Last of The 300 Winners

Kyle McAreavyContributor IJanuary 11, 2010

PHOENIX - SEPTEMBER 22:  Relief pitcher Randy Johnson #51 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the major league baseball game at Chase Field on September 22, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Could it be? Could we have just seen the last 300 game winner of all time? I believe that we have. With Randy Johnson retiring the 300 game winner may be an extinct species. You can see all the differences between how pitchers pitch now and how they pitched during the late 60s. In the 60s “the era of the pitcher” guys like Don Drysdale had 42 starts went 321.1 innings in the year and had 25 wins. Now guys like C.C. Sabathia have 35 starts a year and 19 or 20 wins, granted both of these guys are horses when it comes to pitching but look at the difference. You can see that most of the current pitchers will pitch many less innings in their career because of the bullpen specialization like closers and set up guys that teams have now, and how pitchers are treated. With pitchers admitting to a sore arm after a 6 inning outing and being pulled because of it they have a much smaller chance of actually getting the win. Back in the late 60s when pitchers were extremely dominating, the average innings per start was 7-9 innings every game and if they didn’t go that far then they were not doing their jobs right. The fact that pitchers went somewhere between 7 and 9 innings every game meant that they had almost complete control over whether they got the win or the loss. Now with pitchers being told they had a great outing after having a 6 inning, 2 run outing with the team losing because the bullpen blew it and the starter got a no decision, the drive is being taken away from pitchers to complete games and really earn the win. And with there being 5 pitchers in every teams rotation instead of 4 pitchers don’t get as many starts as they used to.

There is one more huge difference between pitchers from the 60s and pitchers from now. That is the money they make. Back in the 60s, pitchers had to pitch well so they could make money to support their families. Now if a pitcher that has been good for the last 15-20 years (such as Andy Pettit) they have enough money that neither they nor there children will have to work another day in their lives.

Of course there are some pitchers that have a chance of joining the 300 wins club. Guys like Roy Halladay who is 32 years old, has 148 wins and just went to a team that will get him a lot more wins per year (the Phillies) than his old team (the Blue Jays). Or C.C. Sabathia who is 29 years old, has 136 wins and got 19 wins in his first season playing for the Yankees and then guys like Andy Pettit who has 229 wins but he is 37 years old and will probably retire before he gets there. And the next closed guy is Jamie Moyer and he has 258 wins but he is 47, there is no way that he gets to 300.

I personally believe that unless pitchers start pitching like they used to again and they go back to 4 pitcher rotations the Ranndy Johnson will be the last person to ever join the 300 win club.