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: