Sunday, July 31, 2005

Hey 269!

Kaz Ishii became the Biggio plunker with the highest ratio of the letter i to total letters in his last name, at about the same time Peter Gammons was finishing his remarks at the Hall of Fame Induction. Maybe they should have more of these induction ceremony things. It seems to have a positive impact on Biggio's plunk stats - then again, I might be thinking like Wade Boggs after listening to the story of why he started eating chicken every day after feeling like he hit slightly better on days when he ate chicken. That superstitious nut.

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Friday, July 29, 2005

Weekend: mets at houston, pbr at cooperstown

The Astros used the long standing theory of how to beat Pedro Martinez last night - wait until he leaves and beat his relievers. They also pulled into a wildcard tie, but Craig Biggio once again was not hit by a pitch.

Kris Benson pitches for the Mets tonight, he hit Biggio with a pitch on May 6, 2004, but Biggio has never been plunked on July 29th.

Saturday it will be Tom Glavine facing the Astros, and he hardly ever plunks anyone. But, Biggio has been hit twice on July 30th. Mike LaCoss plunked Biggio on July 30, 1989, and Hector Carrasco hit him on that date in 1996.

Sunday's Mets starter is Kaz Ishii. Ishii has never hit Biggio, but has delivered 16 plunks in 101 appearance. Greg Maddux hit Biggio with a pitch on July 31, 1993.

Also on Sunday, Peter Gammons, [edit]Jerry Coleman, Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandberg will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. I, too, will be at the Hall this weekend, hoping to see important artifacts of plunk history like the plaques of plunk leader Hughie Jennings, and all time plunker Walter Johnson (203 hit batters), and the famous elbow pad worn by Craig Biggio when he broke the modern era hit by pitch record. If I get a chance, I might even ask why Wade Boggs only got hit 23 times, and Sandberg only tallied 34 plunks - Craig Biggio had 34 in 1997 alone.

No pitcher who has hit Craig Biggio with a pitch has been elected to the Hall so far. In fact, only 5 have even gotten a single Hall of Fame vote, led by Darryl Kile's 7 votes. Sid Fernandez has 2 Hall of Fame votes, and Tom Browning, Ron Darling, and Jose Rijo only got one member of the Baseball Writers Association of America to vote for them. Most of the Hall of Fame caliber pitchers who have plunked Biggio are still playing, but Orel Hershiser is up for election next year for 2006 induction and should get a reasonable amount of consideration.

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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Phillies swept

Craig Biggio did not get hit by a pitch last night, but the Astros swept the Phillies out of town and now stand just 1 game behind the wild-card leading Nationals. The bad news is that Pedro Martinez pitches tonight for the visiting Mets. Pedro plunked Biggio on May 1, 1997. This year Pedro has only hit 2 batters so far, and only one since this post, so he stands at 117, tied for 4th on the all time hit batsmen list among pitchers who have plunked Biggio.
Calvin Schiraldi hit Biggio with a pitch on July 28, 1990 and Jimmy Anderson hit him 11 years later on July 28, 2001.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Phillies notes

The Phillies have hit more batters in franchise history than any other team with a total of 4,246 but they've only hit Craig Biggio 14 times. Biggio accounts for just 0.33% of the Phillies total hit batters, which is the third lowest of any franchise. The Braves have hit Biggio with just 0.2% of their batter-plunking pitches, or if you like ratios, the Braves have hit 510 other batters for every time they've plunked Biggio.

Franchises who have hit Biggio the least as a percent of their total plunks - all time:
FranchiseTotal Hit BattersBiggio PlunksPct. Of Total

In the years Biggio has been playing, the Phillies are 4th. Biggio plunks account for 1.63% of the batters they've hit over that span.

Franchises who have hit Biggio the least as a percent of their total plunks 1988-present:
FranchiseTotal Hit BattersBiggio PlunksPct. Of Total

However, in 1997 the Phillies hit Biggio 5 times out of 58 total hit batters on the season, making that the 3rd highest percent of Biggio plunks among a teams season total. The Cardinals hold that record hitting him 4 times out of 40 total plunks in 1995.

Highest single season percentages of hitting Biggio among total hit batters:
FranchiseSeasonTotal Hit BattersBiggio PlunksPct. Of Total

EDIT: These lists are National League only and excludes teams that have never plunked Biggio.


more power

Craig Biggio was unplunked on 13 pitches last night, but sent another one over the left field fence.
He'll try to continue his power streak, and maybe end his un-hit streak tonight against Vicente Padilla, who hit Biggio with a pitch on May 11, 2003.
Craig Biggio was hit by a pitch on July 27th for three consecutive years from 1992 to 1994. John Smoltz hit him in 1992, Tom Browning in 1993 and Tim Fortugno hit him in 1994. Brian Meadows plunked Biggio on July 27, 1998.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

NASA related plunks

NASA successfully launched the Space Shuttle Discovery into orbit earlier today. As readers and Astros fans at NASA no doubt know, Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch 3 times on days when there was a Space Shuttle launch. But, the two events haven't coincided since September 25, 1997 when Atlantis lifted off on mission STS-86, and Jeremi Gonzalez committed the infamous cheek bone plunk. Biggio was also plunked on another Atlantis lift off date on June 27, 1995 by Danny Jackson, and once on the same day as a Columbia launch, 4/4/97 by Rich Batchelor.
While Biggio has never been hit by a pitch on a day Discovery was launched, he has been hit 11 times while Discovery was in space, second only to Atlantis' 15. But, Discovery is the only shuttle which has had a mission during which Biggio was plunked 5 times, and that has happened twice. Discovery mission STS-85 lasted from 8/7 to 8/19 1997, and STS-70 went from 7/13 to 7/22 1995. Biggio was hit 5 times during each span, and has never been hit more times during a single Shuttle mission.
Biggio plunks by which Space Shuttle was in orbit:
This post was suggested by the official girlfriend of the Plunk Biggio Reporter. (yes, there really is one)

Craig Biggio, power hitter

Though he once again did not get hit by a pitch, Craig Biggio hit two home runs with Lance Berkman doing the same right behind him each time. Baseball Tonight Extra reports:
Craig Biggio and Lance Berkman hit back-to-back home runs twice in the same game. They are the first teammates to do that since Jeromy Burnitz and Matt Holliday did it for the Rockies on May 18, 2004.
If yesterdays home run pace continues for Biggio, he should blow past Barry Bond's single season record sometime around the August 26-28 series at Dodger Stadium (get your tickets now!), and he'll have a shot at Hank Aaron's all time career record in 2007. But, we probably shouldn't get our hopes up for that, since he's bound to get a few days off here and there.
That was Biggio's 15th career multi-homer game, still 5 short of his 20 multi-plunk games. It was also the first time he combined with anyone for multiple back to back homers, and the only his second multi-homer game when a teammate also hit multiple homers. He has never been plunked twice in a game when another Astro was hit twice.

Today's Phillies starter is John Lieber, who hit Craig Biggio with a pitch on May 9, 1995 at Pittsburg. July 26ths historical plunkers are Brandon Webb in 2004, Armando Reynoso in 1995, and Jim Bullinger in 1992. All were home games.

Monday, July 25, 2005

home again

The Astros return home after a 7-4 road trip with the Phillies and Cory Lidle visiting tonight. Lidle hit Craig Biggio with a pitch last year when he visited Houston with the Reds on May 2, but he also plunked Biggio in Cincinatti on May 23, 2004.
Jeff Juden and Andy Ashby are responsible for Biggio's two July 25th plunks. Ashby drilled him in 1999 and Jeff Juden got him in 1997.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Weekend at RFK

I'm sure the Nationals pitchers probably wanted to hit someone last night while they were giving up 14 runs, but they didn't take their frustrations out on any of the Houston batters. Tony Armas Jr. brings his 27 career plunks to the mound today, but he has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch.
Steve Cooke hit Biggio with a pitch on July 23, 1994, and Jamey Wright did so on July 23, 2002.

Sunday John Patterson makes his first start against the Astros. He's hit 13 batters not named Craig Biggio. Willie Blair plunked Biggio on July 24, 1996, and Frank Castillo it him on July 24, 1993.


Friday, July 22, 2005

Political Plunkings

Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch 232 times while the Republican Party has controlled the House of Representatives, and only 36 times while the Democrats have held a majority in Congress. He has been hit 122 times on days when Congress was in session, 110 of those were under Republican control. Dennis Hastert has been Speaker of the house during 57 of those plunks while Congress was in session, the most of any Speaker, but Newt Gingrich was close behind with 53. In total, Biggio has been plunked 126 times during Hastert's term as Speaker, 106 under Gingrich, 34 under Thomas Foley, and twice during James Wright's term.
Biggio has been plunked 195 times while the Republican's had a majority in the Senate, and 73 times when Democrats held the majority. He was hit 151 times during the Clinton administration, 99 times so far during George W.'s term, and 18 times under the original President Bush. Biggio's 151 plunks during the Clinton presidency trails only Ron Hunt's 165 during the Nixon era for most HBPs during a presidency. Don Baylor had 149 under Reagan, but Hughie Jennings and Tommy Tucker had there careers split up by Presidents McKinley, Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison.

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DC Friday

The Astros won their 5th straight game last night, and have a chance to knock the Nationals out of first place in the NL East tonight when Ryan Drese takes the mound for the home team. Drese has never plunked Biggio but he should think about it because Biggio is batting .571 against him. July 22 is the second straight day when only people named Mark have hit Craig Biggio with a pitch. But, today's plunk history is limited to just Mark Gardner's 1990 efforts.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

why 3000 hits still matters

Or, "why Bill Simmons shouldn't drag the 3000 hit milestone down with the steroid era meaninglessness of 500 homers".
In terms that Simmons can understand, just because Judd Nelson peaked "when over-the-top performances in enjoyably cheesy movies were all the rage", that doesn't mean you can throw out John Cusack's career too, or even take away from the 80s resume of Curtis Armstrong. It's the difference between being in the right place at the right time and being very good consistently over a long period of time. While Simmons may consider a 20 year span the right time, part of the point here is that there aren't a whole lot of players who last 20 years in the majors, even in the medical miracle age we now live in.
The problem, of course, is that he's right about the 500 homer mark. There are currently 4 active players over that milestone - in the 1971 and 72 seasons there were 5, but we are seeing unprecedented numbers of players on the doorstep. At the end of 2004, 10 active players were over 400 homers, the most ever. Granted there are more teams and more players now, but there is only 1 active player over 3000 hits - Palmeiro. And there is no great mob of players on the doorstep - there are 2 others over 2500 (Biggio and Bonds) and Julio Franco at 2497. In the next 10 years, even with steroid testing, we may see another 10 guys pass the 500 homer mark, but after Biggio and maybe Bonds (if he ever comes back), it will be a long wait for the next 3000 hit player.
As for playing in small parks, sure that helped Palmeiro's home run numbers, but through 2004 he had 82 more hits on the road than at home, and he had more road hits than home hits in all but 6 seasons. Palmeiro had more hits than Wade Boggs in every season from 1990-1999.

Take a look at the other people who have broken the 3000 hit mark recently - Ricky Henderson, Cal Ripken, Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn. Biggio should be next. If Barry Bonds does it, I will be fully prepared to argue that at least 250 of his hits were steroid fueled pop flies, and I won't feel hypocritical about doing so. These are all people who played at a level of excellence for a long period of time, not people who put up numbers for 5 years that would have been record breaking 10 years before. We aren't seeing yearly assaults on single season hit records - that's just one guy, Ichiro, and he's not exactly the picture of steroid juiced power hitters.
That's why career numbers matter - because lots of guys can get 150 hits in a season, but not that many can average that for 20 seasons. The home run hitters broke the formula, because it's still rare to average 25 home runs for 20 seasons, but it got a lot easier to average 40+ over a ten year career. The guys willing to sacrifice longevity for huge numbers at their peak were having peaks that could match the career numbers of the 20+ year players. A player getting 10% of the way to 500 homers in a single season happened 18 times before 1995 and 18 times since. Nobody gets 10% of 3000 hits in a single season. Ichiro, Wade Boggs and Darren Erstad are the only players since 1930 who have gotten even 8% of 3000 in a single season.

