Friday, June 30, 2006

interleague rivalry weekend - rivalry plunks

The Rangers have plunked Craig Biggio 4 times, more than any other American League team, but the Astros and Rangers have only hit each other 24 times, which ranks tied for 10th among interleague matchups for most combined HBPs. The Marlins rivalry with the Devil Rays has had the most plunks thrown in it with 55, but it's not much of a rivalry when it's as one sided as this - the Devil Rays have hit the Marlins 41 times while only 14 plunks have gone the other way. The Blue Jays and the former Expos are behind them with 49 total plunks, but once again it has been the Expos and Nationals throwing over 65% of them. The Cubs and White Sox are nearly even with the South Side hitting the North Side 18 times, and 17 going the other way, and the battle for Ohio between the Indians and Reds is dead even at 12 plunks each. The Astros have been hit by the Rangers just 4 times more than they've struck back.

Top 10 interleague matchups by most plunks (including ties):
Teams (batters' HBPs)GamesTotal HBPsDifference
Marlins(41) - Devil Rays(14)495527
Na-xpos(17) - Blue Jays(32)464915
Royals(22) - Cardinals(17)36395
White Sox(17) - Cubs(18)51351
Angels(19) - Dodgers(15)53344
Yankees(15) - Mets(17)51322
A's(12) - Giants(16)56284
Orioles(15) - Phillies(12)42273
Braves(15) - Red Sox(10)39255
Reds(12) - Indians(12)42240
Astros(14) - Rangers(10)33244
Padres(11) - Mariners(13)50242


still on the road, but in the right state

The Astros have their last 3 regular season games against the American League this weekend, facing the Texas Rangers at Arlington. Vicente Padilla will be facing the Astros and bringing his 61 career plunks to the mound. Padillas has hit 11 batters this season, the most in the American League and behind only Dontrelle Willis in the Majors. He's hit 6 batters in his last 4 starts, and plunked Craig Biggio on May 11, 2003 when he pitched for the Phillies. If Biggio doesn't get hit by a pitch today it will be the first time since 1990 that he's made it through an entire month of June without being hit by a pitch.

In 1995 Jeff McCurry hit Biggio with a pitch for the Pirates on June 30th, and on June 30, 2001 against Milwaukee, Biggio was hit by both Allen Levrault and Mike Buddie.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

nba draft review

When Brandon Roy was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves last night (before being traded), that marked the 4th consecutive year, and the 13th overall, in which their was an NBA 1st round pick with the same name as someone who plunked Craig Biggio that same year. Brandon Claussen plunked Biggio on April 28th.
There has never been an NBA first round draft pick during Biggio's career with the same full name (first and last) as any of the pitchers who hit him with a pitch, but there have been 34 plunks thrown by 24 pitchers with the same last name as someone drafted by the NBA in the first round between 1988 and 2006, and 179 plunks thrown by 134 pitchers with the same 1st name as a 1st round NBA pick in that span.

Only 4 pitchers plunked Biggio in the same year someone with their last name was a 1st round NBA pick - Michael Jackson plunked Biggio in 1992, when Jimmy Jackson was drafted 4th overall by Dallas, David Williams hit Biggio with a pitch in 2002 when Jay Williams and Frank Williams were taken 2nd and 25th in the NBA draft, Aaron Cook plunked Craig Biggio in 2003 when Brian Cook was drafted by the Lakers, and Jamey Wright plunked Biggio last year when Antoine Wright was drafted by the New Jersey Nets.

There have been 26 plunks thrown by 21 pitchers whose first name matched an NBA 1st round pick from the same year. Twice there were two different pitchers with the same first name, also coincident with a first round NBA pick, to plunk Biggio. Chris Hammond and Chris Carpenter plunked Biggio last year, while Chris Paul was selected to the NBA, and Brian Anderson and Brian Meadows both plunked Biggio in the year Brian Skinner was drafted in the 1st round. Greg Maddux plunked Biggio in two different seasons ('93 and '94) in which there was an NBA 1st round pick named Greg (Greg Graham in '93 and Greg Minor in '94).

In the past 18 NBA drafts there have been 12 1st round picks named Chris and 8 name Jason (more than any other first name), but there were none name Chris or Jason in 2006. There was only one Craig drafted in that span, but he usually goes by the nickname "Speedy" (Claxton). Since 1988, there have been 14 1st round picks named Williams, including 3 in 2006, and 10 named Smith. Those are the top 2 last names drafted in those years. Not a single Biggio.


on off days, you can't get crushed by the American League.

Yesterday's game was another shutout (5-0) at the hands of the American League leading Detroit Tigers, but Craig Biggio had the day off. Well at least they got shutout and swept by the best team in baseball, so they're not settling for second best there, right?

The Astros have the day off today before a weekend series at Arlington, where Biggio is likely to move past Babe Ruth on the all-time hits list. But today, of course, is the one year anniversary of historic plunk #268 when Craig Biggio broke the post-1900 record - Don Baylor's record - for being hit by pitches. Byung-Hyun Kim threw plunk #268 on June 29, 2005 (and you can watch it again in the special features on the Astros' NL Championship DVD).
Anthony Telford of the Rangers threw a somewhat less historic plunk on June 29, 2002 (#210), and Ben Sheets plunked Biggio for #183 on June 29, 2001, which tied Biggio for 8th on the plunk list, at the time, with Jake Beckley.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

most plunked day of the week - league-wide

Craig Biggio has been hit most often on Saturdays (52 times), but league wide, from 1988 to 2005, Sunday has been the most plunked day of the week with 3,998. Saturday came in a close second with 3,990 plunks, but in terms of plate appearances per plunk, Saturday is third behind Sunday and Tuesday. Monday came in last in both categories.
In the American League, Saturday has been the day on which the most batters have been plunked, and also the most frequent in plate appearances per plunk, but the National League follows the league-wide trend with Sunday leading both categories. In interleague play, Sunday has had the most HBPs but Tuesday has the most frequent plunks per plate appearance.

League-wide day of week HBP totals 1988-2005:

Plunks by day of week
Plate Appearances per plunk by day
WeekdayTotal HBPs
WeekdayPlate appearance per plunk

National League day of week HBP totals 1988-2005 (not including interleague):

Plunks by day of week
Plate Appearances per plunk by day
WeekdayTotal HBPs
WeekdayPlate appearance per plunk

American League day of week HBP totals 1988-2005 (not including interleague):

Plunks by day of week
Plate Appearances per plunk by day
WeekdayTotal HBPs
WeekdayPlate appearance per plunk

Interleague day of week HBP totals 1997-2005:

Plunks by day of week
Plate Appearances per plunk by day
WeekdayTotal HBPs
WeekdayPlate appearance per plunk

(for the most recent analysis of Biggio's plunks per plate appearance by day of the week, check here.)

Roger Clemens' run support brought to you by the number 0 and the letters L,O, and B

Well, Craig Biggio got two hits closer to three thousand, but nothing else good happened last night in Detroit. Biggio did not get hit by a pitch and the Astros got shut out for the tenth time in a game Roger Clemens started, losing 4-0.
But they've got one more game for Biggio to pick up his first ever HBP against Detroit. Justin Verlander will be getting the ball first for Detroit, and trying to throw it near Craig Biggio. He has never faced Biggio, but has hit 6 batters in his 17 career games.

Today is the one year anniversary of Craig Biggio tying Don Baylor on the all time plunk list, recording his 267th plunk against Jason Jennings, June 28, 2005 in Colorado. It's also the tenth anniversary of Biggio tying Richie Hebner and Billy Schindle on the all time plunk list with his 74th plunk on June 28, 1996 against Mark Clark and the Mets.

And get well soon Peter Gammons.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

why isn't the head umpire called the umperor?

