Unusual Records

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Did you know:

Juan Pierre played every inning of the 2004 season for the Marlins, a feat that had never been performed in the history of MLB?

gygax! (gygax!), Thursday, 31 March 2005 18:16 (seventeen years ago) link

i did not know that! that's a pretty cool record.

hstencil (hstencil), Thursday, 31 March 2005 18:17 (seventeen years ago) link


I wonder who has the most balks (season & career)?

David R. (popshots75`), Thursday, 31 March 2005 18:18 (seventeen years ago) link

Ripken played every inning for the Orioles from 1982-1987.

MindInRewind (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 31 March 2005 18:53 (seventeen years ago) link

hmm. i am not bothering to look this up, but i thought juan pierre was just the only person to do that last year.
also, i thought ripken just appeared in every game, not played every inning, but i could be wrong.

the leglo (the leglo), Thursday, 31 March 2005 19:04 (seventeen years ago) link

Ripken appeared in every game from 1982 to 2981. I can see him playing every inning for 6 years, tho.

David R. (popshots75`), Thursday, 31 March 2005 19:06 (seventeen years ago) link

Ripken played in every inning for the first few years of his streak. I remember the end of his innings streak (~8200 innings) very well because they removed him in the late innings of an 18-3 thrashing by the Blue Jays, which was the game where the Jays hit ten home runs.

MindInRewind (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 31 March 2005 19:34 (seventeen years ago) link

I stand corrected, Juan Pierre was the only player to do so last year (not in the history of the game). So... Unusual records?

gygax! (gygax!), Thursday, 31 March 2005 19:38 (seventeen years ago) link

Who was it that struck out 4 batters in one inning?

Leeeter van den Hoogenband (Leee), Thursday, 31 March 2005 19:49 (seventeen years ago) link

I want to say Bobby Witt, wild flamethrower for the Rangers/Angels.

milozauckerman (miloaukerman), Thursday, 31 March 2005 20:10 (seventeen years ago) link

This crazy start in 1959 by Pirate Harvey Haddix against the Braves definitely is unusual. Here is a link to the box score.


Thirty-six consecutive batters were retired by Harvey Haddix before the thirteenth inning — when it all ended on an error, an intentional walk of Hank Aaron, then a double.

Don Hoak, who was charged with the error in the thirteenth inning, said before the game, "That was a pretty good run down (pre-game discussion). If you pitch that way, you'll have a no hitter."

After the game, Lew Burdette told the media, "I called Harvey that night in the visiting clubhouse. I told him 'I realize I got what I wanted, a win, but I'd really give it up because you pitched the greatest game that's ever been pitched in the history of baseball. It was a damned shame you had to lose.' "

Earl Nash (earlnash), Thursday, 31 March 2005 20:11 (seventeen years ago) link

apparently Witt was one of them, but there have been many

Charlie Hough! Whiffing 'em on that 58mph knuckler.

milozauckerman (miloaukerman), Thursday, 31 March 2005 20:13 (seventeen years ago) link

Even more amazing about that Haddix loss:

Length of Game: 2:54.

gygax! (gygax!), Thursday, 31 March 2005 20:30 (seventeen years ago) link

Jayson Stark's "Useless Information" columns to thread.

MindInRewind (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 31 March 2005 22:02 (seventeen years ago) link

three months pass...
Manny hit another grand slam tonight, which gives him 20 for his career, 2nd most all-time (one more than Eddie Murray). He's only 33 and he's three away from Lou Gehrig's record.

I think Ted Williams is fourth with 16 GS's, but otherwise I don't think anyone else is close. Nobody has seriously challenged this record in 70 years.

Manny has batted 176 times with the bases loaded in 1612 games, Murray 191 times in 3026 games played (I couldn't find the batting splits for Gehrig and Williams). I have no idea what a "normal" rate of coming to the plate with the bases loaded should be, but once every ten games certainly *seems* like a lot (although when you consider the offenses Manny has played with, maybe not).

MindInRewind (Barry Bruner), Wednesday, 6 July 2005 02:26 (sixteen years ago) link

Regardless, that is whoa-impressive. Props to Manny. Hey, where is Robin Ventura on that list ...??

