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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Wilson, Gibson, Ryan flood MLB record books
By Larry Schwartz
Special to ESPN.com
Sept. 27, 1930
On the same day that Bobby Jones is making golf history by completing the Grand Slam, Chicago Cubs slugger Hack Wilson is making some history of his own. When Wilson hacks two homers, he extends his National League record to 56 for the season.
In the fourth inning of the Cubs' 13-8 victory, Wilson hits a two-run homer off Ray Kolp into the left-center bleachers at Wrigley Field, below the end of the scoreboard. In his next at-bat in the sixth, the Cubs' 5-foot-6, 190-pound clean-up hitter belts another two-run homer, into the right-field bleachers off Eppa Rixey.
This is the fourth time in five seasons Wilson leads the National League in homers, but the only time in his career he hits more than 39. His 56 homers will stand as the N.L. record until 1998, when Mark McGwire hits 70 homers.
With 188 runs batted in, Wilson already has broken Lou Gehrig's major league record of 175. He will knock in two more runs in tomorrow's season finale. In 1999, baseball will give Wilson an additional RBI, boosting his record to 191.
Sept. 27, 1968
St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Bob Gibson, tuning up for his opening-game World Series assignment against the Detroit Tigers, completes a fantastic season by throwing his 13th shutout and lowering his earned-run average to 1.12, a modern National League record. He allows the Houston Astros only six hits, doesn't walk a batter and strikes out 11 in a 1-0 victory. The victory gives Gibson a 22-9 record. He finishes with a league-leading 268 strikeouts, while walking just 62, in 304 2/3 innings.
Gibson, who in his next start will set a Series record by striking out 17 Tigers, will win the National League MVP and Cy Young Awards.
Sept. 27, 1973
The first 382 strikeouts for Nolan Ryan were comparatively easy. Attaining No. 383, the one that would break Sandy Koufax's record for a season, was much more difficult.
The California Angels right-hander goes into his last start needing 16 strikeouts to pass Koufax. He whiffs 11 Minnesota Twins in five innings and has 14 after seven. He ends the eighth by fanning Steve Brye to tie Koufax.
A tiring Ryan fails to strike out anybody in the ninth, but because the game is tied, it goes into extra innings. Though Ryan suffered a cramp in his right leg in the ninth, he keeps on pitching. But he can't strikeout any of the next 11 Twins he faces. Then, with two outs in the 11th, he ends his season by fanning Rich Reese for the historic strikeout.
The crowd of 9,100 at Anaheim Stadium gives Ryan a five-minute standing ovation. Besides the record, Ryan gets his 21st win when the Angels score in the bottom of the inning for a 5-4 victory.
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