Clayton Kershaw set the Dodgers strikeout record on Saturday night, and ended his start with 2,700 career strikeouts.
Robbie Grossman, who was Kershaw’s first strikeout on Saturday, and Spencer Torkelson, who whiffed for the record-setter, each struck out twice. They were new entries in Kershaw’s career strikeout ledger, pushing the counter to 863 different batters in the left-hander’s career.
After Kershaw set the strikeout record, the Dodgers released a video of congratulations, with well wishes from Daron Sutton (son of Don), Skip Schumaker (Kershaw’s first career strikeout, in 2008), Orel Hershiser (seventh on the Dodgers’ strikeout list, with 1,456), Fernando Valenzuela (sixth with 1,759 Dodgers Ks), A.J. Ellis (who caught the most Kershaw strikeouts, with 920), plus Hall of Fame announcers Jaime Jarrín and Vin Scully.
“Years ago I used to think it was appropriate — Sandy Koufax, the letter K for strikeout, always seemed to go together,” Scully said. “Little did I know then, but I certainly know now, the strikeout king and the letter K are hooked together forever. Congratulations, Mr. K, Mr. Kershaw, on winning the title.”
Schumaker, who was later Kershaw’s teammate in 2013 and is now a bench coach for the Cardinals, tweeted that Kershaw was the best pitcher he ever faced.
Thanks Dave! Hahaha! Struck out a couple more times that day too I think! Best I’ve ever faced, even better person.— Skip Schumaker (@SSchumaker55) May 1, 2022
Schumaker’s Dodgers ERA (0.00), in all of two innings, is even better than Kershaw’s (2.49), who is closing in on 2,500 innings.
Here’s how Kershaw’s wife Ellen and their family celebrated the record-breaking strikeout in the stands at Dodger Stadium:
Clayton's biggest fans witnessing history. pic.twitter.com/wmBFYjMzw5— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 1, 2022
Here’s Bill Plunkett’s recap of Saturday’s game at the Orange County Register, including Kershaw reflecting on the record:
“The first thing I’ll say is any time you get to do something individual record-wise, the people around you to help you celebrate are what matters most,” he said. “So to have my teammates care about that, to have my family here care about that and then to see the fans care about it as much as they did — all of those things made it special.”
Kershaw has 1,468 of his career strikeouts at Dodger Stadium, in 196 regular season starts. Both are second to Sutton, who struck out 1,498 batters at Chavez Ravine, in 270 starts.
Here is the baseball that Kershaw threw to strike out Torkelson for the record: