Sunday, November 15, 2009
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 Baseball-Reference.com 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
Below is the leaderboard of the most steals of second base in a season since 1954.
|Rank||Name||Year||2B SB||Total SB|
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
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.
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):
- Norris Hopper, 440 (.316)
- Lyman Bostock, 2214 (.311)
- Reggie Jefferson, 2300 (.300)
- Manny Mota, 4227 (.304)
- Rusty Greer, 4420 (.305)
- Hal Morris, 4443 (.304)
- John Kruk, 4603 (.300)
- Mike Greenwell, 5166 (.303)
- Ralph Garr, 5456 (.306)
- Pedro Guerrero, 6115 (.300)
Sunday, October 18, 2009
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.
- Johnny Estrada, 2244
- Jason Phillips, 1537
- Mark Parent, 1428
- Craig Worthington, 1423
- Ramon Castro, 1400*
- Sal Fasano, 1245*
- Earl Averill, 1217
- Aaron Guiel, 1099
- Kelly Shoppach, 1043*
- Doc Edwards, 973
- Jim Traber, 897
- Geronimo Gil, 887
- Chris Coste, 885*
- Jeff Mathis, 861*
- Troy Neel, 861
- Bob Uecker, 843
- Brian Giles, 791
- Hawk Taylor, 766
- Bob Burda, 723
- Scott Hemond, 687
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.
- Gaylord Perry, 1220
- Whitey Ford, 1208
- Tommy John, 1030
- Lefty Gomez, 1024
- Bob Buhl, 952
- Burt Hooten, 913
- Curt Davis, 904
- Andy Benes, 880
- Larry Dierker, 876
- Sandy Koufax, 858
- Dave McNally, 848
- Rick Rhoden, 830
- Andy Messersmith, 826
- Mike Krukow, 819
- Dick Donovan, 801
- Darryl Kile, 786
- Ken Raffensberger, 779
- Dean Chance, 759
- Pat Malone, 752
- Mike Scott, 743
Friday, October 9, 2009
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
- Joel Pineiro, 2005 SEA, 118 R
- Dick Ruthven, 1976 ATL, 112 R
- Frank Tanana, 1990 DET, 104 R
- Brian Anderson, 1998 ARI, 100 R
- Daisuke Matsuzaka, 2007 BOS, 100 R
- Rick Sutcliffe, 1988 CHC, 97 R
- Kelvim Escobar, 2004 ANA, 91 R
- Curt Schilling, 2006 BOS, 90 R
- Bobby Jones, 1998 NYM, 88 R
- John Thomson, 1998 COL, 86 R
- Omar Olivares, 1992 STL, 84 R
- Roy Oswalt, 2009 HOU, 83 R
- Scott Erickson, 2000 BAL, 81 R
- Art Decatur, 1927 PHI, 78 R
- Dennis Ribant, 1967 PIT, 78 R
- Hideki Irabu, 1998 NYY, 78 R
- Ryan Dempster, 1999 FLA, 77 R
- Hideo Nomo, 2004 LAD, 77 R
- John Farrell, 1993 CAL, 74 R
- Phil Regan, 1961 DET, 70 R
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
|4/22/1956||Don Larsen||NYY||BOS||Frank Sullivan||4||2-1|
|7/10/1958||Lew Burdette||MLN||@LAD||Johnny Podres||4||0-0|
|4/15/1959||Bob Grim||KCA||@CHW||Barry Latman||3||4-0|
|8/1/1959||Bob Purkey||CIN||CHC||John Buzhardt||3||5-2|
|8/14/1960||Camilo Pascual||WSH||@NYY||Bob Turley||6||1-1|
|8/9/1961||Don Drysdale||LAD||MLN||Don Nottebart||2||1-1|
|5/30/1962||Pedro Ramos||CLE||@BAL||Chuck Estrada||6||3-0|
|8/2/1962||Art Mahaffey||PHI||@NYM||Craig Anderson||3||2-1|
|5/31/1963||Orlando Pena||KCA||WSA||Claude Osteen||5||4-3|
|7/15/1963||Carl Willey||NYM||HOU||Ken Johnson||2||1-2|
|4/27/1965||Camilo Pascual||MIN||@CLE||Stan Williams||1||3-0|
|7/20/1965||Mel Stottlemyre||NYY||BOS||Bill Monbouquett||5||2-1|
|9/29/1965||Bob Gibson||STL||@SFG||Gaylord Perry||8||4-0|
