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Boston Red Sox All-Time Strikeout Leaders
The Boston Red Sox have a rich tradition of great teams with larger-than-life hitters and pitchers leading the way. Here is a list of the franchise’s all-time Top 10 pitchers in strikeouts:
Roger Clemens (2590)—Sadly, Roger Clemens’ career will always have an asterisk on it, because of his link to the Mitchell Report and the way he’s handled it legally. It’s sad because if you watched the guy pitch, especially early in his career, he was so dominating that he really didn’t need any “help.” Anyway, it’s safe to say that Clemens’ days with the Sox were clean and legit, and over his time in Boston (1984-1996) he racked up an astounding 2590 strikeouts in 2776 innings. Not surprisingly, Clemens leads the Sox all-time in this category. He won two Cy Young awards there, and his best season for Boston was 1986, when he also won the AL MVP and led Boston to the World Series. That year, Clemens went 24-4 with a 2.48 ERA and 238 strikeouts – but his 291 K’s in 1988 was his highest total for the Red Sox.
Tim Wakefield (1838)—Tim Wakefield began his career in Pittsburgh but almost nobody remembers those two seasons. Wakefield was traded to the Red Sox and has been with them since 1994, and as I write this still going strong at the age of 42 in 2009. Wakefield’s baffling knuckleball is his out pitch, and he ranks second in Sox history with 1838 strikeouts. Wakefield went 16-8 and finished third in the Cy Young voting in 1995, but his highest total of strikeouts was 169, set in 2003.
Pedro Martinez (1683)—Pedro Martinez was most dominant in his days with the Red Sox, pitching in Boston from 1998 to 2004, winning two AL Cy Young Awards and finishing second twice. During those seven seasons, Martinez racked up 1683 strikeouts, which ranks third in Red Sox history but also was an average of 240 per season. That’s just insane. In 1999, Martinez won the Cy Young and finished second in the MVP voting, and that was his best season by far, going 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA and career high 313 strikeouts in just 213 innings of work.
Cy Young (1341)—Well, you don’t have an award named after you for no reason. Cy Young won over 30 games FIVE times during his career, something that will never happen again. In fact, he has 511 wins and 2803 strikeouts on his resume. Young pitched for the Sox from 1901 to 1908, and ranks fourth in their history with 1341 strikeouts. And while he won 33 games for the Sox in 1901, his highest strikeout total was 210, also set with Boston, in 1905.
Luis Tiant (1075)—Journeyman Luis Tiant played eight seasons in Boston, from 1971 to 1978, and is probably best remembered for his playing days there. Tiant won 20 or more games three times while with the Sox, and he struck out 1075 batters over that span, ranking him fifth in franchise history. In 1972, Tiant only struck out 123, but went 15-6 with a 1.91 ERA, perhaps his best season in Boston-- but his high in strikeouts with the Sox was 206, set in 1973.
Bruce Hurst (1043)—Lefty Bruce Hurst was part of a great 1-2 punch the Sox had with he and Roger Clemens, when they were a dominant team in the ‘80’s. Hurst pitched for Boston from 1980 to 1988, and ranks sixth in Red Sox history with 1043 strikeouts. Hurst only averaged 115 K’s per season in Boston, but he was consistent. His high total was 190 strikeouts with Boston in 1987.
Joe Wood (986)—Joe Wood pitched for Boston from 1908 to 1915, and ranks seventh in Sox history with 986 strikeouts. Wood had his best season in Boston, and one of the best single seasons for a pitcher in history, in 1912. That year, Wood went 34-5 with a 1.91 ERA and a career high 258 K’s.
Bill Monbouquette (969)—Bill Monbouquette played for the Sox from 1958 to 1965, and ranks eighth in franchise history with 969 strikeouts. Monbouquette had his best season in 1963 for the Red Sox, when he went 20-10 with a 3.81 earned run average, and a career best 174 strikeouts.
Frank Sullivan (821)—Frank Sullivan played the first eight seasons of his career in Boston, from 1953 to 1960, and ranks ninth in team history with 821 strikeouts. Sullivan never had more than 129 K’s in a season, but that year (1955) was his best overall, with the 129 strikeouts, and 18 wins with a 2.91 ERA.
Ray Culp (794)—Ray Culp played for the Red Sox from 1968 to 1973, and ranks tenth in the team’s history with 794 strikeouts. Culp had arguably his best season in Boston in 1970, when he went 17-14 with a 3.04 earned run average, and a career high 197 strikeouts.