Tag Archives: Roger Clemens

Randy Johnson’s Crazy Journey To 300!

5 Jun

Surly, 10 feet tall and now a 300 game winner.  Congratulations to Randy Johnson, who besides being a guaranteed Hall of Famer, is also the pitcher who’s had the strangest journey to 300 wins.  It’s amazing he pulled it off.  Remember that Randy had something like 60 career wins by the time he was 30.  THIRTY!  A career is usually at least half way done by then!

Anyway, below you’ll find a post I’d written toward the end of last year in anticipation of Randy notching #300 this year.  Thought it was appropriate to re-post now.  Enjoy!!

 

For those of you not keeping track, Randy Johnson is at 289 wins and counting.  That IS mind blowing!  I think the man is about 113 years old.  He used to chart pitches for George Herman Ruth before he switched to hitting home runs.

That lame joke aside, Johnson is a great pitcher for sure and he’s on the verge of doing something I never thought I’d see him achieve.  He’s about to join the hallowed 300 win club.  At 5-7 and with a plus 5.00 ERA, he’s not having a great year, but unless his back or arm gives out, you have to figure he’ll end up with about 295 or so wins by season’s end.  Being that close, can anyone see Johnson not coming back to get 300?

It’s truly amazing that Johnson has a shot at all.  Getting to 300 usually requires that

  • a pitcher starts out young
  • doesn’t miss a lot of time
  • wins big early and often

Johnson has played by his own set of rules.  To get a better idea of how amazing his journey to 300 has been, let’s compare Randy Johnson to two of his contemporaries – Roger Clemens (who for this article we’ll avoid discussing the influences of possible steroids or HGH usage) and Greg Maddux.

STARTING OUT YOUNG

Randy Johnson didn’t become a full time starter until he was 25 years old.  Even then, he wasn’t an instant hit.  He went 7-13 that year.

On the other pitching hand, Roger Clemens started 20 games as a 21 year old, 15 as a 22 year old and then went onto to full time ace status at the age of 23 when he went 24-4.  Maddux got started even earlier than Clemens.  His first full season was as a 21 year old.  He really got rolling the next year when he won 18 at 22 and 19 games at the age of 23.

So basically, Clemens was an ace at 23 and Maddux at 22.  Three long years later Randy Johnson would finally be a full time starter and sport a losing record.  So, to say the least, Johnson was slow getting out of gate to 300.

DON’T MISS TIME (AND STARTS)

If you can’t be an early achiever than it’s even more important to be durable once you do get your pitching act together if you want to hit 300.  In his long career, Randy Johnson has been durable.  But he’s also missed significant time.  In ’96 (at age 32) he made just 14 starts.  In ’03 (at 39) he made only 18. And last year (at 43 – OK so he’s not 113.  I swear I read that somewhere on the net!), Johnson made only 10 starts.  Combine all that with the strike shortened ’94 season and figure Randy’s lost something like 65 starts to injuries and strikes.

Comparing Johnson’s durability to Clemens and Maddux, you’ll find that Johnson comes up short to them on this count too.  Since becoming a full time starter and not counting the strike year or his rent-an-ace half seasons in Houston and New York, Roger Clemens has only started less than 29 games in a season once.  That was way back in 1995!

Greg Maddux, to his credit, has been even more durable than Clemens!  In his long career, he’s only been under 30 starts in a full year twice not counting the strike year.

All three guys are durable compared to most pitchers, but Randy trails both Clemens and Maddux in this category too.

WIN EARLY AND OFTEN

We touched on the first part of this 300 Win Club requirement in the STARTING OUT YOUNG section.  Randy was slower out of the gate in terms of winning big than Clemens or Maddux.  In fact, Johnson didn’t win more than 15 games in a season until he was 29!  I’m too lazy to research it, but I have to believe there’s no other 300 game winner who didn’t win at least 15 games in a season before he was 29.  Even more incredible, Johnson didn’t rack up a 20 win season until he was 33 years old, when most other pitchers are already on their way out of baseball!

