American League Whiff Leaders By Team
Home runs and strikeouts have gone hand in hand since the beginning of baseball time. But just because a hitter has a lot of home runs on his resume, it doesn't necessarily mean he misses the ball any more than you might think. Therefore, some of the names on this list may surprise you, and others will definitely not. We took the all-time whiffers by franchise in the American League, and think you'll definitely enjoy reading it.
Baltimore Orioles-Cal Ripken, Jr.
It stands to reason if you play enough games, you can lead a franchise in many offensive categories, but in this case Cal Ripken, Jr. might think the word "offensive" to mean something else. Ripken played in 3001 games as an Oriole (his entire career, from 1981-2001) and while he leads the franchise in homers and hits, he also is the all-time strikeout leader with 1305. But after fanning 97 times in 1983 as a career high, Ripken became a more patient hitter as his career progressed, and after 1984 never struck out more than 78 times in a season.
Los Angeles Angels-Tim Salmon
Tim Salmon played his entire career in an Angels uniform (1992-2006) and was a fan favorite in Anaheim. Salmon won the AL Rookie of the Year in 1993 and helped the Angels to a championship in 2002. He also clubbed 299 career homers. But with those homers, Salmon swung at a lot of air, and his 1360 strikeouts leads the franchise all-time. In 1997, Salmon hit .296 with 33 homers and 129 RBI, but struck out a career-high of 142 times.
Oakland Athletics- Reggie Jackson
Though Reggie Jackson only played for Oakland for nine seasons (1968-1975 and 1987), and even though his all-time teammates include the likes of Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, Jackson leads the Athletics' franchise with 1226 strikeouts. Jackson, who fanned 2597 times in his career overall, was a prototypical power hitter who missed more than he connected. In 1971, Jackson fanned a career high of 161 times, and he even struck out 142 times in 1969 despite career highs in homers (47) and RBI (118).
Toronto Blue Jays- Carlos Delgado
Carlos Delgado began his career with the Jays and played there from 1993-2004. Over that time he became the franchise leader in home runs with 336, but he also leads the Jays all-time in strikeouts with 1242. In fact, upon becoming a full-time player in 1996, Delgado's lowest strikeout total with the Jays was 104 in 200. And in 1999, Delgado whiffed 141 times to go along with 44 homers, which are both career highs. Delgado is currently the first baseman for the Mets.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays- Carl Crawford
Carl Crawford is one of the more exciting players in baseball today. Since coming up in 2002, he's hit .295 with 61 homers and 264 stolen bases. But since the Rays have only been around since 1998, he also leads the team all-time in strikeouts with 474. In his first full season in the big leagues (2003), Crawford struck out 102 times, but his highest total since then was 85 in 2006.
Cleveland Indians- Jim Thome
Jim Thome was one of the most popular players in Indians' history, as he was a key cog in the glory years of the nineties. But while Thome leads the franchise in home runs all-time with 334, he also leads in whiffs by an uncomfortably large margin. During Thome's playing days in Cleveland (1991-2002), he struck out 1377 times (Larry Doby is second with 805). Though he hit 49 homers with 124 RBI in 2001, that was also the year Thome struck out 185 times for a career high. Thome went on to play for the Phillies, and currently plays for the Chicago White Sox.
Seattle Mariners- Jay Buhner
Jay Buhner began his career with the Yankees but played most of it in Seattle (1988-2001). Buhner ranks third in Mariners' history with 307 home runs, behind only Ken Griffey, Jr. and Edgar Martinez, but he leads the franchise all-time with 1375 strikeouts. From 1995 to 1997, Buhner hit 40, 44, and 40 homers, respectively - but he also struck out 120, 159 and 175 times those seasons. The 175 whiffs was a career high.
Texas Rangers-Juan Gonzalez
Juan Gonzalez leads the Rangers' franchise all-time with 372 home runs, but he also is the team leader with 1076 strikeouts. Gonzalez played for the Rangers from 1989-1999, becoming one of the most feared sluggers in the game in the nineties. His highest strikeout total was 143 in 1992, but Gonzalez even fanned 126 times in 1998, the year he clubbed 45 homers and had a career high of 157 RBI on his way to winning his second American League MVP Award. Gonzalez also played for the Tigers, Indians and Royals before retiring in 2005.
Boston Red Sox-Dwight Evans
Dwight "Dewey" Evans played almost his entire career with the Red Sox (1972-1990), and ranks fourth all-time in team home runs behind Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, and Jim Rice with 379. Unfortunately for Evans, he ranks number one in Sox history in one category - all-time strikeouts, with 1643. With 8996 at-bats, that's not a horrible percentage, and his high of 125 whiffs in 1982 is proof that this record is more about how long Evans played than about how many times he swung and missed at the plate.
Kansas City Royals- Frank White
Second baseman Frank White was one of the Royals' all-time greats, playing for them his entire career (1973-1990). And on a team not known for its power hitters, the fact that White played in a Royals uniform for so many years increased his chances of being the team leader in strikeouts, which he is, with 1035. But White never struck out more than 88 times (1986) in his career.
Detroit Tigers- Lou Whitaker
Lou Whitaker played his entire career in Detroit (1977-1995) and his longevity is the main reason he is the franchise leader in strikeouts with 1099. Whitaker leads in that department by a slim margin over Norm Cash (1081) and Al Kaline (1020). His career high in that department was 108 in 1987, but that was the only time Whitaker had over 100 in any one season.
Minnesota Twins-Harmon Killebrew
Harmon Killebrew is a Twins legend, and is one of baseball's all-time great sluggers with 573 career home runs. Killebrew played for the Twins for most of his career, clubbing 559 homers with the team. But he also ranks first in strikeouts for the franchise with 1629, which leads over second-place Bob Allison by almost 600. Though he became a more patient hitter later in his career, Killebrew struck out over 100 times between 1959 and 1964, including a career high of 142 times in 1962.
Chicago White Sox- Frank Thomas
Frank Thomas is one of baseball's all-time great power hitters, and he played most of his career with the White Sox (1990-2005). Over that time, Thomas became the franchise leader in home runs with 448, but also leads them all-time in strikeouts with 1165. With a .303 lifetime batting average, Thomas makes contact more than most power hitters, and his career high of 115 whiffs (twice, 2002 and 2003) proves that. Therefore, it's his tenure with the team that contributed to him holding this record more than anything. Thomas went on to play for Oakland, and is currently with the Toronto Blue Jays.
New York Yankees- Mickey Mantle
You think you can name the Yankees' all-time strikeout leader? It's not Babe Ruth, it's not Roger Maris, and it's not Lou Gehrig. Nope, it's Mickey Mantle, who played his entire career with New York (1951-1968). Mantle ranks second in franchise history with 536 homers (behind Ruth) but leads the team all-time with 1710 strikeouts. In 1959, "The Mick" had a bit of an off-year, hitting only 31 homers with 75 RBI, and struck out a career high of 126 times. But what is even more amazing when you look at the Yankees' all-time strikeout leaders, is where contemporary players rank - Derek Jeter (second with 1256), Bernie Williams (third with 1212) and Jorge Posada (fifth with 1118).
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