This Day in Baseball History: June 5th, 1981

You never see pictures of when he was young. But while he’s old and in control of young and impressionable hitters, let’s hope he teaches them to throw strikes. Granted, if they had 5 Nolan Ryans, I don’t think anyone would complain. I don’t think anyone will ever break that record, or would want to.

On June 5, 1981:

Nolan Ryan breaks another pitching record.

Everyone wants to talk about the strikeout record. It’s sexy. It’s edgy. But what about Nolan Ryan‘s infamous one? You know, the one in which he walked more people than anyone else in Major League Baseball history.

He broke the record, which was held at the time by Early Winn at 1,775, on June 5, 1981. It was one of Ryan’s more dominating performances, and it didn’t represent the wildness that Ryan could unleash. The Mets flailed for 9 innings. 10 of them struck out, and only 5 of them got hits. They didn’t score a run. Worst of all, they only walked twice. But it was enough for Ryan to break the record.

To me, Ryan seems to be a little bit like Brett Favre. Favre does hold the record for most touchdowns in a career (like Ryan with strikeouts), but he also holds the record for most interceptions (like Ryan with walks). Now, I won’t say either player is not a Hall of Famer. That would be stupid. But some people will always put these two in the discussion for best quarterback and pitcher ever. Best? No. Really freakin’ good and Hall of Fame worthy? Definitely. If you want to be the best ever, I’d prefer you didn’t walk 4.7 batters every 9 innings. His K/BB ratio was 2.06 for his career. For comparison’s sake, our new 300-game winner Randy Johnson only walked 3.3 per 9 (while striking out a major-league record 10.6 per 9), and his K/BB ratio is 3.26. Again, really good (a major-league record 6.6 H/9) and extremely durable, which counts for a lot, but Ryan’s not the best ever.

Anyway, I figure you’d like to know the leaderboard.

Nolan Ryan – 2,795
Steve Carlton – 1,833
Phil Niekro – 1,809
Early Wynn – 1,775
Bob Feller – 1,764
Bobo Newsom – 1,732
Charlie Hough – 1,665
Roger Clemens – 1,580
Red Ruffing – 1,541
Tom Glavine – 1,500

For one season?

Bob Feller (1938) – 208
Nolan Ryan (1977) – 204
Nolan Ryan (1974) – 202
Bob Feller (1941) – 194
Bobo Newsom (1938) – 192
Sam Jones (1955) – 185
Nolan Ryan (1976) – 183
Bob Turley (1954) – 181
Bob Harmon (1911) – 181
Tommy Byrne (1949) – 179

Trivia Time
Most BB/9 ever (1,000 IP minimum and 5,000 IP minimum)?

Yesterday’s Answer –> 43 cents.


One Response to “This Day in Baseball History: June 5th, 1981”

  1. Dan Says:

    Daniel Cabrera came to mind, but he'll need another season at least to get to 1,000 IP. But if you can't pitch for Washington, who can you pitch for?

    I smell a trick question. Nolan Ryan has to be the 5,000 IP leader since so few have pitched that much.

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