|7/3/1966||Tony Cloninger||ATL||@SFG||Bob Priddy||1||3-0|
|7/3/1966||Tony Cloninger||ATL||@SFG||Ray Sadecki||4||9-0|
|8/13/1966||Earl Wilson||DET||@BOS||Dan Osinski||7||6-1|
|5/20/1967||Jack Hamilton||NYM||STL||Al Jackson||2||0-0|
|6/1/1967||John O'Donoghue||CLE||@DET||Denny McLain||6||2-0|
|5/5/1968||Gary Peters||CHW||NYY||Al Downing||4||1-0|
|7/28/1968||Al McBean||PIT||STL||Larry Jaster||5||3-1|
|8/26/1968||Dave McNally||BAL||OAK||Chuck Dobson||1||3-0|
|7/9/1969||Fred Talbot||SEP||CAL||Eddie Fisher||6||3-0|
|9/4/1970||Mike Corkins||SDP||@CIN||Jim Merritt||4||3-0|
|5/11/1971||Steve Dunning||CLE||OAK||Diego Segui||2||1-0|
|8/28/1971||Rick Wise||PHI||SFG||Don McMahon||7||3-3|
|9/16/1972||Burt Hooton||CHC||NYM||Tom Seaver||3||4-1|
|7/26/1973||Bob Gibson||STL||NYM||John Strohmayer||5||6-1|
|8/21/1973||Rick Wise||STL||@ATL||Roric Harrison||3||3-0|
|6/24/1974||Jim Lonborg||PHI||@MON||Chuck Taylor||3||4-0|
|7/6/1977||Don Stanhouse||MON||@CHC||Bill Bonham||2||1-1|
|9/27/1977||Larry Christenson||PHI||@CHC||Dennis Lamp||7||7-2|
|8/26/1979||Bruce Kison||PIT||@SDP||Bob Shirley||2||1-0|
|10/1/1980||Enrique Romo||PIT||@NYM||Roy Lee Jackson||8||6-3|
|9/11/1982||Scott Sanderson||MON||@CHC||Randy Martz||3||3-1|
|5/15/1984||Joaquin Andujar||STL||ATL||Jeff Dedmon||8||5-1|
|5/16/1984||Steve Carlton||PHI||@LAD||Fernando Valenzu||4||1-1|
|9/12/1985||Don Robinson||PIT||CHC||Warren Brusstar||8||6-2|
|8/10/1986||Bob Forsch||STL||PIT||Mike Bielecki||5||1-0|
|5/29/1995||Chris Hammond||FLA||HOU||Shane Reynolds||2||0-2|
|6/27/1995||Denny Neagle||PIT||@CHC||Jim Bullinger||6||2-2|
|8/25/1995||Jeff Juden||PHI||LAD||John Cummings||4||10-2|
|9/7/1996||Donovan Osborne||STL||SDP||Andy Ashby||5||1-1|
|7/20/1998||Kevin Tapani||CHC||@ATL||Denny Neagle||3||1-0|
|9/2/1998||Kent Mercker||STL||@FLA||Jesus Sanchez||4||3-0|
|5/24/2000||Shawn Estes||SFG||MON||Mike Johnson||5||7-0|
|9/29/2001||Denny Neagle||COL||MIL||Jimmy Haynes||4||9-6|
|6/2/2002||Robert Person||PHI||MON||Bruce Chen||1||3-0|
|7/7/2006||Dontrelle Willis||FLA||@NYM||Jose Lima||4||3-0|
|6/23/2008||Felix Hernandez||SEA||@NYM||Johan Santana||2||0-0|
|9/22/2008||Jason Marquis||CHC||@NYM||Jonathon Niese||4||2-2|
|10/1/2009||Chris Carpenter||STL||@CIN||Kip Wells||2||1-0|
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
- Chase Utley, 2009, 23
- Kevin McReynolds, 1988, 21
- Paul Molitor, 1994, 20
- Gary Thurman, 1989, 16
- Jimmy Sexton, 1982, 16
- Davey Lopes, 1984, 15
- Terry Shumpert, 1999, 14
- Sean Berry, 1994, 14
- Carlos Beltran, 2000, 13
- Desi Relaford, 2000, 13
- Rex Hudler, 1995, 13
- Tim Raines, 1994, 13
- Lee Tinsley, 1994, 13
- Tom Tresh, 1964, 13
- Leon Culberson, 1943, 13
- Johnny Damon, 2009, 12
- David Dellucci, 2003, 12
- Paul Molitor, 1995, 12
- Fred Lynn, 1980, 12
- Miguel Dilone, 1977, 12
- Alexei Casilla, 2009, 11
- Albert Belle, 1996, 11
- Joe Carter, 1994, 11
- Tony Bernazard, 1982, 11
- Johnny Bench, 1975, 11
- Jesse Hill, 1936, 11
- Jason Bay, 2008, 10
- Michael Young, 2008, 10
- Mark Teahen, 2006, 10
- Miguel Tejada, 2003, 10
- Jim Eisenreich, 1995, 10
- John Jaha, 1992, 10
- Frank Duffy, 1976, 10
- Dan Meyer, 1976, 10
- Red Wilson, 1958, 10
- Charlie Gehringer, 1940, 10
