Randy Johnson: Last of 300 Game Winners?
Randy Johnson insured himself a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday with his 300th win. It was the last milestone in his 23 year career unless he wants to post 5000 strikeouts before retiring.
He almost certainly would have made it to Cooperstown anyway with his accomplishments on the mound but nobody can ever say he didn’t win 300 games.
It took him longer than most to accomplish the feat because he only had 49 wins at the age of 28. He will be 46 on September 10 and he really has no goals left unless he wants to join Nolan Ryan in the 5000 strikeouts club.
He needs 155 strikeouts for 5000 strikeouts and is not likely to reach that goal this season. The season is a third over and he had 56 in the first third of the season.
If he matches those numbers in the last two thirds of the season he will be 30 or 40 strikeouts short of 5000. Whether this is important enough to him to play a 24th season remains to be seen.
If Tom Glavine doesn’t pitch again in the major leagues Johnson would need only six wins the rest of the season to pass Glavine in alltime wins. That would place him in fourth place in wins for a lefthander.
Johnson was only 4-9 in the playoffs but won every World Series game he started. He won three games for the Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series. It was his only World Series appearance in his 23 year career.
He is the only pitcher since 1968 to win three games in a World Series. He is one of five pitchers to accomplish this feat since 1920:
1946 – Harry Brecheen – St. Louis Cardinals
1957 – Lew Burdette – Milwaukee Braves
1967 – Bob Gibson – St. Louis Cardinals
1968 – Mickey Lolich – Detroit Tigers
2001 – Randy Johnson – Arizona Diamondbacks
In retrospect I can’t see why Johnson didn’t win the 2001 World Series MVP by himself instead of having to share it with Curt Schilling. It is not that Schilling didn’t pitch well but he did win only one game.
248 of his 300 wins came while Johnson pitched for the Mariners and Diamondbacks.
Randy Johnson’s Hall of Fame Credentials:
300 wins (as of today)
100 Complete Games
10.64 K’s/9 innings (this number may not be up to date)
10 All Star Games
5 Cy Young Awards
4 Earned Run Championships
9 K’s Per 9 Championships
His stats at baseball-reference.com are similar to those of five Hall of Famers and Roger Clemens, Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina, Jack Morris and Bert Blyleven.
Whether Johnson returns to pitch in 2010 or not he will be remembered as the lefthander with the most strikeouts in baseball history. He has over 700 more strikeouts than second place Steve Carlton among lefthanders
Johnson is one of only three pitchers who have posted more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings in his career.
Randy Johnson 10.65
Kerry Wood 10.38
Pedro Martinez 10.08
Trevor Hoffman is 4th with a 9.59
Nolan Ryan is 5th with a 9.54
I will be surprised if Johnson returns in 2010 but if he does he will only be adding to his legacy. If he doesn’t pitch next season he should be a first ballot Hall of Famer in about five or six years.
Baseball fans may have witnessed the last of the 300th win games yesterday. Jamie Moyer has 250 wins but at the pace he is going now he would be 50 before he would win 300 games.
Mike Mussina had the best shot at 300 wins after Johnson but retired with 270 wins. He probably realized he would need two 15 win seasons to accomplish the feat and if he fell two or three games short he would have to pitch a third season to reach 300 wins.
With pitchers being taken out of games early due to pitch count concerns and managers going to shaky bullpens who might blow saves for the starter the days of the 300 game winner may have ended yesterday.