July 27, 2012

Unique Batting Lines, Radical Shifts, and Booing The Yankees

Diane Firstman writes Value Over Replacement Grit and she has been compiling lists of unique AB-R-H-RBI batting lines.

Using Baseball Reference's Play Index, Firstman has been searching for rare batting lines from 1918-2011 that might look something like this: 0-1-0-3: 0 official at-bats, 1 run scored, 0 hits, 3 runs batted in. Her only criteria is that the player must have started and finished the game.

So far, she has posted The Zero ABs, The One ABs, and The Two ABs.

As a linescore addict, I love this kind of stuff. Here are some box score lines that have happened only once in major league history:
AB R  H RBI  Player          Date
0  1  0  3   Clyde Barnhart  September 13, 1923 (G2)
1  0  1  4   Doc Lavan       June 7, 1918
1  1  0  3   Nick Punto      August 5, 2006
1  2  0  3   Glenn Wright    August 13, 1930
2  1  2  6   Chris Gomez     May 17, 1994
2  4  0  2   Frank O'Rourke  May 30, 1929 (G2)
2  5  0  0   Joe Morgan      June 30, 1977
2  5  1  5   Roy Cullenbine  July 31, 1941 (G1)
2  6  2  1   Mel Ott         April 30, 1944 (G1)

Here are some articles about the growing use of shifts and the radical stuff going on in Tampa Bay.
Dave Hruska, Joe Maddon, Spray Charts, and Defensive Shifts: Part I, The Cutoff Man, May 2, 2012

Dave Hruska, Defensive Shifts Part II: New York at Kansas City, The Cutoff Man, May 8, 2012

Dave Hruska, Defensive Shifts Part III: The Blue Jays Use of Brett Lawrie, The Cutoff Man, July 2, 2012

Hunter Atkins, Rays' Joe Maddon is the King of Shifts, New York Times, May 8, 2012

Rob Neyer, How Many Runs Are Joe Maddon's Shifts Really Saving?, SB Nation, May 8, 2012

Colin Wyers, Who Gives A Shift?, Baseball Prospectus, May 30, 2012
We are often told how pitchers "reach back" for extra velocity when they are in trouble. Is it true? Baseball Prospectus' Max Marchi took a look: Reaching Back for a Little Extra.

John Thorn, Whitman, Melville and Baseball, Our Game, June 15, 2012

Larry Granillo, The 1930 Cardinals Telegram Mystery, Baseball Prospectus, July 18, 2012:
On September 9, 1930, the St. Louis Cardinals, helmed by skipper Gabby Street, found themselves tied for second place, 2.5 games behind the Chicago Cubs. That morning, Street received a telegram that read:
Do not worry, you will lose today, regardless of your pitching choice; you will win the next three.
That afternoon, the Cards lost to the Giants 2-1 before winning the next three. The next day, at the start of St. Louis' series against the Boston Braves, Street received another telegram:
Everything O.K. You will win two and lose one.
Over the next two days, the Cardinals won two and lost one, just as the telegram predicted. For the remainder of the month, as St. Louis fought its way towards the pennant, the telegrams continued. According to all published reports, the telegrams were never wrong. Cardinals players began to "accept as gospel" the mystery telegrams.
And, finally, a quote:
"The day it becomes uncool to boo the Yankees is the day we need to reevaluate what the national pastime is all about."
Joe Posnanski, July 10, 2012


Jere said...

Back when I was checking 1916/17 boxes looking for some streak you posted about recently (the Ciriaco one I think), I came across a really good one. Fortunately I was able to find it again--

4/13/1916, Harry Hooper:

2 3 0 0

Which is obviously not as cool as 2500. 2621? 2515? Those are insane.

allan said...

2-3-0-0 happened 155 times from 1918-2011.

Jere said...

Okay, not as rare but still pretty rare relative to the total number of batters in all that time.

Another thing I found interesting: I was looking at the box of the first game at Fenway. We scored 7 runs on 14 hits in 11 innings which is a lot of batters, but I was still surprised to see some guys in our lineup came 7 times in that game.

Jere said...

I found a 1917 game with an

11 0 6 2

and for the other team, a

10 1 5 0

and a

9 2 5 2

The extra-inning ones will be fun to see. I figure any time you get 10+ at bats in a game, you have a really good chance of having a unique.

Kathryn said...


laura k said...

John Thorn, Whitman, Melville and Baseball, Our Game, June 15, 2012

Thanks for this! We once did a literary baseball thread at JoS. I'm sure neither of these were on the list.