He is followed by Nolan Ryan, who captured 11 titles between both leagues (9 American League and 2 National League). Here's a rundown of the hurlers who have. To break Ryan’s career-walks mark, one would have to average 140 per season for 20 years.  Ryan's 1973 margin of 125 strikeouts over Bert Blyleven is the best American League victory. Among recognized major leagues, Matt Kilroy accumulated the highest single-season total, with 513 strikeouts for the Baltimore Orioles of the American Association in 1886. Sandy Koufax, LHPYears: 1963, 1965, 1966"The Left Arm of God" was a completely appropriate nickname in the eyes of Koufax's opponents, as they watched impossibly hard fastballs rain down alongside hissing curveballs from the pitcher's mound. Tom Seaver came to beat you. Ryan: 5,714 McDowell's punchout prowess inspired Sports Illustrated to feature him on its cover in May 1966 with the headline "Faster than Koufax?"
Richard rode his triple-digit fastball and menacing slider to another strikeout crown (313) in '79, and was poised for more the following year before a blood clot in his neck and subsequent stroke brought his career to an abrupt end at age 30. Pedro MartinezYears: 1997, 1999Martinez's 1999 season has plenty of arguments for the greatest campaign by any modern-day hurler. But he also racked up five AL strikeout crowns with the Indians, beginning with a breakout 325-strikeout campaign in 1965. His 11 …
But Houston's righty really put it all together seven years later, when he placed fourth in the NL Cy Young Award voting with a 3.11 ERA and an MLB-most 303 strikeouts. That's how one becomes the game's all-time K leader by a wide margin. -- and the southpaws' heaters were a legitimate source of debate at the time. Only 19 pitchers in the modern era (since 1900) have reached the 300-K plateau within a single season. And this wasn't just the case of a pitcher trying to throw as hard as he could; Martinez walked just 37 hitters the entire year. Scott had never topped 137 strikeouts coming into '86, making his 306 punchouts one of the more unexpected totals in recent history. And he got the strikeout more than any other pitcher ever did or ever will.  The National League's largest margin was achieved in 1999, when Randy Johnson struck out 143 more batters than Kevin Brown. The Hall of Famer finished with an MLB-most 26 wins, representing about 38 percent of the hapless Indians' total for the season. The lefty peaked with 382 strikeouts in his penultimate 1965 campaign, a Major League record until Ryan did his idol one better in '73. Ryan's trade from the Mets to the Angels in 1972 represents one of the most favorable changes of scenery for any player, as the hard-throwing righty blossomed from a back-of-the-rotation starter in Queens to the preeminent strikeout artist in baseball history.  Walter Johnson led the American League in strikeouts 12 times during his Hall of Fame career, most among all players. It was the latest sign of Cole’s transformation from his years in Pittsburgh, where he topped out at 202 Ks in 2015. Vida BlueYear: 1971The A's likely would not have won three straight World Series crowns without Blue in tow, but the lefty's best season came right before Oakland's title run. "That's special," Sale said of joining Martinez in the Red Sox's 300-K club.  The largest margin of victory for a champion is 156 strikeouts, achieved in 1883 when Tim Keefe of the American Association's New York Metropolitans posted 359 against Bobby Mathews' 203. National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, "Yearly League Leaders & Records for Strikeouts", "Grover Cleveland Alexander Statistics and History", "Christy Mathewson Statistics and History", "Historical Leaders: Pitching Leaders, Career Single Season", "Old Hoss Radbourn Statistics and History", "1883 American Association Pitching Leaders", "Padres trade ace Jake Peavy to White Sox for four pitchers", "Career Leaders & Records for Strikeouts", "Justin Verlander Statistics and History", "1882 American Association Pitching Leaders", "1884 American Association Pitching Leaders", "1885 American Association Pitching Leaders", "1886 American Association Pitching Leaders", "1887 American Association Pitching Leaders", "1888 American Association Pitching Leaders", "1889 American Association Pitching Leaders", "1890 American Association Pitching Leaders", "1891 American Association Pitching Leaders", "Complete Baseball Team and Baseball Team Encyclopedias", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=List_of_Major_League_Baseball_annual_strikeout_leaders&oldid=980727545, Articles with dead external links from October 2017, Articles with permanently dead external links, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Links to the corresponding "year in baseball" or "Major League Baseball season" article, Player with the second-best strikeout total in the league, Denoted only for players outside of the modern major leagues, This page was last edited on 28 September 2020, at 03:00.  Three players have won seven strikeout championships: Dazzy Vance, who leads the National League; Bob Feller; and Lefty Grove. "I've never been afraid at the plate, but Mr. Ryan makes me uncomfortable," said Hall of Fame slugger Reggie Jackson. Still, Lefty's 310 K's in his debut season with the Phillies took his career to a new level.