Thanks to Tom for commenting on my February 2008 post and bringing this to my attention.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Only four teams since 1900 have gone through an entire season without a single lefthander:
- 1901 Boston Beaneaters (69-69) - used five pitchers in 140 games.
- 1903 New York Giants (84-55) - used seven pitchers in 142 games.
- 1918 Philadelphia Phillies (55-68) - used eleven pitchers in 125 games.
- 1934 Chicago White Sox (53-99) - used fourteen pitchers in 153 games.
- 1974 Montreal Expos (79-82) - 81 BF by Balor Moore and Terry Enyart
- 2006 Arizona Diamondbacks (76-86) - 113 BF by Randy Choate, Doug Slaten, and Terry Mulholland
- 2000 Kansas City Royals (77-85) - 240 BF by Jose Rosado, Scott Mullen, Paul Spoljaric, and Tim Byrdak
- 1993 Los Angeles Dodgers (81-81) - 275 BF by Omar Daal and Steve Wilson
- 1983 Toronto Blue Jays (89-73) - 276 BF by Dave Geisel and Stan Clarke
- 1954 Baltimore Orioles (54-100) - 287 BF by Bob Kuzava, Billy O'Dell, Dave Koslo, Dick Littlefield, and Jay Heard
- 2001 Milwaukee Brewers (68-94) - 287 BF by Ray King, Lance Painter, and Valerio de los Santos
- 1957 Boston Red Sox (82-72) - 294 BF by Dean Stone, Frank Baumann, and Jack Spring
- 1996 Chicago Cubs (76-86) - 320 BF by Bob Patterson and Larry Casian
- 2000 Houston Astros (72-90) - 343 BF by Billy Wagner, Yorkis Perez, and Wayne Franklin
- 1996 New York Mets (71-91) - 350 BF by John Franco, Bob MacDonald, and Pedro Martinez
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
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
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.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
The full list since 1901 can be found by following the above link. Andruw Jones and Tony Pena Jr. were new additions last season. The following players have a chance to join them in 2009:
Chris Davis, 128 K, 126 TB, 303 AB
Bill Hall, 95 K, 94 TB, 270 AB
Kelly Shoppach, 90 K, 91 TB, 235 AB
Koyie Hill, 67 K, 71 TB, 212 AB
Jeff Mathis, 64 K, 64 K, 198 AB
Jeff Mathis had as many strikeouts as total bases in 2008 as well. At least he's consistent.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
With September call-ups a couple days away, it is likely the days of position players pitching are over for another season. Here is the full list of 2009 position player pitchers:
Ross Gload (FLA) - May 22
Nick Green (BOS) - August 27
Paul Janish (CIN) - May 6 & July 6
Mark Loretta (LAD) - July 28
Cody Ross (FLA) - April 26
Nick Swisher (NYY) - April 13
Jonathan Van Every (BOS) - April 30
Josh Wilson (ARI & SDP) - May 11 & June 7
Here's the updated list by team:
|Arizona Diamondbacks||Josh Wilson||5-11-2009|
|Atlanta Braves||John Russell||6-25-1989|
|Baltimore Orioles||Manny Alexander||4-19-1996|
|Boston Red Sox||Nick Green||8-27-2009|
|Chicago Cubs||Gary Gaetti||7-3-1999|
|Chicago White Sox||Dave Martinez||8-4-1995|
|Cincinnati Reds||Paul Janish||7-6-2009|
|Cleveland Indians||Tim Laker||4-20-2004|
|Colorado Rockies||Todd Zeile||9-14-2002|
|Detroit Tigers||Shane Halter||10-1-2000|
|Florida Marlins||Ross Gload||5-22-2009|
|Houston Astros||Tim Bogar||6-24-2000|
