A slice of history

Eric Risberg/Associated Press

Tonight could be a special night for Major League Baseball fans.

In our nation’s capital, Randy Johnson will try to become the 24th player in baseball history to reach 300 wins. “The big unit” would be only the sixth lefty to achieve the feat, and it would provide a cherry on what already looks to be a Hall of Fame sundae.

All of that alone makes this event special.

But there’s one other nugget to consider:

It may never happen again.

Now, I know that the word never covers a lot of ground. People thought that Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games streak would never be reached, until it was. People thought that it was impossible for a team to go 16-0 or 0-16 in today’s parity-driven NFL, until both happened.

But a quick glance at the numbers gives me pause. I really can’t tell you where the next 300-game winner is coming from.

Here are the active win leaders:

1. Tom Glavine – 305
2. Randy Johnson – 299
3. Jamie Moyer, age 46 – 250
4. Andy Pettitte, age 37 – 220
5. Pedro Martinez, age 37 – 214
6. John Smoltz, age 42 – 210
7. Tim Wakefield, age 42 – 184
8. Bartolo Colon, age 36 – 153
9. Livan Hernandez, age 34 – 151
T10. Kevin Millwood, age 34 – 146
T10. Tim Hudson, age 33 – 146

When you factor in age, injury history and, in Pedro’s case, lack of employment, no one on this list seems terribly likely to reach 300.

So, start rattling off today’s best pitchers:

CC Sabathia (122), Roy Halladay (140), Roy Oswalt (131), Johan Santana (116), Carlos Zambrano (99), Josh Beckett (94) and Jake Peavy (91) were my first thoughts.

All of those guys are past, at or very near 30 years old. Not sure if any of them will make it, either.

And with today’s ever-growing trend of pitch counts (except for Texas, that is), specialized relievers and holding young talent in AA or AAA to keep their arbitration clocks from starting – I really wonder if we’ll ever see it again.

I hope I’m wrong.

But in case I’m not, you might want to watch Randy Johnson and the Giants take on the Nats tonight.

Just in case.


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