Wednesday, May 31, 2006

2006 plunks by position

At about 1/3 of the way through this season, David Eckstein of the Cardinals has been hit 9 times. He's 2nd in the league overall, and 1st among shortstops. He has all 9 of the Cardinals HBPs at the shortstop positions and Cardinals shortstops have been hit more times than the shortstops for any other team. But, shortstops have been plunked fewer times league wide than any other fielding position (not pitchers).
2006 plunks by position:

Last season it was right fielders who led the league in plunks with 238, while 2003 and 2004 were both led by the Catchers. Catchers were plunked 247 times in '04 and 241 times in '03. In 2001 and 2002, 2nd Basemen led the league in plunks with 270 and 238, led by Craig Biggio and Fernando Vina.

Houston has led the league in plunks at whichever position Craig Biggio has played for 4 of the last 5 seasons. In 2002, Biggio's 17 plunks at 2nd base for Houston was behind only the St. Louis combination of Fernando Vina (18) and Miguel Cairo (1). In 2006, the Astros 2nd basemen are tied for a distant 3rd with 5 plunks between Biggio, Burke and Bruntlett. Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks leads the league with 10 plunks, all while playing 2nd base. (Only 3 of Biggio's 4 plunks, and 1 of Burke's 3 HBPs came while they were playing 2nd.)

Despite the efforts of Jason Kendall in Oakland and Kenji Johjima in Seattle, Houston leads the league this year in plunks by Catchers with Brad Ausmus and Eric Munson combining for 8 so far. Houston is also tied for the lead in pinch hit plunks with 2 (Biggio and Burke). Only the Yankees and Nationals have as many pinch-get-hits.

first win at new Busch

Monday Craig Biggio recorded his first HBP in the new Busch Stadium, but Tuesday he recorded his first win. Biggio homered and tied Hank Aaron on the all time doubles list, and the Astros won 6-3. But, nobody got hit by a pitch. There could be more plunking tonight depending on how well St. Louis starter Jeff Suppan is throwing. Suppan threw a pitch that hit Biggio on July 5, 2003 while he was playing for the Pirates. Suppan hit one batter per every 99.5 he faces as a Pirate, which is his second most frequent plunk rate among the teams he's played for. With the Cardinals, he has hit 1 batter per 98.7 he faces.

Carlos Zambrano plunked Biggio at Wrigley field on May 31, 2003.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

fastest plunks by park

Yesterday, Craig Biggio was hit in his first game at the New Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The New Busch Stadium joins Network Associates (Oakland) Coliseum, and Citizen's Bank Park as the only parks where Biggio was plunked on his first visit.

Here's the complete list of how many games Biggio played at each park before he was plunked there. Parks at which he's never been plunked are excluded:
Network Associates Coliseum0
Citizen's Bank Park0
New Busch Stadium0
Oriole Park at Camden Yards1
Comiskey Park1
PNC Park1
County Stadium2
Yankee Stadium2
Petco Park2
Riverfront Stadium3
Kauffman Stadium3
Miller Park3
The Ballpark at Arlington4
Turner Field4
Coors Field4
Busch Stadium4
Great American Ball Park5
Joe Robbie Stadium5
Shea Stadium6
Bank One Ballpark10
Enron Field12
Stade Olympique15
Jack Murphy Stadium18
Wrigley Field20
Veterans Stadium25
Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium29
Three Rivers Stadium37
Candlestick Park39
Dodger Stadium40

And here it is again if you want to pretend that parks that get re-named are entirely different places:
Network Associates Coliseum0
Citizen's Bank Park0
New Busch Stadium0
Oriole Park at Camden Yards1
Comiskey Park1
PNC Park1
Chase Field2
County Stadium2
Yankee Stadium2
Petco Park2
Qualcomm Stadium2
Riverfront Stadium3
Kauffman Stadium3
Miller Park3
Turner Field4
Coors Field4
Busch Stadium4
The Ballpark at Arlington4
Great American Ball Park5
Joe Robbie Stadium5
Shea Stadium6
Astros Field8
Bank One Ballpark10
3Com Park11
Cinergy Field12
Enron Field12
Minute Maid Park15
Stade Olympique15
Jack Murphy Stadium18
Wrigley Field20
Pro Player Stadium25
Veterans Stadium25
Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium29
Three Rivers Stadium37
Candlestick Park39
Dodger Stadium40

memorial day recap, more cardinals today

Craig Biggio had a busy holiday weekend - in Saturday's nearly endless contest against the Pirates he has his first career 5 walk game. That's one short of the Astros records held by Jeff Bagwell.
And yesterday, Craig Biggio got plunked for the 277th time in the 30th ballpark of his major league career, and recorded his 10,000th at-bat. If you haven't done it yet, check out Biggio's career totals on one of the major sports websites, and enjoy the opportunity to calculate his career batting average in your head. To 4 decimal places.

Chris Carpenter will be pitching for the Cardinals today, possibly looking to extend his two year streak of plunking Craig Biggio. Carpenter hit Biggio with a pitch on April 14, 2004 and September 3, 2005.
Late Edit: It appears that the Cardinals may be putting Carpenter on the DL today and calling up Anthony Reyes to pitch tonight. Reyes has yet to plunk anyone in 19 innings of major league work.

Todd Coffey plunked Biggio on May 30, 2005.

Monday, May 29, 2006


Jason Marquis joins the club, plunking Taveras and Biggio on consecutive pitches with 1 out in the 3rd. Biggio avoids having his first unplunked May since 1992.

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend

Double-digit numbers made an unwelcome return last night to the Pirates score column, and the Craig Biggio didn't even get hit by a pitch for their troubles. After last night's 12-5 loss, the Astros have now given up 10 or more runs in 8 games. That projects out to 26 double digit opposing scores for the year, along with 820 total runs against - both would be the Astros worst since the 2000 season. But, they'll have two more against the Pirates to try to do better, and then move on to St. Louis for Memorial Day.

As though the plunk chase and the every day matters of winning and losing weren't enough reason to watch the Astros this weekend, here's one more - Craig Biggio is 8 at-bats away from 10,000. Aside from being only the 24th player to reach that milestone, and it being one of the few 5 digit milestones baseball players can reach, there's one more fun thing about 10,000 at-bats. It's the perfect time for everyone to be able to calculate his career batting average in their heads - to 4 decimal places even. Just look at his total career hits, and put a decimal point in front of it. If he doesn't get a hit in his next 8 at bats, he'll be at 2847 hits, thus making his career average 0.2847. So, I expect everyone watching his 10,000 at bat to being doing that in unison. Also, you can watch the media coverage to see who believes's numbers, which claim he's currently at 9,994 at bats instead of the 9,992 - For the same reason they list him with 277 plunks.

Paul Maholm throws for the Pirates on Saturday, with 4 hit batters this season and 7 in his career. He has never plunked Craig Biggio, but their only previous encounter resulted in a Biggio leadoff homer and a walk. Biggio has been plunked once on May 27th, in 2001 by Darren Dreifort of the Dodgers.

Oliver Perez takes the hill for the Pirates on Sunday. He has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, but he has hit 25 batters in his career at a rate of about 1 per 102 pitches. Jason Simontacchi is the only pitcher so far who has plunked Biggio on May 28th, doing so in 2003 for the Cardinals.

Monday the Astros move on to St. Louis, where Jason Marquis will greet them by throwing baseballs in their general direction. Marquis has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, and has missed batters with 12,542 career pitches. He has hit 29. Pedro Astacio is the only pitcher to plunk Biggio on May 29th, but he got two shots in on May 29, 1998.

Biggio has only been hit once on Memorial Day - in 2005, by Todd Coffey.

