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Friday, July 29, 2011
Wakefield set to crash the 200 club

By Jeremy Lundblad
ESPNBoston.com

Almost exactly 19 years to the day of his first win, Tim Wakefield goes for his 200th on Friday.

In all, his first attempt at 200 will come 6,936 days since he won his major-league debut on July 31, 1992. That day, Wakefield pitched a complete game in a 3-2 Pirates win over the Cardinals, in which Barry Bonds hit a two-run blast in the first inning.

Of course, no Wakefield feat can be discussed without mentioning his age. He turns 45 on Aug. 2, and is poised to become the second-oldest pitcher to reach 200 wins, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

In 1930, Jack Quinn was just 26 days shy of his 47th birthday when he reached 200 while pitching for the Philadelphia Athletics. That made him the oldest pitcher to reach 200. Quinn would continue pitching until he was 50, but won only 12 more games after that June day.

Since Quinn, the oldest pitcher to reach 200 wins was Charlie Hough at 44 years and 213 days back in 1992. Following him are Jamie Moyer (42 years, 232 days) and Charlie Root (42 years, 163 days).

Of Wakefield's 199 wins, 185 have come in a Red Sox uniform. That's still seven shy of the Red Sox record of 192 shared by Cy Young and Roger Clemens.

Although no pitcher has won 200 games with the Red Sox, Wakefield won't be the first to win his 200th career game with the franchise. However, neither Young (who did it before) nor Clemens (who did it after) celebrated 200 in Boston.

Only four pitchers have reached 200 while with the franchise, according to Elias. Wakefield is poised to join a pretty impressive group:

Curt Schilling -- May 27, 2006: Schilling had 163 wins when he joined the Red Sox in 2004. He picked up No. 200 in his third season in Boston. Allowing four earned runs, Schilling got some help from the offense in a 6-4 win over the Rays. Kevin Youkilis, leading off and playing left field, went 2-for-3 with three runs. In all, 53 of Schilling's 213 wins came with the Red Sox.

Luis Tiant -- Aug. 16, 1978: It may not be as improbable as Wakefield's journey to 200, but Tiant was himself quite a long shot when the Red Sox signed him in May 1971. He'd already been released by both the Twins and Braves that season, and went 1-7 in his first season in Boston. But the next seven seasons in Boston brought 121 wins, including the 200th of his career in August 1978, in which Tiant outdueled Nolan Ryan for a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

Ferguson Jenkins -- July 27, 1976: The future Hall of Famer already had 191 wins when the Red Sox acquired him from the Rangers for Steve Barr and Juan Beniquez after the 1975 season, so his 200th was virtually a lock to take place with the Red Sox. Of the four pitchers to reach 200 with Boston, his stint, just two seasons, was the shortest. That 200th win was not exactly befitting of his career. Jenkins allowed seven earned runs and 14 hits in seven innings, but still emerged with a win over the Indians.

Lefty Grove -- Aug. 8, 1934: Perhaps the greatest southpaw of all time, Grove won 195 games with the Athletics in his first nine seasons. The Red Sox acquired him in December 1933, but an arm injury limited to just eight wins in 1934. Of course, that was enough to get to 200, which came in his first start against his former team. Ultimately finishing with 105 wins in Boston, Grove totaled exactly 300 wins in his career.