In baseball or softball, a strikeout (or strike-out) occurs when a batter racks up three strikes during a time at bat. It usually means the batter is out. A strikeout is a statistic recorded for both pitchers and batters, and is denoted by K. A strikeout looking is denoted by a Ʞ.
Although a strikeout suggests that the pitcher dominated the batter, the free-swinging style that generates home runs also leaves batters susceptible to striking out. Some of the greatest home run hitters of all time — such as Alex Rodriguez, Reggie Jackson, and Sammy Sosa — were notorious for striking out.
A pitched ball is ruled a ball by the umpire if the batter did not swing at it and, in that umpire's judgement, it does not pass through the strike zone. Any pitch at which the batter swings unsuccessfully or, that in that umpire's judgement passes through the strike zone, is ruled a strike. Each ball and strike affects the count, which is incremented for each pitched ball with the exception of a foul ball on any count with two strikes. That is, a third strike may only occur by the batter swinging and missing at a pitched ball, or the pitched ball being ruled a strike by the umpire with no swing by the batter. A pitched ball that is struck by the batter with the bat on any count, and is not a foul ball or foul tip, is in play. A batter may also strike out by bunting, even if the ball is hit into foul territory.
A pitcher receives credit for (and a batter is charged with) a strikeout on any third strike, but a batter is out only if one of the following is true:
Thus, it is possible for a batter to strike out, but still become a runner and reach base safely if the catcher is unable to catch the third strike cleanly, and he then does not either tag out the batter or force him out at first base. In Japan, this is called furinige (振り逃げ), or "swing and escape". In Major League Baseball, it is known as an uncaught third strike. When this happens, a strikeout is recorded for both the pitcher and the batter, but no out is recorded. Because of this, a pitcher may occasionally be able to record more than three strikeouts in one half-inning.
It is also possible for a strikeout to result in a fielder's choice. With the bases loaded and two strikes with two outs, the catcher drops the ball or catches it on the bounce. The batter-runner is obliged to run for first base and other base-runners are obliged to attempt to advance one base. Should the catcher field the ball and step on home plate before the runner from third base can score, then the runner from third base is forced out.
In baseball scorekeeping, a swinging strikeout is recorded as a K, or a K-S. A strikeout looking (where the batter does not swing at a pitch that the umpire then calls strike three) is often scored with a backwards K, and sometimes as a K-L, CK, or Kc (the 'c' for 'called' strike). Despite the scorekeeping custom of using "K" for strikeout, "SO" is the official abbreviation used by Major League Baseball.
"K" is still commonly used by fans and enthusiasts for purposes other than official record-keeping. One baseball ritual involves fans attaching a succession of small "K" signs to the nearest railing, one added for every strikeout notched by the home team's pitcher, following a tradition started by New York Mets fans in honor of "Dr. K", Dwight Gooden. The "K" may be placed backwards in cases where the batter strikes out looking, just as it would appear on a scorecard. Virtually every televised display of a high-strikeout major league game will include a shot of a fan's strikeout display, and if the pitcher continues to strike out batters, the display may be shown following every strikeout.
The use of "K" for a strikeout was invented by Henry Chadwick, a newspaper journalist who is widely credited as the originator of the box score and the baseball scorecard. As is true in much of baseball, both the box score and scorecard remain largely unchanged to this day. Chadwick decided to use "K", the last letter in "struck", since the letter "S" was used for "sacrifice." Chadwick was responsible for several other scorekeeping conventions, including the use of numbers to designate player positions.
Those unaware of Chadwick's contributions have speculated that "K" was derived from the last name of 19th century pitcher Matt Kilroy. If not for the evidence supporting Chadwick's earlier use of "K", this explanation would be reasonable. Kilroy raised the prominence of the strikeout, setting an all-time single-season record of 513 strikeouts in 1886, only two years after overhand pitching was permitted. His record, however, is limited to its era since the pitcher's mound was only 50 feet (15 m) from the batter during that season. It was moved to its current distance of 60'6" in 1893. The modern record (1901–present) is 383 strikeouts, held by Nolan Ryan, one better than Sandy Koufax's 382.
For 55 years, Walter Johnson held the career strikeout record, at 3,508. That record fell in 1982 to Nolan Ryan, who was then passed by Steve Carlton, before Ryan took the career strikeout record for good at 5,714.
Early rules stated that "three balls being struck at and missed and the last one caught, is a hand-out; if not caught is considered fair, and the striker bound to run." The modern rule has changed very little. The addition of the called strike came in 1858.
In 1880, the rules were changed to specify that a third strike had to be caught on the fly. A later adjustment to the dropped third strike rule specified that a batter is automatically out when there are fewer than two out and a runner on first base. In 1887, the number of strikes for an out was changed to four, but it was promptly changed back to three the next season.
