Thursday, August 20, 2015

Pitchers who can hit

Pitchers who can hit

Madison Bumgarner was named the National League Player of the Week for the week ending August 17.  Bumgarner earned two victories, pitching his eighth and ninth career complete games during his two starts. He struck out 26 batters in 18 innings, allowing one earned run.  On Tuesday August 11, Bumgarner struck out 12 Astros hitters and allowed one run on five hits in a 3-1 victory.    Then on Sunday, August 16, the left-hander pitched a shutout, defeating the Nationals 5 - 0, tying a career high with 14 strikeouts.  During the game Bumgarner also went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI on a fifth-inning double and a seventh-inning solo homer.

Topps 2010 Madison Bumgarner Card #105 
The home run was Bumgarner's fourth of the season, which leads all Major League pitchers. He also leads all pitchers with seven RBI.  Last season, Bumgarner also hit four homer runs and had 15 RBI.  As a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, a National League team, Bumgarner takes a place in the batting order and gets the opportunity to bat.  American League pitchers don't normally bat, as they are replaced in the batting order by a designated hitter.  
In 1973, the American League adopted the designated hitter rule.  The designated hitter, is a player in the batting order who only hits and does not play defense. He hits in place of the pitcher.  During interleague play, the application of the designated hitter rule is determined by the identity of the home team as the rules of the home team's league applying to both teams. If the game is played in an American League park, the designated hitter may be used and if played in a National League park, the pitcher must bat or else be replaced with a pinch-hitter.  
With the adoption of the designated hitter rule for American League games, there are fewer batting opportunities for pitchers.  Pitchers are usually selected for the quality of their pitching, not their hitting, and that most pitchers are weak hitters and normally bat ninth in the batting order and are pinch-hit for late in games.
Throughout the history of baseball there have been some pitchers who were very good batters.  Babe Ruth, one of the games greatest home run hitter, began his career as a pitcher. 

Babe Ruth
1933 Goudey Babe Ruth Card #53

Babe Ruth made his debut, as a nineteen-year old pitcher, on July 11, 1914, with the Red Sox.  It wasn't until the next season that Ruth hit his first Major League home run when on May 6, 1915, he homer in the Red Sox 4 - 3 loss to the Yankees.  Ruth finished that season with a .315 batting average, hitting four home runs and 20 RBI.  Then in 1916, Ruth hit three home runs as he finished the year  with a pitching record of 23 - 12 and lead all American Leagues hurlers with a 1.75 ERA and nine shutouts.
The following season, Ruth hit two home runs and finished the year with a pitching record of 24 wins and 13 losses, when he started 38 games, and completed a league high 35 games.  Starting in 1917, the Red Sox started to play Ruth in the field to be able to use him as a batter.  During the 1917 season, Ruth pitched in 20 games, finishing the year with a 13 - 7 record, as he homer twice in those games.  For the year, Ruth hit 11 home runs, which tied for the Major League lead with Philadelphia Athletics outfielder, Tillie Walker.  Ruth hit his 11 home runs while playing in just 95 games.
In 1918, Ruth's final season with the Red Sox, he pitched in 17 games and finished the year with a 9 - 5 record.  He homered three times in the games he pitched.  Ruth finished the year playing in 130 games and with a Major League high 29 home runs,   This total also set the record for most home runs during any single season.   After helping the Red Sox to World Series Championships in the 1915, 1916, and 1918, Ruth was sold to the Yankees on December 26, 1918, for $100,000.

After leaving the Red Sox, Ruth pitched in only five more games and he was victorious in each game, and finished his Yankees career with a pitching record of 5 - 0.  He homered in two of those games.  On June 13, 1921, Ruth pitched five innings in the Yankees 13 - 8 win over the Tigers.  Ruth hit two home runs during that game.  Then on October 1, 1933, Ruth pitched a complete game in the Yankees 6 - 5 win over the Red Sox as he homered in the game.  This was the final game of the season. Ruth also pitched a complete game in the last game of the 1930 season, when the Yankees defeated the Red Sox 9 - 3.

