On September 11, 1940 Nashville pitcher George Jeffcoat accomplished a feat usually reserved for fireballing major leaguers. In Chattanooga for a Southern Association playoff game, Jeffcoat struck out 18 Lookouts batters.
Nashville’s improbable run from the first game through the end of the season included Jeffcoat as one of the stalwarts of the pitching staff. Finishing with a 14-6 record, his playoff accomplishment at Engel Stadium only concluded what everyone in the league knew: this Vols team was something special.
At one stretch Jeffcoat struck out 7 consecutive Chattanoogans; itself quite an accomplishment, but considering that the major league record was set on September 27, 2012 by Detroit Tigers hurler Doug Fister with nine, then Jeffcoat’s record is most impressive.
Also equally impressive is Jeffcoat’s total whiffs of opposing batters. Roger Clemens of the Boston Red Sox and Kerry Wood of the Chicago Cubs are tied with 20 for a single game. How impressive is 18, performed nearly a half century before?