John Autin at High Heat Stats has posted an interesting list of active MLB leaders in pitching categories that will change significantly with the retirement of Tim Wakefield. But what’s most interesting is this note that ends the post, referring to Jamie Moyer and Roy Halladay’s position on top of the active pitcher wins list:
If Moyer doesn’t make it to Opening Day, Halladay’s 188 wins will be the lowest active leading total since 1949, when Bob Feller began the year with 177 wins. No other season in modern history has begun with the active leader having fewer than 190 wins.
Baseball-reference.com’s year-by-year leaderboard lists Bobo Newsom as the active leader in pitching wins in 1949 with 205. However, looking at Newsom’s baseball-reference page, we see that he did not pitch in the major leagues at all in 1949, 1950 or 1951; he was a member of the Washington Senators’ organization, but threw exclusively in the minor leagues those three seasons. He later pitched again in the majors in 1952 and 1953, so technically Newsom was “active” in 1949.
So Autin is correct; 1949 was the last season when the major leagues had an active leader who actually pitched in the majors that year, with fewer than 200 wins.
Of course, if Moyer makes the Rockies’ roster, that all becomes moot, with Moyer’s 267 career wins.