php2OkiRIMaybe this is beating a dead horse, but who cares, the horse is dead. It can’t feel anything

Yesterday, Randy Johnson won his 300th career game, becoming the 24th member of the elusive club. And once again, just like when Tom Glavine won his 300th and when Greg Maddux won his 300th game, out come the articles and posts confidently declaring that we will never see another 300-game winner.

Of course, the reasoning behind all the arguments is that nobody else is close to winning 300 games. To which we reply, so what?

Yes, pitchers are handled differently in today’s game. They only make 32-33 starts a year and they only pitch 6-7 innings per game.

But this is also an era that saw not one, but two 350-game winners.

Winning 300 games is special. And it is special because it doesn’t happen very often.

Between Grover Alexander’s 300th win in 1924, and Warren Spahn’s 300th in 1960, a span of 37 years, there was only one 300-game winner. And that was a time when starting pitchers made 40 starts a season and completed more than they did not. After Early Wynn in 1963, there was not another 300-game winner until Gaylord Perry in 1982.

Unlike the 500-home run club which is now watered down with new entries every season, the 300-win club remains elusive…but not unreachable.

Consider this fact from the article linked above:

Johnson had 55 wins when he turned 29.

Now consider that Scott Kazmir is only 25 and has 51 career wins. And also consider that Kazmir, like Johnson, is a power-lefty that has struggled with his mechanics early in his career.

Now, what if Kazmir pulls his act together and averages 15 wins over the next 4 years? All of the sudden he is around 115 wins at age 29.

This is exactly why we track Kazmir’s win total in the sidebar. Not because we think Kazmir will win 300 games. Rather, we track them simply because it is possible that Kazmir will win 300 games.

And just because nobody else is near 300 wins right now, does not mean nobody will ever reach the milestone again.

Unit could be last of the 300-game winners [Yahoo! Sports]

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10 Comments

  1. Don says:

    You have Kazmir's figures reversed....You mean...
    If he wins 4 games for 15 years he will have 115 wins when he is 40!

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  2. Rytor says:

    I don't know why more people don't talk about Roy Halladay being a possibility for 300 wins.

    As of today he has 140 wins at age 32. [In reference to your post, Johnson had 55 at age 29]

    Say he finishes the season with 16 wins and averages 16 over the next 9 years (going into age 41), putting him at 291.

    Of course, injuries could derail him, and his sinker/cutter combo can be less effective as he ages...but it's absolutely possible - especially if after he becomes a free agent, he joins a non-AL East team. But it is certainly a possibility.

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    • Sam A says:

      Halladay is lucky because he is less bullpen dependent than a lot of other pitchers. All he needs is run support which can be had in the AL East.

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    • Jim says:

      Imagine his win numbers if we went to a better team. Or an NL team?

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  3. Joe D. says:

    I with Prof. I think this last 300 game stuff is bogus, I look at the guy the Rays are facing tonight, CC Sabathia he's 28 and has 122 wins as of today (and hopefully he doesn't get 123 tonight). I think he needs to take better care of him self, I don't see him being able to pitch at 290 lbs for the next 12 years, but he's left handed which means as long as he can get ML hitters out then he can pitch (for the most part), and if he can stay relatively healthy for 12 years, he's probably looking at about 15 wins this year that would bring him to 132, and 12 x 14 is 168, which would bring him to 300 wins at age 40, and I'm sure that Sabathia will win more then 14 games most years before he begins to become less effective.

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    • Sam A says:

      Considering the run support, I would say Sabathia has a good chance at 300 if he can stay healthy.

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  4. another point to consider: even though pitchers start fewer games now, in general, they stay healthier for more years. so it is quite possible that your average "great" pitcher is more likely to last 15-18 years, where 40 years a lot of great pitchers threw their arms out. so even though they pitch less from year-to-year they are more likely to have a sustained career.

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  5. John says:

    I remember the same talk back in the 80s when Seaver & Carlton were closing in on 300. It's really a very silly discussion.

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  6. bobrittner says:

    Posnanski recently reviewed the issue on his blog pointing out that pitchers with lots of wins in their 20s, a la Robin Roberts and Bob Feller, often do not get to 300. The issue is longevity more than anything else as most 300 game winners won at least half or more of their games after age 30.

    I agree that Halladay is a candidate. So too is Oswalt although his slight size seems to work against him. And Sabathia is another. Even Santana has a shot if he remains healthy.

    And here is a name to consider. Mark Buerhle. Very efficient, seems to pitch with little stress on his arm. Over 200 innings every year for 8 straight years with double figure wins every year.

    But ultimately none of us can really know. As noted above, it is really silly to predict an end to 300 game winners.

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