Ignore home run totals if you want to. I am. But don't throw out the rest of the career stats as tainted along with them. They still matter.

Especially plunks.

Mr. Plunk goes to Washington

Craig Biggio got the day off yesterday, but today the Astros travel to Washington - a city where Craig Biggio has never before been plunked. If he does, it will be a day of firsts because Nationals starter Estoban Loaiza has never hit him, and no one who isn't named Mark has ever hit him on July 21st. Mark Leiter plunked Biggio twice on July 21, 1995, and Mark Brownson hit him on July 21, 1998.

If career plunks could easily be converted into votes in the Electoral College, Craig Biggio would still be 2 short of the 270 needed to elect him president. Maybe he can pick up those last 2 in Washington.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Double Header plunks

(This was supposed to go up yesterday, but I didn't quite have time to finish it)
The Astros play relatively few double headers since they play home games in places with roofs. During Biggio's career the Astros have only had 25 double headers. In 2001 and 2002 they went entire seasons without any double headers. Yesterday was the Astros' second double header this month, making it the first time they've had 2 in a month since 1999 and the first time they've had 2 in a season since 2001. Craig Biggio has played in both games on 18 of those 25 days, and in those 36 games he has only been hit by a pitch twice. On double header days when he only played 1 game, he has never been plunked. He has never been hit in both games of a double header.

Wednesday, more Pirates

But sadly, no parrots.
Yesterday Craig Biggio tied his record for most games in a single day without being hit by a pitch. 2.
Josh Fogg (today's Pirates starter) managed to not hit Biggio with a pitch on May 2nd when he last faced the Astros, but he plunk Biggio on May 11, 2002 as part of Pennsylvania Plunk Day.

Today is the ten year anniversary of Biggio getting plunked by Jose Bautista.

Also, here are a couple of recent Biggio articles in the press from Reuters and the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

unplunked streak continues

An 0-5, plunk free night from Craig Biggio didn't seem to slow the Astros offense last night, as they smacked around the Pirates pitching staff for 11 runs. Tonight's Pirate starter is Ian Snell. Snell has only 1 career start and 8 appearances - none against the Astros. He has yet to hit a big league batter with any of his 363 career pitches. Mark Redman has also never plunked Biggio.
Craig Biggio has never been hit by a pitch on July 19.

Monday, July 18, 2005

unplunked games

To answer DM's question, here's a look at the longest unplunked game streaks of Craig Biggio's career. His current streak stands at 14, he's had streaks of 15 or more unplunked games 41 times, not including the 59 games he played before getting hit by a pitch the first time. Between September 1, 1989 when John Costello* plunked Biggio and July 22, 1990 when he was hit by Mark Gardner, Craig Biggio played 115 games, making that the longest unplunked streak of his career. Most recently, between August 17 of last season when Randy Wolf drilled him and April 13th this year when Braden Looper gave him a widely reported and nasty looking bruise, Biggio played 48 games - his sixth longest streak.
datesunplunked games

*I'd like to think there was a "who's on first" joke that went along with this plunk with Biggio saying "me", but it probably didn't happen.

a good time to play Pittsburgh

The Astros travel to Pittsburgh today to face Dave Williams and the Piraters. Williams plunked Biggio on May 17, 2002. Craig Biggio was hit by a pitch on July 18, 1989 by Sid Fernandez, and took two for the team on July 18, 2001 from Mike Mathews and Andy Benes.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


Craig Biggio's first inning line drive to left field in todays game marked the 3000th time he's gotten a hit - or gotten hit. 2,732 hits, 268 HBPs.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

13 innings end badly

and plunk free. Craig Biggio didn't get hit by a pitch last night, but did watch an equally painful 13th inning walkoff homer by Albert Pujols after the Astros took the lead in the top of the inning. Ouch.
Today's pitcher, Jason Marquis has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, and Biggio has never been plunked on July 16th, but tomorrow's pitcher, Matt Morris hit him on September 19, 2003. And, Bob Tewksbury, Willie Banks and Kirk Rueter have all plunked Biggio on July 17th. Tewksbury in 1993, Banks in 1995 and Rueter in 1998.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Craig Biggio and the Plunks of Azkaban

Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch 4 times on release weekends of Harry Potter books.

let the second half begin

Finally the Astros get back to work today, on a day when Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch three different times. 10 years ago today, back at Candlestick Park, Kenny Greer plunked Biggio (and got the loss, gaving up the first 3 of an 8 run 8th inning). In 2001, Jake Westbrook handed out an interleague plunk (and got the loss), and in 2002 Ron Villone plunked Biggio during 2 shutout innings of relief work.

The Astros start off a long road trip in St. Louis tonight facing Mark Mulder who has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch. Mulder has a respectable 5 plunks this year - not so many that he's throwing at people or out of control, but enough to make it clear that he's not afraid to go inside.

The Cardinals franchise record for being hit by pitches is 87 by Steve Evans, 181 behind Biggio's 268. The top 3 Cardinals in HBPs combined still don't have as many as Biggio, but the Cardinals aren't alone in that. Craig Biggio's total HBPs is greater than the top 3 combined totals for 20 of the current MLB franchises.
There are only 2 current teams whose top 2 in HBPs combine for more than Biggio, and they are both within reach. The White Sox Minnie Minoso (145) and Nellie Fox (125) combined for 270, and the Pirates duo of Jason Kendall (177) and Honus Wagner (107) combined for 284. The only other team with more is Hughie Jennings' defunct National League Baltimore Orioles. Jennings (205) and John McGraw (88) combined for 293 plunks with the Orioles.
There are 2 other records I could find where one player's franchise total is greater than the top 2 for every other franchise. The obvious one is Barry Bonds 491 intentional walks for the Giants. The best two man total for any other franchise is 441 by the Braves Hank Aaron (289) and Dale Murphy (152). The other is Steve Carlton's Phillies record for balks at 79. The closest the top 2 of any other franchise have come to that are the Braves Phil Neikro (35) and Pete Smith (22) with 57. Walter Johnson's 110 shutouts for the Senators barely missed the cut, exceeded by only the Giants combined top 2 of Christy Mathewson (79) and Juan Marichal (52) with 131.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

plunks and the dow

Finally the Astros get back to work. Tomorrow. And today is another day on which Craig Biggio has never been plunked. So, let's think about the economic impact of plunks.

