Quiz – Milestone Pitchers

You got the last quiz in less than 10 comments, so this one is tougher.

The pitchers in this quiz have done something that has happened in the AL only 13 times since 1930. That something is an event within a game.

The common thread connecting these pitchers is related to a career milestone most recently achieved in the 2011 season.

The list of pitchers is after the jump. What did these pitchers do?

The quiz has been solved in 82 minutes. The listed pitchers are those who, in an AL game since 1930, have surrendered the final career hit to a member of the 3000 hit club.

Congratulations to Topper009! And, honorable mention to stealofhome who was right on Topper’s heels.

Dave Roberts  Hank Aaron
Bud Anderson Carl Yastrzemski
Doug Jones Paul Molitor
Danny MacFayden Eddie Collins
Frank Castillo Cal Ripken
Tom Henke George Brett
Jug Thesenga Paul Waner
Dave Stewart Robin Yount
Melvin Bunch Dave Winfield
Dave Schmidt Rod Carew
Joe Blanton Rafael Palmeiro
Sean Lowe Wade Boggs
Jim Palmer Al Kaline

45 thoughts on “Quiz – Milestone Pitchers

  1. 1

    While we are stumped for the moment, I can contribute this non-essential information:

    Five strikeouts in one inning has never occurred in a regulation Major League Baseball game. It has occurred at least three times in the minor league level. Mike Schultz of the Lancaster JetHawks struck out five batters in one inning on July 16, 2004, and Garrett Bauer of the Rockford RiverHawks struck out five batters in one inning on July 1, 2008.
    The only instance of a Major League pitcher accomplishing five strikeouts in one inning was when Houston Astros Joe Niekro did so in an exhibition spring training game, which are not official statistics.

  2. 2

    It is NOT related to batting by pitchers.
    NOT related to HBP.

    The answer can be easily narrowed down here, as Jug only had 5 games:

  3. 3
    John Autin says:

    It can’t be anything about Game Scores, since Henke never started a game.

  4. 4
    stealofhome says:

    Trying to compare Thesenga and Bunch, since they have the fewest games. Thesenga’s games don’t include play by play action so doesn’t seem like it’s a 4 hits in a row type of event

  5. 6
    John Autin says:

    It’s not about HRs allowed or HBP, as Jug had neither. Nor can it be about allowing doubles or triples, since no such stats were kept for Jug’s games.

  6. 9
    stealofhome says:

    Does it have something to do with 13 baserunners? I found a few pitchers that have games where they allow 13 BRs.

  7. 13
    topper009 says:

    It looks like Jug gave up Paul Waner’s last career hit in this game.

    However, no one reached the 3000 hit club in 1995 or 1999, Bunch’s only seasons.

  8. 14
    oneblankspace says:

    Is it a milestone for the pitcher, or did they give up a milestone to a batter?

  9. 20
    topper009 says:

    Bud Anderson = Carl Yastrzemski

  10. 24
    Doug says:

    Looks like you guys have got the idea.

  11. 25
    topper009 says:

    I missed the AL thing, the answer must be pitchers that gave up the final hit to 3000 hit club members playing in the AL?

    • 27
      Doug says:

      That’s it, with “since 1930” added in there. I did 1930 rather than game-searchable era because I couldn’t figure out from the box score which pitcher gave up the last hit to Tris Speaker.

      In the case of Waner, it was his only career hit in the AL.

      • 38
        Richard Chester says:

        I spent some time researching the Speaker game. I narrowed it down to two scenarios. One has Speaker facing the SP and the other facing the relief pitcher.

        • 39
          Doug says:

          LOL! That’s what I got too.

          Thought I might get lucky based on Speaker hitting a double. But, looking at the two pitchers’ game logs, neither shows a double allowed in that game. Doesn’t seem that information was reliably captured for pitchers until the 60s.

  12. 26
    stealofhome says:

    So gave up the last career hit to a player with at least 3,000 career hits?

  13. 28
    Doug says:

    The list of pitchers, incidentally, is in descending order of career hits by the player to whom the pitcher surrendered the last hit.

    Well done, Topper009.

    • 29
      topper009 says:

      Nice that answers my question I didnt feel like looking up, Palmer have given up Kaline’s last hit, the only HOF vs HOF matchup on the list.

  14. 30
    John Autin says:

    Just for the record, could someone lay out the proof that Thesenga allowed Waner’s hit?

