On this date in 2009, left-hander Randy Johnson became the 24th pitcher in baseball history to win 300 games. He allowed one unearned run on two hits in six innings against the Nationals to reach the milestone.
Here's the video, which also includes action footage of a beardless Brian Wilson:
Johnson retired with 303 career wins at the end of that season. His original contract with the Diamondbacks might be the best free agent pitching contract in history -- Johnson signed a four-year deal and won four Cy Youngs.
No pitcher has won 300 games since the Big Unit, and it's going to be an awfully long time before someone else reached the milestone. Here is the active wins leaderboard:
- Tim Hudson, 211
- CC Sabathia, 208
- Mark Buehrle, 196
- Bartolo Colon, 194
- A.J. Burnett, 150
- John Lackey, 144
- Cliff Lee, 143
- Justin Verlander, 143
- Bronson Arroyo, 142
- Kyle Lohse, 136
It seems unlikely Hudson or Sabathia will stick around and stay healthy long enough to reach 300 wins. Sabathia is only 33, but he is also dealing with a degenerative knee condition. He appeared to be on the 300-win track up until about two years ago.
Buehrle just turned 35 in March and seems like the kind of guy who can pitch forever. Would it really be that surprising if he was still chuggling along at age 44 or 45? I don't think so. Perhaps he has the best chance to reach 300 wins, but even that's a stretch.
Other candidates include Felix Hernandez (118 wins) and Clayton Kershaw (81), both of whom have youth on their side. Felix has won more than 14 games only once in his career (19 in 2009), mostly because the Mariners have been pretty bad during his 10 seasons. That collection of 12-14 win seasons hurts his chances. He needs to pile up some 18, 19, 20+ win seasons to make a real run.
Wins are generally a terrible way to evaluate pitchers, especially in one individual game or even over the course of a season. I do think winning 300 games (or even 200, for that matter) tells us something though. It not only tells us about a pitcher's longevity, it also tells us he was good enough to stick around as long as he did. Career win totals still mean a little something.