August 08, 2004
Maddux wins 300
Congratulations to Greg Maddux for his 300th career win. He's the 22nd pitcher to reach that milestone and is now tied with Earl Wynn and Lefty Grove for 20th place all-time in victories.
What's amazing to me is that as he's only 38, he could climb quite a bit higher on the all-time victories list. With two more decent seasons, he ought to pass Steve Carlton's 329 wins and become the winningest pitcher alive. With a third season, he could challenge Tim Keefe's 341 wins, and if he can keep it up for four more years, he could even take aim at Warren Spahn's 363 victories. Imagine that. It probably won't happen, but with good health, run support, and the will to keep going, who knows?
Mac recently critiqued this Tom Verducci piece which suggested Maddux may be the last to reach the 300 milestone. Let's just say that I agree with Mac that this is way premature.
Getting back to Maddux for a second, Rob Neyer once listed him as the fourth-greatest pitcher since WWII, behind Tom Seaver, Roger Clemens, and Warren Spahn. It'll be interesting to see where he winds up when all is said and done.
Enough of that. Congrats to Maddux, who richly deserves the accolades he'll be collecting for the rest of the season. What a great career he's had, and it ain't over yet.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 08, 2004 to Baseball
He always amazes me, because off the field he looks like several of the CPAs I've worked with, even down to the glasses.
The next 300-game winner (if it's not Glavine) may be pitching in high school right now. Who knows?
It doesn't hurt Maddox that he's a control pitcher, rather than a power pitcher. He can keep going for at least another 3 years.
Interestingly, however, if you look at the 300 Win Club, most of them were in fact power pitchers. Go figure.
List like that are always arbitrary, but I think Neyer puts far too much emphasis on durability. Even more than won-lost numbers, which are pretty much at the mercy of whether your team is any good, it's largely out of a given athlete's control.
Neyer seems to have knocked Koufax off the list arbitrarily for a relatively short career, and Feller even more arbitrarily for playing half of his career before or during the war. But if he's so big on career innings pitched, why isn't Nolan Ryan on his list?
Neyer addressed the Ryan question here.
Yes, baseball is an important ....
The reason most of the pitchers on the list began as power pitchers is that when they lose 10% of their fastball, they still throw hard enough to be effective. Ryan could lose 10% off his fastball and still be throwing 90+.
Even with Maddox type control, pitchers can not win if their their fastball drops below some minimum (my guess is that the minimum is in the low to mid 80s. The exception to that rule, of course is a trick pitch like a knuckler).
Guys like Seaver and Carlton knew how to pitch,, used location and movement, and remained effective long after their fastballs became mediocre in terms of speed.