Clayton Edward Kershaw is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball (MLB). A left-handed starting pitcher, Kershaw has played 13 seasons in the major leagues since he debuted in 2008. He is an eight-time All-Star, three-time National League (NL) Cy Young Award winner, and the 2014 NL Most Valuable Player. His 2.43 career earned run average (ERA) and 1.00 walks plus hits per inning pitched rate (WHIP) are the lowest among starters in the live-ball era (minimum 1,000 innings pitched). Kershaw has a career hits allowed per nine innings pitched average of 6.78, the second-lowest in MLB history. He has been described for much of his career as the best pitcher in baseball.
Kershaw was drafted seventh overall in the 2006 MLB draft. He worked his way through the Dodgers' farm system in just one full season, and reached the majors at 20 years old. When he debuted in 2008, he was the youngest player in MLB, a title he held for one full year. In 2011, he won the pitching Triple Crown and the NL Cy Young Award, becoming the youngest pitcher to accomplish either of these feats since Dwight Gooden in 1985.
During the 2013 offseason, the Dodgers signed Kershaw to a franchise record seven-year, $215 million contract extension. Kershaw pitched a no-hitter on June 18, 2014, becoming the 22nd Dodger to do so. Being a left-handed strikeout pitcher and playing for the Dodgers has drawn Kershaw comparisons to Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax. He has led MLB in ERA five times, and was the first major league pitcher to do so in four consecutive years (2011–2014). Kershaw is also a three-time NL wins leader and three-time NL strikeouts leader.
Kershaw started the first game of the 2020 World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, tying Greg Maddux for second place all-time with 11 Game 1 starts in the postseason. He allowed only one run in six innings in the game while striking out eight, in the process passing John Smoltz for second place all-time in postseason strikeouts with 201. Kershaw started again in Game 5, pitching 5 2⁄3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out six in the game to pass Justin Verlander for the most strikeouts in postseason history (207). The Dodgers went on to defeat the Rays in 6 games to win Kershaw his first World Series championship.
Off the field, Kershaw is an active participant in volunteer work. He and his wife launched "Kershaw's Challenge" and wrote the book Arise to raise money to build an orphanage in Zambia. He has been honored with the Roberto Clemente Award and the Branch Rickey Award for his humanitarian work.
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