Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 4/26/13
DETROIT -- Anibal Sanchez looked at the ring of photos on the walls of the Tigers clubhouse -- pictures of the greatest players to ever wear the Olde English D. All he could do was shake his head. "It's amazing," he said after striking out a franchise-record 17 Atlanta Braves Friday night. "This team has been around for more than 100 years, and I did something that no one has ever done." On May 26, 1969, as NASA was getting ready to send Apollo XI to the moon, Mickey Lolich struck out 16 California Angels. Seventeen days later, he struck out 16 Seattle Pilots. Until Friday, that was the most any Tigers pitcher had gotten in 113 seasons of baseball. "I could never imagine that I would have a game with this many strikeouts," he said. "You can't even think like that." Sanchez not only broke the record, he did it against one of the hottest teams in baseball. "That's an aggressive team that's hitting every mistake out of the ball park right now, and he just went out and attacked them," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He knew they were going to let it fly, and he went right after them." With the ninth inning still to go, Sanchez knew he had a shot at the biggest strikeout record in the books -- the 20 Ks recorded by Roger Clemens and Kerry Wood. Sanchez thought about it right up until the time he looked at the scoreboard. "When I saw I had thrown 121 pitches, I knew there was no way I was going out for the ninth inning," he said. "That's just too many, especially early in the season. I knew I was done." So Sanchez settled for first place on a list of strikeout pitchers that starts with George Mullin in 1902 and runs through Jack Morris and Frank Tanana in the 1990s. Sanchez is also ahead of three pretty good pitchers on his own team -- Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Doug Fister. "That was incredible," Fister said. "That right there was the art of pitching." On his way to 17, Sanchez broke Scherzer's Comerica Park record of 15 strikeouts, set last May against the Pirates. It's one of the few categories where Verlander -- career best of 14 -- is in third place on his own team. "We were joking about it after the game," Scherzer said. "Anibal's number one, I'm number two, and I guess Ver is just average." Verlander thought carefully before responding to the ranking -- possibly considering his Cy Young Award, MVP and pair of no-hitters. "That's OK," he eventually said. "I've got a few other things." Fister has a record of his own -- he set an American League mark by striking out nine straight Royals last September -- but he doesn't expect to be challenging Sanchez any time soon. "There's always friendly competition between us -- we are always trying to push each other -- but there's no way you can even think about having a game like that," Fister said. "Even when I had the streak last year, I was talking about getting as many groundballs as possible. You are just trying to throw strikes and get bad contact. "There's no way you can plan to do something like he just did. It's impossible." The most impressed person in the stadium might have been Brayan Pena, who was catching Sanchez for the first time. "He told me before the game to relax and just have fun," Pena said. "I couldn't believe what he was doing. "There have been a lot of great, great pitchers that have played for the Tigers, and he just beat all of them. I told him I was really proud of him." No one, though, was prouder than Leyland, who caught Lolich in spring training before the 1969 season. Leyland has managed 3,358 games and watched a lot more, but he had a hard time thinking of a better pitching performance than what he saw Friday night. "Obviously, that's right up there," he said. "It's hard to get much better than that."
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Five most anticipated September MLB call-ups
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Troubling details emerge from Jeremy Jeffress' DWI arrest

Chargers would welcome Joey Bosa if he signed contract

Falcons rookie Keanu Neal needs surgery on knee

Jerry Jones unhappy with Ezekiel Elliott's dispensary visit

Texas Tech using fake Twitter accounts to track players

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Nike creates custom Air Jordan shoes in tribute to Craig Sager

Browns wanted ‘second-round pick and then some’ for Gordon

Report: Eric Berry to sign next week, be ready to play in Week 1

Lochte to be summoned to appear in Rio, charged with making false report

Carlos Ruiz traded to Dodgers

Ezekiel Elliott reportedly arrived at training camp overweight

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

What's missing for each Premier Leauge team?

Marshall’s first impression of Fitzpatrick: ‘He was terrible’

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Six worst quarterback situations in the NFL

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

A look at 2016 college football conference changes

The 20 best boxing movies ever

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

The 20 best boxing movies of all time

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

A look at 2016 college football conference changes

Can Perriman's return help Ravens find oft-elusive WR success?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker