Baseball's All-Time Whiff Leaders
Most home run hitters also have a penchant for swinging and missing. It must be something about taking big cuts. Anyway, some of the names on this list will not surprise the avid baseball fan, or even the casual fan. But either way, it's fun to know who the all-time leaders are in this category of strikeouts:
In Reggie's long career (1967-1987) with the Athletics, Orioles, Yankees and Angels, he belted 563 home runs, ranking him 11th all-time. But Jackson also ranks first in baseball history with 2597 strikeouts. Early in his career, Jackson was a bit more free-swinging, whiffing 171 times in 1968 and 161 times in 1971. But he was always consistent with his strikeouts-the only seasons Jackson fanned less than 100 times were his first and last seasons, and the strike-shortened campaign of 1981.
Sammy Sosa came back into baseball in 2007 with the Texas Rangers, after being out of the game for a full year. And with 21 homers in 2007, Sosa climbed into the 600-club with 609 total. But as with most power hitters, Sosa has fanned a total of 2306 times over the course of a long career with the White Sox, Cubs, Orioles and now Rangers. Between 1997 and 1999, Sosa struck out an astounding 516 times, including a career high of 174 in 1997.
Jim Thome has always had a sweet power stroke, and this past season of 2007 saw him reach a milestone by hitting home run number 500. But Thome also hit another milestone, striking out for the 2000th time, ranking him third all-time now with 2043 punchouts. Thome has played since 1991 with the Indians, Phillies, and White Sox, and had a career high of 185 strikeouts in 2001 with Cleveland.
Andres Galarraga played in baseball purgatory for many years (in Montreal) but had a long, illustrious career overall with the Expos, Rockies, Cardinals, Braves, Rangers, Giants and Angels from 1985 to 2004. Galarraga clubbed 399 homers for his career, but had a very high strikeout ratio, fanning 2003 times in all. In 1990 with Montreal, Galarraga struck out a career high of 169 times in 579 at-bats.
Jose Canseco was one of the "bash brothers" along with Mark McGwire that came up with Oakland in the 80s, and helped that team win a championship in 1989. He also was a prolific power hitter, with 462 lifetime home runs in a career that spanned from 1985-2001 with the Athletics, Rangers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Devil Rays, Yankees and White Sox. Canseco also struck out 1942 times, including a career high of 175 times in 1986 while with Oakland.
Willie "Pops" Stargell was one of the most beloved players in Pittsburgh sports history, playing his entire career with the Pirates (1962-1982). Stargell hit 475 home runs throughout his career, and helped the Pirates to world titles in both 1971 and 1979. He also struck out 1936 times, ranking him sixth all-time in baseball. In 1971, Stargell hit a career high of 48 homers, but also struck out a career high of 154 times.
Third baseman Mike Schmidt played his entire career with the Phillies, and leads the franchise all-time in home runs with 548. Not surprisingly, Schmidt also struck out 1883 times, including a career high of 180 times in 1975.
Fred McGriff played from 1986 to 2004 for the Blue Jays, Padres, Braves, Devil Rays, Cubs and Dodgers. McGriff hit 493 home runs over that span, but also struck out 1882 times, ranking him eighth in baseball history. McGriff struck out with the most frequency early in his career, and his highest single season total was 149 in 1988 with Toronto.
First baseman Tony Perez was an integral part of the Cincinnati Reds' Big Red Machine teams of the 70s. He played for the Reds, Expos, Red Sox and Phillies over a career that spanned from 1964-1986, belting 379 homers. Perez also swung and missed a lot, with 1867 whiffs for his career as well, including a career high of 134 times in 1970.
Dave Kingman was the prototypical power hitter. Over a career that spanned from 1971 to 1986 with the Giants, Mets, Padres, Angels, Yankees, Cubs, and Athletics, Kingman hit just .236, but clubbed 442 home runs. Most of those homers were monster shots, as well. But Kingman also had a mighty swing when he missed the ball, striking out 1816 times, including a career high of 156 times with the Mets in 1982.