SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 26: Mike Hampton #21 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields on February 26, 2011in Scottsdale, Arizona.. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Mike Hampton was traded to the Houston Astros in 1994 from the Seattle Mariners along with Mike Felder for Eric Anthony. Hampton became a starter for the Astros the following year and had several good years in the Astros rotation before putting it altogether in 1999. That year Hampton would lead the National League in wins with a 22-4 record. His ERA on the season was an impressive 2.90, and he would have won the Cy Young award that season had it not been for Randy Johnson and his thousand strikeouts that season. Even though wins and losses aren't the best way to judge a pitcher, 20 wins is that magic number that every pitcher shoots for, and it is a great accomplishment to reach that mark. Below is a look at Hampton's feat and his 84.6% winning percentage during the 1999 season.
Hampton's first start of the season was actually anything but impressive as he lasted 3.2 innings while giving up 7 hits and 4 earned runs to take his first loss of the season. The rest of April was kinder to him though and he finished April going 2-1 with 2 no decisions and a 3.98 ERA. This would actually turn out to be his worst month of the year as his ERA was nearly a full run lower in every other month that season.
Hampton cruised through the months of May and June going 8-2 with 2 more no decisions. He won all 4 of his decisions in July, and threw a total of 32 innings in those 4 starts. Two of those games turned out to complete games, and one of them was a four hit shutout. August was a little bit tougher on the lefty, but not in terms of performance as he ended the month with a 2.97 ERA. Instead his offense struggled a little bit and he recorded three no decisions. In those no decisions he threw 7 innings twice and allowed 3 runs both times, and he threw 8 innings once and allowed only one earned run.
At the end of August Hampton was sitting with a 17-3 record. He continued to pitch great during the last month of the season, and only had one start in September where he allowed more than two earned runs in a start. That start was a 3.1 inning stinker in which he allowed 7 earned runs in which earned him his last loss of the year. Overall he went 4-1 on the month with a 2.95 ERA. Hampton won his only start in October to bring his yearly total to 22 wins and 4 losses. Hampton only had one start in the NLDS against the Braves that year, and he went 7 innings and allowed 3 earned runs, which earned him a no decision. The Astros would go on to lose that series 3-1.
Overall Mike Hampton was named an All Star, finished 2nd in Cy Young voting, 21st in MVP voting, and won a Silver Slugger award for his 1999 career year. The rest of the Hampton story has been well told. He was traded to the Mets that offseason, and had another good year with the Mets. He would then hit free agency and signed a lucrative deal with the Rockies where he struggled for two seasons, and was then traded to the Braves. His first year with the Braves was solid, but then the struggles and injuries came. He returned to the Astros in 2009, but by that time there were no traces left of his amazing 22 win season in 1999.