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Walk-off win: pitchers who hit a walk-off homer

Posted by Andy on October 15, 2011

Since 1950, here are the pitchers who have hit a game-winning walk-off homer:

Yr# Date Batter Tm Opp Pitcher Score Inn RoB Out RBI WPA LI Play Description
1 1957-05-30 (1) Lou Sleater DET KCA Wally Burnette tied 5-5 b10 --- 0 1 0.37 2.24 *ENDED GAME*:Home Run
2 1957-09-05 Bob Grim NYY BOS Willard Nixon tied 2-2 b9 12- 2 3 0.39 4.31 *ENDED GAME*:Home Run; Lumpe Scores; Slaughter Scores
3 1957-09-06 Dixie Howell CHW KCA Wally Burnette tied 3-3 b9 --- 1 1 0.42 1.75 *ENDED GAME*:Home Run
4 1958-05-26 Murry Dickson KCA BAL Arnie Portocarrero tied 4-4 b10 --- 0 1 0.37 2.23 *ENDED GAME*:Home Run (Deep LF)
5 1960-08-25 Glen Hobbie CHC PIT Vinegar Bend Mizell tied 1-1 b9 --- 2 1 0.47 1.33 *ENDED GAME*:Home Run (Deep LF)
6 1963-06-06 Lindy McDaniel CHC SFG Billy Pierce tied 2-2 b10 --- 0 1 0.37 2.21 *ENDED GAME*:Home Run
7 1966-09-21 Juan Marichal SFG PIT Roy Face tied 5-5 b9 --- 1 1 0.42 1.75 *ENDED GAME*:Home Run
8 1967-06-19 (1) Steve Hargan CLE KCA Chuck Dobson tied 2-2 b9 1-- 2 2 0.44 2.13 *ENDED GAME*:Home Run; Brown Scores
9 1969-05-10 Jim Hardin BAL KCR Moe Drabowsky tied 5-5 b9 --- 1 1 0.43 1.72 *ENDED GAME*:Home Run
10 1986-04-25 Craig Lefferts SDP SFG Greg Minton tied 8-8 b12 --- 1 1 0.43 1.71 *ENDED GAME*:Home Run
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/14/2011.

These guys all walked off with the win, meaning that since they were the pitcher of record when they homered, they also got credit for the victory on the pitching side of the ledger. The last time it happened was in 1986 by Craig Lefferts.

Note that this list includes only players who were the pitcher of record at the time of their homer. It does not include guys who normally appeared as pitchers but hit a walk-off pinch-hit homer. (I'm not sure if this have ever happened.)

Also note again that this list goes back to only 1950. I know that Wes Ferrell did it prior to then, as I imagine a few others did as well.

I see that Wally Burnette surrendered two such homers, both in 1957. And...what a great name: Vinegar Bend Mizell.

Thanks to Kingturtle for writing in with the idea.

This entry was posted on Saturday, October 15th, 2011 at 7:16 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

34 Responses to “Walk-off win: pitchers who hit a walk-off homer”

  1. Chumps. Not one of them did it while pitching a shutout.

  2. So Vinegar Bend was nicknamed for his hometown in Alabama. He actually made an all-star team once. He later was a three term US congressman and held various political appointments as well.

    http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=M000833

  3. I believe his given name was Wilmer

  4. I remember several years ago the Red Sox won back-to-back games on walk off homers (by different players). They announced on SportsCenter that the last time the Red Sox had done that was in 1935, when Wes Ferrell hit both home runs - as a pinch hitter on July 21, and as the starter on July 22.
    Ferrell hit one more walk off. On August 22, 1934, Ferrell hit a game tying homer in the eighth and the game winner in the tenth.

  5. Wes Ferrell: http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1934/B08220BOS1934.htm. It was his second homer of the game.

    Play index lists 543 Games from1919 to 1949 where a player Finished Game, played Pitcher for at least part of the game, the team won, and hit at least one home run. We could also pick just Home Teams but that might blow by the games where the Home Team chose to bat first.

    After getting that list, start with the 1-0 games in which the only run scored was in the home half of the ninth inning or extra inning. I couldn't find any. Red Ruffing did "win" such a game, but not in a walk off.

    I don't know the PI well enough to do this by script, but eyeballing the list you can pick out games that obviously don't qualify (e.g. you can't hit a walk off home run in a 12-2 game), and within the games that do qualify, the player doesn't qualify (e.g. you can hit a walk off homer in a 5-2 game, but not if you had one total RBI for the day).

