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Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! (Updated)
2008-07-06 11:37
by Bob Timmermann

The Yankees and Red Sox combined for an AL record-tying seven HBPs today in the Yankees 2-1 win at home.

Manny Ramirez was hit three times, tying a record held by many, and Kevin Youkilis, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, and Jose Molina had the others.

The last AL game with 7 HBPs was back on June 7, 2001 when Oakland and Anaheim failed to get out of the way very well. The A's were hit five times and the Angels were hit twice.

On September 3, 1989, the Royals and Rangers combined for 7 HBPs in Arlington. The Royals got hit five times. The Royals were involved in another 7 HBP game on April 13, 1971 at home against the Twins. The Twins got hit four times and the Royals thrice.

The Washington Senators and Detroit Tigers played the first 7 HBP game in AL history back on August 24, 1914 in the second game of a doubleheader. The Tigers won the game 11-0. Tigers starter Hooks Dauss hit three Washington batters while pitching a shutout. Dauss would lead the AL with 18 HBPs.

But in the NL, teams knew how to get hit by pitches, especilally in the 19th Century. There have been two games in NL history with 8 HBPs. On May 9, 1896, Washington (5) and Pittsburgh (3) engaged in a game of dodge ball for the ages (1896 was the season when Baltimore's Hugh Jennings got hit a record 51 times in one season). The mark was matched in the first game of a doubleheader on July 31, 1897 between Louisville (6) and St. Louis (2).

Louisville's 6 HBPs in one game is tied for the major league record. Brooklyn of the AA got hit 6 times in a game against Baltimore on April 25, 1887. The Yankees got hit 6 times in a game by Washington on June 20, 1913 in the second game of a doubleheader.

UPDATE - I dug up the box score of the May 9, 1896 game with 8 HBPs. It's very hard to read, but it appears that Pittsburgh pitcher Pink Hawley hit five batters and Washingston starter Win Mercer hit three. The boxscore doesn't list who they hit, although the official statistics of the time only kept track of HBPs by batters and not by pitchers. Washington won the game 14-9 after scoring 11 times in the eighth inning.

In the 1897 game between Louisville and St. Louis, John Grimes (Grimey to his friends) hit a major league record six batters. Grimes pitched in just two games in the majors and hit 7 batters in total. Grimes also lived to be 94. So he probably got to watch Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale and say "Heck, I've done worse." St. Louis lost the game to Louisville by an 11-6 margin en route to a sterling 29-102 season. But the fans all stayed to the end of the game and were really friendly.

In the 1913 game when the Yankees were hit a record six times, three Washington pitchers combined for the target practice. Bert Gallia hit three Yankees, Joe Engel hit two, and Tom Hughes hit one.

The 1913 Yankees finished 57-94 and in seventh. The Senators finished in second at 90-64, helped in part by a guy named Walter Johnson, who was 36-7 with a 1.14 ERA. That's an ERA+ of 259, the sixth best mark of alltime. (Of the five better ones, two are by Greg Maddux and one is by Pedro Martinez. Dutch Leonard has another and the alltime mark is 294 by Tim Keefe in 1880.)


2008-07-05 21:35:18
1.   The Trolley Dodger
Do you happen to know if the same rule was ever in effect in the 19th century, about having to at least make an attempt to get out of the way?
2008-07-05 21:40:26
2.   Bob Timmermann
According to Peter Morris's book "Game of Inches" there was a rule in place in 1872 that called a batter out if he deliberately let a pitch hit him. But at the time, batters didn't get first on a hit batter. The pitch was live and they would lean into pitches in order to cause a wild pitch. It didn't work and two years later, a hit batter was just a dead ball.

The AA awarded a base in 1884 and the NL started in 1887.

Batters have long been accused of leaning into pitches it seems.

2008-07-05 22:01:23
3.   immouch
dumb question: when did throwing at hitters, in anger, become common? was it done more often in the early part of the last century than it is now, or are these high hbp games indicative of a different strategy?
2008-07-05 22:26:09
4.   Bob Timmermann
I think hitting batters out of anger became popular when pitchers started throwing balls at people standing by them with sticks.

I think today's game was just a case of pitchers working inside. There were no reports of people complaining about the HBPs that I could find.

From the NY Times:

"I know it happened seven times, but you could tell nobody really had any intent at all to do anything like that," Mussina said. "It's just the way the game was played today."

2008-07-06 01:03:16
5.   KG16
"Brooklyn of the AA..." obviously those HBPs don't count.

Also, it seems strange that Louisville once had a major league team. Then again, it seems strange that the town that gives baseball its most famous piece of equipment doesn't have a team.

2008-07-06 01:54:55
6.   xaphor
How is he? Clearly a LBW in there.

"It's just the way the game was played today."

For a lark pitchers from both sides got together prior to the game and injected novocaine in their pitching arms spicing up those usually dreary Sox Yankee affairs. The word on tomorrow is the rival twirlers will be taking the mound with a number of ferrets stuffed in their pants. Pundits are not predicting the wildness to decrease, but are expecting to see a dramatic decrease in game time. One insider explained, "well you wouldn't see me calling off many pitches with a rabid ferret nibbling on my bits."

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