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200+ Hits & 80 Runs Scored Or Less

Posted by Steve Lombardi on January 20, 2011

Since 1876, how many players have scored 80 runs or less in a season where they had 200+ hits that year?

Here's the list -

Rk Player R 5 H Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 George Sisler 67 205 1929 36 BSN NL 154 686 629 40 8 2 79 33 0 17 4 20 0 0 6 0 .326 .363 .424 .788 *3
2 Eddie Brown 71 201 1926 34 BSN NL 153 650 612 31 8 2 84 23 0 20 2 13 0 0 5 0 .328 .355 .415 .770 *87
3 Felipe Alou 72 210 1968 33 ATL NL 160 718 662 37 5 11 57 48 14 56 4 0 4 10 12 11 .317 .365 .438 .803 *8
4 Willie Montanez 74 206 1976 28 TOT NL 163 691 650 29 2 11 84 36 11 47 1 1 3 26 2 5 .317 .352 .418 .771 *3
5 Ichiro Suzuki 74 214 2010 36 SEA AL 162 732 680 30 3 6 43 45 13 86 3 3 1 3 42 9 .315 .359 .394 .754 *9/D
6 Kirby Puckett 75 215 1989 29 MIN AL 159 684 635 45 4 9 85 41 9 59 3 0 5 21 11 4 .339 .379 .465 .843 *8/D
7 Joe Sewell 78 204 1925 26 CLE AL 155 699 608 37 7 1 98 64 0 4 4 23 0 0 7 6 .336 .402 .424 .827 *6/4
8 Steve Garvey 78 200 1980 31 LAD NL 163 704 658 27 1 26 106 36 6 67 3 3 4 17 6 11 .304 .341 .467 .808 *3
9 Garret Anderson 80 201 2003 31 ANA AL 159 673 638 49 4 29 116 31 10 83 0 0 4 15 6 3 .315 .345 .541 .885 *7D
10 Mike Young 80 201 2007 30 TEX AL 156 692 639 37 1 9 94 47 5 107 5 0 1 21 13 3 .315 .366 .418 .783 *6/D
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/20/2011.

.

Ichiro was only the 10th player to ever do this - when he did it last season.

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 20th, 2011 at 3:17 pm and is filed under Season Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

74 Responses to “200+ Hits & 80 Runs Scored Or Less”

  1. Is Willie Montanez the only guy to have a 200-hit season spread across multiple teams in the same season? His numbers look the most interesting to me.

  2. I love the Joe Sewell line with 4 strikeouts in about 700 plate appearances!!!

  3. Here's a question. Where did Joe Sewell bat for the Indians? You would think with his skill set, he would have been leading off, but in 1925, at least, with 204 hits, not to mention 64 walks (the most on this list) he only scored 78 runs but drove in 98 runs. To me it sounds like he was batting in the middle of the order, despite the 1 round-tripper.

  4. And I just answered my own question, while learning something about the BR site (that they have finally put in the older boxscores, when did that happen?).

    Joe Sewell was the clean up hitter on that Indians team.

  5. Richard Chester Says:

    @ Post 2:

    Joe Sewell was the most difficult player for a pitcher to strike out, averaging 1 SO per 62.6 AB. I believe there was only one game where he struck out more than once.

  6. How about that Garret Anderson line! He scored only 80, but was responsible for 29 of them with his own bat. In addition, the guy got himself into scoring position 53 other times! He is, by a wide margin, the only player on the list with more XBH than runs scored (+2) - Garvey is second (-15), Puckett and Sisler are tied (-17). It seems the guys behind him (most often Troy Glaus, Tim Salmon, or Scott Spiezio) did a pretty terrible job driving him in.

  7. So is there a way to correlate this with how offensively challenged these teams were, as was the case for Ichiro's Mariners? Or is this a batting order fluke, as Brent notes?

  8. If you make it times on base instead of hits you get the following:

    Rk
    Player
    TOB
    H
    R
    Year
    Age
    Tm
    Lg
    G
    PA
    AB
    2B
    3B
    HR
    RBI
    BB
    IBB
    SO
    HBP
    SH
    SF
    GDP
    SB
    CS
    BA
    OBP
    SLG
    OPS
    Pos

    1
    Luke Appling
    283
    192
    63
    1943
    36
    CHW
    AL
    155
    677
    585
    33
    2
    3
    80
    90
    0
    29
    1
    1
    0
    13
    27
    8
    .328
    .419
    .407
    .825
    *6

    2
    Cass Michaels
    277
    173
    73
    1949
    23
    CHW
    AL
    154
    672
    561
    27
    9
    6
    83
    101
    0
    50
    3
    7
    0
    20
    5
    7
    .308
    .417
    .421
    .837
    *4

    3
    Kevin Seitzer
    275
    168
    78
    1989
    27
    KCR
    AL
    160
    715
    597
    17
    2
    4
    48
    102
    7
    76
    5
    4
    7
    16
    17
    8
    .281
    .387
    .337
    .723
    *5/6378

    4
    Keith Hernandez
    275
    173
    79
    1982
    28
    STL
    NL
    160
    694
    579
    33
    6
    7
    94
    100
    19
    67
    2
    1
    12
    10
    19
    11
    .299
    .397
    .413
    .810
    *3/79

    5
    Lee Mazzilli
    274
    181
    78
    1979
    24
    NYM
    NL
    158
    693
    597
    34
    4
    15
    79
    93
    5
    74
    0
    0
    3
    6
    34
    12
    .303
    .395
    .449
    .844
    *83

