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Thursday, May 06, 2021

Is Bartolo Colon the worst batter ever to hit a home run?

Of players to log more than 300 career plate-appearances (a group that would not have included Bartolo if he didn’t join the Mets in his 40s), these are the players with the worst batting averages. Colon’s not far from the bottom (tied for 13th-worst). Even better: Of everyone in this group, he’s the only player with a home run to his name.

So, at least by this set of parameters, which is certainly not definitive, Bartolo Colon might just be the worst batter ever to hit a home run. The subject of this Rewinder episode might be the unlikeliest home run ... ever? Please offer alternatives answers here. I’m all ears.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 06, 2021 at 12:44 AM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bartolo colon

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: May 06, 2021 at 01:24 AM (#6017243)
Probably. Jon Lester might have been the worst hitter ever to become a decent hitter (by modern pitcher standards) -- he started his career 0-66 with 37 Ks and he ended up hitting 3 HR.

In a Diamond Mind sim season I once ran, Luis Castillo took prime Pedro deep twice which I figure has to be one of the least likely events in simulated baseball history. (I can feel how deeply you care.)

   2. Mike A Posted: May 06, 2021 at 02:36 AM (#6017245)
I always assumed it was Rick Camp, who was batting .060 for his career when he hit that shocking HR in the infamous July 4th Braves/Mets game.

But it looks like Colon just edges Camp with a -46 career OPS+ to a -39. But me thinks they're close enough one could make an argument. I'm still going to consider Camp's HR the most improbable in baseball history just because of the situation.
   3. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 06, 2021 at 04:12 AM (#6017248)
Bill Bergen hit 2 HR in his career.
   4. vortex of dissipation Posted: May 06, 2021 at 04:20 AM (#6017249)
Mitch Walding. 1 for 19 lifetime (.053) with 14 strikeouts. His home run was his only hit, and he hit it in the eighth inning of a 14-2 blowout off a catcher, Bryan Holaday.
   5. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: May 06, 2021 at 06:20 AM (#6017251)
Worst? Maybe. Most awesome? Definitely!

EDIT: No, you can't watch it too many times...
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: May 06, 2021 at 07:13 AM (#6017253)
Aaron Harang crushes him in rbat, -139, to -62. To be fair, I want it be Harang, since I was at the game where he hit his only career home run.

   7. jacjacatk Posted: May 06, 2021 at 07:25 AM (#6017255)
Joe Blanton had 266 career plate appearances and the only extra base hit he had was his HR in the 2008 WS. That HR was the 4th of of his 24 career hits. It also snapped a 34 year HR drought by pitchers in the WS.
   8. Arch Stanton Posted: May 06, 2021 at 08:23 AM (#6017260)
I have to pick Lee Smith. Career stats: 3 for 64, 42 strikeouts. In a start (!)...his final career start (!!)...he homered off of Phil Niekro (!!!). I was 10 at the time, and while I can't prove it, there's a distinct memory in my brain about a reporter asking Lee how he felt. He said it scared him, because if he could hit a home run, anyone could.
   9. Rally Posted: May 06, 2021 at 09:10 AM (#6017266)
Lee Smith was a huge dude though. He may have been an awful hitter, but it doesn’t surprise me that if he got super lucky and made solid contact the ball would get out.
   10. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: May 06, 2021 at 09:50 AM (#6017275)
I was 10 at the time, and while I can't prove it, there's a distinct memory in my brain about a reporter asking Lee how he felt. He said it scared him, because if he could hit a home run, anyone could.

That's a great quote. I hope it's real
   11. BDC Posted: May 06, 2021 at 10:20 AM (#6017279)
Hoyt Wilhelm came to mind as a famous example - but Wilhelm batted .088 lifetime, just off the chart in TFA. Sandy Koufax hit two career HR - off Denny Lemaster and Warren Spahn, pretty tough pitchers, and both came in the fifth inning of close games. Koufax was comparatively a slugger, hitting .097 for his career.
   12. PeteF3 Posted: May 06, 2021 at 10:31 AM (#6017281)
Randy Johnson was a career .125 hitter but I feel like he should be pretty high on the list anyway. It's hard to imagine that big gangly collection of long arms and legs making solid contact with anything.
   13. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: May 06, 2021 at 01:13 PM (#6017303)
   14. Space Force fan Posted: May 06, 2021 at 02:10 PM (#6017320)
I'll separate the worst hitter that hit a HR and the most unlikely HR. The obvious choice for most unlikely is Duane Kuiper. He had 1 HR in over 3600 PAs. All the other examples here are small sample size aberrations. A fun fact for me about Kuiper's HR was that in the same inning, Andre Thornton (my favorite player at the time) had an inside the park HR, the only one of his career (250 HRs).
   15. Traderdave Posted: May 06, 2021 at 02:44 PM (#6017331)
Kuiper's broadcast partner, RHP Mike Krukow, hit 5 homers in 819 PA.
   16. SandyRiver Posted: May 06, 2021 at 03:10 PM (#6017350)
In his day, Bob Buhl was regarded as one of the worst batters. His BA of .089 keeps him off the article's list, but in 953 PA (857 AB) he managed 74 singles and 2 doubles, for SLG of .091. Who, lively ball (2020) forward, has the most PA with zero HR? Or even 1900 forward?
   17. Harmon "Thread Killer" Microbrew Posted: May 06, 2021 at 03:50 PM (#6017374)
Not quite the same but I still love the factoid around Ozzie Smith's 1985 World Series Game 5-winning HR as his first after 2,967 left-handed major league at-bats.
   18. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: May 06, 2021 at 03:56 PM (#6017378)
I just assume the answer is Jeff Mathis.
   19. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 06, 2021 at 08:24 PM (#6017448)
In terms of unlikely HRs, Jason Tyner has to be up there. He never hit a HR in college, or in the minors before his initial MLB call-up with the Mets. He did subsequently hit two minor league HR before getting called back up and hitting his only MLB homer while with the Twins.
   20. Nasty Nate Posted: May 07, 2021 at 08:51 AM (#6017517)
Judging by the random videos of Colon smashing softball home runs that have come out this year, maybe there was a slugger in him all along waiting to come out.

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