Archive for October, 2008

Winter League HBP leaders

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Just in case any of you thought writing a blog about Major Leaguers getting hit by pitches was too obscure, here’s the leaders in the various Winter Leagues. If you’re looking to travel to see some HBP action, it looks like the Dominican Winter League is the place to be – they’re averaging 1.52 plunks per game. The Arizona Fall League is the next best choice, where they hit batters 1.2 times per game. Behind them are the Venezuelan and Hawaii Winter Leagues, averaging 1.02 and 1 plunk per game, and the Mexican Pacific League where batters have been plunked 0.93 times per game so far this year.

Anyway, here are the HBP leaders (batting) through 10/30/2008, by league:

Arizona Fall League

Name Team HBP Plate Appearances
Kevin Frandsen Scottsdale Scorpions 7 66
Casper Wells Mesa Solar Sox 7 55
Chris Pettit Scottsdale Scorpions 3 83
Emmanuel Burriss Scottsdale Scorpions 3 65
Eric Young Phoenix Desert Dogs 3 76
Tyler Greene Peoria Saguaros 3 52
Nolan Reimold Surprise Rafters 2 55
Nate Spears Mesa Solar Sox 2 54
Brian McFall Surprise Rafters 2 39
Leonard Davis Peoria Saguaros 2 47
Drew Stubbs Peoria Javelins 2 53
Sean Kazmar Peoria Saguaros 2 49
Shelby Ford Scottsdale Scorpions 2 75
Mike Baxter Peoria Saguaros 2 42
Brandon Snyder Surprise Rafters 2 36
Michael McKenry Phoenix Desert Dogs 2 35
Juan Miranda Peoria Javelins 2 49

Dominican Winter League

Name Team HBP Plate Appearances
Amaury Cazana Tigres del Licey 3 58
Timo Perez Tigres del Licey 3 52
Luis Terrero Aguilas Cibaenas 3 32
Juan Richardson Leones del Escogido 2 17
Danilo Sanchez Leones del Escogido 2 16
Adam Pavkovich Tigres del Licey 2 24
Diory Hernandez Leones del Escogido 2 27
Bradley Coon Estrellas de Oriente 2 19

Hawaii Winter League

Name Team HBP Plate Appearances
Tommy Giles Waikiki Beach Boys 4 66
Tony Thomas Waikiki Beach Boys 3 83
Darin Holcomb Honolulu Sharks 3 77
Todd Frazier Waikiki Beach Boys 3 97
Cyle Hankerd West Oahu CaneFires 3 74
Buster Posey Waikiki Beach Boys 2 47
James Skelton West Oahu CaneFires 2 56
Marquez Smith Waikiki Beach Boys 2 90
Lars Davis Honolulu Sharks 2 42
Gregory Burns West Oahu CaneFires 2 85
Mark Hallberg West Oahu CaneFires 2 83
Chris Carter North Shore Honu 2 82
Bradley Emaus Honolulu Sharks 2 63
Matt McBride North Shore Honu 2 105

Mexican Pacific League

Name Team HBP Plate Appearances
Carlos Gastelum Naranjeros de Hermosillo 4 66
Brian Myrow Venados de Mazatlan 4 63
Luis Cruz Yaquis de Obregon 3 40
Pedro Diaz Caneros de los Mochis 3 45
Cristhian Presichi Algodoneros de Guasave 3 73
Javier Robles Mayos de Navojoa 2 66
Xavier Paul Aguilas de Mexicali 2 63
Todd Jennings Aguilas de Mexicali 2 66
Fernando Rios Mayos de Navojoa 2 40
Jason Dubois Aguilas de Mexicali 2 64
Kit Pellow Algodoneros de Guasave 2 75
Erubiel Durazo Naranjeros de Hermosillo 2 75
Tike Redman Algodoneros de Guasave 2 65
Jason Phillips Yaquis de Obregon 2 52

Venezuelan Winter League

Name Team HBP Plate Appearances
Luis Gonzalez Caribes de Anzoategui 5 55
Brendan Katin Aguilas de Zulia 3 43
Luis Oliveros Aguilas de Zulia 2 44
Rajai Davis Caribes de Anzoategui 2 44
Jackson Melian Leones del Caracas 2 45
Eliezer Alfonzo Caribes de Anzoategui 2 53
Jesus Guzman Leones del Caracas 2 62
Gorkys Hernandez Caribes de Anzoategui 2 15

If Kevin Frandsen’s name sounds familiar, he’s the guy who got hit by a pitch in his first three major league games, back in 2006. He’s still with the Giants organization. Casper Wells is a prospect for the Detroit Tigers, and looks like he might be ready to add some valuable HBPs to their offense.