A swinging strikeout is often called a whiff, while a batter who is struck out by a fastball is often said to have been blown away. A batter who strikes out on a swung third strike is said to have fanned (as in a fanning motion), whereas if he takes a called third strike it is called a punchout (describing the plate umpire's dramatic punching motion on a called third strike). However, sometimes these words are used as general synonyms for a strikeout, irrespective of whether it was swinging or looking. The announcer Ernie Harwell called a batter who took a called third strike, usually on the other team, "out for excessive window-shopping" or having "stood like the house by the side of the road".
On a called third strike, it is said that the batter was caught looking, or that he looked at a strike. Typically, a called third strike can be somewhat more embarrassing for a batter, as it shows that he was either fooled by the pitcher or, even worse, had a moment of hesitation.
For example, Carlos Beltrán was caught looking at strike 3 to end the 2006 NLCS, and the season, for the New York Mets. Sports commentators have also been known to refer to it as browsing if the batter did not move his bat at all.
A pitcher is said to strike out the side when he retires all three batters in a half-inning by striking them out. This term is also used when all three outs were caused by strike outs, regardless of how other batters in the inning fared. If a pitcher strikes out three batters on nine pitches, he is said to have pitched an immaculate inning. A batter that takes the third strike looking, especially on a breaking pitch like a slider or a curveball that appears to be out of the strike zone but drops in before he can get the bat off his shoulders, can be said to have been frozen.
In slang, when a batter strikes out three times in a game, he is said to have completed a hat trick. If he strikes out four times, it is called a golden sombrero. He receives a platinum sombrero if he strikes out five times, and this dishonor is also known as the Olympic Rings.
Striking out six times is a rare occurrence, which in the history of major league play has only occurred in games that went to extra innings, with Sam Horn of the Baltimore Orioles being one of the few to do this. The slugger's then-teammate, pitcher Mike Flanagan, told reporters after that 1991 event that six strikeouts would thereafter be known as a Horn. He added that if anyone ever strikes out seven times in one game, it will be a Horn of Plenty.
Some pitchers who specialize in strikeouts have acquired nicknames including the letter "K." Dwight Gooden was known as "Doctor K" (back-referencing basketball star Julius Erving a.k.a. "Dr. J"). Francisco Rodríguez is known as "K-Rod." Roger Clemens has taken the "K" name to an extreme by naming his four sons Koby, Kory, Kacy, and Kody. Tim Lincecum is nicknamed "The Say 'K' Kid", referencing former Giants player Willie Mays who was called "The Say Hey Kid." Daisuke Matsuzaka is known as "Dice-K", a term which was used as a pronunciation guide for his name when he first arrived in MLB.
Hall of Fame strikeout artist Sandy Koufax of the Los Angeles Dodgers coincidentally has a last name starting with "K", and in his call of the pitcher's perfect game in 1965, Dodgers announcer Vin Scully commented that Koufax's name "will always remind you of strikeouts".
If a third strike is not caught cleanly by the catcher, it is still recorded as a strikeout for both the pitcher and the batter, but the batter is not out but becomes a runner, and the play is still alive. (This is not true when first base is occupied and there are fewer than two outs; see Uncaught third strike.) The batter-runner may occupy first base unless the defense tags him out or throws him out. Therefore, a pitcher can achieve more than three strikeouts in one standard half-inning.
Prior to 1960, the event occurred only eight times. The first Major League player to be credited with the feat was Ed "Cannonball" Crane of the New York Giants on October 4, 1888. It has occurred in Major League Baseball 76 times. Chuck Finley accomplished the feat on May 12 and August 15, 1999, with the Anaheim Angels and again on April 16, 2000, with the Cleveland Indians. Pete Richert of the Los Angeles Dodgers is the only pitcher to do it in his MLB debut (April 12, 1962, against the Cincinnati Reds). Steve Delabar struck out 4 men in the 10th inning, and recorded the win in a 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on August 13, 2012, making him the first pitcher in major league history to record four strikeouts in an extra inning.
For a list of pitchers who have achieved more than three strikeouts in an inning, including the most recent pitcher to do so, see List of Major League Baseball single-inning strikeout leaders.
