Monday, March 30, 2009

Most Games Started, Zero Plate Appearances

With interleague play firmly a part of the MLB schedule, it's nearly impossible for a starting pitcher to go more than a season or two without batting at least once. For the first twenty-five years after the DH rule was introduced, however, it was entirely possible for a starter to spend his entire career in the American League and never bat. Let's look at the pitchers who started the most games without ever stepping to the plate.

Most Career Games Started, Zero Plate Appearances
  1. Mike Flanagan, 401
  2. Mark Gubicza, 329
  3. Ron Guidry, 323*
  4. Scott McGregor, 309
  5. Mike Boddicker, 309*
  6. Dennis Leonard, 302
  7. Mike Witt, 299
  8. Richard Dotson, 295*
  9. Jack McDowell, 275
  10. Moose Haas, 252
  11. Chris Bosio, 246
  12. Kirk McCaskill, 242
  13. Bill Wegman, 216*
  14. Glenn Abbott, 206
  15. Teddy Higuera, 205
  16. Mike Smithson, 204
  17. Melido Perez, 201
  18. Jim Beattie, 182
  19. Ed Figueroa, 179
  20. Steve McCatty, 161
  21. Britt Burns, 161
  22. Luis Leal, 151
  23. Ken Schrom, 137
  24. Dave Rozema, 132
  25. Bob Milacki, 125
  26. Roger Pavlik, 125
* - appeared as pinch runner

A footnote: Teddy Higuera batted once in the 1986 All-Star Game, striking out.

Update: Commenter NaOH notes that Flanagan, Guidry, McGregor, and Boddicker batted during the playoffs, so they didn't really go their entire career without batting.


Anonymous said...

That's a stat I hadn't thought about before. Makes me wonder... what position players have appeared in the most games without starting?

NaOH said...

Considering how the post is written, namely that "it was entirely possible for a starter to spend his entire career in the American League and never bat," I would subtract the following names simply because they did get at bats in the playoffs.

Mike Flanagan
Ron Guidry
Scott McGregor
Mike Boddicker

Either way, interesting post.

Theron Schultz said...

Fair enough. I've updated the post to note your point.