Stormy Davis (diamond), Wednesday, 6 July 2005 02:31 (sixteen years ago) link

That is pretty impressive!

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 6 July 2005 15:03 (sixteen years ago) link

w/r/t Manny's line-up:

Don't forget Boston's #8-9 batter Billy MuelLEEr who hit back to back grand-slams in consecutive at-bats... as a switch-hitter from both sides of the plate!

gygax! (gygax!), Wednesday, 6 July 2005 16:23 (sixteen years ago) link

one year passes...
A lesson in switch-pitching
These pitchers had a few tricks of their own for switch-hitters
By Jerome Holtzman
MLB Historian

An MLB website producer, Bill Ruhl of Miami, Florida, has asked "if there has ever been a pitcher who pitched with both arms? Kind of a switch-pitcher."

Greg Harris of the Montreal Expos, a natural right-hander, is the only pitcher in modern baseball history (since 1900) to throw with both hands in a Major League game. It was on September 28, 1995, against Cincinnati in the final week of the season when the Expos were 24 ½ games out of the lead in the National League East.

The ambidextrous Harris worked a scoreless ninth inning in a 9-7 loss. Using a special reversible six-finger glove, which had two thumbs, Harris faced four batters, two right-handed and two left-handed. He allowed one runner, on a walk.

The play-by-play follows: Pitching right handed, Harris retired the righty-hitting Reggie Sanders who swung at the first pitch and grounded to short. The next two batters were Hal Morris and Ed Taubensee, both left-handed hitters. Throwing with his left hand, Harris walked Morris on four pitches. Taubensee carried Harris to a full count and hit a nubber in front of the plate. Harris switched back to his right hand for the righty-hitting Bret Boone, who grounded to the mound for the third out.

It was the next to last big league appearance for Harris, who was with six clubs and had a 15-year career beginning in 1981. Used mostly in middle relief, he retired with a 74-90 lifetime record, 54 saves and a 3.67 earned run average. He appeared in 703 games, 605 out of the bullpen.

Talking about it last week in a telephone interview from his home in Newport Coast, California, where he operates a weekend pitching camp, Harris said he strengthened his left arm when he was a teenager. "I did a lot of wood-working," he explained. "I sawed and hammered with my left hand."

But it wasn't until he was in his sixth big league season, in 1986 with Texas, after he got his left-handed fastball into the mid-80s, that he became confident he could throw both ways against Major League competition. But there were two strikes against him: (1) the belief he would be making a mockery of the game, and (2) there was no need for him to throw left-handed because he was consistently effective right-handed.

Bobby Valentine, then the Texas manager, told Harris he would allow him to parade his wizardry in the final series of the 1986 season. The plan was scrapped because the Rangers were in first place and fighting for the division title. Harris was traded to Philadelphia, where the management was indifferent to his desire.

His next move was to Boston prior to the 1990 season. The Boston writers, eager for a good story, each year for the next five years, pleaded with the Red Sox brass to give him a chance in a Spring Training exhibition game. General Manager Dan Duquette refused to oblige. "We pay Greg to pitch right-handed," Duquette insisted.

American League president Dr. Bobby Brown, a one-time Yankee infielder who batted .349 in 17 World Series games, was aware a two-way pitcher would have a rare advantage and would neutralize and diminish the effectiveness of every batter. Unwilling to weaken his kinship with the offense, Dr. Brown prepared for the possibility by issuing a directive to his umpires:

a) The pitcher must indicate which hand he intended to use.
b) The pitcher may change arms on the next hitter but must indicate the arm to be used.
c) There will be no warmup pitches between the change of arms.
d) If an arm is injured, the pitcher may change arms and the umpire must be notified of the injury. The injured arm can not be used again in that game.

Harris' opportunity came in his last season, in 1995, when he was in his second term with Montreal. To be certain he would be ready, manager Felipe Alou alerted Harris in late August, a month before the event:

"Felipe said he wanted to see for himself how I would do and that it would be good for the game," said Harris.

According to the on the spot reports, Harris was baseball's first ambidextrous pitcher since Elon (Ice Box) Chamberlain in 1888. Chamberlain was with Louisville in the American Association, then a major league. He gave up a ninth-inning home run and lost 9-8.

