Thursday, August 31, 2006

batting orders

The Astros have gone through dozens of batting orders this season trying to find a combination that will generate some offense, and Craig Biggio has been moved around from the 1st and 2nd spot in the order, to the 6th last week, and now the 3rd spot. He's been hit 8 times this season, in 8 different games with 8 different starting batting orders, not including the pitchers. Biggio's 281 career plunks have been recorded in 261 games with 226 different starting batting orders - 253 including the different pitchers.

The batting order that's gotten Biggio plunked the most times was as follows:
1. Craig Biggio
2. Julio Lugo
3. Jeff Bagwell
4. Lance Berkman
5. Moises Alou
6. Richard Hidalgo
7. Vinny Castilla
8. Brad Ausmus

Biggio was hit 10 times with that order batting behind him between June 6, 2001 and October 6, 2001. Roy Oswalt was the 9th batter for 5 of those games, making the Biggio, Lugo, Bagwell, Berkman, Alou, Hidalgo, Castilla, Ausmus, Oswalt lineup the most productive in terms of Biggio's HBPs, when pitchers are included. Biggio was hit 2 other times in 2001 with those same top 8 batters in slightly different orders, so that group holds the record for Biggio plunks for a starting lineup, regardless of batting order, with 12.

No other particular batting order has produced more than 4 plunks, but 3 different orders had that many. In 2003 the Biggio, Ensberg, Bagwell, Kent, Berkman, Hidalgo, Ausmus, Everett lineup stayed together for 4 plunks; in 1998 the Biggio, Gutierrez, Bell, Bagwell, Alou, Carl Everett, Berry and Ausmus lineup saw 4 of Biggio's HBPs, and last season the batting order of Willy tapers, Biggio, Berkman, Ensberg, Lane, Everett, Burke, Adam Everett and Ausmus got the benefit of Biggio's HBPs 4 times.
But, Biggio was hit 4 other times with those same players from the 2003 lineup in slightly different batting orders, so that crew holds second place for most Biggio plunks by a lineup, regardless of batting order, with 8.

The Astros used 29 different batting orders (excluding pitchers) in games when Biggio was plunked in 1997, when he set his career high with 34 plunk. The fewest batting orders used in plunk games occurred in 1991 when Biggio was hit just twice, as part of 2 different batting orders. This season's 8 plunk with 8 different batting orders would be the most plunk without having 2 recorded with the same batting order for Biggio, breaking his previous mark of 6 plunk with 6 batting orders in 1989.

(edit - this post had been attacked by a rogue spell checker)

5 straight wins

Major League hit batter leader Dave Bush didn't hit Craig Biggio or any of the other Astros last night, and as a result he allowed the Nationals' Ramon Ortiz to catch him for the season plunk lead. Biggio saw 12 pitches, and while none of them hit him, he did go 2-4 and contribute to the game winning rally in the bottom of the 9th, as the Astros won 1-0.

Doug Davis pitches tonight for the Brewers - he's never hit Craig Biggio but he has hit 4 batters this season. Biggio has been hit twice on the last day of August - in 1997 by James Baldwin, and on August 31, 2003 by Jake Peavy.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

more streaks

Willie Taveras's current hitting + getting hit streak is 4 games longer than Craig Biggio's longest such streak, which was 27 games stretching from May 23, 2001 to June 23, 2001. Biggio's streak included an 18 game hitting streak and 2 games in which he was plunked but did not have a base hit.

Of the 42 hitting streaks of 30 games or longer, only 2 are known to be extendable by including HBPs. Taveras's ongoing streak, and Albert Pujols's 30 game streak of 2003 - which was actually a 31 game hitting + get hitting streak. (However, there are 22 streaks on the list for which doesn't have game by game data, so their could be more.)

Taveras hit + get hit streak reaches 31

Hey, just because the media doesn't understand that getting hit is just as good as getting a hit, that doesn't mean that Willy Taveras's streak is over. Last night was Taveras's first 2 plunk game of his career, but Craig Biggio didn't get hit by any pitches (though he did hit a 2-run homer). Tonight the Astros get thrown at by Dave Bush, who the Miller Brewing team politely allows to pitch for them despite his name. Bush hit two batters in his last start against the Marlins, which put him in the lead for most hit batters in the league at 17. Bush has hit 7 batters in his last 5 starts, but missed all the Astros when he faced them 2 starts ago. Bush has never plunked Biggio.

Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch twice on August 30th. In 1991, Barry Jones threw plunk number 11, and Jason Bere threw plunk number 109 on August 30, 1997.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Brewers in Houston

The Astros return to Minute Maid Park tonight to begin a 3 game series against the Milwaukee Brewers with starting pitcher Tomo Ohka throwing tonight. Craig Biggio has never been plunked by Tomo Ohka, and has never been plunked on September 29th, but his most recent plunk was against these same Brewers on the 17th of this month.

Monday, August 28, 2006


If your birthday is today, August 28th, you share your birthday with Jay Witasick, who has plunked Craig Biggio twice. The 211 pitchers who have plunked Biggio have 165 different birthdays. 81 pitchers who have hit Biggio with a pitch share their birthday with another pitcher who has done so, with the most - 4 each - sharing January 21st, April 14th, and September 5th. 4 pairs of pitchers who hit Craig Biggio with a pitch were born on the same day of the same year - Glendon Rusch and Kris Benson on November 7, 1974, Robert Ellis and Rick Helling on December 15, 1970, Livan Hernandez and Leo Estrella on February 20, 1975, and Francisco Cordova and Brian Anderson on April 26, 1972.
But, none of the 211 pitchers who have hit him share their birthday with Craig Biggio.

3 out of 4 in Pittsburgh

The Astros finished their road trip with 3 straight wins in Pittsburgh yesterday, but Sunday's 13-1 beating of Shawn Chacon doubled as a day off for Craig Biggio so he didn't improve on his 281 career HBPs. The count will remain at 281 until at least tomorrow, because the Astros have today off while they travel back to Houston to host the Brewers.

Mark Gardner was the first pitcher to hit Biggio with a pitch on August 28th, doing so in 1992 for Biggio 17th career plunk, and Lance Davis was the only other, throwing plunk 194 on August 28, 2001.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

weekend at PNC

10 batters were hit by pitches around the major leagues last night but none of them took place during the Astros' 5-1 win over the Pirates. Tonight the Astros will face Pirates starter Zach Duke, who has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch. Duke has hit 4 batters at home this season and 3 batters in road games. But, if Duke or any of the other Pirates plunks Biggio today, it will be the first time Biggio has been hit on August 26th.

Tomorrow Shawn Chacon pitches against the Astros. Chacon has hit 2 batters since joining the Pirates and hit Biggio three times in 2001 and 2002. And, Paul Byrd hit Biggio with a pitch on August 27, 1997.


Friday, August 25, 2006

plunks over replacement Craig

As you may have seen, a baseball stats guy named Keith Woolner who writes for Baseball Prospectus is credited with inventing a stat called VORP, which stands for Value Over Replacement Player. VORP is more or less a method of comparing players to an average player in a given season based on their "runs created" (which is a Bill James uberstat). It's a fun idea and no doubt a usefull tool, but as I see it, this is entirely too broad a calculation, and everyone would be better off if they just stuck to the most important stat, HBPs.
It's reasonable to consider which players are the most above average, or most valuable compared to the rest, but instead of looking at averages compared to given seasons, why not look at how a player stacks up against the career average for players with the same first name, regardless of when they played. After all, if you were actually running a big league club, wouldn't you be more worried about whether your manager can remember all the names of the players you're shuttling in and out of his clubhouse, and wouldn't it make everyone's life that much easier if you kept some of the names the same if you're going to be replacing players?
So, with that in mind, we can look at the long history of major leauge players named Craig and see who stacks up nicely against them. Through 2005, their were 33 major leaguers named Craig who had gotten at least 1 plate appearance. They were hit by an average of 14.3 times each. But through '05, Biggio had 273 plunks, which means he had 258.7 plunks over a replacement Craig. So his unfortunately acronymed PORC is 258.7. Since this stat might be entirely backward anyway, maybe it should be called CROP, which sounds a little better. But PORC can only go so far anyway, and really is only valid for players named Craig, so to compare all the great players in history, we'll need to compare each player to the average for their first initial, which I guess would be plunks over replacement (insert first initial here) - PORIFIH, or plunks over replacement with the same first name - PORWTSFN, which is almost as suitably ridiculous sounding as VORP, but much more difficult to pronounce. Or just "POR..." for short.

