Good day all!
On the blog today, we have the top three National League strikeout pitchers of 1978 proudly displayed on a 1979 “expanded league leader” card, featuring three studs of the mound:
We begin with Houston Astros ace J.R. Richard, who had himself quite a season in 1978, reaching the 300 strikeout plateau for the first time with 303 total over 275.1 innings of work.
Richard was just getting better and better at this point, reaching the 300 strikeout mark after two seasons of 214, winning 18 games each year between 1977 and 1979 with a 20-win season in 1976.
He was a beast on the mound, and would follow up his 1978 campaign with an even better 1979 season, striking out 313 batters while leading the league with a 2.71 earned run average while completing 19 of his 38 starts, throwing 292.1 innings.
I cannot even imagine how the 1980’s could have gone for him had not a tragic stroke strike him during the 1980 season, ending his career just like that.
In second place with 248 strikeouts, the 1977 K-leader in the N.L., Atlanta Braves pitcher Phil Niekro, who started 42 games while completing 22 of them, both league high marks, as well as his whopping 334.1 innings.
He went 19-18 with a very nice 2.88 ERA, tossing four shutouts and even winning the first of his five Gold Gloves, this at the age of 39! Amazing.
In third place with 226 strikeouts, a man who at that point was already a five-time K-King, Cincinnati Reds ace Tom Seaver, who had a very nice first full-season after his shocking trade to the team during the 1977 season.
“Tom Terrific” went 16-14 over 36 starts, posting an ERA of 2.88 over 259 innings, tossing one shutout while completing eight, making his eleventh All-Star team on his way to an easy Hall of Fame selection years later, in my opinion THE best pitcher of the 1970’s.
Quite the trip of arms here!