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Monday, September 14, 2020

Dorktown: A Hall of Famer’s most outrageous accomplishment was with his bat

While Drysdale was a pretty good batter for a pitcher, posting a career OPS above .500 when the average pitcher’s was under .400, for a period of time in 1958 he was nothing short of a Greek god while at the plate.

On August 14th, he took Cubs reliever Marcelino Solis deep in his last at-bat of the game. His next game, he went 1-for-3 while homering off Braves starter Carl Willey. Then, in his next game, also against the Braves, each of Drysdale’s first two at-bats resulted in homers off Juan Pizarro.

For those scoring at home, that’s four dingers in a six-at-bat stretch … by a pitcher. Which is about as ludicrous as it gets, right? Indeed, pitchers historically homer in right around 0.5% of their at-bats, meaning the odds that the universe would ever enable a pitcher to homer at least four times in a given six-at-bat span are roughly 1-in-107.5 million.

But let’s not stop there, because it gets even more fun when you zoom out a bit. Eight at-bats prior to that homer off Solis, he victimized Alex Kellner with a long ball in Cincinnati. Six at-bats prior to that, and again against the Braves, Drysdale had homered off Joey Jay. And last but most certainly not least, four at-bats before that, on June 26th, he homered. Guess which team it was against?

So that’s three home runs in the 18 at-bats leading up to four in six. Add it all together, and that’s an absolutely whopping seven (7) home runs across a stretch of just twenty-four (24) at-bats … by a pitcher.

Likelihood? About 1-in-39.8 billion. With a B. Hell, for a pitcher, seven home runs in an entire season is incredible. In fact, only five other pure pitchers — Wes Ferrell, Bob Lemon, Don Newcombe, Earl Wilson, and Mike Hampton (and even Lemon wasn’t a pitcher for the first chunk of his career) — have ever done so.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 14, 2020 at 01:25 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: don drysdale, jon bois

 

 

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