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Monday, August 06, 2012

THT: Jaffe: 10 things I didn’t know about game-ending hits

57 minutes ago, I received this from Chris Jaffe.

It’s the most exciting way for a game to end. It’s the bottom of the ninth (or extra innings) when a bat connects on a pitch for a hit that drives home the game-winning and game-ending run.

A walk-off win.

Wanna know how much the culture of baseball fandom loves walk-off wins? Well, Almost all of baseball’s most famous games end on walk-offs. Think about. The Carlton Fisk game. The Kirk Gibson game. The Bill Mazeroski game. Last year’s World Series gave us the David Freese game. You can find some great games that aren’t walk-offs, but the enduring appeal of the walk-off winner is obvious.

7. Pitchers giving up game-ending hits

Since we’re looking at pitchers, let’s look at it from the other angle: who gave up the most game-ending hits? Whereas Frank Robinson leads hitters with 26 game-enders, 17 different pitchers can top that. It makes sense if you think about. Pitchers can be used exclusively in relief in close games, but hitters have to follow the batting order. Even a pinch hitter like Manny Mota won’t get as many chances as a relief pitcher.

At any rate, here are the leaders among pitchers:

Pitcher Hits
Rollie Fingers 44
Roy Face 40
Lind McDaniel 39
Rich Gossage 35
Gene Garber 35
John Franco 34
Mike Marshall 32
Kent Tekulve 32
R. Hernandez 32
Randy Myers 31

Repoz Posted: August 06, 2012 at 10:29 AM | 47 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Hack Wilson Posted: August 06, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4201426)
Almost all of baseball’s most famous games end on walk-offs. Think about. The Carlton Fisk game. The Kirk Gibson game.


Forget those games, I remember the Jack Littrell game. 11th inning second game of a doubleheader (yeah they scheduled doubleheaders back in the day), and it was getting dark at Wrigley (this was before lights were invented). What a great hit by an all-time great Cub.

Okay we just wanted to go home.
   2. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 06, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4201444)
When Marco Scutaro was with the A's, their announcers would always talk about his "knack" for game-ending hits.
I always wanted to know: was nine in four years (or whatever) a lot? Or just a happy coincidence? Or what?
I guess I still don't know.
However, I am reasonably certain that 4.15.07 will forever be the best thing I've ever witnessed in person on a ballfield.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: August 06, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4201446)
I always wanted to know: was nine in four years (or whatever) a lot?


Yes, quite a lot.

According to this article, Frank Robinson has the most all time with 26 in his career (over 21 years).
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 06, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4201452)

2. Career leaders: most game-ending hits

Here’s the main reason why it’s fun to look up all the game-ending hits: so you can find out who are the all-time leaders. Here they are:
Hitter Hits
Frank Robinson 26
Tony Perez 22
Dusty Baker 21
Andre Dawson 20
Robrto Clemente 20
Brooks Robinson 19
Lou Whitaker 19
Manny Mota 19
Rusty Staub 19


We need to make "Lou is among the leaders for walk-off hits" the "Jack Morris led the league in wins in the 80s."
   5. Downtown Bookie Posted: August 06, 2012 at 11:48 AM (#4201456)
FTA:

This list [Pitchers giving up game-ending hits] is mostly guys from the 1970s and 1980s. Back then pitchers completed more games, but then again, you only had a five-man bullpen. Also, the relief ace wasn’t used in exclusively save situations, but as a general fireman, which meant more times entering the game with the score tied.


An excellent point; but notice that the list Career leaders: most game-ending hits is also dominated by players who retired before 1990. Perhaps that's just a co-incidence; or, perhaps, using a single reliever exclusively in save situations really is an optimum (optimal?) strategy. Just out of curiousity, do you have the figures on how many walk-offs occurred each season, post 1948? It might be interesting to see exactly what percentage of total games each year end in this manner, especially to see if the numbers have trended downward over time.

DB
   6. PreservedFish Posted: August 06, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4201458)
I think there should be a special term for a walk-off hit that occurs when the home team is losing.
   7. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: August 06, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4201470)
I always wanted to know: was nine in four years (or whatever) a lot? Or just a happy coincidence? Or what?
I guess I still don't know.


