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Wakefield Accomplishes Rare Feat In Sunday's Win

Against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday, knuckler Tim Wakefield reached a personal milestone when he struck out Mike Carp in the sixth inning for his fourth of the game. That was strikeout number 2,000 in a Red Sox uniform for Wakefield, putting him on a short list of pitchers with that many punch outs for a single team. 

Now, Wakefield has had a solid career, and has provided much more value than he hasn't in his day, but his strength has been in his dependability and consistently average performances. In fact, he has averaged exactly two wins above replacement per season in his career, right at the average -- a feat even more impressive considering we're talking about a 19-year career that has seen the knuckler in many different roles. "Average" and "dependable" are not the words you or I would use to describe the members of Wakefield's newly-joined club.

A few highlights: almost every single one of these 24 pitchers is a Hall of Famer, as three of them are not yet eligible and three just didn't quite reach those heights during their careers (but they did get very close). The other, of course, is Wakefield, who is not only active, but is more Red Sox Hall of Fame material than Cooperstown-bound. 

I'm not adjusting for the differences of era here (there are more and more strikeouts the closer to the present you are looking), but Wakefield does not bring up the rear in terms of strikeouts per nine innings. He is ahead of seven others, one of whom was a contemporary. 

This has nothing to do with Wakefield, but sometimes you just need a reminder of how good Randy Johnson was, and this table will provide that -- on a list with just 25 instances of a pitcher striking out 2,000 players with a single team in their career, the Big Unit pulled it off twice:

Name TM K IP K/9 Hall of Fame
Walter Johnson Washington Senators 3509 5914.3 5.3 Yes
Bob Gibson St. Louis Cardinals 3117 3884.3 7.2 Yes
Steve Calrton Philadelphia Phillies 3031 3697.3 7.4 Yes
John Smoltz Atlanta Braves 3011 3395 8.0 Not Yet Eligible
Phil Niekro Atlanta Braves 2855 4529.7 5.7 Yes
Don Sutton Los Angeles Dodgers 2696 3816.3 6.4 Yes
Mickey Lolich Detroit Tigers 2679 3361.7 7.2 No
Roger Clemens Boston Red Sox 2590 2776 8.4 Not Yet Eligible
Bob Feller Cleveland Indians 2581 3827 6.1 Yes
Tom Seaver New York Mets 2541 3045.7 7.5 Yes
Christy Mathewson New York Giants 2504 4779.7 4.7 Yes
Warren Spahn Milwaukee Braves 2493 5046 4.4 Yes
Don Drysdale Los Angeles Dodgers 2486 3432 6.5 Yes
Nolan Ryan California Angels 2416 2181.3 10.0 Yes
Sandy Koufax Los Angeles Dodgers 2396 2324.3 9.3 Yes
Juan Marichal San Francisco Giants 2281 3443.7 6.0 Yes
Jim Palmer Baltimore Orioles 2212 3948 5.0 Yes
Randy Johnson Seattle Mariners 2162 1838.3 10.6 Not Yet Eligible
Sam McDowell Cleveland Indians 2159 2109.7 9.2 No
Dwight Gooden New York Mets 2098 2169.7 8.7 No
Tom Glavine Atlanta Braves 2091 3408 5.5 Not Yet Eligible
Randy Johnson Arizona Diamondbacks 2077 1630.3 11.5 Not Yet Eligible
Ferguson Jenkins Chicago Cubs 2038 2673.7 6.9 Yes
Bert Blyleven Minnesota Twins 2035 2566.3 7.1 Yes
Tim Wakefield Boston Red Sox 2000 2944 6.1 Active