BOISE, Idaho — THIS DAY IN SPORTS — August 5, 2007, 15 years ago today:
The New York Mets’ Tom Glavine notches his 300th career victory in an 8-3 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Glavine spent most of his career with Atlanta, where he was a five-time 20-game winner and two-time Cy Young Award winner. With 305 wins, he is one of only 24 pitchers (and just six southpaws) in major league history to hit the 300-victory plateau. Glavine won a World Series with the Braves in 1995 and returned to Atlanta to end his career in 2008. Little-known fact: he was picked in the fourth round of the NHL Draft by the Los Angeles Kings in 1984.
Only one pitcher has reached 300 since Glavine did it. Randy Johnson got there in the final season of his career with the San Francisco Giants in 2009. It may never happen again. The active career leader in victories is Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros with 240. Verlander is 39 years old. Does he have 60 victories left in him? The only other active pitcher with 200-plus is 38-year-old Zach Greinke of the Kansas City Royals with 222. Incredibly, two pitchers from baseball’s early years topped 400 victories. Cy Young is the all-time leader with 511, and Walter Johnson, who was discovered while playing semi-pro ball in Weiser, is second with 417.
Twenty-game winners are an endangered species as well. More often than not, pitchers go five innings these days before giving way to the bullpen. If they’ve got their stuff. And a lot can happen after the fifth inning. Pitch counts and extended starting rotations also figure into it. Julio Urias of the L.A. Dodgers went 20-3 last year, breaking a four-season streak without a 20-game winner in the majors.
There haven’t been multiple pitchers to win 20 games since 2014. It used to be a lot more common. In fact, the Baltimore Orioles had four of them in one season in 1971. Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar, Jim Palmer and Pat Dobson all hit the mark with the American League champions.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)
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