Sunday, November 15, 2009

All Good Things...

I don't want to be sucked into an excuse-making apologia, so I'll be blunt: you've undoubtedly noticed a lack of regular updates on this blog, stretching back over a period of months. While I still enjoy the obscure minutia of baseball history, and I do still write occasionally at Brew Crew Ball, I am not able to devote as much time to research as I used to. Call it a lack of inspiration, a dwindling of desire, or whatever you will, but it's time to give up the illusion that I'll post regularly again.

If you've got questions or comments about previous posts or have something you want me to research, drop me a line. It's worth noting that my top research tool over the past few years has been the Play Index. It has expanded greatly over time and features a free trial until November 20th, so play around and see what you can find.

Thanks for reading and providing input over the past two years.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

60+ Steals of Second Base

Since 1898*, only four players have stolen 100 bases in a season. Maury Wills swiped 104 bags in 1962, Lou Brock took 118 in 1974, and Rickey Henderson and Vince Coleman did it multiple times in the 1980s. Of those four speedsters, only Lou Brock had at least 100 steals of second base in that season. In fact, a stunning 112 of his 118 swipes were of second base.

Below is the leaderboard of the most steals of second base in a season since 1954.

RankNameYear2B SBTotal SB
1Lou Brock1974112118
2Rickey Henderson198294130
3Omar Moreno19809196
4Maury Wills196286104
5Vince Coleman198785109

Tim Raines19838590
7Rickey Henderson198082100
8Ron LeFlore19808097
9Rickey Henderson198379108

Willie Wilson19797983
11Vince Coleman198578110

Maury Wills19657894
13Vince Coleman198676107

Rudy Law19837677
15Tim Raines19827478
16Omar Moreno19797377

Ron LeFlore19797378
18Rickey Henderson19867287

Lou Brock19667274
20Tim Raines19847175

Dave Collins19807179
22Willie Wilson19806979
23Rickey Henderson19856580

Davey Lopes19756577
25Eric Davis19866480

Tim Raines19856470
27Tony Womack19996372

Omar Moreno19786371

Ron LeFlore19786368

Lou Brock19736370
31Jose Reyes20076278

Rickey Henderson19886293

Joe Morgan19756267

Mickey Rivers19756270
35Kenny Lofton19936170

Joe Morgan19736167
Chone Figgins20056062

Scott Podsednik20046070

Brian Hunter19976074

Tim Raines19866070

Juan Samuel19846072

Lonnie Smith19826068

Tim Raines19816071

Billy North19766075

Retrosheet data splitting players' stolen bases out by base only goes back to 1954, so early twentieth-century basestealers like Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins, Clyde Milan, and Bob Bescher are unfortunately ignored. It is likely at least one of them (and/or another player) belongs somewhere on the above list.

* - the modern definition of the stolen base did not come into being until 1898. For more information about the change in definition over time, the wikipedia entry on the stolen base rule's evolution is here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

.300 Hitters Who Didn't Stick

One of baseball's "big" numbers is .300. If you hit .300 or better, you're a good hitter. As the following players can attest, however, hitting .300 isn't always enough to stick in the major leagues.

Since 1954, thirteen players have hit .300 in more than 50 but fewer than 500 career plate appearances. Players who appeared in the majors during 2009 were not included. I chose fifty PA as the minimum because it takes at least ten starts to rack up that many times at the plate. Impressive as John Paciorek's career was, it doesn't fit the spirit of this post. By the end of this post, you'll see why I used 500 as the maximum.

Kevin Rhomberg1982-198426-28
Randy Asadoor198623
Rudy Pemberton1995-199725-27
Joe Hall1994-1995
Norris Hopper2006-200827-29
Victor Mata1984-198523-24
Bob Hazle1955
D.T. Cromer2000-200129-30
Eddy Garabito200528
Bob Henley199825
Andy Barkett200126
Jose Ortiz1969-197122-24
Gerry Davis1983

The position listed is where the player spent the most time. Almost every player on the list played two or more positions.

Bob Hazle is probably the most famous name on this list. He hit .403 down the stretch in 1957 to help the Braves win the NL pennant. A slow start in 1958 doomed his career. Norris Hooper may still appear again in the majors. He played in AAA for the Reds, White Sox, and Nationals in 2009.

