|AFTER '83, THEY HAD A COMBINED 10,920 K's.|
|BIG TRAIN WAS PASSED LIKE A SIGNPOST ALONG THE TRACKS.|
THE FRONT PAGE
- While watching MLB Network's Seasons 1983 last week, a segment covered the all-time strikeout record chase, and I immediately thought of this card. Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton and Gaylord Perry, three future Hall of Famers, took down career leader Walter Johnson's mark of 3,508.
THE BACK PAGE
- Standard newspaper style, but it's curious career strikeout totals through '83 weren't listed. After all, on Carlton's '84 Highlight card that featured his 300th victory, Topps listed his strikeout total of 3,709. FYI: Ryan finished '83 with 3,677 and Perry 3,534.
- Ryan and Perry got a standard mug shot, but Topps took an action photo and cropped it for Carlton, which never looks good.
- Ninety years ago in 1923, Johnson became the first pitcher to strike out 3,000 batters. At that point, only five other pitchers had as many as 2,000 K's. Through '13, 69 pitchers have that many.
- When the '83 season began, Ryan (3,494), Perry (3,452) and Carlton (3,434) were each within 100 strikeouts of the record.
- Ryan established the mark in the eighth inning, getting Expos pinch-hitter Brad Mills looking.
- Carlton derailed the Big Train by getting the Padres' Garry Templeton swinging in the second.
- Perry joined the club by fanning the Red Sox's Tony Armas swinging in the third inning. Perry was the oldest player in the league at the time at 44.
- Ryan went on the disabled list shortly after getting the record, allowing Carlton to eventually pass him. The lead would change hands between the two 14 times in '83.
- The two continued their strikeout sword fight into next season with five more lead changes. Carlton last led the chase on Sept. 4, 1984, (3,857-3,854).
- The final tally: Ryan 5,714 in 27 seasons, Carlton 4,136 in 24 and Perry 3,534 in 22.
- Five other pitchers (Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Bert Blyleven, Tom Seaver and Don Sutton) have passed Johnson.
- Perry went from third all-time to eighth; Carlton from second to fourth, passed by Johnson (4,875) and Clemens (4,672).