Tonight's home plate umpire for the Astros' contest against the Detroit Tigers is scheduled to be CB Bucknor. Bucknor has called 3 of Craig Biggio's 277 HBPs, and through the end of last season, he had declared 188 total batters "plunked" in his career. Bucknor calls HBPs at a rate of 0.73 per game, which is slightly higher than the league-wide average for the span of his career, which is 0.70. Bucknor ranks 32nd in average plunks called per game in that span, and 36th in total hit batters awarded first base. Of the 188 plunks he's called, 105 have been the visiting team getting hit, while only 83 were the home team. From 1996-2005 (the years Bucknor has umpired in the majors), only 5 umpires have had a greater discrepancy in plunks called in the direction of the visitors. Bucknor has also called 14 total HBPs for Houston batters (in 25 games), but only 2 for Detroit (in 16 games).

During the span of Craig Biggio's career (through '05), Tim Tschida leads all umpires with 395 plunks called, but in terms of plunks per game, Bill Welke leads the way (among umpires with more than 50 games behind the plate) with 0.90 per game. Tim Tschida, Tim Welke, Gary Cederstrom and Chuck Merriweather all tied for calling the most plunks for the Tigers with 24 each, while Dana Demuth has called the most for the Astros with 33. Bill Welke called the most in a single year (since 1988) with 43 in 2001.
(For Biggio's HBPs by umpire, look here, then add 2 for Bruce Dreckman, 1 each for Greg Gibson, Jim Reynolds, Lance Barksdale, Ted Barret, Bob Davidson and Brian Gorman)

not yet Detroit plunk city

It was another rough outing against the American League last night as the Tigers beat the Astros 10-4, and Craig Biggio went 0-5 without being hit by a pitch, but the rest of the National League didn't fare any better. The only NL team to win yesterday was the Brewers, and that was just because they were playing the Cubs.
Nate Robertson pitches tonight for the Tigers, looking for his 8th win of the season and possibly his 7th hit batter of the season. Robertson has never faced Craig Biggio, but he has hit 19 career batters including 6 this year. The Astros will be sending Roger Clemens to the mound looking to add to his total of 341 strikeouts against the Tigers. The only team he has more strikeouts against is the Cleveland Indians with 354.

Danny Jackson hit Craig Biggio with a pitch on June 27, 1995 for plunk #45; Pete Harnisch threw plunk #149 on June 27, 1999; and Omar Daal threw plunk #169 on June 27, 2000.


Monday, June 26, 2006

Astros vs Tigers

The Astros and Tigers have met 9 times, with the Astros winning 7 of those 9. Brad Ausmus, however, is 4-3 in those games having played 5 of them for the Tigers. The last time the two teams met, July 15, 2000, Ausmus drove in the go-ahead runs for the Tigers in the midst of a 7 run 7th inning.
Only 4 players have ever been plunked in games between the Tigers and Astros. Jeff Bagwell was hit twice - once by Dave Mlicki and once by Frank Castillo. Mlicki also hit Tim Bogar and Castillo also plunked Ricky Gutierrez. The Astro have never hit a Tigers batter.
Craig Biggio has never been plunked by the Tigers, but he was hit by 7 former Tigers (Brian Bohanon, Mark Leiter, Brian Moehler, Kevin Ritz, Willis Roberts, Frank Tanana and David Wells) and 8 pitchers who would later join the Tigers (Juan Acevado, Jose Bautista, Willie Blair, Frank Castillo, Kyle Farnsworth, Jeff McCurry, Heath Murray and Tim Worrell).

In 9 games against the Tigers, Biggio has batted .436 - his best batting average against any team.


Astros finally beat the White Sox

It took them 13 innings to finally finish them off, but the Astros finally picked up a win against the Chicago White Sox (10-9). Craig Biggio though, despite 7 plate appearance, was not hit by a pitch. Biggio took the day off on Saturday to rest a sore shoulder, but he might have just been trying to make sure his next HBP came not in Chicago at the new Comiskey Park, but in Detroit where he has never been plunked before. Biggio has been plunked in 29 different ballparks but he was missed in his 3 games at the old Tiger Stadium, and in 3 games in their new park.
Zach Minor pitches for the Tigers tonight in just his 5th career start. He has not yet hit a batter in any of his prior 4 Major League games.

10 years and 204 plunks ago, Tim Worrell hit Biggio with a pitch for the Padres on June 26, 1996. The year before that, on June 26, 1995, Biggio was hit by a pitch thrown by Mark Petkovski. The Astros are 2-0 when Biggio gets plunked on June 26th.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

room for improvement in Chicago

Craig Biggio found his 2,868th hit and his 1,737th run scored last night in Chicago, but plunk #278 has still not been thrown, and the Astros couldn't come up with their 38th win of the season, losing 7-4. Andy Pettitte was charged with his 99th career loss, but I'm sure he's in no hurry to get to the round number in that category.

Today the Astros will face Jon Garland, who has never plunked Craig Biggio. Garland is behind only Mark Buehrle on the active hit batters list for the White Sox, and tied for 18th on the all time franchise list with 31 career plunks thrown. He's 72 behind the White Sox all time leader, Red Faber, who plunked 103 batters between 1914 and 1933. Faber also hit two batters in the 1917 World Series while winning 3 games. Only 4 other players have plunked more than 50 batters for the White Sox franchise.
Craig Biggio has never been plunked on June 24th.

Tomorrow's White Sox starter is scheduled to be Javier Vazquez, who is currently #2 in the Majors in hit batters with 9 this season. Only Dontrelle Willis has plunked more in 2006. Vazquez has hit 56 in his career at a rate of 1 per 131 batters faced.
Miguel Batista plunked Biggio on June 25, 2001.


Friday, June 23, 2006

visit an AL park, get hit by a pitch

Craig Biggio has been hit by 12 pitches playing in interleague games in American League ballparks, but the Astros are only tied for 6th among National League teams in getting hit by pitches while visiting the AL. The Florida Marlins lead the way with 51 interleague plunks on the road, largely at the hands of the Devil Rays (23 times) and Red Sox (10 times) - the two biggest plunkers of National League visitors.

Most HBPs by NL batters at AL parks (through today):

Through 2005, the most inhospitable AL parks to visit for the National League batters have been Fenway Park, and Tropicana Field (both are places Biggio has never been plunked). The Devil Rays have plunked the most visiting National Leaguers with 49, but the Red Sox had a higher difference between the number of batters they hit and the times they got hit. Visitors to Fenway Park have been plunked 46 times, while only hitting 23 Red Sox batters. Tropicana Field visitors have plunked 27 Devil Rays batters while getting hit 49 times.

Biggest difference between home and visitor HBPS in interleague games at AL ballparks:
TeamVisitors plunkedHome team plunkedDifference
Tampa Bay
Kansas City
New York(A)
*Interleague play began in 1997, the year before Milwaukee moved from the AL to the NL, so they hosted interleague games as an AL park in the '97 season.

Liriano still 150 hit batters behind Clemens

With Roger Clemens so-called comeback (isn't he just showing up late to training camp?), all the attention in last night's game was focused on the pitchers - and with the national cameras on him, young Francisco Liriano may not have been as willing to go inside and throw Craig Biggio something he could get hit by. Liriano picked up the win and Biggio went 0-3 with a walk, while the Twins won 4-2.
The Astros move on tonight to face their World Series rivals on the north coast, the Chicago White Sox. Jose Contreras will be waiting to greet them there, possibly looking to plunk someone twice the way he hit Jeff Bagwell twice in game one of the World Series. Contreras has never plunked Biggio, but Biggio has been hit twice at New Comiskey Park (as Cletus would have us call it).

