For a 37-day period in 1976, Randy Jones put together a remarkable string of command and control. After walking Steve Ontiveros in the 8th inning on May 17, Jones reeled off 68 consecutive frames without walking a single batter.
When he struck out Darrell Evans in the 7th inning of a tie game on June 22nd, Jones tied Christy Mathewson’s 1913 NL mark of pinpoint control. In the bottom half of the inning, Jones singled and came around to score the winning run.
When Jones’ 3-2 sinker to Giants catcher Marc Hill fell out of the strike zone in the 8th, the streak ended. The Padres hurler stood side-by-side with Matty until Hall of Famer Greg Maddux surpassed the mark in 2001.
In the collection is this lineup card that hung in the Braves dugout during Atlanta’s contest vs. the Houston Astros on August 7, 2001. The game brought Braves starter Greg Maddux into a conversation that included Jones, the mythical Cy Young, a man from Cooperstown’s inaugural class of 1936 in Christy Mathewson, and Hall of Fame hurlers Red Faber and Jack Morris.
Maddux came into the game with 64 1/3 consecutive innings without a walk, just 3 2/3 innings short of the National League record set by Mathewson in 1913 and equaled by Jones in 1976.
In the fourth inning, Maddux passed the two men and made the record his own. The first-ballot Hall of Fame selection extended mark to 72 1/3 innings before issuing an intentionally pass in his next start to Arizona’s Steve Finley to stop the streak.
Today Maddux still holds the Senior Circuit’s mark for consecutive innings without a walk.
By picking up the win in this game, Maddux became the second pitcher in Major League Baseball history to win 15 or more games in at 14 straight seasons, trailing only Cy Young who won at least 15+ for fifteen straight years from 1891-1905.
In each of his next three seasons Maddux continued his winning ways. His 17 consecutive seasons with 15 or more wins is the MLB record. In terms of non-consecutive 15-win seasons, Maddux and Young top the list with 18.
By 2001, Maddux was climbing the career wins leaderboard, passing Hall of Fame pitchers along the way. This game was his 255th victory to push him past White Sox great Red Faber, a 1964 inductee and Cooperstown class of 2018’s Jack Morris.
For aficionados of America’s National Pastime, this Sunday afternoon game of August 7, 2001 highlighted baseball’s timeline, spanning the 1800’s of Cy Young’s career, the Deaball Era of the teens with the great Christy Mathewson, into the 20’s and 30’s when Faber pitched, up through Jack Morris’ heyday of the 1970’s and 80’s and onto the next millennium to the career of Greg Maddux.