It's worth noting that two pitchers also qualified under the 50-500 PA criteria. Terry Forster, who pitched for five teams from 1971 to 1984, hit .397/.413/.474 over 86 plate appearances during his career. He was one for four as a pinch hitter. Renie Martin, who pitched for three teams from 1979 to 1984, hit .301 over 90 plate appearances. He was 0 for 1 as a pinch hitter.

Obviously, small sample size applies to all of these players. Who knows if they would have been able to hit .300 over a longer career. The fact remains, however, that they hit well in the few opportunities they were given.

I thought it would be interesting to post the following list as well. If you take out active players, here are the .300 hitters who debuted in 1954 or later with the fewest career plate appearances (min. 400):
  1. Norris Hopper, 440 (.316)
  2. Lyman Bostock, 2214 (.311)
  3. Reggie Jefferson, 2300 (.300)
  4. Manny Mota, 4227 (.304)
  5. Rusty Greer, 4420 (.305)
  6. Hal Morris, 4443 (.304)
  7. John Kruk, 4603 (.300)
  8. Mike Greenwell, 5166 (.303)
  9. Ralph Garr, 5456 (.306)
  10. Pedro Guerrero, 6115 (.300)
It looks like Norris Hopper has found a uncomfortable niche between flash in the pan and solid regular.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Most Career PA, Zero Triples

Admittedly I don't watch him all that often, but Ryan Howard doesn't seem like a very fast ballplayer to me. Call it an assumption about large first basemen. Howard hit a triple in tonight's NLCS game and I figured it had to be one of only a few in his career. It turns out it was his first in postseason play, but twelfth overall in his major league career. Not only that, but he stole eight bases this year. You learn something new every day, I suppose.

It seems as though if a player plays long enough, he'll wind up hitting a triple. Cecil Fielder had six triples by the time he swiped his first base, over 1000 games into his career. Javier Valentin may never have attempted to steal a base but he legged out five triples in his career. Bill Schroeder, a run-of-the-mill 1980s catcher, brags about how his only career triple, also his first major league hit, must have screwed up scouting reports on him for a while.

But not every player is lucky enough to accomplish the career cycle. The following players just couldn't hit it far enough away from the defense to run 270 feet.

Most Career PA, Zero Triples
(position players)
  1. Johnny Estrada, 2244
  2. Jason Phillips, 1537
  3. Mark Parent, 1428
  4. Craig Worthington, 1423
  5. Ramon Castro, 1400*
  6. Sal Fasano, 1245*
  7. Earl Averill, 1217
  8. Aaron Guiel, 1099
  9. Kelly Shoppach, 1043*
  10. Doc Edwards, 973
  11. Jim Traber, 897
  12. Geronimo Gil, 887
  13. Chris Coste, 885*
  14. Jeff Mathis, 861*
  15. Troy Neel, 861
  16. Bob Uecker, 843
  17. Brian Giles, 791
  18. Hawk Taylor, 766
  19. Bob Burda, 723
  20. Scott Hemond, 687
* - active player (majors or minors in 2009)

Worthington (3B), Guiel (RF), Traber (1B), Neel (1B), Giles (2B), and Burda (1B) are the non-catchers on the above list. Giles, not related to the current Padre, actually stole seventeen bases one season. Of course, he was caught ten times that year. The active non-catcher leader is Scott Thorman, with 440. Thorman spent 2009 in AAA with Kansas City and Texas. Among players who appeared in the majors in 2009, Paul Janish is the active leader with 381. Robert Andino is seven behind Janish.

Most Career PA, Zero Triples
  1. Gaylord Perry, 1220
  2. Whitey Ford, 1208
  3. Tommy John, 1030
  4. Lefty Gomez, 1024
  5. Bob Buhl, 952
  6. Burt Hooten, 913
  7. Curt Davis, 904
  8. Andy Benes, 880
  9. Larry Dierker, 876
  10. Sandy Koufax, 858
  11. Dave McNally, 848
  12. Rick Rhoden, 830
  13. Andy Messersmith, 826
  14. Mike Krukow, 819
  15. Dick Donovan, 801
  16. Darryl Kile, 786
  17. Ken Raffensberger, 779
  18. Dean Chance, 759
  19. Pat Malone, 752
  20. Mike Scott, 743
No active players are in the top twenty. The active leader is Jason Schmidt with 712. Randy Johnson is at 691 and Roy Oswalt is third with 670. One notable in the above list: Bob Buhl's 0 for 70 in 1962 is a record for hitting futility.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Three True Outcomes Per Plate Appearance, 1913-2009

An update to my Three True Outcomes (TTO) posts of January 2008 and July 2009. This version is complete through 2009. Once again, I have expanded the board by five more places.