Top ten players by plunks over replacement with the same first name, through '05:

Players with same first name
PlayerHBPNumberHBPAvg HBPPOR...
Don Baylor2671317966.08260.92
Tommy Tucker2726269011.13260.87
Craig Biggio2733347214.3258.7
Hughie Jennings287630150.17236.83
Ron Hunt243827228.8234.2
Dan McGann230985555.66224.34
Frank Robinson19826714385.39192.61
Jason Kendall197645508.59188.41
Jake Beckley183525179.94173.06
Curt Welch1732227712.59160.41
Andres Galarraga178718626.57151.43
Kid Elberfeld1651724414.35150.65
Fred Clarke1531609726.08146.92
Chet Lemon1511818010141
Fernando Vina1571222318.58138.42
Bill Dahlen14054320333.74136.26
Art Fletcher141843984.74136.26
Chuck Knoblauch139612804.59134.41
Larry Walker1381055895.61132.39
Frank Chance13726714385.39131.61

With Biggio now at 281 plunks, it is unlikely that the average career plunks for players named Craig has risen enough for Don Baylor to keep the lead in this category.

As of the end of 2005, Kevin Youkilis, Kevin Cash, Chad Allen, and Javier Vazquez were the only active players with exactly as many HBPs as the average career total for players with their first name, without being the only player with that first name.

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no plunks plundered from Pirates

Craig Biggio contributed a hit and an rbi from his new spot in the batting order last night, but didn't get hit by a pitch, and the Astros didn't have quite enough offense to overcome the Pirates, and lost 5-3. Tonight the Pirates will hand the ball to Victor Santos, who has hit 20 batters in 147 career pitching appearances, but has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, nor any other Astros batter.

Biggio has never been plunked on August 25th.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

innings and outs

If the Astro's continue to go with their latest shuffling of the batting order, which has Craig Biggio batting 6th in the lineup, Biggio might have a chance to do something else that he's never done. Because he has been near the top of the batting order for so much of his career, he has been plunked 56 times in the first inning, but never with with 2 outs.
Interestingly, Biggio's 2 out HBPs have occurred, on average, later in the game than his 1 out plunks and no out plunks. The average of the innings in which he's been hit with no outs is 3.8. It's 5.0 for 1 out plunks and 5.42 for 2 out plunks. While nearly 39.3% of Biggio's plunks with no outs in an inning have come in the first inning, none of his 6 extra innings plunks have been recorded with no outs. The median inning of his no out plunks is the 3rd, but the median inning for his 1 out and 2 out plunks is the 5th. He's been hit most often with no outs in the 1st inning, but his best inning for 1 out plunks is the 5th, and for 2 out plunks it's the 7th.

Here are the number of times he's been hit in each inning by number of outs:
Inning0 outs1 out2 outs

I have yet to find a theory to explain this.

Craig Biggio has also never been plunked while batting 6th in the lineup. He's been hit in every other batting slot except 4th. On April 16th this year, he had his first ever plunk in the 9th spot in the batting order, while pinch hitting. Retrosheet lists his stats through 2005 by batting order slot on their splits page here.

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losing streak ends, road trip moves to Pittsburgh

The Astros avoided the sweep in Cincinnati yesterday, rallying in the 7th inning and possibly forcing the Reds to step in and tell Todd Coffey to switch to decaf, but
Craig Biggio didn't get hit by any pitches in his only plate appearance of the day, pinch hitting for Oswalt in the 7th.

Tonight the Astros move up the Ohio river to the city where it begins, at the confluence of two other rivers that are much harder to spell and pronounce than either Ohio or confluence. The Pittsburgh Pirates will host the Astros for 4 games beginning with tonight's matchup with Paul Maholm on the mound. Maholm has never plunked Craig Biggio, but Biggio is 2 for 4 against him with 2 homers, so perhaps it's a good night for Biggio's bat to get out of it's recent slump. Maholm has hit 8 batters this year, bringing his career total to 11.

Jamey Wright hit Craig Biggio with a pitch on August 24, 1997, and Matt Karchner plunked Biggio on August 24, 1998, but he has not been hit on this date before or since.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

the race

With Craig Biggio sitting 7 HBPs away from 288 plunks, the all time record, and 93 hits away from 3,000, one of the most famous milestones in baseball, the question on the minds of many is which mark will he reach first?

If he does reach 288 plunks before 3000 hits, he will at least tie the record for most HBPs between a players 2900th and 3000th hits. Biggio already has one plunk since his 2900th hit, and no one among the 26 players to reach 3000 hits had more than 8 between their 2900th and 3000th hits.
It's probable that none of them actually had 8 - Tris Speaker passed 2,900 hits sometime during the 1924 season and finished that year at 2,961. He collected his 3000th hit on May 17, 1925, and had 4 HBPs in both the 1924 and 1925 season. It is possible that all 8 of those plunks came between his 2900th and 3000th hits, but it's more likely that some did not. Eddie Collins also got his 3000th hit in 1925 after hitting his 2900th the year before and totaled 7 plunks in those two seasons, and Honus Wagner may have had 7 plunks between his 2900th hit in 1913 and his 3000th on June 9, 1914, but the data isn't available to know for sure.
Among those we have complete records for, Cal Ripken holds the record for most HBPs between his 2900th and 3000th hits with 6. George Brett is right behind him with 5 and Rickie Henderson, Rafael Palmeiro and Willie Mays all had 4. Wade Boggs, Roberto Clemente, Stan Musial, Eddie Murray, Dave Winfield and Hank Aaron all got from 2900 to 3000 hits without being hit by a single pitch, so Biggio is already 1 ahead of that group in this (extremely obscure) category.

There are 7 players who made it to 2900 hits but never reached 3000. Willie Keeler had 10 HBPs in the year he reached 2900 (1909), but was not hit in the only season he played after that. Aside from Keeler, only 1 other player (Frank Robinson) has had 10 plunks in the season they recorded their 2900th hit. Biggio will need 3 more this season to break that record. Robinson did not get hit by a pitch after his 2900th hit.

football season?

If the Reds had suddenly hit 17 Astros batters in a row, they would have been right back in the game. But they didn't. The game got out of hand early yesterday, so Craig Biggio only got two chances at the plate before sitting down to let the kids finish up the blowout. He did not get hit by a pitch and the Astros lost 14-0 - a two touchdown loss that may have had even them looking forward to football season.

Today the Astros will try to score a few runs and give up a few less runs againt the Reds and their starting pitcher Chris Michalak. Michalak has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, but he has hit 1 batter this season and 15 in his career. Tonight will be his 20th career start and his 51st Major League appearance.

Pedro Astacio hit Craig Biggio with a pitch on August 23, 1997 marking the first of what would become a record 7 plunkings of Biggio by Astacio.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

kids, do not try this at home

Or in Williamsport.

