Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Most Career Walks Allowed per 9 Innings, 1901-2007

Last week I posted about the highest career WHIP in MLB history and, shortly after, the most hits allowed per nine innings pitched in MLB history. I then went on to different topics without posting the obvious follow-up of most career walks allowed per nine innings. I'm going to fix that today.

The average number of walks allowed per nine innings has stayed between 3.0 and 3.5 for the last eighty years. As this chart shows, the rate shot up over 4.0 BB/9 around 1950 and plunged below 3.0 around the Year of the Pitcher, 1968. There was another spike in the late 1990's, peaking at 3.8 BB/9 in 2000, but since then the rate has remained around 3.3 BB/9. With the spikes in the late 1940's and late 1990's, it shouldn't be surprising to find a number of pitchers from those eras on the list of most walks allowed per nine innings.

Most Career Walks Allowed per 9 Innings, Minimum 1000 Innings Pitched
  1. Tommy Byrne, 6.85
  2. Mickey McDermott, 5.73
  3. Bob Turley, 5.61
  4. Ken Chase, 5.36
  5. Turk Lown, 5.15
  6. Jason Bere, 5.071
  7. Phil Marchildon, 5.069
  8. Eric Plunk, 5.06
  9. Bobby Witt, 5.02
  10. Johnny Vander Meer, 4.84
  11. Walt Masterson, 4.83
  12. Ron Villone*, 4.81
  13. Hank Johnson, 4.79
  14. Jack Wilson, 4.78
  15. Sam McDowell, 4.74
  16. Ted Gray, 4.72
  17. Blue Moon Odom, 4.700
  18. Ray Moore, 4.699
  19. Dixie Davis, 4.696
  20. Nolan Ryan, 4.67
* - active player

Those familiar with baseball history will notice there's some decent (or better) pitchers on this list. Nolan Ryan should jump out to anyone, but Sam McDowell, Eric Plunk, and even Johnny Vander Meer were also effective despite high walk rates. If you're able to strike guys out, you can get away with walking some, I suppose.

The highest active player on the list is Ron Villone, as noted above. Ryan Dempster (4.66) and Russ Ortiz (4.63) follow him on the active list.

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