Major League Baseball
K – King
Major League Baseball

K – King

Updated Jul. 17, 2020 8:47 p.m. ET

With the NBA, MLB, NHL and other major sports leagues and sporting events suspended or canceled, on a daily basis, we will revisit some of the most unforgettable games and sports moments in history. Welcome to On This Day.

Nolan Ryan is in the debate for best pitcher of all-time – but there is no debate as to who is the greatest strikeout artist of all-time.

On this day 37 years ago, Ryan laid claim to that title and he hasn't relented since.

On April 27, 1983, Ryan recorded his 3,509 career strikeout, which catapulted him into the top spot on the all-time strikeouts list. The previous record was held by Walter Johnson.


Ryan came into the league in 1966 as a member of the New York Mets, and played for four teams during his career: the Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros and Texas Rangers.

After breaking the strikeouts record in 1983 with the Astros, Ryan pitched for 10 more seasons, finishing his 27-year career with the Rangers in 1993.

Between 1983 and 1993, he tossed 2,205 strikeouts, giving him 5,714 for his career. He stands 839 strikeouts ahead of Randy Johnson, who is second on the all-time list.

Ryan's name is spattered all over the MLB record books, and only Cap Anson played as many seasons in the major leagues (27).

Ryan, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999, holds the record for most n0-hitters in MLB history (7) and he is one of five pitchers all-time to record more strikeouts than innings pitched.

The Angels, Astros and Rangers franchises have each retired Ryan's number, making him, Jackie Robinson and Frank Robinson the only three players in MLB history to have their number retired by three or more teams.

To put Ryan's 5,714 career strikeouts into perspective, there is only one current player with over 3,000 strikeouts, and that is Houston's Justin Verlander, who has 3,006.

Verlander, 37, has averaged 226 strikeouts per season over his 15-year MLB career. In order to eclipse Ryan, he would need to throw 226 strikeouts per season for nearly the next 12 seasons.

Safe to say, Ryan's record will stand for years to come.


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