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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Dick Radatz was ahead of his time as a strike out monster relief pitcher.

Dick Radatz, the Monster. He seemed invincible in 1962-1965, pitching well over 100 relief innings three years in a row with very high strike out (SO) rates. Radatz was like current relief pitchers but with twice the innings.

A couple of weeks ago it was noted that Yankee relief pitcher Dellin Betances had 22 SO in 9 innings over multiple games. This was thought to be a record. Here is some of the research that was done:

Most strikeouts in 9 inning stretch:
The highest I found since 1946 were two strings of 23. The first was by

Kenley Jansen, starting in the 9th inning of the 9-1-2011 game ...

Aroldis Chapman, starting in the 9th inning of the 6-26-2012

The first string of 21 was recorded by Dick Radatz (starting in the
10th inning on 5-18-1965) and 22 was done first by Rudy Seanez (starting in the 6th inning on 5-17-2005).

Tom Ruane


single-game strikeout leaders

20 in nine inning games:
Roger Clemens 1986
Roger Clemens 1996
Kerry Wood 1998

Tom Cheney, of course has the single game record: 21 SO in a 15 inning game.

So we have a mix of single games by starters and multiple games by relief pitchers. Not addressed explicitly: multiple games by starters.

What sticks out is the stretch by Radatz because it happened in a completely different era, more than 20 years before the first Clemens 20 SO game, which itself also seems isolated.

The 1965 season had that SO streak early but devolved into the sudden demise of Radatz. Let's examine the SO burst by Dick Radatz in May 1965.

Mickey Mantle seemed to have a hole in his bat when swinging against Radatz, so my initial suspicion was that Radatz fattened up against the Yankees and Mantle in particular. Mantle was tied for third most SO against Radatz: 12 in only 16 AB. Yikes. Three hits: single, double, homer:

Wednesday, June 17, 1964, 2:04PM, Yankee Stadium I
Attendance: 9,668, Time of Game: 3:28
Red Sox 4, Yankees 3 in 12 innings

HR: M Mantle (12, off D Radatz, 8th inn, 0 on, 0 outs to Deep CF-RF).

W: Dick Radatz (5-3)

L: Ralph Terry (2-6)
S: Bob Heffner (3)

The 9 inning, 21 SO streak:

Tuesday, May 18, 1965, 8:03PM, Yankee Stadium I
Attendance: 12,371, Time of Game: 3:32
Yankees 4, Red Sox 3 in 12 innings

Boston Red Sox

Dave Morehead83227414.9133650.2611.451.5
Dick Radatz, BS (4), L (2-3)3.14221607.181500-0.4523.17-1.2
Team Totals11.174481013.18486500-0.1911.990.3
Radatz blew a one run lead in the 9th with no SO and later lost the game. However, he did SO 6. Mantle had a terrible game: SO, SO, SO, BB, SO. The final SO was against Radatz in the 10th after which Mantle was replaced in the outfield by his caddy Ross Moschitto, who never started a game. Radatz relieved in the 9th after Morehead allowed a leadoff home run to Ray Barker (Buddy). In the 10th Radatz SO all three Yankees faced: Mantle, Pepitone, Barker. So Mantle was in fact the first SO victim of Radatz on this streak. In the 11th Radatz also SO all three Yankees faced: Boyer, Ramos (pitcher, how quaint), Schmidt. Then in the 12th: BB, out, triple by Tom Tresh; game over. This was the only game against the Yankees in this 21 SO streak in 9 innings. His streak starts with Mantle leading off the 10th. The 9th inning does not count.

DateteamplaceinningsSOcum SOcum inn
Tuesday, May 18, 1965YankeesNew York2.33662.33
Friday, May 21, 1965IndiansCleveland0.66063
Wednesday, May 26, 1965TwinsBoston24105
Thursday, May 27, 1965TwinsBoston0.662125.66
Friday, May 28, 1965KC AsBoston2.667198.32
Sunday, May 30, 1965KC AsBoston1.6632210
Monday, May 31, 1965AngelsBoston3.6622413.66
Saturday, June 5, 1965KC AsKansas City383216.66

Radatz would have reached the nine innings during the Sunday game against the Kansas City As. But look at his next two games. They brought his SO to 32 in 16.66 innings. A record? Beats me.

Sunday, May 30, 1965, , Fenway Park
Attendance: 10,024, Time of Game: 3:18
Red Sox 3, As 2 in 11 innings

Only the first two thirds of an inning pitched by Radatz count towards the 9 full innings in this situation. Radatz relieved in the 10th inning of a 2-2 tie game with one on, one out. Radatz SO Bert Campaneris, single to Jim Landis, SO Jim Gentile. Stop the clock.

21 SO in those 9 innings.

Radatz then SO leadoff batter N. Mathews in the 11th, finished the inning and Radatz was the winning pitcher when Boston scored in the bottom of the 11th.

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