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    The Greg Maddux Watch: Stunning at 355

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      Greg Woo! Maddux Woo!
    Maddux got his 300th yesterday. I'm happy, because he is my favorite pitcher after Pedro and Bruce Hurst. So I'm happy for him, and I'm rooting for him to outlast and catch Clemens. Remember, when I said Clemens was the greatest pitcher of this generation? Well Maddux isn't far behind, and if he keeps pitching the way he has the last few weeks, he could certainly catch Clemens in terms of overall value. Maddux' peak value is already higher.

    Here is the new 300 win club:
    1.  Cy Young           511  
    2. Walter Johnson 417
    3. Pete Alexander 373
    Christy Mathewson 373
    5. Pud Galvin 364
    6. Warren Spahn 363
    7. Kid Nichols 361
    8. Tim Keefe 342
    9. Steve Carlton 329
    10. John Clarkson 328
    11. Eddie Plank 326
    12. Nolan Ryan 324
    Don Sutton 324
    14. Roger Clemens 322
    15. Phil Niekro 318
    16. Gaylord Perry 314
    17. Tom Seaver 311
    18. Charley Radbourn 309
    19. Mickey Welch 307
    20. Lefty Grove 300
    Early Wynn 300
    Greg Maddux 300
    Every guy on there except Maddux and Clemens is in the Hall of Fame. Both Maddux and Clemens will be first ballot guys, no suprises there. One of the things I'd like to point out is the common misconception that there will never be another 300 game winner. Some people are fond of saying this, mostly citing the five man rotation and specialized bullpens.

    Well if you look at the list and break it down by the decades each player had their peaks, you get the following:
    Pre-1900  6
    00s-20s 5
    20s-40s 1
    40s-60s 2
    60s-80s 5
    80s-00s 2
    The game has certainly changed, but its not like being a 300 game winner was ever easy. And it isn't supposed to be easy. For all the talk about the five man rotation, people ignore the improvements in medical technology and training routines that can extend the careers of the pitchers of today. Guys might not make 40 starts or pitch 400 innings any more, but they are able to pitch effectively well into their 40s. These things at least offset each other.

    We will see another 300 game winner, but not any time soon. Randy might get there, but I doubt it. Pedro has a legitimate shot at it, he's only 32 and has 178 wins. Maddux had 202 at age 32. Pedro would have to stay healthy though, and thats a big question mark moving forward.

    Young guys like Mark Prior, C.C. Sabathia, Mark Mulder, and Tim Hudson all have shots, but its way too early in their careers to even think about that. Especially with injuries, a big ass, injuries, and a late career start standing in their ways, respectively.

    But the problem with projecting these young kids--aside from injuries--is that in order to get to 300 wins, they still have to spend most of their careers on good teams. If the Cubs go back to where they stood in the 80s & 90s, Prior won't even get close, until the Yankees trade failed prospects for him. Both Maddux and Clemens had the luxury of always playing on great teams. Of course, their teams were great largely because they had Maddux and Clemens at the top of the rotation, but they were never the only star in town.

    Now that we have access to box scores for most games in history, there should be a better measure available than wins. We could take a pitchers game log, and figure out how many wins they should have got based on league average run support and league average bullpen support. That list would be much more impressive to me. I'm not sure it would change very much from the one above, but there would be a few suprise pitchers sneaking up the list.