Posted by Raphy on January 27, 2009
Traditionally, certain types of players have been cast for specific positions in the batting order (speedy leadoff hitter, contact #2 hitter etc.). Here are some players who bucked the trend. All lists are 1956-2008.
Disclaimer: This is by no means meant to be worst of list. To make this list a player has to play a tremendous amount of games hitting in a particular slot in the batting order. Additionally, players who get their stats in bunches, as I suspect was the case with Billy Williams, will be penalized as well. Nevertheless, I thought that it would still be fun to take a look.
Pete Rose 1975 162 Ind. Games Chuck Schilling 1961 150 Ind. Games Dave Cash 1975 149 Ind. Games Pete Rose 1973 148 Ind. Games Pete Rose 1976 147 Ind. Games Pete Rose 1971 146 Ind. Games Pete Rose 1978 146 Ind. Games Don Kessinger 1969 146 Ind. Games Pete Rose 1968 145 Ind. Games Don Kessinger 1968 145 Ind. Games Pete Rose 1969 144 Ind. Games
Usually, the Batting Game tool is not perfect for searches like this, because it doesn't take into account playing time and games with multiple occurrences. However, when a player can go an entire season, play every single game and get shutout in them all, then you know he is the champ. In 1975 Pete Rose did just that. 162 games leading off and not 1 stolen base. In fact for his career Rose averaged 8.75 stolen bases per 162 games leading off.
Dan Uggla 2007 95 Ind. Games Jay Bell 1999 93 Ind. Games Jay Bell 1993 91 Ind. Games Royce Clayton 2004 90 Ind. Games Lou Brock 1964 90 Ind. Games Phil Bradley 1985 89 Ind. Games Dwight Evans 1982 87 Ind. Games Alex Rodriguez 1998 86 Ind. Games Dwight Evans 1984 86 Ind. Games Robby Thompson 1989 85 Ind. Games
If you look further down the list Jay Bell's name pops up a few more times. For his career, Bell averaged over 116 strikeouts per 162 games from the #2 hole.
Carl Yastrzemski 1975 110 Ind. Games Billy Williams 1968 110 Ind. Games Dale Murphy 1986 109 Ind. Games Billy Williams 1967 107 Ind. Games Tony Gwynn 1989 106 Ind. Games Ryan Zimmerman 2007 105 Ind. Games Carl Yastrzemski 1963 105 Ind. Games George Brett 1976 105 Ind. Games Carl Yastrzemski 1968 104 Ind. Games Cal Ripken 1984 104 Ind. Games
If you click on the link, you'll see that two names dramatically jump out from this search Carl Yastrzemski and Billy Williams. Yastrzemski averaged 91 RBI per 162 games as a number 3 hitter in his career. Williams's average was 100.5 per 162.
Joe Torre 1969 141 Ind. Games Bobby Murcer 1973 141 Ind. Games Bob Watson 1973 140 Ind. Games Justin Morneau 2008 140 Ind. Games Ron Santo 1963 139 Ind. Games Greg Luzinski 1982 139 Ind. Games Joe Torre 1971 138 Ind. Games Alex Johnson 1970 138 Ind. Games Bobby Bonilla 1989 138 Ind. Games Bobby Bonilla 1991 138 Ind. Games
The two names that appear most often on this list are Joe Torre and Bobby Bonilla. For his career Torre hit 20.25 home runs per 162 games batting fourth. Bonilla's career was a mixed bag. In all he hit 26.39 home runs per 162 games batting fourth.
I'm going to leave it at that. If anyone wants to pick it up, I'd be interested to see what you come up with. One word of caution: This doesn't work well on the career level. There are players who are so good at what they do that they dominate the playing time at their batting order postion and then by default finish at the top of the zero games as well. For example, the player with the second most career 0 SB games from the leadoff slot is Rickey Henderson. So try it with single seasons, I think that the top few names are revealing.