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Wild Things: MLB Pitchers With The Most Walks In A Season

In the world of Major League Baseball (MLB), pitchers are renowned for their ability to strike batters out, but they also occasionally struggle with control, leading to a high number of walks. During the live-ball era, which began in the 1920s and saw a change in the way baseball was played, including a more offensive style, several pitchers have infamously walked an astonishing number of batters in a single season. Here we rank the top 10 pitchers who have walked the most batters in a season during this era.

1. Bob Feller, 1938 (Cleveland Indians) – 208 Walks Taking the top spot is Bob Feller, a Hall of Famer known for his blazing fastball and daring mound presence. In 1938, at the tender age of 19, Feller walked an incredible 208 batters. Despite his wildness, he was one of the most dominant pitchers of his time.

2. Nolan Ryan, 1977 (California Angels) – 204 Walks Nolan Ryan, nicknamed “The Ryan Express,” is a legend for his fastball and his record-setting strikeout numbers. However, in 1977 at age 30, Ryan walked 204 batters. His ability to overpower hitters was often accompanied by a lack of control, a trade-off that became a hallmark of his career.

3. Nolan Ryan, 1974 (California Angels) – 202 Walks Three years earlier, Ryan also crossed the 200-walk threshold. His 202 walks in 1974 are a testament to his consistent issue with control during his early years with the California Angels.

4. Bob Feller, 1941 (Cleveland Indians) – 194 Walks Bob Feller makes another appearance on this list with his 194 walks in 1941. At age 22, Feller was already a major force in baseball, but like many power pitchers, he often struggled with his command.

5. Bobo Newsom, 1938 (St. Louis Browns) – 192 Walks Bobo Newsom, known for his journeyman career and colorful personality, walked 192 batters in 1938 while playing for the St. Louis Browns at age 30. His control was often erratic, but his ability to eat innings was invaluable.

6. Sam Jones, 1955 (Chicago Cubs) – 185 Walks Sam Jones, nicknamed “Toothpick,” was a formidable pitcher in the 1950s. In 1955, at the age of 29, he walked 185 batters. Despite his control issues, Jones was known for his curveball and the ability to get strikeouts when he needed them.

7. Nolan Ryan, 1976 (California Angels) – 183 Walks For the third time on this list, Nolan Ryan appears with his 1976 season, walking 183 batters. Ryan’s walks often came with high strikeout totals, making him a paradoxical figure on the mound.

8. Bob Turley, 1954 (Baltimore Orioles) – 181 Walks Bob Turley, known as “Bullet Bob” for his fastball, walked 181 batters in 1954 at age 23. Turley had a notable career that included a Cy Young Award, but control was often not his strong suit.

9. Tommy Byrne, 1949 (New York Yankees) – 179 Walks Tommy Byrne was another pitcher with a knack for strikeouts and walks. In 1949, at age 29, Byrne walked 179 batters as a member of the New York Yankees. His wildness was well-known, but he also played a role in several Yankees’ World Series teams.

10. Bob Turley, 1955 (New York Yankees) – 177 Walks Bob Turley makes his second appearance on this list with the 1955 season. He walked 177 batters at age 24. Despite his high walk totals, Turley would go on to have moments of brilliance in his career, including a World Series MVP award in 1958.

These pitchers, though they walked a staggering number of batters, also struck fear into the hearts of hitters with their powerful arms and competitive natures. Their high walk totals did not prevent them from achieving great success in their careers, a testament to their raw talent and the complex beauty of baseball where perfection is not a prerequisite for greatness.

Listicled Staff
Listicled Staff
Listicled staff covers everything from sports to entertainment, politics to parenting, and everything in-between.

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