Friday, May 26, 2006

more Piracy notes

The Pittsburgh Pirates have had more pitchers (20) hit Craig Biggio than any other team, as noted here, but they also hold the distinction of plunking Biggio more times in May than any other team. The Pirates have plunked Biggio 9 times in May, which is second only to the Rockies 11 plunks in June for the most by any team in a single month. The Pirates also share the July Biggio plunking title with the Giants. In total, for the 1988-2005 seasons, the Pirates pitchers have hit 151 batters in May, second only to September (162) in team plunks thrown. 151 May plunks ranks 8th among MLB franchises over that same period, behind Boston (165), Oakland (165), the Phillies (165), Seattle (163), Expos/Nats(160), the Angels(155), and the Dodgers (153).

Here's the team by team break down of Biggio's plunks, by month:
Rockies - 7
Cardinals - 6
Marlins - 5
Reds - 4
Brewers - 4
Mets - 4
Giants - 4
Padres - 2
Pirates - 2
Expos/Nats - 2
D-backs - 1
Braves - 1
Dodgers - 1
Pirates - 9
Cubs - 8
Phillies - 5
Expos/Nats - 4
Mets - 4
Reds - 4
Dodgers - 4
Marlins - 4
Rockies - 4
Cardinals - 4
Giants - 3
Padres - 2
Brewers - 2
Braves - 1
D-backs - 1
Rockies - 11
Brewers - 4
Padres - 4
Cardinals - 4
Rangers - 4
Mets - 3
Dodgers - 3
D-backs - 3
Reds - 3
Braves - 2
Orioles - 2
Phillies - 2
Pirates - 2
Giants - 1
Twins - 1
Yankees - 1
A's - 1
Expos/Nats - 1
Marlins - 1
Cubs - 1
Giants - 6
Pirates - 6
Padres - 4
D-backs - 4
Cardinals - 4
Reds - 3
Royals - 3
Mets - 3
Expos/Nats - 2
Rockies - 2
Cubs - 2
Braves - 2
Marlins - 1
Indians - 1
Dodgers - 1
Brewers - 1
Expos/Nats - 6
Cubs - 5
Reds - 3
Rockies - 3
Brewers - 3
Mets - 3
Padres - 3
Giants - 3
Phillies - 3
Marlins - 2
White Sox - 2
Braves - 1
D-backs - 1
Pirates - 1
Rockies - 5
Cardinals - 5
Reds - 4
Phillies - 4
Cubs - 3
Marlins - 3
Dodgers - 3
Pirates - 2
Giants - 2
Brewers - 2
Mets - 1
Cardinals - 2

Also, following up on last Thursday's post about #1 movies while Biggio was plunked, on July 12, 2003 the Pittsburgh Pirates plunked Craig Biggio while the reigning #1 movie was Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. This makes the Pirates the only team to plunk Biggio while a movie with their name in the title was #1 at the box office. Although, the Rockies did plunk Biggio while The Rock was #1.

Pittsburgh - land of Pirates

The Astros wrapped up their series with a somewhat wacky 8-5 loss to the Nationals yesterday. The baseball axiom "you can't steal first" comes to mind. Craig Biggio had only 1 pinch hit plate appearance and did not get hit by a pitch. For the 4 game series, the Nats threw 629 pitches to the Astros, and missed them with 99.3% of them.

Houston moves on to Pittsburgh, hoping they can find some wins there this weekend. Ian Snell will be the first pitcher they face at PNC park. Snell has only hit 2 batters in his career, and while he has never plunked Biggio, he did plunk Brad Ausmus. 99.88% of Snell's 1,704 career pitches have missed the batter.

Frank Castillo plunked Biggio on May 26, 1996. No one else has hit him on this date before or since.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

inning batter number

As this post pointed out, Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch most often (87 times) when he's the first Astros batter of an inning, and that he's scored runs 51.7% of the times he has been plunked leading off the inning. It's only logical that his run production off plunks would decline as he hit later in an inning, but how much?
As the second batter of the inning, Biggio has been hit 63 times, scoring after 24 of them, or 38.1% of them. Broken out further, 19 of those plunks have come after the leadoff batter reached base safely, with Biggio scoring in 47.4% of those cases, while if the leadoff man was out, he's been hit 44 times, scoring after 34.1% of them.
As the third batter of the inning, Biggio has been hit 59 times and scored after 32.2% of them. Only 5 of those came with no outs, with only 1 of those resulting in a run. 29 came with 1 out, and he scored 10 runs off those (34.4%). The 25 which came with 2 outs resulted in 8 runs, or a run scored 32% of those plunks.
The latest Biggio has been plunked in an inning with no outs was as the 6th batter, and the only time he has ever been hit on his second trip to the plate in an inning came with 2 outs. He was the 11th batter of that inning, and did not score a run.
The latest he's been plunked in an inning and still scored was as the 8th batter, with 1 out.

Plunks and runs scored by when Craig Biggio batted within the inning in which he was plunked:

0 Outs1 Out2 outsTotal
inning batterHBPsRunsHBPsRunsHBPsRunsHBPsRuns

The Washington Nationals once again pitched carefully to Craig Biggio, not giving him anything he could get hit with among the 13 pitches thrown toward him last night. He singled and walked, but the Astros didn't have enough offense to withstand the Nats 4 run 8th inning and fell 5-1.

Tonight's starter for the Nationals will be Tony Armas. Armas his hit 6 batters this season, 1 short of the league lead. He's hit 36 batters in his career, but has never plunked Biggio. I'm sure he's thought about it though.

Kerry Wood hit Craig Biggio with a pitch on May 25, 2002.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

scoring runs

After 95 of the 276 times Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch, he scored a run. Clearly he had some help from his teammates in scoring all those runs, so it's time to give them some credit, and look at how he scored all those runs.
After reaching base via the plunk, Biggio has scored on 31 singles, 26 doubles, 2 triples and 10 home runs. 2 of the ten homers were grand slams. He has also scored on 5 bases loaded walks, 4 sacrifice flies, and 4 wild pitches. He has scored 3 times on errors, 5 times when the batter reached on a fielders choice, 3 times while the batter ground out, and twice while the batter grounded into a double play. But, while Biggio has been plunked with the bases loaded to drive in a run 7 different times, he has never been driven in by a plunk after reaching base on a plunk.

Not surprisingly, Jeff Bagwell leads most of these categories. Biggio's most frequent method of scoring after plunks has been on Jeff Bagwell doubles with 10. He's scored 6 times after plunks on Bagwell homers. He's scored after a plunk on 8 Bagwell singles, 1 triple and 1 walk. Biggio has also scored after a plunk once when Bagwell reached on an error, twice when Bagwell grounded out to third base, and twice when Bagwell hit into a 6-4-3 double play.

Following Bagwell's 31 on the list for driving home Biggio after his plunks are Derek Bell with 14 (6 singles, 5 doubles, 2 sac flies and once when he reached on an error), and Lance Berkman with 7 (3 doubles, 2 singles, a sac fly and a walk). The rest are Moises Alou(5), Luis Gonzalez(4), Daryle Ward(3), Jeff Kent(2), Carl Everett(2), Ricky Gutierrez(2), Derrick May(2), Bill Spiers(2), Morgan Ensberg(2), Richard Hidalgo(2), Steve Finley(1), Carlos Beltran(1), Gerald Young(1), Chuck Carr(1), Ken Caminiti(1), Adam Everett(1), Jason Lane(1), Geoff Blum(1), Dave Magadan(1), Brad Ausmus(1), Rick Wilkins(1), Rafael Ramirez(1), and Tony Eusebio(1).

Both times Morgan Ensberg has driven Biggio in after a plunk have been on home runs with one a grand slam. The other grand slam noted about was hit by Derrick May.

The 4 pitchers to allow Biggio to score on a wild pitch are Orel Hershiser, Salomon Torres, Matt Karchner, and Andy Ashby.

