If you're a fan of great leadoff get-hitters, you should enjoy this weekend's matchup between Craig Biggio, and the Cardinals lead-off man David Eckstein. Eckstein holds the American League Rookie record for getting hit by pitches (21 in 2001), and last fall he broke Tino Martinez's all time record for post-season plunks.
|David Eckstein -||7|
|Tino Martinez -||6|
|Manny Ramirez -||5|
|The wonder twins*||5|
(*Those two guys who play on the left side of the Yankees infield whose names attract spam for gossip websites to my comments area)
David Eckstein has been plunked in both the American League and National League championship, but was never hit in the World Series. The only other player to be hit in both League Championships is Greg Luzinski. When he was with the Angels, he was plunked by Jeff Weaver in the ALDS, and Bob Wells in the NLCS. Since joining the Cardinals, he's been hit by David Wells in the Division series, and Chad Bradford, Oliver Perez, Roy Oswalt and Andy Pettitte in the League Championship.
Eckstein has been hit 105 times so far, averaging 17.33 plunks per season for for his first 6 years of Major League play. That ranks 4th in baseball history, behind Jason Kendall, Ron Hunt and Tommy Tucker for HBPs per season. If he could keep that pace up for another 10 seasons, he'd be getting close to the record. It's a long way to go before he's contending for the all time plunk record, but he's only 60 HBPs away from Kid Elberfeld for the HBP record for players whose last name starts with E.
Eckstein has been plunked to lead off the game 24 times, and scored a run 8 of those times. He has scored a total of 23 runs after reaching base on a plunk. He's been hit by 87 different pitchers, and 27 different teams - only Arizona, Colorado, and the Angels have failed to hit him. (Biggio has only been hit by 23 different teams, but he never played in the American League). 26 pitchers who plunked Eckstein have also hit Craig Biggio with a pitch. He's been hit most often in the 1st inning (24 times), and on Saturdays (22 times).