Prodigal baserunners – players who seldom come home

This post is about prodigal baserunners, those players who just don’t make it home very often. Even if they get on base fairly frequently.

After the jump, I’ll take a look at who these players are, and how infrequently they actually do score.

For this question, I’m only looking at runs scored after reaching base. Call that Times Driven In or TDI. Thus, our formula is:

  • TDI = Runs minus HRs

Here are the players since 1920 with seasons (min. 502 PAs) with a .350 OBP and a TDI of 35 or less.

Rk Player R OBP PA Year Age Tm H 2B 3B HR RBI BB TDI BA SLG OPS Pos
1 Jose Oquendo 36 .350 518 1988 24 STL 125 10 1 7 46 52 29 .277 .350 .700 4563/98721
2 Nick Etten 37 .357 531 1942 28 PHI 121 21 3 8 41 67 29 .264 .375 .732 *3
3 Hank Severeid 37 .362 502 1924 33 SLB 133 23 2 4 48 36 33 .308 .398 .761 *2
4 Ray Knight 43 .355 567 1983 30 HOU 154 36 4 9 70 42 34 .304 .444 .798 *3
5 A.J. Ellis 44 .373 505 2012 31 LAD 114 20 1 13 52 65 31 .270 .414 .786 *2
6 Casey Kotchman 44 .378 563 2011 28 TBR 153 24 2 10 48 48 34 .306 .422 .800 *3
7 Mike Piazza 47 .362 528 2004 35 NYM 121 21 0 20 54 68 27 .266 .444 .806 *32/D
8 Tom Brunansky 47 .354 533 1992 31 BOS 122 31 3 15 74 66 32 .266 .445 .799 *93D
9 Mike Epstein 49 .367 502 1971 28 TOT 98 14 1 19 60 74 30 .237 .413 .780 *3
10 Rico Carty 50 .355 521 1977 37 CLE 129 23 1 15 80 56 35 .280 .432 .787 *D/3
11 George Scott 50 .355 530 1970 26 BOS 142 24 5 16 63 44 34 .296 .467 .821 *53
12 Brian McCann 51 .351 527 2011 27 ATL 126 19 0 24 71 57 27 .270 .466 .817 *2/D
13 Orlando Cepeda 51 .350 608 1973 35 BOS 159 25 0 20 86 50 31 .289 .444 .793 *D
14 Ken Singleton 52 .393 612 1983 36 BAL 140 21 3 18 84 99 34 .276 .436 .829 *D
15 Harmon Killebrew 53 .367 532 1972 36 MIN 100 13 2 26 74 94 27 .231 .450 .817 *3
16 Don Mincher 53 .366 514 1969 31 SEP 105 14 0 25 78 78 28 .246 .454 .821 *3
17 Frank Howard 53 .358 575 1965 28 WSA 149 22 6 21 84 55 34 .289 .477 .835 *7/9
18 Willie McCovey 54 .367 548 1977 39 SFG 134 21 0 28 86 67 26 .280 .500 .867 *3
19 Willie Stargell 54 .365 536 1967 27 PIT 125 18 6 20 73 67 34 .271 .465 .831 *73/9
20 Hideki Matsui 55 .361 558 2010 36 LAA 132 24 1 21 84 67 34 .274 .459 .820 *D7
21 Mike Epstein 55 .371 517 1970 27 WSA 110 15 3 20 56 73 35 .256 .444 .815 *3
22 Joe Adcock 55 .354 570 1960 32 MLN 153 21 4 25 91 46 30 .298 .500 .854 *3
23 Reggie Jackson 57 .359 514 1970 24 OAK 101 21 2 23 66 75 34 .237 .458 .817 *98
24 Frank Howard 60 .367 633 1971 34 WSA 153 25 2 26 83 77 34 .279 .474 .840 *73/9
25 Jack Cust 61 .408 507 2007 28 OAK 101 18 1 26 82 105 35 .256 .504 .912 D97
26 Harmon Killebrew 61 .386 624 1971 35 MIN 127 19 1 28 119 114 33 .254 .464 .850 *35
27 Hideki Matsui 62 .367 528 2009 35 NYY 125 21 1 28 90 64 34 .274 .509 .876 *D
28 Mo Vaughn 63 .358 592 1999 31 ANA 147 20 0 33 108 54 30 .281 .508 .866 *3D
29 Vic Wertz 65 .364 567 1956 31 CLE 127 22 0 32 106 75 33 .264 .509 .874 *3
30 Willie Horton 68 .352 578 1968 25 DET 146 20 2 36 85 49 32 .285 .543 .895 *7
31 Boog Powell 74 .399 506 1964 22 BAL 123 17 0 39 99 76 35 .290 .606 1.005 *7/3
32 Mark McGwire 86 .393 657 1997 33 TOT 148 27 0 58 123 101 28 .274 .646 1.039 *3
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/15/2012.