So far this year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen an average of 38.05 points (-0.04%) in trading days after Craig Biggio was hit by a pitch. This makes it the worst year for post-plunk trading of Biggio's career (but only the third worst by percentage loss). In 1997, the Dow saw an average gain of 28.63, making that the best year for the Dow in the aftermath of Biggio plunks. Over the history of Biggio's career, the DJIA has remained close to even after plunks, with an average change of just 0.71. Market analysts no doubt will attribute this years losses to profit taking by investors.

The one time Biggio was hit by the Twins the Dow rose 117.33 in the next trading day. That's the most of any team, but hardly a convincing samples size. The Brewers 16 plunks have preceded an average gain of 48.17. The 29 trading sessions after Colorado's 32 plunks have seen an average loss of 28.49, the highest loss among National League teams, but the Rangers have panicked investors enough to drive down the Dow by 130.63 following their 4 plunks.

The biggest post plunk rally, a gain of 488.95, occured on July 24, 2002, the day after Jamey Wright hit Biggio with a pitch for Milwaukee.

The biggest decline came on July 6, 2001 after Robert Ellis of the Diamondbacks hit Biggio the day before. That session saw a decline of 227.18.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Tommy Tucker Appreciation Day

The All-Star break drags on, and Craig Biggio was never hit by a pitch on July 13th so it's an excellent time for a special feature. Today we have a special guest blogger - an author of several books on pre-1900 baseball with expertise on the subject of Tommy Tucker. Tommy Tucker is #2 on the all time hit-by-pitch list and held the record from 1893 to 1901 when Hughie Jennings passed him, 2 years after Tucker's retirement. Howard W. Rosenberg has graciously contributed the following to Plunk Biggio:

Among the all-time top three in HBPs, easily the least-known player is Tommy Tucker. However, in a way, he used to be a household name greater than Craig Biggio and Hughie Jennings. That’s because when he played 100 years ago, a Mother Goose poem bearing his name had yet to fall into obscurity.

The Tommy Tucker of Mother Goose and his baseball namesake didn’t have much in common except for drawing lots of laughs. That the baseball Tucker was a target of humor may seem quite remarkable considering that he is the leading candidate for dirtiest player of the 19th century. I concluded that in my 2005 book Cap Anson 3, which features tricky and dirty play. In one of the chapters, Tucker shares top billing with the sport’s greatest pest through 1900, Baltimore third baseman John McGraw.

I found that Tucker was easily the dirtiest first baseman through 1900. At the base, he was known for blocking off runners on pickoff plays. However, while he was hit by a pitch so many times, I didn’t find reporting that claimed he was being retaliated against for his blocking around the base.

He overrode his image as a blocker by being so entertaining in his coaching, fielding and sliding. Those were the days when the coaching was done by active players and not washed-up ones. He was playing for Boston in 1894 when a writer compared his style of talking to that of Chicago captain-manager Cap Anson. "Gow an, git a gait! Move up there, yer kin steal home," Tucker had said in a recent game while Anson, from first base, spoke in this tone: "Two men out, gentlemen."

"Has the hub of the universe shifted several points westward?" the above writer said, mocking Boston as the intellectual hub of the country.

One day in 1893, three-fourths of the Boston crowd had applauded for a minute when he first came to bat. During the applause, "a few old ladies blushed at such hilarity from a cultured Boston assemblage." After the game, "Tucker looked like an invited guest to a boiler explosion," the Boston Globe said. "His clothes were covered with mud, but he felt good—his fielding bordered on the phenomenal, and the spectators cheered him all through the game for the interest and life he put into the boys."

Early in the 1894 season, former player Sam Crane wrote the following in the New York Press, after seeing him play: "Tom Tucker’s earnestness is refreshing. He grabs at thrown balls as if to say `Come here, I want to eat you.’ And he eats them."

Tucker had come under strong criticism in 1893 after Cleveland’s Chief Zimmer suffered a broken collarbone when he dove back into first base, and Tucker blocked him off. In 1894, the Globe printed the following: "R. C. J. writes to ask The Globe whether Tucker is considered a dirty ball player or not." The response, possibly by the Globe's Tim Murnane, himself a former player who added the “e” to his last name to sound more sophisticated, was, "Tucker is a hard worker and very earnest, a little loud at times, but one is not considered a `dirty' player until he tries to injure a fellow player."

Tucker’s most famous moment on the road took place in 1894 at Philadelphia. That July, Boston tried in vain to delay a game during an inning in which Philadelphia had taken a large lead. Boston had been ahead at the end of the last fully played inning and wanted the umpire to call the game to darkness before the current one was completed. That way, the score would have reverted to the end of the prior inning, and Boston would have won. After Philadelphia was able to end its turn at bat by running one of its players out of the base line, Boston refused to continue and the umpire forfeited the game to Philadelphia. Right after he did, some fans seemed to have had a "preconcerted plan to attack Tucker, for they fairly swarmed around this player before he had gotten three steps from first base." Contrary to some reporting, Tucker’s cheekbone was not broken; he merely had a "slight swelling on his left cheek." Three Philadelphia players and police helped get Tucker away from the fans.

The next day, while he was in Boston’s carriage, an "unripe tomato" landed full on his face. One of Tucker’s teammates went to the boy who threw it and "slapped and kicked him." When Tucker got out of the carriage, a man hit him in the mouth and fled on a passing trolley car. Tucker told a policeman to arrest the man, and when he got away, Tucker verbally abused the officer and was arrested. His manager, Frank Selee, obtained his bail just before Boston's train was to leave.

