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300 Wins

300 Wins

In Major League Baseball, the 300 win club refers to the group of pitchers—24 as of 2011—who have won 300 or more games. While the "300 club" is an informal group, becoming a member is among the highest accomplishments a starting pitcher can achieve. Several members retired soon after winning their 300th game; two retired with exactly 300 victories. All eligible pitchers with 300 wins have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Many observers expect the club to gain few, if any, members in the foreseeable future.

History

The first player to win 300 games was Pud Galvin in 1888. Six pitchers entered the club in the 19th century, with a seventh, Cy Young, joining in 1901. Early in the history of professional baseball, starting rotations of two men were commonplace, giving the best pitchers far more chances to earn wins than in today's game. Conversely, the rigor required for a two-man rotation meant that most pitching careers didn't last more than a decade or so (Young being the major exception). In addition, the medical treatments then available were minimal; if a pitcher 'blew out his arm' then his career was over. Four more pitchers joined the club in the first quarter of the 20th century.

However, only three pitchers scored their 300th win between 1924 and 1982: Lefty Grove (1941), Warren Spahn (1961), and Early Wynn (1963). For Grove and Wynn it was the final win of their careers and each struggled in his last season to achieve it. This dearth of 300-game winners may be explained by the offensive explosion following the abolition of the spitball in 1921, changes in the ball itself, World War II military service (in the cases of Bob Feller and Red Ruffing), the growing importance of the home run in the game, and the lowering of the pitching mound following the 1968 season. As the home run became commonplace, the physical and mental demands on pitchers dramatically increased, leading to the use of a four-man starting rotation.

Then, in a mere eight years, between 1982 and 1990, the 300-win club gained six members — an increase of over 40%. This may be partly explained as a consequence of the era of free agency that began in the mid-1970s. Free agency led to unheard-of player salaries, which encouraged older pitchers to stay in the game longer than they might have in the past.[4] Another part of the explanation is the increasing sophistication of training methods and sports medicine (such as the Tommy John surgery), which have allowed players to maintain a high competitive level for a longer time. Examples include Phil Niekro, who was still under 200 wins at his 40th birthday, went on to win a record 121 games after he turned 40, finishing his career, at the age of 48, with 318 wins and Randy Johnson, who won more games in his 40s than he did in his 20s (however, his career just started in 1990 and he won his 300th game in 2009). Many of the pitchers who reached 300 wins in this era, such as the aforementioned Niekro, Nolan Ryan, and Don Sutton, each had just a couple of 20+ win seasons and achieved the 300 mark by pitching well into their 40s.

Recent history

Changes in the game in the last decade of the 20th century have made the 300-game winner an endangered species again, perhaps more so than during the mid 20th century. The four-man starting rotation has given way to a five-man rotation, which gives starting pitchers still fewer chances to pick up wins. Additionally, managers are much quicker to put in relief pitchers than in the past, particularly after the starting pitcher has thrown more than 100 pitches, even when the starting pitcher is winning the game. This increases the likelihood that a pitcher not get a win because of circumstances beyond his control. Towards the end of the first decade of the 21st century, no pitchers winning 20 or more games in a season started to become common, with the 2006 season being the first time that no pitcher won 20 games in a non strike-shortened year. The same happened in 2009.

Jamie Moyer has the most wins among active pitchers, with 267. No other active pitcher has over 200.

 

Pitcher Wins Date Team Seasons
Cy Young 511 July 3, 1901 Boston Americans 1890–1911
Walter Johnson 417 May 14, 1920 Washington Senators 1907–1927
Grover Cleveland Alexander 373 September 20, 1924 Chicago Cubs 1911–1930
Christy Mathewson 373 June 28, 1912 New York Giants 1900–1916
Pud Galvin 364 September 4, 1888 Pittsburgh Alleghenys 1875–1892
Warren Spahn 363 August 11, 1961 Milwaukee Braves 1942–1965
Kid Nichols 361 September 7, 1900 Boston Beaneaters 1890–1906
Greg Maddux 355 August 7, 2004 Chicago Cubs 1986–2008
Roger Clemens 354 June 13, 2003 New York Yankees 1984–2007
Tim Keefe 342 June 4, 1890 New York Giants (PL) 1880-1893
Steve Carlton 329 September 23, 1983 Philadelphia Phillies 1965–1988
John Clarkson 328 September 21, 1892 Cleveland Spiders 1882–1894
Eddie Plank 326 September 11, 1915 St. Louis Terriers 1901–1917
Nolan Ryan 324 July 31, 1990 Texas Rangers 1966–1993
Don Sutton 324 June 18, 1986 California Angels 1966–1988
Phil Niekro 318 October 6, 1985 New York Yankees 1964–1987
Gaylord Perry 314 May 6, 1982 Seattle Mariners 1962–1983
Tom Seaver 311 August 4, 1985 Chicago White Sox 1967–1986
Charles Radbourn 309 May 14, 1891 Cincinnati Reds 1880–1891
Mickey Welch 307 August 11, 1890 New York Giants 1880–1892
Tom Glavine 305 August 5, 2007 New York Mets 1987–2008
Randy Johnson 303 June 4, 2009 San Francisco Giants 1988–2009
Early Wynn 300 July 13, 1963 Cleveland Indians 1939–1963
Lefty Grove 300 July 25, 1941 Boston Red Sox 1925–1941
 
 

300 Wins

300 Wins

In Major League Baseball, the 300 win club refers to the group of pitchers—24 as of 2011—who have won 300 or more games. While the "300 club" is an informal group, becoming a member is among the highest accomplishments a starting pitcher can achieve. Several members retired soon after winning their 300th game; two retired with exactly 300 victories. All eligible pitchers with 300 wins have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Many observers expect the club to gain few, if any, members in the foreseeable future.

