Is Glavine the last of a dying breed?

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Chris Ruddick Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Tom Glavine closed out one of the most memorable milestone weekends in recent history, with a feat that may not be seen again for a very long time.

Glavine became the 23rd pitcher and just the fifth left-hander in major league history to reach 300 wins on Sunday at Wrigley Field, and there is a good chance that he may be the last player of this or any other generation to reach the plateau.

Only the 11th pitcher in the last 60 years and just the fourth since 1990 to reach the milestone, Glavine held the Chicago Cubs to just two runs and six hits over 6 1/3 innings in an 8-3 Mets' win.

Unlike last week in Milwaukee, New York's bullpen came through, as it secured the 41-year-old hurler's fifth win in his last six decisions, making him the first pitcher to reach the magical number since his former teammate and good friend Greg Maddux won his 300th game in 2004 while with the Cubs.

Glavine's consistency over the years has been incredible. It took him about eight seasons to get to 100, seven to get to 200, and eight to get to 300. Plus, he was a 20 game-winner five times (another of the dying breeds by the way) while accumulating 17 double-digit win seasons.

Now the question is, will Glavine be the last to do it?

Arizona left-hander Randy Johnson has 284 victories, but his season was recently cut short due to back surgery and at the age of 43, his career could very well be over.

Of the other active pitchers with 200 wins, 300 is pretty much out of reach. Mike Mussina has 246 wins at the age of 38, but watching him pitch this season, you are not going to find anyone who thinks there are another 54 victories left in that right arm.

Pedro Martinez is the youngest of the active 200-game winners, but who knows how much he has left in the tank at age 35, not to mention that he has still yet to return from offseason shoulder surgery. Even if he is the pitcher he once was, he still has nearly 100 wins to go before he reaches 300.

Most people agree that either Johan Santana or Carlos Zambrano are the best pitchers in baseball today. Santana has 89 wins at age 28, and the Big Z has racked up 78 victories at the age of 26. Glavine had 95 wins before he turned 29, but can you see Zambrano pitching into his 40's like Glavine? Me neither.

Santana is a free agent after next season, and he will likely end up with a team that is a perennial playoff contender. So double-digit win seasons won't be out of the question for him. Think about it, though. If he pitches another 12 years, until the age of 40, he would still have to average close to 18 wins a season in that time.

I guess it's possible, I just don't like the chances, since he has only reached that number twice (20 - 2003, 19 - 2006) in his career and probably won't come close to it this season.

Not to mention the injury factor. Pitchers are always one start away from having to go under the knife. Santana has been pretty durable over the course of his career, but who knows what the future holds for him? If you remember, Ken Griffey Jr. was a "lock" to challenge Hank Aaron's home run record way back when too.

Taking everything into consideration, the player with the best shot to get there is probably Cleveland Indians' ace C.C. Sabathia, who already has 95 wins at age 26, 22 more than Glavine had at his age.

Sabathia, though, has never struck me as that type of pitcher. I guess you can make the argument he is just entering his prime. He has always had "Cy Young" stuff, but for whatever reason it never translated on the field. Injuries played a part, and his work ethic has been questioned.

Maybe he is finally maturing. Sabathia entered this spring in the best shape of his career, and has been the AL's best pitcher from day one. But can he continue to do it over the next 14 or 15 seasons?

I guess you can never say never, but with the way pitching staffs are assembled and the way the game is played today, starting pitchers just don't rack up the wins like they once did. I hate to say it, but on Sunday night, we may have seen our last 300-game winner.

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Chris Ruddick
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