Posted by Raphy on February 28, 2008
A recent comment by fabio in my "Unexpected At-Bats" post got me thinking about pinch hitters who were pulled. Unless I'm missing something (please let me know) a pinch hitter can end a game with 0 plate appearances in one of 5 ways.
1) His only plate appearance can be the completion of a previous batter's strikeout. Here is a sample made mostly of such at bats.
2) A base runner could be put out, ending the inning or game.
3) A base runner could score, ending the game.
4) The game could be called in the middle of his plate appearance.
5) The pinch hitter himself is pinch hit for.
Clearly #5 is much more common than 1-4. Here are the career leaders for games as a PA-less pinch hitter.
Dave Hansen 63 Ind. Games Lenny Harris 44 Ind. Games John Vander Wal 35 Ind. Games Matt Franco 29 Ind. Games Terry Crowley 27 Ind. Games
As you would expect, this list consists of players who could only hit from one side of the plate and whose managers pulled them as soon as there was a pitching change made.
However, it is interesting to note that this strategy seems to have lost popularity in recent seasons. As this list shows, this event has become a lot less common in the last few seasons than it was less than a decade ago.