Friday, January 11, 2013

Dubious Major League Records

Since everybody loves lists--myself included--I decided to browse through some baseball records to determine which players have performed the most embarrassing feats on the diamond. My research yielded the following results:

Let's start with offensive stats.
The player caught stealing most in a single season was Rickey Henderson of the A's, who was nabbed 42 times in 1982. He had nothing to be ashamed of since he set the single season record for thefts that year with 130. Multiple players have been caught stealing 3 times in a game. Many players have been caught twice in an inning as well with Larry Walker of the Rockies and Derek Bell of Houston being the most recent. Bell turned the trick in 1995 while Walker matched him in 1998.

The individual record for leaving men on base in a game is 12, shared by four players: Glen Beckert of Chicago (1972), Todd Helton of the Rockies (1998), Trot Nixon of the Red Sox (2003) and David Ortiz (2009), also of the BoSox.

The record for grounding into double plays in a career is Cal Ripken, who initiated 350 twin killings during his illustrious big league run. The single-season record is held by Jim Rice of Boston, who grounded into 36 DP's in 1984. Rice would go on to lead the league in that category 4 times--also a record, tied with Ichiro Suzuki.

The career record for strikeouts is 2,597 by Reggie Jackson. (When he missed--He missed BIG!) Sandy Koufax holds the record for most whiffs in consecutive plate appearances. In 1955, the left-hander went down on strikes in 12 straight trips to the dish. In regard to whiffs in a season, that dishonor belongs to infielder Mark Reynolds, who struck out 223 times in 2009. Reynolds is compiling quite an impressive career in this respect. His name appears on the top ten single-season strikeout list four times. Adam Dunn is a close runner up with two appearances in the top ten and 222 K's in 2012.

Moving on to defensive feats:
Most records pertaining to errors were set during the game's early days before players wore proper gloves. Still, some of the totals are jaw-dropping.
The record for errors in a season by a first baseman was set in 1884 by Cap Anson, who muffed 58 plays that year. By no means was that the most horrific performance of all-time. Billy Shindle of the Brooklyn Bridegrooms set the mark for shortstops in a single season with 119 errors in 1890. Bill McClellan came close to matching that figure at second base in 1887, when he botched 105 chances for the Brooklyn Grays (an American Association club). Charlie "Piano Legs" Hickman waited until the turn of the century to commit 91 errors at the hot corner for the Giants in 1900. As far as outfielders are concerned, Ed Beecher set the bar pretty low when he flubbed 55 plays during the 1890 slate, which he spent with the Buffalo Bisons of the Players' League. The modern record for outfield errors belongs to Roy Johnson of the Tigers, who committed 31 E's in 1929.
Active error leaders include: Miguel Tejada (272), Rafael Furcal (250), Adrian Beltre (243) and Derek Jeter (241). It's interesting to note the Jeter and Beltre have 9 Gold Gloves between them.

(Primary Source:,

We'll talk about pitchers in my next post.

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