Interesting, huh? Obviously, a healthy number from the late 60s and early 70s, but also some from other periods including each of the last four seasons. Predictably, many of these players toiled on weaker teams, but certainly not all. There are even a few WS champion teams here, one of them represented by the World Series MVP!

Another thing to note is that almost the whole list are name players, including no fewer than 4 HOFers, with Piazza likely to make it 5. Also, notice how many made this list twice – Howard, Killebrew, Epstein, Matsui, with the latter three all doing this in consecutive seasons.

So, that’s our better players, the ones with a .350 OBP. But, how low can we go for everybody else? Since Willie McCovey is the low man on the above list with a TDI of just 26, let’s see home many other seasons there are with a TDI of 25 or less.

Rk Player R PA Year Age Tm H 2B 3B HR RBI BB TDI BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Leo Cardenas 25 602 1972 33 CAL 123 11 2 6 42 35 19 .223 .272 .283 .555 *6
3 Mario Guerrero 27 546 1978 28 OAK 139 18 4 3 38 15 24 .275 .302 .345 .647 *6
21 Bob Boone 34 535 1980 32 PHI 110 23 1 9 55 48 25 .229 .299 .338 .637 *2
22 Steve Yeager 34 515 1975 26 LAD 103 16 1 12 54 40 22 .228 .298 .347 .646 *2
23 John Bateman 34 526 1971 30 MON 119 17 3 10 56 19 24 .242 .273 .350 .623 *2
69 Bengie Molina 38 517 2007 32 SFG 137 19 1 19 81 15 19 .276 .298 .433 .731 *2
135 John Buck 41 530 2011 30 FLA 106 15 1 16 57 54 25 .227 .316 .367 .683 *2
138 Bob Brenly 41 505 1985 31 SFG 97 16 1 19 56 57 22 .220 .311 .391 .702 *253
173 Lance Parrish 42 518 1987 31 PHI 114 21 0 17 67 47 25 .245 .313 .399 .712 *2
253 Charles Johnson 44 506 1998 26 TOT 100 18 0 19 58 45 25 .218 .289 .381 .670 *2
487 Shane Andrews 48 559 1998 26 MON 117 30 1 25 69 58 23 .238 .314 .455 .769 *5
595 Joe Pepitone 49 546 1969 28 NYY 124 16 3 27 70 30 22 .242 .284 .442 .726 *3
642 Alfonso Soriano 50 508 2011 35 CHC 116 27 1 26 88 27 24 .244 .289 .469 .759 *7/D
1011 Dick Stuart 53 586 1965 32 PHI 126 19 1 28 95 39 25 .234 .287 .429 .716 *3/5
1105 Steve Balboni 54 562 1986 29 KCR 117 25 1 29 88 43 25 .229 .286 .451 .738 *3
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/17/2012.

There they are, led by Leo Cardenas and Bengie Molina, the only players since 1920 to fail to be driven in even 20 times in a full season. The ranks shown are for total runs scored, from lowest to highest. Heavily represented by catchers, and nobody with an OBP above 0.316. You get the picture. Just the one WS champion here, Bob Boone on the 1980 Phillies.

