Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Texas Rangers' Nolan Ryan Sets MLB Strikeout Record

On July 2, 1990, Texas Rangers ace Nolan Ryan strikes out batter 100 on the season, setting an MLB record of 22 seasons with at least 100 strikeouts. Ryan started the streak in 1978.


The record was previously held by Don Sutton, who had done it in 21 consecutive seasons.
Ryan, who enjoyed the best years of his career with the California Angels, where he threw four of his MLB record seven no-hitters. Those seven no-hitters 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).

Thirty men in all have thrown more than one no-hitter. Randy Johnson has the longest gap between no-hitters: he threw a no-hitter as a member of the Seattle Mariners on June 2, 1990, and a perfect game as an Arizona Diamondback on May 18, 2004.

The pitcher who holds the record for the shortest time between no-hitters is Johnny Vander Meer, the only pitcher in history to throw no-hitters in consecutive starts, while playing for the Cincinnati Reds in 1938. Besides Vander Meer, Allie Reynolds (in 1951), Virgil Trucks (in 1952), and Ryan (in 1973) are the only other major leaguers to throw two no-hitters in the same regular season.

Five pitchers have thrown a no-hitter in both the American League and the National League: Cy Young, Ryan, Jim Bunning, Nomo, and Randy Johnson. Only four catchers have caught a no-hitter in each league: Gus Triandos, Jeff Torborg, Darrell Porter and Ron Hassey. Triandos caught Hoyt Wilhelm's 1958 no-hitter and Jim Bunning's perfect game, Torborg caught Koufax's perfect game and Ryan's first no-hitter, Porter caught Jim Colborn's 1977 no-hitter and Bob Forsch's second no-hitter in 1983, and Hassey caught Len Barker's and Dennis Martínez's perfect games.
 
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 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.