Most Career TTO/PA, 1913-2009, min. 3000 PA

Adam Dunn
Rob Deer45121409575230.4907
Ryan Howard
Jim Thome94632313
Mark McGwire766015961317583.4564
Carlos Pena
Mickey Tettleton57451307949245.4353
Pat Burrell5864
Jay Buhner59271406792310.4231
Gorman Thomas54861339697268.4200
Brad Wilkerson
12Danny Tartabull58421362768262.4094
13Don Lock3116776373122.4079
14Jose Canseco81291942906462.4072
Troy Glaus
Jason Bay
17Mickey Mantle990917101733536.4016
18Reggie Jackson1141625971375563.3972
Nick Swisher
Darryl Strawberry63261352816335.3957
Gene Tenace5525998984201.3951
Pete Incaviglia46771277360206.3941
Richie Sexson
Eric Davis61471398740282.3937
25Jim Edmonds73071669974382
Cecil Fielder
Ray Lankford
Mike Schmidt
Harmon Killebrew
Sammy Sosa
Mike Cameron

If you carry it out beyond four decimal places the ties go away but, hey, I wanted an excuse to include another active player.

Russell Branyan is poised to jump atop the table with 176 more plate apperances. Through 2824 career PA, he has 946 strikeouts, 339 walks, and 164 home runs, good for a .5131 TTO/PA. If you add the necessary 176 TTO-less PA to get to 3000, he still places third with .4830. Not bad. Bo Jackson, of all people, pops up between Pete Incaviglia and Richie Sexson by the same method.

Another player who should make his way into the table next year is Brad Hawpe. He sits at .3983 after 2807 career plate appearances. If Tony Clark signs on somewhere next season, he might work his way back onto the list. He's currently 32nd at .3881.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Most Runs Allowed in a Season, All Earned

In 2009, Houston's Roy Oswalt allowed 83 runs in 181 1/3 innings pitched. Every single one of his runs were earned. He became just the twentieth pitcher in major league history to allow more than 70 runs in a season with all of them earned. The full list:
  1. Joel Pineiro, 2005 SEA, 118 R
  2. Dick Ruthven, 1976 ATL, 112 R
  3. Frank Tanana, 1990 DET, 104 R
  4. Brian Anderson, 1998 ARI, 100 R
  5. Daisuke Matsuzaka, 2007 BOS, 100 R
  6. Rick Sutcliffe, 1988 CHC, 97 R
  7. Kelvim Escobar, 2004 ANA, 91 R
  8. Curt Schilling, 2006 BOS, 90 R
  9. Bobby Jones, 1998 NYM, 88 R
  10. John Thomson, 1998 COL, 86 R
  11. Omar Olivares, 1992 STL, 84 R
  12. Roy Oswalt, 2009 HOU, 83 R
  13. Scott Erickson, 2000 BAL, 81 R
  14. Art Decatur, 1927 PHI, 78 R
  15. Dennis Ribant, 1967 PIT, 78 R
  16. Hideki Irabu, 1998 NYY, 78 R
  17. Ryan Dempster, 1999 FLA, 77 R
  18. Hideo Nomo, 2004 LAD, 77 R
  19. John Farrell, 1993 CAL, 74 R
  20. Phil Regan, 1961 DET, 70 R

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Grand Slams by Pitchers

Here is a list of all the grand slams hit by pitchers since 1954:

