There's just something special about career milestones in professional sports; 10,000 rushing yards in football, 300 career touchdown passes, 25,000 points in basketball, and so on.
But the most prolific and famous milestone may belong to the sport of baseball, and more specifically pitching. It is the 300 game winner.
Only 23 pitchers have ever accomplished the feat in the 120 year history of the league. The list may be filled with the biggest names of any milestone list; Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Warren Spahn, Steve Carlton, Nolan Ryan, and many more.
As if the sight of a 300 game winner isn't rare enough, it seems to be disappearing in today's game.
Critiques may argue 300 game winners are not that rare, due to the fact three have done it in the last ten years. Soon there will be four with Randy Johnson joining the esteemed group of hurlers to accomplish the task.
Their argument is strong, but has a weak spot; the late 80's and early 90's produced some incredible pitchers and the hitting, though solid, wasn't as strong as it is now. The hitting nowadays is phenomenal and better than ever.
300 game winners seem to be disappearing from the game. Not only are pitchers being watched more cautiously by managers, but by the hitters are too.
Hitters watch film after film trying to find a weak spot in the pitcher's delivery. Technology is becoming more advanced and it will affect sports in more ways than ever before.
Want an example of the disappearing 300 game winner?
Johan Santana, arguably the most dominant pitcher in the game today, is age 30. He has 110 wins, meaning he would have to average 16 wins per season over the next 12 years. Not impossible, but highly unlikely.
Injuries are popping up on the scene quite frequently. Just this week, Chris Carpenter and Daisuke Matsuzaka have been shelved with injuries. Injuries tend to hang around pitchers and nag them for years, wrecking havoc on their games pitched and win totals.
Pedro Martinez, another dominant pitcher for his career, could probably win 12 games at the most for the rest of his career. He would have to play six and a half more seasons in order to accomplish the feat. Martinez has become a common DL visitor, making his attempt to win 300 hard.
Take a peek at the active wins leaders and you will see the leader's numbers aren't extremely high. That's why Randy Johnson's, soon to be, accomplishment may be one to remember. All 300 game winner's feats are to be remembered, but this one may stand out for a while to come.
Though the chances are that someone will win 300 games again, it may not happen for a while. Take a look at Randy Johnson who has been dominant throughout his entire career, but is only now reaching 300 victories.
Reaching 300 wins is one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish in all of sports, but Randy Johnson will do it, barring injury. Enjoy his accomplishment of reaching the milestone and make sure it earns a spot in your memory.
300 game winners seem to be fading from the game. As we hope Johnson won't be the last to do it, the idea may be a reality.
That reality is the vanishing art of the 300 game winner.
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