|Kansas City Royals||Tony Pena||6-21-2008|
|Los Angeles Angels||Chili Davis||6-17-1993|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Mark Loretta||7-28-2009|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Trent Durrington||4-17-2004|
|Minnesota Twins||John Moses||7-31-1990|
|New York Mets||Todd Zeile||7-26-2004|
|New York Yankees||Nick Swisher||4-13-2009|
|Oakland Athletics||Frank Menechino||7-18-2000|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Tomas Perez||5-13-2002|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Abraham Nunez||5-30-2004|
|San Diego Padres||Josh Wilson||6-7-2009|
|Seattle Mariners||Jamie Burke||7-6-2008|
|San Francisco Giants||Greg Litton||7-4-1991|
|St. Louis Cardinals||Aaron Miles||6-13-2008|
|Tampa Bay Rays||Josh Wilson||6-8-2007|
|Texas Rangers||Scott Sheldon||9-6-2000|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Frank Menechino||8-28-2004|
|Washington Nationals||Junior Noboa||7-20-1990*|
* - Fellow position player Dave Martinez pitched right before Noboa in the same game.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
- 1996 Baltimore Orioles
Brady Anderson - 50
Rafael Palmeiro - 39
Bobby Bonilla - 28
Cal Ripken, Jr. - 26
Chris Hoiles - 25
Roberto Alomar - 22
B.J. Surhoff - 21
- 2000 Toronto Blue Jays
Carlos Delgado - 41
Tony Batista - 41
Brad Fullmer - 32
Jose Cruz, Jr. - 31
Raul Mondesi - 24
Shannon Stewart - 21
Darrin Fletcher - 20
- 2005 Texas Rangers
Mark Teixeira - 43
Alfonso Soriano - 36
David Dellucci - 29
Kevin Mench - 25
Hank Blalock - 25
Michael Young - 24
Rod Barajas - 21
Monday, August 24, 2009
Lenn Sakata should have been one of those ballplayers that spent a few seasons in the majors, had a few timely hits, played decent defense, and then slipped out of baseball consciousness.For the most part, that is the type of ballplayer he was. Mention the name Sakata to baseball fans today and you probably won't get much of a reaction. A few might think the name is familiar, and some diehards might remember seeing him play. Like so many background players, if he is remembered today, it is because of his role in some strange part of baseball history. Would anyone remember Bill Wambsganss today without his triple play? Would Brewers fans remember Rick Manning if he hadn't gotten the walk-off hit robbing Paul Molitor of a final chance to extend his hitting streak? So it is with Lenn Sakata...
Lenn Sakata was born in 1954 in Honolulu, Hawaii, and graduated from Kalani High School in that city in 1971. He played college ball as an infielder at Gonzaga University, earning All-Big Sky conference honors in 1973 and 1974 and second team All-American honors in the latter year. In 1974, he set a school record for RBI (68) that would stand until some guy named Jason Bay broke it in 1999. After his excellent 1974 season, Sakata was selected in the fifth round of the 1974 draft by the San Diego Padres but did not sign. Back then, baseball had a secondary draft in January for players who either did not sign or were not eligible to be drafted in June. In the January 1975 draft, the Milwaukee Brewers saw fit to select Sakata with the tenth pick. He began his professional career later that spring.
