This Day in Baseball History: April 27th, 1983 and 1988

Some remember him a bit more for this famous incident.

On April 27, 1983 and 1988:

Nolan Ryan broke Walter Johnson’s strikeout record, and five years later, he narrowly missed out on his eighth no-hitter.

In 1983, Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton were approaching Walter Johnson’s strikeout record. Johnson’s impressive total of 3,509 strikeouts was about to be eclipsed by one of the two pitchers. Johnson had accomplished his feat in an era where strikeouts were not common, but he also pitched more innings, giving him more opportunities. Regardless, toward the end of the 1982 season, Ryan and Carlton were switching places on the all-time list with each passing start. Neither were spring chickens, but Ryan (36) was two years younger than Carlton (38) and figured to pitch longer. Little did anyone know, Ryan would go on to pitch 10 more seasons while Carlton only threw 5 more.

On April 27, 1983, Ryan won the race. In a game against the Expos, Ryan would take down Brad Mills for his 3,510th strikeout. Carlton sat at 3,480, 30 behind. Neither pitcher would go on to win the Cy Young that season, but both pitched fairly well. Ryan went 14-9 with a 2.98 ERA, and Carlton went 15-16 with a 3.11 ERA. Pitching in 8 more games, Carlton won the strikeout title with 274 K’s, and Ryan finished with 183. Of course, Ryan went on to strikeout 2,204 more hitters to end his career as the only man with more than 5,000 strikeouts with 5,704. Randy Johnson, at 4810, is the closest. Ryan retired at the age of 46, and Johnson is now 45.

Five years later, Ryan had already broken the record for most no-hitters with 5, beating Sandy Koufax’s record, but he wasn’t done. On April 27, 1988, he went into the top of the ninth inning with a no-hitter on the line. He had already walked four, so he was not in line for a perfect game. Greg Gross hit a ball to second, but the second baseman booted it for an error. Juan Samuel came up and sat back down as Ryan’s ninth strikeout victim. Then walked up Mike Schmidt. Schmidt had walked twice already and flied out, but he would come through with a nice single to center to end the no-hit bid. A Lance Parrish double would bring in two unearned runs, and the Phillies came back to win the game in the 10th. Ryan would go on to record two more no-hitters, but he was within two outs (would have been one if not for the error) of an eighth.

Sometimes, it’s just hard to fathom how dominating he was and for how long.

Trivia Time
Who is the only player to throw no-hitters in consecutive starts?

Yesterday’s Answer –> Aaron won 10-9

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3 Responses to “This Day in Baseball History: April 27th, 1983 and 1988”

  1. Ron Rollins Says:

    van der Meer.

  2. Kevin Says:

    You beat me to it Ron. I believe the 2nd no hitter was the 1st night game ever played a Crosley field.

  3. tHeMARksMiTh Says:

    Well done, Ron.

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