Friday, July 15, 2005

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.

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