    6
    Brett Butler
    272
    181
    80
    1993
    36
    LAD
    NL
    156
    716
    607
    21
    10
    1
    42
    86
    1
    69
    5
    14
    4
    6
    39
    19
    .298
    .387
    .371
    .758
    *8

    7
    Jackie Jensen
    272
    182
    80
    1956
    29
    BOS
    AL
    151
    673
    578
    23
    11
    20
    97
    89
    5
    43
    1
    1
    4
    23
    11
    3
    .315
    .405
    .497
    .901
    *9

    8
    Les Fleming
    272
    160
    71
    1942
    26
    CLE
    AL
    156
    662
    548
    27
    4
    14
    82
    106
    0
    57
    6
    2
    0
    13
    6
    8
    .292
    .412
    .432
    .845
    *3

    9
    Joe Sewell
    272
    204
    78
    1925
    26
    CLE
    AL
    155
    699
    608
    37
    7
    1
    98
    64
    0
    4
    4
    23
    0
    0
    7
    6
    .336
    .402
    .424
    .827
    *6/4

    10
    Todd Helton
    268
    177
    79
    2009
    35
    COL
    NL
    151
    645
    544
    38
    3
    15
    86
    89
    5
    73
    2
    0
    10
    15
    0
    1
    .325
    .416
    .489
    .904
    *3

    11
    Rusty Staub
    266
    176
    73
    1976
    32
    DET
    AL
    161
    690
    589
    28
    3
    15
    96
    83
    11
    49
    7
    0
    11
    23
    3
    1
    .299
    .386
    .433
    .818
    *9D

    12
    Ed Bouchee
    266
    168
    78
    1957
    24
    PHI
    NL
    154
    675
    574
    35
    8
    17
    76
    84
    6
    91
    14
    0
    3
    15
    1
    0
    .293
    .394
    .470
    .864
    *3

    13
    Daric Barton
    265
    152
    79
    2010
    24
    OAK
    AL
    159
    686
    556
    33
    5
    10
    57
    110
    2
    102
    3
    12
    5
    8
    7
    3
    .273
    .393
    .405
    .798
    *3

    14
    Alvin Davis
    265
    161
    80
    1984
    23
    SEA
    AL
    152
    678
    567
    34
    3
    27
    116
    97
    16
    78
    7
    0
    7
    7
    5
    4
    .284
    .391
    .497
    .888
    *3/D

    15
    Pete Runnels
    265
    183
    80
    1962
    34
    BOS
    AL
    152
    650
    562
    33
    5
    10
    60
    79
    11
    57
    3
    0
    6
    5
    3
    4
    .326
    .408
    .456
    .863
    *3

    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool UsedGenerated 1/20/2011.

    Amazing that Luke Appling scored only 63 times on 192 hits and 90 walks. The '43 White Sox were not a terrible scoring team with 573 runs (6th out of 8 teams). He batted cleanup around 2/3 of the time, but he still should have scored more than 1/9 of his team's runs having been on base so much.

  9. Sorry about that. Here's a link instead. Wish there was a preview option!

  10. My guess, based upon the Runs Scored and RBIs for the players listed, that only Ichiro and Felipe Alou were top of the order hitters. And yes, those 1968 Braves were offensively challenged, but to be fair 1968 was the Year of the Pitcher and pretty much every team was offensively challenged that year.

  11. @1...Montanez is the only one I know of who reached 200+ H in a season while playing for more than one team. Willie McGee had 199 in 1990 while playing for the Cardinals and Athletics. Ironically, one season earlier, Montanez had 100+ RBI while playing for more than one team.

  12. bluejaysstatsgeek Says:

    Is there any other player, that has has many or more HBP as they have strikeouts? Sewell did it 7 times!

  13. Anderson has the 2nd lowest OBP of the group at .345, that probably has more to do with it than the hitters behind him.

    I also noticed Anderson's terrible walk rate, only 429 BBs to go with 2561 hits, 1 walk every 5.9 hits. The only other players since 1920 with 2000 hits and a worse walk H/BB ratio are
    George Sisler (6.0 H/BB)
    Willie Davis (6.1)
    Bill Buckner (6.0)

  14. @11

    Ron Hunt came to mind, so I looked. Yep. In 1971 he was hit 50 times (OUCH!!!) and only struck out 41. And in 1973 he was hit 24 times and only struck out 19.

  15. @11 Nelliw Fox did it 3 times plus 1 tie. Some guys on top of the career HBP list:
    Hughie Jennings: 3 times but probably also had several other seasons when Ks where not officially counted.
    Craig Biggio (0)
    Tommy Tucker: twice in 19th century
    Don Baylor (0)
    Jason Kendall (0)
    Ron Hunt: twice including his 1971 season with 41 Ks and 50!! HBP.

  16. Sorry for going way off topic, but when did Michael Young start going by Mike Young?

  17. @1 / @10 -- Montanez is not the only one with a 200-hit season split among multiple teams. Here's a complete list, in reverse chron. order:

    -- Willie Montanez, 1976, 206 hits (Giants, Braves).
    -- Lou Brock, 1964, 200 hits (Cubs, Cards).
    -- Red Schoendienst, 1957, 200 hits (Giants, Braves).
    -- Moose Solters, 1935, 201 hits (Red Sox, Browns).
    -- Irish Meusel, 1921, 201 hits (Phillies, Giants).