He began his minor league career about as far from Hawaii as he could get in organized baseball. He was assigned to the Brewers AA affiliate in Thetford Mines, Quebec. Once a hotbed of asbestos mining, Thetford Mines is about 120 miles (190 km) northeast of Montreal. Sakata, playing second base, shared the infield with future Brewer Jim Gantner. Both players hit .257 in the Eastern League, but only Sakata was promoted to AAA Spokane for the 1976 season. Back in his college town, Sakata hit .280 with ten home runs. He followed that up by hitting .304 in 1977 and earning a callup to the majors. When Sakata took the field in the first game of a July 21 doubleheader, Sakata became only the second Japanese-American to play in a major league game (the first was Ryan Kurosaki, a Cardinals pitcher).
Sakata struggled as a Brewer, hitting .162/.209/.214 in 53 games for Milwaukee. He started the 1978 season with Milwaukee, but a poor .192 average in 86 plate appearances earned him a ticket to Spokane. His final shot in Milwaukee came in September 1979 after he once again hit .300 in AAA. Seizing his chance, Sakata went 7 for 14 with two doubles in four games at the end of the year. The Brewers were so impressed they promptly shipped Sakata to Baltimore for righthanded reliever John Flinn. Flinn spent one unimpressive year in Milwaukee, but Sakata spent six seasons with the Orioles. After tearing up the International League for a month, Sakata was called up to Baltimore and hit his usual .190. He played a little shortstop for the first time in his pro career, however, and that earned him a spot on the 1981 Baltimore squad. He finally cracked .200 that year and had his best season in 1982, hitting .259/.323/.370 in nearly 400 plate appearances while playing second and short. In fact, he was the starting shortstop until a guy named Cal Ripken moved over from third in July. Undoubtedly Sakata would have started again at short had Ripken needed a day off. So much for that idea.
Sakata was once again a backup second baseman in 1983, but it was his appearance at a different position that year that remains memorable. Coming into play on August 24, the Orioles were 1/2 game behind Milwaukee for first place and one of four teams within 4 games of the division lead. Baltimore was hosting Toronto, the third place team. Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh with one out and the bases loaded, manager Joe Altobelli pinch-hit for starting catcher Rick Dempsey. The move didn't work and the Orioles didn't score that inning. After the inning, Lenn Sakata came into the game at second base and thus was around for the Orioles' ninth-inning rally. Sakata walked and later scored the tying run, but not before Benny Ayala pinch-hit for backup catcher Joe Nolan. The Orioles couldn't plate the winning run. Lacking catchers, the Orioles were forced to use Sakata behind the plate, outfielder Gary Roenicke at third, and outfielder John Lowenstein at second base.
The first batter, Cliff Johnson, hit a go-ahead home run and the second batter, Barry Bonnell, singled to center. That was it for pitcher Tim Stoddard, and lefthander Tippy Martinez came in to stem the tide. Eager to steal off non-catcher Sakata, Bonnell was promptly picked off first. Dave Collins then walked and, also eager to test Sakata, was promptly picked off. Willie Upshaw then hit an infield single to second. Following the example of his teammates, he leaned too far and was also picked off first.
In the bottom of the tenth, Cal Ripken tied the game with a leadoff home run. A walk, groundout, intentional walk, and strikeout set it up for Lenn Sakata to step in the box. Randy Moffitt, a pitcher Sakata had never faced in the majors, was on the mound. In this weirdest of games, what happened next only made sense. Sakata hit his second home run of the season to win the game.
Baltimore went on to win the division by six games and won the World Series in five games over Philadelphia. Sakata spent two more years as a backup second baseman in Baltimore, hitting .191 and 227. He had a couple last gasps in 1986 and 1987 with Oakland and New York, but he finished his career four hits short of 300 with a .230 average. Sakata went on to coaching, both in America and Japan, setting a record for most wins in the California League, and currently manages the Japanese Chiba Lotte Marines farm team.
Depending on how his coaching career progresses, Sakata may eventually be known for more than being behind the plate while Tippy Martinez set a pickoff record or being the second Japanese-American to play in the majors. No matter what Sakata does going forward, however, the August 24, 1983, game between Toronto and Baltimore (and Sakata himself) will be remembered for both dramatic moments and a trivia-producing extra inning.
