Six Pitchers Who Became Part of Baseball History and Trivia
Three of the six pitchers made baseball's Hall of Fame, proving that their careers were consistent.
Because of new pitching philosophies, recent years have seen a drop in the annual number of 20 game winners in the major leagues. The following pitchers all set these records in times when starts were more frequent and hurlers went longer innings.
Youngest National League 20 Game Winner Pre-1900
- At the age of 18, rookie John “Monte” Ward won 22 games in 1878 for the Providence Grays. The next two years he won 47 and 39 games. Ward was an all-around player who also excelled in the outfield and infield. He played a total of 17 years (only seven as a pitcher), ending his career with the New York Giants. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1964.
Youngest National League 20 Game Winner in Modern Era
- Dwight Gooden was 20 years old when he compiled a 27-4 record in 1984. It was his second season with the New York Mets. Gooden continued pitching in both the National and American Leagues until 2000, finishing his career with a 194-112 record. The hard throwing right hander had a chance to be one of the all-time greats, but saw his career marred by problems both on and off the field.
Youngest American League 20 Game Winner Pre-1900
- There was no American League before 1900, but there was an American Association which during its brief history was considered a major league. In 1891, William “Willie” McGill compiled a 21-15 record while pitching for the Cincinnati Kelly’s Killers and St. Louis Browns in the Association. He was seventeen at the time and in his second of seven professional seasons. The left-hander had a 72-74 career record.
Youngest American League 20 Game Winner in the Modern Era
- Vida Blue was 22 years and two months old when he finished the 1971 season with a 24-8 record for the Oakland Athletics. It was his first full season in the majors and he won 20 games again in two of the following four years. After that, the left-hander went on to have an up and down, but basically successful, 17 year career with the A’s, San Francisco Giants, and Kansas City Royals.
Oldest National League 20 Game Winner
- Warren Spahn was 42 years old when he won 23 games for the Milwaukee Braves in 1963, making him the oldest 20-game winner in baseball. One of the greatest left-handers of all time, Spahn won a career total of 363 games, all but seven with the Braves’ organization. Had he not served three plus years in the service during World War II, Spahn would likely have been close to or over 400 wins. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1973.
Oldest American League 20 Game Winner
- Cy Young, at the age of 41, won 21 games while pitching for the Boston Red Sox. He almost accomplished the feat again the following year, winning 19 games with the Cleveland Naps (Indians). Young is the epitome of pitching excellence, holding the all-time records for wins (511), innings pitched (7355), games started (815), and complete games (749). In honor of his accomplishments, baseball created the Cy Young Award, along with electing him to the Hall of Fame in 1935.
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