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JunkStats continues its quest to name each batting line after the most appropriate player. This week: the 1/4 with a homer line gets a name.
The 1/4 with a HR line is a great example of making the best of a bad situation. In many cases, these players only got one good pitch to hit in the game, but they got the maximum amount of benefit from that pitch.
Alright, so let’s look at the career leaders in this batting line (since the boxscore era started in 1919). Keep in mind that each stat must be exact: a 1/5 night with a HR won’t count. Without further ado, here’s the 15 players to have at least 100 such games in their careers:
|Rk||Player||# of 1/4 Games With A HR||Game List|
|1||Hank Aaron||127||Ind. Games|
|2||Reggie Jackson||121||Ind. Games|
|3||Dave Kingman||120||Ind. Games|
|Harmon Killebrew||120||Ind. Games|
|5||Rafael Palmeiro||118||Ind. Games|
|6||Willie Mays||114||Ind. Games|
|7||Jim Thome||113||Ind. Games|
|Mark McGwire||113||Ind. Games|
|9||Ernie Banks||112||Ind. Games|
|10||Ken Griffey||111||Ind. Games|
|11||Alex Rodriguez||106||Ind. Games|
|12||Sammy Sosa||105||Ind. Games|
|13||Mike Schmidt||104||Ind. Games|
|Eddie Murray||104||Ind. Games|
|15||Willie McCovey||101||Ind. Games|
That’s a pretty good list, and not too surprising given that you have to hit a lot of homers to make a list like this. Of course the Home Run King (yeah, I still call Hank Aaron that) comes out on top, though he’s obviously known for other things, so he’s not a good candidate for our batting line.
The name that jumps out to me on this list is Dave Kingman’s. He had a far shorter career than most of the guys on the list (only McGwire’s is close) and is also the only guy on the list who didn’t reach the 500-homer plateau (he topped out at 442). In fact, if you look at the percentage of homers hit in these 1/4 games, Kingman tops the list (minimum 50 games with a 1/4 line and a HR):
- Kingman, 27.1% (120 out of 442 total homers)
- Raul Mondesi, 26.9% (73 out of 271)
- Eric Karros, 26.4% (75 out of 284)
- Deron Johnson, 25.7% (63 out of 245)
- Gary Gaetti, 25.0% (90 out of 360)
The next five guys, if you’re curious: Kent Hrbek, Don Baylor, Mickey Tettleton, Brooks Robinson, and Mike Cameron. Notice the dropoff from the mostly Hall-of-Fame caliber list above and this list, which is decidedly “good but flawed.” Robinson is the only great player in the top 10 of the percentage list, and it was his glove, not his bat, that made him great. And Dave Kingman is the best and most flawed of all.
I think we have our batting line name, but just for fun, let’s see who has the single-season record:
|Rk||Player||Year||# of 1/4 Games with a HR||Game List|
|1||Alfonso Soriano||2006||16||Ind. Games|
|Mark Reynolds||2009||16||Ind. Games|
|3||Dave Kingman||1982||15||Ind. Games|
|Orlando Cepeda||1961||15||Ind. Games|
|5||Willie McCovey||1963||14||Ind. Games|
|Harmon Killebrew||1964||14||Ind. Games|
|Reggie Jackson||1968||14||Ind. Games|
|Tom Brunansky||1984||14||Ind. Games|
|Ernie Banks||1960||14||Ind. Games|
It’s not Kingman, but it’s close; until 2006, he was tied for the record. In many ways, co-leader Mark Reynolds really reminds me of Kingman: no defensive value, swings for the fences all the time, lots of walks and strikeouts. Soriano is different (more of a true free-swinger), but not a huge surprise to be on this list given his high homer totals and relatively low batting averages.
Kingman is also tied with Mark McGwire for the most seasons with at least 10 1/4 games with a HR. Both had 5 such years, Kingman in ’76, ’79, ’82, ’85, and ’86 and McGwire from ’95 through ’99. Mickey Mantle and Sammy Sosa had 4 such seasons each.
Oh, and this year? The leader isn’t Soriano (who has 9) or Reynolds (8) but rather Dan Uggla. Here’s the top 5:
- Uggla, 11
- (tie) Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, and Carlos Santana, 10 each
As proficient as those players are at hitting lots of homers despite a lowish batting average, they’re no match for Dave Kingman.
Thus, from here on out, the “1 for 4 with a home run” batting line shall be known as “The Kingman.” Congrats, Dave.
Tagged with: Alfonso Soriano Carlos Santana Curtis Granderson Dan Uggla Dave Kingman Deron Johnson Eric Karros Gary Gaetti Hank Aaron Harmon Killebrew home runs Jay Bruce Mark McGwire Mark Reynolds Mark Teixeira Mickey Mantle Name The Batting Line Raul Mondesi Reggie Jackson Sammy Sosa
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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