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Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Three Strikes: Wright having a crazy season


The Useless Info Department is stretched thin this week. So we're cutting back on quantity for the sake of quality. But here they come, our latest barrage of favorite tidbits:

David Wright

Wright

Strike One: The Wright Stuff

As loyal reader Gary Tropiano pointed out, David Wright is having himself one bizarre year. On one hand, he's leading the league in hitting, at .364. On the other, he's on pace to strike out 161 times.

So you might be wondering, as Gary Tropiano was: Has anybody ever had a year like that? And the answer is … not even close.

No .360 hitter in history has even whiffed 100 times, let alone 161. And according to Lee Sinins' Complete Baseball Encyclopedia, only four players have ever even had an average that high and punched out 85 times. Here they are:

Player Year Strikeouts Average
Jimmie Foxx 1932 96 .364
Babe Ruth 1923 93 .393
Larry Walker 1997 90 .366
Norm Cash 1961 85 .361

And if you're wondering, the highest batting average in history by a man who struck out 161 times was .320, by Sammy Sosa in 2000. The only two other men to whiff that much and hit .300: Ryan Howard in 2006 (.313) and Bobby Bonds in 1970 (.302). So if Wright keeps up this pace, we'll have some massive history on our hands.

Strike Two: Just 17 And You Know What I Mean Dept.

It's always good to have a lot of winners on your team, but the Dodgers are taking that way too literally. They've already had 17 different pitchers win a game, and it isn't even Father's Day yet.

That stat inspired loyal reader Tim Osborn to ask: What's the record for most pitchers winning a game before the All-Star break? Excellent question.

The answer, according to Retrosheet founder Dave Smith, is 19, by the 2007 Yankees. And last year's Rangers had 18. Four other teams have had 18, three of them just since 2003. Luckily, the Dodgers have a month to manufacture a historic win for Travis Schlichting and some lucky member of the Albuquerque Isotopes. So let's hope they get moving on this.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of nuggets for the Dodgers to keep in mind: The record for an entire season is 23, by the 2002 Padres. And the Dodgers' record for a full season is only 18, set just last year. So if they don't break at least one of those records, we'll be greatly disappointed.

John Lackey

Lackey

Strike Three: Munchies Dept.

And finally, we present some of our other favorite random factoids:

• On Monday, the night John Lackey won his 93rd game, he also collected his first career hit. Which made us wonder: Which active pitcher has the most wins but is still 0-for-his career? And the answer is: Tom Gordon (138 wins, zero hits).

• On Saturday, Torii Hunter made himself the answer to the question: Who had the first three-homer game of 2009? But what was really notable was that it took all the way until June 13 for somebody to hit three in a game. That's the longest we've gone without a trifecta in any season since 1993, when it took until June 17 (Carlos Baerga). And the only other time in the past 28 seasons we had to wait that long was 1989, when Joe Carter finally got us off the three-trot schneid on June 24.

• On Sunday, Josh Beckett and Mark Buehrle became the first AL pitchers to homer on the same day since Aug. 28, 1971. But what made those homers particularly noteworthy was that, while both of those men made a trot that day, neither of them got a win. Last time two pitchers homered on the same day but neither won: June 11, 1999 (Dwight Gooden and Scott Karl). And the last time two AL pitchers did that: April 8, 1971 (Sonny Siebert and Andy Messersmith).

Rick Porcello

Porcello

• Speaking of AL pitchers at the dish, we were fascinated by Rick Porcello's two-hit game Friday for the Tigers. Porcello (20 years, 167 days old) was the youngest pitcher to crank out a multihit game, according to baseball-reference.com's sensational Play Index, since Steve Avery (20 years,149 days) went 3-for-4 against the Giants on Sept. 10, 1991, and the youngest AL pitcher since Terry Forster (19 years, 253 days) went 2-for-2 for the White Sox, against the Angels, on Sept. 24, 1971.

• If you haven't checked out the tremendous new box scores at ESPN.com, now packed with info you can't get anywhere else, you should do that now. And while you're at it, check out the most bizarre box score of 2009, Dontrelle Willis' staggering 3 2/3-6-6-6-8-1 line from Sunday. He's only the second pitcher in the past 50 years to give up that many hits and that many walks without making it through the fourth inning. The other: Jim Dorsey on July 7, 1985 (an identical 3 2/3-6-6-6-8-1).

• And, finally, here's one more Yankees claim to fame in their 15-0 wipeout of the Mets on Sunday: It was their biggest margin of victory ever against a National League team. The Yankees have won 130 World Series games in their history, but their largest margin of victory in any of them was 14 runs, in an 18-4 thumping of the Giants in Game 2 of the 1936 World Series. And they'd never won an interleague game by more than 13 runs. So whaddaya know? Another day, another entry in the history books for those Yankees.