The legacy of New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom will be about what he achieves and the awards he wins far more than the numbers on the back of his baseball card.
Now a two-time Cy Young Award winner in back-to-back seasons, New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom has done more than many men have or ever will. As impressive as his numbers are, they’re not the legacy deGrom will leave when he does hang up his cleats—hopefully, many years from now.
Because of deGrom’s late start, he’s behind others in just about any statistic you can rattle off. Only the non-accumulative ones give deGrom an advantage, such as his lifetime ERA which is among one of the greatest of all-time.
I won’t talk Hall of Fame for deGrom. Getting there would take more fantastic years and a change in the way voters think about what makes a pitcher Cooperstown quality.
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However, it’s not too early to talk about the legacy deGrom will leave in New York and Major League Baseball as a whole. And although we live in a time where everything is a statistic, accomplishments like winning Cy Youngs still carry more weight than finishing a career with 150 wins.
deGrom is a prime example. His ability to win the league’s best pitcher award with a record barely above .500 shows how our perception of numbers is changing.
This doesn’t mean deGrom is unable to leave a beautiful baseball corpse when he retires. The more awards he has, the more memorable his career will be.
deGrom has the individual achievements in the regular season. There’s not much more he can do than add to his Cy Young collection. Getting to the postseason and adding a ring to his hardware is surely next up on the agenda.
From a Mets perspective, deGrom is an all-time great already. Looking at him as an outsider, I’m not so sure his dominance will last nearly as long. deGrom needs to achieve more on the national stage and that begins with winning a World Series. If he’s able to add a postseason MVP honor on the path, the legend will grow even further.
For MLB pitchers, it has rarely been about specific numbers. In a pitcher’s career, the only milestone that seemed to capture our attention was 300 wins. Offensive players have always had many more totals to look at such as 500 home runs, 3000 hits, and a lifetime average of .300.
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At 31-years-old, we can hope for another excellent decade from deGrom where the awards and accomplishments matter much more than any one single number.