St. Louis Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty achieved his 500th career strikeout Monday evening, becoming the first pitcher in franchise history to exceed 500 K’s in less than 100 career starts. Lance Lynn originally was the fastest, with 101, until Flaherty walked em down in 81 games.
For baseball historians; Bob Gibson set the record during his fifth season in his 110th start.
Flaherty, the 25-year-old phenom, is 3-0 with 21 punchouts while surrendering only three earned runs in his last three starts. Early season numbers suggest he’ll become a National League All-Star for the first time in his illustrious career.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) April 20, 2021
But you don’t know Jack.
Born biracial and adopted by a single mother, Flaherty identifies as African American, and he has made it known by his actions both on and off the diamond.
When asked about the death of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movement, and his overall stance for social justice, Flaherty (a member of the Black Players Alliance), told the Redbird Rants, “I think it finally struck a nerve with everything going on.” He added, “We have this platform, and we have this opportunity to talk and try to do anything we can to make change.”
Moments after the guilty conviction of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who knelt on the neck of George Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds, Flaherty used his platform to send out a tweet to stand in solidarity with everyone who felt the impact of what happened in May of 2020.
Flaherty doesn’t mind expressing his opinions. When you’re one of nine black pitchers in a predominantly Caucasian sport, you have to stand out to be recognized, and stand out, he did.
— Jack Flaherty (@Jack9Flaherty) April 20, 2021
In 2014 Flaherty was named Gatorade Player of the Year for California while also capturing the Los Angeles Times player of the year award.
He finished his stellar high school career with a record of 35-3 accompanied by a 1.19 earned run average in which he started all four years, striking out 324 batters and registering 13 complete games in just 40 starts.
Such dominance caught the attention of the Cardinals, who selected him in the first round of the 2014 draft. In addition to the selection, Flaherty received a two million dollar signing bonus before even tossing a pitch.
After three years of dominating the minors, Flaherty made his major league debut in September of 2017 at 21 years of age, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Flaherty is a vigorous five quadrant pitcher equipped with an array of weapons in his arsenal. His outspokenness, combined with an upper 90 mph fastball, plus a multitude of off-speed junk, will keep the conversation about Black pitching culture moving forward, His mound-marauding could help take baseball to new heights. Baseball hasn’t had a true Black Ace (One of 15 Black pitchers in MLB history to win 20 games) since David Price did the damn thing in 2012.
Look for Flaherty to resume his early-season success this Sunday as the Cardinals take on the Cincinnati Reds at 2:15 p.m. EDT.