It’s nothing new even to the casual fan that complete games have taken a drastic dip in the last 15-20 years. But it just occurred to me that statistically, 2009 was a landmark year. With the retirement of Randy Johnson at the end of the year, we no longer will have an active pitcher who has at least 100 career complete games.
Johnson retired at the end of 2009 with 100 complete games on the nose. With his departure, Roy Halladay became the heir of the CG active leader throne. Even at that, Halladay has a ways to go. At this point in the season, Roy has 54 complete games in 13 seasons. If you look to the second man on that list, it’s Livan Hernandez with 48.
Certainly, by the end of 2010, we will end up with a active career leader in complete games under 100 games for the first time in major league history.
If you want a good visual on the decline of complete games through baseball history, Baseball Reference’s Progressive Leaders page might be of help.