Tonight, Randy Johnson will attempt to make history—yet again.
Tonight, at 45 years old, “The Big Unit” will attempt to have his cake and eat it too—yet again.
Tonight, the San Francisco Giants' southpaw makes his first bid for career win number 300.
With a twist of irony, Johnson’s 300th could come against the very franchise that drafted him, and for whom he recorded his very first win, way back in 1988—the Washington Nationals (then the Montreal Expos).
Much has been made about the magical milestone of 300 wins since Tom Glavine accomplished the feat back in late 2007. Many wondered if anyone else would ever reach the mark again. At the time, Johnson’s own ability to do so was in question, following another career-threatening back surgery.
Less than two years later, Johnson—fully recovered from back surgery—is a member of the Giants and far removed from his glory days with the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks, yet he sits on the precipice of history, as all of the prognosticators now claim that Johnson, not Glavine, will be the final member of the 300 win club.
The finality of that prediction is weighty, but not out of the realm of possibility.
The list of active pitchers with 200 wins is a short one, containing just three names: Jamie Moyer with 250, Andy Pettitte with 220, and John Smoltz with 210. None of the three figure to pitch long enough to reach 300, and with declining pitch-counts, as well as deeper bullpens, the odds of any current, or future, pitcher reaching the milestone is slim.
If Randy Johnson has an opinion about his potential status as “Baseball’s Last 300 Game Winner,” he isn’t letting on, one way or another.
"I'm not going to talk about this stuff. OK, I got to go," he said during an interview earlier this week. "I get distracted. I just try not to talk at all."
It seems that Johnson is simply taking things one game at a time until he snares win 300. That one-game-at-a-time approach leads him first to the lowly Nationals, who sit on the chopping block, waiting for “The Big Unit” to add yet another line to his sure-fire Hall of Fame resume.
Johnson (4-4, 5.71 ERA) already owns a World Series ring and co-MVP honors, to go along with five Cy Young awards. He is a 10-time All-Star, who has tossed two no-hitters (including the majors' last perfect game in 2004), and ranks second on the career strikeout list, with 4,843.
At this point, earning win number 300 is just icing on the cake. But honestly, isn’t the icing the best part?