Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Record Stands

Three year ago it seemed like a sure thing. Even in March of this year, it seemed like Craig Biggio couldn't possibly avoid getting hit by six pitches even if he took his elbow pad off and actually started getting out of the way of inside fastballs. Well, like the sportscasters like to say, that's why they play the games - to see who gets hit by pitches.

Hughie Jennings record of 287 plunks may have just withstood the best - or at least most excessively documented - assault it will ever face. It's entirely possible that his record will stand forever, with Craig Biggio's 285 just below it. Jennings got hit 287 times in an age before helmets, and with a pitchers mound closer than the current 60 feet 6 inches, but pitchers may not have thrown quite as hard then. And, while he played before modern painkillers, it was probably more socially acceptable make full use of the popular painkillers of the day (like whiskey). Only 18 players have made it even half way to 287 plunks. Only 7 have passed 200, only 4 have passed 250 and only 2 have reached 285.

So, while we might be disappointed that we didn't get to see someone break the 104 year old record for getting hit by pitches, it's tough to be disappointed by the career of Craig Biggio. 3,060 hits, 668 doubles, 1844 runs scored, 414 steals, 291 homers, 20 seasons for one team. The stats speak for themselves, but they don't exactly tell the story of what Biggio has meant to Houston's fans - for that you might have to look at the attendance line in the box score for those last three games at Minute Maid Park, or take a look at that banner that was hanging in left center field with several thousand notes from fans thanking Craig Biggio for his career. But hey, you probably know all this.

Sometimes, when we watch baseball, we get that feeling that we might see something particularly amazing. We turn on the game, because we think something special might happen that night - and it could, on any night, and we love to hope to see those things even though we know they hardly ever happen. But they do happen sometimes, and most of all we really don't want to miss seeing it. Most of the time we think of those special things as single game records - have you ever seen a pitcher strike out the side in the 2nd inning and started doing the math in your head, counting the number of outs that aren't strikeouts as the game went along until they reached 8 and you know that's not going to be another 20 strikeout game? Maybe that's just me. But you pay special attention when a pitcher gets through a few innings without giving up a hit, or you realize someone has hit a homer, triple and double in the game and is coming up again. We also love streaks, and runs toward single season records - if it's someone on your favorite team you don't want to miss a single game on the way to what you think might be one of those special moments. And sometimes you go into a season thinking this is the year for your team - and you don't want to miss the game that could be the key moment for the season when they finally win it all.

But it's a little harder to spot when the amazing thing is just one guy playing 20 years for the same team. You never feel like you're missing something when you know the guy was there playing yesterday and he'll be their playing again tomorrow if you turn on the game. Then suddenly he's running up on 3,000 hits and announcing his retirement, and there's some weirdo on the internet who's all excited about the prospect of him getting hit by a record number of pitches. And then you look at it that way, you realize you got to see Craig Biggio play - and even if you sat and watched him go 0-4, you saw something particularly amazing, even if you didn't know it at the time.

Thanks for the years of stats, Craig Biggio. Messing around with them the way I have for the past three years probably hasn't entertained me quite as much as you have entertained Houston fans for the past 20 years, but it's been fun. Hopefully I brought a little bit more entertainment to those who had already enjoyed your career, and maybe I helped wake up a few folks from the rest of the country who didn't know what they were missing. I will miss waiting and wondering when you'll next get hit by a pitch. And, while I've considered hanging around until I reach 1000 posts on this site, I'll leave it at this. I have no future plans for another website, but if I think of something, I doubt it will be quite as much fun as this, and I never would have been able to keep this site going this long if Biggio hadn't been the player and the person he is.

Oh, and don't worry about those folks in Chesterfield County... it may look bad, but Cletus will take care of it I'm sure. It's just there way:
(photo by Cletus J. "Bubba" Huckabee Jr.)
It seems the pressure of the plunk chase got the better of some, but hopefully everyone else has survived with their sanity intact.

Thanks again for reading, everybody.

Last Chance to See...

Craig Biggio became the first player with over 3000 career hits to play catcher since 1899 yesterday, and he got past the curse of 666 doubles, bringing his career total to 667, but he didn't get hit by a pitch. Maybe he's happy not to get struck by baseballs anymore. Maybe 285 is as many times as we can reasonably expect any man to get hit by flying baseballs to help his team. Or maybe he's trying to be dramatic, and he'll strap on the elbow-pad and get hit 3 times today.

Many players have been hit by three pitches in the same game, but Craig Biggio has never done it. If he really wanted to go all out, he could get hit 4 times, which would be the single game record. But lets face it, if he goes out and gets hit three times today it will look awfully suspicious.

Chuck James will be starting for the Braves for Biggio's final game, and he was the last pitcher to plunk Biggio in 2006. But, he's only hit one batter since then, and has a career total of just 7 plunks.

Craig Biggio has never before been plunked on September 30th.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Craig Biggio - major league catcher

As some of you might remember, Craig Biggio used to get hit by pitches a lot - a long time ago. Last night he didn't get hit by any pitches, and the Astros lost 7-2, but tonight he's going to do something he hasn't done in a long time. Play catcher. But, back when Biggio played catcher he didn't really get hit by very many pitches - just 11 in his first 4 seasons in the majors. It wasn't until after Biggio switched to second base that he really started getting hit by pitches, so hopefully his walk down memory lane tonight will be historically accurate enough to include moving back to second base, and then getting hit by a few pitches.

(By the way, Craig Biggio is the only player who was ever a full time catcher to reach 3000 hits, and todays game will be the first time some with over 3000 career hits has played catcher in the major leagues since 1897 when Cap Anson did it. Anson and Biggio are the only 3000 hit club members ever to catch at all, and Anson caught 105 games.)

While Biggio will be catching for Brandon Backe, the Braves will have Jeff Bennett starting for them. This is Bennett's 2nd start this season, after not being in the league since 2004 when he made 60 relief appearances for the Brewers. Bennett walked Biggio the only time the two faced each other, and Bennett has only hit 2 batters ever.

Kerry Wood plunked Biggio on September 29, 2001, and Chuck James threw plunk 282 on September 29th 2006 - the same Chuck James who is expected to start tomorrow - for Biggio 2,849th and final career game.

Friday, September 28, 2007

pointing fingers

There is still time for Craig Biggio to break the all-time HBP record - but not much of it. He needs 3 plunks in 3 games, and while he has been plunked that many times in a 3 game span 20 times before, he's never done it against the Braves. He's been plunked 3 times in 3 games by the same team 5 times, most recently in 2005 when the Rockies did it (though they only took 2 games to do it).

But, it looks very likely that Biggio will fall short of Hughie Jennings amazing total of 287 HBPs. This will undoubtedly be very disappointing to a large number of fans, and when baseball fans and people in general are disappointed, we like to blame people. Right or wrong, we always find someone to blame. So, lets start throwing the blame around now so that on Sunday, when Craig Biggio's career ends, we can celebrate, knowing we've already thrown all the blame around we wanted to.

Obviously at the top of the list, you can blame me. We've all seen the stories in the news about how the media pressure of the plunk chase has ground it to a halt, and the clear record-setter for most words written about Craig Biggio getting hit by pitches is held by this website. Maybe I cared too much. Maybe if this site had never existed, no one would have noticed how often Biggio was getting hit by pitches and he would have been able to cruise past the record sometime last season. Instead, I had to make a big deal out of it and get everyone thinking about whether or not they WANTED the record broken - particularly the pitchers and umpires who could most effect the record chase. Then people some people got upset about whether or not wearing elbow pads should be allowed - and other people started getting bent out of shape about how hard a batter should try to get out of the way of pitches. Controversy - our largest and most un-productive export.