Francisco Cordova of the Pirates plunked Biggio on June 23, 1997.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

interleague plunk rates

Somewhere in this comment there's a question about interleague plunk rates. Here's what I found:
From 1997 to 2005 there have been 2,200 interleague games. In those games, batters have been hit at a rate of about once per 109.4 plate appearances. In total during those 9 seasons, batters have been hit at a rate of one per 109.6 batters, so it would appear that there is no difference in HBP rates in interleague games vs intraleague matchups. But, the overall rate of batters plunked in National League parks during that span is 1 per 111.6 batters, but when the American Leaguers visit, it drops to one plunk per 115.4 batters. In the American League, the overall rate has been 1 per 107.6 batters, but when the National League visits, they roll out the welcome mat and hit 1 of every 104.1 batters. In interleague games played in AL parks, the visiting National League team has gotten drilled once per 94.9 plate appearances while the home American League teams get hit once per 115.5 plate appearances. Perhaps the American League pitchers enjoy showing there enthusiasm for the designated hitter rule in this way. The NL batters get plunked more at NL parks too... once per 113.5 PAs while the AL is visiting, while the American League visitors get hit once per 117.4 PAs.
Overall, through 2005, National League batters had been hit 825 times in interleague play - 366 at home, and 459 times on the road. American League batters got plunked 734 times in those games - 366 times at home, and 368 on the road.
So, it appears that the big difference here is that National League batters seem to get drilled uncommonly often when they visit American League Parks, and Craig Biggio is no exception. Biggio has been plunked 16 times in 137 interleague games (including this season), but only 4 were at home while 12 were at American League parks. He's been hit once per 79.5 plate appearances at home in interleague matchups, and once every 25.3 plate appearance when visiting the American League. I guess either American League pitchers didn't learn very quickly that Biggio was not going to move out of the way of those inside pitches, or Biggio just wants to give the American League fans a chance to see some of his history making plunks during the few times he visits the AL parks. If he'd been at his AL park plunk rate for his entire career, he'd have around 460 HBPs. That'd be great and all, but he would have smashed Hughie Jennings record sometime in 1999 - long before blogging became popular, and before the wealth of baseball data available today could be found freely on the internet.

Astros win, Clemens returns tonight

The Astros snapped the Twins 8 game winning streak last night with a 5-3 win, but Craig Biggio didn't have a productive night at the plate, going 0-4 and finding nothing to get hit by. Only 2 of the 12 pitches thrown to him were called balls. Tonight the Twins and Astros will finish off their series with Francisco Liriano pitching for the Twins. Liriano has never hit a batter in his 82 innings of Major League work. He has faced 325 batters so far - just 19,044 fewer than tonight's starter for the Astros.

Today is the 8th anniversary of Craig Biggio's only plunk against the Twins, thrown by Mike Trombley on June 22, 1998. Joaquin Benoit plunked Biggio on June 22, 2003 for the Rangers, and Jason Jennings hit Biggio twice on June 22nd last year for the Rockies.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

less favorable results

While Craig Biggio has scored a run 95 of the times he's reached base by getting hit by a pitch, that still leaves 182 times he didn't make it around to score. I'm sure many readers have wondered what happened to him in those cases.
Mostly he's been left stranded - 129 times. 51 times he was left on 1st base at the end of the inning, 41 times was stranded on 2nd, and 27 times Biggio made it to third base but was left standing 90 feet from home as the inning ended.
He's been caught stealing 8 times after plunks. 6 of those 8 were attempts to steal 2nd base, while 2 were failed efforts to steal 3rd. He was also picked off first base 4 times - twice by the pitcher and twice by the catcher.
On 25 of the times he was plunked, he was erased by a double play. He's been called out on 6-4-3 double plays 9 times, 4-6-3 double plays 5 times, twice on 5-4-3 double plays, and three times on double plays scores 6-3. Biggio has also been called out after reaching on a plunk in double plays scored 5-3, 1-6-3, 3-6-3, 3-6-1, and 8-6-4. (He was the second out on the 8-6-4, thrown out at second.) And once he was caught getting back to the base after a line drive to the first baseman.
He's been forced out at second another 20 times, and at third twice. He's also been thrown out at the plate twice, and thrown out at third once.
And, of the 277 times he was hit by a pitch, he was replaced by a pinch runner just once. That pinch runner was erased on a 6-4-3 double play.

these aren't the Twins coors light was talking about

The Houston Astros became the victims of the Twins 8th straight victory last night, losing 6-5 in the 10th inning in a game without a single hit batter. Tonight they'll try again against Twins starter Carlos Silva, who has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch. Silva has hit 23 batters in his career, including 3 this season and 12 during his 2 years with the Phillies, but none of those 23 have been thrown at the Astros.

Craig Biggio has been plunked 5 times on June 21st, starting in 1998 when Pete Harnisch of the Reds drilled him. On June 21, 2000, Carlos Perez of the Dodgers hit Biggio with a pitch. On June 21, 2003 while facing the Rangers, Biggio got hit my Ismael Valdes in the 4th inning and Erasmo Ramirez in the 8th inning. And, last year on June 21, 2005 Biggio was hit by Jamey Wright of the Rockies.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Twins notes

Today was going to be the matchup between the most plunked player in the last hundred years - Craig Biggio - and the least plunked player active in the Major Leagues - Juan Castro. But, perhaps because they were embarrassed to face Craig Biggio with the unplunkable Juan Castro on their roster, the Twins traded Castro last week. Castro has had 2,202 plate appearances and never been hit by a pitch, leading all unplunked active players. But the Twins still have Nick Punto, who ranks 4th in plate appearance among players who have never taken one for the team with 770. Red Sox teammates Coco Crisp and Curt Schilling are 2nd and 3rd with 1,908 and 899 plate appearance respectively.
Overall the Twins have been hit by a pitch 92 times on days when Craig Biggio was hit by a pitch, and have a record of 114-134 in those games, including a loss in the one game in which they plunked Biggio. That works out to a .460 win percentage, which is slightly less than the .489 win percentage the Twins have compiled over the seasons in which Biggio has been plunked. So, if the Twins had won the games on the dates Biggio was plunked at the same rate that they were generally winning over that span, they would have gone 121-127. Somehow, Biggio's plunks caused the Twins to lose 7 extra games, at least 6 of which he was nowhere near... right?

Including the days when the Twins franchise was the Washington Senators, Bucky Harris is the all time franchise leader in HBPs with 99 between 1919 and 1928. Clyde Milan and Eddie Yost (the most plunked player in history with Y for a last initial) are 2nd and 3rd with 80 and 76 plunks for the franchise.
Chuck Knoblauch is 4th, and 1st among those who played for the franchise as it's currently known, accumulating 74 HBPs from 1991 to 1997. Torri Hunter is there active leader, with 39, tied for 19th in franchise history.

Top 20 most plunked batters in Twins franchise history:
99Bucky Harris1919-1928
80Clyde Milan1907-1922
76Eddie Yost1944-1958
74Chuck Knoblauch1991-1997
71Ossie Bluege1922-1939
68Cesar Tovar1965-1972
59Tony Oliva1962-1976
58George McBride1908-1920
56Kirby Puckett1984-1995
54Sam Rice1915-1933
51Joe Judge1915-1932
49Corey Koskie1998-2004
49Randy Bush1982-1993
48Matt Lawton1995-2001
47Harmon Killebrew1954-1974
45Pat Meares1993-1998
42Goose Goslin1921-1938
40Jake Stahl1904-1906
39Doc Gessler1909-1911
39Torii Hunter1997-

Among pitchers, Walter Johnson ranks first hitting batters in the Twins history, dating back to the Washington days. Depending on which website you believe, Johnson hit either 203 or 205 batters. Some sites list him as the all time record holder in that category, but pre-1900 stats for pitchers hitting batters are apparently not as well documented as batting stats, so there are a few from that era who may have plunked more than that. But not for the Twins or Senators.
Jim Katt is next with 96 hit batters between 1959 and 1973, and Bert Blyleven is third, having hit 80 batters in his various stints with the Twins between 1970 and 1988. Brad Radke's 62 career hit batters ranks 1st among active Twins and 6th in Twins history.