Congratulations Philadelphia!

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

The Phillies finished off the the Rays last night, to become World Series Champions, and more importantly, Chase Utley got hit by a pitch (though that was in Monday’s part of the game). That means that the Phillies only tied for fewest HBPs in a victorious postseason campaign in the division era. Utley’s plunk brought their total to 2, tied with the ’99 Yankees for the fewest since the playoffs went to 3 rounds. The 1992 Blue Jays were the last team to get hit only once in the postseason, and win the World Series, and nobody has won a World Series without getting plunked at least once since the 1976 Reds.

While they only got hit by two pitches, the Phillies made the most of those plunked base runners, as Eric Bruntlett scored the winning run in game 3, and Utley scored the 2nd of 4 Phillies runs in their 4-3 victory in game 5. Utley became only the 2nd player ever to get hit over 25 times in the regular season and get plunked in the World Series, joining Don Baylor who did so in back to back years with the 1986 Red Sox and the 1987 Twins (though only 4 of his HBPs that season came after his trade to the Twins).

3rd Carl plunked in World Series History

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Carl Crawford got hit by a pitch in last night’s World Series game 4, but it didn’t help the Rays move any closer to a win – the lost 10-2. Crawford became the 3rd player named Carl to get hit by a pitch in the World Series, joining Carl Furillo (10/3/1955) and Carl Yastrzemski (10/7/1967). Carl Everett has been plunked in the division series in each league, but not the World Series.

Crawford got hit by Joe Blanton, who was the 6th Joe to hit a batter in the World Series, joining Joe Magrane, Joe Neikro, Joe Dobson, Joe Bush and Smokey Joe Wood.

Eric Bruntlett – Most clutch HBP in World Series History?

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

The Phillies finally got their first HBP of the postseaon last night, when Eric Bruntlett got hit by a pitch to lead off the 9th inning. He came around to score the winning run, making that the first time in World Series history that the walk-off winning run was scored by someone who reached base on an HBP. It’s very interesting that the Phillies first HBP of the 2008 postseason was recorded not by the guy who got hit 27 times in the regular season – but by the guy who used to be play for the Astros alongside the modern era HBP king, Craig Biggio.

The last time the go-ahead run was scored by a plunked batter in a World Series game was game 6 of the 1992 series, when Charlie Leibrant hit Devon White in the top of the 11th inning. He then gave up a Roberto Alomar single and a Dave Winfield double, which drove in White as the go ahead run, and Alomar for a needed insurance run. Atlanta got one back in the bottom of the inning, so White’s run wasn’t the ultimate difference maker, but it was a clutch HBP.

In game 2 of the 1974 World Series, Sal Bando got plunked by Don Sutton to lead off the bottom of the 9th for the A’s, and scored on a Reggie Jackson double, but Bando’s run left the A’s still down 3-2, and the rest of the team could not continue the rally. That was the last time a batter got hit to lead of the 9th inning or later, and scored a run, before last night.

In game 4 of the 1957 World Series, the Milwaukee Braves entered the bottom of the 10th inning, trailing 5-4. Tommy Byrne hit lead-off pinch hitter Nippy Jones. Jones was replaced by pinch runnner Felix Mantilla who move to second base on a Red Schoendienst sacrifice bunt, and then scored on a Johnny Logan double to tie the game. Eddie Mathews then won the game with a two-run homer, but it was Nippy Jones’ HBP that started the rally.

In game 1 of the 1907 World Series, Harry Steinfeldt got hit by a Bill Donovan pitch in the 9th inning, and came around to score the tying run. That game went another 3 innings but ended in a tie (back when that sort of thing was allowed).

4 other batters got hit by a pitch in the 9th inning or later, and scored a run, but none of those runs was integral to the outcome of the game. In 1979, Bill Robinson took a plunk with the bases loaded in the top of the 9th inning of World Series game 7, but that just extend the Pirates lead to 4-1 and sealed their victory.

Note to Phillies

Friday, October 24th, 2008

The Philadelphia Phillies have made it as far as game 2 of the World Series this year, and still haven’t been hit by a pitch. You know who the last team was to get to game 2 of the World Series without getting hit by a pitch? The 1993 Phillies. The last team to get that far in the postseason without getting hit by a pitch and actually WIN the World Series was the 1992 Blue Jays.

The ’93 Phillies finally got hit by a pitch in game 4, but it didn’t help out there campaign by then.

