In 1972 a veteran western actor named Ben Johnson won an Oscar for his best supporting role in the iconic coming of age film, The Last Picture Show. He was on screen for 9 minutes and 54 seconds – the shortest ever in taking home the golden statue.
Many conventional thinkers thought it was a travesty – but without a rulebook to abide by, the Academy voters strongly believed that the potency of someone’s performance shouldn’t be measured in time.
Wednesday night at a fired up Citi Field, Mets ace Jacob deGrom gave the voters of Baseball Writers’ Association of America another reason to reconsider the importance of wins and losses and focus on his otherwise stellar stats.
In his final start of a somber season, the rock star righty saved his best for last. Against the NL East leading Atlanta Braves, deGrom tossed eight innings of two hit ball, striking out 10 with nary a walk on 110 pitches, retiring the last 20 batters that he faced.
DeGrom’s 10-9 record does not tell the story of his dominance this season. Since Major League Baseball lowered the mound to it’s current height in 1969, he’s posted the sixth lowest ERA, 1.70, of any qualified pitcher. He’s amassed 269 strikeouts and holds the single-season record for 24 consecutive starts without relinquishing more than three runs.
And how fitting to close out his final game by fanning his last batter to reach 1000 career strikeouts.
So, with the Cy Young Award ballots being submitted next week, the MLB is taking no chances, authenticating deGrom’s hat, jersey and the cleats he donned on his season’s last hurrah.
Come November, may the best man win.