For his career, Ruth pitched in 163 games and hit 17 home runs in those games.  Ruth retired in 1935, after 22 years in the Major Leagues.  He finished his career with 714 home runs and lead the American League in home run 12 times. 
Bob Lemon
Bob Lemon was a Hall of Fame pitcher who played 15 seasons, between 1941 and 1958.   Lemon, only played with the Indians, and finished his career with a pitching record of 207 wins and 128 losses.  He was a seven-time All-Star and won more than twenty game on six different occasions.
Bowman 1955 Bob Lemon Card #191

Lemon made his major league debut, as a twenty-year old, on September 9, 1941.  Lemon entered the game as a pinch hitter in the top of the 8th inning, batting for third baseman  Ken Keltner, and flied out to center field.  Lemon played the last two innings of the game at third base.   He accepted two chances during those two innings as Bob Feller won his 23rd game of the season.  During reminder of the 1941 season, he appeared in four more games, all as a pinch hitter.  For the season, Lemon collected one hit in five at bats.  In the 1942 season, Lemon again played in five games, appearing in one game at third base and as a pinch hitter in four other games.  During the 1942 season, Lemon failed to get a hit in five at bats.  
Lemon then missed the next three season as he served in the Navy during World War II.
Upon his return for military service, Lemon was the Indians' Opening Day starting center fielder.  On April 16, 1946, the Indians defeated the White Sox 1 - 0.  Then on April 30, Lemon was again in centerfield, when Feller no-hit the Yankees.  Feller later wrote that Lemon's "daring catch" and "throwing to and doubling a man off second base" were key in "saving my" no-hitter.  For the 1946 season, Lemon played in 55 games, appearing in 12 games as an centerfielder and pitched in 32 games.   On July 29, in a second game of a doubleheader against the Senators, Lemon pitched 6.1 innings in relief in a 8 - 4 loss.  Leading off the bottom of the 7th inning against Early Wynn, Lemon hit his first major league homer run.
The 1948 season was Lemon first season as a full-time pitcher.  He lead the Indians in victories, with twenty wins, as the Indians won the American League pennant, then faced the Braves in the World Series.  The Indians won the Series four games to two games, as Lemon was the only pitcher who won two games during the series.  During the 1948 season, Lemon had 129 plate appearances, and batted .286 with five home runs and 21 RBI.  Lemon's hitting skills began to get attention as well.   By August 1949, Lemon who was batting .295 with 11 extra-base hits and six home runs, prompted Yankees manager Casey Stengel to say, "Well, I see where the Indians have nine hitters in the lineup instead of eight."  Lemon had a career high home run total during that 1949 season when he hit seven, and then had his career high RBI total of 26 came during 1950.
For his career, Lemon had 37 home runs and 147 RBI in 1326 plate appearances.  He finished his career with a .232 batting average (274 hits in 1183 official at bats) and a slugging percentage of .386 and an OPS of .674. 
Warren Spahn
Warren Spahn played 21-year seasons, all in the National League, as he finished his career with 363 victories, more than any left-handed pitcher in baseball history.  Spahn, as a twenty-year old rookie, begun his major league career in 1942 and he played 20 season with the Braves.  Spahn spent all but one year of his career with the Braves, first in Boston and then in Milwaukee, and he finished his career in 1965, when he pitched with the Mets and the Giants.  He appeared in 14 All-Star games, the most of any pitcher during the 20th century, and won the 1957 Cy Young award.  Eight times Spahn topped National League pitchers in victories, including the five season between 1957 through 1961.
Topps 1954 Warren Spahn Card # 20
On July 15, 1949, Spahn hit his first major league home run in the Braves 6 - 1 victory over the Cubs.  Spahn's second inning two-run home run, off Cubs starter Warren Hacker give the Braves a 3 - 1 lead, as he pitched a complete game seven hitter, gaining his tenth win of the year.
Spahn's best year as a hitter came during the 1958 season, as he hit two home runs with 15 RBI in 122 plate appearances.  He finished the year with a .333 batting average (36 hits in 108 official at bats) and a slugging percentage of .463 and an OPS of .844.   In 1958, the Braves were the defending World Series Champion, but loss the 1958 series to the Yankees, four games to three. 
Spahn hit a season high four home runs in 1955 and 1961.  He had a career high 18 RBI during 1951.  For his career, Spahn hit 35 home runs with 189 RBI in 2056 plate appearances.  He finished with a .194 batting average (363 hits in 1872 official at bats) and a slugging percentage of .287 and an OPS of .520.   Spahn's career hit total (363) matched his career victory total.