Top 20 pitchers by hit batsmen in Twins franchise history:
203Walter Johnson1907-1927
96Jim Kaat1959-1973
80Bert Blyleven1970-1988
75Case Patten1901-1908
68Tom Hughes1904-1913
62Brad Radke1995-
50Jim Perry1963-1972
47Camilo Pascual1954-1966
47Happy Townsend1902-1905
46Pedro Ramos1955-1961
46Mike Smithson1984-1987
44Kyle Lohse2001-
42Scott Erickson1990-1995
40Bob Groom1909-1913
39Doc Ayers1913-1919
37Firpo Marberry1923-1936
36Harry Harper1913-1919
35Sid Hudson1940-1952
34Dave Boswell1964-1970
33Joe Boehling1912-1916
33Bump Hadley1926-1935

The Mauerists

On this date, June 20th, in Biggio plunking history, Craig Biggio had a three year streak of being hit by pitches stretching from 1998 to 2000. Rick Krivda of the Reds plunked him on June 20, 1998, Bobby Ayala of the Expos hit him on June 20, 1999 and Kevin Brown hit him on June 20, 2000. All three of those plunks were at home, where the Astros will be hosting the Minnesota Twins today. The Twins starter today, Brad Radke, has hit 62 of the 9,918 batters he's faced in his career but only 1 this season. He has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch. The only Twins pitcher to plunk Biggio was Mike Trombley, who threw plunk #132 on June 22, 1998.
Now, this isn't normally a site that gets into the world of politics, with the exception of how that world relates to the plunking of Biggio, but the following is important in the understanding of what's going on with these Minnesota Twins. Minnesota has had quite a wacky political past - they elected an independent wrestler as their governor a while back, and though my memory of early eighties politics is fuzzy, I believe they actually put the lady from those "Where's the Beef" commercials up against Reagan in the 1984 election. But now, a new political wave has washed over the Minnesota countryside, and the teachings of Twins catcher Joe "The Chairman" Mauer have gripped the minds and hearts of the people in that section of America's north coast. Mauerist propaganda on the internet is rampant (see here), and the power of Mauer has clearly been felt in the Minnesota state house where they have finally agreed this season to build a new ballpark for the Twins.
Now, these Mauerists don't seem to be communists, per se, and they have actually helped prevent Castro from overthrowing Batista. The Twins started the season with Tony Batista and Juan "unplunkable" Castro at 3rd base and short stop, but Batista was designated for assignment earlier this month and Castro has been traded - appropriately enough - to the Reds. There agenda seems to be more focused on OBP and building a strong pitching staff through the farm system than bringing the farm system under collective rule.
Catcher cults are not a new phenomenon in baseball... the IRodians left Texas in 2002 to follow their leader to Florida, and then Detroit but in Houston the Ausmists are growing in numbers every day. In Boston, you can't go a block without seeing 'tekites preaching on corners about how the lessons of Jason Varitek can be applied to every day life, but there is still a large number of Followers of Fisk who believe jumping and waving will guide things on the correct path - like a home run is steered to the correct side of the foul pole. Cincinnati is still heavily influenced by Benchlians, and New York had an influx of Posada's Witnesses in the late '90s, but it's clear that the Yogis are the most influential catcher cult of all time. The influential teachings of Yogi are felt constantly in the media and politics to this day.
There's no telling whether this new movement following Chairman Mauer will be that far reaching, but Twins fans seem to think it could be. The question for the rest of the country will be whether to fear it as a threat to your way of life and to your baseball team's efforts to win, or enjoy it as the harmless passion of eccentrics from the northern plains.

Monday, June 19, 2006

plunks as the offensive sparkplug

In an average Astros game in which Craig Biggio gets hit by a pitch, the Astros score 3.5 runs after the plunking - but when Biggio scores after reaching base on the plunk, the average goes up to 5.2 runs. The most they have scored in a game after Biggio was plunked is 18 runs, but they've never scored more than 13 runs after Biggio got hit and didn't score a run. The Astros have a record of 27 wins and 64 losses in games when they score 1 run or less after Biggio is plunked, and a record of 113-37 when they score 3 or more runs after the plunk. They're 18-18 when they score 2 runs after the plunking. After 46 of the 277 plate appearance during which Biggio was plunked, the Astros did not score another run in the game.

Runs scored after plunks (in the game - not the inning):
Runs after plunkGamesRecord

Interleague off-day

The Astros get a day off to try to think about how not to lose 2 of 3 home games against a 19-49 team, and maybe how to get hit by more pitches. Tomorrow they'll get to apply whatever they come up with against the Minnesota Twins, who are 34-34, and near the bottom of the league in hitting batters with just 20. The Twins have won 7 straight games and 9 of their last 10, hitting just 2 batters in those 10.

Shawn Chacon hit Craig Biggio with a pitch on June 19, 2001.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

fear the mighty Royals

Well, despite some reports that Kansas City is one of the worst teams ever, they're clearly a juggernaut. Scott Elarton opened the game with 5 perfect innings and the mighty Royals went on to win 7-2. Craig Biggio had the Astros only 2 runs batted in, but he did not get hit by a pitch.
Tonight the Astros face rookie pitcher Bobby Keppel in his 6th career appearance. He has not yet hit a batter in the majors, but he's only face 109. Jeff Brantley plunked Biggio on June 17, 1998 (and proceeded to blow a 3 run lead in the bottom of the 9th). Oscar Villarreal hit Biggio with a pitch on June 17, 2003.

Tomorrow, the Astros will see the familiar face of Brandon Duckworth. Duckworth spent the last two seasons with the Astros, hitting 5 batters. He has hit 28 batters in his career, but has never plunked Biggio. He hasn't hit anybody yet this season.
Duckworth could become the 13th pitcher who had previously been a teammate of Biggio's to hit him with a pitch joining Ryan Bowen, Danny Darwin, Pete Harnisch, Xavier Hernandez, Jeff Juden, Darryl Kile, Mark Portugal, Willie Blair, Brian Moehler, Dave Veres, Ron Villone, and Pedro Astacio. Astacio plunked Biggio on June 18, 2001, and pitched 4 games for the Astros later that year. (He plunked Biggio again after leaving the Astros.)

Friday, June 16, 2006


The Kansas City Royals have given up a league worst 410 runs in 65 games. Over 162, that projects out to around 1,022 runs. If they don't improve, they could become the first team to give up 1,000 runs in the 21st century. In 1999 the Colorado Rockies gave up 1,028 runs, and in 1996 the Detroit Tigers allowed 1,103 runs to score, but before that no one had given up that many runs since 1939 when 2 teams did it (the St. Louis Browns and Philadelphia Athletics). 7 other teams allowed 1000 runs between 1900 and 1939, led by the 1930 Phillies who gave up 1,199. Before 1900, 21 teams gave up 1,000 runs in a season, led by the 1899 Cleveland Spiders who gave up 1,252 runs in their final year of existence. (Maybe this should be a rule - give up 1000 runs and your franchise gets revoked.)
But, while this year's Royals have given up the most runs in the league, they're also tied for 3rd in fewest hit batters in the league. They've hit just 20 batters this year, behind (or ahead of) only Baltimore and the Yankees who have hit 19. Since people started counting, only 4 teams have ever given up the most runs and the fewest plunks in a season - the 1982 Twins, the 1946 Browns, the 1917 Athletics, and the 1902 Orioles. Since 1900, only 19 teams have given up the most runs and been in the bottom 5 in plunking batters (including the 4 above). In that same span, 16 teams have given up the most runs and hit the most batters in a season, and 57 of the teams who gave up the most runs finished in the top 5 in plunking batters.

