A Note on Bob Feller’s Strikouts

You probably know about how Babe Ruth led MLB in homers by a very large margin in 1920 and 1921. I happened to notice this list of the MLB strikout leaders in 1946:
1. Bob Feller        348
2. Hal Newhouser  275
3. Tex Hughson    172
4. Virgil Trucks     161
5. Dizzy Trout      151
6. Spud Chandler  138
Fred Hutchinson    138
8. Johnny Schmitz  135

Feller had quite a gap on the #2 pitcher, but nothing very remarkable, you think, until you notice that Schmitz, who pitched for the Cubs, led the NL with his 135 strikouts. That 135 was 39% of Feller’s 348.

In 1940, the top 4 in strikeouts in MLB went like this:
1. Bob Feller       261
2. Bobo Newsom 164
3. Johnny Rigney 141
4. Kirby Higbe     137

Similarly, Higbe’s 137 led the NL, but that was just a bit more than 50% of Feller’s 261 strikeouts. My point is not to show that Feller overwhelmed the rest of baseball with his power in a way similar to how Ruth did in the early ’20s, but more to point out that Feller was a dominant pitcher for quite a while, both before and after he was in World War II. And, apparently the AL and NL hitters were playing two different kinds of baseball in 1940 and 1946. It’s hard to believe the great NL pitchers were throwing a significantly slower, more difficult to hit ball than the one Feller was throwing.

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Published in: Uncategorized on July 13, 2017 at 7:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

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