Contrast that with Clemens.  He had two 20 win seasons under his belt by the time he was 25.  Remember, at 25, Randy Johnson was 7-13!  As for Maddux, he’s famously ONLY had two 20 win seasons but he put them up back to back at age 26 and 27.

So, if Johnson didn’t win early than he must have won often, right?  Let’s take a look.

Randy Johnson has three 20 win seasons including a career best 24 wins in 2002 as a 38 year old.  Clemens has six 20 win seasons.  Maddux has only two 20 win campaigns but he’s also got eight other 17 plus win campaigns to his credit.  Perhaps the ultimate model of consistency, Greg Maddux reeled off 17 straight 15 plus win seasons in his fantastic career.

But, Johnson is no slouch in this category.  The big lefty has ten seasons of 17 plus wins including his three 20 win campaigns.

So just what is Randy Johnson’s formula to 300 wins?  Looking at his career, you’d have to say:

  • Start late but win a lot
  • Pitch until you’re at least 45
  • And save your best years for the second half of your career

On the final point… Johnson’s best years were arguably at 37 and 38 years old when he went 21-6 in 2001 and 24-5 in 2002 for Arizona with sub 2.50 ERAs each year.  It’s those two years that helped him catch up in the race to 300.

Congratulations in advance to you, Mr. Johnson.  May you pitch til you really are 113 years old!

Bud Selig & Joe Torre Are A Great Comedy Team!

14 Feb

Earlier this week, Bud Selig chastised Alex Rodriguez for sullying the great game of baseball.  Today, I wake up to read that Joe Torre told the media that baseball needs to work to rebuild trust.

Don’t make me laugh.  Or do, if that’s your intention Mr. Selig & Mr. Torre.  Just realize that both of you have zero credibility these days.  Your statements are a joke plain and simple.

Bud Selig, who has to be in the discussion for worst baseball commissioner ever, presided over the game during the steroids error.  (Yes, I mean to say error, it’s a play on words, people).  Under Bud’s watch, guys were routinely shattering records that had thwarted the game’s greats for decades.  Selig, like the rest of us and the media, embraced it all.  For the fans, buying baseball’s bad act may have had to do with naivety and clearly the media didn’t bother to ask enough questions.

For Selig, though, the steroid era was not embraced out of naiveity.  Selig knew what he was doing when he played his head in the sand.  Baseball and its union wanted no part of any critical examination of the way the game and players had changed.  Business was too good.  Selig’s biggest failure was shortsightedness.  He must have had ideas about what was going on, yet didn’t ask and didn’t tell.  Why rock the boat when after all you’re really just an owner in disguise and taking home 18 or so million a year to boot?  Bud should have known better.  He should have realized that someday steroid abuse would come back to bite baseball.  Hard.

Consider Selig and baseball marked for life.  Both are tarnished with little hope of recovering in the near term.  Every time a suspected cheater is up for the Hall of Fame for the next couple of decades and throughout A-Rod’s seemingly inevitable march to eclipsing Bonds’ career homer record, we’ll be revisiting Selig’s disastrous term as commissioner.

Selig’s right that A-Rod and other cheaters have sullied the game.  He just forgot to mention that he, himself, bears the biggest responsibility for baseball’s bruised image.

Speaking of bruised images…. Joe Torre is one to talk about rebuilding trust.  Didn’t he just release a book in which he revealed the clubhouse drama that took place during his decade plus in the Bronx?  Ask Torre how many of his former players feel that he needs to rebuild some personal trust.

Not only that but, Torre isn’t exactly free and clear of involvement from steroids abuse.  Let’s not forget that the Yankees won four championships smack dab in the middle of the cheating era.  Jason Giambi, Roger Clemens and A-Rod are all part of Torre’s Yankee run of success and all three, it seems clear, cheated.

Where was Joe then?   And who else on the Yankees was on the stuff that we have yet to know about?  Torre’s been round the game long enough to know that 40 year old pitchers simply don’t get better with age.  Yet, he never questioned the source of Clemens’ late career success.