The last team to make it through the World Series without getting hit by any pitches in the playoffs was the 1985 Cardinals (who lost) and the last team to do that before them was the 1983 Phillies (who also lost). Nobody’s managed to make it through the playoffs victoriously, without getting hit by a pitch, was the 1976 Reds.

AQ – asked questions (not necessarily Frequently)

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

The following are not questions anyone asked me specifically, but questions asked of The Internet (via various search engines) which directed people to either this site, or my old one – Plunk Biggio. That is, search queries I found in the traffic logs.
Since they might not have found the answer very easily on the page Google or Ask or Yahoo sent them to, as a public service, I’m answering them here.

Q:”How many hits did Craig Biggio get in his major league career and how many years did he play
A: Craig Biggio had 3060 hits in 20 years in the majors, plus 39 hits in 9 postseason series in 6 different years. He also got hit by 285 pitches in the regular season, 2 in the postseason, and one in an all star game.

Q: “how many 3,000 hit club members get their hit off a hall of fame pitcher?
A: I assume they mean case where a player got his 3000th hit of an eventual hall of fame pitcher. Dave Winfield is the only one, at least among the players who reached 3000 after 1950 – he got his 3000th hit off Dennis Eckersley. But, it’s worth noting that Stan Musial got his 3000th hit off Moe Drabowsky, and Drabowsky is a member of my friend Josh’s hall of “fame of fat guys and guys from Poland” (you just have to be one or the other for consideration). Drabowsky is the all time leader in HBPs among players from Poland, in both batting and pitching.

Q: “who had 2500 singles but not 3000 hits?
A: Willie Keeler. He’s the only one. He also got hit by 129 pitches, which is pretty good.

Q: “is a hbp a plate appearance?
A: yes. but it should count as a home run. Then Biggio would come out of retirement.

Q: “what is the distance in miles from petco park to fenway?
A: 3,043 by car, on the route provided by google maps. Which is exactly one mile for every major league batter whose been hit by a pitch, in the regular season, since May 13, 2007.

Q: “who has most hbp for white sox?
A: Carlos Quentin had the most in 2008 with 20, but Minnie Minoso has the franchise record with 145, and the single season record with 23

Q: “what events have happened since july 22, 1999?
A: um… 16,579 batters got hit by a pitch? Is that what you were looking for? If you’re not going to be more specific, I can only guess. Jason Kendall has the most HBPs since then with 142, followed by Craig Biggio and Jason Giambi with 135.

Q: “What are facts of tuesday?”
A: Casey Blake and Chase Utley led the majors in HBPs on Tuesday this past season with 6 each. Kevin Youkilis had the highest Tuesday slugging percentage among players with at least 75 Tuesday at-bats. He slugged .750 on Tuesdays. 94 batters have been plunked in the postseason on Tuesdays, but Tom Glavine is the only pitcher who has hit 3 batters on Tuesdays. (This is a popular question – different forms of this query like “facts about Tuesdays” have come up 12 different times in the past month.)

Q: “things that happened in 1999”
A: Gene Kingsale became the first major leaguer born in Aruba to hit a sacrifice fly – Sept 14, 1999. And he became the first Aruban to get hit by a pitch, which was probably more important. (This one comes up about as often as the Tuesday question.)

Q: “the surprising hit in 1996
A: Not much of a question to work with here… but Roger Salkeld went 1 for 32 that year, so that one hit was probably surprising.

Q: “home alone with michael jackson pitchers
A: Pitcher Mike Jackson gave up 67 solo home runs in his career. (Please let this be what that googler was actually looking for.)

Q: “example of a good beginning and a bad ending
A: This blog post?

ALCS Game 7 – is not friendly to the HBP

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Last night, Dustin Pedroia became the 6th batter to get hit by a pitch in game 7 of an American League Championship Series, and the 5th batter to lose such a game after being plunked. The only player ever to get plunked in ALCS game 7 and win was Hal McRae, in 1985 for the Royals. But, an opposing Toronto batter was also hit in that game, so in ALCS game sevens, the team with the most plunks is 0-3. Al Oliver got hit for the Blue Jays and lost in 1985’s ALCS game 7 (by Brett Saberhagen), Bobby Grich and Bob Boone both got hit by Roger Clemens in the 1986 ALCS game 7 and lost, and Miguel Cairo got hit by Derek Lowe in the 2004 ALCS game 7 and lost. (But, even though he lost the game, Cairo did set the record, which still stands, for most HBPs in a single playoff series, since that was his 4th. That should count as the Yankees 27th Championship. Probably.)