Five strikeouts in one inning has never occurred in a regulation Major League Baseball game. It has occurred at least three times at the minor league level. Mike Schultz of the Lancaster JetHawks struck out five batters in one inning on July 16, 2004, and Garrett Bauer of the Rockford RiverHawks struck out five batters in one inning on July 1, 2008. That such has never happened in Major League play reflects the rarity of a pitcher that has gotten a strikeout with an uncaught third strike, but also that,
Houston Astros pitcher Joe Niekro struck out five Minnesota Twins batters in the first inning of an exhibition spring training game, April 7, 1976 at New Orleans. Niekro's catcher, Cliff Johnson, was charged with five passed balls in the inning. Exhibition games are not recorded in official statistics.
|Nolan Ryan||383||1973||California Angels||AL||8|
|Sandy Koufax||382||1965||Los Angeles Dodgers||NL||9|
|Randy Johnson||372||2001||Arizona Diamondbacks||NL||11|
|Nolan Ryan||367||1974||California Angels||AL||14|
|Randy Johnson||364||1999||Arizona Diamondbacks||NL||15|
|Rube Waddell||349||1904||Philadelphia Athletics||AL||18|
|Bob Feller||348||1946||Cleveland Indians||AL||19|
|Randy Johnson||347||2000||Arizona Diamondbacks||NL||20|
|Nolan Ryan||341||1977||California Angels||AL||25|
|Randy Johnson||334||2002||Arizona Diamondbacks||NL||30|
|Matt Kilroy||513||1886||Baltimore Orioles||AA||1|
|Toad Ramsey||499||1886||Louisville Colonels||AA||2|
|Hugh Daily||483||1884||Chicago Browns/Pittsburgh Stogies/Washington Nationals||UA||3|
|Dupee Shaw||451||1884||Detroit Wolverines/Boston Reds||NL/UA||4|
|Old Hoss Radbourn||441||1884||Providence Grays||NL||5|
|Charlie Buffington||417||1884||Boston Beaneaters||Da||6|
|Guy Hecker||385||1884||Louisville Eclipse||AA||7|
|Nolan Ryan||383||1973||California Angels||AL||8|
|Sandy Koufax||382||1965||Los Angeles Dodgers||NL||9|
|Bill Sweeney||374||1884||Baltimore Monumentals||UA||10|
Progression of major league strikeout record for one nine-inning game, regular season (partial listing):
Progression of strikeout record for one game, World Series:
Progression of major league strikeout record for a relief pitcher, regular season (partial listing):
The top 15 Major League Baseball career strikeout leaders (as of completion of the 2018 Major League Baseball season):
Active batters with over 1,400 K's (as of completion of the 2017 Major League Baseball season):
Single season strikeout records (batters):
|Mark Reynolds||Arizona Diamondbacks||223||2009|
|Adam Dunn||Chicago White Sox||222||2012|
|Chris Davis||Baltimore Orioles||219||2016|
|Yoan Moncada||Chicago White Sox||217||2018|
|Chris Carter||Houston Astros||212||2013|
|Mark Reynolds||Arizona Diamondbacks||211||2010|
|Giancarlo Stanton||New York Yankees||211||2018|
|Chris Davis||Baltimore Orioles||208||2015|
|Aaron Judge||New York Yankees||208||2017|
|Joey Gallo||Texas Rangers||207||2018|
Progression of record for total strikeouts by both teams in one game (partial listing):
In Major League Baseball (MLB), the 3,000 strikeout club is the group of pitchers who have struck out 3,000 or more batters in their careers. Walter Johnson was the first to reach 3,000, doing so in 1923, and was the only pitcher at this milestone for 50 years until Bob Gibson recorded his 3,000th strikeout in 1974. In total, 16 pitchers have reached 3,000 strikeouts with John Smoltz, the most recent club member, joining in 2008. Steve Carlton and Randy Johnson are the only left-handed pitchers in this group. Randy Johnson was the quickest pitcher to 3,000 strikeouts, taking fewer games pitched or innings pitched than any other pitcher. César Gerónimo is the only player struck out by two different pitchers for their 3,000th strikeout, first by Gibson in 1974 and then Nolan Ryan in 1980. The Chicago Cubs are one of two franchises to see multiple pitchers record their 3,000th strikeout on their roster, first Ferguson Jenkins in 1982 and then Greg Maddux in 2005. The Minnesota Twins also had two pitchers reach the milestone with their team – Walter Johnson joined the club while the franchise was called the Washington Senators, then Bert Blyleven joined in 1986 with the team in Minnesota. Ten 3,000 strikeout pitchers are also members of the 300 win club. Seven pitchers from this club were named amongst the one hundred greatest players in MLB history as part of the All-Century Team, four of whom were eventually voted as starters for the team by fan vote.Membership in the 3,000 strikeout club is often described as a guarantee of eventual entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Randy Johnson, Pedro Martínez, and John Smoltz are the most recently elected individuals, all voted in during 2015 balloting. Of the sixteen eligible members of the 3,000 strikeout club, fourteen have been elected to the Hall. The two who have appeared on a Hall of Fame ballot but have not yet been elected, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling, both made their first appearances on the ballot for the 2013 elections. Each received only about half of the total votes needed for induction, with Schilling earning slightly more votes than Clemens. Clemens' future election is seen as uncertain because of his alleged links to use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). The current and near-future eligibility of many players linked to PED use, combined with voting restrictions in Hall of Fame balloting, has been cited as the source of a "backlog" in future Hall elections. Eligibility requires that a player has "been retired five seasons" or deceased for at least 6 months.At bat
In baseball, an at bat (AB) or time at bat is a batter's turn batting against a pitcher. An at bat is different from a plate appearance. A batter is credited with a plate appearance regardless of what happens during his turn at bat, but a batter is credited with an at bat only if that plate appearance does not have one of the results enumerated below. While at bats are used to calculate certain statistics, including batting average and slugging percentage, a player can qualify for the season-ending rankings in these categories only if he accumulates 502 plate appearances during the season.
