The 3,000 Strike-out club is an exclusive place, with only 17 pitchers in the history of baseball making it to this feat.
Justin Verlander already had a strong case for the Hall of Fame, but the 3,000 K club is one of those "golden rule" type numbers. Of the 17 who have achieved it, 14 are in the hall. Of the remaining 3, CC is still active and Clemens/Schilling await their fate (although their lack of selection is for other reasons).
How rare is 3,000 strikeouts? Well lets compare it to the other golden tickets to the Hall of fame, with just 18 members it is far more exclusive than:
- 500 Steals (39 members)
- 3,000 hits (32 members)
- 500 Homeruns (27 members)
- 300 Game winners (24 members)
- Perfect Game (23 members)
So I wanted to take a moment and recognize the absurdity of this number.
- If a video was made with just 3 seconds per strikeout, it would take over 2.5 hours to watch every strikeout.
- The distance of the pitches thrown for JUST the strikes that counted (not even foul balls) is over 103 miles. That would be long enough to walk through 5 countries (Italy -> Switzerland -> Liechtenstein -> Austria -> Germany)
- Verlander has lead the league in Strikeouts on 5 separate occasions
Now that Verlander has finally done it, the question arises, how high on the list of strikeout kings will he rise?
Verlander has two more years on his contract with the Astros. We don’t know if he will be willing and able to pitch after that. Let us conservatively assume that his contract with the Astros will conclude his career, but hopefully assume that he remains injury free during those two years.
Another 300 strikeout year seems unlikely, so let us again conservatively assume that he gets 250 Ks each of his remaining two years. That would give him 3500 strikeouts. That would move him ahead of John Smoltz, CC Sabathia, Curt Schilling, Bob Gibson, Pedro Martinez, Fergie Jenkins, Phil Niekro, and Greg Maddux. It would leave him eight strikeouts behind Walter Johnson, 34 strikeouts behind Gaylord Perry, and 74 behind Don Sutton.
So if Verlander can go but only goes two more years, he could realistically end somewhere between tenth and seventh place all-time in total career strikeouts.
You keep going Justin. In only 12 years you might even surpass Nolan Ryan’s ridiculous 5714 mark.