September 28, 1973 – Nolan Ryan sets MLB record with 383rd strikeout in a season
Nolan Ryan had an amazing season in 1973. First of all Ryan threw his first two career no-hitters. Then he also struck out 383 batters during the season which was a major league record which still stands.
Ryan went into the last game of the season needing 15 strikeouts to break Sandy Koufax’s record of 382 strikeouts in 1965. The game was secondary as all eyes were on Ryan on this fall evening in Anaheim. Ryan took the mound for the last time against the Minnesota Twins.
Through eight innings Ryan had 14 strikeouts which tied Sandy Koufax with 382 punch outs in a season. The tying strikeout came against the Twins Steve Brey in the top of the eighth. Every time Ryan got two strikes on a hitter after this the crowd rose to its feet in anticipation of seeing history.
In the ninth and 10th innings Ryan did not strike out a single Twins hitter, but the Angels could not break the 4-4 tie. Ryan had struck out the side three times in the first, fourth, and seventh inning to help him reach 14.
In the top of the 11th inning Ryan faced the Twins Rich Reese who had pinch ran for Harmon Killebrew in the top of the ninth inning came to the plate for his first and only at-bat of the game. Ryan struck Reese out to the end the inning and get his record breaking 383rd strikeout of the season.
The Angels ended up scoring in th bottom of the 11th inning giving Ryan his career high 21st victory of the season, but his 383rd strikeout is what will be remembered and probably not ever be broken.