The MLB 300 Wins Club and Roger Clemens

Roger Clemens is the only member of the 300 Plus MLB win club that is not in the Hall of Fame.

Roger Clemens is the only member of the 300 Plus MLB win club who is not in the Hall of Fame.


Rank Order of Totals for the 23 Pitchers with 300 Plus Career Wins:

1 Cy Young RH 511 316 .618 1890-1911 34
2 Walter Johnson RH 417 279 .599 1907-1927 32
3t Grover Alexander RH 373 208 .642 1911-1930 37
3t C. Mathewson RH 373 188 .665 1900-1916 32
5 Warren Spahn LH 363 245 .597 1942-1965 40
6t Pud Galvin RH 361 310 .541 1875-1892 31
6t Kid Nichols RH 361 208 .634 1890-1906 30
8 Greg Maddux RH 355 227 .610 1986-2008 38
9 Roger Clemens RH 354 184 .658 1984-2007 40
10 Tim Keefe RH 342 225 .603 1880-1893 33
11 Steve Carlton LH 329 244 .574 1965-1988 38
12 John Clarkson RH 328 178 .648 1882-1894 31
13 Eddie Plank LH 326 194 .627 1901-1917 39
14t Nolan Ryan RH 324 292 .526 1966-1993 43
14t Don Sutton RH 324 256 .559 1966-1988 41
16 Phil Niekro RH 318 274 .537 1964-1987 46
17 Gaylord Perry RH 314 265 .542 1962-1983 43
18 Charles Radbourn RH 309 194 .614 1881-1891 36
19 Mickey Welch RH 307 210 .594 1880-1892 31
20 Tom Glavine LH 305 203 .600 1987-2008 41
21 Randy Johnson LH 303 166 .646 1988-2009 45
22t Lefty Grove LH 300 141 .680 1925-1941 41
22t Early Wynn RH 300 244 .551 1939-1963 43

Two Observations:

(1) Count The Pecan Park Eagle among those who think that Cy Young’s 511 career wins is the most unbreakable important record in baseball. Today’s great pitchers make too much money to pitch themselves over the two decades it would take to even challenge Young. Twenty wins over twenty years only brings a guy to 400, still 111 wins short of the Cy-Master.

(2) Of the 23 men who have crossed the Rubicon mark of greatness by attaining 300 wins, only Roger Clemens of this totally retired group has been ignored by the Hall of Fame. – How long will Roger Clemens and others be denied this honor for merited accomplishment by the smearing shadow of allegations from the steroids era that were never proven in a court of law? Denial sucks and is no solution for anything – and treating someone like Clemens as a pariah on the basis of suspicion, without a trial, except for the one that many people carried out in their own minds, based on Clemens’s congressional testimonials, is not enough, nor is it fair or a real solution. If a player has not been convicted in a court of law, give him the honors he’s due for his accomplishments. – Treating people as though they no longer exist does not solve the problem.

We also think that baseball is guilty of enormous hypocrisy here. Back in 1998, baseball celebrated McGwire and Sosa for the way in which their incredible battle for the MLB home run title had helped the game and its fans forget the bad taste of the 1994 shortened season and cancelled World Series. We have always felt that they were implicitly giving other MLB players the unofficial green light to compete with McGwire and Sosa for the money and attention they also could earn by joining the wrecking ball attack on the power hitting record marks. Intended or not, Barry Bonds saw what he needed to do to outshine McGwire – and what do you know? Down came McGwire’s 7o HR mark and up went Bonds’ new 73 HR standard, as a few others also greatly improved their performance numbers – and pitchers learned that certain HGH products made for quicker recovery from arm injuries. I even remember an article about McGwire in which a reporter caught him rubbing something in his arm in the clubhouse as they were about to begin an interview and the “what’s that?” question came up. In words that read innocently, McGwire just told the guy that it was a cream he discovered that helped heal the soreness in his body quicker. I cannot remember what it was, only that it sounded like a topical HGH product.