Blame me if you must, but here are a few others who could have contributed more, or gotten in the way less:
  • John Burkett. Biggio had 77 plate appearances against John Burkett and Burkett didn't contribute a single plunk to Biggio's total. Sure, Tom Glavine and Curt Schilling may have faced Biggio more times and they never hit him either, but Glavine has only hit one out of ever 286 batters he's faced in his career, and Schilling only hits about one out every 255 batters. Burkett, on the other hand, hit one batter in 126, and since he faced Biggio 77 times, he should have plunked him 0.61 times. Okay, it's hard to throw 6 tenths of a plunk, but the point is that if Burkett had plunked Biggio at the same rate he plunked the rest of the league, he probably should have hit Biggio once. But, Biggio has historically been hit nearly three (2.96) times more frequently per plate appearance than the league, so if Burkett had plunked Biggio 2.96 times more often than he plunked the rest of the league, he really should have contributed 1.83 plunks. We can round that up and claim Burkett owes Biggio 2 plunks. Not that we're saying Burkett should have thrown at him twice - it's just that the stats may suggest that Burkett was pitching around Biggio for a net result of two less plunks than he should have had.
  • Ramon Martinez, Julian Tavarez, Mark Prior and Woody Williams - using the same logic and stats above, they all should have plunked Biggio at least once.
  • Matt Morris - he hit Biggio once, but based on the same logic above, he probably should have plunked Biggio once more.
  • Umpire Doug Eddings - He's an easy target. On August 28, 2005, Jeff Weaver hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, but Eddings didn't award Biggio first base, claiming Biggio didn't make enough effort to avoid being hit. He's the only umpire to make such a call against Biggio, and it's well within the rules for him to do so, even if it was not the right call in that particular circumstance. That only technically kept 1 plunk out of Biggio's total, but it may have demoralized him and made him less willing to take plunks, knowing the umpires may not react properly, and reward him for taking one for the team.
  • The 2006 Pirates - Biggio had 65 plate appearance against the 2006 Pirates, and they didn't plunk him once. The Pirates hit 70 batters last year, at a rate of one per 90.8 plate appearances, so they should have hit Biggio 0.72 times if they plunked him at the average rate they plunked the rest of the league. But even last year with his HBPs on the decline, Biggio got hit 50% more often then the league average - so they really should have hit him more than not at all last year. You can throw the '05 Pirates in here too, along with the '04-'06 Cubs, the '99 and '04 Cardinals and the '99 Brewers. All of them should have plunked Biggio more than they did (though a couple of them did contribute 1).
  • Dave Bush - he hit 18 batters last season, and faced the Astros 4 times, but didn't throw Biggio anything he could get hit by. The only pitcher to hit more batters in season, who face Biggio at least once and didn't hit him that season, was Victor Zambrano in 2003 - he hit 20 batters, but only faced Biggio 4 times. Dave Bush had plenty of opportunities, but probably didn't want to see his name on the list.
  • Jeff Bagwell's doctors -241 of Biggio's 285 plunks were recorded in games Biggio and Bagwell played together. The pair obviously inspired each other to be better players, and part of that had to be Biggio's desire to get on base in front of Bagwell. The HBP was a weapon for that purpose. The two seasons Biggio has played since Bagwell was forced into retirement but injuries have shown a dramatic decline in Biggio getting hit by pitches, and it can't be a coincidence.
  • Major League Baseball and the Media - No, not because of the pressure they've put on Biggio, and not because they're not doing enough to celebrate the plunk chase, and not because Bud Selig hasn't been attending Astros games so he can be there for the historic moment, though you can argue those points if you like. No, this is about the "Modern Record" or the "Major League Record" or any other record that isn't the 287 plunks recorded by Hughie Jennings. There is a large number of members of the media who figure Biggio already has the HBP record because MLB liked to call Baylor's 267 plunks the Major League record - meaning the record since 1900 - or since the American League showed up and the two leagues started to be called the Major Leagues. Or something. Anyway, because of this confusion many people don't seem to think there's a record to be broken here, or that it's important and over 100 years old. Is there another stat that you ever hear connected with the phrase "modern record"?
  • Barry Bonds - C'mon - you know you want to blame him. Just do it. Do we really need a reason?
  • Roger Clemens - Yeah, I just don't like him either. But if he'd gone away after 2005, maybe the Astros would have rebuilt a bit in 2006, and they would have been better in 2007. Maybe. And maybe Biggio would have felt getting hit this season would have meant more if they hadn't been out of contention all season.
  • Everyone who pitched to Biggio this season not named Josh Fogg, Joe Smith or Jorge Julio - Thanks for stepping up. Jerks.
  • The Braves - The Atlanta Braves are last in the NL in all-time plunking of Biggio, behind 4 teams that weren't even in the National League for Biggio's entire career. They're also dead last in Biggio's plunks per plate appearance (among teams that hit him at least once). In 1996, the Braves were the only team Biggio faced who he didn't get hit by - that's the closest he ever came to getting hit by every team he played against (he did get hit by every NL team in '97, but interleague play came in that year). The Braves have shown an uncommon reluctance to hit batters over the last 20 years, and finished dead last in the majors 7 times. From 1988 to 2006, the Braves average 8 fewer plunks per season than the next lowest team, and only the Diamondbacks have hit fewer batters in that span. Oh yeah, the Diamondbacks only hit 79 fewer batters than the Braves from 1988 to 2006, even thought Diamondbacks didn't exist for 10 of those seasons.
  • Whiners - They're all over the internet, but I'm pretty sure the sentiment exists in the clubhouses too. These are the people who are pretty sure wearing an elbow pad is a crime against humanity and not moving out of the way of a pitch is somehow "cheating". I'm sure this crowd really enjoyed the high-profile plunk related wrist injuries this season, like Chase Utley and Kevin Youkilis - Youk was even wearing an elbow pad when he got hit on the wrist and missed three weeks in September. That one was exactly the kind of pitch everyone gets upset about when Biggio used to take them in the elbow-pad instead of getting his wrist broken. Have we learned nothing from Stephen Colbert's Wrist Strong movement? It's about time baseball players understood this, and learned to wear regulation arm-guards and to use them to protect their wrists. Also, for some reason we have a league where throwing at a batter is acceptable behavior, and charging the mound is acceptable behavior, but standing still in the batters box and refusing to let the pitcher intimidate you is a capital offense. Makes sense to me - keep up that theory. John Lackey clearly stated this last season.
  • Astros management - They gave Biggio plenty of playing time to reach 3000 hits, but then they started limiting his starts, as though the HBP record wasn't important to anyone. I assume this was the main reason Phil Garner and Tim Purpura were fired, but someone should have done something before it was too late.
  • Republicans - Biggio got hit 232 times while the Republican Party controlled congress, but only 53 times when the Democrats held the majority. If the Republicans had held the majority in the 2006 elections, Biggio obviously would have been hit by more pitches this year.
  • Democrats - They obviously have some kind of anti-HBP policy that's kept Biggio from getting hit while they held the majority in Congress.
  • Voters - See above. All this information was available on the internet before the mid-term elections, but you didn't care. You had to selfishly vote based on how you wanted the country run or something. Didn't someone once say "Ask not what you're country can do for you, ask what you can do to help Craig Biggio break the all time record for getting hit by pitches".
  • The Red Sox, Blue Jays, Devil Rays, Mariners, Tigers, and Angels - you couldn't hit Biggio even once? Any of you? Not that you should have done it on purpose - but everyone else did it so you must have been trying not to. And that's just wrong.
  • Zeno of Elea - The Greek Mathematician who liked to annoy philosophy students by pointing out that to get from point A to point B you have to go to a point half way between them, but once you get to that half way point you must go to the half way point between there and B. And so you can never get to B because you keeping having to go to all these half way to B points, which are (according to Zeno) infinite or something. Well Craig Biggio is doing a great real life example of that wacky little theory - at the beginning of 2005 he needed 32 plunks to break the record and got 17 - one more than half way. At the beginning of 2006 he needed 15 plunks, and got 9 - one more than half way rounded up. This year he needed 6 and has 3 so far. It seems that Biggio can't reach the record because he keeps having to get half way their first.
  • The Yankees - Everything that's wrong with baseball that isn't Barry Bonds fault is the Yankees fault, and I'm willing to consider the idea that Barry Bonds is the Yankees fault.
Okay - I feel better now. Feel free to add anyone you think I may have missed, in the comments. Otherwise, on with the last three games of Biggio's career, come what may.

the last choice for the last hope - the Braves

Craig Biggio only had one plate appearance last night, and he didn't get hit by any of the three pitches he saw from Bill Bray. That means that 2007 is the first year since 1991 in which Biggio was not hit by a pitch thrown by the Cincinnati Reds. There's only one player left in the league who played for the Reds in a prior season in which they didn't plunk Biggio - Reggie Sanders, and he only played 9 games for the '91 Reds. There are only 35 guys, including Biggio, playing this season who were in the Major Leagues the last time the Reds went a season without plunking Biggio.

All this means that the final hopes of those of us who want to see the record fall - and the unification of the all time record and the so-called "modern" record - rest on the arms of the Atlanta Braves. If you had to pick one team to plunk Biggio, the Braves would be the last team you'd pick, particularly if you were picking based on Biggio's plunks per plate appearance against each team. The Braves are dead last. Biggio has only been hit 8 times in 770 plate appearances against Atlanta. No National League team has plunked him less, and no team in either league has plunked him less per plate appearance. But that's all we have left, so we'll just have to watch and hope. Maybe Biggio's plan to return to his days as a catcher (tomorrow) will put him in the mood to return to the days when he got hit by as many as 4 pitches in two days.

Jo-Jo Reyes is the starter for Atlanta tonight. He's a rookie, and has only hit one batter ever - but it was Astro Ty Wigginton. Biggio has been hit by Carlos Reyes and Al Reyes, and has been plunked twice in 38 plate appearances against the four pitchers named Reyes he has faced, but he hasn't faced Jo-Jo Reyes yet. Jo-Jo Reyes has faced 202 batters (TBF), while Biggio has been hit by 213 pitchers.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Last of the Reds

The Astros beat the Reds by a 7-6 score last night, but Craig Biggio's only plate appearance resulted in a walk. The Reds last chance to plunk Biggio may be today, if it hasn't already passed, but after that they won't have Craig Biggio to plunk around any more. They've done it 21 times, and it looks like that number will stand.

Matt Belisle is pitching for the Reds today, but he's never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch. He's hit 17 other batters but none of them are likely to ever have a shot at the all-time HBP record.

Biggio has never been hit by a pitch on September 27th.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

no 16th?

Craig Biggio did not get hit by a pitch by the Reds last night, which means his 15 year streak of getting plunked by the Reds is likely over, since he's not expected to start either of the next two games, leading up to his return to the other side of the plate on Friday. It's still possible that he could have a pinch hit appearance, but they haven't been using him much in that role with such a deep September bench to choose from.

Tom Shearn pitches for the Reds today, but he's never hit a batter. He's only pitched 32 innings so far, so he'll probably get around to plunking a batter sometime soon.

Craig Biggio has never been plunked on September 26th.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

more crazy astrology junk

The big problem I've always had with horoscopes, whether they're in the newspaper or on a restaurant place mat, is that they never list who's been hit by the most pitches for each sign. Maybe it's just me. But if anyone else was bothered by this, here are the top 5 players in the HBP standings for each astrological sign.