As you are probably aware, the Little League World Series is finishing up its final day of opening round play today. Tomorrow the US and International semifinals begin with the final game scheduled for Sunday. As the saying goes, in Little League, unlike in the Majors, it's not whether you win or lose but how you play the game. In the Majors, winning and losing is ranked slightly ahead of how you play the game, and just behind how many times you can get hit by a pitch in your career. Getting hit by pitches doesn't even make the list in Little League, because that sort of thing should be left to professionals who are already being paid millions of dollars. Professionals like Craig Biggio.
Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch 6 times on days when the Little League World Series was being played. He's been hit 5 times during opening round play, and on 4 of those occasions, a team that won on the day Biggio was plunked went on to win the tournament.
On August 24, 1998, Matt Karchner plunked Biggio for the Cubs on the same day eventual 1998 Little League Champions Toms River, NJ beat the team from Cypress California 4 to 2. On August 20, 2002, Kyle Farnsworth hit Biggio with a pitch on the same day the 2002 champions from Louisville Kentucky beat Clemmons, North Carolina by a score of 4 to 2. A year ago today, Biggio was hit by Chris Hammond on the same day Ewa Beach, Hawaii's championship winning team beat Maitland Florida 10-0. And on August 18, 2001, Jimmy Anderson plunked Biggio on the same day the team from Curacao beat Santiago de Veraguas, Panama by a score of 3 to 2. Curacao lost the final game to the team from the Bronx, but Curacao became the 2001 champion when it was discovered that Bronx starting pitcher Danny Almonte was 37 years old and had recently been cut by the Yankees. (Danny Almonte has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch.)
On August 23, 1997, Craig Biggio recorded his only HBP on the same day as a Little League World Series championship game, thrown by Pedro Astacio. That year, Guadalupe, Mexico beat Mission Viejo, CA 5 to 4.

Biggio has never been hit more than once during the Little League World Series in any year. Teams representing the Asia region, Northwest Region, and the Great Lakes are 2-0 on days when Biggio is plunked, but not region's teams have won more than twice on plunk dates, although the regions have been renames a few times during the span of Biggio's career. The squad representing the Latin America region is 2-4 on days Biggio has been hit - no region's team has lost as many games on plunk dates, but Europe and the Midwest are both 0-3.


too many innings

That 6 inning thing they do in the Little League world series must look pretty good to the Astros sometimes. Craig Biggio didn't get hit by a pitch last night, and Chad Qualls erased Andy Pettitte's good effort with a 4 run 8th inning as the Astros lost 4-3. Tonight the Reds will send out Kyle Lohse as their starter to throw baseballs toward the Astros. Lohse has hit 44 career batters, but he hasn't hit anyone since the Reds acquired him from the Twins at the trading deadline. He has never faced Craig Biggio.

Biggio had never been hit by a pitch on August 22nd until last season when Chris Hammond hit him.


Monday, August 21, 2006

plunk rates by distance

Following up on Friday's post regarding how far away Craig Biggio has been when he's collected his 136 road HBPs, today's topic is how his rate of getting hit changes with respect to distance from Houston.

Craig Biggio has been hit most often, 45 times, in parks between 750 and 1000 miles from Houston. That range includes the parks in Denver, Chicago, Cincinnati, and Miami. But, his highest rate of plunks per plate appearance has occurred within 250 miles of Houston. Only the Texas Rangers play that close to the home of the Astros, and Biggio has been hit 5 times in 69 plate appearance at Arlington. That comes to a rate of 0.07 plunks per plate appearance, or an HBP every 13.8 trips to the plate.

The rate Biggio gets hit appears to be greatest in cities closer to Houston and drops off further away. He's been hit once per 43.1 plate appearance between 1000 and 1,250 miles from Houston, once per 47.8 PAs between 1,250 and 1,500 miles away, once per 83.7 PAs 1,500 to 1,750 miles away, and he has never been hit at the only park he's played in over 1,750 miles away (Safeco Field in Seattle).

Their are 9 ballparks in which Biggio has played a game but never got hit by a pitch, and only 1 of them is less than 1000 miles from Houston - Mile High Stadium, where the Rockies played before building Coors Field. 2 are between 1,500 and 1,750 miles from Houston (AT&T Park and Fenway), and the other 5 are all between 1,000 and 1,250 miles from Houston (Metrodome, Tiger Stadium, Comerica Park, Jacobs Field, and RFK Stadium).

Below is the chart of Biggio's rates of plate appearances per plunk grouped by mileage from Houston. The anomaly of the 500-750 range having a lower rate of plunkings than the 750-1000 range is most likely due to either the Braves underachieving - being last in the NL in plunking Biggio, and about 700 miles from Houston - or the Rockies overachieving, leading all teams in plunking Biggio including hitting him 15 times at Coors Field, about 880 miles from Houston.

Miles from HoustonHBPPAPA per HBP

Parks Biggio has played at, grouped by approximate distance from Houston
Miles from HoustonParks
0-250The Ballpark at Arlington
500-750Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Busch Stadium II, Busch Stadium III, Royals Stadium, Turner Field
750-1000US Cellular Field, Coors Field, Great American Ball Park, Dolphins Stadium, Mile High Stadium, Riverfront Stadium, Wrigley Field
1000-1250Chase Field, Comerica Park, County Stadium, Jacobs Field, Metrodome, Miller Park, PNC Park, RFK Stadium, Three Rivers Stadium, Tiger Stadium
1250-1500Citizen's Bank Park, Dodger Stadium, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Petco Park, Qualcomm Stadium, Shea Stadium, Veterans Stadium, Yankee Stadium
1500-1750AT&T Park, Candlestick Park, Fenway Park, Network Associates Coliseum, Stade Olympique
1750+Safeco Field

to Cincinnati

Milwaukee failed to plunk Biggio in the final two games of the series, which was a little easier to do since Biggio had the day off yesterday. Today the Astros travel to Cincinnati to begin 3 games against the Reds with tonights matchup against Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo hit Biggio with a pitch on April 7, 2001, but he's hit 40 other batters since then so it probably wasn't personal.

Of the 281 times Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch in his career, none of them has been on August 21st.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

two more in Milwaukee

Craig Biggio saw 10 pitches last night, but he didn't get hit by any of them. Each of his 4 plate appearances ended in a ground out to the left side, and the game ended on a Prince Fielder walk off single.

Dave Bush pitches for the cheeselanders tonight having already hit 15 batters this season. He is 1 plunk behind Dontrelle Willis for the league lead, so he won't want to miss an opportunity to make a strong challenge for the 2006 plunking title with so little time left in the season. Bush has never plunked Craig Biggio, and Biggio has never been hit by a pitch on August 19th.

Tomorrow, the Brewers will send Doug Davis to the mound. He's hit 4 batters this season, and 25 for his career, but none of them were Craig Biggio. On August 20, 1998 Scott Karl hit Biggio with a pitch at Milwaukee's County Stadium, and Kyle Farnsworth plunked Biggio in Houston on August 20, 2002.


Friday, August 18, 2006

how far?

Since commenter Tom asked, here's the some data of how far Craig Biggio has traveled to get hit by pitches.

Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch 136 times in games away from Houston. Those plunks have taken place an average of 1,030 miles from Houston, and a total of 140,026 miles. That's about 5 and a half times around the earth or nearly 6 tenths of the way to the moon. That's also not very far away from 136 times the distance from Houston to Milwaukee, which is right around 1,006 miles, depending on what math you believe or where you hold the tape measure.
However, Biggio doesn't always have to go home after every plunk, and sometimes he gets hit multiple times in the same visit to an opposing park. Factoring out the times he's been hit more than once during a road series, that leaves 116 visits to opposing parks during which he's been plunked. Those visits have averaged 1,047 miles from Houston, and add up to 121,465 miles. He's had 98 road series in which he was hit once, averaging 1,062 miles away, 16 series on the road in which he got hit twice, averaging 1,007 miles away (very close to the distance to Milwaukee), and 2 road series in which he recorded 3 plunks, averaging 616 miles away (one at Miller Park on June 29th and 30th of 2001, and the other at Arlington).
He doesn't necessarily have to go home between each series in which he's plunked either, and he's had 6 different road trips during which he was hit in 3 different parks. Twice he's been hit 5 times in 3 parks on the same road trip. However, calculating the distance traveled along the Astros route from city to city on multi-plunk road trips will have to wait for another day.

Including home plunks into the average (as 0 miles away) the average distance from Houston for all plunks is 498 miles.

The closest park to Houston in which Biggio was hit is The Ballpark at Arlington, and the furthest away is Candlestick Park, though these calculations are inaccurate enough that it Montreal's Olympic Stadium might be further.

