Why 200 wins is the new 300 wins

The Houston Astros’ Justin Verlander will take the mound on Thursday for his first shot at career victory No. 200. If he gets it, the baseball world will not stop to recognize the moment. Commemorative medallions will not be produced. There will not be a Justin Verlander 200th Win Bobblehead given out next year. (Well, on that last one, maybe.)

When Verlander reaches 200 wins, whether it’s Thursday against the Seattle Mariners or on some future date, it will be a milestone worth marking. However, it’s not the number that historically turns a lot of heads. That number would be 300, as in the hallowed 300-win club. For Verlander, 200 wins will be nice, but it seems clear that the milestone will not bring with it the hoopla that a 300th win would generate.

There isn’t much we can do about that. We’ve always viewed 300 wins as the ultimate accomplishment for a pitcher, and it has been awhile since we had a new member of the 300-win club. The last to join was Randy Johnson back on June 4, 2009. There have been no active 300-game winners since Johnson retired after that season. It’s becoming one of those old-timey barriers, things players used to do, like win 30 games in a season or hit .400. It doesn’t happen anymore.

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