On September 20, 2017, Chris Sale took the mound in the 8th inning and when he fired the final pitch of that inning he notched his 13th strikeout of the game and 300th of the season. Ryan Flaherty was the victim and Sale became the first AL pitcher in 18 years to record 300 strikeouts in a season.
CBS Boston reported: “It was fun. I’m appreciative of that,” Sale said after winning his 17th, regarding his teammates giving him a standing ovation in the dugout after his 300th strikeout. “We go through the trenches together and put in a lot of hard work. They don’t call these the dog days for nothing. Having them have my back and being able to share that moment with them was special. I’m very appreciative of it.”
The last AL pitcher to K 300 batters in a season was Pedro Martinez in 1999, when he set the Red Sox record with 313. He joined some pretty high flying company. Sale became the 14th pitcher in the “Live Ball Era” (1920-present) to total 300 strikeouts in a season. Further he became just the fourth American League pitcher since the designated hitter was adopted in 1973 to record 300 strikeouts in a season, joining Pedro Martinez (1999), Randy Johnson (1993), and Nolan Ryan (1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1989). Roger Clemens ranks third all time in strikeouts, but in his 24-year career threw 300 strikeouts in a season.
The above pictured glove was used by Sandy Leon to catch that strikeout and is autographed by Sale and Leon. In 2017 Leon would catch Sale in 32 of the 33 starts by Sale in the regular season and playoffs. Click here for More Sandy Leon Gear.