I also only looked at seasons since 1961. Those familiar with baseball history will note that was the first year of expansion. I wanted to keep a sense of the "modern game" (as in lots of strikeouts) in the list and by going further back in history, the top of the list becomes
clogged with guys from the 1940's and 1950's. I guess it's kind of arbitrary but I think that's alright. After all, it saves the lowest SO/9 figures from 1940-1959 as an entry for a rainy day. :)
To recap, the qualifiers are that the pitcher must have qualified for the ERA title in a season since 1961 to make the list. I included ERA for fun to see if the fact they didn't strike many batters out impacted their overall line. Most of the pitchers on the list had quite good ERA's. Here are the twenty-four seasons with 2.50 SO/9 or below:
I wonder if Nate Cornejo realized he did something that hadn't been done for 14 years (Flanagan's 1989 was the second most recent season on the list). To put his numbers in more context with recent baseball history, only four other qualifying pitchers had less than 3.00 SO/9 since 1990: Bill Gullickson (2.60, 1992), Kirk Rueter (2.65, 2004), Ricky Bones (2.78, 1993), and Mark Knudson (2.99, 1990). Note that 1,456 seasons qualifying for ERA titles have been recorded in that time.