NL Strikeout Leaders
Tom Seaver 289
Fergie Jenkins 263
Bill Stoneman 251
There's Tom Seaver again. He's the only player in either league to appear on all 3 League Leader cards. Jenkins, Blue, Wood and Lolich were all on 2 of the 3. Joe Torre, Willie Stargell and Hank Aaron made 2 of the 3 hitting cards. Nobody in the AL made even 2 of the 3 League Leader cards.
I've also written about Jenkins and want to leave something for his regular card. He was as solid and steady as they came in that era. Once again, the names down the Top Ten on the NL card read like a Hall of Fame invitation list -- Sutton, Niekro, Marichal, Carlton, Gibson. And then Clay Kirby shows up again.
So does Bill Stoneman. If a Montreal Expo falls in the woods with no one around does it make a sound? If you pitch 2 no-hitters for the team in Parc Jarry, did it happen? Bill was pretty well unknown until he helped build a winner in Orange County. Other than 1971-72, Bill was a pretty lackluster pitcher, with a career ERA of 4.08. Most of his career highs in good categories came in 1971. It was by far his highest strikeout total, win total and his only season above .500 (barely) at 17-16. Although he had his flash here, he was a better executive than pitcher.
AL Strikeout Leaders
Mickey Lolich 308
Vida Blue 301
Joe Coleman 236
Quite a gap here between 2nd and 3rd. What you don't see are the 4 20-game winners for the Orioles, with Dobson and Palmer showing up on down the line. Just goes to show when you have an outstanding defense, you don't have to strike everyone out.
If Blue hadn't slowed down the stretch, he'd have likely won the strikeout race. I remember Lolich as a big guy and when he retired he had over 2800 strikeouts, which was a lot, considering Walter Johnson held the record then at 3,509. When he retired for good at the end of the 1979 season, he was #7 on the all-time strikeout list, but was #5 entering 1979, with a couple of guys named Seaver and Ryan passing him that year. Pretty good career.
Joe Coleman ends up on this card. He and Lolich were the Tigers pitching rotation in 1971-72. Coleman was a little less a workhorse than Lolich, only getting to the 280 innings mark. He only topped 200 strikeouts from 1971-1973 and then tailed off.
I'm in the camp of those who think we baby pitchers too much these days. However, I also look at guys like Coleman and Stoneman and see something to support the current mindset. Both of those guys had high water marks in innings and then fell off the table dramatically. I can't remember if they had arm trouble, but I know back then guys were afraid to say they hurt. I would suspect there were a lot of guys that tried to gut it out and pitch through it, but needed some rest or medical attention, didn't seek it and were never the same. I also think some of the problem today (in addition to pitchers not having the arm strength) is that I recall guys like Gibson, Seaver, Catfish Hunter, Jenkins, etc. threw a lot of fastballs, but didn't rely on the sliders and splitters that are used more frequently now. Some of that may be that with the balls, bats, ballparks and batters being juiced today, the pitchers can't get by with just fast balls, but those other pitches put more stress on the nerves and tendons in the joints. I don't know the answers, but I wish we could get back to the days when pitchers could start 38-40 games a year and were wusses if they only went into the 7th inning.
It's what's on the inside that counts
3 hours ago