Friday, August 31, 2007

Biggio and Wrigley

If you've read any of the previews for this weekend's Astros series at Wrigley Field (here or here) you may have noticed that Wrigley Field is one of Biggio's favorite road parks in the league. There's a number of reasons he might enjoy playing there, and having been hit by 12 pitches there is probably not high on the list.

He's played more games at Wrigley than any road ball park - 116 so far (he's played more games in Cincinnati but they built a new park). Biggio has also scored more runs (98), and and hit more homeruns (20) at Wrigley than any other park outside Houston.

He also hit his first career homer over the wall in left-center at Wrigley - on August 22, 1988 in the 10th inning off Goose Gossage.

Biggio has won more games at Wrigley than at any other road park as well - his career record there is 63-53 (6-6 when he gets hit by a pitch).

If Biggio gets 3 more hits, he'll have had more at Wrigley than any road park - he currently has 126 there, and 128 at old Busch Stadium. He can also make Wrigley his most doubled-at road park if he hits 2 more - he has 29 there, and 30 at old Busch. And, there's only one road park where Biggio has stolen more bases, but he'd have to swipe 14 this weekend to beat his total at Montreal's Stade Olympique where he stole 31.

If Biggio could get one more HBP at Wrigley, and make it in the 9th inning, it would be the first road park in which he's been hit at least once in 9 different innings. Biggio's been plunked at least once in each inning from 1 to 8 at Wrigley, but never the 9th or later. There isn't another road park where he's been hit in more than 6 different innings.

spoiling pennant chases

The Astros knocked off the Cardinals again yesterday, 2-1, dropping St. Louis to 3 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central standings, but today they'll be traveling to Chicago to see if they can mess with the Cubs playoff hopes a little. Also, this will be Biggio's final opportunity to get hit by a pitch at Wrigley Field, where he's been hit 12 times before. Wrigley Field sounds like an excellent place to end his current 38 game plunkless streak.

Today, Sean Marshall pitches for the Cubs. He's in his 2nd season in the league, which is a popular time for young pitchers to plunk Biggio, but at 6'7" he's slightly taller than the average plunker of Biggio, and he's also more left-handed than the average plunked of Biggio. Marshall has hit 8 batters in his career, but just one this season.

Ten years ago, James Baldwin plunked Biggio in Chicago on August 31, 1997 but that was at Comiskey Park (II) for the White Sox. Jake Peavy plunked Biggio for the Padres on August 31, 2003.

If Biggio does not get hit by a pitch today, this will be his first August with 0 HBPs since 2000. He only played one game that month, but he didn't get plunked in August 1999 either.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

unforeseen consequences

The obvious point this site has made over and over is that when Craig Biggio gets hit by pitches, he helps the Astros win. Less obvious consequences of his plunks which have been illustrated here are increased plunk rates in other games around the league, decreases in California earthquakes, changes in the stock market, and and a high frequency of New York Knicks losses in playoff games. But it turns out, when Craig Biggio gets hit by a pitch, he might somehow be helping the Atlanta Braves win too.

The Braves have hit Craig Biggio with pitches 8 times, and are 4-4 against the Astros when they plunk Biggio, but on the 265 days on which Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch, they Braves have 157 wins and 99 losses, for a .613 win pct. If you take out the times they plunked Biggio themselves, the Braves are .617 when someone else plunks Biggio. No team has a higher winning percentage on days on which Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch, but only 1 other team has won more frequently than the Astros on those days - the Yankees with a .563 win pct.

The Braves and Yankees have been consistently very good during the span of Craig Biggio's career, but from 1998 through yesterday the Yankees had a .562 win pct. overall, and a .563 win pct when Biggio gets hit by a pitch. The Braves have a .561 win pct since the 1988 season, but it jumps up to .613 when Biggio gets plunked. The only team with a greater increase in win percentage on days when Biggio gets hit by pitches is the Orioles - they've had a losing record in total since 1988, at .475, but on day when Biggio gets plunked they win a .520 clip - even though, like Atlanta, they are only .500 on days when they plunk Biggio themselves.

On the reverse side, the biggest downward change in winning percent on days when Biggio gets plunked is experienced by the Reds. They've won 49.6% of their games since 1988, but on days when Biggio gets plunked they are 108-148 for a .422 winning pct. However, they're slightly better when they plunk him themselves, at .428.

This season, the Mets are an impressive 4-0 on days when Craig Biggio has been plunked, including July 7th when Biggio was hit by the Mets. The Phillies are 0-4 on days when Biggio has been plunked this season, and in fact the Mets are 3-0 against the Phillies on days when Biggio has been hit by a pitch this year. So, Craig Biggio could hold the key to the NL East pennant race this year, or even today.

Here is a table showing each team's win/loss record on days when Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch, and their total win/loss record from 1988 to August 29, 2007.

On Biggio plunk days
Overall, 1988 to 8/29/07

TeamsRecordWin PctRecordWin Pctdiffpct diff
Red Sox135-1170.5361700-14450.541-0.005-0.92%
White Sox126-1150.5231631-15110.5190.0040.77%
Blue Jays130-1240.5121606-15410.510.0020.39%

Below is a table showing each team's win/loss record in games in which they plunked Biggio themselves:
White Sox2-01.000

Biggio has been plunked twice on days when the Astros were playing double-headers, but the Astros are 1-3 on those days (he's never been hit in both games of a double-header). But, that means that while the Brewers are 6-9 in games in which they plunk Biggio, they are 7-9 on days when they plunk Biggio, and the Pirates are 11-12 on the dates they've hit Biggio with a pitch.

tied for 5th in doubles

Cecil Cooper employed the old "move Biggio down to 2nd" trick with the Astros last night, but it didn't get Craig Biggio hit by any more pitches than he's been hit by in any of his past 36 games - which is none. The Astros won the game 7-0, and Craig Biggio hit his 665th career double, which ties him with George Brett for 5th on the all time list. That's pretty good, but if he had been hit by two pitches instead of hitting one double he'd be tied with Hughie Jennings for 1st on that all time list.

Joel Piniero pitches for Cardinals today, but since it's a day game, there's a good chance Biggio will be on the bench to start the game. Piniero has hit 38 batters in his career, but only 2 this season. The closest he's ever come to plunking Biggio, alphabetically anyway, was hitting Aaron Boone with a pitch.

Do you know who's been hit by pitches twice before on August 30th? Craig Biggio. Barry Jones hit him on August 30, 1991, and Jason Bere plunked Biggio on August 30, 1997.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

plunks by manager

Since someone asked, here's the breakdown of Biggio's HBPs by Astros manager:
ManagerSpanGames*HBP:BGOHBP:BGO per game
Hal Lanier1986-198848600
Art Howe1989-1993810280.035
Terry Collins1994-1996421570.135
Larry Dierker1997-2001**7831080.138
Matt Galante**6/14/99 - 7/11/992740.148
Jimy Williams2002 - 7/11/2004***411550.134
John Tamargo***5/31/2002100
Phil Garner7/16/04 - 8/27/07530330.062
Cecil Cooper8/28/07 - ?100

* - the Games column is the number of Astros games managed by each manager, whether Biggio played in them or not - since it would have generally been the manager's responsibility to put Biggio into those games.
** - Matt Galante managed 27 games in 1999, filling in for Larry Dierker
*** - John Tamargo mangaged 1 game in place of Jimy Wiliams, on May 31, 2002.