  18. (FYI, results @16 were obtained from the Play Index by searching for seasons with 200+ hits, then doing a text search on the results page for "TOT".)

  19. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Is Willie Montanez the only guy to have a 200-hit season spread across multiple teams in the same season?

    Six players have done this:

    Irish Meusel, 1921, Phillies/Giants
    Moose Solters, 1935, Red Sox/Browns
    Red Schoendienst, 1957, Giants/Braves
    Lou Brock, 1964, Cubs/Cardinals
    Willie Montañez, 1976, Giants/Braves
    Randy Velarde, 1999, Angels/A's

    Velarde shocked me. I had no idea he ever came anywhere close to 200 hits in a season.

  20. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    "Autin beat me to it" — I swear I say it at least once a day. He used the same method I did, too.

  21. Re: Garret Anderson's season on this list:

    Ironically, 2003 saw Anderson's career highs in OBP, BA, HRs, SLG and OPS/OPS+.

    Unfortunately for his Runs Scored total, the Angels lineup from #5 down was pretty awful that year.

    And to make explicit a theme that Dr. Doom hinted at:
    With 82 extra-base hits and 80 runs, Anderson is the only player with at least 65 extra-base hits and XBH > Runs. He also had a season of 63 XBH and 62 Runs in 1998.

  22. @19, Kahuna Tuna -- But I left out Velarde!

    Remember, the race is not always to the swift.
    :)

  23. Did anyone look at the list Eorns posted (@8)? Poor Luke Appling (1943). On base 283 times, and only 63 runs scored. He led the league in Avg, OBP and Games played! That's harsh.

    He batted 2nd the first 24 games (sounds good for someone with his skill set), then he was bumped down to 6th (!!!) for the next 30 games. Then, he spent the next 101 batting 4th. Very bizarre, if you ask me, to bat a 36-year-old guy who never topped 6 homers and only 40 doubles once in the 4th spot when he's an on-base machine. Of course, his .407 SLG was the best on the team, so I don't really know what to make of them. His 3 HRs tied for third on the team. The team leader had 5. And this team finished with a winning record. Ah, WWII baseball. I'm glad you've come and gone.

  24. @20

    Thanks for finding that, JA! I don't have a play index subscription, so I can't check stuff like that out. But I'm glad you did. I was wondering how common it was to have more XBH than Runs. Apparently, not very.

  25. Only one of these players achieved the milestone playing for a winning team... Garvey.

  26. I'm not sure what's worse - that Garret Anderson scored 80 runs with 201 H, 31 BB, and 0 HBP or that Tim Salmon (who more commonly hit in front of Anderson - only 36 games did Salmon hit behind Anderson) only scored 78 runs with 145 H, 77 BB, and 10 HBP (note that those numbers add up to 232 times on base for both of them).

  27. I don't have a subscription, but it looks like there are 304 players who have had 232+ times on base (what Anderson and Salmon had in 2003 - see my post @25) and 80 or less runs scored. Here are some seasons that stand out:

    Rocky Colavito hit 41 HR in 1958 with a .405 OBP in 578 PA and only scored 80 runs (on base 234 times). Adam Dunn also hit 40 HR (with a .386 OBP) in 2008 and scored only 79 runs.

    Harmon Killebrew's 1971 season is absolutely ridiculous. He hit 28 HR (5th in the AL), sported a .386 OBP (7th) in 624 PAs, was on base 241 times (7th), led the league in RBI with 119, was 10th in OPS (.830) - and scored only 61 runs (not 7th)!

    Brook Jacoby's 1987 season is one of my all-time favorites in thinking about lineups. He hit .300 (.386 OBP) with 32 HR and scored only 73 runs while driving in only 69.

  28. dukeofflatbush Says:

    I love this list.
    I made one similar to it a while back.
    A couple of stats that really stuck out to me.
    09-10 Suzuki had 225 & 214 hits (439), but only 162 Rs.
    His total TOB for 09-10 was 523 (not counting TOB for errors and FC, which for a groundball/speedster, I imagine is higher), 523 with only 162 Rs.
    162 minus his 17 HR, is 145 Rs for 506 TOB. Horrendous.
    In 1983, Ken Singleton scored 52 Rs despite 240 TOB. Minus his 18 HRs and thats 35 Rs for 222 TOB.
    Then their is Adam Dunn who scored 79 Rs in '08. 40 of those runs came via Dunn himself, leaving only 39 Rs in 211 TOB.

  29. How about players with 200 hits in a season with a Batting Average below .300?

  30. @22, Dr. D -- Nice notes on Appling's 1943 season. Bizarre, indeed. How about the fact that in those 24 games batting 2nd, he reached base safely 36 times, with 8 doubles ... and scored THREE runs.

    Unconventional though he was in the cleanup spot, he really did a job there: .357 BA with 58 RBI in 101 games -- enough RBI in those games alone to lead the team!

    And the team offense -- how often since the dead-ball era has a team's OBP (.322) been higher than its slugging average (.320)?

    Appling's teammate, 32-year-old RF Wally Moses, led the league with 12 triples, and swiped 56 bases at an 80% clip. In the rest of his long career (16 years as a regular), he never topped 21 SB; the 56 SB in '43 was almost 1/3 of his career total. Wartime baseball was rife with such oddities.

