Justin Verlander led the majors in complete games with 6 in 2012, giving him a career total of 20 CGs over his 8 seasons pitched. This is not your Grandfather’s pitchers that’s for sure. The complete game may not be dead, but it’s on life support, and there are no donors in sight.
Let’s take a look at how the game has changed regarding pitching, using the complete game as our measure.
The all-time record for complete games in a season is held by the bespectacled Will White. His 75 CGs in 1879 with the Cincinnati Reds will never be touched. The 70 CG total has been reached 6x with Pud Galvin achieving this level twice.
The last pitcher to reach the 60 CG level was Bill Hutchinson, while pitching for the Chicago Colts, when he totaled 67 in 1892.
The last pitcher to reach the 50 CG level was Amos Rusie, when he totaled exactly 50 for the NY Giants in 1893. Not surprisingly no one since the 19th Century has reached this level.
The 20th Century record belongs to Jack Chesbro. His 48 CGs in 1904 while pitching for the New York Highlanders will definitely stand the test of time.
The last pitcher to reach the 40 CG level was Ed Walsh when he amassed 42 CGs in 1908 for the Chicago White Sox.
The last left handed pitcher to have 30 CGs was Steve Carlton in 1972. Just for reference, Babe Ruth had 35 CGs in 1917.
So, who was the last pitcher to reach the 30 CG level?
-It happened after 1972
-He was an American League pitcher.
- He once threw a perfect game.
Yep, Catfish Hunter had exactly 30 CGs in 1975 pitching for the NY Yankees.
And last but not least, who was the last pitcher to reach the 20 CG level?
-He did this in his only 20 win season
-He led the NL 3x in CGs.
-He was a Rookie of the Year
Yep, El Toro, Fernando Valenzuela was the last pitcher to reach this level, his 20 CGs in 1986 with the Dodgers will never be reached again. A bold prediction on my part for sure.