Ramblin’ about Randy

I’ll remember him as a Mariner, but I suppose that Randy Johnson will be remembered by most people as a Diamondback. That’s where he won four of his five Cy Youngs, and the World Series MVP, and all that. Just for fun:

Team W L ERA Inn
Expos 3 4 4.69 55.2
Mariners 130 74 3.48 1838.1
Astros 10 1 1.28 84.1
D-Backs 118 62 2.83 1630.1
Yankees 34 19 4.37 450.2
Giants 5 4 5.12 58.0

Wow, those couple months in Houston jump out at you, don’t they? I tend to forget how many teams Randy has pitched for. I imagine he’d rather forget his time with the Yankees…as I already had.

And his time with the Giants, outside of yesterday afternoon, seems destined to become pretty forgettable, too. It seems, from the few times I’ve watched him and from looking at the stats, that Randy can still throw it plenty hard…but he has to try a lot harder than he used to in order to make that happen, so he ends up losing his control somewhere along the line. Or he has games like yesterday, where he doesn’t walk many but also doesn’t strike out anybody either (who had Randy’s 300th win pegged as a two-strikeout game?), which seems to indicate that he pulled it back a bit. Anyway, it’s pretty clear that Randy isn’t Randy anymore. You have to assume (or maybe just hope) that he hangs it up after this.

So, with all due respect to Giants fans, it seems kind of sad to me that today had to happen with the Giants (and sadder still, with all due respect to the Nationals’ fan, that it happened in Washington).

But then again, pitchers who stay in the game long enough to win 300 tend to move about a bit. How many 300th wins do you suppose actually came with a club you tend to associate the pitcher with? Well, sticking with the last 50 years or so:

Greg Maddux — Cubs
Roger Clemens — Yankees
Steve Carlton — Phillies
Nolan Ryan — Rangers
Don Sutton — Angels
Phil Niekro — Yankees
Gaylord Perry — Mariners
Tom Seaver — White Sox
Tom Glavine — Mets
Randy Johnson — Giants

Actually, I think the answer to my question is “more than I would’ve guessed.” Maddux is a Brave first, but he’ll be remembered as a Cub too. Clemens is essentially equal parts Yankee and Red Sock, I think, though most of his best years were in Boston (or Toronto). Carlton played for seventy-seven teams after getting his 300th win, but stayed with the Phillies long enough to hit the mark. I don’t know if people will remember twenty or thirty years from now that Tom Glavine pitched for the Mets…but he did spend five seasons with them, and made two All-Star teams.

Frankly, there’s only one trivia question here that definitely would’ve stumped me: Phil Niekro. I have to admit that I had no idea he ever pitched for the Yankees. But I imagine a lot of people would be surprised to see that Sutton did it for the other L.A.-area team, or Seaver with the White Sox, or Perry with the Mariners (though he pitched for essentially every team in the Majors).

My point, though, is that I have the hunch that Randy will be the real stumper, a couple decades down the road. The thing about it is, he’s a better pitcher than any of the guys I just named; you could argue for Seaver, but you’d probably lose. He has the bad fortune of pitching at the same time as Clemens and Maddux and Pedro, but he’s got to be in the top 10 (probably very comfortably) of all time. Yet, unless he learns to throw a knuckler and hangs around with them until he’s 50 or something, who’s going to remember that Randy Johnson got his 300th with (or even ever pitched for) the Giants?

Just seems like kind of a shame, is all…

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2 Responses to “Ramblin’ about Randy”

  1. lar Says:

    Now, I see that list, and I think that it validates what you were saying. Yes, Maddux and Glavine spent enough time on the Cubs/Mets for people to easily remember it, but those guys are easily Braves for life. It's like saying that Reggie Jackson is remembered as an Angel. He spent 5 seasons down there in Anaheim (and even put up a 147 OPS+ in 1982), but no one remembers him for it. He's either a Yankee or Athletic, and that's it.

    I'd say, of the list you included, Maddux, Sutton, Niekro, Seaver, Glavine, and Johnson reached the milestone on a team history will not associate them with. As for Perry, I have no idea how people view him. My only real image of him is on an early-80s Fleer card and from pictures of him after #300, both of which have him in a Seattle uniform. Only 48 of his 777(!) games were as a Mariner, though, so I think it's safe to assume that he isn't exactly remembered as an M…

  2. The Common Man Says:

    Millions of quasi-baseball fans are currently asking themselves "who the hell is Don Sutton?"

    I kid, I kid.

    I think the bigger shame would be if these guys weren't able to get to their 300th win. I mean, not a shame in a cosmic sense, like "oh, it's a tragedy if they don't win 300" but I would rather have them win 300 long after their peak than have them surreptitiously released by their beloved teams and hang it up. I think it's wonderful that they're still able to get work.

    One thing I would like to know (and it should be relatively easy to figure it out) is whether any pitchers have gotten their milestone wins (say 200, 250, 300, etc) in relief. Accidental history, if you will.

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