Friday is the 30th anniversary of the day Roger Clemens became the first major league pitcher to strike out 20 in a nine-inning game. He achieved it for the Boston Red Sox, his first major league team, in a 3-1 win against the Seattle Mariners on April 29, 1986.
Below, we recall that night and some of the noteworthy stats surrounding Clemens' performance.
At the time of the game, Clemens also tied the American League record for consecutive strikeouts in a game with eight, a mark broken by Doug Fister with nine in a row against the Kansas City Royals in September 2012.
Attendance at Fenway Park in Boston that night was 13,414. The most recent time the Red Sox drew that few fans to a game was July 22, 1994 -- also against the Mariners (11,776).
Clemens ranks third on the all-time strikeout list with 4,672. But he is first in AL history, with 4,167 of his strikeouts coming in that league.
After undergoing offseason surgery on his right shoulder, Clemens finished 1986 with a 24-4 record and won the Cy Young and the AL MVP awards.
They said it
Among the comments about the game (according to the Seattle Times and The Associated Press):
“We didn’t have much of a chance.”
-- Mariners outfielder Dave Henderson (three strikeouts in three at-bats), who became Clemens’ teammate and hit two notable home runs for the Red Sox that postseason
"I have to say that was the most awesome piece of pitching I've ever seen. I saw Catfish Hunter pitch a perfect game. I've seen Mike Witt pitch a perfect game. But this rates right at the top."
-- Red Sox manager John McNamara
“He was awesome, just awesome. None of the Mariners said anything. They looked like they wanted to say something, but they didn't know what to say.”
-- Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman
"I think we all should be happy we were here, because I don't think we'll ever see that again. I know I'll never see it again for as long as I live."
-- Mariners designated hitter Gorman Thomas, who struck out once and homered for the Mariners’ lone run
Did you know?
Spike Owen, who became strikeout No. 19, got the first hit off Clemens in this game, singling in the fourth inning. After allowing that hit, Clemens went on his run of striking out eight in a row.