    BTW, Moses had another type of flukey season on his resume: In 1937 with the A's, he hit 25 HRs, 48 doubles and 13 triples (86 XBH), 113 runs and 86 RBI, slugging .550. In no other year did he beat 9 HRs, 59 XBH, 91 runs, 66 RBI or .479 SLG; the 25 HRs in '37 was 28% of his career total. And it wasn't a park effect; he hit 15 of the 25 HRs away from Shibe.

  31. Dave Huemer Says:

    @4 & @9

    I checked 6 box scores for batting order each season--the 18th or 19th of each month.

    Here are the randomly sampled results:

    Sisler-- hit 3rd 5x, 4th 1x
    Brown-- 4th-4, 5th-2
    Alou--1st-5, 5th-1
    Montanez--5th-1, 6th-1 (Giants), 4th-3, 3rd-1 (Braves)
    Suzuki--1st-6
    Puckett--3rd-6
    Sewell--4th-6
    Garvey--4th-5, 3rd-1
    Anderson--4th-4, 3rd-2
    Young--3rd-4, 2nd-2

    @24--Except for the 80 Dodgers, most of the teams stunk. The 68 Braves were 81-81 (41-40 at home, 40-41 away!) and the 89 Twins were 80-82. The best finish for the others was 6th/8 or 3rd/4.

    @12 and others--I checked, using OPS+, to see if these guys were the standout hitters on their teams. Only Montanez, during his 103 games with the Braves, and Anderson had the highest OPS+ among starters.

    Things I learned while doing this:

    In 1911, the Boston NL team played as the Rustlers. After finishing 8th with a 44-107 record, they became the Braves in 1912 (and also finished last).

    In 1925, 37 year old Indians player/manager Tris Speaker hit .389 with a 166 OPS+ in 117 games. For comparison, Joe Sewell's OPS+ was 109.

    From 1921-1926, when both Speaker and Ty Cobb were player/managers, they went 66-66 head to head. Cleveland won the season series in 21 and 22, Detroit in 23 and 24, and they split in 25 and 26.

    The 1925 Indians had an outfielder named Cliff Lee, who hit .322 with an 118 OPS+ in 77 games. He also played for the Phillies earlier, but does not appear to have turned down millions from the Yankees.

    A game I am sorry I missed: June 18, 1980 Expos at Dodger Stadium. Ron LeFlore leads off the game with a HR off Don Sutton. After Sutton gets the next guy to ground out, he is replaced by Rick Sutcliffe. LeFlore hits a second HR in the top of the 2nd off Sutcliffe. In the top of the 4th, LeFlore doubles off Sutcliffe and later steals home to give the Expos a 6-1 lead. His last two ABs are strikeouts, which hurt, as the Dodgers score 6 in the bottom of the 7th to win 8-7. Charlie Hough is the winner.

  32. More randomness from the '43 ChiSox:

    -- They were outscored by 21 runs, but finished 82-72, beating their Pythag. by 8 games.

    -- Young 2B Don Kolloway, who had led the majors with 40 doubles the year before while batting .273, hit just .216 in '43 with 9 walks in 360 PAs, resulting in a .235 OBP -- 10th worst in the live-ball era for that many PAs. (Kolloway bounced back after the war and hit .271 over his career, and though he rarely took a walk in his White Sox years, as soon as he hit Detroit in '49, his walk rate tripled overnight. Go figure. No, he wasn't batting 8th.)

    -- The White Sox played 21 double-headers ... at home. They played 44 double-headers overall; no wonder they used something like a 6-man rotation. They played double-headers on consecutive days at least 9 times; on three straight days at least twice (my eyes started to glass over, so I may have missed one or two others); and played 23 games in a span of 17 days from August 8th to 24th.

  33. @30, Dave Huemer -- Enjoyed your notes, especially that Ron Leflore game. I was a Tigers fan back when he was just about the only exciting player we had. In a value sense, the club was right to trade him when they did -- but I've always wished that his 97-SB season for Montreal had come with us instead, nudging aside Cobb's season record.

    "Speaker and Ty Cobb ... went 66-66 head to head."
    -- Can't help but wonder if that was entirely an accident (nudge-nudge, wink-wink).

  34. P.S. to Dave Huemer -- Not that a romp through the ol' box scores isn't a joy in itself, but just in case you don't know, batting order positions are available on the batting splits page, going back to 1920. (On any hitter's main page, look just below "Standard Batting" for "Splits", then hover the cursor over it and choose the year.)

  35. I think Sewell's line with only 4 K's is great too!. He had two other seasons when he struck out only 3 times, and once went 437 PA's without striking out.

    When teammates asked how he did this, he replied 'I just keep my eye on the ball'!

  36. P.P.S. to Dave Huemer: Speaking of the Braves....

    -- 1912 saw the 3rd name in 3 years for the Boston NL club: Doves, Rustlers, and finally, Braves. (Up through 1906, they were known as the Beaneaters, and from 1936-40, they were the Bees.) Also in 1912 came their 6th different manager in 5 years; they changed again in 1913, to George Stallings, and the next year he brought them home as champions. "Miracle Braves," indeed.

    -- Has any MLB team had a yo-yo sequence like this one?: From 1934-36, the Braves won 78, then 38, then 71. Where did that 115-loss nightmare come from? As with most extreme W-L records, there was a lot of (bad) luck involved: They went 7-31 in one-run games. Their Pythagorean record was merely 50-103 -- a run-of-the-mill awful team. Future HOF manager Bill McKechnie, who had won a title with the '25 Pirates and a pennant with the '28 Cards, must have grown a few gray hairs in '35. Except for games with Cincinnati (whom they handled at a 10-12 clip), Boston went 28-103. Four years later, McKechnie had his team back in the pennant circle ... only he was managing Cincinnati.

