June 7, 2017

OR MAYBE YOU COULD USE THE BAT?:

The horrors of getting hit by a pitch : They call it "hardball" for a reason. It's hard, and it hurts when it hits you, especially at 90-plus mph. (Tim Kurkjian, 8/03/12, ESPN )

[H]it-by-pitch numbers are confusing. Former Braves infielder Mark Lemke holds the major league record for most plate appearances -- 3,664 -- without getting hit by a pitch. The Mariners' Michael Saunders is the active player with the most plate appearances without a hit batsman; he's just over 1,000. Yet Lemke and Saunders were hit plenty of times in the minor leagues. Former major league outfielder Herm Winningham had 2,069 plate appearances without getting hit and says he never got hit by a pitch in the minor leagues, either. "The last time I got hit," he once said, "was diving back into first base on a pickoff throw." ESPN analyst John Kruk got hit by a pitch twice in 4,603 plate appearances. How can that be? Mickey Mantle was hit 13 times in his career. Tony Gwynn was hit 24 times.

The all-time leader is Hughie Jennings, whose career began in the 1800s. He was hit 287 times, once every 19.3 plate appearances. Craig Biggio was hit 285 times, followed by Tommy Tucker (272), Don Baylor (267), Jason Kendall (254) and Ron Hunt (243). Baylor, big and burly and tough, once was asked which one of the 267 hurt the most, and he grunted and said, "None of them." Kendall, who isn't as big or burly but is as tough as they come and got hit by pitches on purpose all the time, said of his 254, "They all hurt."

F.P. Santangelo, who played for four teams during his seven-year career, laughed and said, "I'm in the hit-by-pitch hall of fame -- most hit-by-pitches in a season by a switch-hitter: 25. I was a .245 hitter. I hit leadoff. I had to get on base any way I could. On-base percentage was my only good statistic. I learned how to lean in and get hit by strikes. Kendall and I had a side bet one year on who could get hit most; we bet a case of beer. I'd see him on the field before a game and I'd say, 'I'm at 17,' and he'd say, 'I'm at 18.' I think I still owe him a case of beer."

Posted by at June 7, 2017 12:09 PM

  

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