Last night Justin Verlander won his 24th game of the season and with two or possibly three more starts left in the regular season we are watching history here.  With his 24th win, be becomes the first person to do that since Randy Johnson in 2002 (who also had 24).  If he hits 25 wins, he would be the first to do that since Bob Welch put up 27 in 1990.

From a historical perspective, he is certainly having a season to remember.  Also he is now in some very elite company.  I don’t want to jinx him, but in his short career, he has already amassed over 100 wins (107) and he is only 28.  Over the past three seasons he has racked up 726 strikeouts and 61 wins, that alone puts him in some rarefied air.  His performance this season reminds a lot of people of Roger Clemen’s 1986 season where he went 24-4 with 238 strikeouts in 254 innings pitched.  This year Justin is 24-5 with 238 strikeouts in 238 innings.

As a child of the 70s there have been three pitcher’s seasons that have always stood out for me.  Ron Guidry’s 25-3 season of 1978, Roger Clemen’s 1986 season and now Justin Verlander’s 2011 season.  I’m sure there have been a lot of other great seasons along the way, but these three will be etched in my memory.  Verlander actually reminds me of Clemens and Halliday when they were his age.  A dominant force that seems to dictate how a game flows.  A real game changer.

If I had to project out Verlander’s career from here, I would say he has a shot at between 200 – 215 wins, and could very well be a 3000+ strikeout pitcher.  In this day and age, that would probably mean entry into the Hall of Fame.  As for Verlander’s cards, they have gone up significantly since the season started.  Before the season started I picked up a 2006 Sweet Spot signed ball for $15.  That same card now will run you $45 – $50.  In fact most of his autographs are going to set you back between $30 – $100.  I think they are a bit high right now based on the incredible season he is having, but if this continues through next season, it might be on the low side.


3 responses »

  1. Mike D says:

    In that time frame that you gave between Guidry and Verlander, there have been a couple others of note to add in there.
    Dwight Gooden in 1985 was a beast for the Mets, going 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA and 268 Ks.
    Greg Maddux in 1995 during the Braves run was 19-2 with a 1.63 earnie and 181 Ks.
    Pedro Martinez in 1999 was almost unhittable, going 23-4 with 313 Ks and a 2.07 ERA.
    Randy Johnson’s run in the late 90s and 2000s was as dominant as anyone ever, notable in 2001 and 2002 he combined to go 45-11 with a 2.49 ERA in 01 and 2.32 in 02 with a whopping 706 Ks. That’s insane.
    While Verlander is going gonzo this year, I don’t quite put him in the same loop as Maddux, Johnson and Martinez. Gooden had incredible run with the Mets before the coke got too intense.
    I would say, though, that Verlander and Halladay (and maybe CC Sabathia) may very well be this new generations workhorse pitchers like we looked to Maddux, Martinez and Johnson in the 90s.

    • chuckneo says:

      Agree on Gooden in 1985 and Pedro in 1999. I think of Gooden’s season as the standard for any other – 24-4, just like Clemens, but he struck out more guys and had a much lower, and completely ridiculous ERA – 1.53! Pedro’s season isn’t quite as memorable to me – but considering he did it in 1999, the beginning of the peak of the steroid / small-park era, his season may actually be even more impressive.

      Verlander’s season is really impressive – I think he should be the MVP. It takes a lot in my mind for a pitcher to be the MVP, but he’s done it, and there isn’t any hitter having a run-away season either. For my money, Gooden certainly deserved the 1985 MVP over Willie McGee.

  2. Dave H says:

    Being a huge Tigers fan but not a baseball card collector it kinda is bittersweet. I love that the Tigers clinched their first Division title since 87 but I also want to get a Verlander auto and since I have no cards for TTMs, I am going to have to pay through the nose for an auto that I could have bought on the cheap earlier in the year.

    Mayve I can trade a hockey auto for a baseball one and save the money….

    Glad to see him get some love on your site, you are certainly right it is an amazing season and the last few starts he has just been even better. He started the year 2-3 which makes 24-5 that much more amazing. Fister is another that has been heating up lately…here is hoping the Tigers do their PFP’s this time around!

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