Saturday, July 5, 2014

Nolan Ryan Records 3,000th Strikeouts

On July 4, 1980, Hall of Famer and then Houston Astros ace Nolan Ryan becomes the fourth pitcher in Major League Baseball history to strikeout 3,000 batters.

Ryan 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.

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. Ryan and Sandy 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 Los Angeles Angels, Houston Astros, and Texas 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.

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.