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10/01/2004 Archived Entry: "MLB news: New strikeout record a Dunn deal"
MLB news: Dunn sets strikeout record
By Michael Toeset
The Windy City got a lot windier on Thursday.
That whooshing sound coming from Chicago’s North Side was Adam Dunn and the Reds flailing in attempts to hit Mark Prior’s fastballs. And there was one giant whoosh in the game: Dunn striking out for the 190th time this season.
Dunn – who accounted for three of the Prior’s 16 strikeouts – set a new record with strikeout No. 190, breaking Bobby Bonds’ mark of 189, set in 1970. In recent years, Jose Hernandez and Preston Wilson approached the record, but their managers made sure they didn’t set the infamous record; Hernandez was even benched for eight of the Brewers’ last 12 games in 2002. That wasn’t the case with Dunn, however, as he told manager Dave Miley he wanted to play regardless of the record.
After the game – which the Reds won, presumably bringing the Cubs’ season to an inglorious end – Dunn told reporters, “At least that is one Bonds I have a record over.” He then casually joked about the notorious record, seemingly accepting his fate as a feared big man who also happens to have a fearfully large strike zone.
Since debuting with the Reds in 2001, Dunn has struck out 561 times in 498 games: 74 in 66 games in 2001, 170 in 158 games in 2002, 126 in 116 games last year, and 191 in 158 games this season. While the K totals are mind-bogglingly high, it hasn’t stopped Dunn from being productive, and certainly it hasn’t stopped players in the past (anyone heard of Reggie Jackson?).
Rob Deer’s 1987 season typlifies what most fans think strikeout machines will be like. In that very non-magical year, Deer struck out 186 times and hit a paltry .238.
But strikeouts and low batting averages don’t necessarily go hand in hand. Case in point is Bonds, who in his 189-K season hit .302, slugged 26 homers and stole 48 bases.
For the 2004 season, Dunn is batting only .264, but his on-base percentage – .387 – is among the tops in the league, and he has 45 home runs, 101 RBI and 103 runs. The slugger also is one of the few players in the majors with more than 100 walks, with 107.
From the moment Dunn appeared in a Reds uniform, Cincinnati faithful and thousands of fantasy leaguers have been drooling over his talent. While the strikeouts are an unfortunate side effect of Dunn’s uppercut swing, his power numbers – and his speed potential (he stole 19 bases in 2002) – have many dreaming of what will be when Dunn matures a little more. There’s no reason to believe Dunn won’t have the career that Jose Canseco was supposed to have.
So Reds fans and fantasy leaguers, take the strikeouts with a grain of salt – with them comes homers aplenty and the potential for much more.
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