It has been a milestone year for Major League Baseball.
From Tom Glavine to Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Craig Biggio, the records have been piling up like poker chips in a major tournament.
Tom Glavine of the New York Mets holds arguably the most prestigious record to date, notching his 300th career victory on August 5, 2007 with an 8-3 victory over Lou Piniella’s Chicago Cubs in a game away from home at Wrigley Field.
The historic win was Glavine’s 10th this year against 6 losses.
Glavine won 242 of his wins pitching 16 seasons for the Atlanta Braves, winning the last 58 after coming to the New York Mets as a free agent in 2003. He is in his 21st season and is one of the winningest pitchers in the game. baseball in the National League. He is a five-time 20-game winner and two-time Cy Young Award winner, and is one of only 23 pitchers in major league history to earn 300 career wins from him. He is also only the fifth left-hander among 23,300-game winners. He joins a select group that includes Warren Spahn (363 wins), Steve Carlton (329), Eddie Plank (326) and Lefty Grove (300).
Glavine is a lock on becoming a Hall of Fame player when he retires. He has also long been known as an excellent fielding and hitting pitcher. The 41-year-old southpaw will overtake Lefty Grove and Early Winn on the all-time list, as both had exactly 300 wins when they retired.
In addition to Tom Glavine and Early Winn, pitchers with 300 career wins since 1958 include Warren Spahn, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Steve Carlton, Nolan Ryan, Don Sutton, Phil Niekro, Gaylord Perry and Tom Seaver.
In addition to Lefty Grove, veterans include Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Grover Alexander, Christy Mathewson, Pud Galvin, Kid Nichols, Tim Keefe, John Clarkson, Eddie Plank, Charles Radbourn, and Mickey Welch.
No one will break the Cy Young record of 511 career wins. Walter Johnson had 417, and every other pitcher has between 300 and 373.
More veterans than modern pitchers appear on the list because in the early days baseball teams used a two-man pitching rotation, which gave veterans many more starts and many more opportunities to achieve 300 wins.
Today’s teams use a 4- or 5-man pitching rotation, and the arrival of specialists, including setup men (for innings 7 and 8) and closers (for inning 9), has meant that today’s pitchers record far fewer tickets.
Speculation now abounds as to whether any other player (right-handed or left-handed) will be able to achieve 300 career wins. The smart money is in Randy Johnson, 44, who has 284 wins and a back problem that won’t go away. No one else is even remotely closed.
Following Johnson in career wins are Mike Mussina (247), David Wells (235), Jamie Moyer (227) and Curt Schilling (213). Achieving 300 career wins for him is a sure ticket to the Baseball Hall of Fame. One reason Glavine had 300 wins is his longevity (21 seasons and still pitching), and another is that he, surprisingly, has never been injured or on the DL.
(Editor’s note: This is Part 1 of a 3-part series.)
Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley