September 16, 2005

Trivia

From George The Oil Rep:
What is the fewest number of pitches possible in an official baseball game?
He wasn't sure of the exact phrasing of the question, but we agreed on the fewest pitches for one pitcher in a complete game.

I quickly said "zero" (a forfeit is called before the first pitch is thrown). However, he said it wasn't a trick question -- and, in fact, he hadn't been able to get an answer from any of the fans he knows.

My guess before he left was "12" -- rained-out game goes the absolute minimum and the pitcher who goes only four innings throws one pitch per batter. But as he was leaving, he asked if a batter could make an out without a pitch being thrown. (I think he can, but can't remember how.)

Anyone have the answer?

4 comments:

Andrew said...

Well, if it's for one side, then the answer is 13 - the losing side of a rained-out game pitches until the 4th, but has to give up at least one run to lose, so one hit, a solo homer.

If it's total pitches, then you have to factor in the other team's guy going 5 innings and throwing 15 pitches. So, 28.

Andrew said...

Oh, actually, given the last sentence of that post, if a batter comes to the plate out of turn, he's out. So I guess, technically, the answer is one: one solo homer, and everyone else in the game is out because they came to the plate in the wrong order.

danil said...

Interesting... rules 6.05: " A batter is out for illegal action when... (b) He steps from one batter's box to the other while the pitcher is in position ready to pitch"

As far as I can tell from 6.07, making an out by batting out of turn requires a pitch being thrown.

But 6.05 looks to me as though it doesn't require a pitch being thrown, so I guess the answer is 1 (the solo home run needed to achieve an end of a game).

Jack Masrhall said...

Danil is right.
By the way, the rule refered to was made to stop Chicago White Stockings star Cap Anson, who liked to find loopholes in the rules. He could switch hit, and liked to change from righty to lefty stances and back again while the pitcher was mid-wind-up. Drove pitchers nuts.