August 25, 2011

No Zeroes In The Box Score

In early July, a commenter at Baseball Reference's blog asked:
Has there been a game where one team had no zeros in the box score (every player with at least one hit, run, and RBI)?
The question refers to the main columns of a box score: AB-R-H-RBI.

In the late 70s, box scores were minimal and those were the only columns. Here's an example, from 1976:
The BRef Play Index searched for games in which nine players started and finished a game and had at least one hit (and one at-bat, obviously), one run, and one RBI. Since 1919, there have been eight teams "to play exactly nine players and have no zeros in the box score". (This is extra hard to do, because if all of the starters both score and drive in at least one run, there is likely a rout going on, and substitutions may be made. Also, the starting pitcher -- in NL games and pre-1973 AL games - may not pitch a complete game.)

Only keeping teams with 9 matching players (and sorting by date) gives us the following list:
April 19, 1921       Pirates 14, Cubs 2
April 23, 1926       Cubs 18, Reds 1
June 5, 1929         Red Sox 17, White Sox 2
July 23, 1933 (G1)   Cardinals 12, Braves 0
July 6, 1934         Red Sox 18, Athletics 6*
August 25, 1936 (G1) Braves 20, Cardinals 3
July 7, 1945 (G2)    White Sox 12, Athletics 4
September 14, 1978   Angels 16, Rangers 1
In the last 74 years, there have been only two No Zeroes Boxes. The Yankees had an excellent opportunity to join that short list in the second game of a doubleheader on July 30. In the bottom of the first inning, they scored 12 times and then added three more runs in the second. After only two innings, the New York box looked like this:
However, New York scored only two more runs, and Granderson did not drive either of them in. After singling to lead off the 4th and doubling to lead off the 6th, Granderson batted with the bases loaded in the 7th, but lined into a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning. The final box is here.

There have been about 50 games in which the starting nine had no zeroes, but then players came into the game from the bench and had zeroes. An example, from July 14, 1997:
This Red Sox box is one of 18 games since 1919 with 10 players having at least one hit, one run scored, and one RBI. The Reds had a record 11 players on June 13, 1975 (8 starters and 3 subs).

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