500 wins? 110 shutouts? Never again

MINNEAPOLIS — Earlier this season, we asked the Minnesota Twins hitters which of baseball’s records they felt were the most unbreakable. The two clear-cut answers were Cal Ripken, Jr.’s consecutive games streak of 2,632 and Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak.

This time around, Minnesota’s pitchers were polled on which pitching record they believe will be the toughest to break. There was no overwhelming favorite as with Ripken and DiMaggio’s streaks, but Cy Young’s 511 career wins received the most votes. A look at what Minnesota’s pitchers had to say about some of baseball’s most impressive pitching records:

LHP Brian Duensing: Walter Johnson’s 110 shutouts

“To actually have that many shutouts, it’s ridiculous. It’s so incredibly hard nowadays with all the video and stats and all the stuff that both hitters and pitchers are able to get their hands on. To be able to throw a shutout is hard. That’s one thing that’s going to be really hard to do. … You’ve got so many specified roles in the bullpen also where if it’s a close game and the starter’s got 90 pitches thrown in the sixth or seventh (inning), it’s tough to talk a manager nowadays into keeping you out there to throw 115, 120 pitches.”

LHP Glen Perkins: Cy Young’s 511 wins

“It’s obviously Cy Young, with the wins. I’ll argue against wins all day, but what did he have, 511? That’s never going to happen. … How many games a year did he start? He probably started 50 games a year, and they pitched the whole game. If you win 20 games a year for 20 years, you’re not going to get there. You’re still going to be five years away. And no one’s going to win 20 games a year for 20 years. I think those guys, (Greg) Maddux and Roger Clemens that got to 350, it’s going to get even harder to get to 300 the way things are trending now. That’s really the only one for me as far as pitchers go. … To me, (Johnny Vander Meer’s consecutive no-hitters) isn’t really a record. But as far as something that a guy can accomplish in a career, I think that’s the records that you look at. … Records I think are something that happens throughout a guy’s career or a single season. I don’t see anyone even getting close to (Cy Young’s record) ever.”

RHP Cole De Vries: Cy Young’s 511 wins

“I think it has to be Cy Young’s 511 wins. I don’t know how anyone today is going to break that. Back then, what did they throw, every third day? They threw way more innings. They didn’t have any pitch counts or know anything about that. I just don’t see it. Even today, it’s a pretty big accomplishment in anyone’s career just to get 500 starts, let alone 500 wins. That one has to be the one that sticks out.”

RHP Nick Blackburn: Mariano Rivera’s 603 career saves

“I feel like save records will always be a little bit tougher just because a lot of it depends on the team. The team puts you in position to have enough opportunities to get a save. A good closer is always going to find a winning team.”

LHP Tyler Robertson: Jesse Orosco’s 1,251 games pitched and Orel Hersheiser’s 59 consecutive scoreless innings

“I can think of two off the top of my head. The games pitched by Jesse Orosco, that one, that’s a lot. And the scoreless innings streak will probably never get broken either. A lot of things have to go right for that to happen. (Mets pitcher R.A.) Dickey was absolutely dealing when he had his, and he was still like 20 innings short. … Orosco threw in so many and played for so long. For you to be able to do that, you have to be called up (early). I don’t know how old he was when he made his debut, but I’m guessing around 20 and he pitched for 20 years. Just the longevity of that.”

RHP Anthony Swarzak: Cy Young’s 511 wins

“I think obviously Cy Young’s all-time wins (record) is going to be real hard to beat. I think Nolan Ryan’s seven no-hitters, I think that’ll be pretty hard to beat as well. I don’t think anybody will come close to that. … You’re not getting as many starts now. Back then, (Young) was probably pitching every two or three days and pitching whenever he could, just getting more starts and more opportunities to win games. I feel like nowadays, you’re not going to get as many opportunities to win. You’re lucky to win 300, let alone 500.”

RHP Jeff Manship: Tim Keefe’s season ERA of 0.86

“I’m going to say probably the ERA record. … I think that’s one that’s going to stand for a while. I think one through nine, the hitters, it’s very tough now. People are better prepared, too. I think that’s one of the bigger things is everybody knows what you’re going to throw and they have all this data that breaks down which pitch you’re likely going to throw in a certain count. I think it’s a lot harder for a pitcher to be successful like that every single game. If you have a sub-1.00 ERA, you’re almost flawless. It’s tough to be flawless. Shoot, more power to those guys back in the day that they were able to do that.”

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