Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
December 22, 2005
BASEBALL: How To Get To 300
I was talking to some people about Roger Clemens, and thought I'd take a look at precisely how remarkable it is for a guy who has pitched in a 5-man rotation to win 300 games . . . anyway, what I decided to do was chart out the number of starts and relief appearances made by the 22 men who won 300 games. It's actually surprising, when you look at the numbers, how relatively few seasons of 40 or more starts the post-1900 300-game winners have compiled.
I left off complete games and innings, which is another issue; I wanted to focus just on how frequently these guys started and relieved. The chart lists career wins, starts, relief appearances, total seasons, seasons of 40 or more starts, seasons of 50 or more starts, and career high in starts (which is how I ranked the chart, from low to high):
A few notes. Lefty Grove won 300 games while starting only 457. Even with his high number of relief appearances, just think about that. In fact, Grove started more than 33 games only once. I was surprised to see quite how few starts Walter Johnson got per year for a guy who won over 400 games despite pitching for mediocre to lousy teams until his mid-30s; granted, he completed a ton of starts (all 29 in 1918) and like Grove, he doubled as his team's relief ace. In fact, until you get down to Cy Young, there's really nobody who was a 40-a-year guy for more than a couple of seasons. You can also see here how similar Nolan Ryan's and Don Sutton's career totals are.