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3K the fast way

Big Unit is quickest to 3,000 strikeouts

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Latest: Wednesday September 20, 2000 01:23 PM

  Randy Johnson Will Randy Johnson fade, like many pitchers before him, after reaching the 3,000 strikeout mark? AP

By Jacob Luft, CNNSI.com

If Nolan Ryan is the express, then Randy Johnson is the Concorde.

Even Ryan, whose career total of 5,714 strikeouts is one of the most untouchable records in sports, could not accomplish what Johnson has done.

The Big Unit reached 3,000 strikeouts faster than any pitcher in history. Johnson struck out 14 against the Marlins on Sunday to become the 12th pitcher to compile 3,000 in a career.

Johnson reached the mark in his 362nd game (352 starts). No other pitcher has struck out 3,000 in less than 400 appearances. Even Ryan took more than 400 games; he was the starter in more than 375 of those, and made 34 relief appearances in the first nine years of his career.

Moreover, Johnson needs 15 strikeouts to become the second player to strike out 1,000 in a span of three seasons. Ryan fanned 1,079 from 1972-74.

The question is: What will Johnson be like after No. 3,000? Most of the 11 members of the 3K club faded shortly thereafter.

Will Johnson be like Ryan and go on to strike out thousands more?

Perhaps he will be more like Walter Johnson, who had two 20-win seasons and a 15-win season left in him before fading in 1927, his final year.

3K Club -- Before
Randy Johnson is the 12th member of the 3,000-strikeout club. Here's a look at the stats for all 12 through the season they recorded strikeout No. 3,000.
Pitcher  Yrs.  IP  BB  K's 
Randy Johnson  1988-00  362  2,473.2  1,078  177  94  3,006 
Nolan Ryan  1966-80  431  2,926  1,744  178  169  3,109 
Roger Clemens  1984-98  450  3,274.2  1,012  233  124  3,153 
Tom Seaver  1967-81  504  3,788  1,074  259  143  3,075 
Bob Gibson  1959-74  526  3,775.1  1,274  248  164  3,057 
Bert Blyleven  1970-86  541  3,981  1,072  229  197  3,090 
Steve Carlton  1965-81  549  3,979  1,354  262  162  3,148 
Don Sutton  1966-83  622  4,359.2  1,113  266  206  3,065 
Gaylord Perry  1962-78  626  4,358.1  1,121  267  206  3,001 
Fergie Jenkins  1965-82  631  4,333.1  951  278  217  3,096 
Walter Johnson  1907-23  683  5,039.1  1,109  354  243  3,070 
Phil Niekro  1964-84  771  4,835.1  1,528  284  238  3,048 
 

3K Club -- After
How the 11 members of the 3,000-strikeout club fared after reaching the milestone:
Pitcher  Yrs.  IP  BB  K's 
Nolan Ryan  1981-93  376  2,919.1  1,051  146  123  2,605 
Steve Carlton  1982-88  192  1,238.1  479  67  82  988 
Tom Seaver  1982-86  152  994.2  316  52  62  565 
Don Sutton  1984-88  152  922.2  230  58  50  509 
Bert Blyleven  1987-92  151  982.1  250  58  53  611 
Gaylord Perry  1979-83  151  992  258  47  59  533 
Walter Johnson  1924-27  119  875  254  63  26  439 
Phil Niekro  1985-87  93  569  281  34  36  294 
Roger Clemens  1998-  57  361  163  25  16  321 
Fergie Jenkins  1983  33  167.1  46  96 
Bob Gibson  1975  22  109  62  10  60 
 

 
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2000 Strikeout Leaders
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