A batter will not receive credit for an at bat if his plate appearance ends under the following circumstances:
He receives a base on balls (BB).
He is hit by a pitch (HBP).
He hits a sacrifice fly or a sacrifice bunt (also known as sacrifice hit).
He is awarded first base due to interference or obstruction, usually by the catcher.
He is replaced by another hitter before his at bat is completed, in which case the plate appearance and any related statistics go to the pinch hitter (unless he is replaced with two strikes and his replacement completes a strikeout, in which case the at bat and strikeout are still charged to the first batter).In addition, if the inning ends while he is still at bat (due to the third out being made by a runner caught stealing, for example), no at bat or plate appearance will result. In this case, the batter will come to bat again in the next inning, though the count will be reset to no balls and no strikes.
Rule 9.02(a)(1) of the official rules of Major League Baseball defines an at bat as: "Number of times batted, except that no time at bat shall be charged when a player: (A) hits a sacrifice bunt or sacrifice fly; (B) is awarded first base on four called balls; (C) is hit by a pitched ball; or (D) is awarded first base because of interference or obstruction[.]"Bill Hutchinson (baseball)
William Forrest "Wild Bill" Hutchinson (December 17, 1859 – March 19, 1926) was an American professional baseball player. He was a right-handed pitcher over parts of nine seasons (1884, 1889–1897) with the Kansas City Cowboys, Chicago White Stockings/Colts and St. Louis Browns. He was the National League wins leader for three straight seasons (1890–1892) and strikeout champion in 1892 with Chicago. For his career, he compiled a 182-163 record in 376 appearances, with a 3.59 earned run average and 1,235 strikeouts.During his seven seasons with the Chicago franchise (now the Chicago Cubs) he ranks 4th all-time in franchise history in wins (181), 6th in games pitched (367), 2nd in innings pitched (3021), 6th in strikeouts (1224), 3rd in games started (339), 1st in complete games (317), 10th in shutouts (21), 1st in base on balls allowed (1109), 1st in losses (158), and 1st in wild pitches (120).
He was born in New Haven, Connecticut, attended Yale University, and later died in Kansas City, Missouri at the age of 66.Chris Sale
Christopher Allen Sale (born March 30, 1989) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played in MLB for the Chicago White Sox, with whom he made his major league debut on August 6, 2010. As a power pitcher, Sale excels at achieving high numbers of strikeouts, and has set a number of strikeout-related records. He bats and throws left-handed, stands 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m), and weighs 180 pounds (82 kg).A seven-time MLB All-Star consecutively from 2012 to 2018, Sale is a two-time American League (AL) leader in strikeouts, including in 2015 and 2017. As of 2017, he is MLB's career leader in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.12), and reached 1,500 strikeouts in the fewest innings pitched (1,290). After reaching 300 strikeouts in a single season for the first time in 2017, he was selected as the AL Sporting News Starting Pitcher of the Year. Although he has yet to win a Cy Young Award, in each of his All-Star seasons, he has placed in the top six.