As you can see, Phil Garner's record of getting Biggio hit by pitches was the worst since Art Howe. Larry Dierker got the most plunks out of (or into) Biggio, but on a per game basis, he didn't get Biggio hit too much more frequently than Terry Collins or Jimy Williams. Matt Galante's brief tenure got Biggio hit most frequently per Astros game - if he'd been managing all of Biggio's 2,824 games and kept getting Biggio plunked at that rate, Biggio would have about 418 HBPs.

New Astros manager Cecil Cooper was born in the Chinese year of the Ox, and Biggio has been hit a total of 90 times while being managed by those born in the year of the Ox. But, he's been hit 136 times for managers born in the year of the Dog. I mention this only because Craig Biggio has been plunked twice on days when I've posted crazy crap about astrology (here and here).

74 losses - but only 2 7-0 losses.

The Astros only got 9 batters to first base last night, and none of them made it past 2nd, as the Cardinals shut them out 7-0. Ty Wigginton was the only Astro who had his HBP offense going, but Craig Biggio did have one hit. On the bright side, the Astros may have now lost 74 games, but they've only lost 2 games by a 7-0 score.

Kip Wells gets his turn in the Cardinals pitching rotation tonight. He hit Craig Biggio with an 0-1 pitch with 2 outs in the 5th inning on July 12, 2003. Wells was matched up against Astros start Roy Oswalt that day, just as he is today.

Kip Wells has hit 60 batters in all in his career, with 7 this season, but he's never hit anyone on August 29th. Craig Biggio has been hit by 285 pitches in his career, but he's never been hit by one on August 29th.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

plunk first, get outs later

Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch 285 times in his major league career, and on 68 of those occasions, he was plunked by a pitcher who had not yet recorded an out in the game. 39 of those 68 were thrown by the opposing starter in the first inning while Biggio led off the game for the Astros, but he's been hit another 22 times by relief pitchers who hadn't recorded an out, and 7 more times by starters, in the first inning when Biggio was not the lead off batter, but came to bat with no outs anyway.

Another 60 of Biggio's plunks have come from pitchers who have recorded between 1 and 3 outs in the game, so a total of 128 plunks have come from pitchers who had worked one inning or less at the time of the plunk. 205 HBPs in Biggio's career were thrown by pitchers who had worked 3 innings or less.

Here's the full break down of Biggio's HBPs by number of outs recorded by the pitcher before plunking Biggio:
1 to 360
4 to 638
7 to 939
10 to 1225
13 to 1526
16 to 1812
19 to 2110
22 to 245

The record for most outs in a game before plunking Biggio is 25, and Joey Hamilton and Francisco Cordova both sat that many Astros down before plunking Biggio. Both plunked Biggio with one out in the 9th inning while they were on there way to a complete game shutout against Houston.

The longest a reliever has been in a game before plunking Biggio is 3 innings, or 9 outs, by Orel Hershiser, but he had already plunked Biggio once before in that game and was immediately replaced after throwing the 2nd one. Of the 5 pitchers who have plunked Biggio after 2 full innings of relief work, only 1 recorded another out after putting Biggio on base with the HBP. In all, 35 pitchers failed to record another out after plunking Biggio in a game - 20 starters and 15 relievers. 5 of those were relievers who didn't get anyone out. The quickest hook for a starter who failed to get an out after plunking Biggio was for Steve Cooke on July 23, 1994. Cooke plunked Biggio to lead off the 3rd inning, and then gave up 5 consecutive singles before being lifted.

But of those 68 pitchers who plunked Biggio before recording an out in the game, 5 never recorded any outs, but 10 pitched 7 or more full innings. 5 hit him a 2nd time in the game, including Mark Gardner on August 2, 1996 who plunked Biggio before recording his first out and after recording his last out, but pitcher 6 full innings in between.

management change

It's not clear that Craig Biggio would have gotten hit by more pitches this year if Phil Garner was not managing the team, but when a season goes this way - with Biggio only getting hit 3 times and remaining 3 short of the all time record - it's perfectly reasonable for a team's ownership to want to shake things up in the clubhouse. The only question now is whether or not new manager Cecil Cooper can inspire the plunk chase and manage the Astros in such a way that Craig Biggio can break the most important record in sports (or at least the most interesting record in sports).

We'll see what changes the new administration makes tonight when the St. Louis Cardinals come to Houston. Braden Looper will be pitching for the visitors tonight, and he hit Biggio with a pitch on April 13, 2005.

Mark Gardner plunked Biggio 15 years ago today, on August 18, 1992 for the Expos, and
Lance Davis hit Biggio with a pitch on August 28, 2001. The Astros are 2-0 on August 28th when Craig Biggio gets hit by a pitch (Cecil Cooper take note).

Monday, August 27, 2007

things you wanted to know about Jeff Bagwell


That's how many of Jeff Bagwell's 1,529 career RBIs were scored by Craig Biggio. 372 times. 24.3% of Bagwell's RBIs were runs scored by Biggio and 20.4% of Biggio's 1837 career runs were driven in by Bagwell. Biggio has been on base for 93 of Bagwell's 449 homers - nearly 21% of them - and Biggio was the runner scoring from third on 29 of Bagwell's 102 sacrifice flies. Bagwell drove in Biggio 127 times on singles, 82 times on doubles and 7 times on triples. And of those 372 times Bagwell drove in a Biggio run, 31 of them were after Biggio reached base on a plunk.

Jeff Bagwell hit 6 grand slams in his career, and Craig Biggio was on base for 5 of them.

Bagwell drove in 2 Biggio runs in 35 different games, and once drove in Biggio for 3 runs in a single game - that was the day Bagwell hit for the cycle and drove in Biggio on a single, triple and a homer.

Of Bagwell's 128 career HBPs, 17 were recorded in games in which Craig Biggio was also plunked. The Astros were 10-5 when both Biggio and Bagwell got hit by a pitch. Bagwell was hit 5 times with the bases loaded, but never with Biggio on third to score a run off the plunk. Biggio's 7 rbi plunks never scored Bagwell either, and as far as I can tell, Bagwell never scored on a Biggio rbi of any kind.

Bagwell day

The Astros retired number 5 yesterday - Jeff Bagwell's number. Bagwell, as you may know, got hit by 128 pitches in his career, and while some may have thought it would have been nice for Craig Biggio to celebrate his longtime teammates' career by getting hit by a pitch himself, he instead made a speech and took the day off.

It's entirely possible that Jeff Bagwell is responsible for Biggio's run at the career plunk record and this website. Bagwell jumped into the league as a rookie in 1991, and led the league with 13 HBPs. Biggio didn't lead the leaugue until 1995, and after 1991, Biggio never took fewer than 7 plunks for the team until this season. It could easily have been that Bagwell's refusal to get out of the way of pitches in 1991 inspired Biggio to do the same for the next 15 seasons.

The Astros are off today, meaning that Paul Byrd will remain the only pitcher to plunk Biggio on this date. He did so ten years ago, on August 27, 1997. He scored on a Jeff Bagwell homer.

Dennis Martinez plunked Jeff Bagwell on August 27, 1993 and Frank Castillo hit Bagwell with a pitch on August 27, 1996.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

15 innings, no plunks

Jason Bay and Luke Scott got hit by pitches in last night's 8-3 Astros loss, but Craig Biggio didn't. That was only the 2,557th game of Biggio's career in which he didn't get hit by a pitch.

