Mr. October played 21 seasons for the A’s, the Orioles, The Yankees and the Angels. During that time he struck out an all time record 2,597 times in 9,864 at bats. 5 times Reggie led the American League in strike outs. He also holds the record for most seasons with at least 100 strike outs, 18 seasons.
The National League record for most strike outs is held by Pops, Willie Stargell at 1,936.
The top 10 strike out leaders for their career are:
1. Reggie Jackson- 2,597
2. Jim Thome- 2,548
3. Adam Dunn- 2,379
4. Sammy Sosa- 2,306
5. Alex Rodriguez- 2,286
6. Andres Gallaraga- 2,003
7. Jose Canseco- 1,942
8. Willie Stargell- 1,936
9. Mike Cameron- 1,901
10. Mike Schmidt- 1,883
Mark Reynolds of the Arizona Diamondbacks has the record for most K’s in a season with 223 in 2009. In 2012, the White Sox Adam Dunn set the American League mark with 222.
Kris Bryant of the Cubs set the record for most strike outs by a rookie with 199 in 2015. Pete Incaviglia has the Ameican League record for rookies with 185.
The Expos Mike Thurman is the leader for consecutive games striking out at least once, 15 games.
Jimmie Foxx has the record for leading the league in strike outs the most consecutive seasons with 7. Vince DiMaggio is the National League leader with 6 consecutive seasons.
Now, let’s look at the other end of the strike out record. Joe Sewell has the fewest strike outs in a career with 114. He also holds the record for striking out the least in a season with 4.
Brooklyn’s Buddy Hassett has the fewest strike outs by a rookie with 17.
These days, strike outs are up across Major League baseball. The first time a batter struck out 190 times wasn’t until 2004 and it been done 20 times since then.
Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron never struck out 100 times in a season. Willie Mays only did it after he turned 40 and Barry Bonds only did it as a rookie.
I think there are several reasons for the increase in strike outs. Years ago, the starting pitcher usually finished the game. A hitter got 4, sometimes 5 looks at a pitcher. Not anymore. The complete game is rare these days. A hitter now might face 3 different pitchers in one game. The more times you face a pitcher, the better as a hitter.
Most home run hitters of the past would swing for the fences, until they had two strikes. Then, shorten their swing, choke up a little and just try to make contact. Put the ball in play.
Today’s players are still down around the knob with two strikes. Still swinging from the heels. Because that’s where the money is and that’s what the fans want to see.
Instead of trying to hit the ball to the right side to move a runner to third with nobody out, they are still trying to pull the ball into the seats.
Personally, I don’t see the advantage of batting .260 with 30 home runs and striking out 150 times.
I would rather see a guy hit .300 with 15 home runs and only strike out 80 times. A strike out doesn’t help the team at all. A .300 hitter will put the ball in play more often and help his team more than a hitter who strikes out 175 times but manages to hit 30 homers.
The game has changed for sure. “Small ball” is gone. Moving runners, stealing bases, the hit and run all seem to be baseball of the past. All fans want to see now is the three run home run.
There is nothing wrong with a home run. But when a hitter is trying for that at the expense of striking out, there is.
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