Starting Nine: 10 from 19

Part of the STARTING NINE series
Written by: Craig Muder

The Hall of Fame's Starting Nine includes must-see artifacts from every big league team. Check out the Mets Starting Nine online.

With one out in the top of the sixth inning, Cito Gaston of the San Diego Padres hit a Tom Seaver pitch into the glove of the New York Mets' Art Shamsky in right field.

Ten batters later, no other San Diego batter had managed to hit another fair ball against the New York ace. And when the game was over, Seaver walked off the Shea Stadium mound with 19 strikeouts and a National League pitching masterpiece.

On April 22, 1970, Seaver authored a two-hitter against the Padres for a 2-1 win. He fanned 19 of the 31 batters he faced, including the last 10 in a row.

After Gaston's flyout, Seaver struck out Al Ferrara – whose second-inning home run accounted for the Padres' only run on the night – to end the inning. Seaver then struck out Nate Colbert, Dave Campbell and Jerry Morales in the seventh, and followed that up by striking out Bob Barton, Ray Webster and Ivan Murrell in the eighth. Van Kelly and Gaston fanned for the first two outs in the ninth – and Ferrara ended the game as the victim of Seaver's 19th strikeout.

In winning the game, Seaver became the first victorious pitcher to strike out 19 batters in a nine-inning game. Steve Carlton – like Seaver, another future Hall of Famer – had set the record with 19 strikeouts in a nine-inning game in 1969, but Carlton lost that game, 4-3, to the Mets.

Seaver finished the 1970 season with 283 strikeouts to go along with an 18-12 record.

In the years since, Roger Clemens (twice), Kerry Wood and Max Scherzer have all struck out 20 batters in a nine-inning game. But no one has come closer than one strikeout away from Seaver’s 10 straight punchouts.

Seaver’s cap from his record-setting game is on display in the Museum’s Whole New Ballgame exhibit.

Seaver finished his career with 3,640 strikeouts, sixth on the all-time list. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1992.


Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Starting Nine

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The Hall of Fame's Starting Nine is a lineup of must-see artifacts from our vast collection containing tens of thousands of pieces that preserve the magical moments and memorable stories of our National Pastime. Our curators have spent countless hours hand-picking special objects from every major league team to create a lineup of pieces you simply won’t believe we have!

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Part of the STARTING NINE series