When an athlete reaches a certain milestone, they know that they have made the most out of their career. Whether it be an accomplishment like hitting 500 home runs in your career or tossing your 3,000th strikeout, reaching a milestone means you have had such a successful career that you can now join an elite club of men who completed the same task you did. However, there are some milestones that were a lot easier to reach long ago, but may never be reached again. Here are five milestones that we will likely never see again:
Only 24 men in the history of baseball have reached this milestone. The last pitcher to reach 300 wins was "The Big Unit," future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson. Only four pitchers have reached this milestone since the year 2000, but all four of those pitchers have been pitching since the 80s. Reaching 300 wins used to be a lot easier, especially in the early days of baseball, because teams simply didn't carry nearly as many pitchers. Some guys, like Cy Young, would pitch every day. That explain why Cy Young has 573 career wins. However, pitchers don't play that many games a year anymore. To win 300 games, a pitcher would have to win 15 games a year for 20 seasons, or vice versa. Being that a starting pitcher only gets between 28 and 32 starts a year, it is hard to get such a high win total in one season. For a pitcher to stay dominant for such a long span of time isn't practical like it used to be. Coaches and managers don't let their aces tire themselves out anymore, so it is highly unlikely that a player will ever reach this milestone again. Andy Pettite of the Yankees is closest to reaching this milestone, as he sits on 255 wins, but he would have to pitch at least a few more seasons to get to 300, which is unlikely. CC Sabathia has 200 wins, and at only 33-years-old may have enough left in the tank to make it to 300, but CC doesn't pitch like he used to. Some analysts say that Justin Verlander might make it to 300, but it is hard to imagine that any player can perform at his level long enough to reach this milestone.
300 Strikeouts in a Single Season
300 is a hard number for pitchers to reach in many categories. Only two pitchers have thrown 300 strikeouts in a season since the year 2000. Randy Johnson has done this five times in his career and Curt Schilling three, but only five of those times occurred in this millennium. Justin Verlander has come closest out of all active pitchers, striking out 269 batters in 2009. Time Lincecum made a go at 300 in 2008, and 2009 but ended each season with only 265 and 261 strikeouts, respectively. The reason no pitcher will reach this milestone is because they simply don't get the innings that pitchers used to get. Pitchers used to hit double digits year after year when it came to complete games. Now, a quality start is considered to be a six-inning, three-run performance. Guys max out nowadays at around 230 innings per season, so to throw 300 strikeouts in that many innings would take an insane amount of talent and skill that baseball hasn't seen since Nolan Ryan. Like the 300 wins milestone, this milestone won't be reached simply because of how the game has evolved from the days of old.
100 Stolen Bases in a Single Season
The days of triple digit stolen base totals are long gone. No player has stolen at least 100 bases in a season since Vince Coleman stole 109 bases in 1987. The closest an active player has come to eclipsing this milestone was in 2007 when Jose Reyes stole 78 bases. That ranks him tied for 70th on the all-time single season stolen base record chart. Managers don't play the fundamentals like they used to. Baserunners are told more and more to hold their base, because the manager is worried about players being thrown out, which could ruin a run-scoring opportunity. While there have been guys who are known as stolen base threats (Jose Ryes, Jacoby Ellsbury, Juan Pierre, etc.), they can't reach this milestone because they aren't making their own decisions on the base paths. First and third base coaches tell players when to steal and when not to steal, and no coach gives a player the green light enough to steal 100 bases. Back in the day, players like Lou Brock and Ricky Henderson stole every time they got on base. Whether they were thrown out or safe, they made the attempt, because far more times than not, they were safe. Players aren't given the opportunity to make their own decisions anymore, so this milestone will likely never be reached again.
Hit Above .400 for the Season
This is a milestone I am positive will never be reached again. No player has hit above .400 since 1941, when the great Ted Williams batted .4057 for the season. All of the players who had a season where they eclipsed the .400 mark did so in the late 19th and early 20th century. Back then, pitchers simply weren't as good as they are now. Games were higher scoring and men got on base more. The closest a player has come to the .400 mark in recent memory was when Tony Gwynn batted .3938 in 1994. Gwynn may have only been a little more than six points away, but six points translates into a handful of hits. The closest any active player has come was in 2000 when Todd Helton batted .3724, a task that Nomar Garciaparra also completed in the same year. Pitchers nowadays are just so talented and don't get tired as easily as they used to, due to the depth of a teams' bullpen and the use of a five-man rotation. As of late, players can win batting titles by batting somewhere between .330 and .360, which is ways away from the .400 mark. If a player's has 600 at bats in a season, they would need 240 hits to have a batting average of .400, and I simply don't see that happening.
Get Hit by 30 or More Pitches in a Season
This milestone may not seem as important as the other ones, but getting hit by a pitch is just as good as hitting a single. As recently as 2004, Craig Wilson was hit 30 times in a season. Chase Utley came close to 30 in 2008, but missed the mark by three, ending the season with 27 hit by pitches. Players don't take one for the team like they used to. Guys like Ron Hunt and Craig Biggio were famous for being hit by pitches. They were afraid to turn in or lean over the plate, because they knew the important of getting on base. Now, players are too scared to intentionally get hit by a pitch, and managers and coaches are too afraid to let them. Out of any of the milestones on this list, this one has the best chance of being reached, but in a day and age where trainers take the field if a player stubs his toe, I don't see it happening.
What do you think of this list? Are there any active players that can reach one of these milestones? Are there any other milestones that will never be reached? Share your thoughts. Comment below!