I think one of the biggest changes in the sport of major league baseball over the past century has become the role of the starting pitcher. I'm sure managers, like they have for the past 100 years have wanted their starters to go out and pitch the whole game and bring the team to victory, but a starting pitcher in 1907 was at least 12 or times more likely to go the distance in a game than a starter in 2007. What I decided to do to illustrate how complete games have declined over the past century, I took a look at the league leaders by team in complete games for every tenth year from 1907 to 2007. The results are interesting
1907 - (152 games played) St. Louis AL 129 CG, (153 games played) St. Louis NL 127 CG
1917 - (152 games played) Boston AL 115 CG,* (153 games played) Boston Braves NL 105 CG *=Babe Ruth led the AL with 35 CG.
1927 - (153 games) Chicago White Sox, AL 85 CG, (154 games) Pittsburgh NL 90 CG
1937 - (154 games) NY Yankees, AL 82 CG, (152 games) Boston Braves NL 85 CG
1947 - (154 games) Detroit Tigers, AL 77 CG, (154 games) Boston Braves NL 74 CG
1957 - (154 games) Chicago White Sox, AL 59 CG, (154 games) Milwaukee Braves NL 60 CG
1997 - (162 games) Toronto Blue Jays, AL 19 CG (162 games) Montreal Expos 27 CG
2007 - (162 games) Toronto Blue Jays, AL 11 CG (162 games) Arizona Diamondbacks, NL 7
I'll comment about how I feel and my beliefs on this later. I just want to let you know that of all these league leaders in complete games listed that those teams finished the season everywhere from last in the league to World Series champions, so as far as attaching importance on who throws the most complete games is sort of moot.
Anyway, happy reading, and please discuss what you think.