What do you think it would be? I mean, Roger Clemens struck out 20 twice. Kerry Wood struck out 20 and nearly added a no-hitter to the equation. While these performances are admittedly great, there’s someone this decade who blew them out of the water.
Someone went and struck out 25 batters.
Photos of this event are admittedly sketchy, because this happened during a Frontier League baseball game. On June 5th, 2000, a pitcher named Brett Gray went positively nuts upon the bats of the Chillicothe Paints. A complete game three hitter. With 25 strikeouts. (And he struck out 4 in an inning. Twice.)
That was his debut for the London Werewolves in 2000. It got him a contract with the Reds two days later. His career with the Reds, for someone who never actually reached Triple-A? It was pretty good. He ended his run in the Reds organization with a 2.91 ERA working mostly as a reliever.
He ended his in game career in Schaumburg working double duty as a player coach. In 2005 he had his last professional in game action at Alexian Field. But his career did not end there.
Despite pitching with a shoulder injury? Gray helped lead the Canadian National team to the Olympics in 2008. I’ll leave Mop-up sports with the quote. (Left in Canadian English.)
“To go out there and throw four (innings) meant the world to me,” said Gray. “I’m a little banged up with my arm so my (pitches) weren’t all that good, but the defence played awesome and it just felt good to get out there and get another win.”
And that is why at BLB salute Brett Gray. Tough enough to pitch for national pride. Skilled enough to strike out 25 in a single game and get an ERA under 3 in the minors. He’s one of the unsung pitchers of the decade.
And before I forget? Yes, I know the story of Ron Neccai. He did strike out 27 batters in a game. That being said? How many people get the win, 25 strikeouts, and their best man all in one night? I didn’t think so.