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The next 300-game winner? How about Jamie Moyer?

Jun 28, 2010, 1:55 PM EDT

When Tom Glavine won his 300th game in 2007 dozens of short-sighted columnists wrote about how he’d be “the last 300-game winner.” He wasn’t, of course. In fact, less than two years later Randy Johnson won his 300th, which resulted in even more columns claiming he’d be the last to join the club.
One of my many pet peeves is the increasing tendency to say something is either “the greatest thing ever” or “the last thing ever” because usually neither is true. In the case of 300 wins it’s silly to think no one will ever accomplish that feat again when multiple pitchers who began their careers in the 1980s–with the same five-man rotations and similar workloads–have done so. As they say, ever is a really long time.
Glavine joined the club in 2007, followed by Johnson in 2009, and before that it was Greg Maddux in 2004 and Roger Clemens in 2003. There will be more 300-game winners, but it may take a while because Jamie Moyer is the only active pitcher with as many as 240 wins. Or maybe Moyer can actually become the next 300-game winner. He tossed seven innings of two-run ball against the Blue Jays yesterday for his 267th victory.
Obviously at age 47 even 33 more wins is a lot to ask for, but Moyer probably has a better chance than most people seem to believe. Which is basically to say he has some chance. Moyer is 9-6 with a 4.30 ERA this season and we’re not quite at the halfway point, so he looks capable of another 6-8 wins in the second half. That would leave him about 25 wins short of 300.
He’s not under contract for next season and that hurts, because 47-year-olds can collapse in a hurry and we’ve seen several elderly stars go unsigned in recent years. However, if Moyer finishes this year with 15 wins and a sub-4.50 ERA presumably the Phillies would welcome him back on a one-year deal that could get him into the 285-290 range heading into 2012.
At that point he’d be 49 years old and Moyer isn’t exactly dominant enough that he can stand to see his skills decline much more and remain effective, but once a pitcher gets into the “countdown” range of 285-290 wins they usually stick around long enough to reach 300. In fact, only five pitchers since 1900 have more than 275 wins but fewer than 300 wins. Moyer as a 300-game winner? It’s not as crazy as you might think.

  1. dwo1966 - Jun 30, 2010 at 6:32 PM

    Uh, yeah, if he gets 300 wins; and it’s not like he’ll have 300 wins and 300 losses. He’ll end up, give or take, 70 games above .500 with a .565 WIN%. That’s not pedestrian. In fact, it’s better than many HOF pitchers. Moyer is around 38th all time in IP, SO and wins. If he pitches 2.5 more years, he’ll end up around the top 25 in those categories, and he’ll have done it as a near-50-year-old. Statistically he’ll belong in the Hall, ERA notwithstanding, and he’ll clear the unofficial 300 win barrier.
    Maybe it comes down to this. Some believe a HOF’er must be among the most “feared hitters” of his generation or the pitcher you’d want to “have the ball” in a decisive playoff game. By those criteria, Fisk, Molitor and Niekro don’t get in, and Biggio and Mussina won’t get in. However, some would say the HOF is also for players who accomplished amazing things over a sustained career. By this criterion, Moyer would qualify.

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