3000 Strikeouts

3000 Strikeout Club

In Major League Baseball (MLB), the 3,000 strikeout club is a term applied to the group of pitchers who have struck out 3,000 or more batters in their careers. Walter Johnson was the first to reach 3,000, doing so in 1923, and was the only pitcher at this milestone for 50 years until Bob Gibson recorded his 3,000th strikeout in 1974. In total, 16 pitchers have reached 3,000 strikeouts with John Smoltz, the most recent club member, joining in 2008. Steve Carlton and Randy Johnson are the only left-handed pitchers in this group. Randy Johnson was also the pitcher quickest to 3,000 strikeouts, taking fewer games pitched or innings pitched than any other pitcher. César Gerónimo is the only player struck out by two different pitchers for their 3,000th strikeout, first by Gibson in 1974 and then Nolan Ryan in 1980. The Chicago Cubs are one of two franchises to see multiple pitchers record their 3,000th strikeout on their roster, first Ferguson Jenkins in 1982 and then Greg Maddux in 2005. The Minnesota Twins also had two pitchers reach the milestone with their team. Walter Johnson was the first, joining the club while the franchise was called the Washington Senators, then Bert Blyleven joined in 1986 with the team in Minnesota. Ten 3,000 strikeout pitchers are also members of the 300 win club.

Membership in the 3,000 strikeout club is often described as a guarantee of eventual entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame. All ten of the eligible members of the 3,000 strikeout club have been elected to the Hall. Eligibility requires that a player has "been retired five seasons" or deceased for at least 6 months, disqualifying six living players who have been active within the past five seasons. Bert Blyleven is the most recently elected member, voted in during 2011 balloting. Seven pitchers from this club were named amongst the one hundred greatest players in MLB history as part of the All-Century Team, four of whom were eventually voted as starters for the team by fan vote

Player Strikeouts IP Date Batter Team Seasons
Nolan Ryan 5,714 5,386 July 4, 1980 César Gerónimo Houston Astros 1966–1993
Randy Johnson 4,875 4,135 13 September 10, 2000 Mike Lowell Arizona Diamondbacks 1988–2009
Roger Clemens 4,672 4,916 23 July 5, 1998 Randy Winn Toronto Blue Jays 1984–2007
Steve Carlton 4,136 5,217 13 April 29, 1981 Tim Wallach Philadelphia Phillies 1965–1988
Bert Blyleven 3,701 4,970 August 1, 1986 Mike Davis Minnesota Twins 1970–1992
Tom Seaver 3,640 4,782 23 April 18, 1981 Keith Hernandez Cincinnati Reds 1967–1986
Don Sutton 3,574 5,282 13 June 24, 1983 Alan Bannister Milwaukee Brewers 1966–1988
Gaylord Perry 3,534 5,350 13 October 1, 1978 Joe Simpson Cleveland Indians 1962–1983
Walter Johnson 3,509 5,914 23 July 22, 1923 Unclear Washington Senators 1907–1927
Greg Maddux 3,371 5,008 13 July 26, 2005 Omar Vizquel Chicago Cubs 1986–2008
Phil Niekro 3,342 5,404 13 July 4, 1984 Larry Parrish New York Yankees 1964–1987
Ferguson Jenkins 3,192 4,500 23 July 25, 1982 Garry Templeton Chicago Cubs 1965–1983
Pedro Martínez 3,154 2,827 13 September 3, 2007 Aaron Harang New York Mets 1992–2009
Bob Gibson 3,117 3,884 13 July 17, 1974 César Gerónimo St. Louis Cardinals 1959–1975
Curt Schilling 3,116 3,261 August 30, 2006 Nick Swisher Boston Red Sox 1988–2007
John Smoltz 3,084 3,473 April 22, 2008 Felipe López Atlanta Braves 1988–2009


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