A native of Lakeland, Florida, located within the Tampa Bay Area, Sale played college baseball for Florida Gulf Coast University. The Chicago White Sox selected him 13th overall in the 2010 amateur draft. He was a key member of the Red Sox pitching rotation that helped the team win the 2018 World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers. He is under contract with Boston through 2024.Clayton Kershaw
Clayton Edward Kershaw (born March 19, 1988) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball (MLB). A left-handed starting pitcher, Kershaw has played in the major leagues since 2008, and his career earned run average (ERA) and walks and hits per innings pitched average (WHIP) are the lowest among starters in the live-ball era with a minimum of 1,000 innings pitched. Kershaw has a career hits allowed per nine innings pitched average of 6.61—the second-lowest in MLB history—along with three Cy Young Awards and the 2014 National League Most Valuable Player Award. He has been described throughout the majority of his career as the best pitcher in baseball.Kershaw was drafted seventh overall in the 2006 MLB draft. He worked his way through the Dodgers' farm system in just one full season, and reached the majors at 20 years old. When he debuted in 2008, he was the youngest player in MLB, a title he held for one full year. In 2011, he won the pitching Triple Crown and the National League Cy Young Award, becoming the youngest pitcher to accomplish either of these feats since Dwight Gooden in 1985. During the 2013 off-season, the Dodgers signed Kershaw to a franchise record seven-year, $215 million contract extension. Kershaw pitched a no-hitter on June 18, 2014, becoming the 22nd Dodger to do so. Being a left-handed strikeout pitcher and playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kershaw has often been compared to Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax. He became the first pitcher in history to lead MLB in ERA for four consecutive years when he did so in the 2011 through 2014 seasons.Off the field, Kershaw is an active participant in volunteer work. He and his wife, Ellen, launched "Kershaw's Challenge" and wrote the book Arise to raise money to build an orphanage in Zambia. He has been honored with the Roberto Clemente Award and the Branch Rickey Award for his humanitarian work.Joe Sewell
Joseph Wheeler Sewell (October 9, 1898 – March 6, 1990) was a Major League Baseball infielder for the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977.Sewell holds the record for the lowest strikeout rate in major league history, striking out on average only once every 62.5 at-bats, and the most consecutive games without a strikeout, at 115.Justin Verlander
Justin Brooks Verlander (born February 20, 1983) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Detroit Tigers for 13 seasons, with whom he made his major league debut on July 4, 2005. A right-handed batter and thrower, Verlander stands 6 feet 5 inches (1.96 m) tall and weighs 225 pounds (102 kg).
From Manakin-Sabot, Virginia, Verlander attended Old Dominion University (ODU) and played college baseball for the Monarchs. He broke the Monarchs' and Colonial Athletic Association's career records for strikeouts. At the 2003 Pan American Games, Verlander helped lead the United States national team to a silver medal. The Tigers selected him in the first round and as the second overall pick of the 2004 first-year player draft. As a former ace in the Tigers' starting rotation, he was a key figure in four consecutive American League (AL) Central division championships from 2011−2014, and in the Astros' first World Series championship in 2017. He is among the career pitching leaders for the Tigers, including ranking second in strikeouts (2,373), seventh in wins (183), and eighth in innings pitched (2511).
The winner of a number of accolades, Verlander is a seven-time MLB All-Star, has led the AL in strikeouts five times and in wins twice. He was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2006, and on June 12, 2007, pitched the first no-hitter at Comerica Park versus the Milwaukee Brewers. In 2009, he led the AL in wins and strikeouts, both for the first time. Verlander produced his most successful season in 2011, including his second career no-hitter versus the Toronto Blue Jays on May 7, 2011. By season's end, Verlander won the Pitching Triple Crown, the AL Cy Young Award unanimously, the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award, and the Sporting News Player of the Year Award.
On August 31, 2017, the Tigers traded Verlander to the Houston Astros just before the trade deadline, and he immediately became an impact for the team, going undefeated in his first five starts heading into the postseason. He helped lead the Astros to the 2017 World Series, which they won over the Los Angeles Dodgers, giving him his first career ring. For his performance in the 2017 American League Championship Series, he was named MVP, and was co-winner of the Babe Ruth Award (with teammate José Altuve) for most outstanding performance in the 2017 postseason. In the 2018 season, Verlander became the 114th pitcher in major league history to reach 200 career wins, also becoming the 20th fastest to reach the milestone (412 starts).List of Major League Baseball annual strikeout leaders
In baseball, the strikeout is a statistic used to evaluate pitchers. A pitcher earns a strikeout when he puts out the batter he is facing by throwing a ball through the strike zone, "defined as that area over homeplate (sic) the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap", which is not put in play. Strikeouts are awarded in four situations: if the batter is put out on a third strike caught by the catcher (to "strike out swinging" or "strike out looking"); if the pitcher throws a third strike which is not caught with fewer than two outs; if the batter becomes a baserunner on an uncaught third strike; or if the batter bunts the ball into foul territory with two strikes.Major League Baseball recognizes the player or players in each league with the most strikeouts each season. Jim Devlin led the National League in its inaugural season of 1876; he threw 122 strikeouts for the Louisville Grays. The American League's first winner was Hall of Fame pitcher Cy Young, who captured the American League Triple Crown in 1901 by striking out 158 batters, along with leading the league in wins and earned run average. Walter Johnson led the American League in strikeouts 12 times during his Hall of Fame career, most among all players. He is followed by Nolan Ryan, who captured 