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While reviewing the boxscore for this memorable game
The Braves’ 15 singles took 19 innings, but it still wasn’t even the highest total this year. On April 3rd
Here are the games in the boxscore era (since 1919) in which a team has gotten at least 18 hits, all of them singles:
First off, it’s kind of amazing that nearly half these teams (6 of 13) lost. I know they’re all singles, but you’d think 18+ hits would be enough to win. But I guess when you’re only scoring 3 runs*, you’re going to lose a fair amount of the time. None of the losing teams scored more than 6 runs while none of the winning teams scored fewer than 6 runs. When you’re only getting singles, so much depends on the sequencing of the hits–do you get a 5-6 in one inning, or is it spread out to just 1 or 2 each inning?
* The two 3-run games both came in very extra innings: the ’29 Indians got their 20 hits in 17 innings and the ’73 Dodgers got 19 hits in 19 innings. So that explains the low run totals. Two of the other losses took 12 and 16 innings, though the other 3 were standard 9-inning games.
Another oddity I’d like to draw your attention to is that certain teams keep popping up over and over on the list. The Dodgers appear 5 times (counting once in Brooklyn), the Indians appear 3 times, and the Yankees and (Philadelphia) A’s appear twice each. That’s 12 of the 13 occurrences (the Tigers were the other) from just 4 teams! So 25 of the 30 MLB teams have never done it, but 4 teams have done it multiple times. It’s also not like this was the same group of players repeating the feat, either; all of the same-team games are separated by at least 4 years.
Weirdly, the Red Sox were the opponents in 5 of the games, and all of them were played at Fenway Park. And of course the Red Sox haven’t done it, either at home or away. Another quirk is that all 4 of the L.A. Dodgers’ games were played in L.A.; Dodgers Stadium does have something of a reputation for reducing extra-base hits, but Fenway is just the opposite. With the Green Monster providing cheap doubles and the short right-field line providing cheap homers, I’m shocked that Fenway has had so many single-happy games.
Finally, let’s review the remarkable game
Both Steve Sax and Mickey Hatcher (the first 2 hitters in the Dodgers’ order) went 5/6. That makes them the only pair of teammates since 1933 to have 5+ singles in the same game, and only the 3rd total (in the boxscore era). Pedro Guerrero and Mike Marhall also had 3 singles each, so that’s 16 of the 22 singles just from those 4 guys.
Here’s how the Dodgers’ singles broke down by inning:
- 1st inning: 5 singles (plus a HBP and a WP) lead to 4 runs
- 2nd inning: 3 singles (plus 2 walks) lead to 2 runs; 8 singles total
- 3rd inning: 2 singles, but a double-play ends the inning with no runs; 10 singles total
- 4th inning: 6 singles, including 4 straight to start the inning (plus an error and a sac fly), lead to 5 runs; 16 singles total
- 5th inning: 0 singles, Dodgers retired 1-2-3; 16 singles total
- 6th inning: 2 singles (and a walk) result in 2 more runs; 18 singles total
- 7th inning: 2 singles but no runs; 20 singles total
- 8th inning: 2 singles but again no runs; 22 singles total
So the Dodgers had multiple singles in every inning but the 5th. That must have been maddening to watch as a fan of the opposing team (the Reds).
The great thing about that game, though, is that you can always say, “Hey, it could’ve been worse! Some of those hits could have been for extra bases!”
Tagged with: A's Dodgers Dodgers Stadium Fenway Park good bad games Indians Mickey Hatcher Mike Marshall (hitter) Pedro Guerrero rare feats singles Steve Sax Yankees
This blog is devoted to the invention and use of unusual baseball statistics. These Junk Stats are designed to reveal the not-so-meaningful quirks that make baseball so fascinating.
JunkStats is written by Jacob Peterson, who also writes for the Braves blog Talking ChopBeyond the Boxscore
For more about the site or the author, read the About page
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