National League All-Time Strikeout Leaders By Team
When you think of National League strikeout pitchers, you likely think of Tom Seaver, Randy Johnson, Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton. Those names are on this list along with several others who are the all-team franchise leaders. Enjoy!
Arizona Diamondbacks-Randy Johnson
Lanky lefty Randy Johnson had some of his best years as a pro with the Diamondbacks between 1999 and 2004, and he's back with them in 2007. But overall, Johnson has a staggering 1,902 strikeouts as a D-back, including a career-high of 372 in 2001. Johnson also went 21-6 that year, and in 2002 when 24-5 with 334 punch-outs. In fact, the 334 that year was his lowest total in a four-year span, and his 1,417 strikeouts from 1999-2002 is a number that quite frankly may never be matched again. Johnson also won the National League Cy Young those four years in a row, and helped his team to a world championship in 2001.
Atlanta Braves-Phil Niekro
Knuckleballer Phil Niekro pitched for the Braves for most of his career, beginning in Milwaukee in 1964 and up until 1983, notching 2,912 strikeouts over that time. Niekro also played for some bad Braves teams, as his 16-20 record in 1977 to go along with 262 strikeouts will attest to. Niekro led the league in strikeouts that year, and continued to baffle hitters with his knuckler until he retired from the game in 1987.
Chicago Cubs-Ferguson Jenkins
Though he only pitched for the Cubs from 1966 to 1973, and again briefly in 1982 and 1983, Fergie Jenkins notched 2,038 of his career strikeouts in Chicago. Jenkins won 20 or more games six straight years, and struck out a career high of 274 batters in 1970 to go along with 22 wins. Jenkins' best overall season with the Cubs was 1971, when he went 24-13 while punching out 263 on his way to winning the NL Cy Young Award.
Cincinnati Reds-Jim Maloney
When you think of the Reds' "Big Red Machine" years, it's hard to imagine that the franchise's all-time strikeout king came just before that time. It's Jim Maloney, who pitched for the Reds from 1960 to 1970, tallying 1,592 strikeouts during his tenure. In 1963, Maloney had his best season as a pro, going 23-7 with a 2.77 ERA and 265 Ks. Maloney also had three no-hitters, and his fastball was once clocked at 99 miles per hour.
Colorado Rockies-Pedro Astacio
The Rockies have only been in existence since 1993, and they play in what is widely recognized as a "hitter's paradise." But during his time with the Rockies, Pedro Astacio became the team's all-time strikeout king with 749. That was 1998-2001, and Astacio's best season in Denver was 1999 when he went 17-11 with 210 Ks despite a whopping 5.04 earned run average.
Florida Marlins-A.J. Burnett
The Marlins have also only been a major league franchise since 1993, so you wouldn't expect the team's strikeout leader to have more than 1,000 or so. But when you consider that the Marlins have won two titles and then purged most of their team after each, it's then no surprise that a guy like A.J. Burnett leads the team in strikeouts with 753. Burnett pitched in Florida from 1999 to 2005, and his best season there was 2002, when he went 12-9 with 203 strikeouts. He currently pitches for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Houston Astros-Nolan Ryan
Flamethrower Nolan Ryan pitched for the Astros in what should have been the twilight of his career, from 1980 to 1988. But he surprised everyone by continuing to throw blazing fastballs with the Rangers until he was almost 50. Before that, Ryan had some stellar years in Houston, punching out 1,866 in all as an Astro. His career high in Houston was 270 in 1987, when he also had a 2.76 ERA but amazingly only went 8-16. With all that heat, it's also amazing that Ryan never won more than 16 games while with the Astros.
Los Angeles Dodgers-Don Sutton
Right hander Don Sutton came up to the Dodgers in 1966 and pitched for them until 1980, and then briefly again in 1988 before retiring. During his Dodgers' career, Sutton notched 2,696 strikeouts, including a career high of 217 in 1969 despite losing more games than he won (17-18). Sutton's best overall season in Los Angeles was 1976 when he went 21-10 with 161 strikeouts.
Milwaukee Brewers-Ted Higuera
Though he pitched for the Brewers when they were an American Leauge team and had his best years in the late eighties before injuries cut his career short, Ted Higuera was lights out in his heyday. In 1987, Higuera struck out a career high 240 batters on his way to a total of 1,081 all-time for Milwaukee, the only team he played for. Higuera also went 20-11 in 1986 with 207 strikeouts.
New York Mets-Tom Seaver
"Tom Terrific" was not only the best pitchers in Mets history; he is one of the all-time greats in baseball. While with the Mets from 1967 to 1977, and again in 1983, Seaver had 2.541 strikeouts on his way to over 3,600 for his career. His best season as a Met was 1971 when he notched 289 punch-outs with a 20-10 record and 1.76 earned run average. Seaver also went 25-7 with 208 Ks during the 1969 championship season, and he led the National League in strikeouts five times while winning three NL Cy Young Awards.
Philadelphia Phillies-Steve Carlton
Though lefty Steve Carlton pitched for several teams during his career, he is best remembered for his years with the Phillies (1972-1986). During that time, Carlton fanned a whopping 3,031 batters, including a career high of 310 in 1972 when he also went 27-10 with a 1.97 ERA on his way to winning the National League Cy Young. In all, Carlton won the Cy Young four times with the Phillies, including the championship season of 1980 when he went 24-9 with 286 strikeouts.
Pittsburgh Pirates-Bob Friend
Bob Friend pitched for the Pirates from 1951 to 1965, notching 1,682 strikeouts during that time. Though he never had more than 166 strikeouts in a single season (1956), Friend was always known as a steady right-hander. His best overall year with the Pirates was 1958, when he went 22-14 with a 3.68 ERA and 135 Ks.
San Diego Padres-Andy Benes
Andy Benes was an imposing pitcher who only pitched for the Padres from 1989 to 1995 but leads the franchise in all-time Ks with 1,036. In 1994, Benes had a career high of 189 strikeouts, but went 6-14. His best overall season with the team was 1991 when he went 15-11 with a 3.03 ERA and 167 strikeouts.
San Francisco Giants-Christy Mathewson
Long before the Giants moved from New York to San Francisco, Christy Mathewson manned the pitcher's mound for this proud franchise. During that time (1900-1916), Mathewson struck out 2,499 batters including a career-high of 267 in 1903 when he also notched 30 wins. In 1908, Mathewson had an astonishing 37-11 record with a 1.43 ERA and 259 strikeouts. Mathewson's career total of 373 wins still ranks him third all-time in baseball history.
St. Louis Cardinals-Bob Gibson
Bob Gibson is one of the greatest pitchers and competitors of all-time, and he pitched for the Cardinals for his entire career. During that time (1959-1975), Gibson struck out 3,117 batters. His best season was 1970 when he struck out a career high of 274 while going 23-7 with a 3.12 earned run average. Gibson also won the National League Cy Young Award in both 1968 and 1970, as well as the National League MVP in 1968, leading his team to three world championships in all.
Washington Nationals-Steve Rogers
Steve Rogers pitched for this franchise from 1973 to 1985 when they were the Montreal Expos, notching a career total of 1,621 strikeouts for the only team he ever played for. The Expos were generally a sub par team, so it's no surprise that when Rogers had his highest strikeout total (206 in 1977), he also went 17-16.