These Royals may not give up quite as many runs as some of those other teams, but some of those teams could score a few runs too. The '99 Rockies scored 906 runs, and the '96 Tigers scored 783. The Royals are on pace to score just 628, fewest in the league. If they don't improve they'll become the first team since the '88 Orioles to score the fewest runs in the league and give up the most. Only 7 teams have done that since 1900. They'll lose by a combined 394 runs. No one since those 1899 Cleveland Spiders has given up that many more runs than they scored in a season. The worst recent run differential was the 2003 Tigers who gave up 928 and scored 591... 337 runs behind there opponents in total.

That 1999 Rockies team actually managed to not hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, so the record for most runs allowed by a team in a season in which they plunked Biggio is 969 by the 2003 Texas Rangers.

Top 10 runs allowed by teams in seasons in which they plunked Craig Biggio:

(Hmmm... 7 out of 10 begin with the letter R...)

The 2004 Diamondbacks were the worst team to plunk Biggio based on Runs Allowed minus Runs Scored. The D-backs scored 615 runs that year, but gave up 284 more than that.

Top 10 worst run differentials by teams that plunked Biggio:
RA-RSRuns ScoredRuns AllowedYearTeam

interleague time

Craig Biggio got the day off yesterday, and the Astros won their 4th straight game, finishing off the Cubs 3-2. Morgan Ensberg had a pinch plunk in the game.
It's always nice to return home in the midst of a win streak, but even better coming home to face the worst team in baseball. Scott Elarton, at 1-8, pitches for the 17-48 Kansas City Royals tonight against the Astros. Elarton has hit 4 batters this season and is tied for the league lead in home runs allowed with 19. The Royals have given up a major league worst 96 home runs as a team, and there team ERA is 6.08, also dead last in the majors.

Craig Biggio has been hit just once on June 16th - in 1999 by Rudy Seanez.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Wrigley plunks

From 1988 to 2005, Craig Biggio has been hit 12 times at Wrigley Field. Only 7 players have been hit as many times at Wrigley, and they all played for the Cubs for at least some of those years. Sammy Sosa was plunked 17 times at Wrigley; Jeff Blauser, Scott Servais, Aramis Ramirez, Brian McRae, and Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg where each plunked 13 times there; and Mickey Morandini recorded 12 plunks at the home of the Cubs.

third straight win, one more against the Cubs.

Despite reports on some disreputable websites that Glendon Rusch would be pitching last night, it was Greg Maddux who took the mound for the Cubs. Maddux missed Biggio with 11 pitches, but Biggio hit 2 singles off him, for 2 runs batted in, and the Astros held on for a 5-4 win.

Tonight the Astros will face Carlos Zambrano who threw 8 shutout innings, allowing only 1 hit last Monday. And he didn't even hit anybody. When Zambrano plunked Biggio in the 7th inning on May 31, 2003, he also threw 8 shutout innings and when he plunked Biggio in the 8th inning on August 12, 2003, he was in the midst of a complete game shutout.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

more scoreboard watching

Following up on yesterday's post regarding game scores when Craig Biggio gets hit by a pitch:

Of the 82 times Biggio has been hit by a pitch in the 7th inning or later, 42 came while the Astros were losing, 12 during tied games and 28 with the Astros in the lead. 35 occured when the teams were within 1 run of each other, and 58 when the teams were within 3 runs.
The Astros have come back to win 8 of the 17 games when Biggio was hit while down 1 run in the seventh inning or later. When Biggio is plunked with a lead in the 7th inning or later, the Astros are 25-3. They're 5-7 when he's plunked that late in a tie game, and 10-32 when he's been hit while they're trailing in the late innings. However, the only time he was plunked with the Astros losing in extra innings, they went on to win the game.
Biggio has only been hit while the Astros had a lead in the first inning once, and has never been plunked while trailing in the second inning. This is mostly explained by his usual spot batting at or near the top of the order. The Astros are 22-4 when Biggio is plunked with a lead in one of the first three innings, 37-27 when he's plunked in tie games that early, and 8-13 when he's hit in the early innings while the Astros are behind.
Below is the complete table of how many times Craig Biggio has been hit in each inning broken out by the difference on the score board.

Plunks by inning and Astros' lead:

Astros Lead12345678910111213Total


























Marshall plan fails, Rusch in tonight.

Last week Sean Marshall missed Craig Biggio with 8 pitches and only allowed the Astros to score 1 run. Apparently having the weekend off and playing at home didn't help him much last night. He did miss Biggio 14 times, but he also gave up 5 runs. Biggio scored one of those, but Chris Burke scored 3 off Marshall and 2 more off the Cubs relievers. 5 runs scored in a game ties a club record held by Craig Biggio. Biggio scored 5 runs in a game on July 4, 1995, September 28, 1995, and June 4, 1996.

Tonight the Astros face Glendon Rusch, who was the last Cub to plunk Biggio. Rusch hit him on June 1, 2004 for plunk #250. Rusch has hit 39 batters in his career, but has not hit anyone this season and hit only 1 batter in 2005 in 145.1 innings of work.

Biggio had never been plunked on June 14th before last season, when Jorge Julio hit him in Baltimore.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Scoreboard watching

Today's opponents, the Chicago Cubs, hold the record for most runs scored before plunking Craig Biggio in a game. On August 20, 2002 Kyle Farnsworth hit Biggio with a pitch while the Cubs were leading 13-8 in the seventh inning. Biggio scored one of three Astros runs in that inning, but it wasn't enough for the Astros to get the win.
Biggio has been hit 9 times while trailing the Cubs, 7 times while in the lead against them, and 3 times while the teams were tied. The 2 of the 5 times Biggio has been plunked while trailing by 6 runs have been against the Cubs, as well as 2 of the 5 times he's been hit while behind by 5 runs.
Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch a total of 91 times during tied ballgames. 96 plunks came while the Astros were winning, and 90 were thrown when the Astros were trailing in the game. 224 of his 277 plunks have been at points in the game when the Astros were within 3 runs (in either direction) of their opponent.
The biggest deficit he's been plunked at is 9 runs, but he's done that twice. The biggest lead he's had when he was hit by a pitch is ten runs.
Biggio has been hit most often when the game is scoreless - 63 times. Following that, a 1-0 Astros lead is his next most frequently plunked score, with 14.
Pedro Astacio and Mark Gardner have each hit Craig Biggio with a pitch 3 times when the game was scoreless. 5 other pitchers have plunked Biggio twice with a 0-0 score, but no pitcher has ever plunked Biggio on two different occasions with the scoreboard at anything other than 0-0.
Plunks, and runs scored off them, by Astros' lead:

Total plunks by score:

Opponents' score
Astros Score01234



















(note: these scores are as of the time Biggio was hit, not final game scores)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Marshall Pitches in Chicago - He might field if he has to.

While the Astros were playing 4 games against the Braves over the weekend, Sean Marshall was sitting in Chicago waiting to make his second consecutive start against the Astros. Marshall should have had plenty of time to view tape of last Wednesday's start in which he missed Biggio with 8 pitches. No doubt he has a plan to improve his performance tonight.

Biggio has been plunked just once on June 13th - in 2000 by Rolando Arrojo at Coors Field.