Two days later, Tucker told the Boston Journal, "I don’t care to go through such a scrape again. I’m not looking for trouble; you know that. There’s nothing in it for me."

In the following month, Brooklyn's Oyster Burns was leading off first. On a pickoff throw, he "started for second, and at the same time threw some dirt in front of Tucker, so that that player could not see the ball." Burns made it to third. After the inning, "Tucker tried to find sympathy with the spectators, but his tale of woe was greeted with laughter." Tucker and a fan said this to each other, as captured by the Brooklyn Eagle:

Tucker: It was a dirty trick.
Fan: Oh, I dunno. How about your self [sic]?
Tucker: Who, me? Why I never did anything like that in all my twelve years of playing. I might kick [argue with the umpire] and yell, but I’d never throw dust in a man’s eyes. That’s a dirty trick.

Tucker had been drawing colorful coverage back in the 1880s, soon after the start of his big league career in 1887, with Baltimore. He was still with Baltimore in 1889 when longtime writer Henry Chadwick reportedly roasted him for his boisterous coaching. The Baltimore writer for the weekly Sporting Life, gave this defense:

Father Chadwick has given people who are not acquainted with Tucker the impression that he is a hoodlum. Tucker is a married man, and as such should be very domestic in his habits. Father Chadwick himself cannot boast of better morals than Tom Tucker practices. When he is not engaged on duty at a game or practice he is at home with his family, and not frequenting saloons or gambling places. When he is on the road with the team he is the one in whom the manager can place implicit confidence as to personal conduct. In fact, Tom manages his own conduct better than a [Charley] Comiskey[, captain-manager of St. Louis, the best team in Tucker's league, the American Association,] could manage it for him. No doubt Comiskey could drill him into even a better player than he is now, but Tucker’s morals are quite as perfect as Comiskey’s, or any other base ball player. Tucker is boisterous and noisy on the field, and that is the worst that can be said of him. Father Chadwick observes this, and immediately jumps to the conclusion that he is a tough.

Jumping to the end of Tucker’s career:

In 1898, his second-to-last season, he figured in the following report with Hughey Jennings (that was how Jennings’s name was spelled at the time). Tucker was now with St. Louis and the St. Louis Star said, "Jennings complains that when playing off first Mr. Tucker resents his attempts to return suddenly by putting his knee in his face or else sitting down on him. Mr. Tucker says that Mr. Jennings always returns spikes first and with malicious intent."

His final season, 1899, was with Cleveland, and he was the first baseman on a team that won just 20 games and lost 134, the worst record in big league history. The Cincinnati Enquirer called him "the harum scarum first baseman of the scrub Cleveland team."

He went out with a flourish, as one of his most entertaining plays occurred in September. After Chicago’s George Magoon beat out a grounder by sliding into first base, Tucker ran to the umpire to argue. Then Tucker reversed himself "and picked Magoon up, swinging him clear of the ground, after which performance he stood the shortstop on his feet and brushed the dust off his uniform." Magoon and Tucker were about the same size and weight.

A native of Holyoke, Mass., he died 30 miles north of there, in Montague, in 1935. By all accounts, although he had a number of children, and some of his grandchildren are alive today, life was never the same after his retirement, and, of course, baseball was never the same, especially as players never again had so much freedom to do boisterous coaching. Tucker did tell stories in the twentieth century of his scrapes with various players, including Baltimore’s McGraw. However, getting hit by so many pitches was kind of an afterthought. Rather than opposing pitchers, it was runners who visited at first or opposing fielders on the basepaths, who tried to get even with him, that provided his greatest memories.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

all star notes and spare parts

Roger Clemens is the only pitcher in today's all star game who has hit a batter, and of course it was Craig Biggio in 1998.

It probably went unnoticed Friday, and it wasn't that big a deal that you'd save the ball, but in the 6th inning when Jason Grabowski hit into a 6-4-3 double play, Craig Biggio joined the 1000 double play club. It's a pretty big club (141 including Biggio), populated mostly by first basemen who mostly just caught the ball for the second out and didn't have to throw it anywhere, but Biggio is just the second player to reach 1000 double plays after recording 20 as a catcher. The other was Rudy York who tallied 1076 double plays, mostly as a first baseman after a few early seasons as a catcher. He's also the only 1000 double play member who has recorded at least one from catcher, second base and center field (with the possible exception of Cap Anson who may have had one in the two game he played center field in 1875).

164 of Biggio's 268 HBPs have come before the all star break. The most plunks he's recorded before the break are 19 in 2001, and the most post all star break plunks he's had was 20 in 1997. Another 20 plunk second half this year would put him at the top of the all time list.

Kip Wells hit Craig Biggio with a pitch on July 12, 2003.


Monday, July 11, 2005

plunks around the majors - midseason update

The All Star break might not always fall exactly in the middle of the season, but it's still a good time to look at the first half and see who's likely to break some interesting plunk related records this season.
The Colorado Rockies pitching staff have managed to hit 59 batters this year (54 of whom were not Craig Biggio) in 87 games, which projects to slightly better that 109 for the season. 109 hit batters in a season is the all time record, held by the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, who had their franchise contracted at the end of the year as a reward. The Rockies have an excellent shot at challenging this record even though they have no more games against the Astros.

The Toronto Bluejays lead all teams in plunks received with 49 in 88 games. They'll have to do some work to contend with the '97 Astros modern record of 100.

League wide plunks look to be dropping off from the last couple of years, but the 2005 season still projects to rank 4th all time. The 2001 season holds the record with 1890 hbps.

Juan Castro of the Twins has continued to hold onto his title as the active player with the most plate appearance in an unplunked career. He's up to 1,937 plate appearances and has still never taken a major league plunk. He still has a long way to go to catch Mark Lemke's all time record for a plunk free career - Lemke had 3,664 plate appearances and never got hit.

