Thursday, June 4, 2009

Will 300 Every be Seen Again?

With Randy Johnson on the doorstep of 300 career victories, it brings to light the discussion about whether or not we will every see a 300 game winner in the major leagues again. Many will probably claim that we will never see a 300 game winner again, that pitchers are too soft now and don't get enough starts or decisions.

The fact of the matter is that this was probably being said by all the writers on the same day the Nolan Ryan went for his 300th career victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on July 31, 1990. It would be another 13 years before we saw another 300 game winner. Oh and before the five winners we saw in the 1980s, there had not been a pitcher to crack the three century mark in almost 20 years when the gap was between Earl Wynn in 1963 and Gaylord Perry in 1982.

There is a reason 300 game winners are so special and it's because they are so rare. It's a formidable achievement, like 3,000 hits or what 500 home runs was, and it is usually only accomplished two or three times a generation.

Someday there will be another and it will be just as impressive then as it is now.

Trying to predict who will somehow stay healthy for the next 15 years and win 200 games is a feeble practice that should be avoided. It is less likely that the established great pitchers of this generation reach that plateau than it is for the unestablished youth.

Hell Dwight Gooden had over 150 wins when he was 28 and he failed to win even 50 more games over the remainder of his career.

300 wins will happen again. Pitchers today make up for their lack of starts a season by pitching more seasons in their careers and using newer forms of surgery, training and medical technology to stay healthy and effective. Is it beyond the realm of possibility that Felix Hernandez somehow pitches another 20 years and average 13 wins a season? It is unlikely, but it isn't something you can rule out and you can't rule out ever seeing a 300 game winner again.


Dennis said...

I think the reasons for the gap in between 300 game winners is different now though.

If we dig a little deeper, we see that between 1924 (Grover Cleveland Alexander) and 1982 (Gaylord Perry) only 3 guys (Spahn, Grove, and Wynn) won 300 games. This was because of wars for the most part. WWII, Korea, and Vietnam put 3, 4, even 5 year holes in a lot of guys careers.

I would say nowadays that the way the game is played, specifically the use of relief pitchers, makes it a much harder feat.

Dan said...

It's difficult but certainly not impossible. CC Sabathia has 120+ wins and is 28. If he pitches until 42 say. That's 12.8 wins a year to get to 300. That is assuming a lot of luck and longevity, but at the same time it doesn't sound impossible at all.