Happy two million strikeouts, Major League Baseball! On July 27, Danny Salazar punched the milestone strikeout in Kansas City when Norichika Aoki went down swinging in the bottom of the seventh.
While individual landmarks are achieved throughout the majors on a frequent basis, this collective milestone combines the efforts of hundreds of pitchers. Every major leaguer who has ever taken the mound and notched a strikeout was a part of this moment.
In just under 38 years, major league arms combined to tally a total of one million strikeouts to add to the million accumulated before 1976. With more teams (the 30-team MLB has only been around since 1998) playing more games with better pitching, it’s no wonder the strikeouts rack up quicker these days.
The MLB milestone K was only Salazar’s 125th career strikeout, barely making up 1/8000 of the second million. Some of the biggest contributors are Hall of Famers like Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan and Greg Maddux, as well as future Hall of Famer Roger Clemens, who all combined for 17,357 strikeouts. Active players like CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett also did, and continue to do, their part in tallying strikeouts, but their combined almost 5,740 strikeouts seem like a drop in the bucket.
Strikeouts are currently at an all-time league high. Yu Darvish even set the MLB record for fastest to 500 strikeouts earlier this season. So it’s possible that we will see the MLB hit the 3 million mark sooner than 2052.
But hey, the MLB has a lot of other milestones coming up before then. Joining the two-million club will be the MLB’s collective runs, a majority of those coming from old-school greats like Rickey Henderson, Ty Cobb, and Hank Aaron (though we’ve still got a few years before that celebration). Even bigger numbers are in the near future. How about the 16,000,000th plate appearance? That outrageous number is projected to be seen in the next year, according to Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times.
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