Then what happened? The practice got too widespread to escape the attention of reporters who fed on stories of wrongdoing. Baseball leaders were soon pressured to publicly comment on the growing reports of illegal use of steroids by some of the biggest stars in the game. And baseball leaders responded as they often do under public pressure. They responded as Captain Renault did in “Casablanca” when he was ordered by the Nazis to shut down Rick’s Casino. When asked by Rick for his reasons, Captain Renault answered, “I’m shocked – shocked to find that gambling is going on here.” About the same time, a casino employee shows up with a handful of chips that he wants to deliver to the Free French police captain.

“Your winnings, sir!” says the casino employee.

“Oh, thank you very much!” says Captain Renault, as he quickly places the chips in his side jacket pocket.

That’s precisely how it struck me at the time. Baseball seemed to be feigning shock for a problem they had to have known was going on when McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds took the home run record into the stratosphere a few years earlier.

The players hadn’t changed. The owners had changed, at least, superficially. They did it under the force of public articles that were starting to surface about the use steroids in baseball. The leaders of the game could no longer practice denial in that other direction. Once they got past the public media rattles over Bonds, McGwire, Palmiero, Clemens, and, finally, Alex Rodriguez, baseball simply revealed that they had not really changed at all – they simply changed the direction of their preferred public position:

Before public exposure of the HGH issue, baseball simply pretended it did not exist. After its media exposure, baseball had to do some public saber-rattling as a goodwill gesture approach to the idea of problem-solving. By the time the problem fell from much public attention, baseball had installed some more stringent player use testing measures and penalties, but was left with the unfinished business of what to do with the suspected abusers during the HGH halcyon abuse days.

Baseball simply went to its always easiest card. Whereas, before the media blast, baseball had pretended the problem did not exist, they now pretend that all high profile suspects no longer exist.  Baseball may not see it that way, but psychologically, that is exactly what MLB is doing.

Under this plan of action, players like Roger Clemens will not be banned from baseball, but it is unlikely that he or any other highly suspected high achievers will be admitted to the Hall of Fame because of what was never proven or disproven. We are hoping that Jeff Bagwell will prove us wrong in the 2017 Hall of Fame, but if Bagwell does, it will only be cause all that MLB has on him is that he had the arms of Popeye during his latter playing years.

As for the recognition that people like Clemens deserve, they will show up on lists like the table we’ve prepared for this article, but that’s about it.


 eagle-0range Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas





One Response to “The MLB 300 Wins Club and Roger Clemens”

  1. Rick B. Says:

    It’s the Hall of Fame voters who are acting as judge and jury over all of the players from the PED Era even more so than MLB itself. After all, McGwire has been a hitting coach for years, Clemens regained his job as a special assistant to the Astros’ GM and was inducted into the Red Sox HoF in 2014, and even Bonds is back as the Marlins’ hitting coach. Baseball itself gradually relents, as well it should in light of its hypocrisy that you pointed out in this post.

    What’s absurd is that players are being kept out of the Hall over PED use, real or suspected, even when they were among the best of their era. In the case of Clemens and Bonds, it’s a no-brainer that they were two of the best even before either was accused of using PEDs. If the voters feel that a player was a borderline HoFer and don’t want to vote for him, that’s fine. I don’t think McGwire was a HoFer, but that’s not based on his steroid use. He was just another Dave Kingman as far as I’m concerned – a guy who homered, singled, or struck out and struggled just to bat his weight. Roger Maris didn’t get into the Hall just for breaking Babe Ruth’s record and McGwire doesn’t belong in for breaking Maris’ record.

    On another (but related) note, I find it interesting that little is said about players who did not use PEDs but also did not speak out against the prevalence of PED use. Such players often complain that they are now held guilty by association, which is something they should have thought about when, in essence, they abeted their teammates’ use of PEDs. I remember reading an article about former Texas Rangers starting pitcher Rick Helling, who was one of the extremely few players to speak out about PED use and to condemn it as it was happening, and he became a pariah among his fellow players. All of the non-PED users should have united behind him, but that clearly was not the case, so an argument can be made that all of the players have contributed to their own post-baseball fates, whatever those may be.

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