Nationals strike back

This is the obvious problem with averages. The Astros are averaging 5.5 runs per game in the last 2. If they had scored over 5 in both games, they'd be 2-0. But they didn't. They scored 10 runs on Monday and 1 last night. Craig Biggio averages .297 hits per at -bat, but he had 4 in 5 at-bats Monday and none in 4 at-bats last night. And, while Biggio has averaged about 1 HBP for every 9.4 games he's played in his career, he has now gone 22 games since his last plunking. All that adds up to the Astros losing 4-1 last night.

While Biggio was once again left unplunked last night, he'll be back out there again today facing the Nationals rookie starter Mike O'Conner. O'Conner has hit 3 batters in just 5 career starts, but has not yet hit Craig Biggio with a pitch. Biggio has only been hit once before on May 24th - in 2000 by Chris Brock.

In the news today, the Houston Chronicle's John P. Lopez seems to agree with those of who figure any time David Wells says anything about Craig Biggio, it's pretty safe to conclude it just means that Wells is an idiot.

Also, the Washington Post's Peter Carlson celebrates Biggio's many plunks, focusing on Biggio's good natured attitude toward them all, and mentioning something about me being a loony. But hey, to extend the plunk metaphor at the end of the story, being called loony is a part of life and I'll just dust myself off head to first base - the metaphorical first base where everyone has learned all about Craig Biggio's plunks and how they fit in with baseball history - and any other crazy thing I choose to link them too. Anyway, thanks to Peter for taking the time to talk to me about it.

(I'm assuming he's counting the Doug Eddings lost plunk in that 277 total)


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Nationals notes

The Washington Nationals have hit the Houston Astros with pitches 6 times this season. They're only 4 plunks away from their franchise record for plunking Astros. In 1996, back before the franchise snuck across the border and changed their name right under the noses of Federal immigration officials, the Expos plunked the Astros 10 times, with 2 of those plunks hitting Craig Biggio. That season also marked the most Astros batters they've ever hit who weren't named Craig Biggio. The Nationals/Expos have never hit more than 6 Astros in a season without plunking Biggio at least once

In franchise history, the Nationals have hit the Astros with a pitch a total of 123 times, which ranks the Astros 6th in plunkings by the Nationals/Expos. Ahead of them are the Mets (176), Pirates (161), Phillies (142), Giants (129) and Braves (125). At the plunk rate they've been at for the first 5 games they've played this season, the Astros could easily move past both the Braves and the Giants this week. But, can they do it without Biggio taking a couple more for the team?


offense shows up at RFK

4 of the pitches thrown to Craig Biggio last night were turned around quickly by his bat for 3 singles and a double, but the 2 HBPs in last nights game went to Chris Burke and Eric Munson. Biggio now has had 4 hits in two different games this season - something he hasn't done since 2003, and the Astros got the 10-3 win last night.

Ramon Ortiz gets his turn to throw things from the pitchers mound tonight at RFK. Ortiz has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, but he's hit 49 in his career and 5 already this season - 1 in each of his last 5 appearances.

Carlos Reyes hit Biggio with a pitch on May 23, 1998 and Cory Lidle plunked Biggio on May 23, 2004.

And in the news, Tim Marchman appears to have milestone burnout. Maybe he'll feel better if someone breaks an all time record sometime soon. Like the all time hit by pitch record for example.
Also, I'm not going to bother linking to it, but David Wells made some incoherent comments Sunday, which could be taken as an implication that Craig Biggio and Dave Delluci have been using steroids. Then he said he was taken out of context. Then the Boston Globe published his complete comments proving that they didn't make any sense in the first place. The upshot here is that David Wells has decided to stop talking to the media. As the reporter said at Krusty the Klown's retirement, "Why now? Why not 10 years ago?". Wells plunked Biggio on June 12, 2003, and might still be mad that he didn't get his offseason wish to be traded to San Diego were he'd probably have had the chance to plunk Biggio again.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Important facts about the government

While visiting Washington DC this week, the Houston Astros are unlikely to learn any of the following facts about our government, and it's Presidents:
As it turns out, the Washington Nationals aren't really the 4th branch of government, and the other 3 aren't really the Legislative Branch, the Judicial Branch, and Texas. It seems that other branch is actually known as the Executive Branch.
Also, surprising as this may sound, people who are elected to the Presidency of the United States aren't actually legally required to change their birthdays to be the third Monday in February. In fact, there are in fact 41 different days on which a US President was born, and Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch on 12 of them. Among those days, Biggio has been hit the most (4 times) on the birthday of Astros fan George Herbert Walker Bush. He's been plunked 3 times on Calvin Coolidge's and Harry Truman's birthdays, twice each on Benjamin Harrison's, Thomas Jefferson's, John F. Kennedy's, and James Monroe's birthdays, and once each on the birthdays of William Howard Taft, Lyndon Johnson, Herbert Hoover, Ulysses S. Grant and John Quincy Adams. In total, Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch 23 times on the birthdays of US Presidents.

While Biggio has only been plunked on 12 of the 41 days on which a President was born, he's been hit on 15 of the 35 days on which a President has died. He's been hit 27 times on those dates. He's been plunked 3 times on the dates when Warren Harding, Richard Nixon, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Monroe died, but of course Jefferson, Adams and Monroe all died on the same date (July 4). Biggio has been hit by a pitch twice on the date of death of Andrew Johnson, Martin Van Buren, Ulysses S. Grant, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, and James Buchanan. He's been hit once on the dates of death of James Garfield, William McKinley, Zachary Taylor, Franklin Roosevelt, William Henry Harrison and Ronald Reagan. However, Biggio was plunked on the date of Reagan's death the year before Reagan died, and one of his three plunks on the date Nixon died was 5 years before Nixon's actual death.

Biggio was plunked on both the birth and death dates of Presidents Jefferson, Monroe and Grant.


Washington Week

Taylor Buchholz shut out the Rangers yesterday, while the Astros scored 5, and the Astros took the weekend series 2 games to 1. Craig Biggio went a combined 3-7 Saturday and Sunday but was not hit by any pitches.

Today, the Astros travel to the nation's capital to begin a 4 game set against the Nationals. Zach Day starts for the Feds today, possibly planning to become the 3rd player with a three letter last name to plunk Craig Biggio. Day has hit 18 batters in 369 career innings, but has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch.

10 years ago today, Alan Benes hit Craig Biggio with a pitch for the Cardinals, and on May 22, 2000, Steve Woodard plunked Biggio. The Astros are 0-2 when Craig Biggio gets plunked on May 22nd.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe led his Sunday column with a piece about Craig Biggio, and frequent readers of this site will be able to clearly identify where Mr. Cafardo does his research.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Astros 5 Rangers 3

The Astros came through with a big 8th inning last night and beat the rangers 5-3, but Craig Biggio didn't get hit by any pitched baseballs. They'll have two more goes at it this weekend with Kevin Millwood starting for Texas tonight and John Koronka on the mound for the Sunday afternoon game. Neither Millwood or Koronka has hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, but the two have combined for 38 career plunks in 281 games. But those combined numbers split down to 36 plunks and 267 games for Millwood, and 14 games and 2 hit batters for Koronka. (fixed)

Trey Moore is the only pitcher to drill Biggio on May 20th, doing so in 1998.

Tim Scott delivered plunk number 20 on May 21, 1993. Non one else his hit Biggio on that date.

Friday, May 19, 2006

but what about the Rangers?

