Yankees’ 300-game winners: Clemens, Niekro, Perry, Johnson

24 09 2015

This continues my series on Yankee starting pitchers.

Yankees’ 300-game winners: You’d think that the winningest team in baseball history would have been the primary team of at least one of the 24 300-game winners in baseball history. You wouldn’t even be close.

Four 300-game winners played in pinstripes, but none of them won even 100 games for New York:

Roger Clemens

Clemens led the way in this group of four in both total wins (354) and Yankee wins (83). I saw him pitch live for the Yankees and Red Sox, both in Royals Stadium (though it might have been renamed Kaufman Stadium when I saw him with the Yankees).

Of course, Clemens would be an automatic Hall of Famer if not for suspicion about his use of performance-enhancing drugs. If Hall of Fame voters ever let PED-tainted stars enter Cooperstown, Clemens will be one of the first, based on his career play, his great career before his apparent drug use started and his acquittal on charges of lying about drug use.

I don’t have strong feelings about Clemens (and Barry Bonds, Andy Pettitte and others) being barred from the Hall of Fame for admissions of drug use, failing drug tests, suspensions or even suspicions of using performance-enhancing drugs. I suspect a player or two caught up in the PED speculation might be innocent, and that certainly is unfair. But I suspect most are guilty, and that was cheating, and I’m fine with keeping them out of the Hall of Fame.

But the speculation covers many, if not most, of the best players of a generation of baseball, so I view it more as baseball’s collective shame than an individual shame. And I think someday baseball needs to address whether and how to admit these players to the Hall of Fame.

My modest suggestion, which covers Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe Jackson and any others barred for gambling, too:

The Hall of Fame needs a Scoundrels Committee. The group would designate players who have shamed the game in some way such as gambling or performance-enhancing drugs. You might include off-field violence, crimes, other cheating and recreational drugs, too.

The Scoundrels Committee would decide whether and how long to ban a player from Hall of Fame consideration. I’d be fine with a life sentence for gambling, for instance, so that Jackson would be eligible now, but Rose would not be eligible until after his death. Maybe the committee would set different penalties for different offenses: life for gambling, 25 for PEDs, 10 for doctoring the ball or bat, etc.

Anyway, the Scoundrels Committee would decide penalties and who gets banned from the normal Hall of Fame ballot. Then, after you’ve served your term, the Scoundrels Committee decides whether your on-the-field achievements merited Hall of Fame selection.

And the plaque in Cooperstown should note both the player’s achievements and how he shamed the game. I’ll elaborate on this idea in a future post, maybe after the next writers’ vote for the Hall of Fame.

Phil Niekro

Niekro, with 318 wins, is one of four 300-game winners who played primarily for the Braves. He won 32 games in two years at ages 44 and 45 for the Yankees. (I got to watch him pitch against the Royals in Kansas City.)

Gaylord Perry

Perry just made a cameo for the Yankees, winning four of his 314 wins in just 10 starts in 1980. It’s hard to pin Perry down to a particular team. He won more games for the Giants than any other team, but won his Cy Young Awards for the Indians and Padres.

While Clemens and Niekro won their 300th games as Yankees, Perry won his against New York. Perry and Niekro were the better halves of the two winningest brother pitching combos in history. I’ll have a separate post later about Yankee starters with family connections in baseball.

Randy Johnson

Johnson won 34 games in his two Yankee seasons. Like Perry and Clemens, he won Cy Youngs in both leagues. He got most of his 303 wins pitching for the Mariners (130) and Diamondbacks (118). He won four of his five Cy Youngs for Arizona and won his only World Series there (against the Yankees). I consider him a Diamondback.

Other teams’ 300-game winners

All of these teams can claim 100 or more wins from a 300-game winner:

But not the Yankees.

Also in this series

Other posts in this series on Yankee starting pitchers:

The series paused yesterday to bid farewell to Yogi Berra

Source note: Unless otherwise noted, all statistics cited here come from Baseball-Reference.com.

Correction invitation: I wrote this series of blog posts over several months, mostly late at night while unable to sleep while undergoing medical treatment. I believe I have fact-checked and corrected any errors, but I welcome you to point out any I missed: stephenbuttry (at) gmail (dot) com. Or, if you just want to argue about my opinions, that’s fine, too.

Style note: The Hall of Fame has had various committees and rules through the years to elect players who were passed over by the Baseball Writers Association of America as well as umpires, managers, executives and other baseball pioneers. I am referring to them all in this series as the Veterans Committee unless the specific context demands reference to specific committee such as the current era committees or the Special Committee on Negro Leagues. Baseball-Reference.com has a detailed history of the various committees.

 

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25 responses

24 09 2015
Yankee starting pitchers in the Hall of Fame: Ford, Gomez, Ruffing, Pennock, Hoyt, Chesbro | Hated Yankees

[…] of course, are not all the Yankee starters in the Hall of Fame. Coming posts will review the Yankees’ 300-game pitchers (all of whom threw primarily for other teams) and other Hall of Famers who made it to Cooperstown […]

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24 09 2015
Yankees among the best almost everywhere but starting pitcher | Hated Yankees

[…] Yankees’ 300-game winners […]

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25 09 2015
Catfish Hunter and other Yankee pitchers who made the Hall of Fame primarily for other teams | Hated Yankees

[…] is the only pitcher in this post who added notably to his Hall of Fame credentials as a Yankee (the Yankee 300-game winners are in a separate post). He’s in the Hall of Fame, though, for his pitching for the Oakland […]

