and free agent signings, the regular season is finally upon us. With some of today’s greatest starting pitchers taking the mound for the first game of their respective team’s season on Opening Day, you hear some impressive stats surrounding some of these guys.

Roy Halladay, for example, is set to make his 11th consecutive Opening Day start. The guy is more than arguably the game’s best pitcher—he’s also a workhorse.

What is a “workhorse,” you ask? Well that’s simple. It’s one of those baseball terms that get tossed around loosely and has come to mean many things over the years. Generally, when a person talks about a “workhorse,” they’re talking about a durable starting pitcher with a rubber arm and the ability to rack up innings like it’s nobody’s business.

With that in mind, I wanted to come up with a list of some of the greatest “workhorses” to ever play the game, but with any list covering a broad term and a bevy of stats, creating this type of list isn’t simple. For example, the word “workhorse” has described relievers that can make back-to-back appearances with frequency, but ranking them among the game’s elite starting pitchers just isn’t fair.

In composing the list, I had to debate a few slots and positions with myself. When you rank the greatest workhorses of all time, is it more important that these pitchers accumulated innings or had above-average success? In the end, I put a lot of emphasis on innings pitched—in both a single season and over the course of a career—and used success as more of a “tie-breaker.”

Now, let’s set up some parameters for a pitcher’s eligibility in this ranking. In the title, you’ll noticed that I’ve limited the pitchers to the “modern era.” That means that I used the year 1900 as a sharp cut-off date for the ranking. If a pitcher threw innings before 1900, he wasn’t eligible. In order to provide a sense of accomplishment for those on the list, I also cut off eligibility at 3,000 career innings pitched.

Of course, that leaves us with history’s elite pitchers. It’s hard to consider this list a “ranking,” per se, as all of these men have reserved their spot in baseball history. With that in mind, consider these 25 men as the greatest “innings eaters” to have ever played the game.

Begin Slideshow