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Strikeouts are Sexy and Scherzer knows it

A brief history of 20 strikeout games

against the at Nationals Park on May 11, 2016 in Washington, DC.

 

Strikeouts are sexy. Well at least according to the Washington Nationals’ star pitcher Max Scherzer. He would know too. On Wednesday night Scherzer struck out 20 Detroit Tigers during a nine-inning game.

“Tonight, at the end of the night, was a special night,” Scherzer said. “Because, I mean, the strikeouts are sexy. And to be able to punch out 20 — it’s sexy.”

He tied the MLB record for most K’s in a nine-inning game. The only other people to do so are Roger “The Rocket” Clemens, who accomplished the feat twice in 1986 and again in 1996 while playing for the Boston Red Sox and Kerry Wood of the Chicago Cubs, who struck out 20 Houston Astros batters in 1998.

Of course there is everyone’s hero and beloved 6’10” right-hander Randy “The Big Unit” Johnson. On May 8, 2001, while a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Johnson struck out 20 Cincinnati Reds batters within nine innings.If you want to get technical about it – two others have done it as well but their records are differently labeled.

Unfortunately for Johnson, the game went into extra innings. Johnson didn’t need more than nine innings to accrue his 20 K’s, but since the went into extra innings the game is not considered an “official” 20-strikeout game by MLB.

Still it is considered by almost everyone else as the same record that Wood, Clemens and Scherzer now hold.

There was one other man that struck out over 20 batters in one game and there is a good chance that you’ve never heard his name before. Tom Cheney struck out 21 batters once on September 12, 1962 while playing for the Washington Senators but that’s a record of it’s own too because it took extra innings for him to accomplish that feat.

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Baseball’s Greatest One Hit Wonders Part 2: The Pitchers

Chuck Booth (BBBA President/Owner mlbreports.com) 

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Pitching is the most unnatural motion I can think of.  The human arm is not meant to throw 90-100 MPH repeatedly over and over. 

It is for this reason why I am never surprised when Pitchers go out for any injury. 

When I was 15, I was the catcher for former Major League Pitcher Chris Reitsma on our ALL-Star Team.  I witnessed this kid throwing 90 MPH as a teenager. 

Honestly, no one could hit the guy.  As a catcher for 10 years and having a a decent baseball IQ, I was mad that the coach never let me call his pitches for him. 

Why he would even throw sliders, curves and breaking balls is beyond me and it cost us some games versus some California and Arizona teams.   There was no denying that he was a mega talented pitcher. 

He did go onto a decent MLB career, even appeared in 84 games for the Atlanta Braves in 2004.  Yet he finished pitching by the age of 29 because he threw junk. 

Now I will move on here, I am just pointing out that kids should not be throwing  junk until they are finished high school. 

There will be time in future articles to talk about pitching discipline and attitude. 

Just like the hitters that I featured last week, the pitchers I am featuring here took the MLB by storm for a while.  The fan bases were certain that these players would have great careers, only to see them fade quickly. 

If you ask me which position is tougher to stay up on top of, I would definitely say pitching! 

Remember that if you fail 70% of the time as a hitter, you are still labeled a great hitter.  Pitchers have to have a success rate of 75% to be elite. 

Plus when they are out there, it is a continual one after another moment, whereas a hitter has a chance to regroup after an AT BAT.

This set of 5 pitchers (Mark Fidrych, Mark Prior, Jeff Zimmerman, Tommy Greene and Derrick Turnbow) in this list are all pretty much of recent vintage. 

I saw 4 of them play as I only started watching baseball in 1980 and Mark Fidrych was already done by that time. 

This doesn’t mean that I have not seen countless highlights from the man in the last 30 years.  Here are a couple for your enjoyment before we start.

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