    Anyone know how? And, is there any guarantee that filtering out the "visiting team" won't accidentally leave someone out?

  6. Jay, thanks for the heads up. Here's that other game where Ferrell hit the walk off as pitcher:

    http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1935/B07220BOS1935.htm

  7. http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1933/B04140NYA1933.htm

    Walk off Grand Slam by Ruffing.

    The old guys stayed in the game until their arm dropped off, or they hit the gamer. Terrific.

  8. Richard Chester Says:

    The SABR Baseball List and Record Book, 2006 Ed., lists 27 pitchers since 1901 who have hit walk-off homers. Wes Ferrell and Kirby Higbe did it twice. For whatever reason the number 3 pitcher on your list, Dixie Howell, does not show up on their list.

    Trivia: While playing for the Reds in 1949 Howell had a battery-mate with the same name.

  9. Higbe:

    After completing one inning in relief:

    http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1948/B08270PIT1948.htm

    In a 13 inning duel against Johnny Sain:

    http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1947/B09111PIT1947.htm

  10. Richard Chester Says:

    @8

    I should have said "27 occurrences" rather than "27 pitchers".

  11. Rick Camp hit a game tying homer in that amazing July 4, 1985 game at Atlanta Stadium with his team down to its last out in the 18th inning. That kind of thing is probably rarer than the walk off--how often does a pitcher even come to the plate representing the team's last out in a game, no matter how close? The only reason he was up was that the Braves had run out of players...

  12. Grim and Howell did it on consecutive days? Or could that be related to Howell not being listed in the SABR reference and Grim's info somehow ended up in Howell's Retrosheet record for the day? Or maybe SABR left it out because someone's eyes glossed over and they thought they were looking at the record they'd just looked at.

  13. thanks for posting this! in all of these instances, the games were tied. and it makes sense sometimes to let the pitcher bat.

    i was particularly interested in starting pitchers who hit walk off homers. pitching the entire game, a close game, and the manager keeps him in the game, and doesn't pinch hit for him when the game is on the line. Looks like this has happened 3 times since 1950: Hobbie, Marichal, and Hargan. Those are amazing baseball moments!! Complete game wins with walk off dingers! love it.

  14. and thank you all who are posting these older instances of complete game/walk off home run accomplishments. I think this is my new favorite baseball scenario.

  15. @14 Motion made and seconded. It must be, because that is the ultimate school boy fantasy.

    Speaking of which--most school boys nowadays grow up playing with the DH rule. What the heck for?

  16. Richard Chester Says:

    @13

    Red Ruffing had a CG an walk-off homer on April 14, 1933. It was a grand slam and it gave him the team lead in RBIs with 4, tied with Gehrig. All right, so it was just the second game of the season.

  17. Richard Chester Says:

    @12

    It is not unusual for rare events to occur very close in time. Unassisted triple plays occurred on May 30 and 31 in 1927.

  18. The Chief (tm) Says:

    The Marichal game: just two hits (both by the Pirates) through six complete innings, then all the scoring in the last three.

  19. Murray Dickson's homer was at age 41.

    Probably not many other 40+ homers by pitchers.

  20. Richard Chester Says:

    @19

    Jack Quinn hit a HR at age 46 making him the oldest pitcher to hit a home run. Until Julio Franco hit one many years later at age 47 he was the oldest player to hit a HR.

  21. Richard Chester Says:

    @19

    There have been 24 pitchers who hit HRs at age 40 or older. Warren Spahn has the most, 9.

  22. Andy, if you click on any of the 10 pitchers or 10 Pitcher batter names in the Stat List, instead of getting the players BB-Ref Page, you get a search form for the Player Index:

    I clicked on Dixie Howell to see if he was in any way related to Homer Elliott "Dixie" Howell, but here is what I get for any of the named Pitchers/Batters

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/event_finder.cgi?utm_source=direct&utm_medium=Share&utm_campaign=ShareTool&id=howeldi01&type=b

  23. The Chief (tm) Says:

    More oddities from the Marichal game? You got it.

    Look at the bottom of the 8th for the Giants: manager Herman Franks pinch-hits for the 8th (Lanier) *and* leadoff hitters (Fuentes)...but leaves Marichal in the line-up to bat between them.