HBP records by Chinese Zodiac sign:
Curt Welch - 173
Nap Lajoie - 134
Dummy Hoy - 134
Honus Wagner - 125
Frankie Crosetti - 114
Brady Anderson - 154
Steve Brodie - 132
Jose Guillen - 114
Barry Bonds - 106
Mike Macfarlane - 97
Bill Dahlen - 140
Larry Walker - 138
Andre Dawson - 111
Dan Brouthers - 105
Dick Padden - 97
Fred Clarke - 153
Chuck Knoblauch - 139
Willie Keeler - 129
Jeff Bagwell - 128
Gary Sheffield - 128
Don Baylor - 267
Minnie Minoso - 192
Andres Galarraga - 178
Bill Joyce - 108
Wally Schang - 107
Tommy Tucker - 272
Frank Robinson - 198
Kid Elberfeld - 165
Carlton Fisk - 143
Jason Giambi - 134
Nellie Fox - 142
Alex Rodriguez - 126
David Eckstein - 116
Scott Rolen - 95
Jake Stahl - 94
Dan McGann - 230
Chet Lemon - 151
Luis Gonzalez - 111
Mo Vaughn - 108
Dick Bartell - 97
Carlos Delgado - 157
Frank Chance - 137
Sherm Lollar - 115
Tris Speaker - 103
Elmer Flick - 99
Fernando Vina - 157
Art Fletcher - 141
John McGraw - 134
Damion Easley - 125
Buck Herzog - 120
Hughie Jennings - 287
Craig Biggio - 285
Ron Hunt - 243
Bill Freehan - 114
George Burns - 110
Jason Kendall - 218
Brian Downing - 129
Derek Jeter - 129
Eddie Yost - 99
Jason LaRue - 97

HBP records by astrological sign:
Curt Welch - 173
Chet Lemon - 151
David Eckstein - 116
Steve Evans - 111
George Burns - 110
Hughie Jennings - 287
Kid Elberfeld - 165
Fernando Vina - 157
John McGraw - 134
Pete Rose - 107
Don Baylor - 267
Dan McGann - 230
Jason Kendall - 218
Carlos Delgado - 157
Chuck Knoblauch - 139
Brady Anderson - 154
Carlton Fisk - 143
Nellie Fox - 142
Art Fletcher - 141
Bill Dahlen - 140
Andres Galarraga - 178
Dummy Hoy - 134
Jeff Bagwell - 128
Jim Delahanty - 92
Miguel Tejada - 89
Jake Beckley - 183
Alex Rodriguez - 126
Sherry Magee - 109
Wally Schang - 107
Barry Bonds - 106
Fred Clarke - 153
Brian Downing - 129
Frankie Crosetti - 114
Eddie Yost - 99
John Reilly - 94
Ron Hunt - 243
Willie Keeler - 129
Honus Wagner - 125
Jeff Kent - 118
Jason LaRue - 97
Craig Biggio - 285
Minnie Minoso - 192
Larry Walker - 138
Bill Freehan - 114
Mo Vaughn - 108
Tommy Tucker - 272
Gary Sheffield - 128
Damion Easley - 125
Jimmie Dykes - 115
Bucky Harris - 99
Jose Guillen - 114
Dan Brouthers - 105
Reggie Jackson - 96
Eric Young - 89
Andruw Jones - 83
Frank Robinson - 198
Frank Chance - 137
Nap Lajoie - 134
Steve Brodie - 132
Sherm Lollar - 115


The Astros are in Cincinnati tonight for the 6th to last game of Craig Biggio's career, and facing them will be Reds rookie Homer Bailey. Craig Biggio has never been plunked by Homer Bailey or any other Homer, nor has he been plunked by a Marge, Lisa, Bart, or Maggie. And he's never been hit by any Lenny, Karl, Moe or Barney, or anyone named Burns or Smithers. He has been plunked by Sideshows Bob Wickman, Walk, Ojeda and Tewksbury, Groundskeepers Willie Blair, Fraser, Banks, and Roberts and an assortment or Rods and Todds (Beck, Ritchee and Coffee). But no Homers. Homer Bailey has hit two batters so far in his career, but he's only thrown 151 pitches so far, and that's 132 short of the number of pitches Craig Biggio has been hit by.

If Biggio gets hit by a pitch sometime in the next three games, it will be the 16th consecutive season in which Biggio has been plunked at least once by the Reds. That may or may not be a record, but we can be sure no one has done it in at least 62 years.

Geremi Gonzalez plunked Biggio on September 25, 1997, but don't expect a historic re-enactment of that plunk in tonights game. Biggio got hit in the face by that one, but still stayed in the game.

Monday, September 24, 2007

it's the final off day

The Astros lost two more to the Cardinals on Saturday and Sunday, and Craig Biggio was not awarded first base for getting struck by any pitches, but he did collect his 3,055th hit, which ties him with Ricky Henderson for 20th on the all time list.

Today is the last off-day Craig Biggio's career which at least means the rest of us don't have to spend another day sitting around without an Astros game to watch wondering if Craig Biggio will get hit by a pitch tomorrow. After today. Not that we'd spend an entire day just wondering if Biggio was going to get hit by a pitch the next day... well, not very often anyway. The Astros are back in action tomorrow at Cincinnati, where the Reds have plunked Biggio at least once in 15 consecutive seasons - they'll have three games to extend that streak to 16.

Mark Clark is the only pitcher to plunk Biggio on September 24th, doing so in 1997.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

last two in St. Louis

Craig Biggio sat around and watched the Astros beat the Cardinals 6-3 last night, and he might take today's game off too. Brad Thompson is pitching for the Cardinals today, but he's never plunked Biggio, not has any other pitcher named Brad. Thompson has hit 11 batters this year, which leads all guys named Brad, but that only brings him to 20 in his career - 4th among Brads all time behind Radke (62), Penny (35) and Lidge (25). The entire list of guys named Brad ever to pitch in the Majors has only accumulated 251 hit-batters, which of course is 34 less plunks than Biggio has received.

Gabe White plunked Biggio on September 22, 1997 - 10 years ago today.

Todd Wellemeyer is pitching for the Cardinals tomorrow, and Biggio is planning to play in that one. He's never plunked Biggio, and only hit 3 batters this year and 7 in his career. Pitchers named Todd have only hit 238 batters ever, but at least they've plunked Biggio 3 times.

If Biggio wanted to do something he's never done before on September 23rd, he could get hit by a pitch. He's never had a sacrifice fly or a sacrifice bunt on September 23rd, or reached base on an error or on catchers interference, but I'd still vote for the getting hit by a pitch option.

Friday, September 21, 2007

the outfielder who plunked Biggio?

As you may have seen or hear, Rick Ankiel is now playing outfield for the St. Louis Cardinals, after several years in the minors attempting to revive his career as a pitcher. This would seem to make Rick Ankiel the only outfielder who has ever plunked Craig Biggio.

Ankiel has only played 41 games as an outfielder so far, but that's still 37 more appearances at non-pitching positions than all the players who have plunked Biggio had up until this year. Only one pitcher who plunked Biggio had ever recorded an out at another position - Jose Deleon (who also recorded that out in the outfield for the Cardinals).

If Ankiel continues to play well, he should have a chance at breaking most of the batting records among pitchers who have plunked Biggio. He's just one homer behind Carlos Zambrano, among Biggio plunkers - Zambrano has 12 to Ankiel's 11. He's only got 1 triple so far, but he only needs to get to 4 to pass Brian Anderson and AJ Burnett among those who have contributed to Biggio's plunks.

In the doubles category, Ankiel has 8 this year and 9 for his career, but if he keeps hitting them about once every 5 games, like he has this year, he won't get to Greg Maddux's career total of 35 until sometime next August. Ankiel will also need to come up with 211 more hits to catch Maddux in that category - Maddux has 265. (Yes, the record for hits among pitchers who have plunked Biggio is 20 less than the number of times they've plunked Biggio.)

But most importantly - Rick Ankiel has never been hit by a pitch. Time to stop thinking like a pitcher and take a few for the team Rick! Andy Benes and Bob Walk hold that record among those who have plunked Biggio, with just 6 each. Bob Walk does not, however, hold a share of the walks record for Biggio plunkers - John Smoltz has that, with 78 (61 ahead of Ankiel).

they saved all the offense for this game?

Hughie Jennings played excellent defense from beyond the grave again yesterday, somehow preventing Craig Biggio from being hit by any pitches, but the Astros won 18-1, suddenly deciding to score all those runs they've been saving all year. Biggio did get a hit - his 3,053rd - tying him with Rod Carew on the all time list. He's now two hits behind Ricky Henderson at 3,055 but that's the last rung on that ladder he'll be able to reach. (Barring a surprise 2008 comeback).

Joel Piniero is pitching for the Cardinals tonight. He's never hit Biggio with a pitch, and he's probably not going to get the chance today because Biggio is expected to be out of the lineup until Sunday. But, maybe if they score another 18 runs tonight, they'll use him to pinch hit somewhere along the way.

Salomon Torres hit Biggio with a pitch on September 21, 1993, but Biggio hs not been plunked on this date since then.

In other news, the Astros named Ed Wade their new general manager, which is nice and all, but they could have been a real MLB trend setter if they had gone in a different direction. Why not take the plunge and become the first team to promote someone directly from "lunatic blogger" to General Manager? Isn't it the next logical step after the wave of stat focused GMs that have been getting jobs around the league for the past few years? It's time someone got into the front office who knew what the most important batting stat is, and it's initials are not OBP.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

plunk primes

Ten years ago, Craig Biggio was 31 years old and setting his career high in getting hit by pitches with 34 (assuming he doesn't break that high mark by getting hit 32 times in the next 10 games - that would be several records). Biggio was the 2nd oldest player ever to reach 30 HBPs, behind only Don Baylor who reached his rather late career plunk-peak at age 37, when he got hit 35 times for the '86 Red Sox (the AL single season record).

Here's breakdown of everyone who ever had a career high of 10 plunks or more, by the age at which they reached their get-hitting peak:
AgePlayers who set their
career high in
HBPs at that age
(players who tied their own career high in different seasons are counted multiple times, and ages are based on season - year of birth rather than the frequently used convention of age at july 1st of the season, just because my way is slightly easier)

Deacon White was 42 through the entire 1890 season, when he set his career high of 19, but is in the 43 bucket because he turned 43 in December of that year. He's still the player who was the oldest when he recorded his career high though (among players who don't have a lame career high under 10), because the next oldest was chemically enhanced active senior-citizen Barry Bonds. He turned 42 in the middle of 2006, and he only tied his career high with 10 that year.

For most players, their best getting-hit years will be between the ages of 27 and 30. The largest numbers of 15+ and 20+ plunk seasons can be found at those ages as well as shown below.

Numbers of 15+ and 20+ plunk seasons in years players turned each age:
Age15+ HBP seasons20+ HBP seasons

Don Baylor narrowly edged Biggio for the highest age during a season with over 20 plunks, because he turned 38 during his final season over 20 plunks, and Biggio turned 38 in the December following his last season with over 20. Frank Robinson was the youngest player ever to reach 20 plunks, in 1956, the year he turned 21.

Brewers leave, Astros to St. Louis

The Brewers left town last night without leaving Craig Biggio with the lovely parting gift of an HBP, but they did leave the Astros with a 5-4 10th inning victory.

Tonight, the Astros begin Biggio's final series in St. Louis. He's been hit 14 times in St. Louis, including his first game at the new Busch Stadium, which is just 1 plunk behind Colorado for the road city where Biggio has been most often plunked. If the Cardinals could plunk Biggio 6 more times, they'd tie the Rockies for the most plunkings of Biggio thrown by any team. Braden Looper will be throwing for the Cardinals tonight, and he plunked Biggio on April 13, 2005 - a plunk which Biggio counts among the most painful of his career (a near-arm breaker, but Biggio still didn't leave the game). That plunk ended a 48 game plunkless streak by Biggio, so maybe Looper can work some streak-ending magic again today (but not the arm-breaking magic -we can't see the record broken if Biggio is on the DL).

Craig Biggio has never been plunked on September 20th.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

who CAN get hit 288 times?

Anyone? Bueller?

Craig Biggio only needs to get hit 3 more times to get there, but if he doesn't, who can? Here's a look at the possible candidates using a (small) number of projection methods, in order of how soon they could possibly reach 288 plunks.


Jason Kendall - He's the next most obvious choice with 218 career HBPs to date. He's averaging a little over 18 plunks per season, so if he could keep up that pace he'd be there in 2011. Unfortunately his pace has been slowing - 18 HBPs per year for his career, but only 17 per season for the past 5 years, 13.7 per season for the past 3, and only 9 HBPs this season. If this years total becomes his average for the rest of his career he'd have to play until age 41 - 20 seasons - to reach 288.


Alex Rodriguez - He's only 7th on the active list, but if there is anyone in the league (not named Bonds) that the fans could really root for to get hit by a lot of pitches, he's the guy. He's got just 126, for a career average of just 8.2 per season, but he's got a career high of 20 this year. If he could keep getting hit at this year's pace, he could be in the 288 neighborhood in late 2015 or early 2016. He'll be over 40 then, but he is probably the sort of player who will still be playing then. Of course, projecting 9 years in the future based on one year isn't exactly science.


Carlos Delgado - He's third among actives, with 157, and if he were to continue at the pace of his last 5 seasons, he could be at 288 in 2017. Unfortunately he'll also turn 45 in 2017. Betting on Delgado to break the record would be optimistic on a number of levels.

Jose Guillen - Guillen has been hit 19 times this year bringing his three year average to 15, and his 5 year average is 14.8 plunks per season. Those averages would be plenty to reach 288 if he could keep them up over 20 seasons, but he's already played 11, at only 10.4 plunks per year. If he can continue getting hit 19 times a year like he has this year, though, he could break the record in 2017, but he too will have to play until he's 41 to do that.


David Eckstein - Along with Kendall and Reed Johnson, Eckstein is the only active player sporting a career plunks per season average that would get him to 288 in a 20 year career. He's been hit 16.6 times per season so far, and at that rate he could reach 288 in 2018. The downside there is that he'll be 43 in 2018, and his averages for the past 5 and the past 3 years are only around 13 a year. That won't get it done, but he could be the sort of player to roll off a few 20+ HBP seasons any time now. Then again he hasn't been the picture of health recently, and he's already 32.

Jason Giambi - He's 4th on the active list with 134, and he's been getting hit at about 14 plunks per season for the last 5 and the last 3 years, and he could reach 288 if he kept that up until 2018, but he'd also be 47 by then, and everyone knows that 87% of people who take human growth hormone have all their limbs fall off within the next ten years. I read that someplace. It might just be a rumor though.

Aaron Rowand - He's only been hit 81 times in 7 seasons, but in his last three he's been hit 21, 18, and 19 times this year. If he keeps up the pace of the last 3 years, he could reach 288 in 2018. He'll turn 41 at the end of August that year. It's not out of the question that he'll still be playing then, if he cuts down on his wall collisions a bit, and he could conceivably pick up his HBP pace a bit. Or he might end up like that guy in the bloopers real they show on the center field scoreboard in the Naked Gun where the outfielder crashes into a wall and his head falls off.


Derek Jeter - Jeter is 5th among actives right now, and if keeps going at his career high rate of 14 plunks per season (his total so far this year), he could reach 288 b 2019. He'll be 45 by then, but probably still be playing short stop with fans defending his every error and un-reached ground ball on the basis that he's even more intangible at age 45 then ever. He may be so intabgible by then he'll actually become invisible, which might make it hard to know when he had been hit by a pitch. Anyway, he's got 129 so far, but he's never broken 14 in a year, and it takes 14.4 a year for 20 years to get to 288.

David DeJesus - He's only in his 5th season but he's go 51 HBPs, and he's up to 20 this season. If he can get get hit another 20 times every season for the next 12, he could break the record in 2019, and do it before his 40th birthday. But he's only played 5 seasons, so it might be a little early to start his HBP blog now. Maybe wait and see if he feels like having another 20 plunk season. If you're wondering who David DeJesus is, he plays for the Royals. If you're wondering who the Royals are, they're the American League team in Kansas City. Remember them? George Brett used to play there.

Chase Utley - Utley is in his 5th season too, and he's been hit 52 times already, but he's leading the league with 21 this year and he's already got a plunk blog about him (though the author kind of seems like she's more interested in... him... then his HBP stats). If he can take 21 pitches per year for his team every year he could reach 288 in 2019. He'd be in his 17th season, and 40 years old, so he could even get hit less than 21 times a year if he wants to play 20 seasons, and keep going to 43.


Reed Johnson - Reed is the last of the 3 active players other than Biggio who's career average is high enough to make it to 288 in under 20 seasons. He's been hit 15.4 times per year in his 5 years so far, including just 8 this season, which he's missed most of due to injury. He's also been hit 3 times in a game three different times. He could get to 288 in his 19 season, which would be 2021, but he'll be 44 at that point.

So in summary, Craig Biggio really needs to break this record, because no one else is going to any time soon.

last call for Milwaukee to brew up a plunk

Criag Biggio hit his 100th career sacrifice bunt last night, but he didn't sacrifice his body by getting hit by a pitch. However, maybe this was another of those milestones he wanted to cross off his list and now he can go back to chasing Hughie Jennings - sort of like how he got plunked twice in under 10 games after he passed 3000 hits. The Astros lost the game 9-1, but they get one more shot at the Brewers tonight.

Dave Bush will have a chance to become the 214th pitcher to plunk Biggio when he starts for the Brewers tonight. Bush has hit 9 batters this season, which is still 9 behind his total of 18 plunks in 2006. He'll need to do some serious work if he's going to meet his quota for this season.

Matt Morris plunked Biggio on September 19, 2003, but he didn't have the courtesy to do it again when I was at the game last Saturday.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Things left to do

Aside from getting those last 3 plunks he needs to get to 288, breaking the all-time record, there are also a few demographic holes Craig Biggio could fill in among the list of pitchers who have hit him with pitches, though there won't be very many opportunities.

Biggio has been hit by a pitch by someone born in nearly every calendar year between 1953 and 1984 - missing only 1954, 1959, and 1961. The oldest pitchers currently in the league are Roger Clemens and Jamie Moyer, and they were both born in '62. There hasn't been a pitcher in the league born before '62 since John Franco retired after the '05 season. Yovani Gallardo missed his chance last night to become the only pitcher born in 1986 ever to plunk Biggio, but Biggio could still get hit by Jose Ascanio of the Braves, who was born in 1985.

Craig Biggio has also been hit by pitchers wearing 53 different uniform numbers, but there are 5 pitchers on the rosters of the teams left on the Astros schedule who wear numbers not on that list. Biggio has already been plunked by pitchers wearing numbers 14 to 19, 21 to 23, 25 to 62, 66, 67, 69, 71, 75 and 99. Carlos Villenueva wears #12 for the Brewers but he won't pitch against the Astros (barring a really long game in which he'd be forced into a relief appears). The Brewers also have Seth McClung though, wearing #73. The Cardinals have a #63 in Andy Cavazos, and the Reds have #81 Eddie Guardado and #64 Tom Shearn.

Also, Biggio has only been plunked by pitchers born in 37 of the 50 US States. For some reason, he's never been plunked by any pitcher born in the 4 states which have postal abbreviations ending in the letter T - Vermont, Connecticut, Utah and Montana or any of the 3 states with abbreviations ending in E - Maine, Nebraska or Delaware. He's also been left unplunked by pitchers born in Oregon, Tennessee and New Mexico, as well as three states who have teams who have plunked him - Minnesota, Arizona and Colorado - the team that's plunked him the most.
There hasn't been a pitcher born in Vermont working in the majors since 1985, so Biggio never had a chance at a plunk from all 50 states, but there have been 35 pitchers from Tennessee, 25 from Colorado, 22 from Oregon, 21 from Arizona, 20 from Minnesota, 15 from Connecticut, 10 from Nebraska, 8 from Utah, 6 from New Mexico, 5 from Delaware, 4 from Maine, and 4 from Montana pitching in the Majors between 1988 and 2006. But he didn't get hit by a pitch thrown by any of them. Meanwhile, he got hit by 50% of the pitchers born in Alaska, North Dakota, and Wyoming who threw in the Majors between '88 and '06, and a third of the pitchers from both Hawaii and Idaho.