11 titles between both leagues (9 American League and 2 National League). Randy Johnson won nine strikeout titles, including five with his home state Arizona Diamondbacks. Three players have won seven strikeout championships: Dazzy Vance, who leads the National League; Bob Feller; and Lefty Grove. Grover Cleveland Alexander and Rube Waddell led their league six times, and five-time winners include Steve Carlton, Roger Clemens, Sam McDowell, Christy Mathewson, Amos Rusie, and Tom Seaver.There are several players with a claim to the single-season strikeout record. Among recognized major leagues, Matt Kilroy accumulated the highest single-season total, with 513 strikeouts for the Baltimore Orioles of the American Association in 1886. However, his name does not appear on Major League Baseball's single-season leaders list, since the American Association was independent of the constituent leagues that currently make up Major League Baseball. Several other players with high totals, including 1886 American Association runner-up Toad Ramsey (499) and 1884 Union Association leader Hugh Daily (483), do not appear either. In the National League, Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn struck out 441 batters for the Providence Grays; however, the Providence franchise folded after the 1885 season and has no successor. Therefore, Major League Baseball recognizes his runner-up from that season, Charlie Buffinton, as the record-holder with 417 strikeouts. In the American League, Ryan leads with 383 strikeouts in 1973. The largest margin of victory for a champion is 156 strikeouts, achieved in 1883 when Tim Keefe of the American Association's New York Metropolitans posted 359 against Bobby Mathews' 203. The National League's largest margin was achieved in 1999, when Randy Johnson struck out 143 more batters than Kevin Brown. Ryan's 1973 margin of 125 strikeouts over Bert Blyleven is the best American League victory. Although ties for the championship are rare, they have occurred; Claude Passeau and Bucky Walters each struck out 137 National League batters in 1939, and Tex Hughson and Bobo Newsom tied in the American League with 113 strikeouts each in 1942. Their total is the lowest number of strikeouts accumulated to lead a league in Major League Baseball history.List of Major League Baseball career strikeout leaders
In baseball, a strikeout occurs when the batter receives three strikes during his time at bat. Strikeouts are associated with dominance on the part of the pitcher and failure on the part of the batter.
Nolan Ryan has the most career strikeouts in Major League Baseball. During a record 27-year career, he struck out 5,714 batters.
The parentheses adjacent to an active player denote the number of strikeouts in the current season.List of Major League Baseball single-game strikeout leaders
In baseball, a strikeout occurs when a pitcher throws three strikes to a batter during his time at bat. Twenty different pitchers have struck out at least 18 batters in a single nine-inning Major League Baseball (MLB) game as of 2016, the most recent being Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals on May 11, 2016. Four players have accomplished the feat more than once in their career; no player has ever struck out more than 20 batters in a nine-inning game. Charlie Sweeney was the first player to strike out 18 batters in a single game, doing so for the Providence Grays against the Boston Beaneaters on June 7, 1884. In spite of this, Bob Feller is viewed as the first pitcher to accomplish the feat, since his then-record 18 strikeouts was the first to occur during the 20th century and the live-ball era.Out of the twenty pitchers who have accomplished the feat, fifteen were right-handed and five pitched left-handed. Five of these players have played for only one major league team. Five pitchers—Steve Carlton, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver—are also members of the 3,000 strikeout club. Sweeney has the fewest career strikeouts in the group with 505, while Nolan Ryan, with 5,714, struck out more batters than any other pitcher in major league history. Bill Gullickson and Kerry Wood are the only rookies to have achieved the feat. Tom Seaver concluded his milestone game by striking out the final ten batters he faced, setting a new major league record for most consecutive strikeouts.Of the eleven players eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame who have struck out 18 batters in a game, six have been elected; all six were elected on the first ballot. Players are eligible for the Hall of Fame if they have played in at least 10 major league seasons, and have either been retired for five seasons or deceased for at least six months. These requirements leave two players ineligible who are active, two players ineligible who are living and have played in the past five seasons, and five who did not play in 10 major league seasons.Max Scherzer
Maxwell M. Scherzer (born July 27, 1984) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball (MLB). Nicknamed “Mad Max”, he made his MLB debut as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008, and later played for the Detroit Tigers. He has been an important figure in the both the Tigers' and Nationals' playoff presence, including Detroit's four consecutive American League Central titles from 2011−2014 and two of Washington's National League East titles. A power pitcher with a low three-quarter-arm delivery, Scherzer has achieved numerous strikeout records, while becoming the tenth pitcher in history to be awarded at least three Cy Young Awards, the sixth to record two no-hitters in one season, the fifth to produce more than one immaculate inning, and the fourth to strike out at least 200 batters in a season seven years in a row.
The Diamondbacks selected Scherzer, a native of Greater St. Louis, in the first round and 11th overall of the 2006 amateur draft from the University of Missouri. He is a six-time MLB All-Star, and the fifth pitcher to start an All-Star Game for both American and National Leagues. He is a winner of three strikeout titles, a four-time wins leader, and a four-time walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP) leader. In addition to three Cy Young Awards, he also finished fifth in its voting in 2014 and 2015. One the most consistent hurlers of his era, he has made at least 30 starts each season from 2009–2018, and struck out at least 230 batters in each season from 2012–2018. Prior to the 2015 season, Scherzer agreed to a seven-year, $210 million contract with the Nationals, one of the largest in baseball history.
