In the post game press conference following Stephen Strasburg's third major league start against the Chicago White Sox, the Nats' right-hander was asked what he thought about the fact that his 30th K, recorded that day, had broken a record for the most strikeouts in a pitcher's first three MLB starts that had stood since 1971 when Houston Astros' right-hander J.R. Richard set the standard with 29 K's in his first three outings, and Strasburg politely dismissed any notion that such records meant much to him:
Stephen Strasburg: "That wasn't a goal of mine. It's never going to be a goal of mine. You know, my goal is to go out there and help the team win. It's all about wins and losses at this level, I mean, you can go out there and strike everybody out, but at the end of the day if you don't keep your team in striking distance then what does that all matter."
When Strasburg recorded his 41st K on Wednesday, there were reports everywhere that Strasburg had gone even further back in baseball history to break Cleveland Indians' left-hander Herb Score's record for K's in his first four 4 major league starts, which was set in 1955 when the then-22-year-old starter struck out 40 in 32.0 IP to begin his own MLB career. In looking back to see where and when Mr. Score had recorded his 40th K, however, I discovered a discrepancy that exists between various sources for the 55-year-old statistics.
Baseball-reference.com's player page for Mr. Score has the Indians' starter striking out 9 in 9.0 innings in his major league debut on April 15, 1955 on the road against the Detroit Tigers in front of 3,786 fans in old Briggs Stadium in Detroit, then following that up with another 9 K outing over 8.0 innings on the road against the Kansas City Athletics in Municipal Stadium on April 19th. In Score's third start, on April 24th, the lefty K'd 7 Tigers in 7.0 innings at home in Cleveland Stadium, with his fourth start again at home against the Red Sox, in a game in which Score struck out 16 over 9.0 innings of a 2-1 win over Boston. 9+9+7+16=41?
An astute Federal Baseball reader, Marc Hoff (marconi64), pointed out in the comments of yesterday's post that the one box score for the game that they found online for Score's 4/24/55 start against the Tigers, which is on p. 15 of the 4/25/55 edition of The Milwaukee Journal has Score credited with 6 K's (HERE's a close-up shot, and one from the NY Times the same day) as opposed to the 7 recorded in Baseball-Reference.com's box score for the game, but Baseball-Reference's Play-by-Play for the game has all 7 K's listed with Tigers' left-fielder Jay Porter striking out to end the first; second baseman Harry Malmberg and the opposing pitcher Frank Lary striking out for the first and last out of the second; Malmberg and Lary again in the fourth; and third baseman Ray Boone and Porter K'ing for the second and third outs of the fifth, and 7 K's total for Mr. Score.
As noted in the comments section of yesterday's post, the Elias Sports Bureau was cited as a source for Score's 40 K total, and at least one AP report quoted the same 40 K's, but a representative of Baseball-Reference.com* noted that they pull their stats from Retrosheet.com, which does indeed have Herb Score striking out 7 in the 4/24/55 game against Detroit...A note has been sent to Retrosheet, and I emailed the Associated Press to see if they'd be willing to provide the source of their reports, but as it stands, the question remains unanswered. A lot of fuss over nothing? Maybe, but after a decade or more spent destroying the integrity of the great game's historical stats, why not try to get this one right?
(ed. note - " * = I didn't name the B-R rep referenced from the original storie's comments section simply because I was unable to ask for permission to do so.")