  37. Joe Sewell:

    -- 114 career strikeouts ... 842 walks (he was only 5' 6").

    -- Sewell played college football at Alabama, and played his first year of pro baseball in 1920. He broke into the majors late that year, as the replacement for Ray Chapman, and batted .329 with a .413 OBP in 22 games down the stretch. In his first start, he had 2 hits (including a triple); in his 6th game, he scored the only run in a 1-0 win that put the Indians back into first place, a spot they would not relinquish. (I highly recommend "The Pitch that Killed," Mike Sowell's account of Ray Chapman, Carl Mays, and the 1920 season that culminated in Cleveland's next-to-last WS title.)

  38. Richard Chester Says:

    @28

    As of the end of the 2006 season 8 batters have had 200 hits with a BA of less than .300:

    Juan Pierre (2006)
    Jo-Jo Moore (1935)
    Matty Alou (1970)
    Maury Wills (1962)
    Lou Brock (1967)
    Bill Buckner (1985)
    Buddy Bell (1979)
    Ralph Garr (19730

  39. Updating Richard Chester's list through the present:
    -- Jimmy Rollins, 2007
    -- Jose Reyes, 2008

    P.S. Although I don't work for B-R, I'm putting in a plug for everyone here to subscribe to the Play Index. It's $36 for a year, or you can test-drive it for just $2 for 24 hours or $6 for a month. I resisted for a while, spoiled by all the free content on B-R ... but since subscribing, I've never regretted it. And they keep enhancing it all the time.

  40. To follow up on #20, Anderson's two seasons and Kevin Millar's 1998 season are the only seasons in history where a player had 60+ R and XBH>R.

  41. Should do this with walks...most walks>fewest runs.

  42. Dave Huemer Says:

    @33--Thank you for the splits info, John Autin. Here are the splits (Games Started only) for the 10 players.

    Sisler--batted 3rd-110, 4th-44
    Glass Armed Eddie Brown--3rd-5, 4th-22, 5th-124, 6th-2
    Alou--1st-143, 2nd-1, 3rd-2, 4th-3, 5th-7
    Montanez--3rd-19,4th-86, 5th-46, 6th-9
    Suzuki--1st-162 (I am working on the obvious follow up.)
    Puckett--3rd-149, 4th-6
    Sewell--4th-146, 5th-7
    Garvey--3rd-6th, 4th-156
    Anderson--3rd-45, 4th-114
    Young--2nd-52, 3rd-104

  43. Johnny Twisto Says:

    It's $36 for a year

    Less if you sponsor some pages!

  44. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Should do this with walks...most walks>fewest runs.

    Hmm, what's the best query to run on this?

    Since 1893, 202 qualified batters have more walks than runs in a season.

    113 have more than 50% more walks than runs in a season.

    Gene Tenace and Jimmy Wynn (in back-to-back seasons) are the only to walk at least 125 times and score 75 runs or fewer.

    As for the biggest aggregate difference between walks and runs, PI can't tell us directly, but it appears to be (of course) Barry Bonds '03 with 232 BB and 129 R.

  45. @43, JT -- How about this one? I searched on BB > 2 * Runs and sorted by most BB. Here are the freakiest lines, IMO:

    -- In 1973, Willie McCovey came within 7 PAs of qualifying for the batting title. Stretch had 105 walks (25 IBB), 29 HR, 102 hits, batted .266 with a .420 OBP -- and scored 52 runs. Let's see ... 208 times on base (1 HBP), minus 29 HRs; so McCovey was on the bases 179 times, and got driven home just 23 times, or 12.8%.

    -- In 1955, Ferris Fain had 94 walks among his 358 PAs, along with 67 hits, batting .260 with a .455 OBP ... and scored 32 runs. That's almost a 3-to-1 ratio of BB to Runs. (It may also be the greatest non-Bonds ratio of walks to hits; perhaps I'll check that next.)

  46. Followup to @44 -- Those '73 Giants who hung McCovey out to dry in 87% of his times on base, were actually a good offensive team, ranking 3rd in NL scoring. Bobby Bonds scored 131 runs, the highest total in MLB between 1970 and 1980. Gary Matthews, Garry Maddox and 3B Ed Goodson all batted .300 or above, with middling power.

    McCovey batted 4th almost exclusively. The Giants' #5-6 spots weren't bad, on the surface; #5 batted .299 with 13 HRs, 30 doubles, 7 triples, while #6 hit .262 with 16 HRs, 21 doubles, 9 triples. #7 hit just .238, but with 19 HRs, 19 doubles and 10 triples. I suspect the OPS+ for these #5-6-7 was above the NL average for those spots. And overall, the team's BA & SLG with RISP were slightly higher than with bases empty. But somehow, they just didn't do the job when McCovey was on base.

  47. That Mccovey sure is quite the case. I looked for things that might've caused it, but the 5, 6, and 7 hitters all did quite well, and none hit into a particularly high number of dp's. Mccovey never got caught stealing, and the batters in front of him didn't get caught much either.

    The only guess I have left, other than it being a fluke, is perhaps Mccovey was removed many times for a pinch runner (who in turn scored Mccovey's run). But I don't know how to search for that.

