Sunday, May 11, 2008

Joy in Mudville

It may not be the sign that the Padres have turned the corner but for once there was happiness in Mudville.

Last night marked a historic evening at Petco Park, a park that in its relative infancy has seen its share of history (Barry Bonds hitting 755; Hoffman records record-breaking save on final home game of 2006 season; Hoffman records save number 500).

Greg Maddux became the 9th player in Major League Baseball history to record 350 wins, joining the likes of Cy Young, Warren Spahn, and perhaps most noteworthy, Roger Clemens. It will be interesting to see how history treats Greg Maddux in comparison to Roger Clemens in light of recent events. Greg Maddux was quietly dominant for over a decade. Will history view Maddux as the greatest pitcher of our era? Perhaps more importantly, is he the greatest pitcher of our era? Here's the argument that he is:

The next closest active pitcher to Maddux is former teammate Tom Glavine, who at 42 years old, has 303 wins. Behind him is Randy Johnson, who at 44, has 286 wins. From there it goes Mike Mussina at 255 and Jaime Moyer at 232. It is safe to say then, that beyond Randy Johnson, we may be watching the last pitchers to ever record 300 wins. In an era of long relievers, closers, pitch-counts, and 5-man rotations, the likelihood that any under 30 pitcher will reach 300 wins is remote. Barry Zito, at 30 exactly, has 113 and may not reach 120 at his pace. Mark Buehrle is 29 and has 108 wins. Johan Santana, arguably the best pitcher of our current era, is under 100 with 97 wins.

To reach 300 wins, a pitcher would have to average 20 wins for 15 years. Maddux has 350 wins. An unbelievable accomplishment that we are unlikely to see again. It was a special night indeed at Petco.

Padres take CY to the mound with a chance to win a series. I'll be there live! Go Pads!

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