Top 5 most unbreakable records in baseball: #3- Nolan Ryan’s career strikeouts

Top 5 most unbreakable records in baseball: #3- Nolan Ryans career strikeouts

A career lasting over 27 years and 5,714 strikeouts carries on as one of the greatest in Cooperstown, New York, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. The contributor to this infamous career is Nolan Ryan, one of the most well-known pitchers in major league history. It is a certainty that we are never going to see another pitcher like Nolan.

On January 31st, 1947, a legend was born. He was born in Texas, then went on to play for the Rangers in his home state. He also wore jerseys for the Angels, Astros, and Mets, where he won his first and only World Series. He played until 1993, and 6 years later, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining some of the greatest names the MLB has ever spoken. So, what exactly did Ryan do to earn his spot in history?

His rookie season (1968) wasn’t the greatest start, as he averaged 3.09 earned runs per game in 21 appearances. Though he started off slow, he soon took off and became a dominant pitcher in the league. The seasons of 1972-77 were some of his best, as he averaged 19 wins and 322 strikeouts per season. More important than seasonal stats, he tallied up a multitude of strikeouts across his career. Over 27 years as a professional athlete, he would strike out 5,714 batters, taking hold of the one of the most unbreakable records in baseball. His ability to strikeout any hitter on command mixed with his amazingly long career allowed him to obliterate the prior record of 3,509, previously held by Walter Johnson.

Back in Ryan’s day, it was way more common for a pitcher to complete a full game game, in contrast to modern day when 5-6 innings is a normal outing for a pitcher. Those 3-4 extra innings across so many games allowed Ryan to continue to strike out more batters. He pitched into his forties. It’s absurd that he was able to play for so long, especially with how much he used his arm. Nolan was an amazing pitcher who could throw a ball over 100 miles per hour. That much force on someone’s arm is so extreme that many pitchers get a serious ailment known as Tommy John, which leads to a surgery that replaces a tendon in the elbow to stabilize it. Ryan was able to pitch all the way until he had two starts left in his 1993 season before he suffered the previously stated injury. Unfortunately, it ended his career a little earlier than he was planning.

That excessive amount of time played, innings pitched, along with his unmatched strikeout abilities are why his record will never be broken. Randy Johnson ranks second on the all time list, only 839 strikeouts behind Nolan. Justin Verlander, former Detroit Tiger and current Houston Astro, is currently the best pitcher in baseball; however, his time is running short as he is getting too old. While he is the closest active player to Nolan’s record, he is still more than 2,500 strikeouts behind Ryan. He has no hopes of coming close and neither does anyone else. Baseball has evolved to save pitchers’ arms by limiting the innings they pitch. Fewer innings means fewer batters, and fewer batters means fewer opportunities to strikeout those batters. With all of these mutations in the game, Nolan Ryan can relax knowing that his strikeout record is absolutely unbreakable.