Gut-check time: Is this number high, low, or normal?

Paul Konerko‘s 400th HR was a game-tying shot in the 9th inning on the first pitch from Grant Balfour.

It’s the 12th time a Konerko HR in the 9th inning or later has won or tied the game or put his team in front. That’s 3.0% of his career HRs.

What’s your gut feeling on how Konerko’s rate compares to those of contemporary sluggers? The answer is below the jump.

For all players with 300+ who were active in 2011, here is the percentage of their career HRs that came in the 9th inning or later and were winning, tying or go-ahead (“W/T/G”):

[table id=43 /]

 

Notes:

Believe it or not:  Mark Teixeira has never hit a game-ending HR, and Lance Berkman has just one. Teix has just 4 game-ending RBI in his career; since he joined the Yanks in 2009, they’ve had 23 game-ending RBI, just one by Teixeira.

During his Cardinals career, Albert Pujols hit 10 of the team’s 29 game-winning HRs, including 7 of their 15 in extra innings. Pujols and David Ortiz share the MLB lead with 10 game-winning HRs since 2001.

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21 Comments on "Gut-check time: Is this number high, low, or normal?"

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Doug
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Once or twice a year, based on 30+ HR seasons. That seems about right.

Mike L
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John A. Are we looking to start the “clutch” discussion again?

Doug
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None of these were walk-off shots but, on two occasions in 2001, Barry Bonds hit a tying or go-ahead HR in the 7th inning or later in consecutive games.

Apr 17-18 against the Dodgers.
– Bonds HR was the winning tally in two one-run games.

May 18-19 against the Braves.
– In first game, after Giants went ahead on Bonds HR, Braves pulled it out on a 9th inning rally culminating in a walk-off wild pitch.
– In second game, Bonds HR pulled the Giants even, before adding additional runs in a 6-3 win.

Doug
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Hank Blalock also had late game-tying or go-ahead HR in consecutive games in 2008.

Sep 22 – game-tying shot in bottom of 9th, but Texas lost in 11
Sep 23 – go-ahead 2-run HR in 7th, providing winning margin

bstar
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On a lark, I was looking at Bo Diaz’ career with the Phillies, as I remember Pete Rose hilariously touting him for MVP of the NL in ’83 for his clutch hitting, and here’s the main reason why, a down-by-3 grand slam in the bottom of the ninth against the Mets: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PHI/PHI198304130.shtml This gave Diaz a .910 WPA for that feat. I assume a grand slam down by three in the bottom of the ninth has to be the most powerful WPA event a batter can accomplish, no? My question is, since it was already a 9-6 game before Diaz’… Read more »
Doug
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Here’s the same play by Travis Hafner from last year, with a lower score (4-1) and a lower WPA (0.8). Difference, presumably is there was only one out instead of two for the Diaz game.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CLE/CLE201107070.shtml

bstar
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Yes, I neglected the 2-out situation for Diaz. Brooks Conrad hit a similar 1-out grand slam in 2010 for the Braves against the Reds, for a 0.805 WPA. Hafner’s, taken from his HR log, was 0.804. Here’s the Conrad game, in which the Braves were down 9-6:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ATL/ATL201005200.shtml

kds
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I’m pretty sure that run environment for this purpose is the league average adjusted by the park factor. The score of the individual games would not matter. Astrodome 1968 vs Coors 1999 would make a big difference.

Timmy Pea
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This isn’t a rundown Konerko post is it?

Neil L.
Guest

JA, it doesn’t speak to the main point of your post, but I’m very interested in the mechanics of how you created your list from the Play Index.

bstar
Guest

Neil, a way more brutish way to do it was my method when I checked Ryan Howard’s #’s(he came out about average, 3.8%). I just used the HR log on each player page and eye-scanned them. It doesn’t take as long as you think, and it gives the inning, the score at the time, etc. It also gives the WPA for every particular homer.

James Smyth
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Surprised that Tex has never had one…but there was this in the postseason: http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=7035851&c_id=mlb

Paul E
Guest

In the words of “Tex”,”there are hits-and then there are big hits”. Spoken on the rare occasion of a post-season game winning hit struck off his own instrument of employment. Please feel free to pause mid sentence to add dramatic effect….

It’s pretty bad when you make $22,000,000/year and they rave about your fielding at 1B. But, I don’t intend to start a “clutch” discussion

TheGoof
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Don’t forget, of course, some guys don’t get pitched to as much in late innings when there could be a switch in who is winning. Not sure if that’s true of Tex, but at least a few of them have to have fewer times they face that scenario.

Tristram12
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I’m guessing this number would be influenced by the team they play for. We know that really good teams and really bad teams play more blowout games, which probably have less 9th inning heroics. I would hypothesize that the leaders here played the majority of their time for .500ish teams.

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