More reading about Sakata and the game:
Lenn Sakata at baseball-reference.com
Lenn Sakata at The Baseball Cube
Box score and play-by-play of August 24, 1983 Toronto-Baltimore game
The Baltimore Sun remembers the game with some great quotes
Seattle Times about Sakata's current situation and view of baseball
Press release for Sakata setting California League wins record
New York Times article about Don Wakamatsu with some Sakata information
Sunday, August 23, 2009
You can watch the highlight here: http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=6256159
Direct link to video: http://mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/2009/08/23/mlbtv_phinyn_6256159_800K.mp4
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Hat tip to Bucs Dugout.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Since 1954, forty-four qualified pitchers have allowed opponents to slug .500 over a season. Twenty have cracked the .520 plateau:
The abbreviated 1994 season and Jose Lima are both well-represented. Pitchers just didn't have as much time to a) drop their slugging percentage to something more respectable or b) get replaced before reaching the usual 162 innings to qualify. The other seven seasons all took place this decade, which makes sense as slugging percentages league-wide have reached new heights. Here's the .500+ opponent slugging allowed list prior to 1994:
Yep, that's it.
A high slugging percentage allowed is fueling Jeff Suppan's run at another distinction. He likely will not reach the required 162 innings, but if the season ended today he would be only the ninth qualifying pitcher to allow an OPS of .900 or higher. The current list of eight is the highest slugging allowed list jumbled a bit:
Suppan has allowed opponents to put up a .900 OPS this year. Cahill, if you're wondering, is second with an .856 OPS allowed.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Games finished (GF) is, really, a useless counting stat. All it tells you is that such-and-such pitcher was the last reliever to appear in a game for his team. That's not that impressive, right? After all, a guy who mops up blowouts can rack up games finished just as easily as a closer. Then again, chances are that guy mopping up blowouts probably won't stay in the league very long. So, one game finished isn't very impressive, but you have to be pretty darn good to get up to 500-600-700 GF.
With that in mind, here are the sixteen pitchers with over 600 games finished through August 3:
- Lee Smith, 802
- Trevor Hoffman, 802
- John Franco, 774
- Mariano Rivera, 753
- Rollie Fingers, 709
- Jeff Reardon, 695
- Rich Gossage, 681
- Roberto Hernandez, 667
- Hoyt Wilhelm, 651
- Doug Jones, 640
- Kent Tekulve, 638
- Billy Wagner, 637
- Sparky Lyle, 634
- Jose Mesa, 633
- Todd Jones, 619
- Gene Garber, 609
Many closers in need of work are used in the ninth inning even when it's not a save situation, so they end up with more games finished than saves. For players who became closers early in their career and never relinquished the role, a large percentage of their relief appearances result in games finished. Here are the top all-time pitchers in terms of game finished per relief appearance (min. 200 GF):
- Kazuhiro Sasaki, 201 of 228, 88.2%
- John Wetteland, 523 of 601, 87.0%
- Bobby Jenks, 228 of 254, 86.8%
- Rick Aguilera, 643 of 732, 86.6%
- Bryan Harvey, 278 of 322, 86.3%
- Robb Nen, 548 of 639, 85.8%
- Billy Koch, 325 of 379, 85.8%
- Tom Henke, 548 of 642, 85.4%
- Jonathan Papelbon, 208 of 244, 85.2%
- Mariano Rivera, 753 of 885, 85.1%
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
- Milwaukee Brewers, C - 0
- New York Mets, 2B - 0
- San Diego Padres, 2B - 1
- Baltimore Orioles, SS - 2
- Cincinnati Reds, CF - 2
- Florida Marlins, 3B - 2
- Kansas City Royals, SS - 2
- Minnesota Twins, 2B - 2
- Minnesota Twins, CF - 2
- New York Mets, SS - 2
- San Francisco Giants, SS - 2
- Washington Nationals, 2B - 2
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
- (July 18 vs. BAL) Markakis flied out to center fielder Wise.
- (July 23 vs TBR) Upton grounded out, second baseman Nix to first baseman Fields.
- Crawford grounded out, pitcher Buehrle to first baseman Fields.
- Longoria struck out.
- Pena fouled out to first baseman Fields.
- Zobrist struck out.
- Burrell flied out to right fielder Dye.
- Kapler flied out to left fielder Quentin.
- Hernandez grounded out, shortstop Ramirez to first baseman Fields.
- Bartlett flied out to left fielder Quentin.
- Upton struck out.
- Crawford flied out to left fielder Quentin.
- Longoria lined out to shortstop Ramirez.
- Pena grounded out, first baseman Fields to pitcher Buehrle.
