Stephen Strasburg is 15-6 and has pitched in 28 games this season.
In 1913, when he was around the same age, Walter Johnson went 36-7 in 48 games.
In 1914, he went 28-18 in 51 games.
When the Senators won the World Series in 1924, Johnson went 23-7 and pitched 38 games, despite being 13 years older than Strasburg is today.
Washington hasn’t had postseason baseball in 80 years. Would one game really do in Strasburg?
I say no, but maybe the Washington Nationals are right. After all, Walter Johnson’s career was effectively ended with one pitch and a ball hit by my grandfather. It was 1927, and while Johnson was 40 years old, he hoped to have one more good season in him. During a spring training game, Johnson pitched a ball to my grandfather, who drove a shot right back at the mound, hitting Johnson’s left ankle. Johnson collapsed. He eventually returned to the team, but he had a mediocre year and was released at the end of the season.
He was 40, with an injury, and had already spent 20 years in the major leagues.
But he played. Right to the end, he played.
Mark Judge is the author of A Tremor of Bliss: Sex, Catholicism, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.