Generational GIFs: Gator's 18-Strikeout Game

Poor Joe Rudi never had a chance against Gator.

A GIF of all 18 would be excessive and difficult to track down, but here's a Sparknotes version of the highest-strikeout game in franchise history.

Every now and then, a starting pitcher simply has everything working for a game. Former New York Yankees ace Ron Guidry was fortunate to have that happen for an entire season. His 1978 campaign stands as almost certainly the greatest in team history and probably belongs in a Top 10 of the most spectacular seasons in the post-Dead Ball era. Gator led the league in wins (25), ERA (1.74), FIP (2.19), WHIP (0.946), shutouts (9), ERA- (47), FIP- (59), and he probably would have led in strikeouts too had he not pitched in the same generation as the all-time K King, Nolan Ryan.

Guidry's most dominant start of the season was on June 17th against the then-California Angels. The Halos were not a slouch team--they won 87 games and made the playoffs for the first time in their history just a season later. However, there was just no way they could hit Guidry at all that night. He set a Yankee record by striking out 18 Angels, including Joe Rudi four times. No one in the California lineup avoided a whiff.

Even though his prime was not as long or as storied as other pitchers, MLB Network once rated Guidry's slider as the best in baseball history. It was not a fluke--it had crazy movement, ducking out of the strikezone in a blink. That pitch as well as his fastball are on display in the GIF below, a demonstration that includes five of those 18 strikeouts. The part of the clip with the full windup is his 18th strikeout. Enjoy the gem.

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