The single season record for plate appearances without an HBP is 739 by Sandy Alomar (Sr.) in 1971 - the same year Ron Hunt set the modern single season record for getting hit with 50. While no one is even close to contending for Hunt's record, Ichiro, Darrin Erstad and Johnny Damon are all in the running this for Alomar's this year. None of them have been hit by a pitch so far, and they are all on pace to have over 700 plate appearances. None of them are quite on pace for over 739 PAs this year, but all 3 have had at least that many in a season once before. A 740+ plate appearance season has only been seen 55 times in history.

sweep and break

The Astros swept three games against the Dodgers, and moved a game above .500 going into the All Star break, but Craig Biggio went another whole series without getting hit by a pitch.

Lance Painter plunked Biggio on July 11, 1998.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

weekend with Dodgers

Brad Ausmus got hit by a pitch last night, and Craig Biggio had two sacrifice hits, but instead of sacrificing his body for the 269th time to get on base, he was sacrificing an out to move runners over.
The Dodgers remain among the league leaders in getting hit by pitches, so they're still not dodging very much better than when I mentioned it earlier in the year. They do appear to have fallen off the record pace though.
Saturday's scheduled starter for the Dodgers is Jeff Weaver, who has never plunked Biggio. Craig Biggio has been hit once on July 9th, by Jay Witasick in 1999.

Sunday Odalis Perez has a chance to become the third Perez to have hit Craig Biggio with a pitch. As I mentioned recently, Biggio has never been hit by three different pitchers with the same last name. No pitcher has ever plunked Biggio on July 10th.

Friday, July 08, 2005

forces of nature

With hurricane Dennis blowing around in the carribean, and DJ Houlton - whose real name is Dennis - on the mound against the Astros tonight, we could see another Biggio plunking first. It could be the first time a pitcher hit Craig Biggio while there was an active hurricane bearing that pitcher's name. On September 3, 2003 Kevin Brown hit Biggio on the same day that Tropical Storm Kevin emerged in the Pacific, but that storm never blew hard enough to achieved hurricane status (insert your own joke about Brown's pitching since then here). Biggio has been plunked 8 times by a pitcher who had a hurricane bear his name in the same year as the plunk. 6 of those were Pacific hurricanes while only 2 were in the Atlantic. Including Kevin, there have been 5 Tropical Storms bearing names of pitchers who plunked Biggio in the same year. All 5 of those were in the Pacific.
Biggio has been hit 96 times while a hurricane has been active somewhere in the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific. He was hit the most during hurricane Oliwa - 8 times during Oliwa's run in the Pacific from 8/28 to 9/17 1997. Isabel and Erika hold the Atlantic records for hurricanes during which Biggio got plunked the most, tied with 5. Isabel ran from September 6th through 20th 2003 (and gave North Carolina the equivalent of a fast ball to the head when it landed on the 18th) while Erika coincided with Oliwa, lasting from 9/3 to 9/19 of 1997.
Biggio was hit 4 times each during two seperate Hurricanes named Linda, in 1997 and 2003.
Mark Gardner leads all pitchers in hitting Biggio during hurricanes with 4 of his 5 total plunks occuring on a date coincident with at least one active hurricane.

I have found no record of any hurricane ever being named Craig.

Padres out, Dodgers in

Craig Biggio went unplunked again against the Padres last night, but his recent surge of power hitting continued with another home run off Woody Williams. But, the Astros couldn't recover from a 6 run 5th inning by the Padres.
DJ Houlton pitches today for the Dodgers, he has never faced Craig Biggio but he has hit 4 of the 225 batters he has faced so far.

Chad Durbin of the Royals is the only pitcher who has plunked Biggio on July 8th, but he did it twice in 2001

Thursday, July 07, 2005

what's in a name part 2, the prequel

If Woody Williams hits Craig Biggio with a pitch today, he'll be the first Woody to do so. There have been 8 pitchers in major league history name Woody, but Woody Williams is the only Woody who has pitched during Biggio's career.
Biggio has been hit by 8 different Marks, 6 Johns, 5 Matts, Mikes, Steves, and Jeffs.
281 Bills have pitched in major league history, the most of any first name, but only one has hit Craig Biggio with a pitch.
Biggio has been hit by 2 out of the 3 Calvins* who ever pitched, missing (or missed by) only Calvin Jones who played for just two seasons for Seattle. He has been hit by 18 different pitchers who are the only pitcher in history with their first name.

Also, though this would have fit better with part 1, it's worth noting that Biggio was never plunked by Eric Plunk, though he was walked by Bob Walk - and plunked by Bob Walk and walked by Eric Plunk.

*There has never been a pitcher named Hobbes, first or last.

one more day of Padres

The Astros won again last night, taking over sole possesion of 2nd place in the division, despite Jake Peavy, Chris Hammond, Scott Linebrook and Akinori Otsuka pitching 8 innings of plunk free baseball on 148 pitches.
Tonight's starter for San Diego, Woody Williams, has never plunked Craig Biggio and hasn't hit a single batter in 12 starts this year. The Padres are in the middle of the pack in regular season Biggio plunking as a team, tied for 10th with 14. But, they are the only team to hit him in the post-season, doing so twice in the 1998 division series.
Jay Witasick plunked Biggio on behalf of the Padres on July 7th last year. If the Padres hit him again today it will be the third time he's been hit by a pitch by the same team on the same date in consecutive years.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

what's in a name

Yesterday I mistakenly stated that if Dennys Reyes hit Craig Biggio that he would have been hit by 3 out of the 4 pitchers named Reyes to plunk Biggio. It turns out there are only 3 players who ever pitched named Reyes, and Dennys would have made it a perfect 3 for 3.
Biggio has never been hit by 3 different players with the same last name, but he has been hit by both pitchers who ever pitched with the last name Benes, Kim, Leiter and Valdes. He has been hit by 2 out of 6 name Wells and Reed, 2 out of 9 pitchers named Perez, 2 out of 12 Jacksons and 2 out of 22 Andersons.
The 2 most common last names of all time for pitchers are Smith (63), and Johnson (46) but Biggio has never been hit by a pitcher with either name. Smith has also been the most common last name among pitchers in Biggio's playing career with 18. There have been 12 pitchers named Williams, Davis, and Jones playing during Biggio's career but he has been hit by only 1 of each.

