List of Major League Baseball pitchers with 18 strikeouts in one game

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A man wearing a navy blue baseball cap with an interlocking "NY" and grey baseball jersey with "NEW YORK" on the chest prepares to deliver a pitch.
A man wearing a black baseball cap with an interlocking "SF" and grey baseball jersey with "SAN FRANCISCO" on the chest releases a pitch from his left hand.
Roger Clemens (left) and Randy Johnson (right) are the only pitchers to strike out 18 or more batters in a nine-inning game on three separate occasions.

In baseball, a strikeout occurs when a pitcher throws three strikes to a batter during his time at bat.[1] Eighteen different pitchers have struck out at least 18 batters in a single nine-inning Major League Baseball (MLB) game as of 2013,[a] the most recent being Ben Sheets of the Milwaukee Brewers on May 16, 2004.[4] Four players have accomplished the feat more than once in their career; no player has ever struck out more than 20 batters in a game. Charlie Sweeney was the first player to strike out 18 batters in a single game, doing so for the Providence Grays against the Boston Beaneaters on June 7, 1884.[5] In spite of this, Bob Feller is viewed as the first pitcher to accomplish the feat,[6][7] since his then-record 18 strikeouts was the first to occur during the 20th century and the live-ball era.[8]

Out of the eighteen pitchers who have accomplished the feat, thirteen were right-handed and five pitched left-handed. Four of these players have played for only one major league team. Five pitchers—Steve Carlton, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver—are also members of the 3,000 strikeout club. Sweeney has the fewest career strikeouts in the group with 505, while Nolan Ryan, with 5,714, struck out more batters than any other pitcher in major league history.[9] Bill Gullickson and Kerry Wood are the only rookies to have achieved the feat.[10][11] Tom Seaver concluded his milestone game by striking out the final ten batters he faced, setting a new major league record for most consecutive strikeouts.[12][13]

Of the ten players eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame who have struck out 18 batters in a game, five have been elected; all five were elected on the first ballot.[14] Players are eligible for the Hall of Fame if they have played in at least 10 major league seasons, and have either been retired for five seasons or deceased for at least six months.[15] These requirements leave three players ineligible who are living and have played in the past five seasons and five who did not play in 10 major league seasons.

Players[edit]

A man sporting a goatee and wearing a dark blue baseball cap with "C" in the middle, a pinstriped jersey and black Nike cleats delivers a pitch.
Kerry Wood tied Roger Clemens' major league record of 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game on May 6, 1998.
A smiling man in a white baseball jersey and dark baseball cap with an interlocked white "LA" on the front.
Sandy Koufax is one of five pitchers who have 18 strikeouts in a game to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
An elderly almost-bald man wearing a striped button-up shirt and a tie adorned with a pattern of baseballs waves a cap from a convertible.
Bob Feller was the first player to achieve 18 strikeouts in a game during the live-ball era.
A man, wearing a dark blue baseball cap with "M" in the centre, a dark blue baseball jersey with "M" on the left shoulder and the words "BREWERS" across the chest and black Nike cleats, does a leg kick as part of pitching a baseball.
Ben Sheets is the most recent player to attain 18 strikeouts in one game.
A man in a white baseball jersey with "ASTROS" on the chest and orange and yellow stripes on his shoulders pitches a baseball with his right hand.
Nolan Ryan amassed 18 or more strikeouts in a nine-inning game twice, as well as 19 strikeouts in extra-inning games three times.
Key
Pitcher Name of the pitcher
Date Date of the game
Team The player's team at the time of the game
Opposing team The team against whom the pitcher struck out 18 players
Score Final score of the game, with the player's team score listed first
Strikeouts Number of strikeouts the pitcher recorded
Career Ks Career strikeouts
dagger Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame
double-dagger Indicates the player's team lost the game
MLB pitchers with 18 strikeouts in a nine-inning game
Pitcher Date Team Opposing team Score Strikeouts Career Ks Refs
Wood, KerryKerry Wood May 6, 1998 Chicago Cubs Houston Astros 2–0 20 1,582 [11][16]
Clemens, RogerRoger Clemens September 18, 1996 Boston Red Sox Detroit Tigers 4–0 20 4,672 [17][18]
Clemens, RogerRoger Clemens April 29, 1986 Boston Red Sox Seattle Mariners 3–1 20 4,672 [18][19]
Johnson, RandyRandy Johnson August 8, 1997 Seattle Mariners Chicago White Sox 5–0 19 4,875 [20][21]
Johnson, RandyRandy Johnson June 24, 1997 Seattle Mariners Oakland Athletics 1–4double-dagger 19 4,875 [21][22]
Cone, DavidDavid Cone October 6, 1991 New York Mets Philadelphia Phillies 7–0 19 2,668 [23][24]
Ryan, NolanNolan Ryandagger August 12, 1974 California Angels Boston Red Sox 4–2 19 5,714 [25][26]
Seaver, TomTom Seaverdagger April 22, 1970 New York Mets San Diego Padres 2–1 19 3,640 [27][28]
Carlton, SteveSteve Carltondagger September 15, 1969 St. Louis Cardinals New York Mets 3–4double-dagger 19 4,136 [29][30]
Daily, HughHugh Daily July 7, 1884 Chicago Browns Boston Reds 10–4 19 846 [31][32]
Sweeney, CharlieCharlie Sweeney June 7, 1884 Providence Grays Boston Beaneaters 2–1 19 505 [33][34]
Sheets, BenBen Sheets May 16, 2004 Milwaukee Brewers Atlanta Braves 4–1 18 1,325 [35][36]
Clemens, RogerRoger Clemens August 25, 1998 Toronto Blue Jays Kansas City Royals 3–0 18 4,672 [18][37]
Johnson, RandyRandy Johnson September 27, 1992 Seattle Mariners Texas Rangers 2–3double-dagger 18 4,875 [21][38]
Martínez, RamónRamón Martínez June 4, 1990 Los Angeles Dodgers Atlanta Braves 6–0 18 1,427 [39][40]
Gullickson, BillBill Gullickson September 10, 1980 Montreal Expos Chicago Cubs 4–2 18 1,279 [10][41]
Guidry, RonRon Guidry June 17, 1978 New York Yankees California Angels 4–0 18 1,778 [42][43]
Ryan, NolanNolan Ryandagger September 10, 1976 California Angels Chicago White Sox 3–2 18 5,714 [26][44]
Wilson, DonDon Wilson July 14, 1968 Houston Astros Cincinnati Reds 6–1 18 1,283 [45][46]
Koufax, SandySandy Koufaxdagger April 24, 1962 Los Angeles Dodgers Chicago Cubs 10–2 18 2,396 [47][48]
Koufax, SandySandy Koufaxdagger August 31, 1959 Los Angeles Dodgers San Francisco Giants 5–2 18 2,396 [48][49]
Feller, BobBob Fellerdagger October 2, 1938 Cleveland Indians Detroit Tigers 1–4double-dagger 18 2,581 [50][51]
Porter, HenryHenry Porter October 3, 1884 Milwaukee Brewers Boston Reds 4–5double-dagger 18 659 [52][53]
Shaw, DupeeDupee Shaw July 19, 1884 Boston Reds St. Louis Maroons 0–1double-dagger 18 950 [54][55]