4/22/1956Don LarsenNYYBOSFrank Sullivan42-1
7/10/1958Lew BurdetteMLN@LADJohnny Podres40-0
4/15/1959Bob GrimKCA@CHWBarry Latman34-0
8/1/1959Bob PurkeyCINCHCJohn Buzhardt35-2
8/14/1960Camilo PascualWSH@NYYBob Turley61-1
8/9/1961Don DrysdaleLADMLNDon Nottebart21-1
5/30/1962Pedro RamosCLE@BALChuck Estrada63-0
8/2/1962Art MahaffeyPHI@NYMCraig Anderson32-1
5/31/1963Orlando PenaKCAWSAClaude Osteen54-3
7/15/1963Carl WilleyNYMHOUKen Johnson21-2
4/27/1965Camilo PascualMIN@CLEStan Williams13-0
7/20/1965Mel StottlemyreNYYBOSBill Monbouquett52-1
9/29/1965Bob GibsonSTL@SFGGaylord Perry84-0
7/3/1966Tony CloningerATL@SFGBob Priddy13-0
7/3/1966Tony CloningerATL@SFGRay Sadecki49-0
8/13/1966Earl WilsonDET@BOSDan Osinski76-1
5/20/1967Jack HamiltonNYMSTLAl Jackson20-0
6/1/1967John O'DonoghueCLE@DETDenny McLain62-0
5/5/1968Gary PetersCHWNYYAl Downing41-0
7/28/1968Al McBeanPITSTLLarry Jaster53-1
8/26/1968Dave McNallyBALOAKChuck Dobson13-0
7/9/1969Fred TalbotSEPCALEddie Fisher63-0
9/4/1970Mike CorkinsSDP@CINJim Merritt43-0
5/11/1971Steve DunningCLEOAKDiego Segui21-0
8/28/1971Rick WisePHISFGDon McMahon73-3
9/16/1972Burt HootonCHCNYMTom Seaver34-1
7/26/1973Bob GibsonSTLNYMJohn Strohmayer56-1
8/21/1973Rick WiseSTL@ATLRoric Harrison33-0
6/24/1974Jim LonborgPHI@MONChuck Taylor34-0
7/6/1977Don StanhouseMON@CHCBill Bonham21-1
9/27/1977Larry ChristensonPHI@CHCDennis Lamp77-2
8/26/1979Bruce KisonPIT@SDPBob Shirley21-0
10/1/1980Enrique RomoPIT@NYMRoy Lee Jackson86-3
9/11/1982Scott SandersonMON@CHCRandy Martz33-1
5/15/1984Joaquin AndujarSTLATLJeff Dedmon85-1
5/16/1984Steve CarltonPHI@LADFernando Valenzu41-1
9/12/1985Don RobinsonPITCHCWarren Brusstar86-2
8/10/1986Bob ForschSTLPITMike Bielecki51-0
5/29/1995Chris HammondFLAHOUShane Reynolds20-2
6/27/1995Denny NeaglePIT@CHCJim Bullinger62-2
8/25/1995Jeff JudenPHILADJohn Cummings410-2
9/7/1996Donovan OsborneSTLSDPAndy Ashby51-1
7/20/1998Kevin TapaniCHC@ATLDenny Neagle31-0
9/2/1998Kent MerckerSTL@FLAJesus Sanchez43-0
5/24/2000Shawn EstesSFGMONMike Johnson57-0
9/29/2001Denny NeagleCOLMILJimmy Haynes49-6
6/2/2002Robert PersonPHIMONBruce Chen13-0
7/7/2006Dontrelle WillisFLA@NYMJose Lima43-0
6/23/2008Felix HernandezSEA@NYMJohan Santana20-0
9/22/2008Jason MarquisCHC@NYMJonathon Niese42-2
10/1/2009Chris CarpenterSTL@CINKip Wells21-0

UPDATE: Two pitchers have hit postseason grand slams. Both were on the same team in the same year. On October 3, 1970, Baltimore's Mike Cuellar hit one off Minnesota's Jim Perry in Game 1 of the ALCS. Ten days later, Dave McNally hit one in Game 3 of the World Series off Cincinnati's Wayne Granger.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Most SB in a Season with 0 CS

On February 22, 2008, I posted about players who stole the most bases in a season without being caught. Since the regular season is now over for all but two teams, it's time to put the new record holder atop the list. As noted in the previous post, the AL has recorded caught stealings since 1920. The NL has did not consistently record caught stealings until 1951.