Don Drysdale
Don Drysdale played 14-year seasons, all with the Dodgers, first in Brooklyn and then in Los Angeles. He finished his career with 209 victories.  While pitching with the Dodgers in 1960s, he teamed with Sandy Koufax to form one of the most dominating pitching duos in history.  
Topps 1964 Don Drysdale Card #120
Drysdale was an eight-time National League All-Star and took home the Cy Young Award in 1962 when he won 25 games. In 1968, he pitched 58 straight scoreless innings, a record that would stand until 1988 when it was broken by another Dodger pitcher, Orel Hershiser.  During this stretch of scoreless innings, Drysdale pitched a record six consecutive shutouts.
Prior to the beginning of the 1966 season, Koufax and Drysdale, were seeking a three-year‚ $1.05 million contract to be divided evenly and they began a joint holdout.  In mid-March, they each threatened  retirement as the pitchers said, that instead of playing baseball, they would signed movie contracts.   However, as the beginning of the season approached, they ended their 32-day holdout on March 30.  Koufax signed for $130‚000 and Drysdale received $105‚000.   
Drysdale, as a nineteen-year old rookie, made his major league debut on April 17, 1956, the opening game of the season, as he pitched the 9th inning in the Brooklyn Dodgers 8 - 6 loss to the Phillies.  During his debut season, Drysdale hit his first major league homer run on September 9.  He was the starting pitcher in the game against the Giants and gave up a first inning home run to Giant's centerfielder Willie Mays.  Dodgers' leftfielder Carl Furillo three-run homer in the bottom 4th inning gave them a 3 - 1.  Drysdale lead of the bottom of the 5th inning with a home run to stretch the Dodgers lead to 4 - 1.  The Dodgers won the game 6 - 1 as Drysdale pitched a complete game three- hitter to even his record to 5 wins and 5 losses.  
Drysdale's best year as a hitter was during the 1965 season, when he hit seven home runs with 19 RBI in 138 plate appearances.  He finished the year with a .300 batting average (39 hits in 130 official at bats) and a slugging percentage of .508 and an OPS of .839.   In 1965, the Dodgers defeated the Twins in the World Series four games to three.  Drysdale pitched a complete game five-hitter in game four as the Dodger defeated the Twins 7 - 2.  The two runs that Drysdale gave up during the game were on solo home runs by Harmon Killebrew and Tony Oliva. 
Drysdale also hit seven home runs in 1958 which was his career high.  For his career, Drysdale hit 29 home runs with 113 RBI in 1309 plate appearances.  He finished with a .186 batting average (113 hits in 1169 official at bats) and a slugging percentage of .295 and an OPS of .523.  
The Silver Slugger Award
The Silver Slugger Award is the top offensive honor in Major League baseball.  Coaches and managers of Major League teams vote for the players in their league that they feel are the best offensive player at each position.  The National League selects a pitcher and a designated hitter is picked in the American League.  Selections are based on a combination of offensive statistics including batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage, as well as the coaches’ and managers’ impression of a player’s overall offensive value.  The award was first given after the 1980 season. 
1991 Upper Deck Silver Slugger Don Robinson Card #SS16
National League pitcher who have won the award multiple times include:
Mike Hampton five times
Tom Glavine four times
Rick Rhoden, Don Robinson, Bob Forsch, and Carlos Zambrano three times
Fernando Valenzuela two times
Madison Bumgarner won the Silver Slugger Award for his first time in 2014.
Mike Hampton
Mike Hampton, a left-handed pitcher who batted right-handed, played 16 seasons in the Major Leagues, beginning his career with the Mariners, as he made his debut on April 17, 1993, when he was just 20 years old.  Hampton also played with the Astros (two stints), Rockies, Braves, Mets, and ended his career in 2010, playing with the Diamondbacks. 
2002 Fleer Ultra Mike Hampton Card #69
Hampton was a five-time winner of the Silver Slugger Award.  In 2003, he became the first pitcher ever to win the Silver Slugger and the Gold Glove Awards during the same season. By winning the Gold Glove during that season, he snapped his then-Atlanta teammate Greg Maddux's streak of 13 consecutive Gold Gloves.  Hampton won his five Silver Slugger Award in consecutive seasons, beginning in the 1999 season through 2003.  He won the award while playing for the Astros (1999), Mets (2000), Rockies (2001 and 2002), and the Braves (2003). 