    Not only that, he pinch-runs for Lanier's PH, and pinch-runs for Fuentes' PH, *and* replaces Fuentes PR in the field in the top of the ninth! He burned five players essentially in one inning!

    But he won the game so I guess he "knew what he was doing"...not to mention that Marichal apparently hit pretty well that year. Leaving him in for the "walk-off base jack" -- is that what the self-centered, "Bigger Than The Game" ESPN idiots would call it nowdays? -- was the payoff!

  24. Fun topic, Andy!

    -- The Sleater-Burnette game went to extra innings because Burnette blew a 2-run lead in the last of the 9th, letting in 2 runners inherited from Mickey McDermott -- who had homered himself in the top of the 9th. McDermott of course was a very good-hitting pitcher, lifetime .252 BA with 9 HRs and 29 doubles in about a year's worth of ABs. McDermott had 3 walk-off hits in his career, all singles, and all while pinch-hitting for a position player (Gil McDougald, Reno Bertoia and Tony Roig).

    Sleater was a pretty good hitter, too, .204 BA and 4 HRs in 103 ABs, and just 11 strikeouts.

    Oddity: Sleater is one of 3 players with at least 4 HRs but no doubles, joining Jay Hankins (4 HRs, 4 triples) and Louie Meadows (5 HRs, 1 triple)

  25. -- Lindy McDaniel (#6 on the list) is 2nd in relief wins since 1919, with 119 (Hoyt Wilhelm had 124).

    -- McDaniel and Bob Grim are the only pitchers ever to get 20 decisions in a season of less than 90 IP; both did so in the years represented on this list. McDaniel went 13-7 in '63 with 88 IP; Grim was 12-8 in '57 in just 72 IP. Both also led their league in saves that year, with 22 and 19, respectively.

  26. -- Go figure: Murry Dickson had a good career (110 ERA+ in 3,052 IP), but his only All-Star nod came in 1953, when he went 10-19, 4.53 for the Pirates. Sure enough, he got the save in the All-Star game, pitching the last 2 innings. He also singled home the NL's last run of that game ... off Satchel Paige.

  27. -- Grim's walk-off HR in '57 was his only hit of the year, in 9 ABs.

    -- Grim also had one of 2 grand slams by a pitcher in KC A's history.

  28. -- The Lefferts HR was the only one Greg Minton ever allowed to a pitcher in 153 PAs. IIRC, Minton owns the record for most consecutive games (and/or IP) without allowing a HR -- 178 games, 269 IP from 6/1/79 through 5/1/82.

  29. Richard Chester Says:

    @24

    In that Sleater-Burnette game 11 of the 14 players in the KC box score were either Yankee property at one time, future Yankees or former Yankees.

  30. @21.

    Another 40+ year-old pitcher who homered was Charlie Root. The first of his 3 homers after age 40 was July 8, 1939 for the Cubs against the Reds. It wasn't a walk-off, but the next best thing.

    Root entered the game in the 8th and gave up the last two of 5 runs the Reds scored in the inning to tie the game at 6-6. In the top of the 9th, Root hit a solo homer to put the Cubs on top again, and then closed out the game in the bottom of the 9th to take the win.

    Leaving aside why Root would be hitting for himself in the 9th after giving up the lead in the 8th (guess you had to be there), that's definitely redeeming yourself.

  31. @26, @30.

    JA, Charlie Root with 3,197 IP (all but 60 after age 27) and 110 ERA+ has almost identical career marks to the two stats you quoted for Murry Dickson. Like Dickson, Root got little All-Star recognition (actually, none), as his better years came before the All-Star game. Still, he might have got a sniff with a 15-8, 128 ERA+ in 1935 or a 13-5, 110 in 1938.

  32. Micah Owings on May 10, 2009 hit a pinch-hit homer in the bottom of the ninth with 2 out to tie a game between the Reds and the Cardinals, at Cincinnati. The Cards, though, won it in the tenth inning.

  33. @28...glad you caught that about Minton. I noticed that irony as well, having remembered this baseball card:

    http://www.checkoutmycards.com/Cards/Baseball/1983/Topps/3/Greg_Minton_RB/1885353

  34. On 13 August 1932, the Yankees' Red Ruffing pitched a 3-hit 10-inning shutout to beat the the Senators in a game played at Griffith Stadium. Ruffing's solo homer in the top of tenth produced the game's only run.
    While the homer was not a walk-off, Ruffing's is one the best single-game performances in baseball history.