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When we examined Sandy Koufax's workload a while back, reader LynchMob asked whether anyone had thrown more than 193 pitches in a game since Koufax did it on May 28, 1960. I found two documented cases, both by members of the following year's Dodgers:

  • Stan Williams threw 207 against the Braves on May 17, 1961.

  • Koufax threw 205 against the Cubs on September 20, 1961.

The key word is “documented.” While searching for other high-pitch-count games, I was puzzled by the absence of Nolan Ryan, particularly his 1974 campaign that included 202 walks and 373 strikeouts. So I perused Ryan's game logs for that year and discovered they don't include pitch counts.

Having reached a dead end, I asked a slightly different question: How often has a pitcher issued 10 or more walks and 10 or more strikeouts in the same game?

Not often.

Baseball-Reference features game logs back to 1918, which gives us 93 years and change. A double double has been achieved 12 times, by 10 different pitchers, two of whom are in the Hall of Fame. It's a fun list:

Player

Date

Team

Opponent

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

K

Red Ruffing

09/05/1927

Red Sox

Yankees

15

16

8

8

1

11

12

Bob Feller

08/06/1937

Indians

Yankees

9

9

6

6

1

10

12

Bob Feller

08/07/1941

Indians

Tigers

13

13

4

2

0

11

13

Allie Reynolds

06/14/1946

Indians

Athletics

12.1

8

5

5

1

10

10

Herb Score

04/16/1957

Indians

White Sox

11

7

3

2

0

11

10

Stan Williams

05/17/1961

Dodgers

Braves

11

4

1

1

0

12

11

Steve Barber

08/13/1961

Orioles

Red Sox

11

6

5

3

0

11

11

Sam McDowell

07/04/1964

Indians

White Sox

7.2

4

4

3

0

11

12

Jim Maloney

08/19/1965

Reds

Cubs

10

0

0

0

0

10

12

Sam McDowell

05/02/1970

Indians

Royals

8.1

5

3

3

0

10

10

Nolan Ryan

06/14/1974

Angels

Red Sox

13

8

3

3

1

10

19

Bobby Witt

09/01/1990

Rangers

Athletics

7

4

2

2

0

10

10

A few items to note:

  • Ruffing did it against the '27 Yankees; you may be familiar with that team.

  • Six of the 12 occurrences came courtesy of pitchers wearing an Indians uniform, which is more weird than meaningful.

  • Feller and McDowell are the only repeat offenders; I had expected to find Ryan here as well.

  • Mad props to Maloney for managing to throw a no-hitter; yes, it came against a bad Cubs team, but one that featured Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, and Ron Santo in the heart of the order.

  • Nobody has accomplished the feat in nearly 22 years, the longest dry stretch during the period for which data are available.

  • McDowell and Witt get bonus points for doing it in fewer than 8 innings. (I could spend a lifetime poring over Witt game logs and never get bored; my favorite is his line against the Brewers on April 17, 1986: 5 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 HR, 8 BB, 10 K.)

There's probably more fun stuff in here, but you get the idea. Meanwhile, the next time your arm hurts, just be glad the thing is still attached to your body. Slap some duct tape on it, and you're good to go.

Thank you for reading

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jhardman
8/23
I really don't see how there can ever be a pitcher more maddening than Bobby Witt.
mranney
8/23
Interesting article; was Maloney's a complete game 10 inning no-hitter ?
gyoung858
8/23
It was. The game's only run came on a Leo Cardenas solo homer off Larry Jackson in the top of the 10th.
gjhardy
8/24
It's fun to extrapolate on the number of pitches in the Ryan start. Assuming all the walks were four straight balls and all the strikeouts were three straight strikes, we are at 97 pitches already. If all eight hits came on the first pitch, we are up to 105 pitches. Assuming the 20 non-strikeout outs came on the first pitch, we are up to 125 pitches. This does not account for any DPs, of course, but the lowest possible total of pitches is 125. That assumes that each batter got the bare minimum of pitches. I'm guessing the total is substantially more than that.