He's got 10 now.

50 guys have exactly 10 career game-ending hits. Only four have fewer total career hits than Scutaro. (Damon Berryhill, Joe Crede, Rick Reichardt, Melky Cabrera).
   8. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: August 06, 2012 at 12:08 PM (#4201475)
An excellent point; but notice that the list Career leaders: most game-ending hits is also dominated by players who retired before 1990. Perhaps that's just a co-incidence; or, perhaps, using a single reliever exclusively in save situations really is an optimum (optimal?) strategy. Just out of curiousity, do you have the figures on how many walk-offs occurred each season, post 1948? It might be interesting to see exactly what percentage of total games each year end in this manner, especially to see if the numbers have trended downward over time.

Just glacning quickly, in 2010-11, there were 411 game-ending hits. That's 6.85 per team per season.

Overall from 1948-2011, there's about 6.4 game-ending hits per team, so I don't think there's anything to it.

Even if using more relivers does help depress things, homers increase because that's the best way to get a game-ending hit, and of course there are more homers now than in previous periods.
   9. bfan Posted: August 06, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4201481)
I think there should be a special term for a walk-off hit that occurs when the home team is losing.


How about a "Breamer".
   10. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 06, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4201485)
I think there should be a special term for a walk-off hit that occurs when the home team is losing.

Brazilian walk-off.
   11. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 06, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4201488)
D'oh. Didn't see bfan's post, and I like the Breamer.
   12. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 06, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4201490)
The Don Larsen game, the Armando Galaraga game, Kerry wood's 20 strikeout game, Reggie's 3 HR game.

Dumb claim, methinks.


   13. Nasty Nate Posted: August 06, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4201492)
The Don Larsen game, the Armando Galaraga game, Kerry wood's 20 strikeout game, Reggie's 3 HR game.


The other 3 are good counter-points, but the Galarraga game? That will be forgotten within the decade.
   14. Downtown Bookie Posted: August 06, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4201496)
Dag - Thanks for the info in Post # 8. Since your data seems to indicate that the number of walk-off games (as a percentage) has remained constanst over time, the question then remains unanswered why the list Career leaders: most game-ending hits is dominated by players pre-1990; especially when one factors in the increased number of opportunites (i.e., percentage constant while the total number of games played each year has incresed) since then. Indeed, if I'm reading the list correctly, only one of the top sixteen on the list played a single game in this century. But, again, perhaps that is just a co-incidence.

DB

EDITED for (hopefully) increased clarity
   15. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 06, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4201498)
Nate, it's got a book about it. ;)

I think Jaffe's mistake, a common one, was to confuse "moment" and game. any list of game-defining moments rightly or wrongly should contain Denkinger's blown call. Jack Clark's playoff HR against the dodgers wasn't game winning, but was memorable for Tommy Lasagna's internal debate and Vinny's edited lip-reading.
   16. kthejoker Posted: August 06, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4201499)
Dumb claim, methinks.


What dumb claim? The one where he says "You can find some great games that aren’t walk-offs" or the one where he says "almost" all of baseball’s most famous games end on walk-offs?
   17. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: August 06, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4201518)
I think Jaffe's mistake, a common one, was to confuse "moment" and game. any list of game-defining moments rightly or wrongly should contain Denkinger's blown call. Jack Clark's playoff HR against the dodgers wasn't game winning, but was memorable for Tommy Lasagna's internal debate and Vinny's edited lip-reading.

Actually, the claim came from something I did a few years ago on the greatest World Series games ever. I did a series of seven columns on the best games - the best Game Ones, the best Game Twos ... through to the best Game Sevens.

One theme in those articles - the best remembered games of all-time are disproprionately ones that end with walk-off wins. Oh sure, you can find an occassional other game on the list, but the easiest way to become regarded as a classic game is to have a classic ending. Or, to put it another way, who the hell ever heard of a game becoming a classic based on what happened in the fourth inning?

