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The numbers game

Posted at 10:08 PM on August 13, 2007 by Chris Dall

I've been on vacation for some time, so forgive me if I'm blogging on some old news here, but in all the talk of numbers and records, some recognition needs to be given to the number 300--the number of wins reached last Sunday by New York Mets pitcher Tom Glavine. Numbers may be losing their meaning in baseball, but this number remains pretty special.

Unlike the home run record, which could be broken within the next ten years by Alex Rodriguez, it's probably going to be awhile before a pitcher next reaches the 300-win plateau, and it certainly will be if Randy Johnson, who currently stands at 284 career wins, is forced to retire because of back problems.

Let's just take a look at some of the candidates for someday reaching this milestone, starting with our very own Johan Santana. With a victory tonight, Johan will have 91 career wins. Then there's Roy Oswalt of the Houston Astros, who at 29 has 110 career wins. Same goes for Barry Zito, also 29. Tim Hudson of the Atlanta Braves has 132 wins, but he is 31. Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays has 108 wins at the age of 30. And 26-year-old C.C. Sabathia of the Cleveland Indians has 95 wins.

These pitchers are among the best in the game right now, and while they all may remain healthy and go on to have long careers, they are all a long way from 300 wins. And of that group, only Oswalt has more than one 20-win season.

My point? That it takes longevity and a number of seasons with 20+ victories to reach 300 wins. And with the way the league is right now, and the emphasis on bullpens, 20-win seasons are getting harder and harder to come by. So whether you're cursing or praising Barry Bonds, take a moment to appreciate the current crop of 300-game winners (and those nearing 300), because you might not see any more for a long time.

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