(Steve Carlton in his 19-strikeout game. Photo courtesy of Bruce Bennett Studios)
9/15/1969 - Carlton K's 19
Steve Carlton of the St. Louis Cardinals strikes out 19 New York Mets batter, breaking the previous single-game mark of 18 held by Sandy Koufax, Bob Feller, and Don Wilson. One year later, Tom Seaver would notch a 19-K game as well, and Nolan Ryan followed suit in 1974. Despite his prolific performance, Carlton and the Cards would actually lose the game, 4-3. Ron Swoboda, who Carlton fanned twice, hit a pair of two-run home runs to provide the Mets with an unlikely win.
"It was the best stuff I ever had," said Carlton, who was devastated at having lost the game. "When I had nine strike outs, I decided to go all the way. But it cost me the game because I started to challenge every batter." "It's irritating, it's frustrating. It's part of baseball."
Carlton would pitch 24 seasons in the major leagues and stuck around long enough to see Roger Clemens break his record with 20 strikeouts in a 1986 game. He finished his career with 329 wins, a 3.22 ERA, and 4,136 strikeouts, and he is considered the, if not one of the greatest left-handed pitchers of all time.
9/15/1971 - Yount plays in first and only game
Robin Yount played in over 2,800 games in his 20-year, Hall of Fame career with the Milwaukee Brewers. His brother Larry also played in the major leagues, though his stint was a little bit shorter.
The Houston Astros were trailing the Atlanta Braves 4-1 in the top of the ninth when Larry Yount, having just been called up from AAA Oklahoma City, was summoned from the Houston bullpen. It was Larry's first appearance in the bigs and he was anxious to see what he could do. However, the rookie threw just one warm-up pitch before feeling pain in his right elbow. After a few more tosses, Yount relayed that he was in too much pain and was promptly pulled from the game. He was immediately sent back down to the minors, where he toiled for several seasons before retiring; he never played in another big league game, and would have faced none other than Hank Aaron at the plate.
Because Yount was announced as the Astros pitcher, he is officially credited in baseball record books despite not throwing a single professional pitch. His career was one of the shortest on record and is among the most notable for someone with zero at-bats (ala Moonlight Graham).