Greatest games either are walk-offs or some weird quirk. The quirk can be a great pitching performance (Don Larsen), or a spectacular comeback (10-8 game in the 1929 World Series), but walk-offs are the default.

   18. SoSH U at work Posted: August 06, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4201524)
The other 3 are good counter-points, but the Galarraga game? That will be forgotten within the decade.


No it won't. It will join Haddix's as more memorable than the other record book perfect games pitched, non-Larsen division.



   19. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 06, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4201543)
This was mentioned in the comments, but I imagine the reason the walkoff triple is so rare is that there typically wouldn't be any reason for the batter to try for third in that situation. If the runner's going to score from first, stop at second rather than risk getting thrown out before he gets home.
   20. Nasty Nate Posted: August 06, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4201547)
This was mentioned in the comments, but I imagine the reason the walkoff triple is so rare is that there typically wouldn't be any reason for the batter to try for third in that situation. If the runner's going to score from first, stop at second rather than risk getting thrown out before he gets home.


Rare as they are, I was surprised that they weren't more rare for the reasons you mention.
   21. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 06, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4201554)
I always wanted to know: was nine in four years (or whatever) a lot? Or just a happy coincidence? Or what?
I guess I still don't know.


He's got 10 now.

50 guys have exactly 10 career game-ending hits. Only four have fewer total career hits than Scutaro. (Damon Berryhill, Joe Crede, Rick Reichardt, Melky Cabrera).

Right; this is context. Five years after Scoot last wore an A's uniform.
Baseball broadcasters are good at a lot of things, but "context" is not generally one of them.
   22. phredbird Posted: August 06, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4201559)
The other 3 are good counter-points, but the Galarraga game? That will be forgotten within the decade.


No it won't. It will join Haddix's as more memorable than the other record book perfect games pitched, non-Larsen division.


i agree with this. it'll be remembered as one of those 'just missed' type of games, esp. since it should not have turned out the way it did.
   23. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: August 06, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4201579)
The other 3 are good counter-points, but the Galarraga game? That will be forgotten within the decade.
Seriously? It will be remembered along with Harvey Haddix's 11-inning loss long after nearly every other perfect game in baseball history has been forgotten in general fan memory (except Don Larsen's). It even has a memorable nickname: "The Imperfect Game."

EDIT: Cokes all around.
   24. Nasty Nate Posted: August 06, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4201588)
I think you guys are seriously overrating the fame of the Haddix game
   25. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: August 06, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4201600)
To find someone that tops Mota’s percentage of hits that ended games, you have to go way down to Damon Berryhill. A career .240 hitter, Berryhill was not a career pinch-hitter like Mota, yet he somehow hit 10 game-ending walk-off hits among his 488 career knocks. Go figure. Berryhill is the only person with over 300 career hits who had more than two percent of his hits end games.

This is fun. Next time I hear "there is no clutch" I'll think of clutch god Damon Berryhill. Berryhill, of course, drew the incredibly clutch walk off Stan Belinda that moved Justice and Bream into scoring position. And yes, assist to John McSherry, the strike zone got real tight there for a couple of minutes for no real reason.
   26. SoSH U at work Posted: August 06, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4201606)
I think you guys are seriously overrating the fame of the Haddix game


What single-game pitching performances, after Larsen's, are more famous?

Clemens and Wood's 20-K efforts, maybe? Nolan's fifth or seventh (though I don't remember the details of either)?
   27. Nasty Nate Posted: August 06, 2012 at 02:40 PM (#4201620)
What single-game pitching performances, after Larsen's, are more famous?


Johnny Vander Meer's second no-no, Podres game 7 in '55, Gibson in 64 or 67, Dock Ellis' LSD no-hitter, Morris' game 7 etc etc etc - and there are ton other more famous games that aren't famous for pitching performances.
   28. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 06, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4201624)
What single-game pitching performances, after Larsen's, are more famous?


Jack Morris says hi!