Like Selig, Torre wasn’t rocking any boats while the Yankees were winning.  Of course, the minute Torre could make a few bucks by ratting out his old organization, the former Bronx manager put pen to paper.  This, despite the fact that as manager of the Dodgers he didn’t need the cash.  It was a pure greed play on Joe Torre’s part.

Both Torre and Selig are a joke.  And the more they keep speaking out the more hysterical their routines get.

Will This Comeback Story End In 300 Wins and the Hall of Fame?

9 Jul
In a totally unexpected development, Mike Mussina has been the Yankees’ best pitcher this year. Moose looked done last year after continuing his streak of mediocre pitching seasons in his late 30s. At his lowest point, he was bumped from the starting rotation. Many (myself included) figured Mussina was never coming back.
We were very, very wrong. Currently, Mussina stands at 11-6 with a respectable 3.64 ERA.  At 39, Mussina is up to 261 career wins. Will he get to 300 and does he need to in order to clinch the Hall of Fame?
As we did yesterday with Randy Johnson, let’s compare Mike Mussina to two recent members of the all exclusive 300 victory club Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux as well as Johnson.
 
But first, let’s figure out what Mussina has to do to get to pitching’s most glorious career milestone. So far this year, he’s racked up 11 wins and is more than half way to his first ever 20 win season. Since this is my blog, you are gonna have to trust me when I say that Mussina won’t get 20 this year. I put the over/under on him at 15 wins.

Baseball is a funny game and it has a way of catching up to people. Mussina, given his recent pitching history, has pitched way too well this year. Don’t give me that stuff about him finding a different way to pitch this year. The man is 39. He is what he is. Either injury of bad luck will keep his second half from being as good as his first half. I know. The baseball gods have spoken to me. (PS-they say hello)

So, let’s say me and the baseball gods are a little off and Mussina wins 17 games this season. That would put him at 267.  Mike Mussina would be just 33 wins away from immortality.  Shockingly and tantalizingly close, but next year, Mussina will be pitching at age 40…

Here’s how Clemens and company did post 40.  Roger Clemens won 17 games at 40, then 18 at 41 and finally 13 at 42 before going into permanent part time service.  Interestingly, Clemens ERA went down each of those years before setting in at under 2.00 for his 13 win campaign.  Maddux in his two full seasons as a forty year old so far won 14 and 15 games with ERAs around 4.20.  Not horrible, but not vintage Maddux.  As for Johnson, the big lefty won between 16-17 games for each of his first three season in his forties until he was able to make only 10 starts last year as a 43 year old.

As good as all three future Hall of Famers have been, the reality is that all of them slowed down in their 40s whether due to age, injury or choice.  Mussina began his slowing down process in his 30s.  Don’t believe me?  Here are Mussina’s numbers for the last four seasons prior to this one:

  • Age 35: 12-9, 4.59
  • Age 36: 13-8, 4.41
  • Age 37: 15-7, 3.51
  • Age 38: 11-10, 5.15

 Verdict # 1: Mike Mussina will not make it to 300 wins.

Give him credit though, he’s a lot closer than anyone would have imaged last year.  That said, in order to get to 300, he’ll have to go another three years with 10-15 wins each season.  If he was Maddux or Clemens or Johnson, I’d bet the house on him.  Mussina has never been in those guys’ class and so I’m betting against him to join their exclusive club.

So if Mussina doesn’t win 300, is he a Hall of Famer?

In my opinion, there are two kinds of Hall of Famers and both have legitimate paths to Cooperstown.  The first is the no brainer.  Guys who were so talented and so dominant that there’s no argument whether their career spanned many decades (Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron) or was cut short  (think Lou Gherig or Roberto Clemente or Sandy Koufax as the extreme case of a short but breathtakingly brilliant career).

Then, the second legitimate path to the Hall of Fame are the compilers.  Baseball is one heck of a tough sport.  Hitting its magic numbers like 300 wins, 3,000 hits or 500 home runs are amazing feats of talent and consistency.  Some of the guys who surpassed those milestones where never confused with being the absolute best at their position, but they deserve a great deal of credit for getting there nonetheless and have a rightful place in the Hall.