- Zobrist grounded out, shortstop Ramirez to first baseman Fields.
- Burrell struck out.
- Kapler grounded out, third baseman Beckham to first baseman Fields.
- Hernandez grounded out, third baseman Beckham to first baseman Fields.
- Bartlett grounded out, shortstop Ramirez to first baseman Fields.
- Upton grounded out, shortstop Ramirez to first baseman Fields.
- Crawford grounded out, pitcher Buehrle to first baseman Fields.
- Longoria flied out to right fielder Dye.
- Pena struck out.
- Zobrist fouled out to third baseman Beckham.
- Burrell lined out to third baseman Beckham.
- Kapler flied out to center fielder Wise.
- Hernandez struck out.
- Bartlett grounded out, shortstop Ramirez to first baseman Fields.
- (July 28 vs MIN) D.Span grounded out, first baseman Konerko to pitcher Buehrle.
- Mauer grounded out, second baseman Getz to first baseman Konerko.
- Morneau flied out to right fielder Dye.
- Cuddyer grounded out, third baseman Beckham to first baseman Konerko.
- Crede popped out to second baseman Getz.
- B.Harris grounded out, shortstop Al.Ramirez to first baseman Konerko.
- C.Gomez struck out.
- Punto grounded out, third baseman Beckham to first baseman Konerko.
- A.Casilla grounded out, third baseman Beckham to first baseman Konerko.
- D.Span grounded out, first baseman Konerko to pitcher Buehrle.
- Mauer struck out.
- Morneau grounded out, second baseman Getz to first baseman Konerko.
- Cuddyer struck out.
- Crede grounded out, shortstop Al.Ramirez to first baseman Konerko.
- B.Harris grounded out, shortstop Al.Ramirez to first baseman Konerko.
- C.Gomez fouled out to third baseman Beckham.
- Punto grounded out, second baseman Getz to first baseman Konerko.
Barr retired 41 batters over two starts in 1972 but didn't get a no-hitter out of the deal: pitcher Bob Moose led off an inning with a walk before Barr retired 21 in a row to finish a shutout against the Pirates. Barr retired the first 20 he faced in St. Louis six days later. Bernie Carbo doubled to left to snap the streak.
Jenks, as a closer, did it over 14 games in the summer of 2007. After Ryan Garko homered on July 17, Jenks mowed through everyone until Joey Gathright snapped his streak with a ground ball single to left on August 20.
Fifteen perfect innings. Good job Mark.
Monday, July 20, 2009
However, neither run record will occur in the immediate future. He will, however, soon reach a milestone that may not be reached for a very long time, if ever. The seventh hit he allows Wednesday night (or from this point forward) will be the 4000th hit allowed of his career. He'll be the 39th pitcher in baseball history to reach that mark and the first since Tom Glavine in 2006. Behind Moyer, there's no one even close to 4000.
Randy Johnson is currently at 3339 hits allowed. John Smoltz just passed 3000, 37-year-old Andy Pettitte is at 2990. Always hittable Livan Hernandez is still five seasons of 200+ hits away from the mark. The top pitchers 30 and younger are Mark Buehrle (30) at 2043, Jon Garland (29) at 1850, and CC Sabathia (28) at 1656. It's hard to stay around long enough to give up 4000 hits, especially with the increase in strikeouts these days compared to the past.
Here are the last ten pitchers to reach the 4000 hit plateau:
|Tom Glavine||September 19, 2006||Josh Willingham (single)|
|Roger Clemens||June 22, 2006||Jason Kubel (double)|
|Greg Maddux||July 31, 2005||Chad Tracy (double)|
|Frank Tanana||August 8, 1993||Carlos Garcia (single)|
|Bert Blyleven||July 14, 1988||Ken Gerhart (single)|
|Don Sutton||April 22, 1985||Bobby Grich (single)|
|Tommy John||July 21, 1984||Jackie Gutierrez (single)|
|Steve Carlton||April 8, 1984||Nick Esasky (double)|
|Fergie Jenkins||May 1, 1983||Mike Scioscia (single)|
|Phil Niekro||September 22, 1982||Alan Ashby (single)|
Even if someone does reach 4000 hits after Moyer, I have to believe Phil Niekro will be the last pitcher to give up 5000 hits in his career.