110 hbp – George Burns, born 01/31/1893, 56th all time, played from 1914 to 1929
72 hbp – Jackie Robinson, born 01/31/1919, 195th all time, played from 1947 to 1956
70 hbp – Ernie Banks, born 01/31/1931, 212nd all time, played from 1953 to 1971
17 hbp – Rip Williams, born 01/31/1882, 1647th all time, played from 1911 to 1918
14 hbp – Tim Hendryx, born 01/31/1891, 1937th all time, played from 1911 to 1921
14 hbp – Jim Manning, born 01/31/1862, 1937th all time, played from 1884 to 1889
Archive for January, 2012
110 hbp – George Burns, born 01/31/1893, 56th all time, played from 1914 to 1929
40 hbp – Davey Johnson, born 01/30/1943, 606th all time, played from 1965 to 1978
37 hbp – Jorge Cantu, born 01/30/1982, 693rd all time, played from 2004 to 2011
24 hbp – Walt Dropo, born 01/30/1923, 1218th all time, played from 1949 to 1961
21 hbp – Jeremy Hermida, born 01/30/1984, 1395th all time, played from 2005 to 2011
20 hbp – Charlie Neal, born 01/30/1931, 1456th all time, played from 1956 to 1963
24 hbp – Steve Sax, born 01/29/1960, 1218th all time, played from 1981 to 1994
16 hbp – Hack Simmons, born 01/29/1885, 1741st all time, played from 1910 to 1915
12 hbp – Bill Rigney, born 01/29/1918, 2153rd all time, played from 1946 to 1953
11 hbp – Dick Burrus, born 01/29/1898, 2289th all time, played from 1919 to 1928
7 hbp – Kevin Roberson, born 01/29/1968, 2943rd all time, played from 1993 to 1996
64 hbp – Ducky Holmes, born 01/28/1869, 243rd all time, played from 1895 to 1905
63 hbp – Jermaine Dye, born 01/28/1974, 253rd all time, played from 1996 to 2009
45 hbp – Magglio Ordonez, born 01/28/1974, 491st all time, played from 1997 to 2011
35 hbp – Junior Spivey, born 01/28/1975, 766th all time, played from 2001 to 2005
28 hbp – Pete Runnels, born 01/28/1928, 1035th all time, played from 1951 to 1964
28 hbp – Bill White, born 01/28/1934, 1035th all time, played from 1956 to 1969
54hbp – Angel Berroa, born 01/27/1978, 340th all time, played from 2001 to 2009
23hbp – Phil Plantier, born 01/27/1969, 1270th all time, played from 1990 to 1997
20hbp – Gil Hatfield, born 01/27/1855, 1456th all time, played from 1885 to 1895
12hbp – Bibb Falk, born 01/27/1899, 2153rd all time, played from 1920 to 1931
11hbp – Charlie Duffee, born 01/27/1866, 2289th all time, played from 1889 to 1893
26hbp – Johnny Frederick, born 01/26/1902, 1132nd all time, played from 1929 to 1934
17hbp – Tubby Spencer, born 01/26/1884, 1647th all time, played from 1905 to 1918
13hbp – Esteban German, born 01/26/1978, 2033rd all time, played from 2002 to 2011
9hbp – Bob Nieman, born 01/26/1927, 2591st all time, played from 1951 to 1962
9hbp – Rick Schu, born 01/26/1962, 2591st all time, played from 1984 to 1996
Monday I posted a list of the top plunking duels between starting pitchers in the 2011 season, but of course that got me thinking about prior great pitching duels in which starting pitchers traded plunkings. In 2011, no pair of starters combined to throw more than 4 HBPs in a game, but since 1920 there have been 8 games where the starters hit a combined 5 batters. It doesn’t take much effort to think of why this would be the case – for much of the live ball era, HBPs were pretty rare, and if pitchers start hitting multiple batters they usually don’t stay in the game long. And, now we have things like umpires issuing warnings and ejections, and before that it was sometimes popular to have a bench clearing brawl when HBP numbers got too high. So as you’ll see, most of these instances have been in the past few years.
So, here’s the list of live ball era games in which the starting pitchers hit 5 batters. (Note: all notes about motivation or intent of any of these HBPs are imaginary.)
Sept 20, 1922 – Bill Piercy (BOS) vs Phil Bedgood (CLE) – Bedgood hit Del Pratt, Dick Reichle and Pinky Pittenger, and Piercy responded by hitting Homer Summa – and Phil Bedgood. That’s the only game on this list in which a starting pitcher was plunked while batting.
July 24, 1963 – Al Jackson (NYN) vs Jack Sanford (SFG) – Sanford started things off in the 2nd inning hitting Mets left fielder Joe Christopher, and Jackson responded by hitting Giants left fielder Willie McCovey in the 4th. That sounds about even, right? Sandford then hit Joe Christopher again in the 7th, but Jackson got the last word in the bottom of the 9th, hitting Felipe Alou and Willie McCovey again. He won the plunk battle, but lost the game, as both Alou and McCovey’s pinch runner scored runs after reaching on those plunks, and the Giants won 4-3 in the bottom of the 9th.
April 23, 1964 – Dick Donovan (CLE) vs Ken McBride (LAA) – McBride hit Max Alvis in the 4th inning, and Donovan hit Ed Kirkpatrick in the 6th. McBride jumped right on that challenge, hitting John Ramano in the 7th, John Ramano again in the 9th, and then Woodie Held in the 9th with the bases loaded, just for extra style points. Driving in the go ahead run. So McBride lost the game, but outplunked Donovan 4-1. So charging him with a “loss” in that game might be a misunderstanding of what his goals were.
June 7, 2001 – Barry Zito (OAK) vs Scott Schoeneweis (ANA) – This one’s interesting – in the first inning, Frank Menechino homers of Schoeneweis. Schoeneweis plunks the next batter, Jason Giambi. In the 2nd inning, Menechino comes to bat after his homer, with 2 outs, but Johnny Damon ends the inning getting caught stealing. Menechino leads off the 3rd, and Schoeneweis hits him. Three batters later, Schoeneweis hits Olmedo Saenz. In the 6th, Barry Zito finally gets on the board, hitting Tim Salmon. But, leading off the 8th Frank Menechino leads off the inning again, and again gets plunked by Schoeneweis. That’s 4 plunks for Schoeneweis vs 1 for Zito. Continuing the fun, Mike Holtz hit Eric Chavez, and Mark Guthrie hit Scott Speizio to bring the game HBP total to 7. Schoeneweis got the win for the game, making him one of seven live ball era pitchers to hit 4 batters in a game, and still get the win. Perhaps most remarkable about this game is that David Eckstein was involved, and on his way to setting the American League rookie HBP record, and none of the 7 plunks thrown landed on him.
May 24, 2004 – John Lackey (ANA) vs Justin Miller (TOR) – Miller hit Alfredo Amezaga and Adam Kennedy back to back in the 2nd inning. John Lackey looked on, perhaps thinking “so what if those two plunks loaded the bases and drove in a run – I bet he did that on purpose”, so Lackey plunked Carlos Delgado leading off the bottom of the 2nd. Miller then got confused about what game they were playing and gave up back to back to back home runs in the 3rd. Somehow he was still in the game in the 6th inning, and hit Jose Guillen. Lackey responded in the bottom of the 6th hitting Simon Pond. Both were relieved immediately after those plunks, although in Lackey’s case it was because he was ejected. Meanwhile, David Eckstein and Reed Johnson looked around wondering how they failed to get hit by any of those pitches. (Although Delgado is the modern era leader in left handed plunks, and Guillen holds the Domincan plunk record so there was no shortage of high HBP targets in the game).
June 11, 2004 – Kris Benson (PIT) vs Tim Hudson (OAK) – Tim Hudson was feeling left out of the group of 131 pitchers who had plunked Jason Kendall a combined 166 times going into this game, so he hit Jason Kendall with a pitch in the 2nd inning, joining the club. Kris Benson then hit the first batter he faced in the next inning, Erubiel Durazo. Later on, in the 6th inning, Hudson plunked noted sausage wacker Randall Simon, and then threw one more at Ruben Mateo. Benson finished off his day plunking Bobby Crosby.
June 5, 2006 – Dontrelle Willis (FLO) vs Ryan Madson (PHI) – David Bell took the first damage in this one, getting hit by Willis in the 2nd inning. Willis struck again in the 4th inning, hitting Shane Victorino. Madson then hit Miguel Olivo with the first pitch he threw in the bottom of the 4th. Probably a strategic move – send a message to the Marlins. On the other hand, the score was 1-1 going into the inning, and 5-1 Marlins at the end of the inning after Olivo and three of his friends scored. Madson then called a do-over in the 5th inning, plunking Olivo again, but retiring the side without giving up more runs. The official scorers failed to register the do-over though, siting that it’s not a real thing, and let the 4 runs scored in the 4th stand. However, Willis appears to have felt that there should be a do-over rule, because he plunked Chase Utley to lead off the 7th, causing the Marlins to give up 4 runs in the inning, and putting the score back to a tie, like it should have been if Madson’s do-over and re-plunking of Olivo had been properly executed. At least I think that’s what happened. Anyway, Madson hit Olivo twice and Willis hit 3 Phillies.
July 5, 2008 – Justin Masterson (BOS) vs Mike Mussina (NYY) - This was Justin Masterson’s first game at Yankee Stadium, and Mike Mussina’s final season. Mussina may have known he was going to retire at this point, and he may also have known that he’d face Manny Ramirez over 100 times and never hit him with a pitch. So, he crossed that off his list of things to do in the major leagues before he retired (it was just above “win a world series” on the list). He hit Manny in the 1st inning, then Masterson plunked Alex Rodriguez in the 3rd, possibly fulfilling his high school fantasy of someday pitching at Yankee Stadium and hitting Alex Rodriguez with a pitch. Manny Ramirez led off the next inning (4th), so Mussina hit him again – probably just to make sure the first one counted. Then Masterson struck back, hitting Robinson Cano leading off the bottom of the 4th. Finally in the 6th inning, Masterson hit Jose Molina, leaving the final score for the starters at Two Mannys for Mussina, and an Arod, a Molina and a Cano for Masterson. However, Mariano Rivera came in to close the game and realized he’d never hit Manny Ramirez with a pitch either, and thought he’d cross that off his list of career accomplishments (that was probably the last thing on his list). So he hit Manny in the 9th, giving Ramirez 3 plunks for the game. And then he hit Kevin Youkilis with a pitch, just because he seems to like doing that.
That’s the full list of live ball era games in which the starting pitchers hit 5 batters.
17hbp – Danny Richardson, born 01/25/1863, 1647th all time, played from 1884 to 1894
14hbp – Les Nunamaker, born 01/25/1889, 1937th all time, played from 1911 to 1922
10hbp – Jose Macias, born 01/25/1972, 2437th all time, played from 1999 to 2005
8hbp – Ted Kazanski, born 01/25/1934, 2761st all time, played from 1953 to 1958
6hbp – Ed Goodson, born 01/25/1948, 3188th all time, played from 1970 to 1977
22hbp – Cliff Heathcote, born 01/24/1898, 1317th all time, played from 1918 to 1932
11hbp – Dave Brain, born 01/24/1879, 2289th all time, played from 1901 to 1908
10hbp – Neal Finn, born 01/24/1904, 2437th all time, played from 1930 to 1933
8hbp – Earle Gardner, born 01/24/1884, 2761st all time, played from 1908 to 1912
7hbp – Wally Judnich, born 01/24/1917, 2943rd all time, played from 1940 to 1949
He had to know this would happen when he wrote an article about the 100 best pitchers’ duels of 2011 on Grantland.com, and ended it saying “My list of the 100 best pitchers’ duels of 2011 is better than your list, for one reason and one reason only. You don’t have any list.”
Oh I have a list all right… but Mr. James and I have a much different idea of what it means to be a good pitchers’ duel. The way I look at it, a pitchers duel is when both starting pitchers hit a lot of batters. Number of plunks count, as well as the quality of the player who gets hit.
I don’t have 100 of them, because there just weren’t that many good ones. I have 5.
#5 – Gavin Floyd vs Jeff Niemann – April 21st – Niemann hit Alex Rios in the top of the 2nd, and Floyd hit Casey Kotchman in the bottom of the 2nd. Niemann then hit Carlos Quentin in the top of the 3rd and Floyd hit Reed Brignac in the 4th. And, as an added bonus, Cesar Ramos came in to relieve Niemann and plunked Juan Pierre in the 6th. Floyd 2, Niemann 2. Niemann gets a slight edge for hitting Q!, a 2011 all-star, but hitting Q! with a pitch doesn’t have a very high level of difficulty.
#4 – Jason Marquis vs Ian Kennedy – June 5th – This one started a bit late in the game – Kennedy hit Nationals major expenditure Jason Werth and 2011 MVP ballot participant Mike Morse, both in the 5th inning. Marquis about evened things out by hitting Justin Upton in the 6th. Arizona relievers went on a Danny Espinosa plunking contest, and went a combine 2 for 3 – Esmerling Vasquez and Joe Paterson hit him, but JJ Putz failed in his attempt.
#3 – Brandon Morrow vs Tim Wakefield – Sept 7th – Morrow started the game off hitting Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis in the 1st inning, but Wakefield countered by hitting Eric Thames in the 3rd and Jose Bautista in the 5th. Morrow wins the duel two all stars to one, but Boston relievers came on to plunk Brett Lawrie and former pitcher Adam Loewen in an attempt to even the score.
#2 – CJ Wilson vs Brian Gordon – June 16th – Brian Gordon used to play for the Rangers, and despite that, or maybe because of it, he hit Elvis Andrus in the 1st inning of his first start as a Yankee. Wilson responded in the 3rd hitting Nick Swisher, and Gordon came back in the top of the 5th hitting Adrian Beltre. Wilson responded by hitting Curtis Granderson in the bottom of the 5th. Andrus and Swisher were 2010 all stars, Granderson was a 2011 all star, and Beltre was an all star both years. Then just to cap off the festivities, Michael Kirkman came in for the 12th inning and plunked Robinson Cano.
#1 – Josh Beckett vs CC Sabathia – June 9th – 1st inning – Beckett hits Derek Jeter. 3rd inning – Beckett hits Alex Rodriguex. 4th inning – Sabathia hits David Ortiz. 5th inning – Beckett hits Curtis Granderson. Beckett wins, 2 franchise players to 1, with an MVP candidate kicker. This was a little bit one sided compared with the Wilson vs Gordon duel, but I’m giving it the edge for the best plunkers duel of the season based on the star power of both the batters and the pitchers.