History

The first player to win 300 games was Pud Galvin in 1888. Six pitchers entered the club in the 19th century, with a seventh, Cy Young, joining in 1901. Early in the history of professional baseball, starting rotations of two men were commonplace, giving the best pitchers far more chances to earn wins than in today's game. Conversely, the rigor required for a two-man rotation meant that most pitching careers didn't last more than a decade or so (Young being the major exception). In addition, the medical treatments then available were minimal; if a pitcher 'blew out his arm' then his career was over. Four more pitchers joined the club in the first quarter of the 20th century.

However, only three pitchers scored their 300th win between 1924 and 1982: Lefty Grove (1941), Warren Spahn (1961), and Early Wynn (1963). For Grove and Wynn it was the final win of their careers and each struggled in his last season to achieve it. This dearth of 300-game winners may be explained by the offensive explosion following the abolition of the spitball in 1921, changes in the ball itself, World War II military service (in the cases of Bob Feller and Red Ruffing), the growing importance of the home run in the game, and the lowering of the pitching mound following the 1968 season. As the home run became commonplace, the physical and mental demands on pitchers dramatically increased, leading to the use of a four-man starting rotation.

Then, in a mere eight years, between 1982 and 1990, the 300-win club gained six members — an increase of over 40%. This may be partly explained as a consequence of the era of free agency that began in the mid-1970s. Free agency led to unheard-of player salaries, which encouraged older pitchers to stay in the game longer than they might have in the past.[4] Another part of the explanation is the increasing sophistication of training methods and sports medicine (such as the Tommy John surgery), which have allowed players to maintain a high competitive level for a longer time. Examples include Phil Niekro, who was still under 200 wins at his 40th birthday, went on to win a record 121 games after he turned 40, finishing his career, at the age of 48, with 318 wins and Randy Johnson, who won more games in his 40s than he did in his 20s (however, his career just started in 1990 and he won his 300th game in 2009). Many of the pitchers who reached 300 wins in this era, such as the aforementioned Niekro, Nolan Ryan, and Don Sutton, each had just a couple of 20+ win seasons and achieved the 300 mark by pitching well into their 40s.

Recent history

Changes in the game in the last decade of the 20th century have made the 300-game winner an endangered species again, perhaps more so than during the mid 20th century. The four-man starting rotation has given way to a five-man rotation, which gives starting pitchers still fewer chances to pick up wins. Additionally, managers are much quicker to put in relief pitchers than in the past, particularly after the starting pitcher has thrown more than 100 pitches, even when the starting pitcher is winning the game. This increases the likelihood that a pitcher not get a win because of circumstances beyond his control. Towards the end of the first decade of the 21st century, no pitchers winning 20 or more games in a season started to become common, with the 2006 season being the first time that no pitcher won 20 games in a non strike-shortened year. The same happened in 2009.

Jamie Moyer has the most wins among active pitchers, with 267. No other active pitcher has over 200.

 

Pitcher Wins Date Team Seasons
Cy Young 511 July 3, 1901 Boston Americans 1890–1911
Walter Johnson 417 May 14, 1920 Washington Senators 1907–1927
Grover Cleveland Alexander 373 September 20, 1924 Chicago Cubs 1911–1930
Christy Mathewson 373 June 28, 1912 New York Giants 1900–1916
Pud Galvin 364 September 4, 1888 Pittsburgh Alleghenys 1875–1892
Warren Spahn 363 August 11, 1961 Milwaukee Braves 1942–1965
Kid Nichols 361 September 7, 1900 Boston Beaneaters 1890–1906
Greg Maddux 355 August 7, 2004 Chicago Cubs 1986–2008
Roger Clemens 354 June 13, 2003 New York Yankees 1984–2007
Tim Keefe 342 June 4, 1890 New York Giants (PL) 1880-1893
Steve Carlton 329 September 23, 1983 Philadelphia Phillies 1965–1988
John Clarkson 328 September 21, 1892 Cleveland Spiders 1882–1894
Eddie Plank 326 September 11, 1915 St. Louis Terriers 1901–1917
Nolan Ryan 324 July 31, 1990 Texas Rangers 1966–1993
Don Sutton 324 June 18, 1986 California Angels 1966–1988
Phil Niekro 318 October 6, 1985 New York Yankees 1964–1987
Gaylord Perry 314 May 6, 1982 Seattle Mariners 1962–1983
Tom Seaver 311 August 4, 1985 Chicago White Sox 1967–1986
Charles Radbourn 309 May 14, 1891 Cincinnati Reds 1880–1891
Mickey Welch 307 August 11, 1890 New York Giants 1880–1892
Tom Glavine 305 August 5, 2007 New York Mets 1987–2008
Randy Johnson 303 June 4, 2009 San Francisco Giants 1988–2009
Early Wynn 300 July 13, 1963 Cleveland Indians 1939–1963
Lefty Grove 300 July 25, 1941 Boston Red Sox 1925–1941
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