It has since been established that Tony Mullane, with Baltimore in the NL, was Harris' immediate predecessor. Mullane, in 1893, worked the ninth inning and gave up three runs in a 10-2 loss to the Cubs. He also threw with both hands in 1882 when he was with Louisville. In 1884, Larry Corcoran, in a game when the Cubs were running out of pitchers, worked four middle innings, the record for longevity.

There were probably as many as a half dozen ambidextrous pitchers in the 20th Century who threw on the sidelines but never in a game. Among them were Cal McLish, a 15-year veteran who was with six clubs; Ed Head of the old Brooklyn Dodgers; Dave (Boo) Ferris of the Red Sox; Tug McGraw of the Mets, and Jeff Schwarz, who had a brief stay with the White Sox.

The ambidextrous Paul Richards, who later had a distinguished managerial career with the White Sox and Orioles, claimed that when he was in high school, in Waxahachie, Texas, he was featured in "Ripley's Believe It Or Not," after winning a doubleheader by pitching right handed to the right-handed batters and left handed to the left-handed batters.

When he was in the Minors, with Muskogee in the Western Association, Richards was confronted with the ultimate dilemma: the switch-pitcher vs. the switch-hitter.

Summoned in ninth-inning relief, Richards was ready to pitch right handed to Charlie Wilson, a switch-hitter. Wilson countered by crossing the plate and stepping into the left-handed batters' box. The amusement continued for several minutes as Wilson jumped from one side to the other.

Exasperated, Richards threw his glove on the mound and faced Wilson with both feet square on the rubber.

"I put my hands behind my back," Richards recalled, "and shouted, "I'll wait until you choose your poison."

Jerome Holtzman is the Official Historian for Major League Baseball. He is a frequent contributor to majorleaguebaseball.com.

c('°c) (Leee), Monday, 2 October 2006 19:35 (fifteen years ago) link

four years pass...

I guess this would go here: Baseball Reference has been tracking when the 200,000th game in major league history will be played, and it'll happen this Saturday. At the end of play yesterday, the total sat at 199,952. (Note they tack on: "If you recognize the National Association as a major league [and many do], the 200,000th game was played on July 4th, 2011 by the Reds and Cardinals [if you go by start times]." Was that a story last year? I don't remember it.)

clemenza, Thursday, 22 September 2011 12:12 (ten years ago) link

As a child I had this book, which was wonderful, and filled with stories like those detailed above -


TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 22 September 2011 12:56 (ten years ago) link

This is pretty weird--easy to explain, but weird nonetheless.


clemenza, Monday, 3 October 2011 22:34 (ten years ago) link

I was shocked to hear that the Yankees three grand slams against the Athletics this August was an MLB first.

Sure, it's tough enough to load the bases three times in one game, but not until 2011?

san lazaro, Tuesday, 4 October 2011 01:24 (ten years ago) link

one year passes...

Not really a record, although I'm sure no one else has ever done it (from an HHH comments thread):

In 1970, Horace Clarke spoiled three no-hitters in the 9th in a span of less than a month! (June 4, June 19, July 2).

This in a year when Clarke managed to have 731 PA out of the lead-off spot and score 81 runs.

clemenza, Saturday, 7 September 2013 15:44 (eight years ago) link

four months pass...

Again, not a record, just unusual (from High Heat Stats):

The three pitchers with the most career regular season innings pitched over the last one hundred years of major league baseball are Phil Niekro, Nolan Ryan, and Gaylord Perry. These three combined for 73 seasons of pitching in the majors, 2,179 regular season starts, and 956 regular season Wins. They faced a combined 67,205 batters in the regular season and pitched a combined total of 16,140 regular season innings. Unfortunately, the three combined for zero World Series starts, zero World Series wins, two and one-third innings pitched in the World Series, and ten batters faced in the World Series.

clemenza, Saturday, 18 January 2014 23:32 (eight years ago) link

all the WS exp is Ryan's in '69?

