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Oscar Azocar 1965-2010

Posted by Raphy on June 14, 2010

The news of Oscar Azocar's passing at the young age of 45, brought back nostalgic memories of my youth. At a time when my team, the Yankees,  were bad, Azocar's free swinging style was a comical interlude in an all-together pitiful season. To commemorate this memory, I even chose the screen name "OscarAzocar"  several years ago when I started commenting on this website. Here are a couple of Azocar facts.

Azocar was famous for  taking few  pitches and his PA event finder listing confirms this. In fact, in July of 1990, Azocar went 7 consecutive at bats without taking a pitch.

Cr# Yr# Gm# Date Tm Opp Pitcher Score Inn RoB Out Pit(cnt) RBI Play Description
11 11 3 1990-07-21 NYY @MIN Mark Guthrie down 0-2 Out t 7 1-- 2 1 (0-0) 0 Groundout: 2B-SS/Forceout at 2B (SS-2B)
12 12 1 1990-07-22 NYY @MIN Scott Erickson tied 0-0 Out t 1 --- 2 1 (0-0) 0 Lineout: CF (Deep LF-CF)
13 13 2 1990-07-22 NYY @MIN Scott Erickson ahead 2-1 HR t 3 1-- 2 1 (0-0) 2 Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep RF Line); Mattingly Scores/unER; Azocar Scores/unER
14 14 3 1990-07-22 NYY @MIN Scott Erickson ahead 4-2 1B t 6 --- 1 1 (0-0) 0 Single to LF (Ground Ball thru SS-3B Hole)
15 15 1 1990-07-23 NYY @TEX Kevin Brown ahead 1-0 Out t 1 1-- 0 1 (0-0) 0 Groundout: 2B-SS/Forceout at 2B (SS-2B); Azocar to 1B
16 16 2 1990-07-23 NYY @TEX Kevin Brown tied 1-1 Out t 3 --- 2 2 (0-1) 0 Groundout: 1B unassisted (2B-1B)
17 17 3 1990-07-23 NYY @TEX Kevin Brown down 1-3 Out t 6 1-- 1 2 (0-1) 0 Groundout: C-1B (Front of Home); Mattingly to 2B
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/14/2010.

For his career, Azocar saw only 1 pitch in 122 of his 460 plate appearances (26.5 %).

On the BBTF thread dedicated to Azocar, a commenter mentioned that Azocar holds the record for most career stolen bases without being caught. Here are the leaders (1951-2010, prior to 1951 the CS records are incomplete.)

Rk Player SB CS From To Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Tm
1 Oscar Azocar 10 0 1990 1992 25-27 202 460 439 38 99 16 0 5 36 12 2 36 2 4 3 5 .226 .248 .296 .544 /793 NYY-SDP
2 Tim Spehr 9 0 1991 1999 24-32 363 656 556 76 110 31 1 19 72 67 2 153 14 14 5 6 .198 .298 .360 .657 *2/739 KCR-MON-TOT
3 George Smith 9 0 1963 1966 25-28 217 706 634 64 130 27 6 9 57 59 7 142 5 5 3 15 .205 .277 .309 .586 *4/65 DET-BOS
4 Todd Linden 8 0 2003 2007 23-27 270 559 502 64 116 22 3 8 36 44 1 148 8 5 0 13 .231 .303 .335 .638 7/98 SFG-TOT
5 Jose Morban 8 0 2003 2003 23-23 61 77 71 14 10 0 0 2 5 3 0 21 1 2 0 0 .141 .187 .225 .412 /64D5 BAL
6 Jeff Baker 7 0 2005 2010 24-29 332 933 849 129 227 54 9 28 119 69 3 223 5 1 9 25 .267 .323 .451 .774 4/5397D COL-TOT-CHC
7 Alex Romero 6 0 2008 2009 24-25 144 299 280 27 67 14 4 2 30 14 1 43 2 2 1 10 .239 .279 .339 .619 /978 ARI
8 Jeff McNeely 6 0 1993 1993 23-23 21 44 37 10 11 1 1 0 1 7 0 9 0 0 0 0 .297 .409 .378 .787 /*8 BOS
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/14/2010.

This entry was posted on Monday, June 14th, 2010 at 10:25 pm and is filed under Event Finders, Season Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

15 Responses to “Oscar Azocar 1965-2010”

  1. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Azocar was one of a number of young Yankees who came up in 1990. None of them ever amounted to much, but they sure had us excited. (Well, us young fans....some older folks who had seen rookies come and go probably knew they were nothing special.)

