Tim Wakefield finally captured his 200th career win as the Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. Hours later and thousands of miles away, Mariano Rivera notched his 600th career save by sealing another Yankees victory against the Seattle Mariners.
While there may be little resemblance on the surface between the Boston starter and the Yankees closer, the two actually share much in common.
For starters, both had their careers turned around by learning a new pitch and changing roster spots.
Wakefield was drafted as a first baseman by the Pittsburgh Pirates before learning the knuckler. Similarly, Rivera was a struggling starter whose career turned around when he moved to the bullpen and discovered that he could throw the greatest cutter of all time.
Additionally, both pitchers have staved off old age and continue to produce well into their elder years.
Wakefield, the oldest player in the major leagues, has been one of the most reliable Red Sox pitchers this season at the ripe old age of 45. Likewise, the ageless Rivera continues to dominate hitters while checking in at 41 years old.
Over 100 pitchers in baseball have won at least 200 games and Wakefield now stands among them. On the other hand, only two pitchers have notched 600 career saves: Rivera and longtime Padres closer Trevor Hoffman.
Arguments can be made against the value of wins and saves in this new world full of sabermetrics, but nobody would argue that Wakefield and Rivera have not made an impact on the game of baseball. Both have World Series rings and both accomplished something special on Tuesday night. The question is, which accomplishment do you think is more impressive?
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