  48. Even the catcher, Dave Rader, who in just 45 more PA's had a 94 point OBP deficit and a 20 hr deficit, and presumably batter 8th, managed to score 59 runs.

    Something seems weird about Dave Kingman having 144 fewer PA's, a .300 OBP with fewer home runs, somehow scoring 54 runs. Was a young Dave Kingman pinch running for Mccovey?

  49. Sorry for multiposting (is there a way to edit?), but Kingman also had fewer doubles, and a poor success rate stealing bases. I feel like he MUST have been running for Mccovey and then taking over at first base for the final innings.

  50. Looks like Kingman scored 5 runs that year running for Mccovey, and I'm guessing he wasn't the only one that did that.

    Oooh I feel like a mystery solver!

  51. @27 Duke,

    Looks like Singleton and Dunn are examples of walks not translating into R. Presumably because they were a little further down in the batting order (although I believe Singleton batted in front of Murray so not sure how to explain that one specifically. But I bet the leaders in the "lowest % of R per TOB" is probably 3-4-5 hitters that walk a lot.

  52. Note that you can also look up batting orders for a team/season. Pick the team, the year, above the standard batting table click on "Other +", select "Batting Orders". When Spoke was in the lineup he batted in front of Sewell, helping his RBI's.

  53. Inspired by post 50

    I've always felt that most teams would do better using 3rd-4th type hitters instead as 2nd/3rd hitters. Too often high obp hitters are wasted batting 3/4 I think. We might score more runs with high obp guys in front of free swingers, instead of too often it being the other way around. Too often I feel speedy players are put at the top of the order, when in fact their speed would be more useful batting 7th or 8th, when those stolen bases would be worth more, considering you don't get driven in much from 1st by 8/9 hitters, whereas the meat of the order can drive you in from 1st just fine, your priority is getting there.

    I think I would try to put high OBP at the top of the order, high slg free swingers in the middle, and speeders/weak hitters at the bottom. Obviously players who excel in both OBP and SLG can be tricky, but I prefer better hitters to bat more and prefer them at or near the top of the order.

    Any thoughts people.

  54. Regarding Joe Sewell's 4 strikeouts in 1925...

    The Play Index shows 5 games where Sewell had one strikeout in 1925: http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/share.cgi?id=ot2Pm

    Also, his stat line in 1923 shows only 12 strikeouts, but according to the PI he had 13 (2 in one game, 11 games with one K): http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/share.cgi?id=KRF8S

  55. One more:

    In 1921, his stat line says 17 strikeouts, but the PI shows 18 games with a K: http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/share.cgi?id=gmjyZ

  56. Garvey finished 6th in MVP voting 1980 which seems awfully odd and incredibly high even for back then. He was on a second place team and it's not like he had any kind of great season.

    Puckett finished 7th in the MVP in 1989 but at least he led the league in batting average and played CF.

  57. @52, Kds -- Many thanks for the tip on finding batting orders. Did not know that was available.

  58. "But I bet the leaders in the "lowest % of R per TOB" is probably 3-4-5 hitters that walk a lot."

    Nah. Because 3-4-5 hitters (especially 3-4 hitters) that walk a lot are generally also good at hitting for power or hitting for average.

    The lowest R/TOB will always be singles hitters that are low in the order on low scoring teams.

    Jeff Bagwell put up years of 42.3% and an insane 49.8% in years when he walked over 100 times.

    Bobby Abreu has had years at 47.7%, 42.6%, etc. while walking over 100 times.

    Then there are guys like Ichiro and Garvey, etc., who would never take a walk, who had years well below 40%.

    Manny Sanguillen was a .296 career hitter who never walked and his career R/TOB percentage was only 32.4%.

    There's no reason to think that a guy who gets on base via walk has a worse chance of scoring than someone who gets on via a single.

  59. The note on Dunn made me think. Is there a way to find out the percentage a player scored once he reached 2B? or specifically for things like % scored on his doubles?

  60. #53 Jimbo - I agree with you wholeheartedly. I have a theory that throughout baseball history, the #2 spot in the batting order has been the most mismanaged. So many #2 hitters are just slap hitters with decent speed and a solid contact rate but low OBPs. During pitcher's eras in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, this might not have always been such a terrible idea, depending on the player and the team. But when that thinking carries over into hitter's eras when there are plenty of high OBP guys availabile, it's silly.

    There should be more Nick Swisher types hitting second instead of the traditional light hitting middle infielder Jeff Keppinger/David Eckstein/Orlando Cabrera types (and yes, I know with those specific examples, the Yankees have more lineup depth than Houston, San Diego and Cincinnati).

    I always thought the Reds should have tried Adam Dunn out as a #2 hitter. Get him up more often, make the pitcher throw a ton of pitches before getting to the other big bats, and get him on base in front of the heart of the order. Instead, a player like that gets stuck hitting #5 or #6 because of the low batting average and lack of speed. And then instead of having him take walks in front of a #3 or #4 hitter, you've got him taking his walks in front of a #6 or #7 hitter.

    Carlos Beltran was dropped in the order because he has more power than a traditional #2 hitter, but a few years ago I thought the Mets should have tried hitting him #2, with Wright and Delgado behind him.

