Tag Archives: Barry Bonds

The Intentional Walk ….. And “Walk’r” the Chicken!

  “We weren’t trying to walk him; he just wouldn’t swing at any bad pitches.”  -Bobby Cox, on the Braves walking Barry Bonds 7 times in a series

There’s nothing that irks me quite as much as the intentional walk.  I’ve always wondered how the pitchers feel about it.   If  the batter’s a real crackerjack, would they be glad they don’t have to pitch to him or would they welcome the challenge?   If the pitcher is a really good pitcher, and has a lot of confidence in knowing he’s a really good pitcher, wouldn’t you think he’d welcome the chance to get a strikeout, knowing he had the competitive edge?  You know the saying, “Good pitching beats good hitting anytime”.    Personally, if I were a pitcher I think I’d be a little insulted if the manager gave me the signal to walk a batter. I’d think he probably didn’t have enough confidence in me to be able to get the guy out.  But that’s just me.  On February 4, 1956, the  American League announced it would begin testing the automatic intentional walk during spring training.    I don’t know when the National League jumped on the bandwagon, but at some point they definitely did.   Before that time, I guess the pitcher always pitched the ball and the batter swung,  or not, depending on the pitch.  Geez, what a novel idea huh?   I think here in San Francisco we’ve had a belly-full of the stuff and that’s why I’m a little antagonistic on the subject.  Back in 2004, ESPN reported the Giants concessions would start  selling “rubber chickens” , appropriately named Walk’r, to protest the number of walks at AT&T Park.  The chicken was an instant success and the chickens, if necessary, are still evident in the park today.  To illustrate how bad it had become, you might be surprised to know that Barry Bonds today still holds the career record for most “Intentional Bases on Balls” (since 1955)  with a startling 645 intentional walks.   George Brett  is second with 229.   It’s highly unlikely Bonds’ record will be broken anytime soon.   Here’s some statistics on Intentional Bases on Balls Records, provided by Baseball Almanac:  

 
Intentional Bases On Balls Records
Records Only Kept Officially Since 1955
Single Season Records
Record Lg Name(s) Team(s) Data
Most
In A Season
(Top 100)
AL John Olerud Toronto 33 1993
Ted Williams Boston 1957
NL Barry Bonds San Francisco 120 2004
Most
In A Season
By A Lefthander
AL John Olerud Toronto 33 1993
Ted Williams Boston 1956
NL Barry Bonds San Francisco 120 2004
Most
In A Season
By A Righthander
AL Frank Howard Washington 29 1970
Frank Thomas Chicago 1995
NL Albert Pujols St. Louis 44 2009
Most
In A Season
By A Rookie
AL Alvin Davis Seattle 16 1984
NL Willie Montanez Philadelphia 14 1971
Most
In A Season
By A Switch-Hitter
AL Eddie Murray Baltimore 25 1984
NL Tim Raines Montreal 26 1987
Most At Bats
In A Season
No Intentional Walks
AL Kirby Puckett Minnesota 691 1985
NL Jose Reyes New York 696 2005
 
According to Baseball Almanac, the one event in baseball that signifies true respect is the intentional walk with bases loaded.  The implication, I guess, is that the pitcher is showing respect to the batter by walking him instead of pitching to him, out of  fear he might hit the ball.   Personally, I’d  like to see the pitcher, pitch to the batter and strike the socks off  him, or not.  Now that, my friends, would command some real respect, don’t you think?
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Top Baseball Players of Past 59 Years!

“2010 Baseball Players Mathematical Study, written by Don Davis, Department of Mathematics, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA., and printed here with his permission.”

(GFBB Note:  I found this  information fascinating and posted the 2009 study last August.  This is the 2010 updated version with a few variations.  You can view the entire study here:  http://www.lehigh.edu/~dmd1/baseball.html    It explains the  criteria used and the history behind the study as well as a wealth of other information related to it.  You can contact Dr. Davis directly for more information regarding the list@ dmd1@lehigh.edu )

