MLB's Assault on the Record Books
Last night, Randy Johnson allowed just two runs over six innings to beat the Colorado Rockies, and he struck out seven while giving up five hits and one walk. This gave the 44-year old 10 wins for the season, just six shy of 300 career wins.
If Johnson can hang on just a little bit longer, he will hit a number that is becoming more and more difficult as teams are cutting back on the number of innings their aging superstars throw.
Not that Johnson needs 300 wins to solidify a Hall of Fame career, but the hard-throwing lefty isn't the only one chasing history.
The resurgence of Mike Mussina has people wondering if he has enough left in the tank for 300 wins. Sitting on 265 and counting, the 39-year old is on pace for 20 wins, making him 30 shy. It's certainly possible to win 15 each of the next two seasons in New York.
Several other players, like Gary Sheffield, Carlos Delgado, Chipper Jones, and Jason Giambi are reaching for a milestone that could punch their ticket to the Hall.
For Sheffield, he needs just eight HRs to join a small list of only 24 other players to hit 500 career dingers. Unlike Johnson, however, Sheffield more than likely needs this magical number to be an automatic Hall of Famer.
Carlos Delgado is in a similar situation and needs 44 HRs to be in elite company. Delgado has shown signs of slowing down over the last two seasons and could finish with a slugging percentage under .500 in back-to-back seasons, something he hasn't done since his first full season in the majors.
Does hitting 500 HRs in a career automatically guarantee a Hall of Fame bid?
Right now, I think it does, but as time goes on, and players like Alex Rodriguez make the ballparks look small, that number may be much higher.
Chipper Jones is a little further back with 405 HRs and may need some good fortune to get to the hallowed mark.
It's the same with Jason Giambi. He would need a miracle to hit the 113 HRs needed for 500. I just don't see the 37-year old hanging on long enough, but he could end up around 475, which I don't think would get him into the Hall.
Some of the other notable players closing in on a few records are Ken Griffey Jr., who only needs 349 more hits for 3,000. Two more seasons and he just might do it.
Mike Mussina is making a push for the other 3,000 number: strikeouts. He needs just 236 more for the milestone.
And the one that everyone will be watching will be Alex Rodriguez and his assault on the records books as he swings for 600 HRs. The big righty only needs 55 more to become the seventh player with that stat. A-Rod should be there toward to the end of next season...scary.
Not sure how much he has left, but Jim Thome needs just 69 HRs for 600. Just to put it in perspective, Thome is on pace for 33 HRs, which would give him 540 and only 60 shy. I can see him playing two more seasons with 30 plus HRs.
Just think, 10 years ago, the number 600 wasn't on anyone's checklist. Now it's been done three times and could be done another two times in the next two seasons.
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