January 12, 2018

Q: How Many Players Have Had 11 PA And 5 Hits In a Game?

I was writing something earlier this week and needed a good example of the awesomeness of Baseball Reference and its Play Index.

I decided to search for any batters in the last 105 years (BRef's database for individual games goes back only to 1913) who had a game with two doubles, one single, one walk, and one hit by pitch. It took less than five seconds (!) to generate a list of 27 players (complete with links to the player's page, his team's page, the opposing team's page, and the box score for the game).

But I wanted a search that would likely result in a smaller list. So: How many times has a player come to the plate 11 times in a game and had five hits?

I learned - and am sharing with you now - that it has happened only two times in the last 105 years. And the two players were teammates - in the same game!

On July 10, 1932, the Philadelphia A's beat Cleveland 18-17 in 18 innings. Cleveland's Ed Morgan (5-for-11) and Earl Averill (5-for-9, 2 walks) each had 11 plate appearances and five hits. No other batter in the last 105 years has had a game with those totals. The linescore:
PHI - 201 201 702 000 000 201 - 18 25 1
CLE - 300 311 601 000 000 200 - 17 33 5
But perhaps this was not as amazing as it first seemed. A player has had 11 plate appearances in a single game only 51 times since 1913. (No one has ever done it twice.) And those 51 instances occurred in a total of only 13 games. So if two of those 51 players had five hits, there is a decent chance that they would be playing in the same game. (Also: Cleveland's Johnny Burnett went 9-for-11 in that game.)

The only man ever to go 0-for-11 in a game is Charlie Pick. He wore baseball's largest collar on May 1, 1920, in a 1-1 tie between Brooklyn and Boston that lasted 26 innings, the longest game in major league history. Of the eight players to have gone 0-for-10, two of them played opposite Pick in that game: Brooklyn shortstop Chuck Ward and Brooklyn pitcher Leon Cadore (who pitched a complete game that afternoon).