Tonight the Astros will face Matt Morris, who plunked Biggio on September 19, 2003 for the Cardinals. Morris has hit 3 batters since joining the Pirates this year, but he also hit 5 batters with the Giants before that. The Astros starting pitcher is expected to be Troy Patton making his debut in the majors. Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch 4 times in games in which the Astros starter was making his Major League debut (Scott Elarton, Carlos Hernandez, and twice in Rodrigo Rosario's debut).

Tomorrow, Tony Armas is scheduled to pitch for the Pirates. Armas has hit a total of 40 batters in his career, including 6 this season, but he's never plunked Craig Biggio.

Biggio has never been hit by a pitch on August 25th or 26th.

Friday, August 24, 2007


On average, pitchers who have hit Craig Biggio with a pitch have appeared in 145 games in their careers before the one in which they plunked Craig Biggio. They also average about 80 career starts. Three pitchers have plunked Biggio in their first career game (all as starters), but no pitcher has ever hit Craig Biggio with a pitch in their first start after previously having a relief appearance.

Biggio has been hit 10 times by 8 pitchers with over 500 career pitching appearances. Steve Reed holds the record, having plunked Biggio in his 745th career appearance, on April 24, 2004. All 745 of Reeds appearance up to that date were as a reliever, and he also holds second place on the list, having also plunked Biggio in his 672nd career appearance. Frank Tanana holds the record for most career starts before plunking Biggio - he threw Biggio's 21st career plunk in his 594th career start. Only Tanana, Orel Hershiser and Kevin Brown have hit Biggio with a pitch after starting over 400 major league games. Brown did it in his 437th career start, while Hershiser plunked Biggio twice in a relief appearance with 463 starts already under his belt. Hershiser also plunked Biggio in his 395th career start.

Biggio has been plunked most often - 6 times - by pitchers in their 8th career pitching appearance. He's also been hit 38 times by pitchers who have never started a game, but among those who have started games, he's been plunked most often in their 2nd start, with 7.

Here's the break down of Biggio's HBPs by the career game number of the pitcher who hit him:
1 to 1027
11 to 100110
101 to 20068
201 to 30045
301 to 40019
401 to 5006
501 or more10

Slightly over half of the pitchers who have plunked Biggio had 40 or fewer career starts at the time.

Here are Biggio's plunks by the pitchers' career starts:
0 to 1080
11 to 100118
101 to 20053
201 to 30023
301 to 4007
401 to 5003
501 or more1

No more plunks from the Nationals

The Washington Nationals passed up their final opportunity to hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, leaving their franchise total (as both the Nationals and the Expos) at 15, with just one coming since the team moved to the US from Canada. Mark Gardner was the only pitcher to plunk Biggio twice for the Expos, and he was also hit by Barry Jones, Willie Fraser, Kirk Rueter, Barry Manuel, Dave Veres, Pedro Martinez, Jeff Juden, Trey Moore, Bobby Ayala, Britt Reames, Rocky Biddle and Sunny Kim while they pitched for Montreal. Livan Hernandez will remain the first, last and only Washington Nationals pitcher to plunk Biggio - unless maybe Biggio falls short of the all time record in hit-by-pitches and is forced to come out of retirement next year to break the record by the popular outcry of millions of fans.

Biggio had one hit in last night's 7-6 loss, but can you really expect to win against a team that sends John Lennon to the mound and then sends in a guy named Jesus C. to relieve him? Even if his name is actually spelled Lannan, that doesn't seem fair. Biggio, by the way, has never been plunked by anyone whose name sounds kind of like Paul McCartney, George Harrison or Ringo Starr either.

Tonight, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be visiting, and Ian Snell will be pitching for them. Snell has hit a career high 7 batters this season, bringing his career total to 10, but he has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch.

10 years ago today, Jamey Wright plunked Biggio for the Colorado Rockies - that was the first of 4 HBPs Wright has contributed to Biggio's career total. Biggio was plunked a year after that by Matt Karchner, on August 24, 1998 - that was the only road plunk that resulted in Biggio scoring on a wild pitch.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Astros pick up a win but not a plunk

The Astros won last night's game against the Nationals by a 3-2 score, but it was also the 31st consecutive game for Craig Biggio in which he did not get hit by a pitch.

Tonight, John Lannan will be pitching for the Nationals. He's a 22 year old rookie and has only hit two batters in his career. He's never faced Craig Biggio before, but if he does throw plunk 286, he will break the all time record for most occurrences of the letter N in the last name of a left handed pitcher who has hit Craig Biggio with a pitch. 7 left-handers with two Ns in their name have plunked Biggio a total of 9 times, but the only pitcher with 3 or more Ns ever to plunk Biggio was Jason Jennings, who is right handed, and threw one HBP:BGO for every N in his last name.

On August 23, 1997, Pedro Astacio threw the first of his record 7 plunkings of Craig Biggio.

those who stay out of the way

It's been a pretty bad year for getting hit by pitches in 2007 - plunks per game are down 5% from last season, to their lowest level since 1999. At the current rate of plunking, there will be a total of 92 fewer hit batters this season than there were last year. Whether this means that pitchers are losing control less often, or if more batters are choosing to get out of the way of inside pitches is anyone's guess, but there a couple of examples of players avoiding plunks at record rates.

Jose Reyes of the Mets has stepped to the plate 586 times this season without being hit by a pitch. If he holds up that pace of plate appearance per game, and doesn't get hit by any pitches, he could break Sandy Alomar (Sr.)'s single season record for most plate appearances in a season without being plunked. Alomar had 739 trips to the plate, and 0 HBPs in 1971 (the same year Ron Hunt got hit 50 times).

If Reyes doesn't make that record, Brian Roberts might. He's had 554 plate appearances so far, and no HBPs. He's only on pace for 730 plate appearances based on his rate per Orioles game, but he could still make it if the Baltimore offense picks up its pace and gets around their batting order a little more frequently.

At the moment their are 14 major league players who are on pace to have 500 plate appearances this season and have not been plunked. If they all make it to that number and don't get hit, that will be the most unplunked players in the majors with that many plate appearance since 1996.

In other news related to people going through entire seasons without doing certain things, Jason Stark pointed out in his recent column that Curtis Granderson is has gone this far in the season without hitting into a double play. Stark correctly notes that the only player to make it through a 162 game season without hitting into a double play is Craig Biggio in 1997. But he fails to mention that Granderson has already missed two games this season (June 5th and August 9th) - so even though the title of that section of the column is "The 0-for-162 Club", Granderson can only hope to join the 0-for-160 club in the GIDP category, unless the Tigers end the season in a three way tie and are forced to play multiple tie-breaking games or something ridiculous like that. Biggio played in all 162 games in 1997, without hitting into a double play.

Granderson does, however, have a shot at the record for most at-bats in a season without a GIDP (since the grounded-into-double-play stat became official in 1939) as Stark pointed out. He's fallen off the pace a bit since the article - down to a projected 623 at bats - 4 more than Biggio's 619. But, he won't get close to the number of total plate appearances Biggio had in 1997. Granderson is only on pace for 685 total plate appearance, while Biggio had 744 trips to the plate without a GIDP in 1997. If you're not one of those people who, of the top of your head, knows the exact difference between at-bats and plate appearances, it might not be obvious why Biggio would have so many more plate appearances in '97 than Granderson will have this year when the two are on pace for about the same number of at-bats. Plate appearances* is at-bats + walks + sacrifice flys + sacrifice hit + HBPs. Biggio got hit 34 times in '97, along with 7 sac-flys and 84 walks. Granderson has only been plunked once this year.