Finally, switching to relative metrics, here are the players least likely to be driven in, by decade. The metric is:

  • TDI% = (R – HR) / (TOB – HR)

TOB denotes Times on Base. Thus, TDI% = Times Driven In as a percentage of Times on Base.

Here is the table. Players shown have the 20 lowest % of times driven in (TDI%) for each decade since the 1920s.  Type the decade start (e.g. 1950) in the Search box to see each decade.

DecadePlayerRHRTOBweTDITDI%PAAgeOBPSLGPos
1920-29Cy Perkins29127106226425.5%331524-330.3290.365*2/435
1920-29Muddy Ruel4234154641927.2%428524-330.3720.346*2/3
1920-29Wally Schang44341145840228.4%370630-390.4040.423*2/879
1920-29Hod Ford41715142240228.6%456222-310.3220.342*64/3
1920-29Les Bell33957103328228.9%307321-270.3470.441*5/64
1920-29Earl Sheely54247176049528.9%468228-360.3910.410*3
1920-29Phil Todt3004192725929.2%314022-270.3060.388*3/98
1920-29Charlie Grimm62753198457429.7%597321-300.3420.401*3
1920-29Walter Holke3072198228629.8%320427-320.3180.372*3/1
1920-29Bob O'Farrell41242128537029.8%350523-320.3730.399*2
1920-29Willie Kamm48722155946530.3%438923-290.3710.391*5
1920-29Rube Bressler41226129738630.4%342225-340.3920.433*73/918
1920-29Stuffy McInnis3386109433230.5%344429-360.3340.383*3
1920-29Chick Galloway38917121637231.0%392923-310.3200.345*6/5437
1920-29Everett Scott3031893428531.1%334527-330.2900.337*6/5
1920-29George Harper47691132838531.1%347130-370.3920.482*978
1920-29Bernie Friberg42733129239431.3%377120-290.3540.370546/978321
1920-29Cy Williams721202186051931.3%488332-410.3870.521*89/7
1920-29Bibb Falk59163173652831.6%486821-300.3710.449*7/98
1920-29Jack Fournier621121169850031.7%434030-370.4010.507*3/1
1930-39Spud Davis30660132924619.4%365925-340.3680.434*2/35
1930-39Ernie Lombardi357100130225721.4%363523-310.3590.475*2
1930-39Gus Mancuso30248119325422.2%358824-330.3390.385*2
1930-39Gabby Hartnett541149166839225.8%453829-380.3730.492*2/3
1930-39Jimmy Dykes41538144137726.9%395433-420.3710.377*5/3467
1930-39Rick Ferrell50425178147927.3%466724-330.3880.389*2
1930-39Al Lopez41739134237829.0%420021-300.3250.352*2/453
1930-39Pinky Whitney53475164245929.3%498125-340.3360.405*54/36
1930-39Tony Cuccinello62284191853829.3%557822-310.3490.408*45/6
1930-39Gus Suhr71082216962830.1%596524-330.3690.428*3/9
1930-39Rabbit Warstler40610128539631.1%437926-350.3010.288*64/5
1930-39Bill Dickey722168193955431.3%501823-320.3890.513*2
1930-39Pinky Higgins55586158446931.3%428221-300.3740.447*5/46
1930-39Leo Durocher46123142143831.3%487224-330.2960.322*6/45
1930-39Tony Lazzeri652114182553831.4%488626-350.3770.446*45/673
1930-39Red Kress51575146744031.6%426225-340.3480.4266359/471
1930-39Wally Berger806241200656532.0%561824-330.3590.522*87/39
1930-39Dolph Camilli583148149643532.3%382526-320.3930.504*3
1930-39Marv Owen46931138543832.3%415925-330.3390.369*5/634
1930-39Ossie Bluege44124130341732.6%385229-380.3470.346*564/37
1940-49Frankie Hayes31662108925424.7%321925-320.3420.377*2/3