There are only two states, among those who haven't produced a Biggio plunker, represented on the rosters of the teams left on the Astros schedule. Derrick Turnbow of the Brewers and David Weathers of the Reds were both born in Tennessee, and Buddy Carlyle of the Braves is from Nebraska. Any of them could become the first pitcher from their state to plunk Biggio.

Also, Manny Acosta of the Braves could be the only pitcher born in Panama to plunk Biggio, and Peter Moylan could be the first Australian to do so. A plunk from Moylan would not only add Australia to the list of countries which have produced a plunked of Biggio, but it would mean that Biggio would have been plunked by pitchers from 5 different continents, and all 4 of earths hemispheres. Currently, Biggio has not been plunked by a pitcher born on the southern half of the planet. Venezuela, South Vietnam and Aruba are the southern most places of birth for those who have plunked Biggio.

More Brewers,

Craig Biggio did not get hit by a pitch last night, making it the 50th consecutive game he's played in without being hit. That makes this just the 8th plunkless streak of 50 games or longer of his career, and 2007 is the first season he's ever had two 50 game plunkless streaks in the same season (most of them have straddled two seasons). And, the Astros lost 6-0.

Tonight, Ben Sheets will have a chance to become the 16th pitcher ever to plunk Biggio three different times. He'd be the first to join the 3-timers club since Jason Jennings threw plunk 267 in 2005. Sheets has only hit one batter this season, but he only hit one batter other than Biggio last season. He plunked Biggio on August 17, 2006, and June 29, 2001, but both of those plunks occurred in Milwaukee.

Biggio has only been plunked once on September 18th - in 2003 by Jose Jimenez.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Brewers - that might be a good idea

The Pirates came and went over the weekend, and didn't leave any HBPs for Craig Biggio, despite our efforts Friday and Saturday to will a plunk from the Minute Maid Park stands. Craig Biggio's career total will finish up at 0 for plunks in games attended by the guy who's written 867 blog posts about him getting hit by pitches.

The Astros will be hosting the Brewers for the next three games, and their malty beverage could add fuel to the final hopes of the quest for 288 plunks. Or, it may douse the final few flickering embers of the dream of seeing the HBP record broken in our lifetimes. Either way, Yovani Gallardo is pitching for the Brewers tonight, and he's never plunked Biggio. Gallardo has only hit 2 batters in his 90.1 inning career. Of cours, it only takes one pitch to plunk Biggio.

Today is the 10th anniversary of Biggio's only plunk on September 17th - thrown in 1997 by Jason Schmidt.

By the way, reader Brad wins the award for being the only fan in attendance in either Friday or Saturday's game to spot us and say hi. Unfortunately it's one of those metaphorical awards, not the kind where you get anything, except perhaps the knowledge that the guy who writes this site is a lot more interesting on the internet than in person. But thanks for saying hi, Brad. Nice meeting you.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

they only have to play the Pirates twice more

Visiting Minute Maid Park last night, it seems, did not help Craig Biggio get hit by a pitch - but if this was the Craig Biggio sacrifice bunt website, or the Chad Qualls blown save website, we could have taken all the credit. The Astros lost 4-3 and Craig Biggio is still stuck on 285. Also, while Biggio's 3050 hits are clearly displayed on an electronic counter in left center, I was unable to spot the HBP counter. I'm sure it's there someplace, right?

We'll be back at the park tonight to see Matt Morris throw toward the Astros. He's shown the ability to plunk Biggio in the past - on September 19, 2003 he threw Biggio's 241st plunk. Morris has hit 8 batters so far this year.

Mark Thompson plunked Biggio on September 15, 1996 for plunk 84.

Tomorrow, Tony Armas will attempt to add his name to the list of pitchers who have plunked Biggio, unless Biggio gets the day off. He's hit 8 batters this season, but none so far in September. Armas could become only the 2nd pitcher to plunk Biggio on September 16th, joining Chin-hui Tsao who plunked Biggio on this date in 2003.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Pirates of the Monongahela 5, near season's end

The Cubs finished off there final series against Craig Biggio for his career and the Astros for the season, but they didn't leave any plunks to remember them by. The Cubs won the game 6-2, and Biggio will have to settle for only having been hit by the Cubs 19 times in his career.

Tonight, the Pirates come to Houston for their final visit, and what could be the battle for last place in the NL Central. Houston is currently 2 games behind the Pittsburgh squad, but they could pull out of the basement with a couple of wins. If we're lucky, Craig Biggio might add to his 22 career HBPs against the Pirates, and Ian Snell will have the first opportunity to contribute in tonight's game. Snell has never plunked Biggio, but he has hit a career high 8 batters this season, bringing his career total to 11.

Also, in a nearly-last ditch effort to get Biggio out of this extended plunking streak, the Plunk Biggio team (all two of us) will be in attendances at Minute Maid Park for the games tonight and tomorrow. Once again, please refrain from throwing baseballs at us. While I enjoy the history and statistics of major league players being hit by pitches, my enjoyment of plunks does not extend to personally receiving them - and my getting hit by baseballs doesn't help any major league team. But you can say hi if you want to. Also, since I'll be at the park, there may be some delay in the documenting of plunks on this site, since I'll be at the game as a spectator. (maybe I should have asked for a press pass? or an interview for the GM job?)

Dan Haren hit Craig Biggio with a pitch on September 14, 2003.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

to plunk and get plunked

You probably already knew that Craig Biggio has been hit by 285 pitches thrown by 213 different pitchers. But did you know that those 213 pitchers have been hit a total of 131 times themselves, by only 111 different pitchers? And of the 131 plunks that landed on a pitcher who has plunked Biggio, 57 were thrown by another pitcher who also plunked Biggio. 41 pitchers have both hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, and plunked at least one other pitcher who plunked Biggio. So, 43.5% of the plunks that hit pitchers who plunked Biggio were thrown by pitchers who plunked Biggio, but in the National League, between 1988 and 2006, only (only?) 37.1% of all the HBPs thrown were thrown by pitchers who have plunked Biggio.

Andy Benes and Bob Walk were each hit by 6 pitches in their careers, making them the leaders in the getting hit category among those who have hit Craig Biggio with pitches. Greg Maddux, Kevin Brown, Pedro Astacio and Oral Hershiser all have 5 career plunks to their credit, and Livan Hernanez, Mark Gardner, Matt Clement and Darryl Kile have 4 each. Biggio has been hit by Pedro Astacio more times than any of those guys have been hit, and none of them has been hit more times in their career than Biggio has on April 29th alone. All 4 of Darryl Kile's career plunks came while batting for the Astros, and Mark Portugal, Pete Harnisch and Ron Villone all recorded their only career plunks (1 each) while playing for Houston.

All 6 of the times Andy Benes was plunked, the pitch was thrown by someone who has plunked Craig Biggio, but none of Bob Walk's 6 plunks were thrown by Biggio plunkers. Matt Clement was also plunked exclusively by pitchers who have plunked Biggio.

Of those 213 pitchers who have plunked Biggio, only 54 have as many career plunks as they've inflicted on Biggio alone.

Darryl Kile and Greg Maddux are tied for the record for hitting other pitchers who plunked Biggio, with 4 plunks each. Maddux hit Steve Cooke, Jason Jennings, Dustin Hermanson and Dontrelle Willis, while Daryl Kile hit Scott Karl, Andy Benes and Kevin Ritz twice. DK plunked Ritz twice in the same game, making Ritz the only pitchers who has plunked Biggio and been hit twice himself in one game. Coincidently, Ritz had plunked Kile in their previous meeting. Kile also plunked Ritz before either had plunked Biggio, and Kile was pitching for the Astros at the time.

Of the 131 times pitchers who have plunked Biggio have been plunked themselves, only 10 of those HBPs were thrown by the Astros (including the 2 Kile threw at Ritz), and only 2 were cases where the pitcher had plunked Biggio before getting plunked by the Astros. Willie Banks is the only pitcher to plunk Biggio and get plunked in the same game, but Banks got hit first. Jason Marquis is the only pitcher to plunk Biggio and then get hit by the Astros in the same season. Only 77 of the 131 plunks recorded by pitchers who plunked Biggio were actually recorded after each pitcher hit Biggio for the first time.