Back to Mike Mussina.  Is Mike Mussina a “no brainer” candidate?  Let me give you the “no brainer” answer – NO!

So, in order for Mussina to get in he’s going to have go the compiler route.  In these days of relief specialists, pitch counts and relief specialists, it’s tough enough to win 15 never mind 20 games in a season.  In order to win 300 in a career a player has to average 15 wins for 20 seasons (two decades worth).  Mussina may get as close to 300 as anyone other than Randy Johnson may get for a long time.  All of that said…

Verdict #2 – Mike Mussina just won’t get into Cooperstown without 300 wins

The challenge will be that Hall of Fame voters haven’t adjusted their thinking.  In their minds it’s not the all impressive 250 win club.  It’s still 300 or bust.  Absent any Cy Youngs, missing a twenty win season (or two or three) and with an ERA that was very rarely below 3.00,  Mussina simply won’t get in as a no brainer or a compiler.

And you know what?  I’m OK with that.

Mike Mussina has been a very good major league pitcher for a long time, but he’s never been the game’s top ace or even his league’s or his division’s and sometimes not even his team’s #1.  Mike Mussina deserves an awful lot of respect but until Jack Morris, Curt Schilling and maybe even Bert Blyleven get busts in Cooperstown, I won’t be making many arguments on his behalf.

How Da Heck Is Randy Johnson Gonna Win 300 Games?!!

8 Jul

For those of you not keeping track, Randy Johnson is at 289 wins and counting.  That IS mind blowing!  I think the man is about 113 years old.  He used to chart pitches for George Herman Ruth before he switched to hitting home runs.

That lame joke aside, Johnson is a great pitcher for sure and he’s on the verge of doing something I never thought I’d see him achieve.  He’s about to join the hallowed 300 win club.  At 5-7 and with a plus 5.00 ERA, he’s not having a great year, but unless his back or arm gives out, you have to figure he’ll end up with about 295 or so wins by season’s end.  Being that close, can anyone see Johnson not coming back to get 300?

It’s truly amazing that Johnson has a shot at all.  Getting to 300 usually requires that

  • a pitcher starts out young
  • doesn’t miss a lot of time
  • wins big early and often

Johnson has played by his own set of rules.  To get a better idea of how amazing his journey to 300 has been, let’s compare Randy Johnson to two of his contemporaries – Roger Clemens (who for this article we’ll avoid discussing the influences of possible steriods or HGH usage) and Greg Maddux.

STARTING OUT YOUNG

Randy Johnson didn’t become a full time starter until he was 25 years old.  Even then, he wasn’t an instant hit.  He went 7-13 that year.

On the other pitching hand, Roger Clemens started 20 games as a 21 year old, 15 as a 22 year old and then went onto to full time ace status at the age of 23 when he went 24-4.  Maddux got started even earlier than Clemens.  His first full season was as a 21 year old.  He really got rolling the next year when he won 18 at 22 and 19 games at the age of 23.

So basically, Clemens was an ace at 23 and Maddux at 22.  Three long years later Randy Johnson would finally be a full time starter and sport a losing record.  So, to say the least, Johnson was slow getting out of gate to 300.

DON’T MISS TIME (AND STARTS)

If you can’t be an early achiever than it’s even more important to be durable once you do get your pitching act together if you want to hit 300.  In his long career, Randy Johnson has been durable.  But he’s also missed significant time.  In ’96 (at age 32) he made just 14 starts.  In ’03 (at 39) he made only 18. And last year (at 43 – OK so he’s not 113.  I swear I read that somewhere on the net!), Johnson made only 10 starts.  Combine all that with the strike shortened ’94 season and figure Randy’s lost something like 65 starts to injuries and strikes.

Comparing Johnson’s durability to Clemens and Maddux, you’ll find that Johnson comes up short to them on this count too.  Since becoming a full time starter and not counting the strike year or his rent-an-ace half seasons in Houston and New York, Roger Clemens has only started less than 29 games in a season once.  That was way back in 1995!

