Friday, July 20, 2007

small numbers, a large number of times

Craig Biggio has only been hit by a pitch 3 times this season, which is a slow season compared to the rest of his career, but that does mean he's been hit by a pitch at least 3 times in 18 different season. That certainly isn't as impressive a feat as 285 career plunks, or his 6 seasons with over 20 HBPs, but if you look at the number of players who have done it as a measure of the difficulty of the accomplishment, 18 seasons with 3+ plunks is about as difficult as 4 seasons with 20 plunks - each have been done by only 7 players. The 7 players with 20+ plunks in 4 or more seasons is also the same 7 players with over 200 career plunks, but only Biggio has had 4 or more seasons with 20+ HBPs and 18 seasons with 3 or more plunks.

Players with 20 or more plunks in 4 or more seasons:
Player - seasons with 20 or more HBP
Hughie Jennings - 6
Craig Biggio - 6
Tommy Tucker - 6
Ron Hunt - 6
Don Baylor - 5
Jason Kendall - 5
Dan McGann - 4

Players with 3 or more plunks in 18 or more seasons:
player - seasons with 3 or more HBP
Pete Rose - 19
Craig Biggio - 18
Ricky Henderson - 18
Carlton Fisk - 18
Honus Wagner - 18
Frank Robinson - 18
Gary Sheffield - 18

It's a common misconception in baseball that racking up huge numbers in a short number of seasons is a more difficult accomplishment than putting up consistent numbers for a long stretch of seasons. Biggio is also 16 hits away from having 100 hits in 19 seasons. That doesn't jump out at the average fan the way, for example, 200 hits in 5 or more seasons does, but guess which one has been done more often. Coming into this year, 20 players have had 5 or more seasons with 200 or more hits, but Biggio will be the 17th to have 19 seasons over 100 hits. And it's not a pack of average players who "hung around a long time". Both lists are a great group of players, and like the HBPs, there isn't a lot of overlap on the two lists - only Pete Rose and Ty Cobb did both.

5 or more seasons over 200 hits:
Pete Rose - 10
Ty Cobb - 9
Paul Waner - 8
Lou Gehrig - 8
Willie Keeler - 8
Wade Boggs - 7
Charlie Gehringer - 7
Rogers Hornsby - 7
Ichiro Suzuki - 6
Steve Garvey - 6
Stan Musial - 6
Bill Terry - 6
Al Simmons - 6
Sam Rice - 6
George Sisler - 6
Jesse Burkett - 6
Derek Jeter - 5
Tony Gwynn - 5
Kirby Puckett - 5
Chuck Klein - 5

19+ seasons over 100 hits:
Pete Rose (23)
Carl Yastrzemski (22)
Ty Cobb (22)
Hank Aaron (21)
Cap Anson (21)
Eddie Murray (20)
George Brett (20)
Cal Ripken (19)
Ricky Henderson (19)
Paul Molitor (19)
Dave Winfield (19)
Robin Yount (19)
Willie Mays (19)
Tris Speaker (19)
Honus Wagner (19)
Nap Lajoie (19)

Interestingly, the 200 plunk club lines up with the group who got hit 20+ times in 4 or more seasons, but the 3000 hit club matches up better with the group that has 100+ hits in 19 seasons - all 16 of them (17 when Biggio joins). Only 6 of the 20 players with 200 hits in 5 seasons got to 3000 (though Jeter and Ichiro still could).

At the moment, 18 players have hit 40 home runs in 5 different seasons, but only 15 have hit 10 or more in 19 seasons. Guess which group is more likely to grow in the near future? To make it a little more symmetrical, 11 players have had 10 or more hits in 20 seasons - so 8 less than the group with 4 times as many homers in 1/4 as many seasons. Craig Biggio didn't make any of those clubs, but he is just the 21st player with at least 3 homers in 20 different seasons. (It's not nearly as impressive a group - only 14 hall of famers, though 4 haven't been voted on yet)


At 7/21/2007 02:44:00 AM, Blogger rihar said...

I've got a photo of Craig getting plunked on June 29th. The day after he hit 3000 (and kept on going). It was the only game I've been able to go to so far this year and not only could he not wait until we got there to hit that 3000th, he also decided not to hit one at all that night for us.

Anyway the photo isn't bad. It's from the first base angle with our telephoto lens at ground level. If you let me know how I'd be glad to send it to you. Could it be posted here?

At 7/21/2007 03:57:00 AM, Anonymous cletus.j."bubba" huckabee jr. said...

Now if you ask me, and plenty folk do now and again, the prime reason our man Craig “Target” Biggio has seen his plunk count drop off considerably this year is because there ain’t enough of us out here wearing one of the commemorative HBP:BGO shirts to illustrate our support and add to the harmonic convergence. Oncet before I made a plug for these here T-shirts and at that time I was careful to point out that I don’t receive no financial compensation nor commiseration for this here unsolicited plug. I am again stating that I am not shilling shirts for nobody, even them folk who I happen to take a shine to such as this here pbr feller. However, there is something more fundamentally important at stake here and the forces of good and evil are caught in a battle of insurmountable significance and if we all work together and slip on our commemorative T shirts during critical moments when the ball is swaying to and fro in its meandering path betwixt being released from the pitcher’s hand and being nabbed in the catcher’s mitt – I those few seconds when the ball is wavering down the flight path not sure yet if it will go ahead on and head for the mitt, or if it will demonstrate its newfound independence and drift in on “Target’s” elbow and whack him a good one – that’s when we all need to be in our shirts so we can generate sufficient collective vibrations that will add up to enough positive waves that they will force the ball to enter a new flight plan and drift in on “Target” and chalk up another plunk. See, I’m a feared that he is winding down his tenure in the big leagues and this season is pert much going to be his swan song (he ain’t told me as such, I can just feel it in me waters) so he needs them few more plunks to once and for all unify the all time record with the modern record and deny the evil doers their opportunity to keep differentiating between the two. We want a unified record, just like when Whaoo McDaniel beat that low down, no count, masked Johnny Valentine and unified the federation’s intercontinental freestyle belt and the association’s freestyle intercontinental belt back in 1971. That’s what I am dreaming of with the plunk record. No more modern, no more all time, just a unified record. So, what I need you all to do, and again I stress that pbr did not prompt me to do this and I am receiving no financial gain by writing these words, is go over there to the side and click on them little links that take you to the T shirts and buy you one or two. Heck, buy three or four. Next time “Target” steps to the plate make sure you slip on your shirt and then you will add to the collective vibrations and ensure (more or less) another plunk. If you got three or four extra shirts laying about then you can invite any guests you got in your trailer house to wear one with you. In the mean time, when the game ain’t on the television machine, them shirts laying around the house make excellent dust rags.


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