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50 years ago today: Ryne Duren strikes out seven straight Red Sox

Jun 9, 2011, 1:45 PM EDT

Ryne Duren - 1962 Topps

June 9, 1961

Making his first start of the year in the second game of a doubleheader, the California Angels’ Ryne Duren fans seven straight Red Sox to set an American League record in a 5-1 victory.

Duren’s streak started when Frank Malzone whiffed to end the first inning with two men on.  He went on to strike out the side in both the second and third innings before Carl Yastrzemski grounded out to begin the fourth.

The hard-throwing Duren ended his outing with 11 strikeouts.  He gave up one run and walked four in 6 2/3 innings.  Eli Grba took over in the seventh and finished the game from there for a save.

Duren’s rotation stint didn’t last, however.  He walked eight in 2 1/3 innings in a game against the Athletics later in June.  He was sent back to the pen in July after two starts in which he combined to allow eight runs and walk nine in 4 2/3 innings.

Duren was selected to his third and final All-Star Game in 1961 anyway, but he didn’t get to pitch.  He ended the year 6-13 with a 5.19 ERA in 14 starts and 30 relief appearances.  He struck out 115 and walked 79 in 104 innings.

Duren ended up making 32 career starts and going 7-11 with a 4.55 ERA.  A feared reliever in his early years because of his wildness and poor eyesight, he finished with a 3.57 ERA in 279 appearances out of the pen.  In 589 1/3 major league innings, he struck out 630 and walked 393.

Duren’s AL strikeout record was matched a few times during the 1960s before being broken by Nolan Ryan on July 9, 1972.  Ryan struck out eight in a row against the Red Sox then and again just a year later versus the Tigers on July 15, 1973.  The major league record for consecutive strikeouts is 10, set by the Mets’ Tom Seaver on April 22, 1970.  He fanned the last 10 Padres he faced and 19 overall.

Duren passed away earlier this year at age 71.

  1. SmackSaw - Jun 9, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    He was also hung over and couldn’t see the catcher’s mitt.

  2. proudlycanadian - Jun 9, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    He was one of the great characters in baseball. He threw hard, could not see very well, and may or may not have been sober while on the mound. Batters were afraid of him with reason.

  3. jimbo1949 - Jun 9, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    I still remember those Coke bottle glasses.

    • 24may98 - Jun 9, 2011 at 7:30 PM

      My recollection are not of tinted glasses, but clear “coke bottle” lenses and stainless steel rims that and the “residual” intoxication, and maniacal mannerism – placed him among unforgettable characters of baseball, surely one of the most threatening. (At least Ryan was sober and could see straight – and had command.)

  4. The Rabbit - Jun 9, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    Until my dad passed away a couple years, he talked about Ryne Duren (and everything else baseball).
    He always said that no one ever dug in or crowded the plate when he was pitching. As you said, threw hard and for some of his career wildly effective.
    Wonder what today’s players would think of him.

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