September 12, 2008

We Need A Name For This

Jere asks the question:
"Has anyone's outs in a single game involved all nine defensive positions?"
I'm sure it has happened, but searching for it would be no easy task. As far I can tell, you'd have to go to Retrosheet or BR and begin, as Jere put it, "checking long games and looking at guys that went 1 for 10 or 0 for 8". Plus there are plenty of games in the first half of the 20th century for which no play-by-play information exists.

Well, one day later, Jere may have found someone: John Shelby, June 3, 1989:
0 for 10 with two Ks. ... A flyout to left. A third to second fielder's choice. A flyout to right. Already that's 2, 4, 5, 7, and 9, with several at bats left. It's getting exciting! In the 12th, he grounds out to short, taking care of 3 and 6. ...

He only needs a 1 and an 8 (pitcher and center field). In the 15th he strikes out. In the 17th he again grounds to short. Still waiting on 1 and 8. In the 20th, he flies to center! Only needs to involve the pitcher now. Last at bat, in the 22nd ... he flies to center again. And a nation falls silent. The Astros won in the bottom half, leaving Shelby one position short of the holy grail.

But wait! I check through all his at bats again. In the third inning, with Shelby on second after reaching on the fielder's choice and stealing a base, we see:

"Knepper threw a wild pitch [Murray scored, Shelby out at home (catcher to pitcher)]"

Shelby tried to score from second on a wild pitch! And was put out! By the pitcher! Shelby made outs which involved all nine positions in one game.
I questioned (via email) giving Shelby credit for the 5-4 FC, since he reached base and was not put out. But Jere pointed out that if he had grounded into a 5-4-3 DP, he would have received credit for the 5-4 that retired the lead runner.

Which is true, so this looks legit.


I'm now wondering what the craziest game is in the other direction. Has someone ever, for example, gone 0-for-7 with seven flyouts to right field?


allan said...

A long, involved rundown would also help a player's chances. A single to the outfield, an attempt to get a runner at the plate and then having the batter tagged out on the bases could easily go something like 9-3-2-6-4-5.

Boom -- after that one at-bat, he needs only the P, LF, and CF.

JFett said...

Forgive me if this is a dumb question, but if the batter struck out, doesn't that count as an out from the pitcher position?

Rob said...

I wonder what the longest rundown is.

JCal76 said...

Jeff, I asked Jere that same question on his blog and here's his answer:

Catcher gets the putout on a K. Unless the third strike is dropped, then it's scored like any other play. Catcher gets assist and first baseman gets a putout.

allan said...

I wonder what the longest rundown is.

No idea, but how about a strikeout with the batter being retired 7-6-7? (That's LF-SS-LF!)

In the game of April 25, 1970, Tiger pitcher Earl Wilson struck out to end the seventh inning in the Twin Cities. Or so it appeared to everyone except Detroit third base coach Grover Resinger. He saw that Twins catcher Paul Ratliff trapped the pitch in the dirt, did not tag Wilson and rolled the ball to the mound. Resinger told Wilson to start running as most of the Twins entered the dugout. Earl got to first easily and headed for second. Since no one interfered with him, he started for third. By this time, Brant Alyea, who was trotting in from left field, heard Resinger shouting at Wilson. Alyea hustled to the mound but had trouble picking up the ball. Wilson headed for home where Twins Leo Cardenas and Ratliff had returned. Alyea finally picked up the ball and threw to Cardenas. Wilson turned back to third but was tagged out by Alyea for a K767. Rookie catcher Ratliff was charged with an error. After the game, Detroit catcher Bill Freehan said "If Alyea had been hustling, Earl might have made it [home]. Tell him [Alyea] to start coming in and off the field a little quicker." The aftermath of the story is that Wilson pulled a hamstring muscle running the bases and had to leave the game.



Jere said...

But we still need a name. "Defensive out cycle" is too boring. Anyone? "DOC"? = An "Ellis"? = A "trip"?

laura k said...

It's such a rare occurence that if any of us ever witness this or hear about it, we'll probably make up a name on the spot.

laura k said...

Although... Jere's suggestion of "Defensive Out Cycle" makes me think of "out for the cycle". If you can hit for the cycle, you can out for the cycle.

Dr. Jeff said...

"Outing for the cycle".

What is the most outs that were only K's in one game? Someone go 0-8 with 8 K's?

Benjamin said...

If we're looking for examples of extraordinary batting futility, it's hard to beat Joe Torre's performance on July 21, 1975: four at bats, four doubleplays.

It doesn't appear that feat has been matched or surpassed.

Benjamin said...

Here's the Torre game.

Benjamin said...

What is the most outs that were only K's in one game? Someone go 0-8 with 8 K's?

Most in total seems to be 6.