Why ’42’ Wainwright’s 200 wins are priceless…and the next guy is nowhere in sight

122nd in MLB history
5th among active players
Reached the milestone with a two-game winning streak after a 10-game losing streak

St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright (42) earned his 200th career win. He is the 122nd player in Major League Baseball history and the fifth active pitcher.

Wainwright started the Cardinals’ home game against Milwaukee on April 19 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, and pitched seven innings of four-hit ball with two walks and three strikeouts in a 1-0 victory. It was his fifth win of the season (11-0) and his 200th career victory.

In fact, 200 wins in the big leagues is not a rare accomplishment, as a total of 122 players have reached the milestone. There was a time when 300 wins was the threshold for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. But in the modern game of baseball, where starters pitch fewer innings and bullpens are more prevalent, the value of 200 wins is more than just a record. In addition, the number of pitchers who are able to go the distance is noticeably decreasing due to their physical durability.

“Given recent trends in baseball, such as shorter starting pitcher lifespans and more hard-throwing bullpen arms, Wainwright’s 200 wins are a rarity that won’t be seen for a while,” MLB.com wrote.

Looking at the remaining active players’ win totals, it’s unlikely we’ll see another 200-win season for a while. Cole Hamels (40 years old, 163 wins) and Johnny Cueto (37 wins, 144 losses) are the closest candidates to 200 wins, but their age and skill level make it difficult. Gerrit Cole (33-143) is the next best bet. Justin Verlander (Houston – 255 wins), Zack Greinke (Kansas City – 224 wins), Max Scherzer (Texas – 214 wins), and Clayton Kershaw (LA Dodgers -209 wins) are the only active pitchers to reach 200 wins before Wainwright.

This is even more dramatic given Wainwright’s performance this season, when he was just five wins away from 200. In 20 starts prior to today, he had just four wins and a 7.40 ERA. Most notably, after his 198th career win against the New York Mets in June, he went the next 11 games without a win and lost 10 of them. He was four starts away from retirement and should have won two with back and elbow pain, which makes his 200th win all the more dramatic and emotional.

When Wainwright reached 200 wins, the St. Louis players on the field cheered and the home fans gave him a standing ovation. The words “200 WINS” were displayed on the Bush Stadium scoreboard alongside Wainwright’s picture.메이저사이트

After the game, Wainwright said, “I kept trying to make this moment better than the 2006 Championship Series, but it wasn’t easy. At the end of the day, I was gasping for air and had tears in my eyes.” Wainwright, who was also dealing with his worst outing of the season and a sore elbow, said, “For one night, at least, I was a real pitcher, which is what I’ve always wanted to be. I’ve struggled more this year than I’ve ever struggled in my career, so it’s even more meaningful tonight to get it done.”

Wainwright made his big league debut with St. Louis in 2005. He wore St. Louis’ red for 19 years until this year. He led the National League in wins in 2009 and 2013. He also reached the 20-win plateau twice (2010-2014) and led the team to a World Series title in 2006. His three-pitch strikeout of Beltran with one out in Game 7 of that year’s National League Championship Series is still talked about. Wainwright’s career record is 200-128 with a 3.53 ERA in 478 games.