The Texas Rangers come into the 2006 interleague portion of the season with a 75-80 record against National League teams, and a 14-16 record against the Astros. Overall, Rangers pitchers have hit 57 National League batters, and their batters have been hit 40 times in interleague competition. Against the Astros, they've been hit 10 times, and hit Astros batters 13 times (both are team highs against the National League). 4 of those pitches hit Craig Biggio.
Rangers' pitchers hit about 1 of every 89 Astros batters they face, ranking the Astros 6th in plunk frequency by the Rangers' hurlers. The Phillies are #1 on that list, with the Rangers hitting them once per 56.5 batters (though it's only been 2 plunks). National League teams comprise 9 of the top 10 teams on the Rangers batters faced per batters hit list, and throughout Rangers history (up to '05) they have hit 57 of 6213 National League batters, or 1 per 109, and only 1,456 of 202,197 American League batters, or about 1 per 139. The only American League team in the top ten is the Devil Rays - the Rangers have hit them once per 106 batters.

The Rangers have never had a pitcher named Smith hit an opposing batter, and even if they had, the Rangers came into existence 7 years too late for there ever to have been a Ranger Smith who plunked Yogi Berra.


The Astros will be back in action tonight, facing their interleague rivals, the Texas Rangers. Robinson Tejeda will be pitching for the Rangers. He hit 8 batters last year, his rookie season, and has hit just one in 2006. But, he has not yet plunked Craig Biggio.

On May 19, 1989 Bob Walk became the 2nd pitcher ever to hit Craig Biggio with a pitch. Calvin Maduro threw plunk number 96 on May 19, 1997.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


On Saturday, April 22, 1989, Craig Biggio was hit by a pitch for the first time in his major league career. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the #1 movie in America the previous week was the baseball classic Major League, and the #2 movie was The Dream Team - a slightly less, but still baseball themed film. The weekend of April 22nd, Stephen King's Pet Semetary opened in the number 1 spot, but the top 20 list was loaded with baseball movies. Major League and The Dream Team were #2 and #4, Rain Man (the Bill James bio-pic) was #5, Lean on Me (starring Morgan Freeman's baseball bat) was #13, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure was #15, and Field of Dreams opened at #16.
Okay, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure had nothing to do with baseball, but in the original script they kidnapped historical baseball dude Hughie Jennings. And even if that wasn't true, Bob Genghis Khan totally ravaged Oshman's Sporting Goods with a baseball bat.

Appropriately enough for the all time great Houston Astro, Craig Biggio was hit the most times during the box office reign of Apollo 13 at number 1, with 8 plunks between June 30th and July 27th of 1995. Close behind were GI Jane with 6 plunks, and A Time to Kill, Gladiator, and Batman Begins with 5 each.
Overall, Biggio's 276 HBPs have occurred while 162 different movies were number 1. 2003 saw the widest variety of #1 films during Biggio plunks, with 16.

Here's the complete list, with total plunks in parenthesis:
1989 - See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1), Pet Sematary (1), Batman (1), Lethal Weapon 2 (1), Turner & Hooch (1), Uncle Buck (1)

1990 - Presumed Innocent (1), Ghost (2)

1991 - Dead Again (1), City Slickers (1)

1992 - Unforgiven (1), Mo' Money (2), Honeymoon in Vegas (2), Death Becomes Her (1), Patriot Games (1), Rising Sun (1)

1993 - The Firm (1), Striking Distance (1), Dave (1), Poetic Justice (2), The Fugitive (1), Cliffhanger (2), Sliver (1)

1994 - Forrest Gump (2), Clear and Present Danger (1), D2: The Mighty Ducks (1), Speed (1), With Honors (1), The Crow (1), The Mask (1)

1995 - Apollo 13 (8), Waterworld (1), While You Were Sleeping (3), To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1), Mortal Kombat (3), Casper (1), French Kiss (3), Pocahontas (2)

1996 - The Nutty Professor (1), Eraser (1), The Rock (2), The Quest (1), The First Wives Club (1), Independence Day (1), Mission: Impossible (2), Maximum Risk (1), The Craft (1), Twister (3), Bulletproof (2), A Time to Kill (5), Tin Cup (1), Primal Fear (4), The Birdcage (1)

1997 - G.I.Jane (6), The Fifth Element (4), Fire Down Below (2), Conspiracy Theory (3), The Game (3), Cop Land (2), Air Force One (1), Con Air (2), In & Out (3), Liar Liar (1), Breakdown (2), Volcano (4), Batman & Robin (1)

1998 - Blade (1), The Big Hit (1), Lethal Weapon 4 (1), Armageddon (2), Godzilla (3), Titanic (1), Saving Private Ryan (4), Mask of Zorro (2), The X Files: Fight the Future (3), Deep Impact (3), He Got Game (1), Truman Show, The (1)

1999 - Matrix, The (1), Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1), Entrapment (1), The Mummy (2), Stigmata (1), Big Daddy (1), Tarzan (1), American Pie (1), The Sixth Sense (1), The Haunting (1)

2000 - Gone in 60 Seconds (2), Me, Myself & Irene (1), U-571 (3), Dinosaur (2), Mission: Impossible 2 (1), Shaft (2), Gladiator (5)

2001 - Bridget Jones's Diary (2), Driven (2), Spy Kids (2), Planet of the Apes (2001) (1), Cats and Dogs (2), Don't Say a Word (1), American Pie 2 (2), Training Day (2), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2), Legally Blonde (3), The Fast and the Furious (1), The Mummy Returns (1), Pearl Harbor (3), A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (4)

2002 - Men in Black 2 (1), Mr. Deeds (1), The Scorpion King (4), Panic Room (1), Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2), Changing Lanes (2), xXx (1), The Road to Perdition (1), Barbershop (1), The Sum of All Fears (1), Spider-Man (2)

2003 - Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (1), Once Upon a Time in Mexico (3), X2: X-Men United (2), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (1), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (1), 2 Fast 2 Furious (1), Finding Nemo (3), American Wedding (2), Jeepers Creepers II (2), Underworld (1), Bruce Almighty (1), Anger Management (2), S.W.A.T. (1), Hulk (3), Head of State (2), Freddy vs. Jason (1)

2004 - The Passion of the Christ (1), Shrek 2 (2), Spider-Man 2 (1), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1), Van Helsing (1), Man on Fire (2004) (2), Bourne Supremacy (1), Collateral (2), Troy (1), Mean Girls (2), Alien Vs. Predator (1)

2005 - The Wedding Crashers (2), The Transporter 2 (1), Monster-in-Law (1), Mr. And Mrs. Smith (1), Kingdom of Heaven (1), The Interpreter (1), Sahara (1), The Amityville Horror-2005 (1), The 40 Year-old Virgin (1), Batman Begins (5), Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (1), The Exorcism of Emily Rose (1)

2006 - R.V. (1), Scary Movie 4 (1), Ice Age: The Meltdown (1)

Movie data from

Today, the Astros won't give up 10 runs.

The Giants finished off their sweep of the Astros, and their 7th consecutive season without hitting Craig Biggio with a pitch, with a 10-1 win last night, bringing the combines score for the 3 games series to 34-5.
The Astros get a day off today, to try to remember how to give up less than 10 runs, and maybe how to score more than 3 runs, before the American Leaguers visit tomorrow for a weekend interleague series. Craig Biggio, therefore, won't be able to add to his long history of being plunked on May 18th. Mark Portugal was the first to hit Craig Biggio with a pitch on May 18th, doing so in 1994. Danny Darwin did it on May 18, 1996, and Garrett Stephenson followed him the next year, plunking Biggio on May 18, 1997. Dontrelle Willis bounced one off Biggio on May 18, 2004, and Russ Ortiz got him on May 18, 2005.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

plunk Bonds

Russ Springer left to a standing ovation after hitting Barry Bonds with a pitch last night (and being ejected), creating much speculation in the media over why he would do such a thing to a nice guy like Barry Bonds. After all, Bonds is single handedly responsible for saving baseball from the threat of steroids, right? After the McGwire/Sosa home run race, Bonds recognized the problem - MLB couldn't or wouldn't go after steroid users as long as they were likeable players who were bringing more fans to the game. MLB needed someone slightly less likeable to put the issue on the front page and get the fans behind banning steroids, and Bonds knew he was that guy. He knew he could menace the records baseball fans held so dear, and make it clear how much of a problem these unpoliced illegal substances could be. And, since he was always pretty sure everyone was out to get him anyway, he knew he'd start the steroid backlash. He took it upon himself to give MLB a reason to start steroid testing programs, and also went undercover to blow the lid off BALCO. He knew that there would never be any investigative journalists looking into something only Olympic athletes were using - but once he got involved, the press was sure to uncover it. He was willing to put his own reputation and standing in history on the line to clean up what was going on with steroid use... what a guy. At least I think that's what happened. I can only assume that must be why, given all the positive publicity he still gets.