*technically the number of times the batter reached on catchers interference is supposed to be part of the plate appearances calculation, but it's often left out because it's sometimes hard to find and happens so infrequently anyway.

made-up records falling

Craig Biggio played the 2,554th game of his career in which he didn't get hit by a pitch last night, but that's not a record of any kind. He also hit his 664th double - which is the post-Nixon administration record, and his 291st homer - which is the most by anyone with with over 268 HBPs, and his 3,036th hit - which is the most hits by anyone since the release of Van Halen's 1984 album. And, he hit the 53rd lead-off home run of his career, which is the National League all-time record for home runs leading off games. But, he didn't get hit by a pitch, and the Astros lost 11-6.

Tonight the Nationals will give the starting pitcher's job to left-hander Mike Bacsik. Bacsik has hit ten batters in his career, but he's never plunked Craig Biggio. If you were looking for someone who has plunked Biggio August 22nd, you'd have to find Chris Hammond - he's the only pitcher who has plunked Biggio on this date, doing so in 2005.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Redding returns but doesn't contribute

Craig Biggio was once again not hit by a pitch in last night's 7-0 loss to the Nationals, making it his 29th consecutive plunkless game. But, just because he hasn't been hit in 29 consecutive games and he'll be facing Joel Hanrahan, who has never plunked anyone in his Major League career, that doesn't mean he couldn't get hit tonight. On July 26, 1992, for example, Jim Bullinger threw his first career plunk to end a 37 game un-plunked streak Biggio was on then.

If Biggio doesn't get plunked tonight, this will be his first season since 1993 in which he's had two different plunk-free streaks of 30 games or longer. And, if he doesn't get plunked tonight it will be his 20th season in which he didn't get hit by a pitch on August 21st.

Monday, August 20, 2007

blown saves

As you may have read someplace, Craig Biggio has been hit by 85 pitches thrown by relief pitchers. Those relievers have a combined win loss record of 3-11, 4 saves, 9 blown saves and 12 holds. They've had a terribly impressive ERA of 7.90 in the games they've plunked Biggio.

The Astros are 9-0 when Craig Biggio gets hit by a pitch thrown by a pitcher who's charged with a blown save, but only 6 of those 9 pitchers were charged with the loss in those games, and Biggio scored a run in 5 of those. But, no one has ever plunked Biggio in the process of recording a vulture win (a blowing a save but getting the win), and no one has ever managed two blown saves in the same game that they plunked Biggio.

This season, Jorge Julio became the 9th pitcher to blow a save and plunk Biggio in the same game, but he blew the save prior to plunking Biggio. Prior to that, no one had done both in the same game since 1998, but three pitchers did it that season. On June 20, 1998 Biggio led off the 8th inning with an HBP, with the Astros down 6-5, and scored the tying run to give Rick Krivda the blown save. Three days before that, Biggio got plunked by Jeff Brantley to lead off the 9th, with the Astros down 5-2. He scored on a sacrifice fly, and the Astros rallied for 3 runs and the win. On August 17, 1997, in the 4th inning, Biggio's plunk put him on base to score the tying run, and give Scott Rufcorn the blown save. Then, Biggio got hit by Wayne Gomes to lead off the 7th inning, with the Astros down by one run again, and he came around to tie the game for the second time in the inning. But, Gomes got replaced before Biggio scored so Gomes just got the loss and not a blown save. On July 15, 1995 Biggio scored another tying run after reaching on a plunk, hanging a blown save on Kenny Greer. And, on September 1, 1989, Biggio came to the plate with the bases loaded, and the Astros down 1 run - and tied the game with an RBI plunk.

On the other hand, Orel Hershiser plunked Biggio twice in a relief appearance on May 7, 2000 and still didn't give up the lead - recording a hold.

Nationals come to Houston

Greg Maddux picked up his 342nd career win yesterday, beating the Astros 5-3, but Craig Biggio didn't get off the bench to face him, and more importantly, didn't get off the bench to get hit by a pitch. But, the Astros will be back home this week, so we can hope he'll get plenty of playing time in Houston to resume his search for plunks 286, 287 and 288. The Washington Nationals will be visiting tonight, and pitching for them will be former Astro Tim Redding. He's never faced Craig Biggio before, and has only hit 1 batter this season. But, Redding threw 8 of his 18 career plunks at Minute Maid Park and tonight will be his first game their since he left the Astros after 2004.

Craig Biggio has been hit by 2 pitcher on August 20th - in 1998 by Scott Karl of the Brewers, and in 2002 by Kyle Farnsworth of the Cubs.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

last weekend in San Diego - last chance to see Biggio vs Maddux

Craig Biggio once again did not get hit by a pitch in last nights game, and Jake Peavy effectively shut down the 8 Astros not named Lance Berkman, but Berkman's 3 rbis were enough to give the Astros a 3-1 lead.

Today, Biggio isn't expected to be in the starting lineup, but Justin Germano will be starting for the Padres. He's never faced Biggio before, but he has plunked a career high 5 batters this season.
Jaime Navarro plunked Biggio on August 18, 1996, and Jimmy Anderson plunked Biggio on August 18, 2001 - so if Justin Germano had a chance to plunk Biggio today we'd have a Jaime, Jimmy and Justin who had plunked Biggio on this date.

Tomorrow, the Padres will send Greg Maddux to the mound. Craig Biggio has stepped into the batters box while Maddux was on the pitchers mound 140 times in the regular season, and another 12 times in the playoffs. Biggio has had more hits against Maddux than he has against any other pitcher, and Maddux has given up more hits to Biggio than he has to any other player not named Tony Gwynn. Tony Gwynn had 39 hits off Maddux, and Biggio has 38. It would certainly be interesting if Biggio could tie or pass Tony Gwynn's while playin against Gwynn's team.

Maddux has also hit Biggio with a pitch twice - on July 31, 1993 and June 12, 1994. If he could plunk Biggio one more time he'd break Orel Hershiser's record as the oldest pitcher to plunk Biggio. He'd break Frank Tanana's record as the most experienced pitcher to plunk Biggio (in terms of major league seasons). And, he'd break Salomon Torres' record for longest gap between plunkings of Biggio. Torres threw pitches that plunked Biggio nearly 10 years apart, but Maddux hasn't gone over 13 years since last plunking Biggio.

Also, Maddux would be the first pitcher ever to hit Craig Biggio with a pitch on August 19th.

Friday, August 17, 2007

SAY IT AIN'T SO!! Or say it might be so!! I really don't know!! That's just kinda weird.

Well, Craig Biggio went 2-4 in last night's 6-2 loss to the Dodgers, but since he didn't get hit by a pitch, there is a much more important Biggio related story in the news today. It seems that Tigers closer Todd Jones has been throwing wild accusations around that Craig Biggio has used performance enhancing cabbage leaves.

Now, major league baseball does not, as far as I know, ban the use of cabbage - although the Korean major leagues do. This topic was brought up on this very site by official Plunk Biggio Senior Korean Correspondent Cletus J. "Bubba" Huckabee Jr. over two years ago. This is not a new idea in baseball, and Babe Ruth himself was said to have used the cabbage trick. But in this era of accusations, how can a pitcher like Todd Jones throw around such issues so lightly? Obviously I had to check out whether or not Jones had his facts right, and as it turns out, Biggio did have a game in Jones' rookie season at St. Louis in which he committed a ground ball error and left the game shortly after - July 18, 1993. But from this we can at least be sure that if Craig Biggio did in fact use a cabbage leaf that day, it certainly didn't help his performance. Also, he got hit by a pitch the day before.

