Today marks 10,000 days since the birth of one of the game’s brightest young talents, Zack Greinke. He has a losing career record at 60-67, but that’s largely because he spent his entire career with the sad sack (and just plain sad) Kansas City Royals.
While his teammates’ offensive ineptitude is a large chuck of the reason his record is under .500, his miserable 2005—when he sported a 5.80 ERA en route to a 5-17 record—doesn’t help either (Though must clubs wouldn’t have let him amass a full season’s worth of starts, and also played better defense).
Greinke is no longer with the Royals, though; he’s a Brewer. As it happens, this is a franchise which has had very little success finding quality starting pitchers over the years. Their all-time leader in wins is Jim Slaton with 117. Really? Jim Slaton? Sure, Milwaukee’s an expansion team, but after 42 years you’d think they’d have more than Slaton.
Montreal had Steve Rodgers (158 victories). The Royals had Paul Splitorff (166 wins), Dennis Leonard (158) and Mark Gubicza (132). They’ve been around as long as Milwaukee. Thank goodness for the Padres: the fourth 1969 expansion team’s all-time win leader is Eric Show, way down at 100.
Hmm, I guess San Diego’s record brings up a question. Is Milwaukee’s inability to have someone win 118 games over 42 years as bad as it sounds (to my ears, at least) or is it just a product of how long they’ve been around?
Let’s answer that. Here’s the list of most wins for a franchise since 1969, ordered from most to least. This list will be only for the 24 teams who have been around all that time. I’ll toss in paratheses at the end to show how many guys each team has with more victories than Slaton’s 117. Organized by fives to make it easier to read:
249 ATL Tom Glavine (4 in all, others are Phil Niekro, John Smoltz, and Greg Maddux)
245 BAL Jim Palmer (5 in all, others are Mike Mussina, Mike Cuellar, Mike Flanagan, and Scott McGregor)
241 PHI Steve Carlton (1)
199 NYY Andy Pettitte (3 in all, others are Ron Guidry and Mike Mussina)
199 LAD Don Sutton (4 in all, others are Fernando Valenzuela, Orel Hershiser, and Ramon Martinez)
198 DET Jack Morris (3 in all, others are Mickey Lolich and Dan Petry)
192 BOS Roger Clemens (3-4 in all, others are Tim Wakefield and Luis Tiant. Also, with exactly the Slaton number of 117, is Pedro Martinez.)
166 KCR Paul Splitorff (3 in all, others are Dennis Leonard and Mark Gubicza)
166 NYM Tom Seaver (3 in all, others are Dwight Gooden and Jerry Koosman)
165 ANA Charles Finley (2 in all, other is Nolan Ryan)
139 TEX Charlie Hough (2, other is Kenny Rogers)
135 CHC Rick Reuschel (3, others are Greg Maddux and Fergie Jenkins. Carlos Zambrano just misses with 116 wins for them)
129 CLE Charles Nagy (1)
124 PIT John Candelaria (1)
124 OAK Vida Blue (3, others are Dave Stewart and Catfish Hunter)
Milwaukee’s inability to have a 118-game winner is as bad as it sounded. These 24 teams combined to have 50 pitchers win at least 118 wins for them since 1969.
For kicks, here are the leaders for the half-dozen post-1969 expansion teams:
Half of them even top the Brewers. Nice of Johnson to achieve the feat for two of the recent expansion teams. Actually, he’s one of three guys to win over 117 games for multiple teams since 1969. The others are Maddux and Mussina.
Meanwhile, two sets of brothers also made the list: Joe and Phil Niekro, and Ramon and Pedro Martinez (though Pedro “only” tied Slaton with 117 wins for a particular team).
This went off on a bit of a tangent, but regardless, today marks 10,000 days since Zack Greinke’s birthday. Happy day-versary, Zack.