On Monday, I'll take a look at whether or not plunks increase or decrease as milage from Houston increases, but the list of cities in which he's played and not gotten hit may be a clue: Boston, Washington DC, Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis, and Seattle.

Note: Distances used here were calculated based on latitude and longitude of each park, which may not be very accurate, and a formula found on the internet to calculate distances between points of latitude and longitude which makes wild assumptions about the earth be spherical. So, these numbers might not meet the level of accuracy demanded by some readers for their high precision hit-by-pitch calculations.

281 in the books - could there be more in Milwaukee?

Last night the Astros won their 146th game in which Craig Biggio was hit by a pitch, and moved to 9-6 against the Brewers in Biggio plunk games. It was the 17th time he's been hit by the Brewers, the 12th time in Milwaukee and the 7th at Miller Park. It was the third time the Brewers plunked Biggio on a Thursday, which ties them for the most plunks of Biggio on Thursdays with the Cubs and Rockies - Thursdays, however are the least plunked day of the week with last night's being only the 25th.
Luke Scott became 31st player to drive in a Craig Biggio run after Biggio got on base with a plunk, but just the 3rd player to do so with a triple.

Tonight Craig Biggio will begin looking for plunk number 282 against starting Brewer Tomo Ohka. Ohka has hit 3 batters this season and 28 in his career, but he has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch.

Jaime Navarro plunked Biggio on August 18, 1996 for the Cubs, and Jimmy Anderson threw plunk number 193 on August 18, 2001.


Thursday, August 17, 2006


Ben Sheets joins the multi-plunker club, throwing plunk 281 in the 5th inning with 1 out on the first pitch of the at bat.
And, the 97th run scored of his career after reaching base via HBP.

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1st in class part 2

Yesterday's post regarding which players were the first to get hit by a pitch in each year's draft class probably left you asking the obvious question "Yeah, but who was the first pitcher from each draft year to hit Craig Biggio with a pitch?". Well sorry you had to wait a whole day for the answer. It must have nearly killed you, I'm sure.

The pitchers who have hit Craig Biggio with a pitch who came to the league through the Amateur Draft have been drafted over a span of 32 years, from 1971 when Frank Tanana was the 13th pick overall, to 2003 when Scott Feldman was picked in the 30th round. Biggio has been plunked by a pitcher from every draft class between 1981 and 2001. A first round pick became the first member of a draft class to plunk Biggio in only 8 of the 26 drafts which have had at least one pick go on to do so. Of those 8 1st round picks, only 1, Paul Wilson, was the #1 pick overall.
Biggio's draft class, 1987, took 5 years to plunk him for the first time - 6th round pick Frank Castillo hit him with a pitch on August 13, 1992. 10 other pitchers from the 1987 draft would help Castillo plunk Biggio a total of 16 times, 2nd most of any draft class. Those other 10 are Willie Banks, Brian Bohanon, Mark Guthrie, Pete Harnisch, Darryl Kile, Barry Manuel, Jaime Navarro, Mark Petkovsek, Steve Schrenk, and Anthony Telford. The 1993 draft has produced the most, with 23 total plunks by 16 pitchers.

First pitcher from each draft year to hit Craig Biggio with a pitch:
Draft YearPlayerHBP:BGO dateDraft Round
1971Frank Tanana06/04/19931
1974Mike LaCoss07/30/19893
1976Bob Walk05/19/19893
1979Jose DeLeon06/08/19933
1981Sid Fernandez07/18/19893
1982Tim Birtsas04/22/19892
1983John Costello09/01/198924
1984Barry Jones08/30/19913
1985Mark Gardner07/22/19908
1986Jim Bullinger07/26/19929
1987Frank Castillo08/13/19926
1988Kenny Greer07/15/199510
1989Steve Cooke07/23/199435
1990Donovan Osborne05/04/19951
1991Joey Hamilton08/11/19941
1992Juan Acevedo04/30/199514
1993Marc Valdes09/02/19951
1994Paul Wilson04/17/19961
1995Kerry Wood05/06/19981
1996Shawn Chacon06/07/20013
1997Rick Ankiel04/20/20012
1998Josh Fogg05/11/20023
1999Ben Sheets06/29/20011
2000Dontrelle Willis05/18/20048
2001Aaron Heilman08/06/20031
2003Scott Feldman07/02/200630

Number of pitchers to plunk Biggio from each draft class, and total plunks:
Draft YearTotal plunksPitchers

Astros travel to Milwaukee

Well, it may have seemed like a good idea to the Astros to agree to let the Cubs, whose pitching staff was exhausted, pick some random guy off the street to start the game. Just the Astros luck, the Cubs picked someone named Ryan O'Malley, and he shut out the Astros. Okay, they might have just called him up from triple-A.
Craig Biggio had a pinch hit single in the 8th inning, but he didn't have an opportunity to hit by any pitches.

Tonight the Astros will be guests at Miller Park in Milwaukee, where they will face one time offender Ben Sheets. Sheets commited his plunking of Craig Biggio on June 29, 2001. The Brewers haven't plunked Biggio since April 21st last season when Matt Wise hit him with the bases loaded.

Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch three times on August 17th, but only by the Phillies. Wayne Gomes and Scott Ruffcorn both plunked Biggio on August 17, 1997 for the Phillies, and Randy Wolf did it on August 17, 2004.

In vaguely related news, Scott Feldman of the Rangers, who plunked Biggio on July 2nd , bounced a pitch off Adam Kennedy's butt in Arlington last night. Kennedy took offense to this (possibly because of the assorted plunks traded in the prior inning and prior game) and decided that instead of taking his base and giving his team a chance to put together a 2-out rally, he'd rather run toward the mound, exchange awkward arm swinging motions with Scott Feldman, and be tackled by a large number of men. This is a questionable choice for a number of reasons. It was Kennedy's 55th career HBP, and he was probably frustrated with his lack of progress toward the all time record, but that's still no reason to take it out on Scott Feldman.
Of course, when you get the Rangers and Angels together, you can spell "anger" twice.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

1st in class

On June 22, 1989 Craig Biggio got hit by a major league pitch for the first time, but he also became the first player taken in the 1987 amateur draft to record a plunk. He beat 4 other '87 draft picks who were also hit for the first time in 1989 - Bill Spiers, Steve Finley, Ken Griffey Jr. and Albert Belle. When Biggio got hit, he ended a long since someone had been the first player plunked from their draft, because the 1986 drafts first plunk came just 3 months after the draft. Bo Jackson was drafted on June 2, 1986 and was hit by his first pitch on September 14, 1986. The only other player since 1980 to be drafted and plunked in the same year is Rickie Weeks who was drafted in June 2003 and plunked on September 20th that year.
Here is the list of the first player hit by a pitch from every draft since 1980:

Draft yearPlayerDate of 1st HBP
1980Terry Francona09/23/1981
1981Charles Hudson07/20/1983
1982Spike Owen09/16/1983
1983Jeff Kunkel07/29/1984
1984Oddibe McDowell*05/19/1985
1985Pete Incaviglia04/30/1986
1986Bo Jackson09/14/1986
1987Craig Biggio04/22/1989
1988Robin Ventura09/15/1989
1989John Olerud07/06/1990
1990Bret Boone08/23/1992
1991Brent Gates05/13/1993
1992Chris Gomez08/11/1993
1993Mark Loretta09/14/1995
1994Jacob Cruz07/22/1996
1995Darin Erstad05/28/1997
1996A.J. Hinch04/02/1998
1997Troy Glaus04/15/1999
1998J.D. Drew05/03/1999
1999Albert Pujols04/20/2001
2000Bobby Hill05/30/2002
2001Mark Teixeira04/20/2003
2002Khalil Greene09/07/2003
2003Rickie Weeks09/20/2003
*Oddibe McDowell was plunked in his first game

Clemens plunked, nearing record.