Now the other interesting thing about this is that the week this issue came up in the news two years ago (and was discussed on this site), was also the week when Craig Biggio passed Don Baylor for the so called "modern" HBP record. So, if you believe in omens, it could be that when Cabbage Leafs are in the air, plunk records are about to fall.

The Astros are in San Diego tonight to play the Padres, and Jake Peavy. Peavy has plunked Biggio before on August 31, 2003, and he's hit 6 batters so far this season. Peavy is 26 years old, right-handed, and 6'1" - and if you've been reading the site this week, you know those figures fit closely to the profile of pitchers who have plunked Biggio in the past.

Scott Ruffcorn and Wayne Gomes both plunked Biggio on August 17, 1997 - that was the only time Biggio was plunked twice by the Phillies. Randy Wolf hit Biggio with a pitch on August 17, 2004 - that was the last time Biggio was plunked by the Phillies.

Ben Sheets plunked Biggio on August 17, 2006, and that was the last time the Brewers plunked Biggio, but they still have a few more chances.

Could today also be the day the Padres plunk Biggio one last time? Or maybe just one more time?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

the farewell tour of benches

Craig Biggio got another night off last night in the Astros 6-3 loss to the Dodgers, but he'll probably be back in the starting lineup tonight against Dodgers' starter Derek Lowe. Hopefully the Dodgers will do the right thing and give tickets for tonight's game to all the fans in LA who went to one of the last three games hoping to see Craig Biggio on his final trip to LA.

Derek Lowe has never plunked Biggio, and has only hit 1 batter this year in 152 innings of work.

Seth Etherton plunked Biggio on August 16, 2003, but he's the only pitcher who has plunked Biggio on this date.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

profiling - part 2

If you joined us Monday, you may recall that we learned that Craig Biggio has been hit a lot of times by starting pitchers, starting right handed hitters, starting right handed hitters between the ages of 24 and 30, and starting right handed pitchers between the ages of 24 and 30 and between 6'0 and 6'4. There are 16 pitchers currently on the rosters of the teams left on the Astros schedule who fit that profile. Biggio has been hit more often by pitchers who are 26 years old than any other age, and more often by pitchers who are 6'2" than any other height. There is one pitcher left on those rosters who is a starting right hander, 26 years old, and 6'2" - Shawn Hill of the Nationals. And, just because that's the kind of season it's been, Shawn Hill looks like he's set to pitch the day before the Nationals' 4 game series with the Astros next week, meaning he won't pitch against them.

But that's okay - he's actually been hit more times by 6'1" 28 year olds than by 6'2" 26 year olds. (And besides that, Shawn Hill is Canadian, and Biggio has never been plunked by a Canadian). Jason Marquis and Joel Pineiro are 6'1 and 28, and starting right-handers on the Astros upcoming schedule (and not Canadian), but Marquis turns 29 on August 21st and his team won't face the Astros until August 31st. Joel Pineiro, though, is 6'1 and 28 and currently listed as a starter for the Cardinals. They have seven more games against the Astros.

But still, there are many more criteria we can use to identify those pitchers who fit the profile of the ones who have plunked Biggio in the past. One slightly counterintuitive approach is looking at how many times they've already plunked Biggio. He's been plunked 213 times by pitchers who have never plunked him before - nearly 75% of his total. So, oddly, it would seem Biggio is more likely to be plunked by someone who hasn't plunked Biggio than by someone who already has. The average pitcher who hits Craig Biggio with a pitch has hit Craig Biggio 0.38 times before that time they hit Craig Biggio with a pitch. There are 22 starting right-handers who have never plunked Biggio on the rosters of the Astros remaining opponents. Biggio's been hit 103 times by starting right handers who have never plunked him before. There are 21 starting right-handers who have never plunked Biggio on teams that will still face the Astros this year. 13 of them are between 24 and 30 years old, and between 72 and 76 inches tall.

Another key distinguishing feature of pitchers who have plunked Biggio is experience - Biggio has been hit 36 times by pitchers in their 2nd and 3rd year (each) in the majors. The average Biggio plunker has 5.6 years of major league experience, but he's been recorded 55.8% if his HBPs against pitcher with 5 years in the majors or less. 9 right handed starters on teams the Astros will still face have 5 years or less in the majors, have never plunked Biggio, and are between the ages of 24 and 30 and between 6'0" and 6'4".

One last notable fact, for today, about pitchers who have hit Craig Biggio with a pitch is that a large number of them debuted in the majors at age 22. He's been hit more times by pitchers who debuted at 22 than by pitchers with any other debut age. There is only one right handed starter currently on the roster of a team the Astros still have to play who debuted at 22 and hasn't plunked Biggio before - Ian Snell of the Pirates. He's also 25 years old, in his 4th year in the majors, and he's never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch before - but he's only 5'11 - 1 inch to short to fit this profile. If we expand this a bit and look at pitchers who debuted between the ages of 22 and 24, that would cover the pitchers who threw 57.5% of Biggio's past plunks. There are 6 pitchers on teams who still play the Astros this year who are right handed starters, between 6'0 and 6'4", between 24 and 30, with 5 years or less of experince, who have never plunked Biggio and debuted in the majors between age 22 and 24. They are Canadian Shawn Hill, Lance Cormier of the Braves, Claudio Vargas and Dave Bush of the Brewers, John Maine of the Mets and Anthony Reyes of the Cardinals - but only one of those 6 was born in the state that has contributed nearly twice as many plunks to Biggio's total than any other state or country. That's Dave Bush, and he's from California. Californian's have plunked Biggio 42 times.

another night off?

Craig Biggio sat out another game last night in LA, resting against a team ranked last in the league in hitting batters, but the Astros managed to win without him 7-4. He's expected to be out of the lineup again tonight, while Brad Penny pitches for the Dodgers. Unless Biggio gets a pinch hit appearance against him, Penny likely won't get a chance to join the 213 pitchers who have plunked Craig Biggio. He's hit 34 batters in all, and just 3 this season.

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

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

last in plunking

If you've looked at the team stats in the category of hitting batters with pitches recently, you probably already know that the Astros current opponents, the LA Dodgers, are dead last in the league in that category this season. They've hit 22 batters this season, and are on pace to plunk about 30 for the season. And, they have not hit Craig Biggio with a pitch this season.

Biggio has only been hit 6 times in his career by teams that finished last in the majors in hitting batters (including ties). He's been hit 8 times by the teams that finished list in the National League that year. The '95 Reds are the only team to manage plunking Biggio twice in the season, and still finish last in the league in total plunks thrown.

SeasonMLB fewest
total HBHBP:BGONL fewest
1994White Sox

The team with the lowest season total of hit batters ever to include a plunking of Craig Biggio was the 1990 Padres who hit just 19 batters. They finished last in the NL in plunking batters, but the Orioles hit just 16 that year. Only 60 of Biggio's 285 career plunks have been thrown by teams that finished in the bottom 5 in plunks in the NL.

