Yikes, that’s a lot of strikes

The ultimate strike-thrower Sandy Koufax.

The ultimate strike-thrower, Sandy Koufax

By Cary Osborne

Twenty strikeouts in one game is incredible.

But what made Washington pitcher Max Scherzer’s 20K performance Wednesday even more incredible is that he threw 96 strikes out of 119 pitches — both the amount of strikes and the percentage (80.7 percent strikes) are rarities.

Still, when it comes to strike-throwers, the conversation starts with the Dodgers and one Sandy Koufax.

Koufax is tied for the most strikes thrown in a game with 128 (to the extent such records exist). On September 20, 1961, Koufax went 13 innings and threw an outrageous 205 pitches (the third-most pitches all-time in a game).

He shares the record with St. Louis Cardinal Herm Wehmeier, who threw 128 strikes against the Brooklyn Dodgers on May 2, 1957 in a 12-inning performance. Wehmeier threw 203 pitches.

The most strikes thrown in a nine-inning game also has a Dodger connection.

San Francisco hurler Billy O’Dell threw 111 strikes against Los Angeles April 16, 1962. He threw 172 pitches, surrendered 15 hits and eight runs and still won the game.

The Dodgers have 29 of the 84 all-time 100-strike games.

Here are some notables:

  • Koufax has nine of them, including a 110-strike performance in nine innings on July 26, 1964.
  • Don Drysdale has eight, the most being 112 twice (both in extra-inning games).
  • Orel Hershiser was the last, with 108 on Oct. 1, 1989 (he pitched 11 innings).
  • Tim Leary threw 100 on April 18, 1988.
  • Don Newcombe has the best strike percentage in a Dodger 100-strike game: 100 strikes out of 131 pitches on June 21, 1955 — 76.3 percent.
  • Clayton Kershaw’s best is 96 from May 14, 2013. He threw 132 pitches in 8 2/3 innings vs. Washington.

So what was the best strike percentage by a Dodger pitcher ever with at least 90 strikes thrown? If you know, you’ve got to be the ultimate Dodger fan.

Carlos Perez on September 14, 1998 threw 92 strikes on 116 pitches — 79.3 percent. Perez had one walk and struck out nine.


Took in the game with a fellow Dodger fan here in DC. Max was hitting 97 mph in the 9th! Still, didn’t top my first game in DS: Sandy’s Perfecto in 1965.

I usually can’t help thinking about great Dodger pitching whenever somebody has a great performance like 20 strikeouts in a game.

And the K stands out even more than the O-U-F-A-X.

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