Tag Archives: strikeout records

Did You Know…

Tim Lincecum is the only pitcher in major league history to win the Cy Young Award during his first two full seasons as a pitcher in the major leagues.


2010 Topps ‘Legendary Lineage’ With Bob Gibson & Tim Lincecum

2010 Topps ‘Legendary Lineage’ With Bob Gibson & Tim Lincecum

I really like cards like these and I am always eager to see who Topps pairs with some of the great players from our current era of baseball.  And while it would be impossible to reach a 100% consensus on a topic that can be so opinionated, I think that they do a pretty good job with their pairings.

This card features legendary Bob Gibson and a modern-day phenom, Tim Lincecum


A few years removed from the 2010 release, we have seen a sharp decline in the dominance of Lincecum over the last few baseball seasons.  Sure, he is still striking out a very respectable number of hitters, but his dominance on the mound is not what it once was – the wins are down and so is the overall effectiveness.

But, back in 201o, Tim Lincecum was the real-deal!!  His ability to cruise through innings as he mowed down batter after batter was unparalleled – and it all led to wins.

I’d love to see him bounce back to his original form!!!

Giants & Tim Lincecum Reach 2-year, $40 Million Deal

SAN FRANCISCO — Right-hander Tim Lincecum has reached a verbal agreement with the Giants on a two-year, $40.5 million contract, avoiding salary arbitration.

An industry source confirmed the deal Tuesday, ending the speculation surrounding Lincecum’s contract that intensified last week when he and the Giants exchanged figures for a proposed one-year deal in arbitration. Lincecum asked for $21.5 million, a record for a player with fewer than six years of Major League service time; the Giants countered with $17 million, the highest offer ever made by a club in the arbitration process.

Though the deal takes Lincecum and the Giants through his final year of arbitration eligibility, he still can become a free agent after the 2013 season.

Being the only pitcher to win Cy Young Awards in each of his first two full seasons has enabled Lincecum, who’s also a four-time National League All-Star, to set new contractual standards. Lincecum, 27, reportedly spurned a five-year, $100 million offer from the Giants.

The Giants now will turn their attention toward a contract extension for right-hander Matt Cain, a two-time All-Star who’s eligible for free agency after this season.

Tim Lincecum Set To Join Elite ‘K’ Company

Tim Lincecum Set To Join Elite ‘K’ Company

By Chris Haft / MLB.com 

SAN FRANCISCO — Poised to join an elite contingent of strikeout artists, Tim Lincecum attempted to identify the club’s existing members.

“Roger Clemens,” Lincecum said the other day.


Lincecum tried again.

“Pedro Martinez.”


A hint of desperation crept into Lincecum’s voice.

“Randy,” he blurted, referring to ex-teammate Randy Johnson.

No, no and no.

Lincecum was on the right track, given the prodigious strikeout totals of the pitchers he mentioned. But the parameters defining this group exclude most of the game’s enduring strikeout kings while favoring the precocious fast starters.

Lincecum needs five strikeouts Monday night against Washington to become the eighth pitcher in baseball’s modern era (since 1900) to amass 1,000 strikeouts in his first five Major League seasons.

Regardless of the standards, Lincecum’s impending accomplishment is a remarkable one, mainly because it has been reached by so few.

Lincecum’s predecessors are a mix of stars who will forever occupy Cooperstown’s orbit (Grover Cleveland Alexander, Tom Seaver and Bert Blyleven) and supernovas whose flame diminished for one reason or another (Dwight Gooden, Mark Langston, Hideo Nomo and Kerry Wood). Due to injury or lack of innings, each of the greats Lincecum cited — Clemens, Martinez and Johnson — fell just short of earning the distinction.

There’s no way to tell whether Lincecum is destined for Hall of Fame enshrinement or something less. What’s certain is that his upcoming feat, along with his renowned ability, numerous accomplishments and undeniable charisma, further legitimizes him as one of the most singular performers of this era.

“It’s an honor,” Lincecum said of his imminent feat. “Hopefully it doesn’t stop here.”

Likely, it won’t.

Lincecum, who will turn 27 on June 15, is still evolving as a pitcher. He began using his slider effectively only last year, giving him another alternative to the fastball that still approaches 95 mph, a darting curveball and a changeup that dives like a split-finger fastball, making it almost impossible to hit.

“You change with the times,” said Lincecum, the National League’s Cy Young Award winner in 2008 and ’09. “Once guys kind of get a knack for seeing you and know what you’ve got, they’re not going to swing at the same stuff that they used to. You have to work around that. It’s about constantly making adjustments. You’re constantly trying to improve yourself.”

Despite the familiarity Lincecum referred to, he remains capable of confusing hitters with his long-striding delivery, which hides the ball from the hitter until the last possible instant. Nomo, with his twisting windup, also disrupted hitters’ timing regardless of what the ball did.

Colorado Rockies skipper Jim Tracy, who managed Nomo during the Japanese right-hander’s days in Los Angeles, comprehended the trait linking Lincecum and Nomo.

“Is there some deception with that? Maybe,” Tracy said.

Tracy noted other similarities between Nomo and Lincecum, which happen to be qualities common to most elite pitchers.

