Somebody asked me what's your goal, and I said I want to win as many games as I can. So right after that somebody wrote that I wanted to win more than Spahn. But I don't know if I can play 20 years like him. Spahn is a very fortunate man to be around that long.
Suppose you hit a period where your ERA goes up around 3.5 and you're wining 12 and losing 12, something like that, a journeyman everyday pitcher, how would you feel about going on then?
A lot depends on how many years it is from now. If I'm 33 or 34 years old and I feel I can't do the job as well as I'd like to, I'll probably get out. I don't want to be pushed out. It's tough to say you're going to quit when you've had a bad year. It's a lot easier to say it when you've just had your best year.
Well, I'm thinking of some pitchers in recent years who've commanded a fat salary for two or three years after they were washed up just because of their names.
That's what makes it difficult. You sit there and you say to yourself, "Who's gonna pay me this kind of money?"
Nobody's gonna pay you 100 grand to be a radio announcer.
Or whatever it is you're going to do. So when the time comes to make the decision you have to make it. But I don't want to be forced out. I don't want somebody to tell me, "Well, that's it. You're through!" I'd rather walk away when I feel I'm through.
After five or six more years of making the same money you're making now, maybe the money won't be as important to you as your record, and you'd be in a position to walk away after a good year.
Yes, but if it happened next year it'd be an awful tough decision. First of all, if it happened next year, if it looked like I was through, I'm not going to believe it! I'm going to say, "Well, it was just a bad year. Next year I'll be all right." Anyway, every athlete has one bad year somewhere around 30 years of age. I think it's a readjustment, the reflexes slip a little and you have to change. But I don't sit around and worry about the end. I can't get panicky about it, because I know it's got to end. Sooner or later I'll be finished. I would prefer it to be later, but if it's sooner I can't do anything about it. I'm glad I had what I had. Certain things are inevitable. From the day I got into the majors at 191 knew that someday it was going to end.
Looking back on 11 years of it, what do you see?