Categorical leaders for the aughts, plus my All-Decade Team (cont.)
Akin to Jack Morris' calling card as the winningest pitcher of the 1980s, Pettitte's title as winningest pitcher of the aughts will be mentioned often come the day he appears on a Hall of Fame ballot. What does it mean? Not a whole lot.
Fun fact: Pettitte threw only 11 complete games in the decade and just three shutouts -- the same output Morris had in 1990 alone.
With a minimum of 1,000 innings, old school guys Martinez, John Smoltz, Johnson and Roger Clemens take four of the top eight spots while pitching into their late 30s or later.
1. Johnson (2,176)
Think how impressive that is for the Big Unit: at ages 36 through 45 he was the best strikeout pitcher of the decade by a wide margin.
Fun fact: Six of the top 11 strikeout pitchers pitched for the Yankees at some point in the decade: Johnson, Vazquez, CC Sabathia, Mike Mussina, Pettitte and A.J. Burnett.
1. Hernandez (2,179)
What's the value of an innings eater? Livan Hernandez was basically a .500 pitcher (128-122), never received a vote in Cy Young Award balloting, led the league four times in most hits allowed and twice in earned runs allowed, lost the most games in the aughts, but collected $46 million because he stayed healthy and kept taking the ball.
You were expecting somebody else?
1. Weathers (704)
What a career for Weathers, who turns 40 this month. The guy has been pitching for 19 years and is closing in on 1,000 career games, yet he has never made an All-Star team and spent most of his career neither starting nor finishing games.
Fun fact: Of the 21 players ever to appear in 900 games, Weathers has the fewest combined wins and saves (147).
Hard to believe the 2002 Cy Young Award winner is so far ahead of the rest of the pitchers, and that he hasn't received a single Cy vote in the years since he won it.
Fun fact: Zito's career ERA was 3.04 after the 2002 season. It has gone up every year since, now swollen to 3.83.
All-Star Team of the Decade
If you want to get a little understanding of the Latin American influence upon the game in the aughts, check out this All-Decade Team:
C: Jorge Posada
Player of the Decade: Albert Pujols
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