The Dodgers' ace kept his typically stoic resolve as the Dodger Stadium crowd gave a standing ovation, but his teammates were certainly aware of the countdown. This includes information about the number of visitors to the site, what pages visitors view on our site and how long visitors are viewing pages on the site. Eight years later, Carlton would help complete Philly's renaissance by winning the decisive Game 6 of the 1980 World Series. ©2020 The Athletic Media Company.  Randy Johnson won nine strikeout titles, including five with his home state Arizona Diamondbacks. Steve CarltonYear: 1972Cartlon's strikeout reputation was well established by 1972; he had set the single-game record with 19 strikeouts for the Cardinals three years prior. To surpass Ryan’s 5,714 career strikeouts, a pitcher would have to average 286 a year for 20 years — Ryan pitched for 27 seasons, of course, another record. His 37.5 percent strikeout rate that year is the best by any qualified starter, as is his 11.6 fWAR, while his 1.39 FIP rating in '99 ranks second behind Christy Mathewson (1.29) way back in '08. If you can't see it, come on back.". Single-Season SO Leaders:1.Matt Kilroy/513/1886, 2.Toad Ramsey/499/1886, … No pitcher has surpassed 125 walks in a season since 1992. Ellis. Nolan Ryan. The Only Nolan: Ryan’s single-season strikeout record is now one of MLB’s most unbreakable. While baseball's obsession with round numbers runs deep, there's little denying the significance of a 300-strikeout season (even in today's K-friendly climate for pitchers).
That made him the first AL pitcher to reach 300 since Martinez in 1999, and just the second southpaw after Johnson to hit the mark since the designated hitter was introduced in 1973.
, Major League Baseball recognizes the player or players in each league[a] with the most strikeouts each season. Sam McDowellYears: 1965, 1970McDowell was nicknamed "Sudden Sam" for a reason, as his rocking-chair motion from the left side could lull a hitter to sleep before his fastball got on top of hitters with purpose. The southpaw paced the nascent AL in strikeouts six years in a row (and led the Majors in each of those last five seasons), peaking with 349 for the Philadelphia A's in '04. Lolich's 308 punchouts remain a Tigers record, and no Detroit pitcher has equaled his 25 wins from that year since. Bob FellerYear: 1946Feller's fastball ranks among the most revered in baseball history, and few could touch it in 1946. "He was a lot like me when I was younger.
Whipping his high-90s fastball and biting slider seemingly from first base, Johnson wiped out batter after batter in an astonishing run through a remarkable renaissance in his 30s and early 40s. Justin VerlanderYear: 2019Teammate Gerrit Cole got there first, but Verlander was right behind him.  Their total is the lowest number of strikeouts accumulated to lead a league in Major League Baseball history (although Jacob de Grom only struck out 104 National League batters in 2020, the season was shortened by a pandemic to 60 game, or 37.04% of a regular season; had that season run a full 162 games, that would have been a net of 281 strikeouts).  The American League's first winner was Hall of Fame pitcher Cy Young, who captured the American League Triple Crown in 1901 by striking out 158 batters, along with leading the league in wins and earned run average. Cole put together four starts of at least 14 Ks on his way to 300, while challenging Pedro Martinez’s 1999 record for single-season strikeout rate. Every game, every inning, every hitter for 25 seasons, Ryan went for the strikeout. Bob Gibson and Pedro Martinez and Greg Maddux came to beat you. A pitcher earns a strikeout when he puts out the batter he is facing by throwing a ball through the strike zone, "defined as that area over homeplate (sic) the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap", which is not put in play.
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