Roger Clemens got hit by a pitch for the second time in his career last night, making it two consecutive years now that he's recorded an HBP. If he keeps up this one plunk per season pace, he could tie Hughie Jennings record by the year 2291, but there isn't much chance he'll still be pitching much beyond 2250. Craig Biggio did not get hit in last nights game, and he didn't play in the second game of the one game double header. It took 18 innings for the Astros to lose to the Cubs 8-6.

Despite pitching the 17th and 18th inning and picking up the win last night (or early this morning), Rich Hill is still expected to start this afternoon's game facing the Astros. Craig Biggio is not one of the 2 major league batters who Hill his plunked.
The only 2 pitchers on the Cubs roster who didn't pitch last night are Zambrano and Carlos Marmol, who started the previous two games. Perhaps today's game could be a good time to see a position player pitch given the 297 pitches the Cubs staff threw last night.

Seth Etherton hit Craig Biggio with a pitch on August 16, 2003.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

situational plunking

Sometimes stats just don't work like you'd expect them too. According to's situational splits, during the seasons from 1988 through 2005 (excluding 1999, because they don't have it yet), batters were hit by pitches once every 139.9 plate appearances with no runners on base, once per 115.4 plate appearances with runners on base, once per 106.4 plate appearance with runners in scoring position and once per 100.6 plate appearance with the bases loaded. The rate of batters getting hit in bases loaded situation is 39% higher than their rate with the bases empty, but given the relative rarity of bases loaded situations, RBI plunks only account for 2.3% of total HBPs.
Craig Biggio's situational numbers for that span follow a similar pattern. Over those same years (1988-2005 excluding 1999) he was hit once per 44.1 plate appearances with the bases empty, once per 35.5 PAs with the runners on base. He was hit once every 33.6 plate appearances with runners in scoring position, and once per 25.1 plate appearance with the bases loaded. He had 7 bases loaded plunks in 176 plate appearance in those years. (He hasn't had an rbi plunk this year, and didn't have one in 1999 either, so 7 is his complete rbi plunk total, but I do not have his complete career bases loaded plate appearances total). Biggio's increased rate of getting hit when the bases are loaded is even more pronounced than the leaguewide totals. He has gotten hit 75.5% more per plate appearance with the bases loaded than with the bases empty. But, he's had about 38 times more plate appearances with the bases empty so the vast majority of his plunks have come in that situation. (Interestingly, all 7 of his plunks this year have come with runners on base)

During those same years since 1988 that are fully accounted for on Retrosheet, there have been 18 game winning walk off HBPs. There is a complete list of them back to 1958 on's blog here. Craig Biggio is not on the list yet, so there are some feats of getting hit that have eluded his long career.

another rookie vs Clemens

17 pitches flew toward Craig Biggio last night, but none of them hit him. Carlos Zambrano continued his quest for the non-existent Cy Young award for pitchers on losing teams, pitching 8 shutout innings and recording his 13th win of the season as the Cubs won 3-0.
Tonight the Astros face another of the seemingly endless supply of rookies teams are finding to match up against Clemens. Juan Mateo has faced 34 batters in 2 career games in the majors so far, but hasn't hit any of them. He hit 14 batters in the minor leagues at a rate of about 1 per 24 innings pitched.

Craig Biggio has never been hit by a pitch on August 15th.

Monday, August 14, 2006

plunk rates near milestones

Last week, commenter Tom asked "are we there yet?", or more specifically, how do Craig Biggio's rates of getting hit by pitches change when he is in sight of an important milestone?

The answer appears to be that they change pretty randomly. The fastest 20 plunk leadup to a major milestone was the 20 plunks ending with Biggio's 200th. During the games following his 180th HBP, up to and including the game when he recorded #200, he was hit once every 24.2 plate appearances. His career average is 1 per 42.1 plate appearances, but this season he's around 1 HBP per 64.7 plate appearances. The 20 plunks ending when he broke Don Baylor's post-1900 record saw Biggio get hit once every 41.85 plate appearances, but the last 5 of those came in the span in which he was hit once every 11.8 PAs.
As for what this means for the lead-up to plunk 288, so far he's been hit just once per 76.1 plate appearances since plunk 273 and once per 66.5 plate appearances since plunk 268, so if he holds those paces, they will be the slowest 15 and 20 plunk periods leading up to a milestone of his career.

Below you can see the average plate appearances per HBP of the 5, 15, and 20 plunk period leading up to several milestones, compared with an equal length (in HBPs) span immediately prior. It appears that the constant media attention that has followed his career has not put undo pressure on him to perform when these milestones come around. It just goes to show the mental toughness of someone who can just go out there and put the media circus behind him and perform as though no one really cares that he's about to pass Tommy Tucker on the all time HBP list, or about to become the 4th player ever to reach 250 HBPs or whatever was going on at the time. So, undoubtedly he'll continue to go out and let the plunks come at their own pace as though the only ones watching are some weirdo on the internet, and a few people who read his website. That's the true mark of a great competitor, right?

20 plunk spans:
MilestoneHBP rangePA/HBPPrevious HBP rangePA/HBP

15 plunk spans:
MilestoneHBP rangePA/HBPPrevious HBP rangePA/HBP

5 plunk spans:
MilestoneHBP rangePA/HBPPrevious HBP rangePA/HBP

By the way, Biggio's period of most frequent plunkings came immediately AFTER his 100th career HBP - from plunk 100 to 120 he was hit once every 13.9 plate appearances, making that the highest rate of any 20 plunk span. His highest rate for a 15 HBP span was from #101 to #116 when he got hit once every 10.7 PAs, and his highest 5 plunk rate was following #106, up to #111 when he got hit once every 8 plate appearances.

Padres out, Cubs in

Craig Biggio only saw 14 pitches on Saturday, and none on Sunday in a pair of losses to the Padres, but tonight begins a 3 game series against the 49-68 Chicago Cubs. The Cubs are well out of the playoff race, so they might have nothing left to play for this season but their place in Biggio plunking history. But, even bad teams sometimes have good pitchers, and the Cubs will send Carlos Zambrano to face the Astros batters tonight. Zambrano is 12-5, accounting for nearly 25% of the Cubs wins this season. He has also hit 7 batters, and is sitting at 50 for his career. He plunked Craig Biggio on May 31, 2003 and August 12, 2003.

Craig Biggio has not yet recorded an HBP on August 14th.

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Padre weekend

The Astros made it 4 straight wins last night with a 4-2 victory over the Padres, but Chan Ho Park didn't make it 127 career hit batsmen, and Craig Biggio did not mark up his 281st career HBP. Biggio did hit his 633rd career double, and no one has reached that number in that category since George Brett got there on October 3, 1992. Biggio needs 8 more double to move into 8th place all time ahead of Honus Wagner.

Tonight Jake Peavy will take another shot at the Astros, after losing a 1-0 duel with Andy Pettitte and not plunking Craig Biggio. As you may recall, Peavy plunked Biggion on August 31, 2003. On August 12, 1997, Biggio was plunked by both Al Leiter and Rob Stanifer, and on August 12, 2003 Carlos Zambrano hit him.

Tomorrow Woody William will look for his 7th hit batter of the season. Biggio homered of Williams the last time the met, but he has never been plunked by him. It has been 14 years since Craig Biggio's only HBP on August 13th - since 1992 when Frank Castillo hit him.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

plunks under roofs

Wednesday, DM asked about plunk rates for domes versus open air ballparks. So:

During the 1988 through 2005 seasons there were 32,328 major league games played in good old fashioned ballparks without roofs over them, 5,186 games played under fixed dome, and 2,859 played under retractable roofs. Ideally, the retractable roof games would be split between open air and dome depending on whether the roof is open, but sources for such information are lacking, particularly prior to 2003. So, during that span, batters in open air parks have been hit once per 131.86 times per plate appearance, batters in fixed domes have been hit 115.18 times per plate appearance and batters playing in retractable roof parks have been hit once per 104.75.
Craig Biggio's plunk rates are one plunk per 38.08 plate appearances under retractable roofs, 1 per 41.97 PAs in domes and one HBP per 42.89 PAs out where there's no protection from falling space debris.
Since 2001, when the most recent of the retractable roof parks opened, regular dome have had the most frequent HBPs with one every 93.07 plate appearances. Retractable roof parks have had 1 plunk per 99.44 plate appearances since then, and open air parks have had 1 per 104.24. But, the league is now down to only 2 fixed roof domes after the decline and fall of baseball in Montreal, and one of them, Tropicana Field, houses one of the top plunking teams in the league over those years. With Minnesota finally planning on building a new outdoor ballpark, the Tropicana Field will be the last trace of that fabulous future in which man will conquer nature by playing baseball indoors on a rug. (Although, Minnesota is not planning on building a retractable roof, so someone there will probably decide that instead of canceling games due to snow, they'll just go play inside at the dome.)