World Cup Viewers Guide

With Team USA in action today in the FIFA World Cup, it seems fair to take a quick look at the sport the rest of the world finds so intriguing. But, since Gatorade for some reason feels the need to run advertisements featuring Team USA Soccer with "Take me out to the ballgame" playing in the background, it is obvious that the only way to discuss the World Cup is by somehow linking it to baseball.
Craig Biggio had been hit by a pitch 9 times on days when FIFA World Cup games were being played. 5 of those plunks came during the opening round. 2 on the day of a quarterfinals game. Biggio has also been plunked on the day of the third place game in each of the last 2 World Cups. 7 of the 9 plunks came during the 1998 World Cup, and 2 during the 2002 edition, but Biggio was not plunked on the same day as any of the matches during the 1994 or 1990 FIFA World Cups.
Brian McBride is the only US player who has scored a World Cup goal on a day when Craig Biggio was hit by a pitch, but 41 players from 19 other countries have done so. 9 of those players, including McBride and England's David Beckham, are playing in the 2006 tournament. Croatian striker Davor SĀŠuker and Argentinian Gabriel Batistuta have both scored 3 goals on days when Biggio was hit by a pitch, but Batistuta scored all three of his in one game while Suker scored goals on three different days when Biggio was plunked. However, neither of them are participating this year. Among those who are playing in 2006, Sweden's Henrik Larsson leads the way with 2 goals on days when Biggio has been plunked.
2 players have scored on their own goal in World Cup matches on days when Biggio was plunked.

The Netherlands has scored the most goals on days when Craig Biggio was hit by a pitch, with 8 in two games. On June 20, 1998, the Netherlands beat South Korea 5-0, while Biggio was plunked by Rick Krivda of the Reds. The 5 goal performance was matched only by Argentina, who beat Jamaica 5-0 on June 21, 1998 - the same day Pete Harnisch plunked Craig Biggio. South Korea has given up the most goals on dates of Biggio plunkings, with 8.

Here are the total team standings on days when Craig Biggio was hit by a pitch:
South Korea002

Teams in bold are playing in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, but Yugoslavia is down to just Serbia & Montenegro.

Only 1 of the 8 pitchers who plunked Biggio on a day of a World Cup match was born outside the United States. Lance Painter was born in England and plunked Biggio on July 11, 1998, but England had been eliminated and did not play that day.

14 runs, and a day off.

The Astros get a day of today after a 14-4 blowout win on Sunday. Baseballs hit Chris Burke, Willy Tavares, and Braves pitcher Horacio Ramirez had a lined drive glance off his head, but nothing hit Craig Biggio. He did go 3-4 though.
So, there won't be a chance to record plunk #278 today, but we can always enjoy the past history of Craig Biggio being hit by pitches on June 12th. Michael Jackson threw plunk #12 on June 12, 1992, and Greg Maddux threw Biggio's 32nd plunk on June 12, 1994. On June 12, 2003, David Wells threw an interleague plunk for the Yankees, and on June 12, 2004, Chris Capuano hit Biggio with a pitch for Milwaukee.
The Astros are 0-4 on June 12th when Craig Biggio gets hit by a pitch, so perhaps today is a good day for a day off.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Weekend preview and Braves notes

The Astros used two Berkman homers last night to defeat the Braves 7-4 and win their third straight game, but Craig Biggio was hit by no pitches.
The Astros have three more against the Braves this weekend, but will not be facing John Smoltz. Smoltz is having an interesting year - he has hit 5 batters for the first time since 1993 when he set his career high of 6. It would seem like setting a new career high would be a lock this season, but if he reverts to his old ways he could miss the next 900 batters he faces. On May 7th of this year, against the Mets, Smoltz hit 2 batters in a game for just the 3rd time in his career, and the first time since May 14, 1994... against the Mets. His only other 2 plunk game was the first of his major league career, July 23, 1988, when he hit two batters while facing, once again, the Mets.
Among the big names the Astros will face in action this weekend are Andruw and Chipper Jones. They are the all time leader in home runs by teammates with the same last name having hit 630 homers during their time together in Atlanta. But, they are only 4th in HBPs by teammates with the same name with 80. Brooks and Frank Robinson combined for 81 HBPs during the time they spent as teammates in Baltimore, Joe and Luke Sewell were hit 85 times for Cleveland, and the active pair of Jack and Craig Wilson in Pittsburgh have combined for 104 and still counting.

Friday, June 9, 2006
Jorge Sosa starts tonight for the Braves. He's only hit 8 batters in 516.1 innings of work in his career, and his never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch. Ken Ryan and Stan Spencer plunked Biggio on June 9th in 1996 and 2000.

Saturday, June 10, 2006:
Saturday, Tim Hudson will be on the mound facing the Astros. Hudson has hit 60 batters in his career, including 4 this season, but he has not yet plunked Biggio. Craig Biggio has never been hit by a pitch on June 10th.

Sunday, June 11, 2006:
Wrapping up the series with the Braves, Houston faces Horacio Ramirez on Sunday. Ramirez has never hit Biggio with a pitch, and has thrown 2 of his 10 career HBPs this season.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

win/loss records

Today's starter for the Braves, John Thomson, is has a record of 2 wins and 5 losses coming into tonight's game. 2-5 pitchers have plunked Biggio twice in his career - Jose Batista on July 20, 1995 (plunk $50) and Trey Moore on May 20, 1998 (plunk #125). The Astros won both of those games, but neither pitcher who plunked Biggio got the loss.
Craig Biggio has been plunked most often by pitchers who have not received a decision on the year. 0-0 pitchers have hit him 31 times, far exceeding the 13 plunks by 1-1 pitchers. The Astros are 20-11 when a pitcher with no record hits Craig Biggio with a pitch.
Biggio has been plunked 34 times by pitchers with .500 records (not including the 0-0 records), 94 times by pitchers with a record below .500, and 118 times by a pitchers whose record is over .500 before the game.
He's been hit 45 times by pitchers 1 game over .500, and 31 times by pitchers 1 game below .500.
Chris Carpenter set the record last season for most games over .500 for a pitcher going into a game in which he plunked Biggio. He was 19-4, 15 games over .500 on September 3, 2005. Brandon Webb is the record holder for most games under .500 going into a Biggio plunking game, with a 3-11 record, 8 games below .500, before plunking Biggio on July 26, 2004. (Oddly enough, Webb got the win in that game)

Dontrelle Willis edged Carpenter last season for the most total wins going into a Biggio plunking performance, with 20 before getting his 21st while plunking Biggio on September 12, 2005. James Baldwin, Jimmy Anderson and Dustin Hermanson have all hit Biggio with a pitch when entering a game with 13 losses on the season.

Craig Biggio's HBPs by pitcher's games over .500:
Games over .500Plunks

Note: These win-loss records are for the season, not career win-loss records.

it's a win streak.

The Astros finished off the Cubs series with a 1-0 victory yesterday to extend their winning streak to 2 games, but none of the 13 pitches thrown to Craig Biggio hit him. Today the Atlanta Braves visit Houston for the first of 4 games. John Thomson is the Braves scheduled starter tonight, and he is also the last Atlanta pitcher to hit Craig Biggio with a pitch. On May 7, 2004 Thomson plunked Biggio at Turner Field during a 5-3 Astros win. Thomson has plunked 2 batters this season and 28 in his career.

The Braves have only plunked Biggio 7 times, fewest in the National League, but things may be changing for the Braves with the loss of long time pitching coach Leo Mazzone. The Braves have ranked in the bottom 5 in hit batters for each of the last 11 years, and were dead last in 5 of those season including 2004 and 2005. They only hit 32 batters all last season, but have already hit 24 this season, putting them in a tie for 11th place this season. They're not exactly threatening to suddenly lead the league in hitting batters, but it does appear to be a big increase.