On the other end of the plunk standings, Biggio has only been hit 9 times by teams that have led the majors in hitting batters - but that is largely because an American League team has been the overall plunk leader in 14 of the past 19 seasons. He's been hit 32 times in all by the National League leaders in plunks, even though the Astros led the league in 2 seasons during Biggio's career. Biggio has been plunked 125 times by teams that finished in the top 5 in plunks in the National League, and the most batters any National League team has hit without plunking Biggio is 74 - by the 2006 Marlins and the 2003 Astros. The last teams to plunk 75 or more opposing batters in the National League without hitting Craig Biggio with a pitch were the New York Giants and the Chicago Orphans in the year 1900. The Reds have a chance to do that this year if they break their streak of plunking Biggio in 15 consecutive seasons.

you can't get plunked on the bench

Craig Biggio took the night off last night, so he couldn't add to his 285 career HBPs, but Roy Oswalt and the Astros pulled out a road win without him, 4-1.

Tonight, the Astros will be facing Brett Tomko. Craig Biggio has 43 career plate appearances against Tomko, but has never been plunked by him. 5 pitchers have plunked Biggio after not hitting him the first 43 times they faced each other. Tomko is one of only 7 active pitchers who have thrown over 1500 innings in the National League without hitting Craig Biggio with a pitch.

Biggio has never been hit by a pitch on August 14th.

Monday, August 13, 2007


With only 45 Astros games remaining in the career of Craig Biggio, it's about time that we start applying all that we've learned over the past 3 seasons of research regarding who exactly has been plunking him all these times. Perhaps, if we start trying to pull together the various pieces, we can create a picture of who is going to throw those 3 plunks he needs to reach 288 and the all time record.

The most obvious feature of a would be Biggio-plunker, is that he's a pitcher - Biggio has never been plunked by a position player filling in at the pitchers spot. The next most obvious trait for those who have plunked Biggio is throwing right-handed. 80% of Craig Biggio 285 career plunks have been thrown by right-handed pitchers. And, starting pitchers have thrown 200 of Biggio's 285 plunks - about 70.2%. Joining those criteria together, there are 155 of of Biggio's plunks that have been thrown by right-handed, starting pitchers, but all but 12 of Biggio's HBPs have been thrown by someone who was either right-handed OR the starter.

Another feature we can look at is the pitcher's age. We know that the average age of pitchers who have plunked Biggio is about 28.5 and the median age is 28. But, Biggio has been plunked the most times by pitchers who are 26 years old. In case you haven't seen it recently here are Biggio's career HBPs split by the age of the pitcher who threw them:

Pitcher age - HBP:BGO
20 - 1
21 - 4
22 - 14
23 - 17
24 - 23
25 - 26
26 - 33
27 - 20
28 - 28
29 - 24
30 - 25
31 - 18
32 - 19
33 - 12
34 - 6
35 - 2
36 - 2
37 - 1
38 - 2
39 - 4
40 - 2
41 - 2

As you can see, about 63% of Biggio's plunks have been thrown by pitchers between the ages of 24 and 30. In all, Biggio has been plunked 19 times by 26 year old right handed starters. He's only been hit 20 times by left handers 29 or older (including starters and relievers).

Obviously though, we can't construct an accurate profile of pitchers most likely to plunk Biggio without looking at the pitchers' height. Biggio has been 57 times by pitchers listed at 6'2" tall, and 81% of his plunks have been thrown by pitchers between 6'0 and 6'4". Pitchers within that range of heights AND between ages 24 and 30 have accounted for nearly half of Biggio's career HBPs. Starting right-handed pitchers between 24 and 30 years old and between 72 and 76 inches tall have plunked Biggio a total of 70 times - and 65 of those were thrown by pitchers whose name was not Pedro Astacio.

This isn't much to go on so far, so we'll have to try to narrow this search for the next three plunks a little more in days to come.

why isn't every day Craig Biggio tribute day?

The Astros put together a nice ceremony for Craig Biggio yesterday, honoring his achievement of 3000 career hits. But, one can only assume that if the team does something like that to honor something that's been done 26 other times, they must have something REALLY special waiting for when he becomes the first player ever to reach 288 plunks. Unfortunately, in the ensuing baseball game, Biggio did not get any closer to reaching that historic mark. He did hit a homer, and the Astros won 6-4, but the Brewers pitchers may have thought it was a bad idea to hit a guy in front of an entire stadium full of people wearing shirts with his number on them. They obviously don't understand.

Tonight the Astros travel to LA - the regular one, not the one in Anaheim - to play the Dodgers - a team who embody everything Craig Biggio has taught us is wrong about baseball... dodging. The Dodgers are 3rd from the bottom among NL teams in plunking Biggio, with a total of 12, but they have 4 games left to move up the charts. If they plunk Biggio 3 times, they could move past the Phillies on the all time list - and give Craig Biggio the all time record. Chad Billingsley is tonight's scheduled starters, but he's only hit 1 batter this season and 4 batters in his career. Although, he's only thrown 154 more career pitches than Biggio has career hits.

Frank Castillo threw Biggio's 16th career plunk on August 13, 1992.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Two more with the Brewers in town

The Astros went to extra innings - again - last night, increasing their average innings pitched per game to 9.08 this season (which is only 2nd place in the league behind the Padres), but the 11 innings of work did not result in a winning outcome for OR an HBP for Craig Biggio. The Astros lost 5-4 in the 11th and Craig Biggio went 2-6 without being hit by a pitch, even though he had 17 thrown in his general direction.

The Brewers are in a pennant race, so they probably know that they're 6-9 all time in games in which they plunk Craig Biggio at least once. If they continue to pitch around him, that could be the reason why. Jeff Suppan will start tonight's game, and he's hit a total of 73 batters in his career other than Craig Biggio. But he also plunked Biggio on July 5, 2003 for the Pirates. Suppan has hit 8 batters this season, which leaves him 2 plunks behind the National League lead.

Biggio has been plunked by the Brewers once before on August 11th - by Bob Wickman in 1998, but he was also plunked by non-Brewer Joey Hamilton on August 11, 1994.

Tomorrow, Claudio Vargas is expected to pitch for the Brewers. He's never plunked Biggio, and he hasn't hit anyone this season despite hitting 7 or 8 batters in each of his prior 4 seasons. But, tomorrow is a day game, and Phil Garner generally seems to believe that Biggio will burst into flames if he plays in a day game (Hey Phil, just because he's old for a baseball player, that doesn't mean he's a vampire).

Biggio was plunked twice on August 12, 1997 against the Marlins, by Al Leiter and Rob Stanifer. He was also plunked on August 12, 2003 by Carlos Zambrano.

Friday, August 10, 2007

arm-guard appreciation post.

Many people have noticed this season that part of Craig Biggio has retired already this season, and some have been wondering when exactly that happened. That heroic arm guard that so many times leaped to the defense of Craig Biggio's other body parts, like a Secret Service agent diving in front of the President, has not been seen since June 5th this season, at Colorado*.

One might jump to the conclusion that someone in the Hughie Jennings fan club may have equipment-napped Biggio's elbow pad, particularly since it was last seen in Colorado where Biggio has been plunked more than any other road park, but that's unlikely. Biggio was spotted playing bare-elbowed as early as April 24th this season, and played about 1/3 of his May games without the arm guard.

