Minnesota Twins’ All-Time Strikeout Leaders
The Minnesota Twins began play as the Washington Senators in 1901 and moved to Minnesota in 1961. The Twins have won a couple of championships and they always seem to field talented pitchers. Here is a list of the Twins’ all-time leaders in strikeouts to date, including the franchise’s days in Washington:
Walter Johnson (3509)—Walter Johnson played his entire career with Washington, from 1907 to 1927, and he was one of the most prolific strikeout pitchers in baseball history. Johnson struck out 3509 batters over the course of his career, ranking him ninth all-time in baseball, and first in this franchise’s history. Johnson had a career high 313 strikeouts in 1910, but his best overall season was 1913, when he only struck out 243 but went an astounding 36-7 with a microscopic 1.14 ERA (wins and ERA were career best numbers).
Bert Blyleven (2035)—Bert Blyleven was considered to have one of the best, if not the best, curveball in baseball history. Blyleven also has been strangely kept out of the Baseball Hall of Fame, but not for lack of striking batters out. Blyleven pitched for Minnesota most of his career, from 1970 to 1976 and again from 1985 to 1988. He ranks second in Twins’ history with 2035 strikeouts, and had 3701 for his career, ranking him fifth in baseball history. Blyleven had his best season in 1973 for the Twins, when he had career bests in strikeouts (258), wins (20, against 17 losses) and a earned run average (2.52).
Camilo Pascual (1885)—Cuban born Camilo Pascual pitched for this franchise in both Washington and Minnesota, from 1954 to 1966, and he ranks third in their history with 1885 strikeouts. Pascual struck out a career high 221 batters in 1961, but his best overall season was 1963, when he had 202 K’s (led the league) and career best numbers in wins (21-9) and ERA (2.46).
Jim Kaat (1851)—Jim Kaat also played for this franchise in Washington and Minnesota, from 1959 to 1973, and he ranks fourth in team history with 1851 strikeouts. Kaat was a lefty with a short, kind of abbreviated pitching delivery, but he was always effective. He struck out a career high 211 batters in 1967, but Kaat’s best season was 1966, when he went 25-13 with a 2.75 earned run average and 205 K’s.
Brad Radke (1467)—Brad Radke pitched for the Twins his entire career, from 1995 to 2006, and ranks fifth in franchise history with 1467 strikeouts. Radke was not the type of pitcher to blow hitters away, but he was very effective. Radke had his best season in 1997, when he went 20-10 with a 3.87 ERA and career high 174 strikeouts.
Johan Santana (1381)—Johan Santana has absolutely “filthy” stuff, as baseball purists like to say. The dude has several pitches in his arsenal, including an above-average fastball and baffling change-up. Santana signed with the Mets in 2008 but began his career in Minnesota, pitching there from 2000 to 2007 and winning two AL Cy Young Awards. Santana also ranks sixth in Twins’ history with 1381 strikeouts, and his best season was 2004. That year, Santana went 20-6 with a 2.61 ERA and career high 265 strikeouts (the ERA and K’s led the American League).
Frank Viola (1214)—Frank Viola pitched most of his career in Minnesota, from 1982 to 1989 before being traded to his hometown Mets. Viola ranks seventh in team history with 1214 strikeouts, and he had a career high 211 K’s in 1989 playing for both the Twins and Mets. His highest total with one team was 197 set in 1987, but Viola’s best overall season was 1988, when he won the AL Cy Young by going 24-7 with a 2.64 ERA and 193 strikeouts.
Jim Perry (1025)—The brother of the more famous Gaylord Perry pitched for the Twins most of his career, from 1963 to 1972, and ranks eighth in franchise history with 1025 K’s. Perry had his best season in Minnesota, in 1974, when he went 24-12 with a 3.04 earned run average and career best 168 strikeouts on his way to winning the AL Cy Young Award.
Dave Goltz (887)—Dave Goltz pitched for Minnesota from 1972 to 1979 and ranks ninth in Twins’ history with 887 strikeouts. Goltz had his best season in 1977, with a 20-11 record, 3.36 ERA and career high 186 strikeouts.
Tom Hughes (884)—Tom Hughes pitched for Washington from 1904 to 1913, and ranks tenth in the franchise’s history with 884 strikeouts. Hughes struck out a career high 225 batters in 1901 while with Chicago, but his best season with the Senators was 1908, when he went 18-15 with a career low 2.21 ERA and 165 K’s.