(All above stats exclude 2005 rookies, purely for my convenience)

Padres plunker Peavy pitches pronto vs. Pettitte

Dennys Reyes, Brian Falkenborg and Paul Quantrill all kept there pitches off Craig Biggio last night, but Biggio wasn't so kind to the ball, going 2-5 with a homer. If you're into wacky obscure stats like the all time hits list, those two hits tied Biggio with Roberto Alomar at 2724 - 50th all time.
Tonight Jake Peavy toes the rubber for San Diego. He hit Craig Biggio with a pitch on August 31, 2003.
Biggio has never been plunked on July 6th.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

2,722 hits note

Craig Biggio's 2722 hits, as of today, include 233 hits in games when he also got hit by a pitch. Lou Gehrig was only hit by a pitch 45 times so for his 2721 hits to include that many hits in games when he got plunked, he would have had to average 5.2 hits in every game he got plunked - and even more if he had any 2 plunk games in there.
While I can't prove that 233 hits in games when a player also was hit by a pitch is any kind of record, I can offer these two comparisons: Pete Rose only recorded 106 hits in games when he was hit by a pitch, and Don Baylor had 201 hits in games when he was plunked.

more Padres.

Craig Biggio moved past Lou Gehrig on the all time hits list yesterday, getting his 2,722nd, but he did not get hit by a pitch. He gets another opportunity to move closer to Tommy Tucker on the all time HBP list tonight against Dennys Reyes. Dennys Reyes has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, but Al Reyes and Carlos Reyes have. Only 4 players named Reyes have pitched in the Majors, and if Dennys plunks Biggio today, 3 out of the 4 pitching Reyes's will have done so [CORRECTION HERE].
Biggio has been hit on July 5th by Jeff Suppan in 2003 and Robert Ellis in 2001.
Also, I'd like to commend Jim Greenwood for setting the Chronicle's Brian McTaggert straight over the weekend, although I think McTaggert might have been trying to focus on Adam Dunn's strikeouts and just dragged Biggio into the mud to tie the story in to the Astros. Still, it did give the impression that somehow being hit by a pitch was equivalent to striking out, which of course, is like comparing apples to shards of glass.

Monday, July 04, 2005

independence day

Craig Biggio went unbruised for the weekend, having taken Sunday off, and getting only 1 pinch hit at bat in the second game on Saturday. The Astros return to Houston today to take on the visiting Padres and Brian Lawrence. Lawrence, today's starter, has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, but has hit 39 of the 3,564 batters he's faced.
Craig Biggio has been hit 3 times on July 4th. Bob Ojeda provided Biggio's third career HBP on July 4, 1989, and Brian Anderson hit him twice in a game on July 4, 1998.

The Houston Chronicle had a good article today, and listed a couple of stats I hadn't been able to get at - 7 plunks with the bases loaded and 86 leading off an inning.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Reds weekend (bring your own white and blue)

Craig Biggio was missed by all 12 of the pitches he didn't get his bat on last night, but he got on base 3 times and scored 2 runs anyway.

Today's double header will feature Aaron Harang and Ramon Ortiz pitching for the Reds. Neither has hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, nor has Sunday's starter Brandon Claussen. Biggio has also never been hit on July 2nd or 3rd. Even after 268 plunks, there are still things that have never been done.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Don Baylor Appreciation Post

Since Don Baylor didn't get a blog about him, here's every pitcher who ever hit him with a pitch, and the links to the box scores of the games. Also, check out the complete splits for Baylor on retrosheet. 8 plunks with the bases loaded!

