Sunday, November 9, 2008

Don't Hit Me, Pitcher

When Craig Biggio retired following the 2007 season, he had been hit by pitches 285 times over twenty seasons. This wound up being two short of Hughie Jennings' all-time record of 287 times hit by pitches. In 2007, Biggio was hit by pitches only three times, his lowest total since 1991. Whether because of media pressure, pitchers not throwing inside on him, or some other reason, he had to settle for second place on the list.

Today I've looked up another list, the anti-Biggios or anti-Jennings, if you will. I've found the players who batted the most times in their career without getting hit by a pitch. Since 1901, only twenty-six players have reached 1000 career plate appearances without one HBP. Of those, eleven were pitchers. I've denoted the pitchers in the list with an asterisk (*).

Most Career Plate Appearances, Never Hit by a Pitch
  1. Mark Lemke, 3664
  2. Bill Bergen, 3228
  3. Mickey Witek, 2325
  4. Herm Winningham, 2069
  5. Tom Hutton, 1919
  6. Scott Livingstone, 1646
  7. Rob Andrews, 1641
  8. Jim Norris, 1493
  9. Coaker Triplett, 1434
  10. Bobby Brown, 1393
  11. Wes Ferrell*, 1345
  12. Joe Bush*, 1316
  13. Bob Friend*, 1297
  14. Hal Rice, 1283
  15. Erv Dusak, 1192
  16. Hal Newhouser*, 1160
  17. Tommy Bridges*, 1142
  18. Red Ames*, 1122
  19. Bill Sweeney, 1112
  20. Howard Ehmke*, 1088
  21. Earl Moore*, 1049
  22. Tommie Aaron, 1045
  23. Fernando Valenzuela*, 1043
  24. John Gochnauer, 1030
  25. Fergie Jenkins*, 1010
  26. Rube Walberg*, 1005
There are a few names you might recognize in that list. Mark Lemke was the Braves' second baseman for most of the 1990's. Bill Bergen was one of the worst hitters in baseball history. Scott Livingston was a third baseman on a few teams throughout the 1990's. Hal Newhouser and Fergie Jenkins are Hall of Famers. Hank Aaron's brother Tommie appears in front of the inspiration for "Fernandomania." John Gochnauer was one of the worst hitters and fielders of the early 20th century.

You might have noticed there are no active players in the above list. Only nine active players have as many as 500 career plate appearances without being hit by a pitch and eight of those are pitchers.

Most Career Plate Appearances, Never Hit by a Pitch
(active pitchers through 2008)
  1. Curt Schilling, 901
  2. Jon Lieber, 699
  3. Matt Morris, 652
  4. Brett Tomko, 545
  5. Hideo Nomo, 543
  6. Randy Wolf, 532
  7. Carlos Zambrano, 531
  8. Kevin Millwood, 513
  9. Jamey Wright, 499
  10. Ben Sheets, 492
Most Career Plate Appearances, Never Hit by a Pitch
(active position players through 2008)
  1. David Murphy, 592
  2. Omar Quintanilla, 490
  3. Angel Pagan, 453
  4. Ryan Raburn, 378
  5. Wil Nieves, 348
  6. Brian Buscher, 338
  7. Carlos Gonzalez, 316
  8. Wladimir Balentien, 264
  9. Chris Aguila, 248
  10. Andy Gonzalez, 245


Anonymous said...

Juan Castro had his streak broken this year by Mike Timlin. He had 2211 AB's without an HBP heading into the 2008 season.

Theron Schultz said...

Cool. I wonder if he knew how far up the list he was.

Bopperland said...

That's a somewhat shocking active stat. 592 appearances isn't much more than a year's worth, so what does that say about the state of the game today compared to seasons past?

- Pitchers may be more vengeful on behalf of their teammates. The older teams seemed to embrace a more honorable approach to the game.

- Pitchers may be less skilled (wilder).

- Batters are crowding the plate more, looking for either a HPB or smaller strike zone.

- Managers are switching pitchers more often, so batters see more relatively "cold" pitchers.

Seeing Fernando in his list was no big surprise. He frequently used 3 feeble waves for his AB and retreated to the dugout.

David Schultz said...

Actually, Fernando was a pretty good hitting pitcher. He hit an even .200 with 10 career HR's. He struck out only 145 times in 936 ABs. Adam Dunn would love to have those kind of K numbers.

Bopperland said...

Oooh, now I am having disturbing mental images of Adam Dunn pitching. This entry's title would have heightened significance! He might strike out the leadoff batter, hit the second, and walk the next 4.