Biggio has said his batting helmet is the same - uncleaned - one he's had since 2001. I don't know if he's been quite as superstitious with the arm guards, but the one he was last seen wearing could only have been with him for plunks 269 to 283. His previous elbow pad - above - was requested by the Hall of Fame after Biggio passed Don Baylor for what some in baseball (who like to deny the existence of the 19th century) considered the "all-time" record and what others called the modern record. The one in the Hall may have been protecting Biggio for as many as 115 HBPs - MLB put in a rule at the beginning of the 2000 season regulating elbow pads to a maximum of 10 inches, and Biggio went along with the rule (unlike certain other MLB players continued to wear the enormous ones). Biggio's first plunk in 2000 was number 154 so if he really did wear the same arm guard from then until he gave it to the hall after 268.

Prior to 2000, Biggio wore the very large black arm guard for 3 or 4 seasons, and before that he appears to have worn a very small white version from around 1991 to 1995. Biggio claims he went to the large elbow pad after Danny Darwin hit him, which would have been plunk 67 in 1996, so that would put the total plunks wearing the oversized padding at about 86 (assuming he was wearing it for all his HBPs from number 68 to 153).

But now, it appears that Biggio will go the rest of the way without his bodyguard - if his hands and wrists can, in any way, be compared to Whitney Houston, they'll be playing without Kevin Costner. You may have noticed when he took number 284, his elbow still bravely moved upwards to block a ball headed for his wrists but it seemingly forgot it was playing un-padded.

It's hard to say whether the early retirement of the arm guard will be a factor if Biggio does not get the three plunks required to pass Hughie Jennings for the all time lead, and it's hard to say how many times he'd have been hit if he never wore one. But it's easy to say that if Craig Biggio played in a league without elbow pads, or even without helmets, he would have been equally unwilling to move out of the way of a pitch if he knew that a little pain on his part would help his team win. If he played his career without protective gear, he probably just would have had it cut short by one of those pitches.

*The June 5th last reported sighting is as close as I can get browsing through the condensed games - if you have visual proof of an arm-guard sighting since then, let me know.

time for some plunkenbräu?

The Milwaukee Brewers visit Houston tonight, bringing with them Dave Bush, who will be throwing baseballs at people - mostly Brewers catcher Johnny Estrada, but some of Bush's pitches may veer toward a batter once in a while. Bush has never plunked Craig Biggio, but he has hit 44 batters in his career. Bush hit 18 batters last year, so he's probably going to be looking to pick up his pace since he's only hit 7 batters this year. He's probably got some contract incentives to reach.

Craig Biggio has never been hit by a team other than the Brewers on August 10th - but he's only been plunked once. Brewer Bill Pulsipher threw Biggio's 17th career leadoff plunk, and his 139th overall, on August 10, 1998.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Craig Biggio hit his 289th career homer last night, but that didn't help his HBP total get past the 285 number it's been stuck on since July 7th. Biggio got the Astros scoring started with a 3rd inning solo homer, and the rest of the team jumped all over the Cubs pitchers after that for an 8-2 win and a series sweep.

The Astros are off today, waiting for the Brewers to show up for the weekend tomorrow night (you'd think they'd be bringing the beer).

Willie Fraser plunked Biggio on August 9, 1995, and Turk Wendell threw Biggio's 101st plunk on August 9, 1997.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

plunks by division

The Astros have played 113 games this season and Craig Biggio still hasn't been hit by a pitch against a team in the NL Central division. This is the first year since 1996 in which Biggio has recorded 3 plunks without any of them being thrown by a divisional rival, and 1994 is the only other such year. Biggio has only had two season in which he didn't get hit at least once by a team in his own division - 1988 when he didn't get hit at all, and 1991 when he was plunked just twice (both by NL east teams).

106 of Biggio's 285 career plunks have been thrown by teams in the Astros division (the NL Central since 1994, and the NL West before that). His season high for divisional plunks is 16 in 2001, but that is 1 of only 3 season in which he got plunked more times by teams in the division than by the rest of the league. And, the division the Astros play in has only been the top division in plunking Biggio in 9 of the past 18 seasons. The NL West has been the top Biggio plunkers 4 times since the Astros left that division, and the NL East teams led 5 seasons, with 1 more that was a tie. But, since 2001 when the league really unbalanced the schedules, the Central division has plunked Biggio the most often in all but one season.

Also, the NL West still holds a slim lead over the Central for Biggio's career plunks by division, 96 to 94. The Pirates, Cardinals, Reds, Cubs, Braves and Brewers have all plunked Biggio as members of two different divisions and the Brewers did it as members of both leagues.

















The divisions multiplied in 1994.

contending Cubs?

The Chicago Cubs really are contending for first place in the NL Central division, but they haven't shown it recently, and the Astros handed them their 3rd straight loss by a 5-2 score last night. Craig Biggio broke a 1-1 tie in the 6th inning with an rbi single, but neither he nor Jason Kendall were hit by a pitch. It was the fifth time this season two players with over 200 career HBPs have played in the same game, but neither of them has been plunked in any of those games. Before Biggio and Kendall faced each other this year, there hadn't been a game involving two players with over 200 plunks since Hughie Jennings and Tommy Tucker faced each other in 1899. Kendall and Biggio currently have a combined 499 plunks - which is more than the next 3 players on the active list combined.

Tonight could be the night when Kendall and Biggio reach 500 combined plunks, but the question is which one will get plunked first? Carlos Zambrano is pitching for the Cubs, and he's tied for the National League lead in hitting batters with 9. But, he hasn't plunked Biggio since the 2003 season when he did it on May 31st and August 12th.

Craig Biggio recorded his 255th career plunk on August 8, 2004 against Sunny Kim of the Expos. For those of you who don't know what an Expo is, or used to be, ask your parents.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

season series

Tonight's game between the Astros and Cubs is their 8th meeting this year, and the two team will play a total of 15 games this season. Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch 13 times in games which were the 8th meeting of the season between the Astros and their opponent, but none of them were during the 8th game of a 15 game season series. He's also never had a multi-plunk game in the Astros 8th game of the year against an opponent. 15 games season series have been fairly rare for the Astros - Biggio has only been plunked 3 times during a season series of that length - and they've only had 4 series of that length before this season. But, his 3 plunks in 15 game season series were in the 2nd game against the Brewers in '05, the 4th game against the Reds in '06, and the 6th game against Milwaukee in '06. So since the 3 previous ones were in the 2nd, 4th and 6th game, the 8th game of a 15 game series comes next, right? That would be tonight.

The shortest season series Biggio has ever been plunked in was a 2 game set from the 1998 interleague schedule against the Twins, and he's been hit 6 different times against teams the Astros played 19 games against. He's been hit the most often against teams the Astros had a 6 game season series against, with a total of 49, and he's been hit 47 more times against teams against whom the Astros played 12 games.

Also, Biggio has been plunked most often in the Astros 3rd game of the season against an opponent, with a total of 44. He's been hit 28 times in the Astros first game of the season against the other team, and 26 times in the teams' final matchup of the season. The latest into a season series he's been plunked was game 17 (against the Cubs on August 20, 2002 - but they played 19 that season). In all, Biggio has been hit 90 times in the 8th game or later in a season series, but teams generally plunked Biggio more often in the first half of their games against the Astros. Biggio has been hit 147 times before the half-way point of each season series, and 138 times after the teams had played half their games for the season.

He's been hit 19 times in the 3rd game of a 6 game season series, and the 2nd game of a 6 game series is his second favorite with 9 plunks. Unfortunately for this season, the Astros have already played 3 games against everyone they're going to play.