Greg Maddux, to his credit, has been even more durable than Clemens!  In his long career, he’s only been under 30 starts in a full year twice not counting the strike year.

All three guys are durable compared to most pitchers, but Randy trails both Clemens and Maddux in this category too.

WIN EARLY AND OFTEN

We touched on the first part of this 300 Win Club requirement in the STARTING OUT YOUNG section.  Randy was slower out of the gate in terms of winning big than Clemens or Maddux.  In fact, Johnson didn’t win more than 15 games in a season until he was 29!  I’m too lazy to research it, but I have to believe there’s no other 300 game winner who didn’t win at least 15 games in a season before he was 29.  Even more incredible, Johnson didn’t rack up a 20 win season until he was 33 years old, when most other pitchers are already on their way out of baseball!

Contrast that with Clemens.  He had two 20 win seasons under his belt by the time he was 25.  Remember, at 25, Randy Johnson was 7-13!  As for Maddux, he’s famously ONLY had two 20 win seasons but he put them up back to back at age 26 and 27.

So, if Johnson didn’t win early than he must have won often, right?  Let’s take a look.

Randy Johnson has three 20 win seasons including a career best 24 wins in 2002 as a 38 year old.  Clemens has six 20 win seasons.  Maddux has only two 20 win campaigns but he’s also got eight other 17 plus win campaigns to his credit.  Perhaps the ultimate model of consistency, Greg Maddux reeled off 17 straight 15 plus win seasons in his fantastic career.

But, Johnson is no slouch in this category.  The big lefty has ten seasons of 17 plus wins including his three 20 win campaigns.

So just what is Randy Johnson’s formula to 300 wins?  Looking at his career, you’d have to say:

  • Start late but win a lot
  • Pitch until you’re at least 45
  • And save your best years for the second half of your career

On the final point… Johnson’s best years were arguably at 37 and 38 years old when he went 21-6 in 2001 and 24-5 in 2002 for Arizona with sub 2.50 ERAs each year.  It’s those two years that helped him catch up in the race to 300.

Congratulations in advance to you, Mr. Johnson.  May you pitch til you really are 113 years old!

Startling New Clemens Crimes Revealed!

30 Apr

Looking back some day, Roger Clemens is NOT going to list 2008 as one of the top ten years of his life.  Retirement has been tough on the Rocket. 

First, he had to deal with the Mitchell Report and fending off steroid allegations.  The most shocking of which was that he let another man spend time alone in a bathroom with his wife while she was being shot up with something he didn’t know anything about. 

As if steroids wasn’t enough, this week the story breaks about him having a long term affair with country singer Mindy McCready.

I’m not going to get into that because I like to be consistent in my positions.  I’ve always maintained the Clinton-Lewinsky tryst should have been a private matter, so I’m not going to beat Roger Clemens up now about cheating on his wife.

That said, Clemen’s fall from grace has been remarkably quick.  I don’t know that anyone in recent sports history has fallen so far so fast.

Roger needs a break and I’m going to give it to him.  The best thing to do in these kinds of situations is to get ahead of the story. 

So, as a public service to The Rocket, here’s a full accounting of the secrets and misdeeds that Clemens has been hiding:

  • He’s principally responsible for the insanely high price of gas.
  • Food prices, yup, like the gas situation.  That’s Roger too. 
  • Iraq.  Ok this one he’s not taking the rap for.  Clearly it’s the fault of the Bush Administration.  On the other hand, if the President ends up pardoning Roger for steroids, he might reconsider taking the fall for Iraq.
  • The alleged liberal media bias.
  • Rush Limbaugh’s addiction to pills.
  • The Jason Kidd trade.
  • The falling housing prices in your neighborhood.  Only your neighborhood. 

I could go on, but in all likelihood Clemens will be adding more himself tomorrow…

 

Andy Pettitte is a Liar & You Heard It Here First!

