Yesterday (April 9, 2017), the Baltimore Orioles’ apparently decided to give New York Yankees’ Designated Hitter Matt Holliday a holiday – at least from hitting. Holliday came to the plate five times and walked five times. For the day, Holliday was zero-for-zero with zero runs scored and zero RBI – despite being on base five times in five plate appearances. It was truly a Holliday “walk-in-the-park.” Oh yes, the Bombers won 7-3.
Here’s how Holliday’s day went.
- With two out in the top of the first Wade Miley walked Holliday – and then picked him off first for the final out.
- With one out and Brett Gardner (who had walked) on first in the top of the third, Miley again walked Holliday, but pitched out of the jam. Baltimore up 1-0.
- In the top of the fifth, with two outs and Aaron Hicks on second, Miley again walked Holliday – and, again, pitched out of the jam (getting Chris Carter on a groundout to shortstop).
- With one out and no one on in the top of the seventh, the Orioles now up 3-2 and Tyler Wilson pitching, the Orioles brought in Mychal Givens to pitch to Holliday. Givens walked Holliday and then gave up a single to Chris Carter. Givens, however, worked out of the difficulties, retiring Starlin Castro on a pop up and Chase Headley on an infield liner.
- In the top of the ninth – game tied 3-3 – Darren O’Day came on to pitch to Holliday (leading off the inning). Surprise! Holliday walked – and was replaced by pinch-runner Jacob Ellsbury (who later scored the go ahead run.)
The Yanks scored four runs in the ninth, delivering the Orioles their first loss of the season.
Holliday’s five free passes, by the way, tied the Yankees’ record for a game, but fell one short of the MLB record of six. The Red Sox’ Jimmie Foxx (June 16, 1938) and Walt Wilmot of the Chicago Colts (August 22, 1891) share the MLB record for a nine-inning contest. More recently, three players have drawn six walks in an extra- inning contest: Bryce Harper, Nationals (in a 13-inning game versus the Cubs on May 8, 2016); Jeff Bagwell, Astros (in a 16-inning contest versus the Marlins on August 20, 1999); and Andre Thorton, Indians (in a 16-inning game versus the Orioles on May 2, 1984).
A few other bases on ball tidbits:
- Only twice has an MLB player totaled eight free passes in a doubleheader. (Remember those?) Max Bishop did it for the Philadelphia Athletics (playing 2B and leading off versus the Yankees) on May 21, 1930 and again on July 8, 1934 (playing against the Athletics; at 2B and leading off for the Red Sox).
Max Bishop – whose nickname was appropriately “Camera Eye” – drew 1,153 walks in 1,338 MLB games (over 12 seasons). While he led his league in walks only once (128 in 1929), Bishop topped 100 free passes in seven seasons. Bishop averaged one walk every five plate appearances for his career – helping translate a .271 batting average into a .423 on base percentage. The only player with a higher percentage of walks per plate appearance than Bishop is Ted Williams. Note: BBRT found a discrepancy in searching out Bishop’s walk totals. Sources differ on his overall total (1,153 or 1,156), due to disagreement on his 1928 total – some sources list it as 97 walks, others as 100. I am continuing to dig into this, as the three walk difference in 1928 does make a difference. With them, Bishop has eight straight 100 or more walk seasons, giving him a share of the MLB record.
- The MLB career leaders for walks drawn is Barry Bonds, with 2,558 (in 22 seasons). Bonds also holds the single-season record at 232 (in 2004) and, in fact, the top three season totals. Bonds also holds the records for consecutive seasons leading his league (five – 2000-2004); total seasons leading his league (12 – 1992, 1994-97, 2000-04, 2006-07); and total seasons of 100 or more walks (14).
- The most consecutive walks received by a hitter is seven. Notably, in the NL, all three players to accomplish this played for the Giants: Mel Ott (June 16-18, 1943); Eddie Stanky (August 28-29, 1950); and Barry Bonds (September 14-26, 2004). In the AL, it was Billy Rogell (Tigers – August 17-19, 1938) and Jose Canseco (A’s – August 4-5, 1992).
WHICH OF THESE IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER ONES?
Only four players have drawn 2,000+ career walks: Barry Bonds (2,558); Rickey Henderson ((2,190); Babe Ruth (2,062); and Ted Williams (2,012). Of these Rickey Henderson is the outlier – the only right-handed hitter and the only one of the four with less than 500 home runs (297).
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