Clayton Kershaw first pitcher since 2002 with 300 strikeouts

Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw went past 300 strikeouts on Sunday, meaning he's the 34th man in baseball history (strikeouts first were recorded in 1901) to reach the plateau and the first since 2002, when Arizona teammates Curt Schilling (316) and Randy Johnson (334) both did so.

Here's the history-making strikeout:

Before the expansion era (1961), the only instances of a 300-strikeout season were as follows:

Rube Waddell, 1903, 302 K
Waddell, 1904, 349
Walter Johnson, 1910, 313
Johnson, 1912, 303
Bob Feller, 1946, 348

Sandy Koufax then punched out 306 in 1963 and we saw the list grow in the ensuing decades.

Mostly, though, it's the same guys who were doing it. Here are the members of the 300-K club, with the number of times they got there in parentheses:

Randy Johnson (6)
Nolan Ryan (6)
Sandy Koufax (3)
Curt Schilling (3)
Walter Johnson (2)
J.R. Richard (2)
Pedro Martinez (2)
Rube Waddell (2)
Sam McDowell (2)
Steve Carlton (1)
Vida Blue (1)
Mickey Lolich (1)
Mike Scott (1)
Bob Feller (1)
Clayton Kershaw (1)

Elite company for Kershaw, which isn't really surprising, given the career he's had to date.

The 2014 NL MVP, Kershaw has three Cy Youngs and has already led the NL in wins twice, ERA four times, strikeouts three times (including this season), WHIP four times and so much more. He's the best pitcher in the world, even if he will probably finish third in NL Cy Young voting this season behind his teammate Zack Greinke and the Cubs' Jake Arrieta.

Through three innings on Sunday, Kershaw is 16-7 with a 2.13 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 300 strikeouts against 42 walks in 232 innings pitched.

A parting reminder: Kershaw's only 27 years old.

Clayton Kershaw has reached the 300-strikeout threshold.
Clayton Kershaw has reached the 300-strikeout threshold. (USATSI)
CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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