But getting back to Springer, some say he was just trying to pitch inside, and some say he's got something against Bonds, but isn't it possible he was just trying to elevate Houston back to a tie with the Cubs and Padres for most times hitting Barry Bonds with a pitch (10)? And knowing Bonds was taking the last game of the series off, isn't it possible that Springer thought he might not face Bonds again and that was his last chance to join Kerry Wood (CHN), Randy Johnson (ARI), Andy Benes (SDN), Steve Avery (ATL), Danny Darwin (HOU), Shawn Estes (NYN,SDN), Mike Hampton (HOU,COL), Steve Kline (MON), Jake Peavy (SDN) and Odalis Perez (LAN) as the only pitchers who have hit Bonds with a pitch more than once? He may even have had thoughts of joining Kerry Wood as the only pitchers to hit Bonds twice in one game, and three times in a career. Well, I'm just saying it's possible.

20 of the 85 pitchers who have hit Barry Bonds with a pitch have also plunked Craig Biggio. 12 of Bonds 97 career hbps have occurred on the same day Biggio was plunked (Biggio was hit twice on one of the 12 dates), and they have been hit in the same game twice - on 5/19/93 and 4/26/97.

Here's the list of the other 74 pitchers who have drilled Barry Bonds:
Juan Agosto (STN), Andy Ashby (ATL), Mike Bacsik (NYN), Jason Bere (CHN), Ricky Bottalico (PHI), Kent Bottenfield (MON), Jim Bullinger (CHN), Mike Bynum (SDN), Roger Clemens (NYA), Rheal Cormier (PHI), Elmer Dessens (CIN), Scott Downs (CHN), Brandon Duckworth (PHI), Sid Fernandez (NYN), Keith Foulke (OAK), John Frascatore (STN), Brian Fuentes (COL), Eric Gagne (LAN), Tom Glavine (ATL), Dwight Gooden (NYN), Tim Hamulack (LAN), Pete Harnisch (HOU), Felix Heredia (CHN), Gil Heredia (MON), Xavier Hernandez (TEX), Eric Hillman (NYN), Guy Hoffman (CHN), Chris Holt (HOU), Edwin Jackson (LAN), Jimmy Jones (HOU), Scott Karl (MIL), Ray King (STN), Tim Leary (LAN), Charlie Leibrandt (ATL), Esteban Loaiza (PIT), Greg McCarthy (SEA), Trever Miller (TBA), Jamie Moyer (SEA), Mark Mulder (OAK), Bobby Munoz (PHI), Jaime Navarro (CHN), Hideo Nomo (LAN), Takahito Nomura (MIL), Jose Antonio Nunez (SDN), Bob Ojeda (NYN), Darren Oliver (TEX), Antonio Osuna (LAN), Chan Ho Park (LAN), Ross Powell (PIT), Mark Prior (CHN), Bill Pulsipher (NYN), Shane Rawley (PHI), Dennys Reyes (CIN), Shane Reynolds (HOU), Wally Ritchie (PHI), Ben Rivera (ATL), Joe Roa (SDN), Mel Rojas (MON), Dan Schatzeder (HOU), Curt Schilling (ARI), Aaron Sele (TEX), Tim Sherrill (STN), Garrett Stephenson (STN), Bill Swift (SEA), Jeff Tabaka (PIT), Tom Urbani (STN), Javier Vazquez (MON), Ron Villone (COL), Frank Viola (NYN), John Wetteland (MON), Mitch Williams (PHI), Jay Witasick (SDN), Randy Wolf (PHI), Jaret Wright (SDN)

The Giants miss again.

Craig Biggio extended his streak of not getting hit by the Giants to 43 games last night, while the Giants unstoppable offensive juggernaut rolled on, leaving a trail of inflated ERAs in its wake. 14-3. About the best thing you could say about the Astros pitching is that at least Russ Springer fulfilled the wishes of many fans by hitting Barry Bonds with a pitch.
Biggio will get one last chance to avoid making this the 7th consecutive season he hasn't been hit by the Giants tonight against Matt Morris. Morris plunked Biggio on September 19, 2003 for the Cardinals.

Craig Biggio has been plunked just once on May 17th - in 2002 by David Williams of the Pirates.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

over 40

In 2004, Barry Bonds hit 45 home runs in the season in which he turned 40 years old. That, however, included only 20 homers after his actual 40th birthday. Darrell Evans, in 1987, hit 29 of his 34 homers after his 40th birthday in May of that year giving him the most over-40 homers in a season.
Much less suspiciously, Craig Biggio has an excellent chance this year to set the over 40 record for doubles, and a possibility of getting the over 40 plunk record.
With 16 doubles already, Biggio could break the all time single season - 67 by Earl Webb in 1931 - but he would have to keep his current pace through the rest of the season. The over 40 doubles record is 35, set by Sam Rice in 1930 at the age of 40. Paul Molitor hit 41 doubles in 1996, but didn't turn 40 until August 22nd of that year. Only 9 of those 41 doubles were post-40 for Molitor.
The single season plunk record for a player over 40 is 19, set by a 42 year old Deacon White in 1890, 9 years before Aspirin was patented.

Giant third inning

Craig Biggio moved closer to Hank Aaron last night and Barry Bonds didn't. Biggio hit his 620th double, putting him just 4 behind 9th place Hank Aaron's 624 career doubles, but that was about the only positive note to be found amidst the Astros 10-1 loss in which Biggio did not get hit by a pitch.
While Craig Biggio has never been plunked on May 16th, Jamey Wright has an excellent candidate to be the first. He plunked Biggio on August 24, 1997 for Colorado, September 9, 1997 for Colorado, July 23, 2002 for Milwaukee, and June 21, 2005 for Colorado.

Monday, May 15, 2006


Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch 115 times with no outs in the inning, 91 times with 1 out, and 70 times with 2 outs. 48.7% of his plunks with no outs result in a run scored (56), while 30.8% of 1 out plunks (28), and 15.7% of 2 out plunks result in a run (11).
In the 59 instances when Biggio was plunked with no outs, and was not driven in for a run, the Astros record is 26-33, but if he does score, there record is 45-11. In games when Biggio gets a 2 outs plunk and doesn't score the Astros are 25-34, but if he does score they are 8-3.

Things that haven't happened since 1999

For the first time since 1999, Craig Biggio has gotten through all of his meetings with the Colorado Rockies this year without getting hit by a pitch. Perhaps that means that today's opponent, the San Francisco Giants end their streak of NOT plunking Biggio, which has lasted since 1999. Today is, in fact, the 7th anniversary of the last time the Giants hit Craig Biggio with a pitch. The culprit was Mark Gardner, in the Astrodome, with... a pitch. Biggio was hit by pitch on May 15th of 2000 and 2001 as well, by Danny Graves and Manny Aybar.