18 strikeouts in extra-inning games[edit]

Seven different pitchers have struck out at least 18 batters in an extra-inning Major League Baseball (MLB) game to date. Only Nolan Ryan accomplished the feat more than once in his career and no player has ever struck out more than 21 batters in a game.

The following list is kept separate from the above list of pitchers who have struck out 18 or more batters in a nine-inning game. This is due to the differing number of innings pitched during an extra-inning game, the lack of a definitive endpoint to the game that would otherwise allow for a fair comparison to be made, and the advantage of having more opportunities to strike out players during an extra-inning game as opposed to one lasting nine innings.

Key
IP Innings pitched by the pitcher in the game
MLB pitchers with 18 strikeouts in an extra-inning game
Pitcher Date Team Opposing team Score Strikeouts IP Career Ks Refs
Cheney, TomTom Cheney September 12, 1962 Washington Senators Baltimore Orioles 2–1 21 16 345 [56][57]
Johnson, RandyRandy Johnson May 8, 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks Cincinnati Reds 4–3 20 9[b] 4,875 [21][58]
Tiant, LuisLuis Tiant July 3, 1968 Cleveland Indians Minnesota Twins 1–0 19 10 2,416 [59][60]
Ryan, NolanNolan Ryandagger June 14, 1974 California Angels Boston Red Sox 4–3 19 13 5,714 [26][61]
Ryan, NolanNolan Ryandagger August 20, 1974 California Angels Detroit Tigers 0–1double-dagger 19 11 5,714 [26][62]
Ryan, NolanNolan Ryandagger June 8, 1977 California Angels Toronto Blue Jays 2–1 19 10 5,714 [26][63]
Spahn, WarrenWarren Spahndagger June 14, 1952 Boston Braves Chicago Cubs 1–3double-dagger 18 15 2,583 [64][65]
Short, ChrisChris Short October 2, 1965 Philadelphia Phillies New York Mets 0–0 18 15 1,629 [66][67]
Maloney, JimJim Maloney June 14, 1965 Cincinnati Reds New York Mets 0–1double-dagger 18 11 1,605 [68][69]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 18 strikeouts is utilized as the benchmark because it signifies approximately 23 of a nine-inning game's 27 outs were made by a single pitcher via a strikeout ("approximately" due to the fact that a pitcher can record more than three strikeouts in an inning with the uncaught third strike rule).[2][3]
  2. ^ Although the game went into extra innings (11 total), Johnson was relieved by Byung-Hyun Kim after nine innings.[58]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]