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 19 January 2014 01:43 (eight years ago) link

Haven't checked, but must be. Which makes it even more bizarre--nothing from 1970 on, which encompasses about 50 seasons between them.

clemenza, Sunday, 19 January 2014 03:06 (eight years ago) link

Those seasons were spent with expansions teams, 13 years in both Texas team doesn't help for the WS. Actually Ryan could be the best player to ever only play in expansion teams.

Van Horn Street, Sunday, 19 January 2014 07:13 (eight years ago) link

one year passes...

Jacoby Ellsbury: 1st player with 2 leadoff catchers' interferences in a season since Pete Rose in 1969

mookieproof, Monday, 31 August 2015 23:41 (six years ago) link

First time since 1950 that two guys on the same team have had 35 RBI in a month (Edwin and Donaldson).

clemenza, Tuesday, 1 September 2015 00:39 (six years ago) link


The weirdness and difficulty of this is obvious.

clemenza, Tuesday, 1 September 2015 13:15 (six years ago) link

two weeks pass...

All 6 probable pitchers in the Brewers/Reds series are rookies. According to STATS, last time that happened in a 3-game series was 1924.

mookieproof, Friday, 18 September 2015 17:49 (six years ago) link

I love this thread

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Friday, 18 September 2015 18:08 (six years ago) link

rizzo now one HBP away from the second 30 HR/30 HBP season ever

i'll bet you can guess who had the first

mookieproof, Friday, 18 September 2015 21:24 (six years ago) link


clemenza, Friday, 18 September 2015 21:26 (six years ago) link


mookieproof, Friday, 18 September 2015 21:26 (six years ago) link

Yeah, just looked him up--a lot of 15-20 seasons for HBP, 41st on the career list.

clemenza, Friday, 18 September 2015 21:28 (six years ago) link


Heel of Fortune (WilliamC), Friday, 18 September 2015 21:37 (six years ago) link


mookieproof, Friday, 18 September 2015 21:40 (six years ago) link

Kendrys Morales' three HR and triple tonight the seventh time that's ever been done. I wouldn't have guessed even that many.

clemenza, Monday, 21 September 2015 02:56 (six years ago) link

When was last time fore this?

One bad call from barely losing to (Alex in SF), Monday, 21 September 2015 03:48 (six years ago) link

And a walk!

1996 ball boy (Karl Malone), Monday, 21 September 2015 03:58 (six years ago) link

ryan braun, april 30, 2012

then 1975

then 1950

mookieproof, Monday, 21 September 2015 04:23 (six years ago) link

Do you have play index, mookie? I'd be interested in knowing who the other five were.

clemenza, Monday, 21 September 2015 14:29 (six years ago) link

i don't, but these are the dates it gives if you want to look them up individually


mookieproof, Monday, 21 September 2015 14:49 (six years ago) link

Thanks, I'll try to figure it out tonight if I get ambitious. Checking high-scoring games from 1975-06-18, zeroed in on Lynn's famous game: 5 for 6, triple, 3 HR, 4 runs, 10 RBI.

clemenza, Monday, 21 September 2015 15:14 (six years ago) link

Wes Westrum (C) for the NY Giants in 1950 vs. the Reds, final score 12-2

Interestingly it WASN'T in the Pirates-Dodgers game from the same day, where the score was 21-12 for Brooklyn

Bouncy Castlevania (Will M.), Monday, 21 September 2015 15:26 (six years ago) link

Started looking up the 3-HR/triple guys, but couldn't find anybody for 1945-07-13--that date might be wrong.

Came across this in the Toronto Sun yesterday, so who knows how reliable it is: Marcus Stroman is the third guy ever, and first since a couple of Pirates in 1901 and 1902, to get his first three starts of the season in September and win all three. That seems kind of amazing. I know September call-ups are generally relegated to the bullpen, but you'd think there'd be at least a few in there who would have started and managed to win their first three starts.

clemenza, Friday, 25 September 2015 11:48 (six years ago) link

four months pass...

Had some time to kill in a mall yesterday, so I bought a preseason annual off the magazine rack (Athlon's), something I haven't done in probably a decade. I've got a ton of Street & Smith and Sporting News annuals from the '70s/'80s/'90s.

The end-page has a list of "Abstruse Stuff That Never Happened Until 2015." A few, like Daniel Murphy, were well publicized, but a few that caught my eye.

