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Thursday, November 01, 2012

Frankel: Intentional BB’s - did Fielder/Cabrera do something special?

No, but having a Warren Cromartie(!) mention is!.

Stories have already been written about how the combination of Fielder and Miguel Cabrera was going to and did form a formidable duo in the middle of the lineup.  This duo did produce as Cabrera batting 3rd, produced a Triple Crown season - .330, 44 HR, 139 RBI, while Cecil Fielder, batting 4th, produced a .313, 30, 108 line. 

What has not been talked about too much is the Intentional Walks that they were issued - Fielder, 18 and Cabrera, 17.  This gave them the #1 & #2 positions in the AL. 

This got me thinking as to how often this has occurred in MLB history.  Well, first of all, IBB’s have only been “officially” recorded since 1955 (based on what I see in B-R), so I had to limit myself to 1955 to date - no checking on Crawford/Cobb; Ruth/Gehrig, though these and other combos may well have been 1-2 in their leagues.

After going through all of the leader boards from 1955 to present, I found 4 other seasons in which the top 2 players in IBB’s were from the same team:

3.  1980 - Montreal Expos:  Warren Cromartie (24), Chris Speier (18)

...I was very surprised to see Cromartie as the leader in IBB’s.  I do remember the name and that was about it (they were all up North in that ugly place called Olympic Stadium).  He had a decent year, but nothing that would shout out IBB!  And look at the hitters behind him, both names that you have heard of.  Granted Parrish’s numbers are nothing special, but still.  I did a little more digging on Cromartie and saw that he hit .353 in June and .321 in July, surrounded by mostly sub .270 numbers.  What happened in June & July for Cromartie, I am not sure, but he received half of his 24 IBB’s in those 2 months,  He received 9 more in Sept/Oct when he had an OPS of .713.

Repoz Posted: November 01, 2012 at 07:32 AM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, sabermetrics

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   1. Moeball Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4290129)
Which again reminds me how odd it was that the guy who hit 61 in '61 (Roger Maris) didn't get intentionally walked all season long. Of course, it may have had something to do with the guy batting behind him (Mickey Mantle).
   2. Tippecanoe Posted: November 01, 2012 at 01:42 PM (#4290158)
Fielder also lead the league in number of times being called by his father's name.
   3. SoSH U at work Posted: November 01, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4290199)
In this particular category, I'm pretty sure they didn't do anything.
   4. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: November 01, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4290216)
I wonder how many extra calories Prince burned with those 18 walks.
   5. Bug Selig Posted: November 01, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4290261)
I wonder how many extra calories Prince burned with those 18 walks.


With any luck, enough to pass out before having to watch a Delmon Young AB.
   6. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: November 01, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4290354)
Fielder also lead the league in number of times being called by his father's name.

There is no way he beat out Tony Gwynn or Eric Young.
   7. BDC Posted: November 02, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4290868)
Cromartie's 1980 season seems odder the closer you look at it. He was IBB'd seven times in two weeks in July 1980, twice twice in a game. There was usually just a runner on second, close game obviously, but it wasn't to set up a DP; there were two outs as often as not. A variety of opposing managers called the IBBs. The batters behind him were Parrish or Carter in every case. The big factor seems to have been that Parrish had been terrible in May and then hurt for a month and just returning to the lineup, and that Carter had been terrible in June. A WAG would be that the enemy managers were playing a "cold hand," figuring Parrish and Carter as easy outs. But Parrish & Carter ended up going 3-for-7 in the ensuing ABs, so it wasn't working; yet Cromartie continued to draw IBBs, including a huge spate of them in September that I am too pressed for time to study right now. Weird.
   8. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: November 02, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4290875)
Fielder also lead the league in number of times being called by his father's name.

And Terry Francona took the year off.
   9. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 02, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4290915)
Fielder, 18 and Cabrera, 17. This gave them the #1 & #2 positions in the AL.


Barry Bonds had 16 seasons equal to or higher than Fielder's number.
   10. BDC Posted: November 02, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4290986)
OK, back to Cromartie. In September 1980 he was intentionally walked, at one point, another seven times in eleven days. There were two outs as often as not; all except one were man-on-second situations (one was 2nd & 3rd). Larry Parrish hit behind him all seven times. Parrish ended up going 4-for-7 in those AB, with a three-run homer in the last of them. Parrish wasn't even particularly cold at the time; he had had a very good August, and though he hit .196 in the first half of September, he was about even with Cromartie as a hitter that year, and Cromartie, as TFA notes, had cooled off somewhat at that point. So you have a strategy that makes little sense – except of course in terms of handedness, because Cromartie batted left and Parrish right, and the pitchers issuing the IBB tended to be RHP. The problems with that idea are that Parrish hit RHP almost as well as Cromartie did, and that the RHP who intentionally walked Cromartie included, that September, Bert Blyleven and Dick Ruthven and Bob Forsch, IOW people you'd imagine capable of facing a LHB once in a while. Add to that that the strategy had proved a failure in July and then proved an even worse failure in September, and somebody smarter than me or than 1980 managers is going to have to explain why it was a good idea :)

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