Pos’n First team Second team Third team Fourth team Fifth team
P,1 Roger Clemens, 266.0 Tom Seaver, 181.1 Bob Gibson, 140.4 Juan Marichal, 107.9 Phil Niekro, 84.9
P,2 Randy Johnson, 202.1 Warren Spahn, 167.5 Sandy Koufax, 137.8 Gaylord Perry, 102.8 Johan Santana, 84.6
P,3 Greg Maddux, 197.5 Bob Feller, 157.6 Robin Roberts, 136.5 Fergie Jenkins, 87.2 Roy Halladay, 84.1
P,4 Pedro Martinez, 187.5 Steve Carlton, 143.5 Jim Palmer, 133.2 Curt Schilling, 85.1 Nolan Ryan, 83.7
C Johnny Bench, 112.9 Yogi Berra, 94.9 Gary Carter, 77.3 Mike Piazza, 76.6 Ivan Rodriguez, 72.7
1B Albert Pujols, 158.9 Jeff Bagwell, 99.9 Eddie Murray, 91.6 Willie McCovey, 88.4 Harmon Killebrew, 80.8
2B Joe Morgan, 140.6 Rod Carew, 100.5 Ryne Sandberg, 94.8 Jackie Robinson, 93.8 Roberto Alomar, 81.1
3B Mike Schmidt, 184.1 George Brett, 120.9 Eddie Mathews, 112.2 Wade Boggs, 110.5 Brooks Robinson, 105.1
SS Alex Rodriguez, 151.9 Cal Ripken, 121.6 Ernie Banks, 97.6 Robin Yount, 88.2 Derek Jeter, 83.4
OF,1 Barry Bonds, 270.7 Stan Musial, 208.6 Frank Robinson, 141.2 Al Kaline, 119.2 Reggie Jackson, 111.5
OF,2 Willie Mays, 243.2 Mickey Mantle, 208.3 Rickey Henderson, 138.4 Ken Griffey, 117.1 Pete Rose, 99.4
OF,3 Ted Williams, 219.8 Hank Aaron, 201.3 Carl Yazstremski, 131.8 Roberto Clemente, 112.1 Tony Gwynn, 97.1
DH Frank Thomas, 101.0 Paul Molitor, 58.8 Edgar Martinez, 53.4

 

Best Players in Past 58 Years ……. A Mathematical Study!

I came upon an interesting study a few months ago.  It was written by Don Davis, Mathematics Professor at Lehigh University, Bethleham, PA.   There’s a lot of criteria used in determining different aspects of this study, but for the most part the players names are all recognizable and only a few to make the list are surprises.   The following table lists the top five All Star Teams, using 4 pitchers per team.    It also lists the overall rating percentage by player.   Take a look:

Pos’n First team Second team Third team Fourth team Fifth team
P1 Roger Clemens, 266.2 Tom Seaver, 166.9 Bob Gibson, 129.2 Jim Palmer, 106.4 Johan Santana, 85.4
P2 Greg Maddux, 203.9 Warren Spahn, 160.5 Robin Roberts, 128.3 Gaylord Perry, 96.1 Tom Glavine, 84.8
P3 Randy Johnson, 202.4 Bob Feller, 143.7 Sandy Koufax, 126.0 Phil Niekro, 96.1 Curt Schilling, 80.7
P4 Pedro Martinez, 185.7 Steve Carlton, 140.7 Juan Marichal, 109.5 Fergie Jenkins, 91.7 Bob Lemon, 79.9
C Johnny Bench, 115.5 Yogi Berra, 97.2 Mike Piazza, 82.2 Ivan Rodriguez, 77.7 Gary Carter, 75.5
1B Albert Pujols, 145.4 Jeff Bagwell, 103.2 Eddie Murray, 95.2 Willie McCovey, 92.1 Harmon Killebrew, 86.4
2B Joe Morgan, 140.3 Rod Carew, 94.5 Ryne Sandberg, 92.4 Jackie Robinson, 82.4 Roberto Alomar, 81.1
3B Mike Schmidt, 173.2 George Brett, 119.2 Eddie Mathews, 111.7 Wade Boggs, 108.0 Brooks Robinson, 88.4
SS Alex Rodriguez, 145.4 Cal Ripken, 113.6 Robin Yount, 93.0 Ernie Banks, 90.7 Derek Jeter, 81.6
OF1 Barry Bonds, 270.7 Stan Musial, 205.2 Frank Robinson, 145.3 Ken Griffey, 114.2 Tony Gwynn, 100.3
OF2 Willie Mays, 226.8 Mickey Mantle, 198.3 Rickey Henderson, 141.5 Al Kaline, 110.1 Pete Rose, 99.7
OF3 Ted Williams, 213.4 Hank Aaron, 195.6 Carl Yazstremski, 127.5 Reggie Jackson, 108.9 Roberto Clemente, 99.3
DH Frank Thomas, 115.0 Edgar Martinez, 64.4 Paul Molitor, 62.4 David Ortiz, 43.4  

Are you kidding me?  Can you even begin to imagine a game with all of these guys on the same team?  What was particularly interesting to me is  that mathematically Roger Clemens is the highest rated pitcher and Barry Bonds is the highest rated batter.   These  ratings are through the 2009 season,  and personalities and private lives are not taken into account.   This is just  using good old fashioned baseball statistics.  

I found the study intriguing and spent a lot of time viewing the criteria used in coming up with the lists.  Rather than go into all the particulars here, you can view the study yourself @ Lehigh University   http://www.lehigh.edu/~dmd1/baseball.html  

 This information is being used with the permission of Professor Davis.