Here's the complete (to date) history of pitchers who have plunked Biggio plunking each other:
Tom Browning hit Mike LaCoss on 6/8/1987, John Smiley hit Greg Maddux on 9/16/1989, Ryan Bowen (of the Astros) hit Andy Benes on 8/8/1991, Mark Portugal (of the Astros) hit Andy Benes on 9/9/1991, Jose DeLeon hit Andy Benes on 7/2/1993, Greg Maddux hit Steve Cooke on 7/16/1993, Ryan Bowen hit Pete Harnisch on 8/26/1993, Kevin Ritz hit Darryl Kile (of the Astros) on 8/4/1994, Darryl Kile (of the Astros) hit Kevin Ritz twice on 4/28/1995, Jaime Navarro hit Pedro Martinez on 7/25/1995, Mark Thompson hit John Smoltz on 6/9/1996, Mark Thompson hit Tom Candiotti on 7/6/1996, John Smiley hit Paul Wilson on 7/26/1996, Mark Leiter hit Mark Gardner on 8/23/1996, Steve Cooke hit Shawn Estes on 5/1/1997, Tim Worrell hit Jeff Juden on 5/14/1997, Danny Jackson hit Shawn Estes on 6/24/1997, John Franco hit Rob Stanifer on 7/3/1997, Pedro Astacio hit Andy Benes on 7/7/1997, Tom Candiotti hit Darryl Kile on 9/13/1997, Joel Adamson hit Danny Darwin on 4/4/1998, Pete Harnisch hit Garrett Stephenson on 4/23/1998, Jeff Juden hit Pedro Astacio on 5/18/1998, Darryl Kile hit Andy Benes on 6/1/1998, Chan Ho Park hit Livan Hernandez on 8/21/1998, Stan Spencer hit Paul Byrd on 8/27/1998, Stan Spencer hit Shawn Estes on 4/8/1999, Donovan Osborne hit Jason Bere on 4/11/1999, Chan Ho Park hit Andy Benes on 8/1/1999, Paul Byrd hit Stan Spencer on 8/24/1999, Kevin Brown hit Livan Hernandez on 9/29/1999, Darryl Kile hit Scott Karl on 4/13/2000, Todd Ritchie hit Rick Reed on 5/10/2000, Jimmy Anderson hit Paul Byrd on 7/21/2000, Brian Bohanon hit Kevin Brown on 9/8/2000, Brian Bohanon hit Kevin Brown on 5/29/2001, Shawn Estes hit Kevin Brown on 6/26/2001, Randy Wolf hit Greg Maddux on 10/2/2001, Al Leiter hit Brian Anderson on 4/30/2002, Kevin Brown hit Matt Clement on 5/5/2002, Everett Stull hit Matt Clement on 5/10/2002, Kris Benson hit Matt Clement on 5/28/2002, Greg Maddux hit Jason Jennings on 8/18/2002, Matt Clement hit Rick Helling on 8/18/2002, AJ Burnett hit Vicente Padilla on 4/14/2003, Juan Cruz hit Salomon Torres on 4/20/2003, Brandon Webb hit Ron Villone on 6/23/2003, Matt Clement and Danny Haren plunked each other on 9/3/2003, Greg Maddux hit Dustin Hermanson on 5/20/2004, Shawn Estes hit Chris Capuano on 6/23/2004, Jason Marquis hit Russ Ortiz on 8/14/2004, Brandon Webb hit Brian Moehler on 8/11/2005, Greg Maddux hit Dontrelle Willis on 8/27/2005, Matt Morris hit Glendon Rusch on 9/16/2005 and Matt Morris hit Aaron Cook on 5/26/2007.

Only 3 pairs of Biggio plunkers have plunked each other - Darryl Kile and Kevin Ritz, Matt Clement and Dan Haren, and Stan Spencer and Paul Byrd - but only Clement and Haren did it in the same game.

last game against the Cubs

The Astros lost another one last night, 3-2, and Craig Biggio went plunkless for the 47th consecutive game. Tonight the Cubs will have Steve Trachsel pitching for them, and he's one of 4 active pitchers with over 2000 innings pitched in the National League without ever hitting Craig Biggio. Only Tom Glavine and Curt Schilling have thrown more innings in the NL without plunking Biggio, among pitchers who are still active. Trachsel has hit two batters this season, bringing his career total to 51.

This is Biggio's last chance to make the Cubs the 5th against whom he has 20 or more plunks.

Steve Schrenk hit Biggio with a pitch on September 13, 1999, and Jason Simontacchi plunked Biggio on Friday, September 13, 2002.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

like night and day

So far this season, there have been 672 day games played in the major leagues, and with about 150 remaining on the schedules of the 30 major league teams, it looks like we're on pace for 822 day games this season, which would be the most day games played in any of the past 20 seasons. If you had known this at the beginning of the season you might have said "That's great - I know that Biggio gets hit by a pitch about once every 8.4 day games compared to about once every 10.7 night games - he'll break the record for sure!".

But it hasn't quite worked out that way - due to his reduced schedule Biggio has played in just 31 day games this season and started only 15 of them. With only 2 day games left on the schedule, this might be the first time season since 1991 in which Biggio was not plunked in a day game.

Even if he was playing every day game this season though, the league-wide rate of plunks per game is down 4% from last season, and down 9.3% in day games. Only 470 batters have been hit by pitches in day games this season, and an optimistic projection would bring the total to 575 by the end of the season. (I'll leave it up to you to determine whose idea of "optimism" that is). This looks like it will be the first year since 2002 in which plunks per night game will exceed day plunks per day game. There have only been 4 such seasons during the span of Biggio's career.

Overall, from 1988 through yesterday, batters have been plunked 0.64 times per game in day games and 0.61 times per game in night games. This years numbers are 0.70 for day games and 0.73 for night games, which are still above the 20 year average but well below the 2006 rate of 0.77 batters plunked per day game, and slightly below the 0.74 night game hbppg rate.

Hill takes the hill

The Astros managed to knock the Cubs out of first place last night with a 5-4 win in 11 innings, but Craig Biggio once again was not hit by any pitches. He's got just 18 games left to get hit 3 more times to break the all time record, but he might be taking his time knowing that he's been hit that many times in just 2 games several times in the past. Biggio also got his 666th double of his career last night - lets hope he hits a couple more so he doesn't scare off hall of fame voters with that number.

Rich Hill will take the hill for the Cubs tonight - the pitchers mound, not the one in center field - that would make it difficult to throw strikes fi he were on that other hill. Rich Hill has hit 11 batters this season and 14 in his career, but never plunked Biggio. He has also hit a batter in each of his last 3 games.

Chan Ho Park plunked Biggio twice ten years ago today, on September 12, 1997, and Dontrelle Willis hit Biggio with a pitch on September 12, 2005.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

streak plunking

Craig Biggio has been hit by 285 pitches in his major league career (plus twice in the post season and once in the all-star game), but only 47 of those plunks were thrown by a pitcher who had hit a batter in his previous outing. Also, 44 of the pitchers who hit him hit a batter in their next appearance.

On August 18, 2001, Jimmy Anderson plunked Biggio and then hit at least one batter in his next 5 games, for a six games streak with at least one hit-batter. That is the longest streak of consecutive games with a plunk to include at least one plunking of Craig Biggio. Rolando Arrojo hit Biggio with a pitch on June 13, 2000 and then hit batters in his next 4 outings for a 5 game streak, but Shawn Chacon had a slightly better 5 game streak. He hit a batter in each of 5 games between June 1 and June 25, 2001, but he plunked Biggio in both the 2nd and 4th game of that streak.

The longest streak of consecutive games with a hit-batter any pitcher has had entering a game in which they plunked Biggio was 3. Shawn Chacon had 3 games with a plunk before hitting Biggio in the 4th game of the 5 game streak mentioned above, but Jamey Wright and Matt Clement also plunked Biggio to extend a streak to 4 games (Clement hit him twice, just to be sure). Neither of them hit a batter in their next outing though.

Cubs visit - will they bring some plunks?

The Chicago Cubs make there last visit of the season to Houston, for the next 3 games, beginning tonight with Jason Marquis throwing toward the Astros. Marquis has hit 12 batters this season including 1 batter in 6 of his last 10 outings. 12 plunks ranks just 2 behind the National League lead. Marquis plunked Biggio on May 29, 2006 when he pitched for the Cardinals.

Biggio has been hit by one pitch on September 11th - in 1996 by Matt Beech.

Monday, September 10, 2007

2nd to last off-day

Craig Biggio said goodbye to Shea stadium and the Mets yesterday, but he didn't get hit by any retirement plunks, leaving his career total at 7 for Shea Stadium plunks and 78 for career hits there. His final totals against the Mets are 19 plunks and 151 hits. But, the Astros didn't manage to get a win during their trip to New York, losing yesterday, 4-1.

The Astros are off today, but tomorrow they begin a 9 game home-stand. There are only 12 home games and 7 road games left for Craig Biggio to get hit by pitches, and for us to discuss and test any remaining theories on plunkology. Friday and Saturday we'll be running the important test of whether or not Biggio gets hit by pitches more or less often when I'm actually in attendance Minute Maid Park - hopefully Biggio will participate by playing in those games.

By the way, with only 19 games left, it appears that Biggio will fall just short of Ryne Sandberg on the all time list for games played at 2nd Base. Sandberg played 1994 games at 2B, and Biggio currently has 1974. So, Biggio will remain 8th on the all time list in games played at 2nd Base, which is still pretty good when you remember he played over 400 games at catcher and over 300 in the outfield.

Biggio has been hit just once on September 10th - by Leo Estralla of the Brewers in 2003.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Two more games to Shea goodbye

Craig Biggio nearly had a memorable moment in the first game of his last trip to Shea Stadium last night - but instead of having a 2-out RBI single in the 6th inning that could have been the start of a comeback, he gave Lastings Milledge a highlight real diving catch for the third out of the inning. Then the Mets broke the game open in the bottom of the inning and won 11-3. It would have been a lot easier if he just got hit by a pitch, but he didn't.

This afternoon and tomorrow the Astros will face Tom Glavine and Pedro Martinez - two of the 12 active pitchers with over 2500 career innings pitched. Pedro has almost exactly twice as many hit-batters as Glavine 129 to 64, but Glavine his pitched nearly 1700 more innings. Pedro is 5th among active pitchers in hit-batters while Glavine is 30th. And, Pedro plunked Biggio on May 1, 1997, but Glavine has never plunked Biggio in 116 attempts.

Scott Bankhead and Paul Fletcher have both plunked Bigio on September 8th - Bankhead in 1992 for the Reds and Fletcher in 1995 for the Phillies.

Biggio has been hit 3 times on September 9th - in 1996 by Kevin Ritz, in 1997 by Jamey Wright, and in 1999 by Paul Byrd.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Mets notes

  • If Pedro Martinez hits someone other than Craig Biggio with a pitch on Sunday, he'll be the only active pitcher who has hit 100 other batters since last plunking Biggio - unless the Astros call up Chan Ho Park.

  • If Pedro hits Biggio on Sunday, he will shatter Jamey Wright's record for most other batters plunked between plunkings of Biggio - Wright hit Biggio with his 17th and 67th plunks (among others), but Pedro could throw his 130th plunk to Biggio to go with his 30th. Pedro has hit 99 batters since last plunking Craig Biggio.

  • Among those who have plunked Biggio, only Kevin Brown (139) and Greg Maddux (13) have more career hit-batters than Pedro Martinez (129). But, Maddux and Martinez have both hit 128 batters not named Craig Biggio

  • Of the 10 pitchers with over 100 career hit-batters who count Craig Biggio among those they've plunked, only Pedro Martinez and Darryl Kile haven't plunked Biggio more than once.

