Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 22, 2004
BASEBALL: Road to 300, And Beyond
In early 2002, I took a look at the pitchers who won 300 games and where they stood relative to Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine at the same age, finding that Maddux was ahead of every modern (post-1920) pitcher who had won 300, while Glavine was also well-situated. As the two near the end of their age-38 seasons, let's update the chart, and add Mike Mussina into the mix:
* - And counting
First of all, ignore Phil Niekro, who's the outlier here. As you can see, a lot of these guys hit the wall right around 36-37, although the effect is exaggerated by the fact that several of the more recent pitchers were around that age in the 1981 strike season. Maddux remains well-situated to rack up a truly impressive number of career wins without having to have any more great seasons, although perhaps not as well situated as Clemens, who stands two wins from becoming only the second pitcher (Spahn was the last one) since the 1920s to win 330 games.
Glavine is still in the game, but frankly he needs to get out of Queens (which would probably help the Mets as well). As for Mussina, his struggles of late don't portend well, but he's ahead of Ryan, Spahn, Wynn, Perry and Niekro at the same age, and with the Yankee offense behind him he should have a few more years of smooth sailing if he gets straightened out.
For comparison, let's run the chart of the remaining 300-game winners from the 1890-1930 period (the 1880s guys are not even worth comparing):
Alexander, at least by this age (in the mid 1920s), is actually a decent comparison to Maddux. Mathewson retired at age 35, and at 37 was in Europe serving in World War I.