In December 2000, Hampton, who was coming of 22-4 (2.90) and 15-10 (3.14) seasons, became the highest paid pitcher in Major League baseball history when he signed a 8-year, $121 million contract with the Rockies.  On Opening Day of the 2001 season, pitching against the Cardinals, Hampton hurled 8.1 shutout innings in his first start at Coors Field as the Rookies opened their year with a 8 - 0 win. Then on May 9, pitching again at Coors Field, Hampton pitched a complete game shutout against the Mets, a 5 - 0 victory. 
By the 2001 All-Star break, Hampton was 9-5 with a 4.02 ERA.   However, Hampton struggled  to a 5-8 record in the second half of the season with a 7.46 ERA and finished the year with 14 wins and 13 losses and a 5.12 ERA.  Then in 2002, he didn't pitch any better then his 2001 second half performance as he finished the year with a 7-15 record and 6.15 ERA.  In November of 2002, he was traded twice, first on the 16th he was moved to the Marlins and then two days later he was sent to the Braves. 
Hampton's best year as a hitter was during his 2000 season with the Rockies, when he hit seven home runs with 19 RBI in only 86 plate appearances.  He finished the year with a .291 batting average (23 hits in 79 official at bats) and a slugging percentage of .582 and an OPS of .891.  He also scored 20 runs during the season.  On June 5, 2001, at Coors Field, Hampton hit two home runs, in the Rockies 9 - 4 victory over the Astros.     
In 2002, Hampton had his career high batting average of .344 (22 hits in 64 at bats) with three home runs and five RBI.  For his career, Hampton hit 16 home runs with 79 RBI in 845 plate appearances.  He finished his career with a .246 batting average (178 hits in 725 official at bats) and a slugging percentage of .356 and an OPS of .650.   
Madison Bumgarner
Madison Bumgarner, a 26-year old left-handed pitcher who has helped the Giants to three World Series Championships during this decade, who is now beginning to make a name with his bat.  Bumgarner is probably best known for his post season pitching performances where his record is ten wins against three losses, including a World Series record of four wins and no losses.  During World Series action, he has given up only 1 earned run in 36 innings pitched for a 0.25 ERA, a record for lowest career World Series ERA (minimum 20 innings of work).  
2015 Topps Heritage Madison Bumgarner Card #260
Bumgarner was the Giants first round pick in the 2007 free agent draft, the tenth overall pick.  Bumgarner was twenty years old when  made his Major League on September 8, 2009 as the starting pitcher in the Giants 4 - 3 loss to the Padres.  He pitched 5.1 innings and gave up two earned runs, and received no decision during the outing.
Bumgarner's first Major League home run came on June 12, 2012, in the Giants 6 - 3 victory over the Astros.  He homered leading off the top of the third inning, off of Astros starter, Bud Norris. His homer tied the game at one.  Bumgarner pitched 7.2 innings and earned his 8th victory of the season as the Giants were paced by Brandon Crawford and Melky Cabrera running scoring singles and a two-run homer by Brandon Belt.
In 2014, when Bumgarner won the National League Silver Slugger Award and tied the Major League record when as a pitcher, he two grand slams in one season.  He tied Atlanta Braves hurler Tony Cloninger's record, who on July 3, 1966, become the first National Leaguer to hit two grand slams in the same game, during the Braves 17 - 3 victory over the Giants.
During the 2014 season, Bumgarner hit 4 home runs with 15 RBI in 78 plate appearances.  He finished the year with a .258 batting average (17 hits in 66 official at bats) and a slugging percentage of .470 and an OPS of .755.  
So far this season, Bumgarner has matched his 2014 total by hitting four homers (as of August 20).  For the year, he has 14 hits in 55 at-bats with a .255 batting average.  Because injuries have depleted the Giants' bench, manager Bruce Bochy has used Bumgarner as a pinch hitter during the team's last two games.  Tuesday night, with two outs in the seventh inning, the Giants lead the Cardinals 1-0,  and Bumgarner was sent into the game to pinch-hit for starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong.  Bumgarner singled to left field (for his first career pinch hit) and would later come around to score an insurance run, in the Giants 2 - 0 victory.
Into the seventh year of his Major League career, Bumgarner has hit 10 career home runs with 38 RBI in 404 plate appearances.  He has a career .180 batting average (62 hits in 345 official at bats) with a slugging percentage of .293 and an OPS of .512.  


  1. Hey Mark, this is Nick from the "Dime Boxes" blog. I saw your comment on my blog and would love to set up a trade with you. You can email me at nickpecucci AT sbcglobal DOT net. Thanks!

  2. Ah man, you are in for a real treat now Mark!!! Nick do him good, his first trade pack from me was kinda a dud. Mark is a wealth of knowledge, glad you guys met.