    In my memory, Randy Velarde was the first, and he actually turned out to have a very solid career as a utility man. Kevin Maas was later in the summer, and had people going crazy as he was the quickest to hit 10 homers, 11, 12.... Hensley Meulens (who had a brief cameo in '89) had me so excited as he came up through the minors. I thought Alan Mills was our closer of the future. I remember Mark Leiter making about three great defensive plays in one of his first starts.

    Now that I check the records, I see Velarde was actually up for a couple years before 1990. I think I confused his debut with Jim Leyritz, a nominal catcher who also posed as a utility man when he came up. I think I heard him get a big hit on the radio as I rode to school's-out party -- may well have been this game, his first: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BAL/BAL199006080.shtml

    In some ways I enjoyed those teams more than the ones now.

  2. richie greenberg Says:

    as a yankee season ticket holder since 1974, i struggled through the 1990 season, one of only three years in their history in which they finished last (1912 and 1966) and remember oscar azocar for a rare feat: until he received his first walk well into the season, he had the distinction of having a higher batting average than his on base percentage; his one sacrifice fly lowered his on base percentage but not his batting average. he eventually had two walks, which "raised" his obp to .257, still only marginally better than his .248 ba.

  3. Raphy, I was at the Tigers-Pirates game Sunday and Austin Jackson hurt his back after a catch in the top of the first, but stayed in the field the rest of the inning. Bottom of the first, the Tigers pinch hit Ryan Raburn for Jackson. I honestly can't remember a game where the home team (or either team) led off with a pinch hitter.

    Is there any way to check that through play index? I tried player batting finder and tried batters who started but recorded 0 PA's for a home team, but it said no games were found. Any chance we could look this up? Thanks,

    Xander (Caught Looking Blog)

  4. Actually I think I just figured out the search...it found 50 games. I didn't think there would be that many, but still pretty rare.

  5. [...] Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog Archive » Oscar Azocar 1965-2010 [...]

  6. I knew those '90 Yanks were a passing occurance -- but that didn't stop me from enjoying the show. My prayers go out for Azocar, whose frantic style of pitch selection will always be a memory in the best Mickey Rivers tradition.

  7. Oscar was the next Yogi Berra (constantly hitting pitches around his eyes for base hits) until pitchers figured out they could just keep thowing balls in the dirt or 3 ft outside to get him out. He was a Yankee for a short while, but very fun to watch. You really need to enjoy the lean years to truly appreciate the good times. We all could have stopped watching when the Yanks fell out of it early, but we would have missed out on Maas, Leyritz (as the future 3B) and Oscar.

  8. Can the play index find other streaks of one-pitch plate appearances? I'm curious to see what else is out there.

  9. No Azocar, but Leyritz was in left field for Andy Hawkins' non-no-no.

    (Heh, sorry, but I couldn't resist bringing it up one more time!)

    Hensley Meulens... now that's a name I've not heard in a long time.... a long time. (And no he's not me.)

  10. Raphy, now seems like a good reason to ask--why did you adopt the screen name OscarAzocar before you started as an author here?

  11. Oscar started off his career with a 5-game hitting streak.
    I watched every one of those games, and Phil Rizzuto was excited about him. We all were. That team was so bad, and it hadnt been that long since we had Rickey-Willie-Donnie-Winfield and won 97 games, missing the playoffs by one game to the Blow Jays. RIP O.A.

  12. Andy - I wanted an obscure but memorable baseball name. For me that player was Azocar.

  13. Stopping by to pay my respects. As a kid the Padres came to Cincinnati and Oscar came to the plate.

    Being a dumb kid, I read his name wrong and thought it was pronounced 'Oscar Oscar'. I laughed uncontrollably for an inning or two.

    RIP Oscar.

  14. groundball Says:

    Yeah, I remember the higher BA than OBP myself. I remember me and my dad laughing about that one day. Incidentally I remember Soriano one year with the Yankees had that distinction too, until he drew his first BB of the season on like the last day of April (or thereabouts). I do remember Azocar had a couple decent seasons with the Padres as a PH (well, I could check here for sure, but I admit to feeling a little lazy today)

    Incidentally, I looked up fewest BBs in a 400 AB season a couple of weeks ago, and I found another free-swinger from my younger days. Andres Thomas SS of the awful late 80s Braves on there a couple of times. Wonder what he is doing now?

  15. [...] the one time in my life when I didn’t follow baseball obsessively), but Raphy at B-R.com sheds some light. [h/t reader [...]