Today's starter for the Giants is scheduled to be Brad Hennessey. He has only hit 5 batters in his career and none of them were Craig Biggio. He could become the first pitcher named Brad ever to plunk Biggio.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Home weekend with the Rockies

Craig Biggio was not hit by a pitch last night, but he did go 2-5 with a home run, and he seems to be trying to see how far apart he can get his home/road batting splits. Biggio's home batting average is currently 71% better than his road average (.349 to .204), and his home Slugging% is better than twice his road Slugging% (.602 to .296). The widest previous gap in Biggio's home/road numbers came in 1991 when he batted .343 at home and .245 on the road, while slugging .437 at home and .309 on the road. Despite all that, Biggio has been plunked twice on the road and once at home. The largest gap between his home/road plunk splits came in 2003, when he was hit 18 times on the road and 9 times at home. The largest gap in the home direction came in 1998 and 1996 when he was hit 7 times more at home than on the road (15 to 8 in 1998 and 17 to 10 in 1996).

Today, the Astros will face Colorado starter Aaron Cook, who will undoubtedly be looking to join the long list of Rockies pitchers who have plunked Biggio more than once. He hit Biggio with a pitch on April 20, 2003, and a plunk today would allow him to join Armando Reynoso as the only pitchers who have hit Biggio with a pitch on May 13th. Reynoso's May 13th plunk came in 1997.

Tomorrow, the Colorado starter will be Jeff Francis. Francis has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, but is off to a solid start this year with 4 hit batters. Jaime Navarro hit Craig Biggio with a pitch on May 14, 1996.

Biggio has been plunked twice on Mother's Day, by Vicente Padilla of the Phillies in 2003, and by Steve Woodward of the Brewers in 1998.


Friday, May 12, 2006

The Rockies' 3-plunk club

When today's Colorado Rockies starter Jason Jennings hit Craig Biggio with a pitch last June 28th, he became the 5th Rockies pitcher to plunk Biggio 3 or more times. Pedro Astacio, Jamey Wright, Steve Reed, and Shawn Chacon are the others, although Astacio could be counted twice since he plunked Biggio 6 times for the Rockies. There are 15 pitchers who have hit Biggio with a pitch 3 or more times, but only 12 hit him 3 times for the same team. The only other team with more than 1 3-timer is the Cubs - Frank Castillo and Kerry Wood. The other pitchers who hit Biggio three times with the same team are Chan Ho Park (LA), Pete Harnisch (Reds), Joey Hamilton (Padres), Mark Gardner (Giants), and Andy Benes (Cardinals).

Because so many Rockies have plunked Biggio multiple times, they rank tied for third in number of pitchers to hit Biggio, despite plunking Biggio 7 more times than any other team. Only 18 pitchers have accounted for the Rockies 32 plunks. On average, pitchers who plunk Biggio for the Rockies hit him 1.78 times.
The Phillies hold the record for most times plunking Biggio without a pitcher having the same pitcher do it twice, with 14.

Here's the team by team list by number of plunking pitchers, and the average plunks per plunker:
TeamPitchers who plunked BiggioHBPsAverage
White Sox221


Back to Houston to face the Rockies

Craig Biggio got the day off in LA yesterday, but the Astros managed to hang on for a 4-2 win without him. The team returns to Houston tonight for the Colorado Rockies only visit to Minute Maid Park of the season. Jason Jennings will get another chance to throw pitches in Craig Biggio's general direction. Jennings hit Craig Biggio 3 times their two meetings last season, on June 22, 2005 and June 28, 2005.

Chris Hammond plunked Biggio on May 12, 1998 for the Marlins, and Salomon Torres got him on May 12, 2003 for the Pirates. The Astros won both games.

In other news, though I hate this to be the sort of web log that picks on the regular media, Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer has not only gotten Craig Biggio's plunk total wrong, but has also completely missed the point. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume he meant the column to be a big "one of these things is not like the others" sort of thing. At least we know who told him Biggio has been plunked 277 times instead of 276, but it is a mystery why he'd think the HBP record is something you'd put in the same category as Jim Rice's single season GIDP record, or Anthony Young's streak of 27 losing decisions.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

more foreign flavor

If memory serves me correctly, the 1990s were a time of great turmoil in Major League Baseball, particularly among its fans. The players strike drove fans away, but the home run race of 1998 won fans back in even greater numbers, while Craig Biggio's 34 plunk year of 1997 was largely ignored. But, perhaps the most impressive competitive feat of the decade was not accomplished in the Astrodome or Busch Stadium, but in what may be the most famous competitive arena in Japan. Not the Tokyo Dome, or any of the Olympic venues at Nagano, but Kitchen Stadium - where Iron Chef Chen Kenichi compiled a record of 4-1 on days when Craig Biggio got hit by a pitch. While Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai's overall record of 70-15-1 is more impressive than Chen Kenichi's career mark of 67-22-3 in Chairman Kaga's culinary competitions, Iron Chef Sakai was 0-1 on dates of Biggio plunkings.
According to data gathered from The Iron Chef Database, Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch 15 times on dates when Iron Chef did battle in Kitchen Stadium. 10 have come on dates when the Iron Chef was judged victorious, and 5 plunks were on dates when the Challenger won the people's ovation and fame forever.
Biggio batted .317 with 15 home runs and 91 runs scored on days when the Iron Chef won, but when they lost he batted .298, with 4 homers and 25 runs scored.
Biggio has been plunked the most, 8 times, on days when Chen Kenichi was chosen to do battle - 6 when the Iron Chef won, and 2 when he was defeated. On dates when Iron Chef Chen battled, Biggio batted .386 with 4 homers and 26 runs scored on dates of Iron Chef wins, and just .278 with 1 homer and 7 runs scored when the challenger won. In contrast, when Iron Chef Sakai won, Biggio batted .280 with no plunks, 3 homers and 27 runs scored, but when Hiroyuki Sakai lost, Biggio's average was raised to .348, with 2 plunks, 1 homer and just 8 runs scored.

Iron ChefResultGamesHBPHBP/PAAVGHRRAstros Record
Chen KenichiW3060.043480.38642620-10
Hiroyuki SakaiW33000.28032717-16
Koumei NakamuraW1210.018520.3335116-6
Masaharu MorimotoW11000.271188-3
Masahiko KobeW810.027030.303164-4
Rokusaburo MichibaW1110.018520.3261126-5
Yutake IshinabeW110.20.5010-1

Biggio was hit twice on the dates of "Beef Cheek Meet Battle", "Bird's Nest Battle", "Black Pig Battle" and "Konnyaku Battle". He was hit once on the dates of "Matsutake Mushroom Battle", "Sea Urchin Battle", "Yogurt Battle", "Cabbage Battle", "Hamaguri Clam Battle", "Anago Eel Battle" and "Avocado Battle".

Former Mariners pitcher Kaz Sasaki was once a guest judge on Iron Chef, but he never plunked Craig Biggio.

whose idea was playing on the road?

This idea that teams should play half their games at other teams' ballparks really isn't working out for the Astros. Last night's 9-6 loss put their road record at 5-11, and Craig Biggio was once again not hit by a pitch. On the positive side, they only have to play 65 more road games this year, and they get to play a few at home after today's afternoon finale in LA. Derek Lowe will be starting today's game, but he has never plunked Biggio. Lowe hit Corey Koskie in his last start, and has plunked 2 this season.

Craig Biggio has been hit 4 times on May 11th, in 4 different ballparks, but all by teams from Pennsylvania. The Pirates' Jeff McCurry, Todd Ritchie and Josh Fogg plunked Biggio on May 11th of 1995, 1999, and 2002. The Phillies Vicente Padilla hit Biggio with a pitch on May 11, 2003.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

plunk immigration

Today's Astros' opponents, the LA Dodgers, have a United Nations of a roster, featuring players born in 9 different countries. This is an excellent excuse to look at which players born in each country have been hit by the most pitches (that, and reader DM asked). Also, it seems worthwhile to take a look at the total plunk counts for batters born in each country or territory.