EDIT: Too slow I am. Coke for Nasty.
   29. SoSH U at work Posted: August 06, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4201630)
Johnny Vander Meer's second no-no, Podres game 7 in '55, Gibson in 64 or 67, Dock Ellis' LSD no-hitter, Morris' game 7 etc etc etc - and there are ton other more famous games that aren't famous for pitching performances.


I'll give you Morris. I don't think the rest are more famous than Harvey's.

But whether there are arguably 5 or 10 or 20 more memorable pitching performances isn't really the issue. Among perfect games (or near-perfect games), Haddix's game is the most memorable one outside Larsen's. I think Galarraga slots in just behind him.

   30. Jim P Posted: August 06, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4201636)
This was mentioned in the comments, but I imagine the reason the walkoff triple is so rare is that there typically wouldn't be any reason for the batter to try for third in that situation. If the runner's going to score from first, stop at second rather than risk getting thrown out before he gets home.

Only if there are two outs. If there are no outs or one out and the runner gets thrown out at home, the batter will now be at third.
   31. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: August 06, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4201649)
This was mentioned in the comments, but I imagine the reason the walkoff triple is so rare is that there typically wouldn't be any reason for the batter to try for third in that situation. If the runner's going to score from first, stop at second rather than risk getting thrown out before he gets home.


Kelly Leak's game-ending triple is the most memorable one.
   32. Steve Treder Posted: August 06, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4201653)
I think you guys are seriously overrating the fame of the Haddix game

Agreed. We dorks know all about it, but not the casual fan.

I discovered this following the Galarraga game, talking about it with a buddy of mine who's so into baseball that his son pitched in the minor leagues for a few years. This guy truly loves baseball, is a very knowledgeable fan of the modern game. He didn't have the faintest idea who Harvey Haddix was, and had never heard about the 12-inning perfect game.

   33. SoSH U at work Posted: August 06, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4201656)
Agreed. We dorks know all about it, but not the casual fan.


The same could be about virtually all of these memorable performances. This is all relative.

   34. Steve Treder Posted: August 06, 2012 at 03:19 PM (#4201659)
The same could be about virtually all of these memorable performances. This is all relative.

I don't think so. This friend of mine is familiar with the Don Larsen game, as well as lots of other no-hitters and big strikeout games and big World Series games. But the Haddix game just never makes it onto Sports Center or Baseball Tonight kind of discussion, and Harvey Haddix is pretty well unknown.
   35. SandyRiver Posted: August 06, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4201661)
I'm of an age to remember the Haddix game, plus I re-read "The Long Season" (about that same 1959 season) from time to time. In the book, Jim Brosnan reports (about 3rd hand) Haddix' post-game comment as, "It's just another loss, but it hurts a little more." Broz also noted that Burdette must've pitched a pretty good game, too - 13-inning shutout, a 12-hitter IIRC.
   36. SoSH U at work Posted: August 06, 2012 at 03:23 PM (#4201664)
I don't think so. This friend of mine is familiar with the Don Larsen game, as well as lots of other no-hitters and big strikeout games and big World Series games. But the Haddix game just never makes it onto Sports Center or Baseball Tonight kind of discussion, and Harvey Haddix is pretty well unknown.


Do you think, your friend's knowledge gap notwithstanding, that any of baseball's other real perfect games are more famous than Haddix's?

   37. JJ1986 Posted: August 06, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4201667)
Do you think, your friend's knowledge gap notwithstanding, that any of baseball's other real perfect games are more famous than Haddix's?


Buehrle's probably is at the moment, though that will pass.
   38. Perry Posted: August 06, 2012 at 03:50 PM (#4201688)
Do you think, your friend's knowledge gap notwithstanding, that any of baseball's other real perfect games are more famous than Haddix's?


Larsen's, without a doubt. Koufax's, thanks to the Scully call. Buehrle's? I'd say no.

I think there should be a special term for a walk-off hit that occurs when the home team is losing.


Can only be a Thomson.

   39. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: August 06, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4201727)
Pitching performances more famous than Haddix?

The best ones have been named: Larsen, Morris, & the 26-out game.

No way with Buehrle. Hell, I'm not even sure if I know what game you're referring to. The perfect game, not the no-hitter right? Either way, it's not even the most recent perfect game thrown by a White Sox.

