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(Redirected from Strike out)

In baseball, a strikeout or strike out (denoted by K or SO) occurs when the batter receives three strikes during his time at bat. Strikeouts are associated with dominance on the part of the pitcher and incompetence on the part of the batter, although for power hitters it is recognized that the style of swing that generates home runs also leaves the batter somewhat susceptible to striking out.



A pitcher receives credit for (and a batter is charged with) a strikeout on any third strike, but a batter is only officially out if one of the following is true:

  1. the third strike is pitched and caught in flight;
  2. on any third strike, if a baserunner is on first and there are fewer than two outs;

If the third strike is not caught and there are two outs, or fewer than two outs and no baserunner on first, the batter becomes a runner. Thus, it is possible for a batter to strike out, but still reach base safely if the catcher fails or is unable to catch the third strike cleanly and cannot tag out the batter or force him out at first base. As a result, pitchers have occasionally been able to record four strikeouts in one half-inning.

In scoring, a strikeout is recorded as a K. Some scorers record strikeouts where the batter didn't swing at the last pitch with a backwards K.

Jargon and slang

A swinging strikeout is often called a whiff and a batter who is struck out by a fastball is often said to have been blown away. A batter who strikes out on a swung third strike is said to have been fanned. When a batter takes a called third strike its called a punchout, or said that the batter was caught looking. A pitcher is said to "strike out the side" when he retires all three batters in a half inning by striking them out, usually, but not necessarily, in a row. If they are struck out in a row, the pitcher is said to "strike out the side in order".

In slang, when a batter strikes out three times in a game, he is said to have completed a "hat trick". If he strikes out four times, it is a "golden sombrero" or a "silver sombrero". He receives the "Olympic rings" for striking out five times and the "horn" for striking out six times in a game - a rare occurrence, which in the history of major league play has only been accomplished in extra innings games.

Strikeout records

Season and career strikeout totals for pitchers are followed closely by fans. The top 5 Major League Baseball career strikeout leaders (active players in bold):

  • (since 1901)
  1. Nolan Ryan - 5714
  2. Roger Clemens - 4317
  3. Randy Johnson - 4153
  4. Steve Carlton - 4136
  5. Bert Blyleven - 3701

The top 5 Major League Baseball single-season strikeout leaders (since 1900):

  1. Nolan Ryan, 1973 - 383
  2. Sandy Koufax, 1965 - 382
  3. Randy Johnson, 2001 - 372
  4. Rube Waddell, 1904 - 349
  5. Bob Feller, 1946 - 348

Strikeout calls

Swinging third strikes

"A swinggggggg and a miss he struck him out!" -Jon Miller

"Got 'em." -Duane Kuiper

Called third strikes

"He stood there like a house by the side of the road" -Ernie Harwell

"Got 'em." -Duane Kuiper

Related articles

External links



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