People say a lot of things about the position within the world community of the United States of America, but one thing is clear. American born Major League Baseball players have been hit by pitches 9 times more often than every other country in the world combined. There are only 7 countries (including the US) which have more total HBPs than Craig Biggio alone, and Biggio is very close to having accumulated more plunks than the top 2 players from any other country. Only the combined plunks of Cubans Minnie Minoso and Rafael Palmeiro (279) are greater than Biggio's current total (and obviously less than the total of fellow American, Hughie Jennings).

Here are the country by country HBP record holders, along with the total batters from each country, and the total plunks of all batters from each country through 2005. This list excludes countries which may have produced major leaguers in cases where none of them were ever plunked.
PlayerHBPsCountry of BirthCountry Total PlayersCountry HBPs
Hughie Jennings287USA1451377877
Minnie Minoso192Cuba1501108
Andres Galarraga178Venezuela1811190
Carlos Delgado139Puerto Rico2152060
Larry Walker138Canada205908
Jose Guillen88Dominican Republic4102427
Devon White87Jamaica3105
Patsy Donovan83Ireland40300
Andruw Jones62Curacao584
Vinny Castilla57Mexico98248
John Anderson53Norway353
Einar Diaz53Panama45451
Tom Brown46England3097
Jimmy Austin44Wales244
Joe Quinn39Australia1967
Elmer Valo38Czechoslovakia440
Bobby Thomson34Scotland859
Glenn Hubbard33W.Germany1339
Jolbert Cabrera28Colombia772
Ichiro Suzuki27Japan3280
Marvin Benard25Nicaragua833
Joe Christopher19Virgin Islands1072
Andre Rodgers18Bahamas520
Reno Bertoia16Italy617
Hee Seop Choi16South Korea1217
Fritz Buelow12Germany2862
Eddie Ainsmith12Russia521
John Houseman8Holland610
Gene Kingsale6Aruba46
Gerald Young6Honduras16
Otto Hess4Switzerland14
Tony Solaita3American Samoa13
Steve Jeltz3France87
Chito Martinez2British Honduras12
Olaf Henriksen2Denmark12
Brian Lesher1Belgium11
Moe Drabowsky1Poland41
Robin Jennings1Singapore11

(Data through 2005)

The Dodgers have had players from 17 countries, other than the United States, get hit by pitches for them in franchise history. Among active franchises, only the Baltimore Orioles have had as much variety in the country of birth of their plunked players. The Twins, Yankees and Cardinals have all had players born in 16 foreign countries get hit for them. The Astros are tied for 6th with 11 non-US countries represented among their batters who have been plunked, and the Colorado Rockies are dead last in immigrant HBP variety, with only 4 foreign lands as the place of birth among their batters who have been hit by a pitch.

more road trip problems

That offer on the table to Roger Clemens is for him to pitch out of the bullpen, right?

There wasn't much to get hit by for Craig Biggio last night. He saw just 2 pitches called balls, but he didn't spend a lot of time in the batters box. Biggio went 1-5 on only 11 pitches. But, the Astros fell 5 runs short last night, 12-7.

Brett Tomko will be on the hill for the Dodgers tonight. He has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch and hasn't hit anyone in 2006, but he does have 32 career plunks in 1,464.1 innings pitched, and tied his career high with 7 hit batters this season.

Rick Helling of the Marlins hit Craig Biggio with a pitch on May 10, 1997. Steve Woodard made it a two year plunk streak on the 10th of May in 1998. Biggio was not hit again on May 10th until 2005 when Brian Moehler did it, but he has a chance for another May 10th plunking tonight.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

rookie watch

Giants rookie 2nd Baseman Kevin Frandsen has played just 11 games in his Major League career but he's already been plunked 5 times, including 3 in his first 3 games. He has a great head start toward surpassing the National League rookie record of 20 set by Frank Robinson 1956, or even the all time rookie record of 28 by Tommie Tucker in 1887 in the American Association. The best recent MLB rookie plunk total was David Eckstein's 21 in 2001 - the American League record. It will come as no surprise to Astros fans that Frandsen considers Craig Biggio his idol. This article notes that Frandsen was excited to meet Biggio before last nights game - Frandsen had not yet been called up when Houston got rained on in San Francisco earlier this season. After Frandsen's 3 game plunk streak to begin his career, the San Francisco Chronicle noted Frandsen's idolization of Biggio, and that he is planning to break Ron Hunt's single season plunk record for the Giants of 26 (set in 1970). We can only hope that Frandsen is just one of a new crop of up and coming Major Leaguers who have learned the value of the plunk from Craig Biggio. Let's hope that they also learn how to stay healthy at the same time, the way Biggio has.
Kevin Frandsen sounds like the kind of player a Craig Biggio fan can get behind.

Tied with Frandsen on the rookie HBP list is Seattle's Kenji Johjima. While Johjima is a rookie by MLB standards, he is no stranger to being plunked on the professional level. According to, he was hit 95 times in his career in Japan, for the Fukuoka Hawks. That site also credits Kazukiro Kiyohara as the Japanese all time HBP record holder, with 196 and still counting. Surely Kenji could have made a run at the all time Japanese record if he had continued to play there, but he felt that greater fame and glory could be found playing, and getting hit by pitches, in the American major leagues.

closing in on Hank Aaron

Craig Biggio moved within 6 doubles of Hank Aaron for 9th place on the all-time doubles list, but he didn't move any closer to Hughie Jennings' 287 plunks, and the Astros lost their 4th consecutive game, 7-5. His next attempt will take place at Dodger Stadium tonight against starting pitcher Jae Seo. Jae Seo has never plunked Biggio, and Biggio has been hit 40 times since the last time he was hit by the Dodgers - September 3, 2003 by Kevin Brown.
Today is the 12th anniversary of Biggio's first plunk against the Dodgers. Tom Candiotti hit Craig Biggio with a pitch on May 9, 1994. The Astros are 7-5 when Biggio gets plunked by the Dodgers.

Biggio's only other May 9th plunk came in 1995 by Pirates pitcher Jon Lieber.

Monday, May 08, 2006

get-hitters parks

It's clear that some ballpark configurations favor pitchers, and some favor hitters, but is it possible that some ballparks are more conducive to batters being hit by pitches than others? If there are pitchers parks and hitters parks, couldn't there also be get-hitters parks?
In 1989, Toronto opened Skydome. It's been renamed Rogers Centre, even though Roger demanded to be traded from the Blue Jays to the Yankees years ago, but whatever the name, it had seen 993 batters get hit through the 2005 season. Gary Sheffield became the 1,000th batter hit at Skydome/Rogers Centre on April 19th of this season. During the span of Craig Biggio's career, no park has hosted more HBPs, and even more surprisingly, Craig Biggio has never played there. On average, a batter has been plunked at Skydome once every 101.5 plate appearances, while the overall league average during the same span has been one HBP per 126.7 plate appearances.
On the other end of the spectrum, among parks that are still in use Wrigley Field has seen batters drilled at the lowest rate, with just one per 152.9 plate appearances, despite Craig Biggio's contribution of 12 HBPs at Wrigley.