Charlie Houghtex13109/26/1982






Jim Beattienya8406/16/1978




Francisco Barrioscha6409/24/1976



Bud Blackkca15206/29/1984



Mike Boddickerbal16609/24/1984



Teddy Higueramil19210/02/1985



Mark Langstonsea15908/24/1984



Mike Smithsonmin14704/12/1984



Frank Violamin14107/12/1983



Reggie Clevelandbos3404/12/1975


Dick Dragobos2605/19/1974


Dennis Eckersleybos9208/15/1978


Jim Kerncle4904/25/1976


Chris Knappcha7509/11/1977


Lerrin LaGrowdet1104/20/1973


Al Nipperbos17004/24/1985


Dan Petrydet10508/15/1979


Bill Singercal1304/25/1973


Bob Tewksburynya20706/18/1986


Jim Ackertor21006/30/1986

Doyle Alexandertor16409/12/1984

Keith Athertonmin23706/03/1987

Floyd Bannistercha15708/08/1984

Juan Berenguerdet14508/14/1983

Bert Blyleventex7007/10/1977

Britt Burnscha12409/21/1981

Tom Candiotticle19905/26/1986

Bruce Dal Cantonkca2705/27/1974

Storm Davisbal16709/26/1984

John Dennycle11307/15/1980

Wayne Garlandcle6905/31/1977

Rich Gossagecha1506/06/1973

Catfish Hunternya3605/01/1975

Bob Jamescha18308/05/1985

Steve McCattyoak12807/26/1982

Doc Medichtex8607/01/1978

Marty Pattinbos205/25/1972

Jim Perrymin306/07/1972

Stan Perzanowskitex4408/22/1975

Nolan Ryancal908/22/1972

Ed Spraguemil2209/13/1973

Bob Stanleybos11708/26/1980

Dave Stewarttex15407/04/1984

Dave Stiebtor10608/17/1979

Bill Swiftsea19305/01/1986

Frank Tananatex14207/17/1983

Dick Tidrowcle607/27/1972

Jim Toddoak4107/21/1975

Wilbur Woodcha7409/10/1977

Jim Wrightbos9508/26/1978

Glenn Abbottsea6704/10/1977
Vic Alburymin2906/12/1974
Jay Aldrichmil24206/22/1987
Neil Allennya25705/20/1988
Mike Armstrongkc13009/22/1982
Tony Arnoldbal23906/10/1987
Fernando Arroyomin12104/26/1981
Howard Baileydet12205/09/1981
Steve Barbercal1204/24/1973
Ray Baredet4509/14/1975
Len Barkercle12308/21/1981
Salome Barojassea16108/26/1984
Dave Beardoak13805/27/1983
Joe Beckwithkca17305/05/1985
Rick Behennacle15005/07/1984
Jim Bibbytex1908/15/1973
Doug Birdkca3208/30/1974
Vida Blueoak1807/17/1973
Rich Bordibal22509/30/1986
Dick Bosmantex406/11/1972
Oil Can Boydbos26208/20/1988
Nelson Brilestex5306/22/1976
Pete Brobergmil4609/21/1975
Jackie Browncle5507/19/1976
Steve Busbykca5206/02/1976
Tom Buskeynya2009/01/1973
John Butchermin18107/19/1985
Ernie Camachocle23605/28/1987
Mike Campbellsea24507/09/1987
Steve Carltonmin25108/23/1987
Bill Castrokca13705/04/1983
Jose Cecenatex25906/10/1988
Jim Clancytor9609/02/1978
David Clydetex2806/07/1974
Jim Colbornmil4207/25/1975
Ed Correatex19805/23/1986
Jim Crawforddet7905/09/1978
Steve Crawfordbos16509/14/1984
John Daviskca24708/09/1987
Jose DeLeoncha21508/04/1986
Roger Ericksonmin10904/23/1980
Steve Farrkca22904/21/1987
Al Fitzmorriskca5407/04/1976
Terry Forstercha3006/14/1974
Dave Frostcha7809/18/1977
Bob Galassosea7207/24/1977
Rob Gardnermil1707/03/1973
Dave Geiseltor13504/10/1983
Jerry Don Gleatoncha15607/27/1984
Dave Goltzmin3706/13/1975
Mark Gubiczakca15306/30/1984
Larry Gurakca10406/23/1979
Steve Hargantex6009/12/1976
Paul Hartzellcal5909/04/1976
Neal Heatoncle20106/02/1986
Tom Henketor26007/03/1988
Mike Hennemandet26107/09/1988
Dwayne Henrytex19605/17/1986
Willie Hernandezdet21608/09/1986
Rick Honeycutttex13604/29/1983
La Marr Hoytcha11206/30/1980
Bruce Hurstbos14007/02/1983
Danny Jacksonkca17105/03/1985
Mike Jeffcoatcle15808/10/1984
Jesse Jeffersontor11608/02/1980
Odell Jonestex14307/17/1983
Matt Keoughoak10804/20/1980
Paul Kilgustex26409/05/1988
Brian Kingmanoak11904/13/1981
Kevin Kobelmil3309/09/1974
Lew Kraussebos708/06/1972
Jack Kucektor11407/18/1980
Pete Laddmil14905/05/1984
Ray Lambcle2109/09/1973
Dave LaPointcha24808/17/1987
Tim Learymil20406/08/1986
Charlie Leibrandtkca15507/15/1984
Dennis Leonardkca6609/27/1976
Aurelio Lopezdet14408/07/1983
Mike Marshallmin9804/19/1979
Kirk McCaskillcal19008/29/1985
Bob McCluremil17906/30/1985
Jack McDowellcha25604/17/1988
Byron McLaughlinsea9108/11/1978
Andy Messersmithcal808/21/1972
Craig Minettooak9904/20/1979
Dale Mohorcictex22804/14/1987
Tommy Mooretex4308/15/1975
Mike Mooresea21407/18/1986
Jack Morrisdet17806/15/1985
Roger Nelsonkca6209/23/1976
Gene Nelsoncha18408/12/1985
Phil Niekrocle20306/04/1986
Juan Nievesmil20606/15/1986
Blue Moon Odomcha5608/03/1976
Jim Palmerbal11808/28/1980
Jim Panthertex507/19/1972
Mike Paulcle109/24/1971
Gaylord Perrysea13304/05/1983
Fritz Petersoncle3806/18/1975
Dick Polebos3504/13/1975
Mark Portugalmin22109/06/1986
Dennis Rasmussennya22309/13/1986
Pete Redfernmin12004/24/1981
Bob Reynoldsdet3907/02/1975
Rick Rhodennya24406/28/1987
Dave Robertsdet5808/28/1976
Eduardo Rodriguezmil8105/19/1978
Gary Rosscal5005/11/1976
Dave Rozematex18007/12/1985
Bret Saberhagenkca23305/19/1987
Luis Sanchezcal18808/21/1985
Randy Scarberycha10105/19/1979
Dan Schatzedermin26509/20/1988
Dave Schmidtbal25805/23/1988
Ken Schromcle21908/22/1986
Don Schulzecle20206/03/1986
Diego Seguisea7107/16/1977
Dave Sellscal2504/23/1974
Jim Slatonmil7309/05/1977
Nate Snellbal20806/21/1986
Mike Stantonsea17705/31/1985
Steve Stonecha8005/17/1978
Mike Torreznya6805/03/1977
Bill Traversmil8907/26/1978
Pat Underwooddet10306/17/1979
Rick Waitscle12607/15/1982
Duane Wardtor22409/28/1986
Chris Welshtex18207/28/1985
Milt Wilcoxdet11005/09/1980
Jim Winncha23405/22/1987
Rick Wisecle8707/19/1978
Rich Yettcle23505/25/1987
Matt Youngsea13404/06/1983
Geoff Zahncal16209/01/1984


a dark and stormy night

Last nights game gets wiped from the books (Edit: or not, thanks dm) do to the forces of nature, so the Astros will make it up in a double header tomorrow. Good thing the baseball gods didn't pick that night to deal out any historic Craig Biggio plunks, because then there would be controversy. But then, everyone loves controversy, don't they?
Tonight's starter, weather permitting, is Luke Hudson for the Reds. No pitcher named Luke has ever hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, nor has any player name Han or Chewie.
He's been hit just once on July 1st, ten years ago by John Hope of the Pirates.

Also, there's a good article from the Cincinnati Post today - particularly the first paragraph which was an angle I hadn't seen yet. And, USA Today features sound advice from 5 year old Quinn Biggio. (Although it would force me to find a new hobby).