    In Edgar Martinez's prime, he'd usually hit 4th, but often times would hit #5, even though he was an on-base machine. Griffey was the bigger star so they hit him 3rd, but really it would have made sense to get Edgar on base ahead of him because Edgar had a significantly higher OBP and Griffey had significantly more HR power. Of course they'd never consider hitting Edgar #2 because of his lack of speed and because he had more power than a typical #2 hitter. Never mind that he was on base 45% of the time.

    I always thought it was strange that if you look at John Olerud's monster 1993 season, he batted 5th in 144 games. Granted, going into the season he didn't have much of a reputation, but when he's hitting .400 into the summer, shouldn't you start slotting him in the #3 hole (or at least #4 behind Alomar and Molitor)? Meanwhile, Joe Carter batted 4th all season. They hit the guy with a .473 OBP and a 186 OPS+ *behind* the guy with a .312 OBP and a 112 OPS+. Wouldn't you want the guy who gets on base 321 times to hit *ahead* of the free swinging power hitter? And yes, they won the World Series anyway. Still doesn't mean it makes sense.

    The loaded 90s Indians teams had a similar goofy strategy. In 1995, they got a .332 OBP out of their #2 spot and a .355 OBP out of their #3 spot. And they got a .443 OBP out of their #6 hole. Manny Ramirez (.402 OBP, 147 OPS+) started 118 games batting either 6th or 7th. Jim Thome (.438 OBP, 157 OPS+) started 104 games batting either 6th, 7th, or 8th. Meanwhile, Carlos Baerga (.355 OBP, 108 OPS+) started 134 games batting 3rd. In 1997, they batted Matt Williams (.307 OBP, 101 OPS+) cleanup 70 times with a roster that also had Thome (.423 OBP, 156 OPS+), Manny (.415 OBP, 144 OPS+) and Dave Justice (.418 OBP, 158 OPS+). What's strange is that Mike Hargrove was the guy filling out the lineup card for those teams. You'd think he'd know about the value of BBs and OBP.

    I know there's something to be said for having a balanced lineup or having threats at the bottom of the order to turn the lineup over, but those are some pretty odd lineup choices.

  61. 59: I can't think of an easy way to find that other than combing through his game logs for games in which he had a double and tallying it up that way.

    But even if there was an easy way to find out, I can't imagine it would provide a lot of insight. So much of it depends on not only who's batting behind him, but also how many outs there were at the time of the double. If a player happens to hit 50% of his doubles with 0 outs, I'd think they'd score from second more frequently than someone who hits 50% of his doubles with two outs. I agree that it would be interesting to look at; I'm just not sure it would tell us much.

  62. Just a follow up to the Olerud/Carter issue I brought up above:

    Olerud led off an inning 177 times that season, by far a career high. That's 26.1% of his total PAs. That's not a surprise considering Carter almost always hit directly in front of him and had just a .312 OBP.

    54.5% of Olerud's PA came with the bases empty.

    With Alomar and Molitor hitting directly in front of him, Carter had only 44.1% of his PA with the bases empty.

    Olerud came up with 441 baserunners. He batted .358 with a 1.055 OPS with runners on base.

    Carter came up with 508 baserunners. He batted .252 with a .766 OPS with runners on base.

    It's interesting to think about how moving Olerud's .473 OBP higher in the order and putting Carter's .312 OBP lower in the order would have impacted the number of runs they would have scored. I know there have been studies that say that batting order doesn't affect runs scored very much, but I've got to think there's some impact when you're talking about two guys with a difference of .161 points of OBP.

  63. Johnny @#43,

    Assuming the comment was directed to me..I have a PI subscription.

    Unfortunately, it doesn't come with more time.

  64. It boggles my mind how managers sit there and watch games, 4 hours a day, 180+ games a year (pre and/or post season), year after year after year, and don't understand this stuff.

    Speed is so useless in front of power hitters anyways. What's the point of stealing 2nd when the batter's results are usually walks/doubles/homers far, far, more often than singles?

  65. And even worse than stealing second is the ridiculous concept of the leadoff batter getting on and the #2 hitter "moving him over." The number 3 and 4 hitters often have less than 15% singles/pa, with walks/homers/outs much more common and generally indifferent to where the runner is (aside from avoiding gdp's).

  66. @53, Jimbo / @60, Kenny -- Re: misuse of #2 spot in the batting order -- Full-throated agreement from this quarter. To this day, despite the growing understanding within the game of the value of getting on base, many teams still employ a "bat-handler" type in the #2 hole.

    The 2010 combined MLB stats for the top 3 spots in the order:
    OBP: .329 / .334 / .360
    Runs: 3,006 / 2,789 / 2,843

    When the #3 hitters score more runs than the #2 hitters, that's a sign of inefficient batting orders.

    And look at runs scored by inning:
    -- 1st: 2,566
    -- 2nd: 2,162
    -- 3rd: 2,381
    -- 4th: 2,532
    -- 5th: 2,513
    -- 6th: 2,510

    Teams scored almost as many runs in the 4th, 5th and 6th innings as they did in the 1st. One could say, well, the SP is tiring by the 6th, maybe even the 5th -- but the 4th? Shouldn't the 1st inning be far more productive than the 4th? It's the only inning where you have the absolute control of having your 3 best hitters coming to bat in order ... if you choose to!

    Going in a different direction ... Here's something I noticed during the long Mattingly/Olerud debate:

    -- In 1985, when Mattingly racked up 145 RBI, he drove in 50 runs in 58 games from the #2 spot, with 20 HRs. The Yankees went 39-19 (.672) in those 58 games; they were 58-45 (.563) in other games.

