Putting Chris Sale’s 300 Strikeouts in Historical Perspective

Yesterday the Boston Red Sox clinching of at least the 2nd wild card berth was overshadowed by Chris Sale getting his 300th strikeout of the season in the 8th inning of a shutout of the Baltimore Orioles.

In the American league, where since 1973 a starter doesn’t get the privilege of facing a .150 hitter every 9 batters this is a rare feat and this story at MLB.com on the subject notes just how rare it is.

To put into perspective how rare a 300-K season is in the offensive-minded AL, consider that Sale joined Randy Johnson (1993) as just the second AL lefty to achieve it since the designated hitter was instituted in 1973. The only other AL pitchers to reach 300 over that same span aside from Sale, Johnson and Martinez? The legendary Nolan Ryan, who did it five times.

I have nothing but admiration for Chris Sale achievement, and to be in the company of Hall of Famers Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez is pretty damn good but think about what that last sentence means.

Nolan Ryan struck out 300 AL batters more times than Sale, Johnson and Pedro COMBINED. In fact Sale will have to achieve this season’s milestone twice more just for those three to pull even with Ryan.

That’s how good Nolan Ryan was.