Top 5 Parks by plunks per plate appearance, 1988-2005 (minimum 75,000 plate appearances):
Skydome/Rogers Centre993100835101.5
Joe Robbie Stadium / Pro Player Stadium / Dolphins Stadium73878273106.1
Fenway Park955110197115.4
Stade Olympique83497472116.9
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum / UMAX Coliseum / Network Associates Coliseum898107379119.6

Bottom 5 Parks by plunks per plate appearance, 1988-2005 (minimum 75,000 plate appearances):
Jack Murphy Stadium/Qualcomm Stadium55195483173.3
Wrigley Field722110423152.9
Dodger Stadium712106409149.5
Riverfront Stadium/Cinergy Field61890819147.0
Shea Stadium763107667141.1

Top 5 Parks by plunks per plate appearance, 1988-2005 (no minimum plate appearances):
RFK Stadium94598663.7
Tokyo Dome433082.5
PNC Park3723090483.1
Tropicana Field6005026883.8
Citizens Bank Park1341250893.3

Total plunks by park, 1988-2005:
Skydome/Rogers Centre993100835101.50
Fenway Park955110197115.40
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum / UMAX Coliseum in 1997 / Network Associates Coliseum898107379119.61
Royals Stadium/Kauffman Stadium881108693123.43
Yankee Stadium858107382125.21
Busch Stadium II857109430127.713
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome846108654128.40
Stade Olympique83497472116.94
Shea Stadium763107667141.17
Joe Robbie Stadium/Pro Player Stadium/Dolphins Stadium73878273106.16
Wrigley Field722110423152.912
Dodger Stadium712106409149.57
Veterans Stadium71097765137.76
Oriole Park at Camden Yards70283971119.61
Anaheim Stadium / Edison Field / Angel Stadium of Anaheim69489663129.20
Comiskey Park II/U.S. Cellular Field67789656132.42
Coors Field6596787610315
The Ballpark in Arlington/Ameriquest Field65574321113.54
Riverfront Stadium/Cinergy Field618908191477
Tropicana Field6005026883.80
County Stadium59076978130.55
Three Rivers Stadium556784191413
Jacobs Field55570632127.30
Jack Murphy Stadium/Qualcomm Stadium55195483173.37
Tiger Stadium50771192140.40
Candlestick/3com Park48572011148.54
Enron Field/Astros Field/Minute Maid Park3953708493.950
Bank One Ballpark/Chase Field39546745118.33
Turner Field39455194140.13
PNC Park3723090483.15
Safeco Field31840360126.90
Comerica Park29537258126.30
Miller Park29231091106.56
Arlington Stadium27235882131.90
Pacific Bell Park/SBC Park/AT&T Park26436723139.10
Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium22552746234.41
Cleveland Stadium22035832162.90
Great American Ball Park2001888894.42
Citizens Bank Park1341250893.31
Memorial Stadium11023659215.10
RFK Stadium94598663.70
Mile High Stadium9310994118.20
Comiskey Park I9317500188.20
PetCo Park9011905132.32
Exhibition Stadium (Toronto)527767149.40
Estadio Hiram Bithorn (San Juan)34338999.70
Tokyo Dome433082.50
Aloha Stadium12142140
Cashman Field (Las Vegas)15385380
Estadio Monterrey (Monterrey, MEX)0329n/a0

(Park split data from


After a highly improbable 3 game unplunked sweep in Colorado, the Astros head to San Francisco to make up that rain out from April 11th. Noah Lowry, coming off a stint on the DL, will be making the start for the Giants. Lowry has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, but he has hit 8 batters in 54 career appearance. The Giants, by the way, rank 11th among active franchises in average height. The average height of everyone who has ever played for the so called Giants is 6 feet 1.25 inches. They may be slightly above average, but they're hardly Giants. The average height of pitchers who have hit Craig Biggio with a pitch is 6 feet 2.31 inches.

Rick Reed plunked Biggio on May 8, 1997 for the Mets, and Pedro Astacio threw two plunks on May 8, 2000.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

More rocky relief pitching

The Astros struck out 12 times without getting hit by a pitch, and walked in the winning run last night. Not a great start for a road series, but there are still two games to play in Colorado. Jason Jennings will be the Rockies starter today. He has plunked Biggio 3 times in their last two meetings, delivering plunks 265, 266, and 267 last June. Tomorrow's starter will be Aaron Cook. He hit Biggio with a pitch on April 2, 2003.
Kerry Wood and Kris Benson plunked Biggio on May 6th in 1998 and 2004. The Astros have a struck out 25 times in games when Biggio has been hit by a pitch on May 6th.
On May 7th, Biggio has been plunked once by Danny Jackson in 1995, twice by Orel Hershiser in 2000, and once by John Thomson in 2004.

In 1996, Craig Biggio recorded his first plunk in a road game against the Colorado Rockies. That season, the average altitude of Biggio's hbps raised by 106.3 feet, more than any other season. 1999, the only year since then in which Biggio was not plunked in Colorado, is also the only season since then in which Biggio's average plunk altitude decreased.

YearAverage Plunk AltitudeChange since prior yearTotal Plunks

Friday, May 05, 2006

rocky notes

Todd Helton came off the disabled list today for the Colorado Rockies, which should provide a lift for the Colorado offense. Helton has been hit by 41 pitches in his career, while the rest of the Rockies roster has combined for only 83. Still, at a total of 124 HBPs, the Rockies entire roster has been hit only 7 more times than Craig Biggio's best 5 year span.
Helton's 41 HBPs rank third in the Rockies short history. Larry Walker was hit 98 times for the Rockies, and Andres Galarraga collected 61 plunks. Biggio has been hit 7 more times than the combined total of the top 5 players in Rockies history. Also, those 5 are the only Rockies who have been hit as many times in their careers as Craig Biggio has been hit by the Rockies alone (32). The two behind Helton are Eric Young (37), and Vinny Castilla (32).

The current roster of Rockies pitchers has thrown a total of 249 batters, led by today's starter Byung-Hyun Kim who has drilled 56 in his career, though only 14 with the Rockies. Pedro Astacio is the Rockies franchise record holder, having hit 58 batters. The top 7 pitchers on the Rockies all time list have dished out 4 fewer plunks than Biggio has received.

Craig Biggio has been plunked at least once in 21 of the 37 series he's played in against the Rockies including 10 of the last 13. They've hit him at least twice in 5 of the last 6 series.

Also worth noting, the plural of "series" is "series", although I wouldn't have voted for that option.


Carpenter finally loses in Houston

The Cardinals left town last night after another loss (4-3) and another failure to hit Craig Biggio with a pitch. Chris Carpenter got his first career loss at Minute Maid Park, but delivered his only plunk to Willie Taveras. The Astros are traveling to Colorado for a weekend series against the team that has plunked Biggio more times than any other. Tonight's starter for the Rockies will be Byung-Hyun Kim, who threw the historic plunk #268 last June which moved Biggio past Don Baylor on the all time HBP list. Kim his hit 56 batters in his career, but has made only 1 start this season, and has not yet plunked a batter.

Mark Leiter of the Phillies hit Craig Biggio with a pitch on May 5, 1997.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


On August 28, 1992, Mark Gardner became the first pitcher to record his 2nd career plunking of Craig Biggio. Since then, Biggio has been hit by someone who had already hit him at least once in every season. In 2001, 9 of Biggio's 28 HBPs were thrown by someone who had hit him before - the most of any season. In 1999, Biggio collected his highest percentage of plunks by past offenders, with 5 of his 11 plunks coming from pitchers who had already hit him at least once.
In the 2004 season, 91 pitchers who had plunked Biggio pitched in the Major Leagues, but even though that number was at its peak, only 3 hit Biggio that season.

Season Plunks From Past Offenders Total Plunks Pct of Total League Total of Past Offenders*
1989 0 6 0
1990 0 3 0
1991 0 2 0
1992 1 7 14.3% 13
1993 1 10 10.0% 22
1994 1 8 12.5% 26
1995 5 22 22.7% 41
1996 7 27 25.9% 51
1997 8 34 23.5% 74
1998 6 23 26.1% 80
1999 5 11 45.5% 69
2000 5 16 31.3% 77
2001 9 28 32.1% 84
2002 4 17 23.5% 82
2003 7 27 25.9% 90
2004 3 15 20.0% 91
2005 6 17 35.3% 88
2006 0 3 0

*Includes pitchers who plunked Biggio during that season.