Jose DeLeon and Alan Mills have plunked Biggio on June 8th. DeLeon did so on June 8, 1993, and Mills did it on June 8, 2000.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

don't let the ball hit us on your way out

Following up on yesterday's post regarding batters who have accumulated the most plunks after leaving each team, it's only fair to look at the pitchers as well.
Former Rangers' pitchers who were active in 2005 have hit more batters since leaving that team, then the former players of any other team, with 572 (through '05). They are led by Jamie Moyer who has hit 89 batters since leaving Texas. Moyer also ranks first in plunks among former Cubs, Cardinals and Red Sox with 95, 88, and 76 hit batters since leaving those 3 clubs.
Randy Johnson leads form Astros in hit batters, having plunked 76 since leaving Houston. Johnson also leads former Expos and former Mariners in plunks since leaving those teams, plunking 168 since his days as an Expo, and 79 since leaving the Mariners. (If he moved around any more he's be called the big Rental unit.) Kenny Rogers is the only other pitcher to lead 3 former teams in plunks since leaving. He's hit 53 since leaving the Mets, 57 since leaving the A's, and 73 since leaving the Yankees.
Interestingly, Johnson only plunked 2 Astros batters after leaving Houston, 2 Expos and 1 Mariner.

None of the above named pitchers has hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, but Pedro Martienz, Al Leiter, Kevin Brown, Matt Clement, David Wells, Jeff Suppan, Ron Villone, Jason Schmidt, and Miguel Batista all have, and each leads the former players of at least 1 team in hit batters.

Total stats through '05 of pitchers active in '05, since last pitching for each team:
Blue Jays535128689965
Red Sox655018409760
White Sox443094585411
Devil Rays452643544481

Leaders among active former players after leaving each team (through '05):
TeamHBP leaderWins leaderSO leader
Na-xposRandy Johnson-168Randy Johnson-260Randy Johnson-4321
PiratesTim Wakefield-126Tim Wakefield-130Tim Wakefield-1480
DodgersPedro Martinez-115Pedro Martinez-187Pedro Martinez-2734
Blue JaysAl Leiter-98Al Leiter-129Al Leiter-1535
CubsJamie Moyer-95Jamie Moyer-177Jamie Moyer-1571
RangersJamie Moyer-89Jamie Moyer-171Jamie Moyer-1469
CardinalsJamie Moyer-88Jamie Moyer-171Jamie Moyer-1449
MarinersRandy Johnson-79Randy Johnson-130Randy Johnson-2159
OriolesKevin Brown-78Kevin Brown-123Kevin Brown-1538
Red SoxJamie Moyer-76Jamie Moyer-139Jamie Moyer-1157
AstrosRandy Johnson-76Randy Johnson-120Randy Johnson-2043
YankeesKenny Rogers-73Kenny Rogers-102Kenny Rogers-901
IndiansJulian Tavarez-72Julian Tavarez-56Julian Tavarez-493
PadresMatt Clement-63Matt Clement-57Matt Clement-856
TwinsScott Erickson-58Scott Erickson-81Scott Erickson-723
A'sKenny Rogers-57Kenny Rogers-81Kenny Rogers-695
RedsDavid Wells-55David Wells-148David Wells-1289
TigersDavid Wells-55David Wells-154David Wells-1339
MetsKenny Rogers-53Kenny Rogers-76Kenny Rogers-637
D-BacksJeff Suppan-52Jeff Suppan-84Jeff Suppan-806
GiantsJulian Tavarez-52Julian Tavarez-43Julian Tavarez-370
BrewersRon Villone-50Ron Villone-48Ron Villone-604
MarlinsMatt Clement, Kevin Brown -48Kevin Brown-90Kevin Brown-1174
Devil RaysJason Johnson-47Jason Johnson-50Jason Johnson-697
RockiesJulian Tavarez-45Mike Hampton, Julain Tavarez -32Julian Tavarez-308
PhilliesTerry Mulholland-43Terry Mulholland-48Terry Mulholland-566
BravesJason Schmidt-41Jason Schmidt-111Jason Schmidt-1481
White SoxTanyon Sturtze-38Tanyon Sturtze-37Tanyon Sturtze-440
RoyalsMiguel Batista-29Miguel Batista-44Miguel Batista-502
AngelsIsmael Valdez-21Ismael Valdez-32Ismael Valdez-243

Losing streak ends at 5.

Chris Burke recorded his 10th career HBP, leaving him just 277 short of the all time record, but Craig Biggio was not hit by any pitches. Kerry Wood missed Biggio with 8 pitches, Carlos Marmol missed 9 times, and Bob Howry missed him 7 times and gave up Biggio's only hit of the game. The Astros won 4-1, breaking their 5 game losing streak.
Cubs rookie Sean Marshall starts the series finale this afternoon. He has 4 plunks and 3 wins so far this season. But, he has also lost 3 games and missed 252 batters.

The 7th of June is one of 4 days of the year on which Biggio has been plunked 5 different times. He's only been hit more than that on April 29th. Ron Darling threw Biggio's 10th career plunk on June 7, 1991. It was the 35th plunk of Darling's career. Yorkis Perez threw his 2nd career plunk, hitting Biggio on June 7, 1995, and Heath Murray threw his 2nd career plunk, hitting Biggio on June 7, 1997. On June 7, 2001, Shawn Chacon tallied his 3rd career hit batter while throwing Biggio's 179th career plunk. He also gave up a home run to Jeff Bagwell 2 batters later, and lost the game 2-1. And, on June 7, 2002, Chad Bradford made a 1 pitch appearance for the A's, and managed to record his 4th career hit batter by plunking Biggio with his 1 pitch that day.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

don't let the ball hit you on the way out

Alternate title: Records we're glad Craig Biggio will never break.

One of the most popular things baseball fans do to drive themselves nuts is look around the league at all the players who are doing well for other teams that used to be on your own team. Cubs fans have one less such player to worry about now that Rafeal Palmeiro has gone away. Palmeiro led former Cubs active through '05 in hits (2763), homers (559), RBIs (1740), and hit-by-pitches (82) accumulated after leaving the team. Palmeiro's 559 homers after leaving the Cubs ranks 4th all time behind Ruth's post-Boston total (665), and Sammy Sosa's post-White Sox and post-Ranger totals. Joe Carter is next behind Ruth among people without steroids, with 396 homers after leaving the Cubs.
Luis Gonzalez is the next active former Cub behind Palmeiro in all of those categories, and he's still pretty good. Gonzalez is also the the active leader among former Astros in HBPs, having been hit 62 times (through '05) after leaving Houston. Steve Finley has the most post-Astro homers and RBIs among '05 actives, and Kenny Lofton leads former Astros in hits after leaving Houston.

In total, 53 former Astros players active in the 2005 season have been hit 388 times since leaving the organization. That ranks them 9th in the majors. The Mets are #1 in plunks by former players, with 573, led through '05 by Melvin Mora, Jeff Kent and Carl Everett - all tied at 71 plunks since leaving the Mets. Cleveland's former players have hit 1,939 home runs and driven in 7,716 to lead both categories. Jeremy Burnitz is their top player in post Cleveland homers with 276, and Jeff Kent leads the RBI category with 994 since his brief stint with the Indians. Former Padres have gotten 14,079 to lead that category, led by Gary Sheffield's 1798.

Craig Biggio has been hit more than the active former players of 11 different teams.

