And now for something completely useless…

This is what happens when you have a few spare moments and have been playing with Retrosheet files for too long. A few meaningless numbers from 2007. Well, I suppose every number tells a story, but whether that story is useless or not is another issue. I had a few questions and I decided to look the answers up. Why not?
The Carlos Baerga Award: This one is named in honor of an observation that my father once made in the mid-90s. He pointed out that Carlos Baerga always seemed to make the last out in the Indians games. In 1994, Baerga made the last out of the game twice for the Indians, and in 1995, twice again, at least during the regular season. In the 1995 World Series, Baerga made the last out in three of the four Indians’ losses. The Indians dumped Baerga to the Mets in ’96 for the greatest Harry Caray name ever, Jose Vizcaino, and some guy named Jeff Kent. (Vizcaino started while Kent became a utility infielder!)
Anyway, who made the most “last outs” in 2007? None other than the man who has excelled the most in making outs over the course of the past few seasons, Juan Pierre, with 16. Dan Uggla did it 14 times, Shannon Stewart 13 times, and there was a four-way tie for fourth between Mark Grudzielanek, Jason Kubel, Mark Loretta, and Pudge Rodriguez, each with 12.
The Who’s Gonna Drive You Home Tonight? Award: Some guys just tend to get stranded. When the box score tallies up your team’s LOB, and you know that they’re talking about you, it’s gotta be frustrating. You did all that work to get on base and your buddies didn’t come through to drive you home. Who were the champions of being stranded on each base at the end of the inning last year?

  • First base: Derek Jeter (75 times), Nick Swisher (71 times), and David Wright (69 times).
  • Second base: Matt Holliday and Aaron Rowand (63 times each), and Randy Winn (62 times).
  • Third base: Juan Pierre (there he is again, 41 times), Jason Bartlett (39 times), and a three-way tie between Matt Holliday (who’s hitting behind him?), Nick Markakis, and Ichiro (38 times each).

There’s probably someone in San Diego who is right now saying that Holliday is still technically stranded on third.
Greatest Amount of Patience Award: I remember playing baseball as a kid, and it was never fun to play defense, primarily because nothing happened and I just had to stand there. It was much more fun to be at bat. But, some players had to spend a lot of time in the field… just waiting. So, we applaud the eight players who played the non-pitching positions for the most number of plate appearances last year.

  • Catcher – Russell Martin
  • First base – Adrian Gonzalez
  • Second base – Dan Uggla
  • Third base – Ryan Zimmerman
  • Shortstop – Jimmy Rollins
  • Left field – Carlos Lee
  • Center field – Juan Pierre (he’s haunting me)
  • Right field – Nick Markakis (finally, an AL player! what’s the deal with that?)

The Thanks for Making Me Run All This Way for Nothing… Again Award: 3-2 pitch, 2 outs, runner on first. Runners will be off with the pitch. Fouled away. We’ll do it again. Congratulations go out to Kaz Matsui, who in the third inning of a Rockies-Dodgers game on August 19, had to run from 1st to 2nd on a 3-2, 2 out pitch 12(!) times. 11 times, Cory Sullivan fouled off a Brad Penny pitch. The twelfth time, Sullivan flew out to left. But who had the inglory of doing this the most this past season, at least as far as running from first base only to be sent back via foul ball (whether it was a 3-2-2 count or not…)

  1. Johnny Damon (25)
  2. Ichiro (23)
  3. Derek Jeter (20)
  4. Carlos Lee (20)
  5. Luis Castillo (19)

If you were wondering about Juan Pierre, he was tied in 42nd place with about 15 other players with 11 times that this happened. You were wondering about Juan Pierre, right?
The Guy Who Got To Wave His Hand The Most Award: On a passed ball or a wild pitch, the batter always does that little wrist move toward the runner to let him know that it’s safe to advance. He always does it so coolly and non-chalantly, never even bothering to wave his whole arm like a third base coach. It’s one of those intangibles that doesn’t show up in the box scores, but shows up here on StatSpeak. The guy who did the hand wave thing the most last year.

  1. Mark Grudzielanek (13 times)
  2. Garret Anderson, Jack Cust, Travis Hafner, Mike Lowell, Victor Martinez, and Kevin Millar (12 each)

Hey, a member of the Royals finished first in something!
Anyway…

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5 Responses to And now for something completely useless…

  1. Matt K says:

    We definitely need more awards like these. Very entertaining read. Useless, but feels insightful. Quite deceptive, actually.

  2. Bill Candler says:

    NO BRAVES !! Whats up with that?

  3. dan says:

    Jeff Passan of Yahoo! reads Statspeak….
    http://tinyurl.com/2g3gpp
    He references a Pizza Cutter article and mentions Mike a few times in the article.

  4. Pizza Cutter says:

    Tell the Braves to do something useless this year, and maybe they can make it next year! (Besides, my wife is from Atlanta…)

  5. dan says:

    “It’s one of those intangibles that doesn’t show up in the box scores, but shows up here on StatSpeak.”
    Thought that was hilarious.

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