The Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly have rejected a proposal from the New York Knicks that would have sent them Carmelo Anthony in exchange for Kevin Love. The debate has since ensued on whether that was the right decision for the defending champions, and the popular “NBA 2K17” video game offers some insight.
By 1995, he had ditched his wild reputation. He led the majors that year with a 4.52 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In fact, from 1995 through the end of his career in 2009, Johnson averaged 4.39 strikeouts per walk — equal to Curt Schilling’s career rate, which is the highest among pitchers with at least 1,500 innings since 1889, when the rule for a walk was changed to four balls. Ryan’s career-best K-to-BB ratio was 3.14 in 1990. Ryan, of course, holds the major league record with 2,795 walks.
Johnson’s newfound ability to strike out batters while also preventing free passes led to a major league-record 36 career games of double-digit strikeout games and no walks. No one else has come close, although Clayton Kershaw, with 21, is fast approaching. Schilling, who ranks second, had nine fewer. Ryan had just eight such games total in his career. Amazingly, Johnson had just one such game when he was Kershaw’s exact age.
Lastly, Johnson compiled a career 28.6 strikeout percentage (4,875 Ks in 17,067 batters faced), best all time among pitchers with at least 1,500 innings pitched. Ryan ranks fifth at 25.3 percent — behind Kershaw (28.0), Max Scherzer (27.7) and Pedro Martinez (27.7) in addition to Johnson. Had Johnson faced the same number of batters as Ryan did (22,575), he would have finished with 6,448 strikeouts.
So, yes, Ryan is the all-time strikeouts leader, but it’s very clear, looking back at all the stats, that Johnson is the greatest strikeout pitcher of all time.