Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ryan Strikesout Henderson For 5,000

On August 22, 1989, Hall of Fame pitcher and California Angels great, Nolan Ryan strikes out career batter number 5,000 against the Oakland Athletics. It happened to be another future Hall of Famer, Rickey Henderson.

Ryan, who enjoyed the best years of his career with the California Angels, where he threw four of his MLB record seven no-hitters. The seven are three more than any other pitcher. He is tied with Bob Feller for most one-hitters, with 12. Ryan also pitched 18 two-hitters. Despite the seven no-hitters, he never threw a perfect game, nor did he ever win a Cy Young Award.

Only Ryan, Sandy Koufax (four), Cy Young (three), Bob Feller (three), and Larry Corcoran (three) have pitched more than two no-hitters. Corcoran was the first pitcher to throw a second no-hitter in a career (in 1882), as well as the first to throw a third (in 1884).

Ryan is one of only 29 players in baseball history to have appeared in Major League baseball games in four decades and the only pitcher to have struck out seven pairs of fathers and sons. While his lifetime winning percentage was .526, Ryan was an eight-time MLB All-Star, with 324 wins and 292 losses. With a career 3.19 earned run average.

Ryan would finish his career with 5,714 career strikeouts, which rank first in major league baseball history 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 percent more hitters than any other pitcher in Major League history.

The list of current 3000 strikeout pitchers includes in this order from most to least, Nolan Ryan, 5,714, Randy Johnson, 4,875, Roger Clemens, 4,672, Steve Carlton, 4,136, Bert Blyleven, 3,701, Tom Seaver, 3,640, Don Sutton, 3,574, Gaylord Perry, 3,534, Walter Johnson, 3,509, Greg Maddux, 3,371, Phil Niekro, 3,342, Ferguson Jenkins, 3,192, Pedro Martinez, 3,154, Bob Gibson, 3,117, Curt Schilling, 3,116 and John Smoltz, 3,084.

Ryan and Koufax are the only two pitchers inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame who had more strikeouts than innings pitched. Other than Jackie Robinson (whose number was retired by the entire MLB), Ryan is currently the only major league baseball player to have his number retired by at least three different teams: the Angels, Astros, and Rangers.

Ryan was inducted into Cooperstown Hall of Fame in 1999 with 98.79 percent of the vote on the first ballot in which he appeared.

While Henderson helped Ryan set an MLB record with strikeout 5,000, he would also go on to have a great career.

Henderson was a left fielder who played in Major League Baseball for nine teams from 1979 to 2003, including four stints with his original team, the Oakland Athletics.

Nicknamed "The Man of Steal", he is widely regarded as the sport's greatest leadoff hitter and base runner/ holding the record for most career leadoff home runs with 81, and winning three Silver Slugger awards in 1981, 1985 and 1990. His 1,406 career steals are almost double the previous record of 938 by Lou Brock, and more than 700 above the current active leader in stolen bases, Juan Pierre, who has 611 as of Aug. 21, 2013.

Henderson is the all-time stolen base leader for the Oakland A’s and previously held the New York Yankees' franchise record from 1988-2011. Henderson also holds the single-season record for stolen bases (130 in 1982) and is the only player in AL history to steal 100 bases in a season, having done so three times. A 12-time stolen base champion, Henderson led the league in runs five times and was among the league's top ten base stealers in 21 different seasons. He also holds the major league record for runs scored and unintentional walks.

Henderson was named the AL's Most Valuable Player in 1990, and he was the leadoff hitter for two World Series champions: the 1989 Oakland A's and the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays.

At the time of his last major league game in 2003, the ten-time American League (AL) All-Star ranked among the sport's top 100 all-time home run hitters and was its all-time leader in base on balls.

His 25-year career elevated Henderson to the top ten in several other categories, including career at bats, games, and outfield putouts and total chances.

His high on-base percentage, power hitting, and stolen base and run totals made him one of the most dynamic players of his era.

He was further known for his unquenchable passion for playing baseball and a buoyant, eccentric and quotable personality that both perplexed and entertained fans.

Once asked if he thought Henderson was a future Hall of Famer, statistician Bill James replied, "If you could split him in two, you'd have two Hall of Famers.

In 2009, he was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first ballot appearance with 94.8 percent of the vote.

The Oakland Athletics also retired Henderson’s no. 24 jersey in 2009.