Hell, if we're talking recent no-hitters, what about Roy Halladay's postseason game from a few years ago?

One thing to keep in mind is lasting fame versus transitory fame. Somethings are famous now and won't be that famous five years from now. It's a flavor of the month that has its 15 minutes or maybe 30-60 minutes. I'm more impressed by stuff that lasts.

For that reason, I'm partial to Haddix's game because even if it's memory is fading, it lasted an extremely long time. It's what? 54 years ago? What will we say of the non-perfect perfect game in 2060?

Other memorable pitching performances (which may not be all that well remembered now):
- 1912 Wood vs. Johnson showdown
- 1917 double no-hitter
- the Ernie Shore sorta perfect game in relief
- Bill Bevens near World Series no-hitter
- Lew Burdette's CG SHO in Games Five & Seven in the 1957 World Series
- Seaver's 19 K game with 10 consecutive Ks to end it
- Marichal versus Spahn for 16 innings
- Carl Hubbell's 18 inning SHO with just 6 hits allowed
- 1-1 (26) double complete game
- Clemens (1st) 20 K game
- Bob Feller fans 17 at age 17
   40. JJ1986 Posted: August 06, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4201736)
No way with Buehrle. Hell, I'm not even sure if I know what game you're referring to. The perfect game, not the no-hitter right? Either way, it's not even the most recent perfect game thrown by a White Sox.


It was the first in the ridiculous run of perfect games that we're having now and it featured an amazing catch. It certainly stands out more than any other perfect games from the past few decades.
   41. spycake Posted: August 06, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4201740)
why the list Career leaders: most game-ending hits is dominated by players pre-1990


Bullpens are bigger now, and relief innings are more spread out. And there haven't been as many full careers since 1990, although I guess the other factors dwarf that.
   42. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 06, 2012 at 08:02 PM (#4201919)
Do you think, your friend's knowledge gap notwithstanding, that any of baseball's other real perfect games are more famous than Haddix's?

I only remember the David Well's game because he wore the Ruth cap. Also, for those of us over 40, there was the Len Barker game, only because the media dubbed him Len "perfect game" Barker for awhile as it was the first since the Hunter game.
   43. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 06, 2012 at 08:13 PM (#4201927)

One thing to keep in mind is lasting fame versus transitory fame. Somethings are famous now and won't be that famous five years from now.


It surprises me that Mike Scott's division-clinching no-hitter isn't more famous.

In the Haddix/Galarraga category, Milt Pappas' is one of the more famous non-hitters, although that just may because I'm from Chicago.
   44. Dag is a salt water fish in fresh water world Posted: August 06, 2012 at 08:14 PM (#4201932)
Labor Day will be the 40th anniversary of the Pappas game.
   45. SoSH U at work Posted: August 06, 2012 at 08:25 PM (#4201939)
In the Haddix/Galarraga category, Milt Pappas' is one of the more famous non-hitters, although that just may because I'm from Chicago.


It also helps that Milt Pappas has spent the past 40 years ######## about that #&*$)#@^$* Bruce Froemming every chance he gets. He's done his best to keep that one from passing out of consciousness.


   46. Howie Menckel Posted: August 06, 2012 at 08:27 PM (#4201942)
"any list of game-defining moments rightly or wrongly should contain Denkinger's blown call."

I will fight this 'til my dying day.

Cardinals lead in series, 3-2 in 1985, GAME 6 and have a 1-run lead.
Jorge Orta leads off the 9th, and grounds out - but instead, Denkinger's blown call puts Orta ON FIRST BASE.

OMG! Talk about game-defining.
LOL
I'll accept your offer of "wrongly," though I suppose a case could be made for it as long as one laughs long and hard at how mentally soft those Cardinals were. That's the memorable part, not the call itself, which still left the Cardinals with a nice Win Series Probability Score anyway.

   47. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: August 06, 2012 at 09:34 PM (#4201986)
I was going to nominate Curt Schilling's bloody sock game but maybe it's not so memorable if it's taken this long to mention...

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