In National League Championship game sevens, teams that have gotten hit twice in the game are 0-3 (the 1988 Mets, 2003 Cubs, and 2004 Astros), while teams that get plunked once are 2-1 (the Cardinals and Mets had one each in 2007, which the Cardinals won, and the Braves got hit once in their 1996 game 7 NLCS win).

In the World Series, the team that gets hit the most in game 7 has won 6 out of 8 times. There were two World Series game 7s in which both teams got hit once each, so teams that get plunked at least once in the World Series are 8-4. The 1979 Pirates got plunked twice in game 7 that year, and won, so teams with more than one HBP in World Series game 7 are undefeated, 1-0.

Jason Bartlett – first postseason HBP(s) in Rays franchise history

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Josh Beckett hit Jason Bartlett with a pitch last night in the third inning, making Bartlett the first batter in Rays history to get hit by a pitch. Justin Masterson hit Barlett in the 8th inning, which made Bartlett the 5th player in Major League History to record the first 2 postseason HBPs for a franchise – but he’s the only player to do so in the first game. No other player has been plunked twice in a postseason game for a franchise that had never before been plunked in the postseason. The others who got hit by the first 2 plunks in their team’s postseason history are Roger Bresnahan of the Giants, Honus Wagner of the Pirates, Frank Chance of the Cubs, and Hal McRae for the Royals.

Also, Jason Bay got hit by a pitch, which means there were three HBPs in last nights game, all by guys name Jason. That’s the first time in postseason history that three HBPs were recorded by players with the same first name.

Here’s the full list, in chronological order, of the first postseason HBPs in the history of each franchise (the Nationals are the only team left without one):

Red Sox – Hobe Ferris, 1903 World Series Game 1, 10/01/1903

Pirates – Honus Wagner, 1903 World Series Game 3, 10/03/1903

Giants – Roger Bresnahan, 1905 World Series Game 1, 10/09/1905 (as New York Giants)

A’s – Andy Coakley, 1905 World Series Game 3, 10/12/1905 (as Philadelphia Athletics)

White Sox – George Rohe, 1906 World Series Game 2, 10/10/1906

Cubs – Frank Chance, 1906 World Series Game 5, 10/13/1906

Tigers – Ty Cobb, 1907 World Series Game 2, 10/09/1907

Braves – Rabbit Maranville, 1914 World Series Game 2, 10/10/1914 (as Boston Braves)

Phillies – Milt Stock, 1915 World Series Game 5, 10/13/1915

Dodgers – George Cutshaw, 1916 World Series Game 1, 10/07/1916 (as Brooklyn Robins)

Reds – Morrie Rath, 1919 World Series Game 1, 10/01/1919

Yankees – Mike McNally, 1921 World Series Game 3, 10/07/1921

Twins – Bucky Harris, 1925 World Series Game 1, 10/07/1925 (as Washington Senators)

Cardinals – Tommy Thevenow, 1926 World Series Game 6, 10/09/1926

Indians – Lou Boudreau, 1948 World Series Game 6, 10/11/1948

Mets – Cleon Jones, 1969 World Series Game 5, 10/16/1969

Orioles – Davey Johnson, 1970 ALCS Game 1, 10/03/1970

Royals – Hal McRae, 1976 ALCS Game 3, 10/12/1976

Brewers – Charlie Moore, 1982 ALCS Game 1, 10/05/1982

Angels – Bobby Grich, 1982 ALCS Game 2, 10/06/1982

Padres – Tim Flannery, 1984 NLCS Game 1, 10/02/1984

Blue Jays – Willie Upshaw, 1985 ALCS 1, 10/08/1985

Astros – Glenn Davis, 1986 NLCS Game 3, 10/11/1986

Rockies – Walt Weiss, 1995 NLDS Game 1, 10/03/1995

Mariners – Mike Blowers, 1995 ALDS Game 3, 10/06/1995

Marlins – Charles Johnson, 1997 NLDS Game 1, 09/30/1997

Diamondbacks – Luis Gonzalez, 1999 NLDS Game 2, 10/06/1999

Rays – Jason Bartlett (twice), 2008 ALCS Game 6, 10/18/2008

Nationals – Lastings Milledge, 2009 NLDS Game 2, 10/2/2009 (or… 2012? 2020? Maybe?)

they leave me no other choice…

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

It’s been a slow postseason as far as HBPs go this year. It seems not many players are interested in taking a pitch and a little bit of pain that might help their team win. There have been just 11 plunks in 24 postseason games in 2008, which is, at the moment, the lowest plunks per game output for a postseason since 1992 when only 5 batters got hit in 19 games. Of course there will be at least 5 more games this season to bring that up, but the trend so far hasn’t looked good. If Tampa Bay manages to finish off the Red Sox without getting hit by a pitch, we could have two teams in the World Series who made it their without getting plunked in the postseason. Both have had some close calls, but neither team has been actually been hit in their Division or Championship series. The last time the World Series had two teams that didn’t get hit by any pitches in the previous rounds was 1992 when the Blue Jays played the Braves – three years before the Divisional Round was added.