  • Their are 16 active pitchers with more than 1500 innings pitched in the National League, and only 7 of them have not hit Craig Biggio with a pitch - led by Tom Glavine. Glavine (4325) and Curt Schilling (2516.2) are only ones with over 2500 NL innings without hitting Biggio with a pitch.

  • Glavine has faced Biggio 116 times, but never hit him with a pitch. Four pitchers have faced Biggio over 100 times, but only Glavine has failed to hit him with a pitch. Curt Schilling is next on that list, failing to plunk Biggio in 78 plate appearances.

  • The Mets franchise record for getting hit by pitches is held by Ron Hunt, who got hit 41 times with the team, between 1963 and 1966. Then he got hit 50 times in 1971 with the Expos.

  • Only two franchises - the Devil Rays and the Padres - have a lower franchise record career plunks than the Mets

  • On the pitching side, Al Leiter holds the Mets franchise record for career plunks with 63. Only 7 other teams have a franchise record lower than that.

Shea goodbye

The Astros were off yesterday, but tonight they'll be in action at Shea Stadium in New York against the Mets, and hopefully Craig Biggio will be in the lineup. Mike Pelfrey is starting for the Mets and he's hit a batter in each of his last 3 pitching appearances. The last time he didn't hit a batter, though, was July 6th against the Astros, which was the day before Biggio was last hit by a pitch. Pelfrey has hit 7 batters this season in just 54 and 2/3 innings - only three other pitchers have hit as many batters in fewer innings this season. Tonight will be Pelfrey's 16th pitching appearance and he's already hit 10 batters in his career. Biggio has been hit 13 times by pitchers with 16 career appearances or less.

If Biggio does get hit by a pitch tonight, it will be his 20th thrown by the Mets, on the anniversary of his 5th plunk against the Mets. John Franco became the 5th Met to plunk Biggio on September 7, 1993. Biggio was also plunked by Rod Beck of the Giants 10 years ago today.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

musical plunks

The Astros have only 22 games left this season, which leaves very little time for Craig Biggio to get hit 3 more times and become the all time leader in getting hit by pitches, and very little time for this website to answer every question about the 285 times he's already been hit by pitches, and to fully analyze those 285 plunks from every possible perspective. With no time to waste, it's finally time to answer one of the most import questions on the subject - which songs have been number 1 on the UK pop charts the most times when Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitch?

Craig Biggio was hit by 12 pitches between August 16th and September 12th of 1997, all while "Men in Black" by Will Smith was the number 1 song in Britain. Oddly, Will Smith's movie of the same name spent 3 weeks at the top of the US box office charts that summer - in Biggio's most plunk productive season - but Biggio didn't get hit by any pitches while it was number 1.

No other artist has held the top spot for as many of Biggio's plunks as Will Smith did with that one song, although if you want to combine the efforts of the Spice Girls, and the solo projects of its members you get 12 plunks during their number 1 reigns as well. In 1996, "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls spent 7 weeks in the number 1 spot on the UK charts, but Biggio was only hit 8 times while that was number 1.

Biggio has been hit by pitches while 111 different artists had 131 different number 1 songs in the UK. Oasis holds the record for the most different number 1 singles on dates when Biggio got hit by pitches, with 5, followed by Take That with 4 different songs, and the Spice Girls, McFly and Elton John with 3 each. Oasis is also the only band or artist to have the number 1 song on the UK charts while Biggio was hit by a pitch in 4 different seasons.

Elton John scored number one singles in the UK on dates when Biggio was plunked 13 years apart, making him the record holder in that category, followed closely by Kylie Minogue, who had number 1 hits on Biggio plunk dates 12 years apart.

Here's the complete list of songs that were number 1 on the UK charts, with the number of times Biggio was plunked during their reign in parenthesis:

1989 - "Back To Life (How Ever Do You Want Me)" by Soul II Soul featuring Caron Wheeler (2), "Eternal Flame" by The Bangles (1), "You'll Never Stop Me From Loving You" by Sonia (1), "Swing The Mood" by Jive Bunny (1), "Hand On Your Heart" by Kylie Minogue (1)

1990 - "Sacrifice / Healing Hands" by Elton John (1), "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" by Bombalurina (1), "Turtle Power" by Partners In Kryme (1)

1991 - "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" by Bryan Adams (1), "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)" by Cher (1)

1992 - "Rhythm Is A Dancer" by Snap (3), "Ain't No Doubt" by Jimmy Nail (3), "Please Don't Go/Game Boy" by K.W.S. (1)

1993 - "Pray" by Take That (4), "Five Live EP" by George Michael & Queen with Lisa Stansfield (2), "Mr Vain" by Culture Beat (2), "All That She Wants" by Ace Of Base (2)

1994 - "Love Is All Around" by Wet Wet Wet (5), "The Real Thing" by Tony Di Bart (1), "Everything Changes" by Take That (1), "Inside" by Stiltskin (1)

1995 - "Boom Boom Boom" by The Outhere Brothers (6), "Unchained Melody / The White Cliffs Of Dover" by Robson & Jerome (5), "Country House" by Blur (4), "Some Might Say" by Oasis (3), "Back For Good" by Take That (3), "Never Forget" by Take That (1)

1996 - "Wannabe" by Spice Girls (8), "Firestarter" by The Prodigy (4), "Killing Me Softly" by Fugees (4), "Fastlove" by George Michael (4), "Return Of The Mack" by Mark Morrison (2), "Flava" by Peter Andre (1), "Ready Or Not" by The Fugees (1), "Forever Love" by Gary Barlow (1), "Ooh Aah... Just A Little Bit" by Gina G (1), "Three Lions" by Baddiel & Skinner & The Lightning Seeds (1)

1997 - "Men In Black" by Will Smith (12), "I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly (4), "I'll Be Missing You" by Puff Daddy & Faith Evans (3), "Candle In The Wind '97 / Something About The Way You Look Tonight" by Elton John (3), "Love Won't Wait" by Gary Barlow (2), "Mmm Bop" by Hanson (2), "You're Not Alone" by Olive (2), "Blood On The Dance Floor" by Michael Jackson (2), "D'You Know What I Mean?" by Oasis (1), "The Drugs Don't Work" by The Verve (1), "Who Do You Think You Are / Mama" by Spice Girls (1), "I Wanna Be The Only One" by Eternal featuring Bebe Winans (1).

1998 - "Three Lions 98" by Baddiel & Skinner & The Lightning Seeds (5), "Under The Bridge / Lady Marmalade" by All Saints (5), "Because We Want To" by Billie (2), "No Matter What" by Boyzone (2), "Viva Forever" by Spice Girls (2), "It's Like That" by Run DMC vs Jason Nevins (2), "All I Need" by Boyzone (1), "C'Est La Vie" by B*witched (1), "Freak Me" by Another Level (1), "Turn Back Time" by Aqua (1), "Deeper Underground" by Jamiroquai (1)

1999 - "Mambo No5 (A Little Bit Of...)" by Lou Bega (2), "Swear It Again" by Westlife (2), "Boom Boom Boom Boom" by The Vengaboys (1), "I Want It That Way" by The Backstreet Boys (1), "Bring It All Back" by S Club 7 (1), "Livin' La Vida Loca" by Ricky Martin (1), "Perfect Moment" by Martine McCutcheon (1), "9pm (Till I Come)" by A.T.B. (1), "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" by Baz Luhrmann (1)

2000 - "It Feels So Good" by Sonique (5), "Bound 4 Da reload (Casualty)" by Oxide & Neutrino (4), "Toca's Miracle" by Fragma (3), "Don't Call Me Baby" by Madison Avenue (2), "You See The Trouble With Me" by Black Legend (1), "Oops!...I Did It Again" by Britney Spears (1)

2001 - "Angel" by Shaggy feat. Rayvon (4), "Another Chance" by Roger Sanchez (3), "Lady Marmalade" by Christina Aguilera / Lil' Kim / Mya / Pink (3), "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" by Kylie Minogue (3), "What Took You So Long" by Emma Bunton (3), "The Way To Your Love" by Hear'Say (2), "Survivor" by Destiny's Child (2), "Do You Really Like It" by DJ Pied Piper (2), "Let's Dance" by 5ive (1), "Pure And Simple" by Hear'Say (1), "It's Raining Men" by Geri Halliwell (1), "21 Seconds" by So Solid Crew (1), "Eternity/The Road To Mandalay" by Robbie Williams (1), "Don't Stop Movin'" by S Club 7 (1)

2002 - "Unchained Melody" by Gareth Gates (5), "A Little Less Conversation" by Elvis vs JXL (2), "Kiss Kiss" by Holly Valance (2), "The Hindu Times" by Oasis (2), "Freak Like Me" by Sugababes (1), "Just A Little" by Liberty X (1), "Without Me" by Eminem (1), "Anyone Of Us (Stupid Mistake)" by Gareth Gates (1), "The Tide Is High (Get The Feeling)" by Atomic Kitten (1), "Colourblind" by Darius (1)

2003 - "Bring Me To Life" by Evanescence (5), "Breathe" by Blu Cantrell featuring Sean Paul (4), "Where Is The Love?" by Black Eyed Peas (4), "Ignition" by R Kelly (4), "Make Luv" by Room 5 featuring Oliver Cheatham (2), "Loneliness" by Tomcraft (2), "Never Gonna Leave Your Side" by Daniel Bedingfield (2), "Spirit In The Sky" by Gareth Gates featuring The Kumars (2), "Are You Ready For Love" by Elton John (1), "Crazy In Love" by Beyonce (1),

2004 - "F**k It (I Don't Want You Back)" by Eamon (6), "Thunderbirds / 3AM" by Busted (2), "F.U.R.B. (F U Right Back)" by Frankee (2), "I Don't Wanna Know" by Mario Winans featuring Enya & P Diddy (1), "Lola's Theme" by Shapeshifters (1), "Dry Your Eyes" by Streets (1), "Five Colours In Her Hair" by McFly (1), "Obviously" by McFly (1)

2005 - "Axel F" by Crazy Frog (6), "(Is This The Way To) Amarillo" by Tony Christie featuring Peter Kay (4), "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt (3), "Dare" by Gorillaz (1), "Lonely" by Akon (1), "Lyla" by Oasis (1), "The Importance Of Being Idle" by Oasis (1)

2006 - "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley (4), "Hips Don't Lie" by Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean (2), "Maneater" by Nelly Furtado (1), "Don't Stop Me Now / Please Please" by McFly (1), "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" by Scissor Sisters (1)

2007 - "Umbrella" by Rihanna featuring Jay-Z (2), "(I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles" by The Proclaimers featuring Brian Potter & Andy Pipkin (1)

Unfortunately, Biggio was never plunked by the same pitcher during the number 1 reigns of two different songs by the same artist. Jason Jennings hit Biggio 3 times while Crazy Frog had the number 1 song in the UK, but no one else has plunked Biggio 3 times while any 1 artist had the number 1 song.