Total stats through '05 of players since they last played for each team:
Blue Jays634261307571611128
Red Sox7227178932086069
White Sox53268120543708089
Devil Rays6020547521984710

Leaders among former players after leaving each team (through '05).
TeamHBP leaderHR leaderRBI leaderHits leader
Na-xposLarry Walker-111Larry Walker-284Larry Walker-927Marquis Grissom-1504
BrewersGary Sheffield-108Gary Sheffield-428Gary Sheffield-1343Gary Sheffield-2058
AngelsDamion Easley-99Jim Edmonds-210J.T. Snow-615J.T. Snow-1043
PadresGary Sheffield-99Gary Sheffield-385Gary Sheffield-1207Gary Sheffield-1798
Blue JaysJeff Kent-99Jeff Kent-323Jeff Kent-1277Jeff Kent-2024
MarlinsCarl Everett-84Gary Sheffield-263Gary Sheffield-827Gary Sheffield-1260
CubsRafael Palmeiro-82Rafael Palmeiro-544Rafael Palmeiro-1740Rafael Palmeiro-2763
PiratesJose Guillen-74Barry Bonds-532Barry Bonds-1297Moises Alou-1900
MetsCarl Everett, Melvin Mora, Jeff Kent -71Jeff Kent-256Jeff Kent-1010Jeff Kent-1514
IndiansJeff Kent-70Jeromy Burnitz-276Jeff Kent-994Jeff Kent-1487
MarinersAlex Rodriguez-67Tino Martinez-251Tino Martinez-959Omar Vizquel-1770
YankeesJ.T. Snow-63J.T. Snow-189J.T. Snow-871J.T. Snow-1498
A'sJason Giambi-63Jason Giambi-126Ruben Sierra-410Johnny Damon-730
AstrosLuis Gonzalez-62Steve Finley-260Steve Finley-877Kenny Lofton-2127
RangersSammy Sosa-56Sammy Sosa-587Sammy Sosa-1572Sammy Sosa-2284
TigersLuis Gonzalez-54Luis Gonzalez-209Luis Gonzalez-701Luis Gonzalez-1178
Devil RaysJose Guillen-51Vinny Castilla-104Vinny Castilla-416Vinny Castilla-679
RockiesEric Young-50Todd Walker-56Eric Young-290Eric Young-1043
CardinalsAdam Kennedy-50Dmitri Young-142Dmitri Young-540Dmitri Young-1064
D-backsJose Guillen-49Reggie Sanders-97Travis Lee-295Travis Lee-589
White SoxMike Cameron-49Sammy Sosa-559Sammy Sosa-1459Sammy Sosa-2069
OriolesSteve Finley-48Steve Finley-292Steve Finley-1063Steve Finley-2253
DodgersPaul Konerko-46Mike Piazza-220Paul Konerko-676Paul Konerko-1083
TwinsMatt Lawton-46David Ortiz-119David Ortiz-388Todd Walker-789
RedsPaul Konerko-45Paul Konerko-203Paul Konerko-663Dan Wilson-1071
Red SoxMatt Stairs-43Matt Stairs-206Matt Stairs-676Matt Stairs-1008
BravesJermaine Dye-39Jermaine Dye-180Jermaine Dye-660Marquis Grissom-1155
PhilliesJulio Franco-37Julio Franco-170Julio Franco-1149Julio Franco-2513
GiantsRoyce Clayton-28Royce Clayton-89Royce Clayton-487Royce Clayton-1294
RoyalsJermaine Dye-27Jermaine Dye-95Jeff Conine-492Jeff Conine-942

Note: Only players who had a plate appearance in the majors are included above, some some pitchers who never batted are left out, as well as notable players who never played for the majors. For example, Jeff Bagwell was notably traded away by the Red Sox, but never actually played for them in the majors, so he's not included in the stats above. Also, in cases where players had multiple stints with a team, stats are counted since their most recent departure from that team.


Well, the Cubs must feel pretty stupid this morning, scoring all those runs when they only needed one. All that baserunning for nothing. The Astros will resume their efforts to try to score a run tonight against Kerry Woood. Wood has only shut out the Astros once in his career, on May 6, 1998 when he also struck out 20 and plunked Craig Biggio. Wood also plunked Biggio on September 29, 2001 and May 25, 2002, but the Astros got 3 runs off him in those two days.

Craig Biggio has been hit on June 6th by Joey Hamilton in 1997, and by Brian Bohanon in 2001. He was not plunked on 5/5/05 or 4/4/04, but he was plunked on 9/9/99 by Paul Byrd.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Cubs notes

The Chicago Cubs are the only team (other than the Astros) in the National League Central Division who have never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch in a bases loaded situation. St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Cincinatti, and Milwaukee have all done so once, along with the Mets, Expos and Rockies from other divisions. The Cubs have only plunked Biggio once while 2 runners were on base, but they've hit him 8 times with 1 man on. That ties the Cubs with the Giants for most times plunking Biggio with 1 runner on base.

June is the only month in which every National League team (other than the Astros) has plunked Biggio, but the Cubs are 1 of only 4 NL teams who have only hit him once in June. The Cubs are second in Biggio plunking in the months of May and August.

The Cubs are 2nd in the NL in percentage of Biggio's plunkings they've thrown at their home park. Only 7 of Biggio's 19 plunks against the Cubs have been in Houston.

Cubs in, Reds out

All right, can someone tell the Astros that they can stop playing in "Hey Roger, look how bad we are without you, please please come back and pitch for us" mode now? Craig Biggio's 625th career double was about the only good thing to come from weekend sweep by the visiting Reds. The Cubs visit for three games beginning tonight with Carlos Zambrano starting the series. Zambrano plunked Biggio on May 31, 2003 and August 12, 2003.

On June 5, 2003, Willis Roberts drilled Biggio in the left calf. This was the only game in which Biggio has ever been lifted for a pinch runner after being plunked. He was back in the starting lineup for the following game.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

two more against the Reds

Craig Biggio was once again left unplunked last night, but today the Reds have Bronson Arroyo on the mound. Arroyo hasn't hit anyone this year, despite plunking 34 batters in his last two seasons. He hit Craig Biggio with a pitch on April 7, 2001. Biggio has never been plunked on June 3rd.
Tomorrow, Elizardo Ramirez will be throwing for the Reds. He's missed 330 of the 335 batters he's faced so far in his career, but he has never faced Craig Biggio. Biggio hasn't been plunked on June 4th since 1993 when he was hit by a pitch thrown by Frank Tanana.

Friday, June 02, 2006

plunk someone your own size

Just to add a bit more fuel to the recent debate around the media concerning pitching inside, body armor (espn insider link), and the pitchers who like to complain about them, I'd like to point out the following:

The average size of major league pitchers over the past 10 seasons is around 6'2", and 200 pounds. During that span, batter under 6'2" have been plunked about once every 109 plate appearances* while batter 6'2" and over get hit once per 115 plate appearances. So, batters shorter than the average pitcher get plunked about 6% more often. It gets worse - batters 5'11" and under get hit 10.2% more often than the 6'2" and over set, batters 5'9" and under get hit 11.5% more often, and batters 5'7" and under get hit 63.1% more often.
There's something illogical about this - shouldn't bigger players get hit more often just based on their surface area available to hit? Why should David Eckstein get hit so much more often than Albert Pujols? Shouldn't bigger players have a harder time moving out of the way (for those who choose to do so)?
The difference is more striking if you incorporate players heights into the equation. By multiplying their heights in inches by their plate appearances, we can see how often they're plunked per inch of plate appearance. For example, 1 David Eckstein plate appearance equals 67 PAinches, since he stands 5'7", while one Pujols Plate appearance = 75 PAinches.
Figured this way, batters 6'2" and over get hit once per 8,661.5 PAinches, while batters shorter than that get hit once per 7,798 PAinches, or about 11% more often. The batters 5'11" and under get hit 17.8% more often, the 5'9" and under batters get hit 21.8% more often, and the 5'7" and under batters get hit 83.9% more frequently per PAinch.

So, while I generally believe that the vast majority of HBPs are pitches not actually intended to hit someone, it seems likely from this result that when a pitcher chooses to throw near someone, he's going to choose a smaller batter when he can. This "establishing the inside half of the plate" theory tends to get carried out against guys who may seem to the pitcher to be less of threat to come out to the mound and try to establish the inside half of their face.

So maybe pitchers should stop throwing at smaller batters if they're going to complain about body armor. Or, maybe a nice compromise could be reached where armored batters get much longer suspensions for charging the mound.

But a better idea is that plunked batters take their base, and everybody keeps their mouths shut and plays baseball. That's what Craig Biggio would do. 277 times.

*For the purposes of this study, plate appearances have been calculated to exclude intentional walks, since it would be very difficult to hit a batter while intentionally walking him.