Most Stolen Bases in a Season, 0 Caught Stealings
  1. Chase Utley, 2009, 23
  2. Kevin McReynolds, 1988, 21
  3. Paul Molitor, 1994, 20
  4. Gary Thurman, 1989, 16
  5. Jimmy Sexton, 1982, 16
  6. Davey Lopes, 1984, 15
  7. Terry Shumpert, 1999, 14
  8. Sean Berry, 1994, 14
  9. Carlos Beltran, 2000, 13
  10. Desi Relaford, 2000, 13
  11. Rex Hudler, 1995, 13
  12. Tim Raines, 1994, 13
  13. Lee Tinsley, 1994, 13
  14. Tom Tresh, 1964, 13
  15. Leon Culberson, 1943, 13
  16. Johnny Damon, 2009, 12
  17. David Dellucci, 2003, 12
  18. Paul Molitor, 1995, 12
  19. Fred Lynn, 1980, 12
  20. Miguel Dilone, 1977, 12
  21. Alexei Casilla, 2009, 11
  22. Albert Belle, 1996, 11
  23. Joe Carter, 1994, 11
  24. Tony Bernazard, 1982, 11
  25. Johnny Bench, 1975, 11
  26. Jesse Hill, 1936, 11
  27. Jason Bay, 2008, 10
  28. Michael Young, 2008, 10
  29. Mark Teahen, 2006, 10
  30. Miguel Tejada, 2003, 10
  31. Jim Eisenreich, 1995, 10
  32. John Jaha, 1992, 10
  33. Frank Duffy, 1976, 10
  34. Dan Meyer, 1976, 10
  35. Red Wilson, 1958, 10
  36. Charlie Gehringer, 1940, 10
Congratulations to Chase Utley for setting a new record. Utley isn't the only new addition to the list. Johnny Damon and Alexei Casilla also joined this year. Jason Bay and Michael Young should have been added after 2008 (oops).

Thanks to Tom for commenting on my February 2008 post and bringing this to my attention.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Who Needs Lefties, Part Two

In my last post, I looked at teams that used only two lefthanded pitchers in a season. In response to a comment on that post, I figured it would be worthwhile to look at teams that didn't use any lefties. If you go back to the early days of professional baseball, it would be easier to list teams that did use a lefty - the 1876 NL had no confirmed lefthanders (three clubs had pitchers of unknown handedness). Teams remained lefty-averse (or at least didn't employ memorably-handed hurlers) through the early 1890s.

Only four teams since 1900 have gone through an entire season without a single lefthander:
But does it really matter how many lefties you have if you never use them anyway? Here are the teams since 1954 with the fewest batters faced by lefthanders:
Note: the 1994 Los Angeles Dodgers (206 BF), 1994 Oakland Athletics (314 BF), 1981 Cincinnati Reds (344 BF), and 1994 Cleveland Indians (346 PA) played in strike-shortened seasons.

With six games left to play, the 2009 Cardinals duo of Trever Miller and Dennys Reyes has faced a combined 335 batters.

This year's Cardinals and a couple other teams above spoil my ending a bit, but it sure looks to me like the answer to "Who needs lefties?" is "winning teams."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Who Needs Lefties?

With just seventeen games to go this season, the St. Louis Cardinals have used only two lefthanded pitchers, Trever Miller and Dennys Reyes. Miller and Reyes are the only lefties on their current roster, so it is unlikely a third lefty will make an appearance for the club.

Since expansion in 1961, only nineteen other teams have made it through a season with only two lefthanders:
  • 1961 Baltimore Orioles: Steve Barber & Billy Hoeft
  • 1965 Boston Red Sox: Dennis Bennett & Arnold Earley
  • 1969 Los Angeles Dodgers: Jim Brewer & Claude Osteen
  • 1971 Montreal Expos: Dan McGinn & John O'Donoghue
  • 1974 Montreal Expos: Terry Enyart & Balor Moore
  • 1976 Oakland Athletics: Vida Blue & Paul Lindblad
  • 1977 Houston Astros: Floyd Bannister & Joe Sambito
  • 1981 Cincinnati Reds: Charlie Liebrandt & Joe Price
  • 1982 Chicago Cubs: Willie Hernandez & Ken Kravec
  • 1982 Toronto Blue Jays: Jerry Garvin & Dave Geisel
  • 1983 Cincinnati Reds: Joe Price & Bill Scherrer
  • 1983 Toronto Blue Jays: Stan Clarke & Dave Geisel
  • 1984 Chicago Cubs: Ron Meridith & Steve Trout
  • 1993 Los Angeles Dodgers: Omar Daal & Steve Wilson
  • 1996 Chicago Cubs: Larry Casian & Bob Patterson
  • 2004 Anaheim Angels: Dusty Bergman & Jarrod Washburn
  • 2006 LAnaheim Angels: J.C. Romero & Joe Saunders
  • 2007 LAnaheim Angels: Darren Oliver & Joe Saunders
  • 2008 LAnaheim Angels: Darren Oliver & Joe Saunders
With Brian Fuentes newly installed as closer, it took the Angels until the second game of the 2009 season to have three different lefties pitch.

The 1947 Philadelphia Athletics were the last team to use only one lefty. Lou Brissie started all of one game that year, allowing five runs in seven innings.