-- Nolan Arenadol's 89 XBH at third was a record--don't recall hearing that
-- Evan Gattis first guy weighing at least 260 to hit 11 triples (one of those phony combination stats: probably a lot of guys weighing 259 have hit 10)
-- Pierzynski first guy to hit exactly .300 four times
-- Chris Young vs. Altuve in the playoffs: first 16-inch height differential
-- 30+ doubles first 11 seasons (Cano)

Also, first time "abstruse" has ever been used in a baseball annual.

clemenza, Saturday, 20 February 2016 14:36 (six years ago) link

four months pass...

What's the record for HR in a loss? The White Sox hit seven solo home runs today and lost to the Jays, 10-8.

clemenza, Saturday, 25 June 2016 21:32 (six years ago) link

Reds bullpen gave up it's record setting 93rd HR breaking the record of 92 from the 1964 KC A's!

They still got a shot at 100 with 16 games to go! I'm sure Kris Bryant has a couple more 4-5 games with 3HRs and 2x2Bs left in him against Reds pitching.


earlnash, Saturday, 17 September 2016 14:30 (five years ago) link

Hunter Renfroe is the first player to be intentionally walked in his first big league plate appearance since Luis Lopez in 2001.

mookieproof, Thursday, 22 September 2016 13:56 (five years ago) link

see also: https://twitter.com/johnmanuelba/status/778995833177972736

mookieproof, Thursday, 22 September 2016 16:39 (five years ago) link


Reds pitchers have a -1.2 WAR. No pitching staff has ever finished with a negative WAR.

mookieproof, Thursday, 22 September 2016 21:35 (five years ago) link

teixeira hit his 409th homer last night; it was the first (regular season) walk-off homer of his career

he had been the player to hit the most homers without a walk-off -- not sure who it is now

mookieproof, Thursday, 29 September 2016 15:10 (five years ago) link

A true 2016 record pointed out by the Jays' broadcasters: Jays the first team to have their starters lead the league in IP without a complete game.

clemenza, Sunday, 2 October 2016 22:56 (five years ago) link

Matt Sussman, BP:

Ryan Schimpf finished the season with 20 home runs and 18 singles. Only he, Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds (minimum 200 PA) can say they did that. Which means, of course, that Ryan Schimpf is not going to be a Hall of Famer.

The Hon. J. Piedmont Mumblethunder (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 4 October 2016 03:18 (five years ago) link

the 2016 indians, plus these 14 other teams, are the only clubs to make the playoffs without hitting a grand slam

mookieproof, Tuesday, 4 October 2016 14:53 (five years ago) link

two years pass...

I thought there was another thread for general baseball weirdness...Anyway, in nine out of eleven seasons, the "most similar by age" for Alex Gonzalez of the Jays/Cubs was the other Alex Gonzalez. For their careers, they had a similarity score of 906.

Alex Gonzalez #1 (1994-2006): 5528 PA, 137 HR, .243/.302/.391, 79 OPS+
Alex Gonzalez #2 (1998-2014): 6248 PA, 157 HR, .245/.290/.395, 79 OPS+

Not sure if there was a sizable similarity bonus for their names.

clemenza, Sunday, 6 January 2019 22:11 (three years ago) link

both played for Toronto as some point too!

Mad Piratical (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Sunday, 6 January 2019 22:36 (three years ago) link

I’m going to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure that I knew there were two different Alex Gonzalezes.

omar little, Sunday, 6 January 2019 22:41 (three years ago) link

two months pass...

I don't know where to put this...

Posnanski was writing about Luis Tiant today. Where he and Gibson stood on July 4, 1968:

Gibson: 10-5, 1.13 ERA, 151 innings, 109 Ks, 31 walks, .180 batting average against
Tiant: 13-5, 1.11 ERA, 146 innings, 150 Ks, 43 walks, .161 batting average against

Tiant, at that point, was having a better season than what is generally considered the greatest season (or at least the equal of one of Pedro's big two) by a post-war starter.

clemenza, Thursday, 4 April 2019 02:47 (three years ago) link

Put it in the record books—the Mariners have hit a home run in 1️⃣5️⃣ straight games to start the season. 💥 pic.twitter.com/tIAHp1lZNC

— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) April 11, 2019

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 11 April 2019 19:32 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

Made me smile:

Today's news prompted me to look up Satchel Paige, wondering if he might be in line for any records. Not close. But I did find out that the active leader in complete games, Verlander with 26, is not in the Top 1,000 on the all-time list, but a whole bunch of guys with 1 are tied for 98th on the active list.

clemenza, Thursday, 17 December 2020 02:17 (one year ago) link

five months pass...

Can one game have any predictive value for the HOF? Found this reader e-mail to James today fascinating.

There are 13 pitchers who have had game scores of at least 100 in a 9 inning game. Of these, 9 are either in the Hall of Fame (Spahn, Koufax, Ryan, Randy Johnson, or have a very good chance to be selected (Schilling, Kershaw, Scherzer, Verlander, Gerrit Cole). The other four were Nap Rucker, Kerry Wood, Brandon Morrow, and Matt Cain. Can you think of anything else a player can do in 3% of his season that comes close to being this predictive of his chances of making the Hall?

And Wood and Cain had potential HOF careers derailed by injury.

clemenza, Saturday, 5 June 2021 00:46 (one year ago) link

20K games have (what should be) an 75% HOF success rate:
clemens, randy johnson, kerry wood, max scherzer

k3vin k., Saturday, 5 June 2021 01:09 (one year ago) link

Can't seem to conjure one up on the internet, but I think a list of 15-plus-Ks/no-walks games also yields a high percentage of HOF'ers.

clemenza, Saturday, 5 June 2021 03:26 (one year ago) link

was wondering if 4 HR games might also be predictive but then I remember that Scooter Gennett had one

frogbs, Saturday, 5 June 2021 03:52 (one year ago) link

lol, I did the very same!

Karl Malone, Saturday, 5 June 2021 04:04 (one year ago) link

mark whiten is in *my* hall of fame

mookieproof, Saturday, 5 June 2021 05:49 (one year ago) link

a clear hall of famer, it skews the sample

Karl Malone, Saturday, 5 June 2021 05:52 (one year ago) link

anyway four-homer games have five of 18 in the hall (and gil hodges was pretty close)

mookieproof, Saturday, 5 June 2021 05:56 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

A reader wrote into James yesterday pointing out that Juan Marichal's debut--a 1-hit shutout--was the highest 9-inning Game Score of his career.

clemenza, Thursday, 9 September 2021 21:23 (nine months ago) link

As mentioned in the piece, this last happened in 1990 with Eddie Murray.


clemenza, Friday, 17 September 2021 23:50 (nine months ago) link

this is unbelievably stupid:

Enter: Willie McGee. He hit .335 in 542 plate appearances for the Cardinals, through Aug. 29. That day, like Marte, he was traded to the A’s, with whom he finished up the season. He hit .274 in 123 plate appearances in Oakland, finishing with a .324 average overall.

But since he was traded across leagues, that .335 average in the NL froze the moment he put on an A’s uniform. And since he was traded in August and had accumulated enough plate appearances to be qualified at the end of the season, he led the NL in batting average and won the batting title -- despite finishing the season in an A’s uniform, and with an overall batting average below Murray’s .330.

Tracer Hand, Saturday, 18 September 2021 11:01 (nine months ago) link

in the modern era, analysts try to systematize the game. but willie mcgee knew how to game the system, which is why he is an icon

typo punishment 3: people shouldn't have to feel like they have ea (Karl Malone), Saturday, 18 September 2021 16:45 (nine months ago) link

i’m told that seattle has won 12 straight against oakland, all while the latter was 10+ games over .500, and that such a thing has never happened before

mookieproof, Thursday, 30 September 2021 13:00 (eight months ago) link

Toronto and Boston are a mess, but if they can rouse themselves enough over the weekend to win two (Toronto) and one (Boston) games, the AL East will have four 90-win teams.


This has happened only once before in the divisional era: 1978, also the AL East (the Bucky Dent year), but when there were seven teams. It's never happened since going to six divisions in 1993.

clemenza, Friday, 1 October 2021 12:34 (eight months ago) link

i’m stoked for the madness but as a Boston fan i have to say i think they’re least deserving of the four so should probably just forfeit on principle

Tracer Hand, Friday, 1 October 2021 12:47 (eight months ago) link

They're more deserving than the Mariners, though, and that's who's probably going to take the wild card.

clemenza, Friday, 1 October 2021 12:49 (eight months ago) link

(Second wild-card, that is.)

clemenza, Friday, 1 October 2021 12:50 (eight months ago) link

For what it's worth, the '78 AL East has it all over the AL East this year. In '78 you had: peak '70s Yankees/Red Sox teams, producing probably the greatest divisional race ever and the eventual WS winner; a typically excellent Orioles-dynasty-era team; and a Brewers team on their way to becoming the great '82 team ("Harvey's Wallbangers"). There was even a fifth team, the Tigers, who didn't win 90 (86-76) but was the beginning of the run they had in the '80s (sophomore seasons for Trammell/Whitaker/Parrish). I count 13 HOF'ers from those five teams, minimum of two each.

This year? A (to me) weirdly overachieving Tampa team, okay Red Sox/Yankee teams, and a young and erratic Jays team. HOF...Stanton and Sale, maybe Bogarts or Cole or Chapman, and then you have to start looking at guys as young as Guerrero and Franco. I think the 90-win seasons have more to do with the rest of the league.

clemenza, Friday, 1 October 2021 13:59 (eight months ago) link

The Jays are actually pretty comparable to the '78 Tigers.

clemenza, Friday, 1 October 2021 14:06 (eight months ago) link

weirdly overachieving Tampa team

will likely be historically notable for having rookie Wander Franco on the team

typo hell #7: 3-5 of those thinking of want to say (Karl Malone), Friday, 1 October 2021 15:17 (eight months ago) link

oops, saw you noted that just after. but yeah, the "young guys" are not an afterthought. in the same way you remember the Tigers for having Trammell and Whitaker on there, the blue jays alone have Vlad and Bo Bichette

typo hell #7: 3-5 of those thinking of want to say (Karl Malone), Friday, 1 October 2021 15:20 (eight months ago) link

no respect for MLB’s all-time K/9 starter, i see

mookieproof, Friday, 1 October 2021 15:34 (eight months ago) link

xp sorry clemenza, i posted before reading everything you wrote - i see you already directly compared the jays and the '78 tigers too!

i just wanted to talk about baseball and got excited <3

typo hell #7: 3-5 of those thinking of want to say (Karl Malone), Friday, 1 October 2021 15:42 (eight months ago) link

This qualifies as unusual these days: as i write this, Juan Soto has struck out only 10 times in his last 150 plate appearances. The last one happened just seconds ago.

Tracer Hand, Saturday, 2 October 2021 00:40 (eight months ago) link

note: this was published late last week; mullins and zunino did in fact complete this feat while gallo just missed

The Future of Baseball Is Chris Hoiles
By Jordan Ellenberg

CEDRIC MULLINS, THE center fielder for the Baltimore Orioles, is on the verge of making history. No, not because he last week he became the first Orioles player ever to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in a season. It’s because, with only 59 runs batted in to go with those 30 HR, he is on the verge of finishing below the Hoiles Line -— the condition of having exactly twice as many RBI as home runs.

The Hoiles Line is named after Chris Hoiles, the stalwart slugging catcher of the '90s Orioles teams, who is probably best known for having achieved the ultimate in baseball heroism on May 17, 1996, when he hit a grand slam with two outs and a full count in the bottom of the ninth inning, with his team trailing by three runs. Four years before that, though, Hoiles distinguished himself another way: by playing a full season while hitting 20 home runs and driving in only 40 runs.

Ever since then, we've been keeping an eye on the stats to see which players manage to match or exceed that performance. A season below the Hoiles Line is one in which you drive yourself in more than you do everybody else on the team put together.

It’s not an easy thing to do. Traditionally, sluggers who hit a lot of home runs also collect a lot of RBIs. In the whole history of baseball, only ten times has a player with at least 350 plate appearances finished at or below the Hoiles Line. But we are entering the age of Hoiles. Of those ten seasons, five have come since 2016. (And of the remaining five, two came from Barry Bonds in 2001 and 2003, when he broke the Hoiles Line along with all the normal parameters of baseball; Bonds couldn't drive in his teammates because in any remotely threatening situation, pitchers would just intentionally walk him.)