“Both guys know how to pitch to different parts of the strike zone. They don’t stay in one area,” Tracy said. “They change eye levels. They throw the ball up, they throw the ball down, they throw the ball in, they throw it out. They’re very, very unpredictable.”

Interestingly enough, Lincecum is scaling the 1,000-K peak shortly after a stretch when his strikeout rate decreased. He had 13 in 21 2/3 innings during a three-start stretch spanning May 16-27. But Lincecum (5-4) won twice in that span, which included a three-hit shutout of Oakland. The right-hander struck out “only” six that night.

“He knows we don’t want him going for strikeouts — just get outs,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after that game. “Keep pounding the strike zone. If they put it in play, fine. We don’t want the mindset from any of our pitchers that we’re going to try for strikeouts.”

To a certain extent, Lincecum still equates strikeouts with effectiveness.

“I always feel like I should be a strikeout-per-inning kind of guy,” he said.

And there’s no denying the strikeout’s sheer efficiency.

“It means the batter doesn’t put the ball in play,” said Blyleven, employing unassailable logic.

That makes the strikeout an ultimate goal in particular situations.

“Say a guy’s on third with no outs or one out. You want to get a strikeout or hopefully a well-placed ground ball,” Lincecum said. “When you know you have the ability to get guys out in that fashion, it kind of makes the game easier on yourself.”

In contemporary baseball, with every team slavishly following the gospel of pitch counts, managers and coaches espouse inducing quick outs on harmlessly batted balls. The masters of pitching, regardless of era or ERA, always have realized this.

“I came up at 19 and, of course, you want to strike out the world,” said Blyleven, who exceeded 219 strikeouts in each of his first six full seasons. “But I think as time goes by and you get your innings in, you realize that strikeouts do take up a lot of pitches, and if you can get the guy out on one pitch, you’re OK with it.”

Even Wood — the fastest in Major League history to reach 1,000 strikeouts in games (134) and innings (853)– has distanced himself from the glamour of the strikeout. Now a reliever for the Chicago Cubs, Wood said, “Strikeouts are overrated unless there’s two on and one out and runners at second and third and you need a couple strikeouts — and then they’re not overrated. It’s just part of the game.”

But when the count reaches two strikes, the strikeout suddenly becomes the most pitch-efficient method of retiring the hitter.

“I think you pitch to contact until you get to two strikes, and then you want the strikeout,” said Blyleven, who finished his 22-year career with 3,701 K’s.

Compiling strikeouts, as with virtually everything else in baseball, can be a state of mind.

“Even as I got older — into my late 30s, or even at 40 — if you got two strikes on the guy, yeah, you want to strike him out,” Blyleven said. “That strikeout thing is still there. I think it’s in everybody’s mind.”

It certainly is when Lincecum takes the mound.

Did You Know…

From his retirement in 1927 until the end of the 1982 season, Walter Johnson was the all-time strikeout leader, but a year later he was bumped to fourth on that list.  By the end of the 1983 season, Steve Carlton(3,709), Nolan Ryan(3,677), and Gaylord Perry(3,534) had all passed Johnson’s 3,509 career strikeouts.

**factoid courtesy of ‘Big League Trivia’

My take – While I am surprised that it took almost 60 years for Johnson’s record to fall, I have to believe that Nolan Ryan’s current record of 5,714 will never be eclipsed…

1987 Topps Record Breakers – Card #2 – Jim Deshaies

1987 Topps Record Breakers – Card #2 – Jim Deshaies

Headline – “Deshaies Fans First 8 To Set New Modern Criterion”

Story – Houston, Texas, September 23, 1986.  Jim Deshaies set modern standard by fanning 1st 8 men he faced.  The old mark of 7 was set by White Sox’ Joe Cowley, Mat 28, 1986.  New York’s Hall of Famer Mickey Welck fanned the 1st 9, August 28, 1884.

1981 Topps ‘Record Breakers’ – Card #203 – Bill Gullickson

1981 Topps ‘Record Breakers’ – Card #203 – Bill Gullickson

“Gullickson Sets Strikeout Mark For Rookies”

Montreal, Quebec, September 10, 1980.  Exops’ righthander Bill Gullickson fanned 18 Chicago Cubs in pitching Montreal to a 4-2 victory tonight.  He thus became the first rookie in major league history to fan as many as 18 batters in a single contest.  The mark for a 9-inning game is 19 whiffs held jointly by Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver, and Nolan Ryan.  Those who’ve fanned 18 in 9 innings include Bob Feller, Sandy Koufax, Don Wilson, Nolan Ryan, and Ron Guidry.

My take – Some very serious company that Gullickson joined here.  And although the record did not last long, it is an amazing accomplishment by any rookie!!

Did You Know…

On July 12, 1997, in his first appearance against his former team the Boston Red Sox, Roger Clemens set the Toronto Blue Jays strikeout record by fanning 16 batters at Fenway Park.  Clemens notched the 16 strikeouts in only 8 innings as Toronto beat Boston 3-1.  On August 25, 1998, Clemens would increase the Blue Jays strikeout record by fanning 18 members of the Kansas City Royals.

**factoid courtesy of ‘Big League Trivia’

My take – Always ready for the ‘BIG’ moments, I wonder what the ‘Fenway Faithful’ thought off Rocket’s first game back in Boston…