A Wikipedia article terms the major league baseball period from the late 1990s to the early 2000s as the “power age.” According to the article, “Routinely in the late 1990s and early 2000s, baseball players hit 40 or 50 home runs in a season, a feat that was considered rare even in the 1980s. It has become apparent since that at least some of this power surge was a result of players using steroids and other performance enhancing drugs.”
Continuing, “Many modern baseball theorists believe that the need of pitchers to combat the rise in power could lead to a pitching revolution at some point. New pitches — could shift the balance of power back to the defensive side.. Since the 1990s, the changeup has made a resurgence, being thrown masterfully by pitchers such as — Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine — “
Maddux’s mastery of the change resulted in his leading the decade of the 1990s in wins with 176, in earned run average (ERA) with a 2.54 mark, and in innings pitched with 2,394.2. He was third in shutouts for the decade with 23, and tied for sixth in strikeouts (1,764). Maddux pitched for the Chicago Cubs (1990-1992), and the Atlanta Braves the remainder of the decade.
“He was the first pitcher in major league history to win the Cy Young Award,” according to Wilkipedia, “for four consecutive years (1992′”1995), a feat matched only by Randy Johnson (1999′”2002).”
As for Johnson, he led the strikeout parade in the 1990s with 2,538, and shutouts with 25. He was fourth in wins (150) and ERA (3.14). He pitched for the Seattle Mariners from 1990-1998, also the Houston Astros in 1998, and the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1999.
John Wetteland led all relievers during the decade with 295 saves. Wetteland pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1990-1991), the Montreal Expos (1992-1994), the New York Yankees (1995-1996), and the Texas Rangers the rest of the decade.
Tom Glavine, who spent the entire decade with the Atlanta Braves, was second in wins during the decade (164) and innings pitched (2,228), tied for fifth in ERA (3.21), and tied for sixth in shutouts (14).
Glavine teamed up with John Smoltz, who also spent the entire decade with the Braves. Smoltz was fourth in strikeouts (1,893), tied for fifth in wins (143), sixth in innings pitched (2,142.1), and eighth in ERA (3.32).
Roger Clemens was third in wins with 152, second in strikeouts (2,101) and shutouts (24), third in ERA (3.02), and fourth in innings pitched (2,177). During the 1990s, Clemens pitched for the Boston Red Sox (1990-1996), the Toronto Blue Jays (1997-1998), and the New York Yankees (1999).
Allocations of Clemens’ use of steroids, and his denial of use, ultimately led to his being indicted, according to Wilkipedia, “on six felony counts involving perjury, false statements and obstruction of Congress. On August 30 he pleaded not guilty, and a trial date was set for April 5, 2011.”
Depending on the outcome of the trial, the negiative publicity could prevent Clemens from entering the Baseball Hall of Fame, regardless of his winning seven Cy Young Awards, more than any other pitcher.
Kevin Brown was third in innings pitched (2,211.1), tied for fifth in wins (143) and shutouts (16), sixth in ERA (3.25), and eighth in strikeouts (1,581). He began the decade with the Texas Rangers (1990-1994), moved to the Baltimore Orioles in 1995, played for the Florida Marlins in 1996-1997, the San Diego Padres in 1998, and finished the decade with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Brown moved around so much for a number of reasons, including becoming a free agent three times during the decade.
David Cone was third in strikeouts (1,928), tied for fifth in ERA (3.21) and shutouts (16), sixth in wins (141), and ninth in innings pitched (2,017). Cone pitched for the New York Mets (1990-1992), the Blue Jays (1992 1995), the Kansas City Royals (1993-1994), and the New York Yankees for the rest of the decade. Cone was a free agent a few times, but also described himself as a “hired gun,” meaning he was traded to teams that needed a top-flight pitcher for their pennant runs.
Chuck Finley spent the 1990s with the California/Anaheim Angels. He was fifth in strikeouts (1,784), fifth in innings pitched (2,144), and eighth in wins (135).
Finally, Scott Erickson was tied for fifth in shutouts (16), ninth in wins (130), and 10th in innnings pitched (2,013.2). Erickson split the decade with the Minnesota Twins (1990-1995) and the Baltimore Orioles.
Concluding, not only did these pitchers have to fight revved up batters, they lost time (and statistics!) due to a long work stoppage. Wikipedia reports that “The 1994′”95 Major League Baseball (232-day) strike — which lasted from August 12, 1994, to April 2, 1995, led to the cancellation of between 931 and 948 games overall, including the entire 1994 postseason and World Series (these numbers account for the fact that postseason series can be of varying lengths; in addition, 12 other games scheduled to be played prior to August 12, 1994 were canceled for other reasons, mainly weather-related). The cancellation of the 1994 World Series was the first since 1904; meanwhile, Major League Baseball became the first professional sport to lose its entire postseason due to a labor dispute.”
Baseball Digest, (May/June 2010, Vol. 69, No.3).
Major League Baseball History:
Greg Maddux Biography:
Randy Johnson Biography:
John Wetteland Biography:
Roger Clemens Biography:
Tom Glavine Biography:
John Smoltz Biography:
Kevin Brown Biography:
David Cone Biography:
Chuck Finley Biography:
Scott Erikson Biography:
Major League Baseball Strike: