or rather, 7 plunks under Tokyo Dome.
With this year’s 2 game series at the Tokyo Dome wrapped up yesterday, it seems like a good time to dive into the complete history of HBPs in MLB games played in Japan. As it turns out, Felix Hernandez now has the record for plunks thrown in MLB games at the Tokyo Dome, with 2. There have been 5 other plunks thrown in major league games there, but no other pitchers threw two before Felix.
In March of 2000, the Mets and Cubs played in Tokyo on March 29th and 30th. On the 29th, Mike Hampton hit Mark Grace, and on the 30th, Kyle Farnsworth plunked Todd Zeile.
In March of 2004, it was the Yankees and Devil Rays who made the trip to Japan, and two plunks were recorded on March 31st. Geremi Gonzalez plunked Derek Jeter in the first inning, and Damian Moss hit Jason Giambi in the 5th. (Long time readers might remember Geremi Gonzalez for another notable plunk – on September 25, 1997 he threw Craig Biggio‘s 34th plunk of that season, and hit Biggio in the face but didn’t convince him to leave the game).
In 2008, Oakland and the Red Sox played in Japan, and Daisuke Matsuzaka plunked Jack Cust. Then, this year Felix Hernandez plunked Seth Smith and Yoenis Cespedis.
Of the 7 batters plunked in Japan, thee have been designated hitters. All of them were plunked in the 1st, 5th or 6th inning, and Jason Giambi was the only one who ended up scoring a run after getting on base with the HBP. Of the 6 pitchers who have thrown a plunk, 4 of them have plunked Derek Jeter at some point in their career. Felix Hernandez and Kyle Farnsworth are the only ones who have thrown a plunk at Tokyo Dome but not plunked Jeter. But they still have time to join that club.