So, since nobody wants to get hit by any interesting number of pitches this year, or do it in any interesting way (with the exception of Jamie Moyer and Russell Martin), I guess I’ll just have to live in the past and talk about the 2008 regular season. And if I’m going to talk about the past, I might as well put things in terms of Craig Biggio.

1,672 HBPs were recorded during the 2008 regular season, but only 221 of them were thrown by pitchers who had previously hit Craig Biggio with a pitch. Of the 213 pitchers who plunked Craig Biggio, 54 pitched during the 2008 season, and 48 of them hit at least one batter. Of that group, Vicente Padilla hit the most batters with 15.
Pitchers who plunked Biggio averaged 4.1 hit batters each in 2008, while pitchers who didn’t hit Craig Biggio only hit 2.43 each.

On the batting side, the 2008 leaders for getting hit by pitches thrown by pitchers who once plunked Biggio were Lastings Milledge and Nate McLouth with 5 each. Kevin Kouzmanoff, Rickie Weeks, Prince Fielder and Josh Willingham had 4 each. They’re all well short of the record though – in 1998, Jason Kendall got hit 12 times by pitchers who had hit Craig Biggio with at least one pitch in their career, at the time they plunked Kendall. Kendall holds the career mark as well, having been hit 59 times by pitchers who hit Craig Biggio and that doesn’t include the 23 plunks thrown by a pitcher who hit Kendall before Biggio, and then hit Biggio later in his career.

221 plunks by pitchers who have hit Craig Biggio with a pitch is the lowest single season total since 1996. That year, only 200 batters were hit by pitchers in that not-very-exclusive club. In both 2004 and 2005, pitchers who plunked Biggio hit 396 batters. Last year they hit 325 batters.
Here are the year by year totals of HBPs thrown by pitchers who had previously plunked Craig Biggio:

2008 – 221
2007 – 325
2006 – 356
2005 – 396
2004 – 396
2003 – 341
2002 – 328
2001 – 345
2000 – 321
1999 – 255
1998 – 327
1997 – 291
1996 – 200
1995 – 140
1994 – 62
1993 – 66
1992 – 49
1991 – 23
1990 – 19
1989 – 15

In case your wondering how long it might be before the last batter is hit by a pitcher who plunked Biggio, I checked the same thing for the group of pitchers who hit Don Baylor with a pitch. Baylor’s last HBP was on September 28, 1988 (thrown by Bert Blyleven), but the last HBP thrown by a pitcher who plunked Baylor wasn’t until August 2, 2001 when Brett Saberhagen threw his final HBP. He hit Troy Glaus.

Circling back to the 2008 postseason, two of the eleven plunks this postseason have been thrown by pitchers who plunked Biggio – Carlos Zambrano hit Casey Blake, and Chad Durbin hit Russell Martin. There has now been at least one postseason HBP thrown by a pitcher who plunked Biggio, in 14 consecutive years, dating back to 1995 when the Division Series was added.

Historic NLCS game 3

Monday, October 13th, 2008

You may have thought that game 3 of the NLCS last night was important because the Dodgers won, and brought the series to 2-1, but that’s not what was REALLY important in last night’s game.

First, Jamie Moyer hit Russell Martin with a pitch. That plunk gives Moyer the record for being the oldest pitcher ever to hit a batter in a postseason game. David Wells held the prior record at 43 years 4 months old when he hit David Eckstein on October 5, 2006. But Moyer hit Russell Martin at the age of 45 years 10 months. That plunk also had the biggest age difference between the pitcher and batter of any plunk in postseason history. Moyer is about 20 years and 3 months older than Martin. The previous largest age gap between the thrower and receiver of a postseason plunk was 17 years 2 months, when Joe Neikro hit Jim Lindeman on October 21, 1987. Neikro was 42 years 11 months when he threw that, so he held the record for the oldest postseason plunker from that date until David Wells broke it in 2006.

Also, Russell Martin got hit later in the game by Chad Durbin, and that means Martin is the first batter ever to get hit twice in an NLCS game. He’s just the 12th batter to have a 2 plunk game in the postseason.