Here are the year by year plunk rates for open air parks, retractable roofs, and fixed domes, including number of games:

Open air parksRetractable roof parksDomes

Pirates get their decks swabbed

Craig Biggio's career hit-by-pitch number 281 was delayed at least one more game last night, but the Astros won their 3rd straight game finishing off the sweep of the Pirates by a score of 5-2. Biggio was only thrown 9 pitches last night, and just 2 of them were called balls so the Pirates were careful not to thrown him anything he could get hit by. But they lost anyway.

Tonight the San Diego Padres visit Minute Maid, and they'll be bringing Chan Ho Park to throw baseballs at people. Park hit Craig Biggio on April 3, 1996 and twice on September 12, 1997. Biggio was in early on Park's plunking bonanza, collecting 3 of Parks's first 12 plunks thrown. Since then, Chan Ho has hit another 114 batters, and has passed Pedro Martinez and Greg Maddux this season to move into 4th place among active pitchers with 126 career hit batsmen. He's hit 10 this season, and is behind only Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, and Tim Wakefield (whose 144 hit batters have gone largely unnoticed by both the public and the batters he's hit).
Park, you may recall, was the subject of some suspicion last season when the Korean baseball association was rocked by a scandal involving the use of performance enhancing produce. But let's be clear that there has never been any proof that Chan Ho Park has used frozen cabbage leaves, though some have suggested that he should have. It's sad that one cheater in a foreign country can cause so much doubt and uncertainty that suspicion falls unfairly on everyone, and it's not even clear if frozen cabbage leaves are illegal under current Major League rules and the collective bargaining agreement.

Craig Biggio has been plunked twice on August 11th - in 1994 by Joey Hamilton, and in 1998 by Bob Wickman.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

age revisited

Commenter Tom, in response to Tuesday's post regarding average ages of pitchers who have hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, asked how the average age of those pitchers compared with the leaguewide averages for each season. So, I looked. Ideally, I would have liked to use complete game logs for all players to calculated their exact age on each date on which they pitched and use all of those for a weighted average to represent each season, since that is how the average ages of the pitchers who hit Biggio with pitches was calculated, but for the entire population, that method is impracticle. Instead, each pitchers age has been calculated as of July 1 of each season in which they pitched. That should be close enough for an investigation of stats related to people getting hit by pitches.
As you may recall, the average age of pitchers who hit Craig Biggio with a pitch was 28.5 at the end of the 2005 season. For players who pitched between 1989 (the first year Biggio was plunked) and 2005, the average age of pitchers in the league was 28.6 - so overall, it has been younger than average pitchers who have been plunking Biggio. Over that same span, the average age of pitchers who hit at least one batter was 28.78 years. That may look as though older pitchers are more likely to hit a batter, but it's more a matter of older pitchers being more likely to have enough time to hit a batter. The average age of pitchers who threw more than 10 innings in a season, over that same span, is 28.80 years, so it looks as if the leaguewide average is lowered by a number of young pitchers who have very brief stints in the majors during a given season.
While the overall average age of pitchers who have plunked Biggio has been lower than the league average, Biggio plunkers have been younger than average in only 8 of 17 seasons. For the past two season, those pitchers who hit Biggio have been older than average by 0.26 years in 2005, and 0.08 years in 2004. The largest difference was in 2000 when pitchers who hit Biggio with a pitch were 3.24 years older than the league average. Not coincidentally, that was the year Biggio plunkers had the oldest average age. The year they had the youngest average age also corresponds with the largest difference in that direction - in 1997 when those who plunked Biggio were 1.69 years younger than average. The average age of the relatively small sample of pitchers who hit Biggio has shown much more variance compared to the whole pitching population, which has remained fairly stable from year to year. But, there does appear to be an upward trend in the average age of pitchers, and there is probably an overall increase in average age of major league players.
(Last year, there were 19 players in the league over the age of 40 by April 1st - the most ever. By percentage of the total league population it was the highest since the late 1940s when there was an understandable lack of baseball aged men around. I think there were 17 who have played this season who were over 40 as of April 1st.)

Here is the year by year comparison of average age of pitchers who hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, with the leaguewide average for pitchers, and the average age for pitchers who hit at least one batter:

Pitchers who hit BiggioAll PitchersPitchers with at least 1 HB
YearAvg AgeAvg AgeDiffAvg AgeDiff

Pirates trade C. Wilson for batting tee

If there was ever a player who could get hit by a pitch while batting off a tee, it would have to be Craig Biggio, but he didn't manage to do that last night. Okay, the Astros weren't litteraly batting off a tee - 6 of them were walked to go with 6 home runs. Biggio had one of those homers, and it turned out that the HBP was not needed for the team to rack up 14 runs and win 14-1.

Tonight the Pirates starter is expected to be Tom Gorzelanny, a 24 year old lefty who has not hit Craig Biggio with a pitch yet in his career. He has only faced the Astros in one of his 9 career appearances - his major league debut last year on September 20th. He didn't hit anyone.

Bill Pulsipher is the only pitcher who has hit Craig Biggio on August 10th. He did it in 1998 for Milwaukee at the Astrodome, and the Astros won that game 5-2.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

the teenwolf effect

Long time readers of this site will recall that Craig Biggio is hit by a pitch more frequently on nights, like tonight, when the moon is full. He hasn't been hit during a full moon since June 22 of last season (when Jason Jennings hit him twice), but he still gets hit about 31% more often per game and 37% more often per plate appearance on the date of a full moon than he does during the rest of the lunar cycle. He records an HBP once every 7.33 games and once every 31.1 plate appearances when the moon is full, and once per 9.62 games and once per 42.6 plate appearances when it is not.
Well, it turns out this is not a local phenomenon. League wide, batters are hit 5.9% more often per plate appearance when the moon is full. About 1 batter per 120.3 is hit during full moons while non-full moon plunks occur about once every 127.4 plate appearances.
However, Biggio's increased batting average is not mirrored in league wide stats. Biggio bats .298 when the moon is full and .284 the rest of the time. He also increases his home run output from 1 per 43 plate appearance to 1 per 37 plate appearances. The major leagues as a whole, from 1988-2005, have the nearly the same batting average whether the moon is full or not - .2637 on non-full moons to .2635 on full moons. There is a slight increase in home run production during full moons, from 1.97 per game to 2.00 per game.

I have no explanation for this increase in hit batters during the full moon, but it is clearly an important area which should receive further study, and it would be the perfect opportunity for that collaboration between NASA and Major League Baseball that both groups have been waiting for. It's only fitting that the Astros should be at the forefront of such an effort.


Pirates new acquisition to throw near Biggio?

Last night Craig Biggio did not get hit by a pitch, but he did hit a home run to help the Astros and Brandon Backe to a 3-1 victory. Pirates pitchers Paul Maholm and John Grabow threw 15 pitches toward the plate while Biggio was standing next to it, but none of them could hit him. This, perhaps, is exactly why the Pirates added tonights starter Shawn Chacon to their roster in a trading deadline deal with the Yankees for Craig Wilson. In Chacon, they got a starter who has plunked Biggio 3 different times, along with 50 other batters. Chacon last hit Craig Biggio with a pitch on April 10, 2002 at Coors field. Prior to that season, he did it twice in 2001, on June 7th, and June 19th. Shawn Chacon is 1-2 when he hits Craig Biggio with a pitch, and the Astros are 2-1 when that happens.

Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch twice on August 9th - in 1995 by Willie Fraser of the Expos, and in 1997 by Turk Wendell of the Mets.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

ages and innings

It's common knowledge that the average age of the pitchers who have hit Craig Biggio with a pitch through the 2005 season was 28.50 years, but you may not have heard that the average age of the pitchers who have plunked Biggio in 2006 is also 28.50 years. It's not exactly the same - 28.50388 to 28.50064, but this year's seven plunks have only moved the average age of the group down 0.00008.

Here are the year by year average ages of pitchers who hit Biggio with pitches, as well as the career averages as of the end of each season. 2006, or course, is season to date.
YearSeason Avg. AgeCareer Avg. Age

Pitchers who hit Craig Biggio with a pitch in the 4th inning tend to be the youngest, on average, at 27.37 years old, and the 139 HBPs that he's accumulated in the first 4 innings have been thrown by pitchers averaging 28.29 years old, while the 141 pitches he's been hit by in the 5th inning or later have been thrown by hurlers averaging 28.71 years of age. The 14 9th inning plunks have been thrown by pitchers with the highest average age at 29.90 (excluding the small data sets in the extra frames). The 7th inning plunkers have the 2nd highest average age at 29.17, but that has been dragged down this season by three 7th inning HBPs thrown by pitchers averaging 26.06 years.
Biggio's 4 other HBPs this season have come in the 3rd and 6th inning, and the average age for both of those innings has increased this season. 3rd inning plunkers have averaged 30.07 years old this season, raising the average fro 29.09 to 29.16. Pitchers who have hit Biggio in the 6th inning have averaged 31.13 years old this season, raising that average from 28.36 last year to 28.48 now.

InningAverage AgeHBPs

Tonight's pitcher, Paul Maholm is about 24.12 years old.

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Pirates try to plunder Houston

It's Tuesday and the Pittsburgh Pirates are in town for the first of three games against Craig Biggio and the Astros. The Pirates are tied for 2nd in the league in getting hit by pitches this season, behind the team from the other end of Pennsylvania, but after there roster was plundered at the trading deadline, they lost their career plunk leader Craig Wilson and his 86 HBPs for the Bucs. Now the most HBPs any active Pirate has had since joining the team is Jason Bay's 23. Jeromy Burnitz has 77 HBPs but only 4 have been as a Pirate.
But on the plus side, the Pirates did pick up Shawn Chacon who has plunked 53 batters, 50 of whom weren't Craig Biggio. But, Shawn Chacon is not today's starter. Today's starter is Paul Maholm who has hit 11 batters in his two seasons of major league service. He has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, and the the Astros last saw him when he pitched the first 5 innings of that 18 inning loss in May.

Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch just once on August 8th - in 2004 by Sunny Kim.

Also of note, 5 out of 6 infielders on the Pirates active roster have names starting with J. 3 are named Jose.


Monday, August 07, 2006

hundredth hits

On Saturday, Craig Biggio notched his 2,900th hit and did not get hit by a pitch that day. That was the 25th time he'd past a 100 hit milestone without being plunked in the same game. Earlier this year, on April 8th, he was hit by a pitch by Livan Hernandez in the same game Hernandez gave up Biggio's 2,800th hit. Biggio was also plunked in the same game that he reached 100 hits, 1,000 hits, and 1,800 hits.
July 30, 1989 was the game in which he reached 100 career hits. He was hit by Mike LaCoss that day, but it was Steve Bedrosian who gave up the 100th hit. Biggio's 1,000th was recorded on July 1, 1995 off Mike Dyer, in a game in which Biggio was plunked by John Hope. And on July 25, 1999 Andy Ashby hit Biggio with a pitch, and Carlos Reyes gave up Biggio's 1,800th hit in relief of Ashby.
All 4 of the times Biggio has been hit in the same game that he recorded a 100th hit have been in home games, but 18 of Biggio's 29 100th hits have occurred on the road, even though he's had more total hits at home, 1,459 to 1,441.
Biggio's first 100 hits were the slowest of his career, taking 134 games to achieve. His second 100 hits took 108 games, but he's only had three 100 hit milestones take longer than 100 games since then. The fastest 100 hit span was between 1,600 and 1,700 hits, which took him just 74 games. If you were to measure time in terms of HBPs, his fastest 100 hit span was between 100 and 200 hits, when he got hit by a pitch just once. He was also only plunked once between his 300th and 400th hits, and between his 400th and 500th hits. He was hit the most often between his 1,400th and 1,500th hits, with 21 HBPs in that span.
The most common month for Biggio to pass a 100 hit milestone has been July with 8 times, followed by April with 7 times. The Expos/Nationals franchise has given up 5 of those 29 milestone hits, more than any other franchise, but the Reds are not far back with 4. 11 different National League teams, and 1 AL team seen Biggio record a 100th hit against them.

Here are the dates of each of Craig Biggio's 100 hit milestones, with links to the box scores, how many games and HBPs it took to get there from the last 100, and who they were playing at the time:

Look for number 3,000 sometime in late May of '06.


monday streak to continue

Craig Biggio was hit by no pitches over the weekend in Arizona, but the Astros return to Houston to face the Pittsburgh Pirates... tomorrow. Today the Astros will spend their 5th consecutive Monday doing whatever it is that baseball players do on days when they don't have a major league game. For some, that might include quiet reflection on their 2,900 career hits, or maybe looking ahead thinking about those next 100 hits and wondering where they'll be found, or perhaps even developing a plan to come up with those last 8 HBPs needed for the all time record in that category.
Craig Biggio has never been hit by a pitch on August 7th. That streak is expected to continue.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

weekend in the desert

There was a lot ineffective pitching in last nights 8-7 win for the Astros over the Diamondbacks, but it was mostly a matter of lots of hits, rather than lots of batters hit. Craig Biggio was once again not hit by a pitch.

Dustin Nippert is scheduled to pitch today, and the first batter he faces in this game will be the 94th of his career. He has hit 1 batter so far, in 4 career appearances. That 1 batter was not Craig Biggio (it was Freddy Sanchez). Craig Biggio has never been hit by a pitch on August 5th.

Sunday's thrower for the D-backs is scheduled to be Claudio Vargas. Vargas has never hit Biggio with a pitch, but he has been remarkably consistent hitting 7 batters in each of the last 3 seasons. He's only hit 5 this year, so he'll undoubtedly be choosing his last 2 carefully.
Craig Biggio has been hit 4 times on August 6th. Barry Manuel threw plunk #80 on August 6, 1996, Rocky Biddle thre plunk #254 on August 6, 2004, and Aaron Heilman and Pedro Feliciano both threw HBPs to Biggio on August 6, 2003.


Friday, August 04, 2006

what percentage of pitchers hit batters?

So far in the 2006 season, there have been 568 players who threw at least one pitch in the Major Leagues, and 419 of them (73.8%) have hit a batter with a pitch. Only 1.2% of them hit Craig Biggio with a pitch. Of the 1,024 players who have stepped into a major league batters box this season, 371 of them (36.2%) have been hit by a pitch.
In 2004, there were a record 480 pitchers who hit a batter with a pitch at least once that year, but there were also an all time high of 632 players to pitch in the league, so only 75.9% of big league pitchers threw a plunk that year. In 2003, 77.6% of pitchers threw at least one plunk, which was the highest percentage since 1910. This season's 73.8% is the lowest ratio of pitchers who hit a battter to total pitchers since 1999.

This year has also seen the lowest fraction of pitchers who hit Craig Biggio with a pitch to total pitchers since 1991 when only 2 of the league's 475 pitchers hit him. In 1997, Biggio was hit by 32 of the 534 players who threw a pitch that season - 6% of them. That was his best season in that category (as well as several others).

So, it appears that while the overall rate of batters being hit in the league has been relatively stable for the past few seasons, the percentage of pitchers who hit batters may be declining slightly this season, and the percentage of pitchers who hit Craig Biggio has clearly declined. But with nearly 2 months left to go in the season, there's still time for these things to change.