5 of Biggio's 20 games in which he was plunked twice occured in the Astros 3rd game of the season against that opponent, and Biggio has had another three 2-plunk games in the 10th game of a season series. A few more of those would be nice.

still no 286.

The Astros continued their recent policy of maximizing fans per-game value by playing as many innings as they can, stretching last night's contest with the Cubs to 10 innings, before winning 2-1 (which hasn't really been their policy this season). Craig Biggio saw 15 pitches, but didn't think any of them quite had the look of plunk 286. He's obviously looking for very special pitches for the next three to hit him.

Tonight's starter for the Cubs will be Sean Marshall - another lefty and another pitcher who has never plunked Biggio. Marshall has hit 7 batters in his short career, all of them last season. If Marshall hits Biggio with a pitch tonight, it will be Biggio's 20th HBP against the Cubs and his first on August 7th.

Monday, August 06, 2007

wait, he's retiring when? No, not last Friday.

Some long time Astros fans may remember a player from long long ago named Craig Biggio. It may have been a while since you've seen him play, but he'll be back in action at home tonight against the Cubs - assuming he hasn't forgotten how to play the game during his long absence. This will be Biggio's first game since back on August 3, 2007.

Rich Hill will be pitching for the Cubs when they visit Houston tonight, and he might be looking to plunk Biggio for the first time in his career. Hill has hit 7 batters this season, which is just 2 behind the National League leader in hitting batters.

Craig Biggio was recorded his 80th HBP on August 6, 1996 against the Montreal Expos, and was also plunked by that long lost team on August 6, 2004. He was also got hit twice on August 6, 2003 by Mets Aaron Heilman and Pedro Feliciano.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Final two in Florida

Craig Biggio's attempts to find a 286th pitch to get hit by were once again foiled last night by the opposing pitching staff, who were too busy giving up 8 runs to the Astros batters. Biggio did collect his 3,022nd hit, and the Astros won 8-2, but those of us wishing to see the Craig Biggio reach 288 plunks, and the unification of the so called "modern" and all-time HBP records have to see it as another lost opportunity against a known plunker (Dontrelle Willis). To make matters a bit worse, Biggio will probably be on the bench for the final two games of the series, as has become the Astros custom. It seems they, and some fans, have already decided that the team would be better off seeing if they can get Chris Burke moving toward the all-time HBP record. But let's face it - Burke has shown signs of being a promising get-hitter, but his chances of approaching the record are astronomically low (no pun intended). Why not devote the remaining 53 games of the season to someone with the best chance anyone's had in 104 years to break this record? Burke will need to average 20 plunks a year from next season until he's 40 to break the record. I have nothing against Chris Burke, and it will be fun to see if he can make a run at this record a dozen or more years from now, but can't he just wait until next year and watch the master at work for two more months?

Tonight, Sergio Mitre is expected to pitch for the Marlins. He's hit 6 batters this year, and 19 in his career, but he never plunked Biggio. Jose Valverde is the only pitcher ever to plunk Biggio on August 4th - that was a 9th inning plunk in 2005.

Tomorrow, Scott Olsen will face the Astros. He's cut down his plunkings from 7 last year to only 1 this year in 21 starts, and he's never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch.
Biggio has also never been plunked on August 5th.

Friday, August 03, 2007

road innings

The last time Craig Biggio got hit by a Dontrelle Willis pitch while visiting Florida, it was the 2nd inning on May 18, 2004. The 2nd is the only inning during which Craig Biggio has been hit by pitches significantly more often in road games than in home games. Biggio has been plunked 10 times on the road during the 2nd inning and only 6 times at home, and it's the only inning in which his road plunks exceed his home plunks by more than 1.

Here's Biggio's home/road splits for HBPs by inning:
InningHome plunksRoad plunks

As you can see, he's been hit more in even numbered innings on the road than at home 51 to 45, but in odd numbered innings he's been hit more at home by a 103 to 86 margin.

The Marlins, however, have only plunked Biggio once in an even numbered inning while he was visiting Florida - that Dontrelle Willis plunk in the 2nd inning on May 18, 2004. But they've hit Biggio 5 times in even numbered innings in games played in Houston. The only team that's plunked Biggio more time in even numbered innings at Houston is the Mets - they've hit Biggio 6 times in even numbered innings, but none of those 6 were recorded at Shea Stadium.

In all, Craig Biggio has been plunked 6 times in the frequently renamed home park of the Florida Marlins, and it's the only road park that's had three different names when he's gotten hit there. Biggio was hit in the 5th inning at Joe Robbie Stadium, the 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 7th at Pro Player Stadium, and in the 1st inning at Dolphins Stadium. Which, of course, are all the same place.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

plunk power wins in Atlanta, on to Florida tonight

The Astros harnessed the power of getting hit by pitches in the 14th inning last night to get on base to score the winning run, but it was Jason Lane taking one for the team, and not Craig Biggio. Lane got plunked in the 14th inning and driven in by unlikely hero Jason Jennings for the Astros 12-11 win. The winner of each game in the series scored 12 runs. But, Craig Biggio's only plate appearance of last night's extended game resulted in a ground out.

Tonight, the Astros move on to Miami tonight, where Dontrelle Willis will be there to great them. Last year, Willis pitched the opener of the Astros only trip to Florida and plunked Chris Burke, and in 2004, Willis started the first game when the Astros visited and threw Craig Biggio's 248th career plunk. Willis also plunked Biggio on September 12, 2005, but those three plunks (2 to Biggio and 1 to Burke) are the only ones Dontrelle Willis has thrown against the Astros. Willis has only hit 7 batters this year after leading the league with 19 in 2006. 12 of the 45 plunks Dontrelle Willis has thrown in his career were recorded in the 3rd inning.

Shawn Estes plunked Biggio on August 3, 1996 for the Giants.

Final game at Turner

The Braves scored 12 runs for the 2nd consecutive game, but the Astros score one less than yesterday, leaving them further from victory, losing 12-3. Craig Biggio only had one pinch-hit at-bat, but he didn't get hit by a pitch.

Tonight will be Craig Biggio's final game in Atlanta, thought he'll play the Braves three more times in Houston later on this season. He probably won't be starting the game, but the Braves are sending Jo-Jo Reyes to the mound, and he's never plunked anyone anyway. Reyes has only pitched 18.2 major league innings though, so maybe he's just getting ready to start hitting batters now.

Jose Rijo threw plunk number 15 on August 2, 1992, and Mark Gardner plunked Biggio twice on August 2, 1996.

In the news, the plunk chase has FINALLY been picked up by the true main stream media.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

662, but no 286

Craig Biggio had a two run double in the 5th inning last night - and that brought the Astros within 1 run after they fell behind early, but the Braves bats took the game over from there winning 12-4. That was career double number 662, but Biggio didn't get hit by any pitches.

Tonight, the Astros will face Braves' starter Buddy Carlyle. Carlyle has never plunked Biggio, nor has any other pitcher named Buddy. Buddy Carlyle has also never faced Biggio, and he might not tonight as the plan continues to be to let other people start at 2nd base in the second and third games of road series. So, Biggio will probably be limited to pinch-hitting duty tonight, and if we're lucky, pinch-get-hitting duty.

13 years and 250 plunks ago, Steve Reed threw plunk number 35 on August 1, 1994. That was the first of 33 times Biggio has been hit by the Colorado Rockies.