    • 31
      Doug says:

      My reasoning was the batters faced by Thesenga. He was the starting pitcher and faced 27 batters. Waner pinch-hit for the pitcher (batting 9th)the 3rd time through the order, so Thesenga must have faced Waner.

      • 33
        John Autin says:

        That works for me. I was trying to think of any way that Roser could have had a 3rd PA that didn’t register in the box score. But now I see that the #9 spot could not have had more than 5 PAs, and with Roser’s listed 2 ABs and 3 PAs by others in that spot, everything is used up.

    • 32
      Doug says:

      Incidentally, that Waner game is noteworthy for another reason. The Yankees’ Hersh Martin had 5 PA and 5 BB, one of only 31 times that has happpened. Barry Bonds and Mel Ott did it twice.

      Only Jimmie Foxx has a 6 PA and 6 BB game.

      • 36
        John Autin says:

        Thanks for giving me something else to chew on!

        One of the more interesting members of that “5 walks in 5 PAs” club was 22-year-old Danny Walton, on May 22, 1970, in just his 63rd career game.

        After tearing up AAA in ’69 (leading the league in HRs and RBI, and outpowering teammates John Mayberry and Bob Watson), Walton had been traded from Houston to the Seattle Pilots near season’s end for Tommy Davis, then was installed as the cleanup hitter for the hastily relocated Milwaukee Brewers at the start of 1970. He put up 30 RBI in the first 34 games, while hitting .326 with a .979 OPS. The 5-walk game came a few days later.

        He cooled off, naturally, but still finished with solid numbers — .349 OBP, 117 OPS+, and 17 HRs in 117 games.

        There are 180 retired hitters who had a season of 15+ HRs by age 22. The median career HRs for that group is 219. But Danny Walton would hit just 8 more HRs after his rookie year, and finished with 28.

        • 41
          Doug says:

          Interesting ML debut for Walton. As a 20 year-old, appears he made the 1968 Astros roster coming out of spring training, and is first used as a pinch-hitter in games 9 and 10 of the season, going GIDP and K.

          But, that’s it for the season. And, he played only 84 games in the minors that year. Did the Astros really have a 20 year-old sitting on their bench for 2 months before sending him back down to the minors? Or, did he get injured? Curious.

        • 44
          Paul E says:

          Wasn’t he the Seventh Day Adventist who couldn’t play after sunset on Friday nights? I believe they also subscribe to the Levitical diet – no pork, etc….Or was that Danny Thomas?

  15. 34
    Doug says:

    Incidentally, as of today over at B-R, the game-searchable era now includes 1918.

  16. 37

    Milestone Pitchers:

    On April 2nd, 2012, a pitcher with a losing record signed a six year, 127 million dollar contract.


    • 40
      Doug says:

      Think the Giants will do better with this contract than they did with Zee Man?

      • 42
        John Autin says:

        The numbers certainly support Cain outperforming Zito, who was coming off a 3-year average of 3.4 WAR, 110 ERA+ and 1.80 K/BB ratio, and entering his age-29 season. Cain is 2 years younger and has a 3-year average of 4.4 WAR, 132 ERA+ and 2.69 K/BB ratio.

        Still, I’m surprised by what this deal says about SF’s read on the market for Cain. While I don’t put any stock in Cain’s sub-.500 W-L record, I would have thought that it would somewhat hold down his market value. Apparently the Giants didn’t want to take that chance.

        FWIW, over the past 3 years, only 2 pitchers Cain’s age or younger have amassed 12+ WAR (King Felix & Kershaw). Cain’s 13.1 WAR is more than Hamels (12.1) or Greinke (13.0).

        • 43
          Doug says:

          Regarding that W-L%, I discovered today that Cain has the best ERA+ of pitchers with the greatest negative divergence between their ERA+ and W-L% (that is, a better W-L% would be expected based on their ERA+).

          The query is careers since 1901, 100 decisions, 60% of games started, ERA+ > W-L%*250. Crude, but it does find the kind of careers I was interested to see – basically, average or above average ERA guys with W-L% below 50% (or far below 50% for the lower ERA+ guys).


          Interestingly, no pitchers on this list with really long careers (Raffensberger had 16 seasons, but only just over 2000 IP). So, presumably, things will start to even out for Cain with better W-L% ahead (assuming the Giants can do something to jump start their offense).

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