Cheney’s strikeout record unmatched 50 years later

From Tyler Kepner at the New York Times on September 8, 2012, with mention of SABR member Tim Herlich:

Fifty years ago this Wednesday, Tom Cheney of the Washington Senators struck out 21 Baltimore Orioles over 16 innings. It remains a record for strikeouts in a game, and no pitcher has thrown more innings in any game since.

When Cheney set the record, his daughter Terri Cook was a toddler. His career was over within four years, when he was 31, and he went on to become a part owner of a propane gas company in Georgia. He died in 2001.

“My dad was a very modest man,” Cook said. “To him, breaking the record was just part of his job. He was proud he had that accomplishment, but he was just doing what he was supposed to do. He didn’t even realize he had broken the record because he was just determined to stay in the game. His manager tried to take him out, and he said, ‘I’m not coming out; I’m finishing this.’ ”

Cheney threw 173 1/3 innings in 1962, a career high, and in eight seasons with three teams he was 19-29 with a 3.77 E.R.A. An elbow injury ruined his career just as he was ascending.

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Originally published: September 9, 2012. Last Updated: September 9, 2012.