Big Unit could be last in 300 Club
Shorter starts make it unlikely another hurler will reach mark
On a Thursday night in our nation's capital last June, Randy Johnson, the left-hander known as the Big Unit, dusted off the Nationals to become the 24th inductee into Major League Baseball's circle of 300-game winners.Twenty-four, and skidoo?
This generation's fans can be reasonably certain of having witnessed the last pursuit of this kind, and that now the 300-game winner will follow dinosaurs, dodo birds and 59-cent Big Macs into extinction.Every time someone has stalked or reached 300 wins, the question has been raised as to whether he will be the last of the breed -- a contradictory exercise to say the least. But this time, the sky really could be falling. It's quite basic: When Roger Clemens pulled into the 300-win club on June 13, 2003, Greg Maddux sat on 278 wins. When Maddux crossed the threshold on Aug. 7, 2004, Tom Glavine had 259 victories, also in the neighborhood. And when Glavine got his 300th on Aug. 5, 2007, Johnson was at 284, although gripped by a recurrence of his back woes. But there is no active pitcher on Johnson's trail. The pitcher closest to him is Jamie Moyer, with 258 wins. And, Moyer, 47, only posted 12 wins last season, so it would seem that he does not have enough shelf life to sniff 300. As for the younger set, we're looking at 37-year-old Andy Pettitte with 229 wins and 38-year-old Pedro Martinez with 219. And neither is a Big enough Unit to pose a threat. So hopefully you enjoyed Johnson's ride into a glorious sunset, because it's a tale you could be relating to disbelieving grandkids.
ACTIVE WINS LEADERS
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.