Pitchers who hit a batterPitchers who hit Biggio
YearNumberPct of totalNumberPct of totalTotal Pitchers

On the batting side, it seems that Craig Biggio's example has been followed by increasing numbers of players around the league - 32.4% of players took one for the team in 1988, Biggio's first season, but that figure climbed to 36.7% in 2001. It has steadied since then, and this year's 36.2% is the closest they've come to that 2001 peak. But unlike most plunk figures, which are at levels not seens since the early 1900s, the league has had several periods of time throughout the 20th century when the percent of batters with at least 1 plunk was higher than it is today. In 1968, 41.1% of the league's batters got hit at least once, and in 1928 37.6% of batters were plunked. The all time high was in 1890 when 64.2% of batters had a pitch strike them, and more than half of the leagues batters were hit as recently as the 1907 season.

more NL-west road action

Craig Biggio got the day off yesterday, but the rest of the Astros couldn't finish off the sweep of the Padres and lost 5-2 (they were in the retro uniforms for the game, and while a retro-uniform plunk would have been nice, then you would have wanted me to find out how many other retro-uniform plunks there have been, and I have no idea how to do that). Tonight they move on to Arizona to step into the batters box against Miguel Batista, who plunked Biggio as well as Burke and Taveras just last sunday, July 30th. Batista also plunked Biggio on June 25, 2001, and there's always a chance that if Craig Biggio gets an early hit of Batista, the pitcher may take extreme action to avoid being the answer to a trivia question. Biggio is sitting at 2,898 hits, and no pitcher wants to be known for the rest of history as the guy who gave up Biggio's 2,900th hit - especially since he already threw Biggio's 280th HBP.

One year ago, on August 4, 2005, Jose Valverde hit Craig Biggio with a pitch at Arizona, so tonight could be the first time Biggio has been hit by a pitch on the same date in consecutive years at the same road ballpark. He's only been hit by the same team on the same date in two consecutive years twice, but the Reds hit him with a pitch on July 27, 1993 at the Astrodome and July 27, 1994 at Riverfront, and the Rockies drilled him on September 9, 1996 at he Astrodome and September 9, 1997 at Coors Field.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

beginnings and endings

A commenter asked this morning whether anyone has ever plunked biggio in his first game in the majors. I covered this topic last year, but this fits in nicely with what I was going to write about today, so here's an update.
Juan Acevado, Andy Larkin, and Mark Brownson are still the only 3 pitchers who hit Craig Biggio with a pitch in their first game in the majors. Now that Retrosheet has the inning summaries published, we can add that Brownson managed to plunk Biggio to lead off the game in his first pitching appearance, and is the only pitcher to do so. Acevado waited until the 4th inning to plunk Biggio, and Larkin threw his first HBP in the 5th.
But Brownson, after plunking the first batter he ever faced, in the person of Biggio, went on to appear in only 10 more games in his career - 11 in all. The only pitcher who hit Biggio with a pitch to appear in fewer career games was Kenny Greer. Greer pitched in only 1 game following his July 15, 1995 plunking of Biggio. Only 1 pitcher hit Biggio with a pitch closer to his exit from the league, and that was Scott Ruffcorn, who did it in his final game in the majors, on August 17, 1997.
Ruffcorn still managed to hit another batter for in his career finale. He entered his final game in the 4th and plunked Biggio to lead off the inning. Derek Bell drove in Biggio with a double, but Ruffcorn otherwise survived the inning. In the 5th inning, he plunked Astros pitcher Ramon Garcia, threw a wild pitch, and walked Biggio as his final act as a major league pitcher. If you check out the inning summary on retrosheet for the 5th inning, it indicates that Chuck Carr "tripled to second". It's probably a bad sign for a pitcher when his team finds a way to give up a triple to second base.
Aside from Ruffcorn and Greer, 12 pitchers have exited the majors less than 10 appearances after plunking Biggio (not including Josh Kinney who is active, and has pitched 6 times since hitting Biggio with a pitch last month). Stan Spencer pitched 2 games after hitting Biggio on June 9, 2000, and Anthony Telford pitched 3 more games after his June 29, 2002 drilling of Biggio. Orel Hershiser only pitched 4 games after plunking Biggio twice in 2000, and that's tied with Paul Fletcher's total post plunk appearances in 1995. Todd Ritchie(5), Rocky Biddle(6), Lance Davis(6), John Hope(7), Steve Bourgeois(8), Rick Ankiel(8) and Leo Estralla(9) round out the list, though it's always possible some of those players may return to pitch again.


two homers, but no HBPs

Craig Biggio saw 13 pitches last night during the Astros 7-0 win, and none of them hit him, but the 12th and 13th pitches thrown to him were sent over the fence for home runs. It was Biggio's first 2 homer game on the road since June 30, 2004 against the Cubs at Wrigley. Last nights homers were the 272nd and and 273rd of his career, but he was not hit by the 281st pitch of his career. The Astros, by the way, hadn't won consecutive road games since July 1st and 2nd at Texas.

This afternoon, the Astros will face Clay Hensley. He has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, and has only hit 2 batters in his short career. Biggio has been hit by a pitch just once on August 3rd, in 1996 by Shawn Estes of the Giants.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

hit batters per 9 innings

So far this season, Scott Erickson holds the lead for most hit batters per 9 innings among pitchers who have pitched 9 innings. Erickson hit 3 batters in 11.1 innings of work for the Yankees this year, but is not currently employed by a major league team.

2006 top 10 hit batters per 9 innings pitched (minimum 9 innings pitched):
NameHBPsInningsHBPs per 9
Scott Erickson311.12.382
Jim Brower5202.250
Julio Manon292.000
Adam Eaton29.21.862
Bobby Seay315.11.761
Scott Sauerbeck421.11.688
Ryan Vogelsong7381.658
Brian Shouse527.11.646
Dana Eveland527.21.627
Mark Prior6351.543

Among those who have pitched over 100 innings this season, Javier Vasquez is the leader with 0.931 hit batters per 9 innings.

2006 top 10 hit batters per 9 innings pitched (minimum 100 innings pitched):
NameHBPsInningsHBPs per 9
Javier Vazquez13125.20.931
Dontrelle Willis15145.10.929
Casey Fossum10108.20.828
Vicente Padilla121320.818
Barry Zito13149.20.782
Ramon Ortiz11128.10.771
Dave Bush12142.10.759
Ryan Madson8100.20.715
Chan Ho Park10126.10.712
Jeff Francis10131.10.685

Players in bold have hit Craig Biggio with a pitch sometime in their career.

The career leader in HBPs per 9 innings pitched, among pitchers with more than 100 career innings pitched, is Randy Choate, who has hit 21 batters in 157.2 career innings, including 2006. That's 1.20 hit batters per 9 innings - about 22% more than his closest competition.
NameHBPsInningsHBPs per 9
Randy Choate21157.21.199
Brian Fuentes302760.978
Gavin Floyd11108.20.911
Greg Aquino10103.10.871
Robinson Tejeda101050.857
Byung-Hyun Kim596600.805
Jerome Williams35395.10.797
Randy Flores101150.783
Chad Qualls15173.20.777
Victor Zambrano58683.10.764

Among pitchers who have thrown more than 500 innings, Byung-Hyun Kim, who threw historic Biggio plunk number 268, is at the top of the list having hit an average of 0.80 batters per 9 innings pitched.
NameHBPsInningsHBPs per 9
Byung-Hyun Kim596600.805
Victor Zambrano58683.10.764
Jeff Nelson64784.20.734
Casey Fossum52643.10.727
Jamey Wright1121433.10.703
Shawn Chacon53694.10.687
Julian Tavarez831138.20.656
Chan Ho Park1261736.10.653
Kerry Wood811128.20.646
Jeff Weaver10415000.624

Again, pitchers in bold have hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, although Jeff Weaver also hit Craig Biggio with a pitch which was not credit to Biggio as an HBP - (the lost plunk).