Twenty-first century baseball has been relentlessly optimizing itself toward having pitchers strike out as many batters as possible, while hitters swing for the fences and don't mind if they whiff while trying to hit one out. Or else, like the ever-patient Chris Hoiles used to, those hitters settle for a walk, letting someone else try to collect the RBI. In this all-or-nothing environment, as batting averages drop to their lowest level in generations, there aren't many people trying to drive in runners from second base with a sharp single—or getting themselves to second base for someone else to knock in, either.

Now, heading into the final weekend of 2021, we have the chance to see something really unprecedented: three Hoiles Line seasons in a single year. Besides Mullins, there’s Joey Gallo of the Yankees, who already Hoiles-ed in 2017 and currently sits at 38 HR and 76 RBI; and Mike Zunino of the Tampa Bay Rays, a full 3 RBI under the line at 32 HR and 61 RBI.

Gallo is hitting .199 and leading the majors in strikeouts, and Zunino has nearly as many strikeouts as Gallo per at-bat. They’re classic Hoiles Line sluggers. Mullins isn’t. Baltimore's speedy young outfielder is batting .297, and his 37 doubles and 5 triples would be the most a Hoiles Line hitter has ever had in the live-ball era.

The usual way to land under the Hoiles Line is simply to strike out whenever you don't homer. Cedric Mullins has discovered another way: to play on a team like the 2021 Orioles, where the batters ahead of you never get on base. Mullins is Baltimore's leadoff man. The first time he steps up to the plate in any game, the bases are automatically empty. For the rest of his plate appearances, the bases are almost automatically empty—the Orioles' seventh-, eighth-, and ninth-place hitters have combined to bat .210 with an on-base percentage of .271. There will be more hitters posting Hoiles Line seasons, the way baseball is played now. But there may not be many of those seasons as good, or as wasted, as the one Cedric Mullins is about to wind down.

mookieproof, Tuesday, 5 October 2021 15:00 (eight months ago) link

that is super interesting.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Tuesday, 5 October 2021 15:06 (eight months ago) link

two months pass...

Don't know if it's a record, but one of Thermo's FB posts prompted me to look up Tony Gwynn's career splits, and Gwynn hit .302 for his career with two strikes (2053 plate appearances). I find that other-worldly. Checked Ichiro as a point of comparison: .253 over 4456 PA. (So Gwynn's splits are incomplete--and sure enough, nothing for Carew.)

clemenza, Wednesday, 8 December 2021 16:47 (six months ago) link

According to this piece, it is indeed Gwynn. followed by bonds, then Helton!

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Wednesday, 8 December 2021 17:40 (six months ago) link

but ya. probably not a lot of info on that going back a little.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Wednesday, 8 December 2021 17:41 (six months ago) link

That’s extraordinary.

I would have thought Boggs was up there. Whenever he got to two strikes my dad would go “now he’s got him right where he wants him.”

Tracer Hand, Thursday, 9 December 2021 13:28 (six months ago) link

Looks like he was .262. Respectable but not even close.

Tracer Hand, Thursday, 9 December 2021 13:28 (six months ago) link

Never thought to check Boggs--should have. I really wonder about Carew; wouldn't be shocked if he was .275+, he had amazing bat control.

clemenza, Thursday, 9 December 2021 15:08 (six months ago) link

gwynn's 1997, especially - .358 even with 2-strikes!

my hands are always in my pockets or gesturing. (Karl Malone), Thursday, 9 December 2021 16:51 (six months ago) link

oh – and the post that got clem and i talking about two-strike hitting, was a video i shared of every two-strike foul ball Bo Bichette hit last season (there was well over 200, easily leading the league). he also led baseball, by a wide margin in total foul balls at 664.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Thursday, 9 December 2021 16:57 (six months ago) link

haha, being awesome at hitting foul balls is very bad for watching baseball, but very good for Bo Bichette! stick control

my hands are always in my pockets or gesturing. (Karl Malone), Thursday, 9 December 2021 17:05 (six months ago) link

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