Monday, August 06, 2007

What's more impressive, 300 wins or 500 home runs?

Both milestones were hit this weekend, with Tom Glavine getting win number 300 yesterday and Alex Rodriguez getting homer number 500 on Saturday. 22 players are members of the 500 homer club while 23 pitchers have 300 wins.

I would say that 300 wins is a much more impressive feat today. Home runs just seem easier to get these days with bigger, stronger hitters and many homer friendly ballparks (and let's not even get into the illegal enhancements that likely helped some of these guys). With 5 man rotations, pitch counts and deeper bullpens, wins for starters seem to be harder to come by.

Put it another way: 8 players (Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey, Mark McGwire, Eddie Murray, Rafael Palmeiro, A-Rod, Sammy Sosa and Frank Thomas) have hit 500 home runs since 1990. Three more (Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez and Gary Sheffield) will likely get there before the end of the 2008 season. Only 4 pitchers (Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, and Glavine) have hit 300 wins since 1990. It's fairly likely there will be no more 300 game winners for quite a while. The only guy who is close is Randy Johnson, at 284 wins, and he has been plagued by injuries in the last couple of years. No other pitcher is within even 50 wins of 300.

Changes in the game over the last couple decades have made it a lot easier to hit a lot of home runs than get a lot of wins. Good for baseball? Well, chicks dig the long ball, right?


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