    But, you say, that was with Rickey Henderson having an amazing year hitting leadoff. How productive was Mattingly batting 2nd over his whole career?

    Mattingly played 245 games hitting #2. He averaged 104 RBI and 120 runs per 162 games. His career rates were 100 RBI and 91 runs per 162 games.

    But, you say, his games at #2 came only in his prime seasons, while his career rates take in his decline years. OK, so let's just compare his #2 games to his overall rates during his prime years (through 1989):
    -- Games batting #2: 104 RBI + 120 Runs = 124 R+RBI.
    -- Overall rate thru 1989: 115 RBI + 99 Runs = 114 R+RBI.

    Isn't it just possible that the Yankees would have been better off hitting Mattingly 2nd all the time, in his prime? Each of his "slash" stats from the #2 spot were better than those of the other 4 spot in which he played at least 40 games.

  67. P.S. Just to round out the picture on the Yankees' record with Mattingly at #2 and #3:
    -- When Mattingly started in the #2 spot, the Yankees had a .529 W% (128-114).
    -- When Mattingly started in the #3 spot, they had a .524 W% (619-563).

    Slight edge to #2, but not significant. Still, if it doesn't show they were better off with him at #2, it certainly doesn't show they were better off with him at #3.

  68. @58, Kenny said: "There's no reason to think that a guy who gets on base via walk has a worse chance of scoring than someone who gets on via a single."

    While I am a BIG fan of drawing walks, I'll register a slight disagreement with this statement, just off the top of my head:

    Walk frequency is higher with a runner on base and 1st base open than it is overall. And some significant chunk of those come because the pitcher would rather face the next batter; and that, in turn, is more likely to happen when the next batter is one of the weaker hitters in the order.

    Plus, comparing the post-event baserunner situation between a walk and a single, there is a somewhat greater chance that the base ahead of the walk recipient is occupied -- because (a) the walk is more likely to have come in an "open base" situation than the single (as noted above), and (b) the walk itself cannot advance an existing baserunner by two bases, which a single sometimes can. Thus, there would seem to be a greater chance of a "base-clogging" runner ahead of the walk recipient, which would affect his chances of "taking an extra base" either on a hit or by stealing.

    Adding it all up, I would expect that a batter who walks would be a little less likely to score than one who singles.

    (Now tell me all the factors I've overlooked, and how I've misinterpreted the ones I did consider.)

  69. Johnny Twisto Says:

    If I remember correctly, The Book (http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Book/Tom-Tango/e/9781597971294) advocates putting your three best hitters in the 1, 2, and 4 spots. The guy who gets on base more batting 1st, the guy with more power batting 4th. Yes, the 2-hole is an underrated spot. What's wrong with the #3 spot, where many teams traditionally put their best hitter? It typically gets too many AB with 2 outs and no one on base. Good spot for a power hitter with a lower OBP.

    I think the general guidelines were:

    Best hitters 1st, 2nd, 4th, as I described
    Next best hitters 3rd and 5th
    Remaining hitters in declining quality 6th to 9th
    It makes sense to bat the pitcher 8th in the NL
    Try to separate your LHB

    In a computer baseball game I played a lot years ago I would bat my best hitter 2nd. People might think this would cost him RBI opportunities but it really didn't, he would drive in 120+ a year. (Sure, a game's not real, but it's still based on reality; he's not driving in ghost runners.)

    And yes, there's not too much difference in terms of projected scoring between any reasonable lineups. So if a particular player is a sensitive baby and needs to bat in a certain spot, the manager should probably let him. Keeping the players happy probably outweighs minor strategic gains.

  70. I've always thought that if you have a high enough OBP guy batting leadoff, then batting 2nd is a great place to have your best all around hitter. If the leadoff man has 40% obp, then the 2nd guy is guaranteed at least 40% PA's with a man on base.

    Not to mention, ~19 more PA's than if he bats 3rd, and ~38 more than if he bats 4th.

  71. This talk of #2 hitters reminded me of something I noticed by accident a while back. Here are the one-season stats of a certain #2 hitter:
    -- 145 games, .309 / .392 / .601, 46 HRs (led the majors), 114 RBI, 117 Runs.

    The year was 1959, and the hitter was Eddie Mathews. The Braves nearly won their 3rd straight NL pennant, but lost a playoff to the Dodgers.

    (Aside: The successful strategy of batting Mathews #2 presumably came from manager Fred Haney, who had a .596 W% in his 3-1/2 years at the helm. And yet, as noted on Haney's B-R Bullpen page, "In his guide to baseball managers, author Bill James makes a detailed case for considering Haney's 1959 season at the helm of the Braves as the worst-ever performance by a Major League manager." More details at:
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Fred_Haney)

  72. What kills me about the conventional notion of a #2 hitter is that it's premised on him coming to bat with a man on base. But even the top tier of leadoff hitters fail to get on 60% of the time -- leaving the "bat-handling" #2 guy no runner to hit behind.

    Shouldn't you base your strategy on the most likely scenario?

  73. Jimbo #64, you said, "walks/doubles/homers far, far more (often) than singles." In 2010 there were 29743 XBH + BB, and 28589 singles in MLB. With the big boppers in the middle of the lineup I'm sure that the ratio is greater than usual, but
    I don't think the difference will be enormous.

  74. @71 -

    JA: somehow, your closing parenthesis became part of the link. If anyone tries to use it, just know that you have to delete that before it will take you to the correct page.