200 Wins 300 HRs

Maybe it's something in the air, the water or the surroundings. Whatever the case, many of the winningest pitchers and top home run hitters in the major leagues since 1920 were born in close proximity to one another
December 27, 2004

Pitchers

The Midwest has been a breeding ground for quality starting pitchers--Ohio in particular, with a high of eight natives in the 200-career-win club. The Ohio contingent includes two 300-game winners: Roger Clemens (328, top right), though a self-proclaimed Texan, was born in Dayton, and Phil Niekro (318) in Blaine. Niekro's younger brother, Joe (221), born a stone's throw from Blaine, in Martins Ferry, is also counted. The Niekros are the winningest siblings in major league history.

A fivesome from Detroit--Hal Newhouser (bottom right), Milt Pappas, Billy Pierce, Frank Tanana and Bob Welch--gives them the most from any city. And now that he's back as a starter, John Smoltz (163 wins, at age 37) has a chance to make it six. In all, Michigan ranks second in 200win club members, with seven. Get used to the look of this map: Other than Smoltz, only Jamie Moyer (192, born in Sellersville, Pa.), Pedro Martinez (182, Dominican Republic) and Kenny Rogers (176, Savannah) are likely to reach the milestone within the next few seasons.

Hawaii's representative is Charlie Hough (216), of Honolulu.

Sluggers

Home runs are baseball's universal language, and it follows that the players who have hit 300 dingers in their major league careers are, by nationality at least, among the sport's most diverse group. Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa, born in San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic, a city previously known for its willowy shortstops, has launched more long balls (574) than any other player from outside the U.S. The 1998 home run derby between Sosa and the St. Louis Cardinals' Mark McGwire (near right, top), who was born in Pomona, Calif., was a titanic-yet-friendly contest that brought together English- and Spanish-speaking fans all rooting to see the fall of Roger Maris's long-standing season record. The quest to break 61 (McGwire wound up with 70, Sosa 66) helped elevate the star power of Latin American players. Sosa's blasting milestone homers in quick succession--No. 300 in 1999, No. 400 in 2001 and No. 500 in '03--moved him to the top of the list of sluggers born outside the 50 States, a roster that was started in 1969 when Ponce, Puerto Rico, native Orlando Cepeda hit his 300th. Since then hitters from Canada (Larry Walker), Cuba (Jose Canseco, Rafael Palmeiro, Tony Perez), Jamaica (Chili Davis), Mexico (Vinny Castilla) and Venezuela (Andres Galarraga) have surpassed 300.

On the map of the U.S. three clusters, corresponding to the game's most prolific sluggers, rise in sharp relief. Hank Aaron (755, bottom left) towers over Mobile, Babe Ruth (714, bottom right) over Baltimore and Barry Bonds (703, top right) over Riverside, Calif. But strung like satellites around them, several other power hitters can be found in oddly close proximity: also in Mobile, Willie McCovey (521); 265 miles to the northeast, in Westfield, Ala., Willie Mays (660); and 150 miles to the west, in Gretna, La., Mel Ott (511). Sudlersville, Md., a mere Ruthian blast from Baltimore, is the birthplace of Jimmie Foxx (534). And Bonds presides over a Southern California clique that includes McGwire (583) and San Diego native Ted Williams (521). From these three nodes come nearly half of the 500-home-run club.

COLOR MAPInternational Mapping   KEY Every pitcher with 200 or more wins is given a dot in his birthplace. The size increases with the number of victories. 400
350
300
350
200 Grover Cleveland Alexander (373)
Walter Johnson (417)
Warren Spahn (363) Canada
Nicaragua
Cuba
Dominican Republic
Netherlands
 
COLOR PHOTOTONY TRIOLO (LOLICH)   MICKEY LOLICH (217) COLOR PHOTOHERB SCHARFMAN (SEAVER)   TOM SEAVER (311) COLOR PHOTORONALD C. MODRA (HOUGH)   CHARLIE HOUGH (216) COLOR PHOTOROBERT BECK (CLEMENS) B/W PHOTOAP (NEWHOUSER) COLOR MAPInternational Mapping   KEY Every player with 200 or more homers is given a dot in his birthplace. The size increases with the number of homers. 700
600
500
400
300 Barry Bonds (703)
Babe Ruth (714)
Hank Aaron (755) Mexico
Venezuela
Cuba
Jamaica
Dominican Republic
Puerto Rico
COLOR PHOTOAP (KILLEBREW)   HARMON KILLEBREW (573) COLOR PHOTORONALD C. MODRA (WINFIELD)   DAVE WINFIELD (465) COLOR PHOTOCHARLES KRUPA/AP (DAVIS)   CHILI DAVIS (350) COLOR PHOTOV.J. LOVERO (MCGWIRE) COLOR PHOTONEIL LEIFER (AARON) COLOR PHOTOJOSE CARLOS FAJARDO/KRT/ABACA (BONDS) B/W PHOTOTRANSCENDENTAL GRAPHICS (RUTH)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)