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26 09 2015
Yogi Berra was the best of the greatest catcher tradition of any team | Hated Yankees

[…] The Yankees’ 300-game winners. […]

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28 09 2015
Yankee starting pitchers who belong in the Hall of Fame: Reynolds, John and Guidry | Hated Yankees

[…] because of suspicion that he used performance-enhancing drugs. I dealt with Clemens in the 300-game-winners installment of this series on Yankee starting pitchers, so I won’t address him […]

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30 09 2015
Yankee pitchers who are nearly Hall of Famers: Mussina, Pettitte, Cone, Tiant, Kaat | Hated Yankees

[…] earlier posts in this series, I dealt with the Yankee Hall of Famers, 300-game winners who pitched for the Yankees and three Yankee starters who belong in the Hall of […]

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1 10 2015
Yankee pitchers win more championships than Cy Young Awards | Hated Yankees

[…] The Yankees’ 300-game winners. […]

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2 10 2015
Yankee starters with 200 wins but no shot at the Hall of Fame | Hated Yankees

[…] Brown does (presuming that someday players who used performance-enhancing drugs will get in): Roger Clemens, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Allie Reynolds, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, David Cone, Luis Tiant and […]

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12 10 2015
Yankees’ 20-game winners: Mel Stottlemyre, Bob Shawkey, Vic Raschi … | Hated Yankees

[…] The Yankees’ 300-game winners. […]

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13 10 2015
Yankees who succeeded as starters and relievers | Hated Yankees

[…] The Yankees’ 300-game winners […]

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14 10 2015
Yankees who pitched no-hitters: Don Larsen, Allie Reynolds … | Hated Yankees

[…] was surprised the following February when Wells was traded along with two other players for Roger Clemens, who had won back-to-back Cy Young Awards for the Blue […]

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15 10 2015
Yankee starting pitchers with family connections in baseball | Hated Yankees

[…] you judge by combined wins, the Niekros would be first with Phil winning 318 games, 32 for the Yankees, and Joe winning 221, 14 for the Yankees. That’s 539 […]

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16 10 2015
Nicknames of Yankee starting pitchers: Catfish, Babe, Gator, Whitey … | Hated Yankees

[…] The Yankees’ 300-game winners […]

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17 10 2015
18 10 2015
Other notable Yankee starting pitchers: Al Downing, Don Gullett, Jim Beattie … | Hated Yankees

[…] is the potpourri installment in this series. These guys didn’t make the Hall of Fame, win 300 games (or even 200), don’t have a strong case for the Hall of Fame (or even a long shot), […]

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19 10 2015
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[…] Roger Clemens […]

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20 10 2015
Comparing Yankees to other teams in starting pitchers in the Hall of Fame | Hated Yankees

[…] for them: Christy Mathewson, Joe McGinnity, Rube Marquard, Carl Hubbell, Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry. (Perry won his Cy Young Awards for the Indians and Padres, but he pitched a decade for the Giants […]

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21 10 2015
Does pitching really win championships? Yes, but … | Hated Yankees

[…] Roger Clemens, who would be in the Hall of Fame if not for suspicions about performance-enhancing drugs, […]

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30 10 2015
Were the 1986 Red Sox better than the 2015 Royals? | Hated Yankees

[…] Roger Clemens, 23 that season, was younger than any of the Royal starters this year. And better. He was the MVP with the best season of his career and one of the best ever by any pitcher. The big numbers: 24-4, 2.48 (both leading the league), 238 strikeouts. The Royals have never had a pitching season that good, even Bret Saberhagen‘s Cy Young seasons. I don’t think any current Royal pitcher will ever match Clemens’ ’86 season. And, of course, he had one of the best pitching careers in history (not going to detour into the performance-enhancing drugs here). More on Clemens later. […]

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31 10 2015
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[…] I’ll speculate that Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds have called their agents, ordering them to explore broadcast […]

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29 11 2015
Is Salvador Pérez (or any other current Royal) bound for the Hall of Fame? Too early to say, but … | Hated Yankees

[…] Hall of Famers, I should note one thing Jim and I clarified in subsequent tweets. He was counting Roger Clemens as one of the ’86 Red Sox’ three Hall of Famers (along with Wade Boggs and Jim Rice). […]

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30 11 2015
World Series champs nearly always feature Hall of Famers | Hated Yankees

[…] Yankees. Again, Jeter, 24-6, and Rivera, 28-30, are certain Hall of Famers. Roger Clemens, 36-7, pitched for the ’99-2000 Yankees, but suspicion of PED use is keeping him out of […]

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7 01 2016
Scoundrels Committee: A way to recognize shamed players in the Baseball Hall of Fame | Hated Yankees

[…] two players who had even greater careers, Barry Bonds (44 percent of the vote) and Roger Clemens (45 percent) got nowhere near the 75-percent election threshold. Neither of them got even half of […]

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19 07 2016
Do we have a Yankees team with no future Hall of Famers? | Hated Yankees

[…] is essentially in the same situation as Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, though they are already on the Hall of Fame writers ballot and he’s still […]

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25 07 2016
Baseball Hall of Fame changes its absurd (and racist) ‘Era Committees’ | Hated Yankees

[…] This committee’s big task will be deciding when or whether to admit players suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs, presuming that the writers continue to reject players under strong suspicion. This may become a de facto Scoundrels Committee (though Pete Rose wouldn’t fall in the era and they would never use that name for it), eventually deciding the fate of players such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. […]

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