14 Feb

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Yes, today it was confirmed that while Andy Pettitte may be a Christian, he is in fact a liar nonetheless.Of course, if you’ve been stopping by Full Contact, then you knew this already because you’d read this post:
https://fullcontactsports.wordpress.com/2008/02/12/not-even-congress-can-touch-andy-pettitte-when-it-comes-to-drug-abuse/

In my original post on Pettitte, I railed against the notion that just cause Andy comes off like a nice guy & claims to be religious that his admission of using HGH only twice should be unchallenged.  I could not have been more on the money.

It turns out that Pettitte admitted to Congress that he in fact had used HGH again in 2004.  And for good measure, he noted that he got the HGH from his sick father.  What a hero.  Not only is he a cheater, but now he’s taking his father down with him.

Go to fullsize imageFor his admission of being less than honest with the Mitchell Report investigators, what do you think Andy Pettitte’s reward was?  Praise.  It’s incredible.  John Gotti died in jail, but Andy Pettitte is still Teflon.  Everyone keeps falling for this nice guy defense.

Go to fullsize imageHenry Waxman, a Congressman investigating this mess and apparently not such a bright guy, went so far as to say “Mr. Pettitte’s consistency makes him a role model on and off the field”.

Which Mr. Pettitte was he talking about?  Maybe he meant Andy’s dad.  I can only hope so because so far the last thing that Andy Pettitte has been in this situation is consistent. Unless you’re talking about the lying.

Not Even Congress Can Touch Andy Pettitte When It Comes To Drug Abuse!

12 Feb

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While Andy Pettitte has always been a notch or two below a front of the rotation ace on the mound, it’s becoming increasingly clear that when it comes to drug abuse no one can touch Andy Pettitte.  Pettitte is known as a good guy, people say he takes his Christian faith very seriously and because of that people trust that he’ll do what’s right.  I’m a Christian too and I’m not seeing it that way.Let’s examine…

Go to fullsize imageFirst, the Mitchell Report comes out and shock of shocks Andy’s name is on it.  Pettitte immediately comes out to confirm that he did in fact use HGH but only for a few days.  His public statement, which may or may not be true, is brilliant.  He’s either one smart cookie or he got himself a great group of advisers.

Pettitte’s explanation was effective because it got him out in front of the story.  He admitted he did it.  However, he was able to say that it was a for a short time only and for a very good reason. Pettitte’s spin or logic (you call it) was that he was injured and simply took the HGH to try to get back sooner to help his team.  What a team guy!

People loved his explanation because it fit public perception of him.  Not only was he doing the honorable thing in admitting it, but his motivation was for love of his team.  He wanted to help.  What people are missing is that he wanted to help anyway he could even if it meant cheating.  That doesn’t fit Andy’s public persona so people just throw that part of the story out.

Go to fullsize imageEqually infuriating to no now but me is that legions of fans, talk radio hosts and other assorted geniuses, have relied on Pettitte’s deep religious beliefs as a reason to believe that he’s telling the truth now.  I’ve got news, people.  Christians lie.  So do Jews, Muslims and Buddhists.  Human beings lie.  In a world where we’ve seen Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart have to publicly repent for their sins, in a world where Newt Gingrich now admits that he was cheating on his wife while pursuing his nemesis Bill Clinton for the Lewinski scandal, why do we so easily swallow that Andy Pettitte is so religious that he wouldn’t lie?

Go to fullsize imageFinally, today comes the news that Pettitte will now NOT appear before Congress with ex-pal Roger Clemens.  It seems that Andy has answered all of Congress’s questions to their satisfaction already.  As a reward, Andy will not be forced to say something potentially damaging in public about his former workout buddy.  I guess it wouldn’t be “Christian” for Pettitte to have to tell the truth about the Rocket and say something that casts the legendary pitcher in a bad light.

As a fellow Christian, it doesn’t strike me as very brave or morally right to duck a chance to truly set the record straight. Your mom and mine told us if we have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all.  I don’t think, however, that they were thinking about us talking to Congress about performance enhancing drugs.  I think a good Christian goes before Congress and tells all.  That’s what I think Jesus would do.  After all, he was all about  throwing your best fastball down the middle no matter what the consequences.