Results tagged ‘ Washington Nationals ’

300-game winners just keep coming

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

For a generation of baseball fans, Randy Johnson’s win over Washington on Thursday night marks a moment they may not see again.

But history suggests that — while another 300-win pitcher may be at least a decade away — Johnson will not be the last man to reach pitching’s holy grail.

6-5-09-Muder_Johnson.jpgJohnson became just the 24th pitcher to record 300 big league victories, and his countdown to immortality has officially started. Of the 23 other pitchers with 300 wins, 20 are enshrined at the Baseball Hall of Fame. The other three — Roger Clemens, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux — are not yet eligible.

But along with the comparisons to baseball’s best-ever pitchers, Johnson’s milestone has brought out the naysayers: Those who insist that this 300-game winner will be the last.

After five pitchers — Gaylord Perry, Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver, Phil Niekro, Don Sutton — joined the 300-club in the 1980s, many pundits insisted that they were the last of their breed. The decline of the complete game combined with the rise of relief pitchers would surely mean the end of the 300-winner, they said. 

And yet, the 300-game winners kept coming. Nolan Ryan in 1990. Roger Clemens in 2003. Greg Maddux in 2004. And Tom Glavine in 2007.

In fact, the four pitchers to reach the milestone since 2000 represent the most for any decade — save the 1980s (5) and the 1890s (4) — in baseball history.

6-5-09-Muder_JohnsonAction.jpgSure, a few years may pass before the next 300-game winner emerges. Jamie Moyer is second behind Johnson on the active list with 250 wins, but Moyer is already 46 years old. Next up is 36-year-old Andy Pettitte with 220 wins. In fact, only two active pitchers under the age of 30 have at least 100 victories: Jon Garland and CC Sabathia.

Yet baseball history is full of long gaps between 300-game winners — even back in the complete-game era. From 1964-1981, no pitcher joined the 300-win club. And in the 36-year span from 1925-1960, only Lefty Grove reached the milestone.

So while Randy Johnson’s performance on Thursday should be celebrated, it should also be a reminder. History happens every day in baseball — something that won’t change any time soon.

Craig Muder is director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

The Hall of Fame remembers Harry Kalas

4-13-09-Kalas_Profile.jpgLongtime Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster and 2002 Ford C. Frick Award-winner Harry Kalas died today, shortly after collapsing in the team’s broadcast booth before the series opener against the Washington Nationals.

Kalas’ call of the final out of the 2008 World Series has already become one of the game’s more memorable calls, joining his 1987 call of Mike Schmidt’s 500th homer. He was 73.

At the 2002 Induction Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, Kalas was honored with Ozzie Smith and J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner Joe Falls.

Here is the text from Kalas’ 2002 Ford C. Frick Award: “Legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas has called baseball games in Philadelphia since 1971. With his uncanny ability to connect with his listeners, he became a household name to Phillies fans everywhere.

As a veteran of 41 years behind the microphone, Kalas’ voice is one of the most popular and recognizable ones in broadcasting history, and enthusiasm and journalistic excellence are his trademarks. 4-13-09-Kalas_Induction.jpgHonored 17 times as Pennsylvania Sportscaster of the Year, Kalas’ passion for the game is unsurpassed and his powerful and soothing voice is a constant throughout the summer in homes and on car radios in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. He has called more than 5,000 Phillies games, accounting for over 50,000 innings. He has shared the broadcast booth with 1990 Frick Award winner By Saam, and for 27 seasons, with Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn.

An original member of the Houston Astros’ broadcast team in 1965, Kalas called games for the franchise until 1970. His play-by-play accuracy, combined with his dedicated and compelling historical accounts, have allowed him to build an undying trust with a national fan base.

A graduate of the University of Iowa, the affable announcer began broadcasting for the Pacific Coast League Hawaii Islanders and the University of Hawaii in 1961. Kalas has also broadcast Big Five basketball and Notre Dame football and currently lends his voice to several NFL Films programs.”

Harry Kalas dies at 73

Colleagues remember Harry Kalas

Harry Kalas’ Frick profile

Harry Kalas’ Frick Award speech

Ford C. Frick Award honorees

Please share your memories below of one of baseball’s legendary voices.

New stadiums, new memories

Horn_90.jpgBy Brad Horn

This week, Major League Baseball and New York will welcome two new shrines, as the Mets christen Citi Field on Monday night and the new Yankee Stadium (everything old is new again) will host its formal inauguration Thursday.

We’ll be documenting both of these openings in Cooperstown with artifacts that capture this moment in time for future generations. Look for updates this week as we share our latest donation items with you.

4-13-09-Horn_Citi Field.jpgWhen future generations of fans look back on this week, it’s likely they’ll say these stadiums represent the last of a new breed. For the last 20 years, baseball stadiums have been constructed at a rate, and a cost, never before seen in our game’s history.

The 1990s unleashed a fury of new ballparks, when the old seemingly was not enough. Toronto (’89), Chicago, Baltimore, Cleveland and Arlington got the ball rolling. Soon, Atlanta, Seattle, Detroit, San Francisco and Houston followed suit, as did an entirely rebuilt Angels Stadium in Anaheim. Expansion clubs Colorado (’95) and Arizona (’98) christened new ballparks, while Tampa Bay and Florida also established new traditions, albeit in fairly older structures. The 21st century welcomed new parks in Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, San Diego, St. Louis and Washington. Just this offseason, Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium underwent a major renovation. Boston’s Fenway Park, long a stalwart, has had multiple facelifts throughout the last 10 years.

In fact, only Wrigley Field (Chicago), Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles), the Metrodome (Minneapolis) and Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (Oakland) are the last major structures not enduring entire overhaul or replacement since the era of the new ballpark began 20 years ago. The Met will join the list of replaced stadiums next year as Minneapolis welcomes a new outdoor home.

What will become of the next phase of ballparks? Which of the “new” will be the first to be deemed “outdated?”

One thing is for sure — no period in baseball history is likely to see as much change as we have witnessed in the last two decades.

Visitors to Cooperstown can celebrate stadiums of past and present in Sacred Ground, an exhibit dedicated to the ballpark experience, only at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Brad Horn is the senior director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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