During his major league debut, Scherzer established the record for most consecutive hitters retired in a relief appearance as a major league debut with 13. He became the third pitcher to start a season with a 19–1 win–loss record, on the way to winning his first Cy Young Award in 2013. In 2015, Scherzer became the sixth pitcher in Major League history to record multiple no-hitters in a single season, including the first with at least 17 strikeouts and no bases on balls, and the first to accrue a game score of 100 or more twice in one season. On May 11, 2016, he tied the major league nine-inning strikeout record with 20, making him the second player to achieve both a no-hitter and 20 strikeouts over nine-innings. In 2017, he became the third-fastest hurler to record 2,000 strikeouts, and the fourth to strike out 250 or more in four consecutive seasons. Scherzer has more strikeouts (2,449) than any pitcher in the 2010s. He recorded one immaculate inning each in 2017 and 2018.Nolan Ryan
Lynn Nolan Ryan Jr. (born January 31, 1947), nicknamed The Ryan Express, is an American former Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher and a previous chief executive officer (CEO) of the Texas Rangers. He is currently an executive adviser to the owner of the Houston Astros.
Over a record 27-year baseball career that spanned four decades: 1966, 1968–1993, Ryan pitched for the New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros, and Texas Rangers. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.Ryan, a hard-throwing, right-handed pitcher, threw pitches that were regularly clocked above 100 miles per hour (161 km/h). He maintained this velocity throughout his career, even into his 40s. Ryan was also known to throw a devastating 12–6 curveball at exceptional velocity for a breaking ball.Ryan had a lifetime winning percentage of .526, and he was an eight-time MLB All-Star. His 5,714 career strikeouts is an MLB record by a significant margin. He leads the runner-up, Randy Johnson, by 839 strikeouts. Similarly, Ryan's 2,795 bases on balls lead second-place Steve Carlton by 962—walking over 50% more hitters than any other pitcher in MLB history. Ryan, Pedro Martínez, Randy Johnson, and Sandy Koufax are the only four pitchers inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame who had more strikeouts than innings pitched. Besides Jackie Robinson (whose number was retired by Major League Baseball) and Frank Robinson (3 teams), Ryan is the only other major league baseball player to have his number retired by at least three teams: the Angels, Astros, and Rangers.
Ryan is the all-time leader in no-hitters with seven, three more than any other pitcher. He is tied with Bob Feller for the most one-hitters, with 12. Ryan also pitched 18 two-hitters. Despite the seven no-hitters, he never pitched a perfect game, nor did he ever win a Cy Young Award. Ryan is one of only 29 players in baseball history to have appeared in Major League baseball games in four decades and the only MLB pitcher to strike out seven pairs of fathers and sons.Orval Overall
Orval Overall (February 2, 1881 – July 14, 1947) was an American pitcher in Major League Baseball. He was a member of the Chicago Cubs dynasty of the early 1900s.Randy Johnson
Randall David Johnson (born September 10, 1963), nicknamed "The Big Unit", is an American former professional baseball pitcher who played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), from 1988 to 2009, for six teams. He played primarily for the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks. His 303 career victories rank as the fifth-most by a left-hander in MLB history, while his 4,875 strikeouts place him second all-time behind Nolan Ryan and are the most by a left-hander. He holds five of the seven highest single-season strikeout totals by a left-hander in modern history. Johnson won the Cy Young Award five times, second only to Roger Clemens' seven, and he is one of only two pitchers (the other being Greg Maddux) to win the award in four consecutive seasons (1999–2002). In 1999, he joined Pedro Martínez and Gaylord Perry in the rare feat of winning the award in both the American and National Leagues (a feat since accomplished by Clemens, Roy Halladay, and Max Scherzer). He is also one of five pitchers to pitch no-hitters in both leagues. On May 18, 2004, at the age of forty, Johnson became the oldest pitcher in major league history to throw a perfect game, and is one of seven pitchers who have thrown both a perfect game and a no-hitter in their careers. He is also one of eighteen pitchers in history to record a win against all 30 MLB franchises.
One of the tallest players in major league history at 6 feet 10 inches (2.08 m), and a ten-time All-Star, Johnson was celebrated for having one of the most dominant fastballs in the game. He regularly approached – and occasionally exceeded – 100 miles per hour (160 km/h), during his prime. Johnson also threw a hard, biting slider. After struggling early in his career (having won only 64 games by his 30th birthday), he went on to lead his league in strikeouts nine times, and in earned run average, winning percentage, and complete games four times each. Johnson was named one of two (along with Curt Schilling) World Series Most Valuable Players in 2001, with three pitching victories, leading the Diamondbacks to a world championship over the New York Yankees in only Arizona’s fourth year of play. He won the pitching Triple Crown in 2002.
