Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

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) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: don drysdale, jon bois

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Rally Posted: September 14, 2020 at 02:31 PM (#5976356)
Did not know he hit 7 within 24 AB. He didn't hit any others that year in an additional 42 AB.
   2. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: September 14, 2020 at 02:36 PM (#5976359)
I love the Frank Thomas/Nugenix joke.
   3. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 14, 2020 at 02:55 PM (#5976364)
It wasn't the only season that Drysdale hit seven home runs. In 1965, the Dodgers hit 78 home runs - Drysdale hit seven of them. The Dodgers' bench (i.e. position players who weren't one of the eight regular starters) combined for exactly eight home runs, so Drysdale almost matched their total. He was also the only Dodger with over 100 AB to hit .300.
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: September 14, 2020 at 04:00 PM (#5976374)
yes, 1965 Dodgers HR leaders

2B Jim Lefebvre 12
LF Lou Johnson 12
CF Willie Davis 10
RF Ron Fairly 9
C John Roseboro 8
1B Wes Parker 8
SP Don Drysdale 7
all others 12

ABs of the top 7:
544, 468, 558, 555, 437, 542... and 130

Drysdale's 140 OPS+ crushed team leader Jim Gilliam's 121 (the team's OPS+ was 89). he hit .388 at home with 2 HR; .247 on the road with 5 HR.

oh, he also went 23-12 with a 118 ERA+ in 308 IP on the mound.

always fun to see the staffs of that era. 9 pitchers threw all but 34 of the team's IP - and the latter all went to 22-and-under kids Bill Singer, Mike Kekich, and John Purdin.

Koufax, Drysdale, and Osteen started 123 games and Johnny Podres got 22 of the rest.


   5. Itchy Row Posted: September 14, 2020 at 05:38 PM (#5976391)
And that was for a team that won the World Series.
   6. Jay Z Posted: September 14, 2020 at 10:54 PM (#5976433)
HOFer Juan Marichal was quite outrageous with his bat in 1965 too.
   7. Hank Gillette Posted: September 14, 2020 at 11:13 PM (#5976439)
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.


It seems wrong to calculate the odds of such a feat by using the statistics of an average pitcher.

Would you calculate the odds of Babe Ruth hitting 54 home runs in 1920 by using the statistics of an average 1920 player?

Could Drysdale have been a ML position player if he had started as one in the minors? It seems like the potential was there.
   8. Jay Z Posted: September 15, 2020 at 01:53 AM (#5976451)
Bob Gibson would have been a better bet than Drysdale. Hit for a better average and had speed (13 SB). Power too, just not quite as much as Drysdale.

Drysdale was 6'5". Probably only going to play 1B. Gibson could have played OF, potentially elsewhere.
   9. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 15, 2020 at 02:51 AM (#5976452)
Drysdale was 6'5". Probably only going to play 1B.


Drysdale's left fielder for much of his career (Frank Howard) was 6'7".
   10. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: September 15, 2020 at 03:07 AM (#5976453)

Would you calculate the odds of Babe Ruth hitting 54 home runs in 1920 by using the statistics of an average 1920 player?


If you're trying to communicate how much better a home run hitter he was than the average hitter of 1920, yes.
   11. TomH Posted: September 15, 2020 at 06:54 AM (#5976454)
Yes, but not if you really were trying to tell us the actual odds of it happening. If the author was merely trying to make a point that Drysdale was a great power hitter for pitcher, sure.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Adam S
for his generous support.

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogWild Card Round Day Two OMNICHATTER (9/30/20)
(224 - 12:56pm, Oct 01)
Last: JJ1986

NewsblogOT - NBA Bubble Thread
(3284 - 12:46pm, Oct 01)
Last: jmurph

NewsblogMLB allowing limited number of fans for NLCS, World Series in Arlington, Texas
(10 - 12:46pm, Oct 01)
Last: Ziggy: social distancing since 1980

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-1-2020
(5 - 12:43pm, Oct 01)
Last: Crispix Attacksel Rios

NewsblogOT - Soccer Thread - Brave New World
(269 - 12:39pm, Oct 01)
Last: jmurph

NewsblogAnaheim City Council approves $150-million cash stadium sale to Angels owner
(14 - 12:35pm, Oct 01)
Last: Ziggy: social distancing since 1980

NewsblogEmpty Stadium Sports Will Be Really Weird
(9806 - 12:25pm, Oct 01)
Last: Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB)

Gonfalon CubsCubs Postseason Thoughts
(4 - 11:39am, Oct 01)
Last: Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield

NewsblogYouTube TV is losing Fox regional sports networks
(19 - 11:34am, Oct 01)
Last: jmurph

NewsblogAs Marlins prepare for postseason, is the franchise turning a corner under Derek Jeter?
(11 - 11:10am, Oct 01)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

NewsblogDORKTOWN: The Secret to Not Allowing Homers to Babe Ruth was Being Bad, Apparently
(7 - 10:52am, Oct 01)
Last: Nasty Nate

NewsblogCarlos Correa addresses Astros haters after sweeping Twins: 'What are they going to say now?'
(12 - 10:03am, Oct 01)
Last: The Duke

NewsblogMinnesota Twins eliminated by Houston Astros as postseason losing streak hits 18 games
(3 - 9:25am, Oct 01)
Last: bunyon

NewsblogBill James: A Galaxy of Royal Stars
(23 - 9:23am, Oct 01)
Last: RoyalsRetro (AG#1F)

NewsblogRemoving Fans Didn’t Remove MLB’s Home-Field Advantage
(7 - 8:46am, Oct 01)
Last: Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network)

Page rendered in 0.3008 seconds
48 querie(s) executed