Also of note, Biggio was plunked by Al Leiter and Rick Reed while Michael Jackson had the number 1 song on the UK Charts, but when Michael Jackson plunked Biggio, K.W.S. had held the number one spot.

And, because I know someone will ask this, Craig Biggio was never hit by a pitch while Britney Spear's "Hit me baby one more time" was number 1 in either the UK or the US. That song peaked in popularity in February of '99, before the season started but it's entirely possible that it was so annoying that it caused Biggio to only be hit 11 times that season, breaking his streak of 4 consecutive years with over 20 HBPs. (So if Biggio doesn't break the record, blame Britney). The only songs I spotted in the list that might have something to do with getting hit by pitches "mmm bop" by Hanson and "Boom Boom Boom Boom" by The Vengaboys but I'm denying ever having heard either one of them.

Data for this post came from - please direct any questions regarding "who are these people" and "I've never heard of that song" to that site or to wikipedia.

done at Miller, on to Shea, but off today

The Astros wrapped up their final visit to Milwaukee for this season with a 14-2 loss, but Craig Biggio was away from the team for personal reasons, so he couldn't get hit by a pitch. They're off today, but Biggio will be back with the team in New York tomorrow for the final visit to Shea Stadium of his career. In New York, the Astros are scheduled to face a guy who's hit 10 batters in only 15 career games, followed by the only player who has pitched over 3000 innings in the National League over the last 19 seasons without hitting Biggio with a pitch, followed by a pitcher who has hit 99 other batters since he last plunked Biggio.

Craig Biggio has never been hit by a a major league pitch on September 6th, and it's a safe bet he never will be.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

wednesdays and other notes.

Brewers 2nd-baseman Rickie Weeks got hit by 4 pitches in 3 games against the Cubs last week, which brings him to 43 career HBPs - as many as Craig Biggio has on Wednesdays. That makes Weeks the 99th active player, and the 503rd all time with as many career HBPs as Biggio has on Wednesdays. But, Wednesdays rank only 4th on Biggio's list of most plunked-on days of the week.

If Biggio had only been hit on one day of the week through his career, he'd still be in the top 150 of active players, unless that day were Thursday. And, 4 of the 7 days of the week are still in the top 100. Only 62 active players have been hit more times in their career than Biggio has been hit on Saturdays, and only 12 active players have more plunks than Biggio has had just on weekends. Only 60 players in major league history have more career plunks than Biggio's combined total for Saturdays and Sundays (99).

In othere news, Jose Reyes of the Mets was hit by a pitch for the first time this season on September 1, which leaves Brian Roberts as the only threat to Sandy Alomar's record of 739 plate appearances in a season with 0 HBPs. Roberts is on pace for about 732 at the moment.

144 sausages?

Craig Biggio had 1 hit but no HBPs last night as the Astros lost to the Brewers 5-3, but more interestingly, the Brewers presented Biggio with the retirement gift of 144 sausages. They claimed they were giving him one sausage for every hit he has against the franchise, and he did have 144 going into the game, but they must have known he'd have a few more hits against them by the end of the year - the Brewers still have to visit Houston once more. No - the 144 sausages clearly represent half a sausage for each of the 288 plunks the Brewers hope Biggio will finish his career with! (Either that or they come in packages of a dozen, and handing out a gross of them was just easier than having to wrap up 1 or 2 extra sausages in their own packages).

Brewers rookie Yovani Gallardo is set to throw in tonight's game - Biggio's last at Miller Park. Gallardo has never faced Craig Biggio, and has only hit 2 batters in his brief career.

Biggio has been hit just once on September 5th - in 1995 by Xavier Hernandez. Since he's already been hit on this date by a pitcher whose name starts with X, maybe Yovani Gallardo is a good candidate for Biggio's 2nd plunk on September 5th.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Overall, Craig Biggio has been plunked most often by pitchers who entered the game with more wins on the season than loses. 121 of his 285 plunks have been thrown by pitchers who entered the game with a winning record on the season, to just 98 from pitchers with losing season records and 66 from pitchers with even records. But, in the month of September, the pitchers who plunk Biggio are even more likely to have a winning record than those who plunk him in other months. 22 of Biggio's 35 September HBPs were thrown by pitchers with winning records - about 63% of them. If you throw in his 2 October plunks, both thrown by a pitcher over .500 for the season, then 24 of his 37 plunks thrown after September 1 came from the hand of a pitcher with a winning record.

In April, Biggio has been hit most often by pitchers with even records - mostly ones who haven't recorded a decision yet. In May and June he's been hit most often by over .500 pitchers, but in July and August he's been plunked most by pitchers with losing records.

Monthover .500under .500even

The positive side of this is that among the 38 starting pitchers currently listed on the rosters of the teams the Astros still have to play this season, 22 of them have a winning record.

Biggio has been plunked most in September (6 times) by pitchers who are 6 games over .500 - and Tom Glavine is facing the Astros on Saturday with a 12-6 record - 6 games over .500. There are a number of other pitchers who could face Biggio while 6 games over .500 coming up as well - Ted Lilly for the Cubs and Tom Gorzelanny for the Pirates if their records stay even, Ben Sheets if he loses 1 more than he wins before they meet again, Adam Wainwright if he picks up two wins, John Smoltz if he wins 1 more, and Tim Hudson if he loses 2.

The most popular win totals for pitchers who plunk Biggio in September are 13 and 2 - he's been hit 4 times by pitchers who entered the game with 13 wins and another 4 times by pitchers coming in with 2 wins. Tom Gorzelanny, Ted Lilly and Adam Wainwright all have 13 wins at the moment, and John Smoltz, Braden Looper, Dave Bush, Ben Sheets and Jason Marquis all could conceivable face the Astros with 13 wins later this year.

In the loss column, Biggio has been hit 7 times in September by pitchers with 2 losses on the season, but the only starter on the Astros remaining schedule with 2 losses is Jo-jo Reyes. Tom Shearn could potentially reach 2 losses and face the Astros the last week of the season, but other than that, we'll have to look for a relief pitcher or a roster-addition if Biggio is going to get hit again by a pitcher with 2 losses this month.

more chances to find HBPs in Milwaukee

The Astros beat the Brewers 9-7 yesterday, and Craig Biggio hit his 80th career sacrifice fly, but he didn't get hit by a pitch, which means we're down to just 24 game for him to get hit by three more pitches and break the all time record - or perhaps conclusively prove that it's impossible to get hit by 288 pitches in the current century.

Tonight, the Brewers 23 year old right-hander Carlos Villanueva will get a shot at throwing baseballs in Biggio's direction. He's hit 7 batters in his 2 year career, but he's never plunked Biggio. Brandon Backe will be starting for the Astros - his first game back since having one of Tommy John's ligaments installed in his arm. (Where does Tommy John get all these ligaments he keeps donating anyway?)

Biggio has been hit only once on September 4th - in 1995 by Mark Portugal.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor day in Milwaukee

Barring a surprise 2008 comeback to take care of unfinished business and unbroken records, Craig Biggio played his last game at Wrigely Field yesterday, but he didn't get hit by any pitches, and the Astros ended up losing the game 6-5.

This afternoon, the Astros kick off a three game series in Milwaukee, and the Brewers will send Ben Sheets to the mound to throw things at the visitors. Sheets threw his 4th career plunk at Biggio on June 29, 2001 and the 29th of his career landed on Biggio on August 17, 2006 - both at Miller Park. Those were Biggio's 183rd and 281st career plunks.

Biggio has been hit twice on September 3rd - by Kevin Brown in 2003 and Chris Carpenter in 2005. Biggio has also been plunked twice in games played on Labor Day - on September 4, 1995 by Mark Portugal and on September 1, 1997 by Joel Adamson of the Brewers.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

last 2 in Chicago

Craig Biggio was missed by all 27 pitches thrown his way in yesterday's 6-1 win over the Cubs, but the Astros have two more to play at Wrigley this weekend and the Cubs will have a few more chances to plunk Biggio. Also, Biggio recorded his 127th and 128th career hits at Wrigley yesterday, tying that park for the most hits he's had at any ballpark outside Houston.

Today, Jason Marquis is expected to start for the Cubs, but Biggio might not be starting for the Astros. Marquis plunked Biggio on May 29, 2006, and he's hit 11 batters this year, which is good for 3rd in the National League.

It's been ten years since the last time Biggio got hit by a pitch on September 1st. Joel Adamson hit him on September 1, 1997 for the Brewers, back when they were in the American League. Biggio was also plunked by John Costello on September 1, 1989.

Tomorrow Rich Hill is scheduled to pitch for the Cubs, and Biggio is expected to start that one as well. Hill has hit 9 batters this season, but he's never plunked Biggio.

John Smiley threw Biggio's 9th career plunk on September 2, 1990, and Marc Valdes threw plunk number 55 on September 2, 1995.