Johnson's .646 career winning percentage ranks sixth among lefthanders with at least 200 decisions; among southpaws, he ranks eighth in games started (603) and ninth in innings pitched (4,135 1⁄3). Johnson’s career elite rankings also include: first in strikeouts per nine innings pitched (10.67), third in hit batsmen (188), and tenth in fewest hits allowed per nine innings pitched (7.24). He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015, his first year of eligibility, and is the first member of the Hall to be depicted in a Diamondbacks uniform on his plaque.Rube Waddell
George Edward "Rube" Waddell (October 13, 1876 – April 1, 1914) was an American southpaw pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB). In a career spanning 13 years, he played for the Louisville Colonels (1897, 1899), Pittsburgh Pirates (1900–01) and Chicago Orphans (1901) in the National League, and the Philadelphia Athletics (1902–07) and St. Louis Browns (1908–10) in the American League. Born in Bradford, Pennsylvania, Waddell was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946.
Waddell was a remarkably dominant strikeout pitcher in an era when batters mostly slapped at the ball to get singles. He had an excellent fastball, a sharp-breaking curveball, a screwball, and superb control (his strikeout-to-walk ratio was almost 3-to-1). He led the major leagues in strikeouts for six consecutive years.Steve Carlton
Steven Norman Carlton (born December 22, 1944), nicknamed "Lefty", is a former Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher. He pitched from 1965 to 1988 for six different teams in his career, but it is his time with the Philadelphia Phillies where he received his greatest acclaim as a professional and won four Cy Young Awards. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994.
Carlton has the second-most lifetime strikeouts of any left-handed pitcher (4th overall), and the second-most lifetime wins of any left-handed pitcher (11th overall). He was the first pitcher to win four Cy Young Awards in a career. He held the lifetime strikeout record several times between 1982 and 1984, before his contemporary Nolan Ryan passed him. One of his most remarkable records was accounting for nearly half (46%) of his team's wins, when he won 27 games for the last-place (59-97) 1972 Phillies. He is the last National League pitcher to win 25 or more games in one season, as well as the last pitcher from any team to throw more than 300 innings in a season. He also holds the record with the most career balks of any pitcher, with 90 (double the second on the all-time list, Bob Welch).Strikeout-to-walk ratio
In baseball statistics, strikeout-to-walk ratio (K/BB) is a measure of a pitcher's ability to control pitches, calculated as strikeouts divided by bases on balls.
A hit by pitch is not counted statistically as a walk and therefore not counted in the strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The inverse of this calculation is the related statistic for hitters, walk-to-strikeout ratio (BB/K).Walk-to-strikeout ratio
In baseball statistics, walk-to-strikeout ratio (BB/K) is a measure of a hitter's plate discipline and knowledge of the strike zone. Generally, a hitter with a good walk-to-strikeout ratio must exhibit enough patience at the plate to refrain from swinging at bad pitches and take a base on balls, but he must also have the ability to recognize pitches within the strike zone and avoid striking out. Joe Morgan and Wade Boggs are two examples of hitters with a good walk-to-strikeout ratio. A hit by pitch is not counted statistically as a walk and therefore not counted in the walk-to-strikeout ratio.
The inverse of this, the strikeout-to-walk ratio, is used to compare pitchers.Walter Johnson
Walter Perry Johnson (November 6, 1887 – December 10, 1946), nicknamed "Barney" and "The Big Train", was a Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher. He played his entire 21-year baseball career for the Washington Senators (1907–1927). He later served as manager of the Senators from 1929 through 1932 and for the Cleveland Indians from 1933 through 1935.Often thought of as one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history, Johnson established several pitching records, some of which remain unbroken nine decades after retiring from baseball. He remains by far the all-time career leader in shutouts with 110, second in wins with 417, and fourth in complete games with 531. He held the career record in strikeouts for nearly 56 years, with 3,508, from the end of his career in 1927 until the 1983 season, when three players (Steve Carlton, Nolan Ryan and Gaylord Perry) finally passed the mark. Johnson was the only player in the 3,000 strikeout club (achieved 22 July 1923) for 51 years (less 5 days) when Bob Gibson recorded his 3,000th strikeout on 17 July 1974. Johnson led the league in strikeouts a Major League record 12 times—one more than current strikeout leader Nolan Ryan—including a record eight consecutive seasons. He is the only pitcher in major league history to record over 400 wins and strikeout over 3,500 batters.
In 1936, Johnson was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame as one of its "first five" inaugural members. His gentle nature was legendary, and to this day he is held up as an example of good sportsmanship, while his name has become synonymous with friendly competition.