1940-49Babe Dahlgren30857105525125.2%319928-340.3320.385*3/562
1940-49Nick Etten40086132831425.3%357627-330.3740.425*3
1940-49Ron Northey35794111526325.8%320022-290.3480.446*9/75
1940-49Mike Tresh2742102927226.5%317226-350.3290.283*2
1940-49Danny Litwhiler41099125331126.9%369623-320.3420.436*79/58
1940-49Pete Suder31235106227727.0%370025-330.2910.345*456/39
1940-49Andy Pafko36578113128727.3%320222-280.3560.442*85/97
1940-49Rudy York653189189146427.3%536626-340.3540.457*3
1940-49Buddy Rosar29316103127727.3%316725-340.3290.335*2
1940-49Taffy Wright35132119131927.5%315328-370.3780.412*97
1940-49Jimmy Bloodworth3015893624327.7%323222-310.2920.360*4/356
1940-49Roy Cullenbine584104182848027.8%449326-330.4110.434*937/58
1940-49Frank McCormick528105162442327.8%474429-370.3440.426*3
1940-49Bill Nicholson743211210353228.1%572125-340.3680.467*9/7
1940-49Eddie Miller48790149939728.2%522123-320.2900.355*6/4
1940-49Pinky Higgins37554117932128.5%327531-370.3650.401*5
1940-49Dick Siebert35326117132728.6%355328-330.3320.377*3/79
1940-49Vince DiMaggio36398102426528.6%314627-330.3290.428*8/9675
1940-49Walker Cooper387109108027828.6%328325-340.3300.465*2
1950-59Eddie Robinson368121122724722.3%335029-360.3600.442*3
1950-59Sherm Lollar482129169435322.6%455025-340.3640.418*2/35
1950-59Sammy White31663114625323.4%362123-310.3080.381*2
1950-59Sid Gordon369119118925023.4%302232-370.3830.483*75/9
1950-59Smoky Burgess33980117525923.7%308824-320.3660.459*2
1950-59Walt Dropo458147142331124.4%424627-360.3260.437*3/5
1950-59Ted Williams660227197143324.8%405331-400.4760.622*7
1950-59Bob Nieman433118138131524.9%361024-320.3720.473*79
1950-59Hank Sauer524215144730925.1%406933-420.3480.496*79/3
1950-59Gus Zernial543232146031125.3%434927-360.3270.485*7/39
1950-59Vic Wertz574195168837925.4%447625-340.3700.487Jul-93
1950-59Roy Campanella530211146131925.5%398828-350.3580.507*2
1950-59Ferris Fain36331132333225.7%302129-340.4310.403*3/97
1950-59Del Crandall394136114025825.7%354820-290.3130.425*2/937
1950-59Joe Adcock513181146733225.8%427322-310.3330.486*37/9
1950-59Al Rosen599192173140726.4%430926-320.3860.500*5/364
1950-59George Strickland30135103526626.6%322124-330.3140.312*645/3
1950-59Frank Thomas514175144133926.8%425022-300.3280.465587/394
1950-59Joe DeMaestri31349103426426.8%360222-300.2750.328*6/45
1950-59Ray Boone597146182545126.9%487826-350.3620.437563/4
1960-69Joe Adcock310155107115516.9%302932-380.3420.484*3
1960-69Clay Dalrymple23353111518016.9%342523-320.3200.336*2
1960-69Earl Battey34691133825520.4%369125-320.3540.412*2
1960-69John Romano334124112121021.1%309525-320.3520.442*2/73
1960-69Rusty Staub38686146630021.7%397919-250.3600.414*93/78
1960-69Pete Ward34097119324322.2%342524-310.3390.406*573/946
1960-69Ed Kranepool2666298120422.2%316517-240.3010.361*3/978
1960-69Dick Stuart404185117021922.2%364227-360.3110.478*3/75
1960-69Frank Howard654288193136622.3%534123-320.3450.508*793
1960-69Tom Haller384117131526722.3%378224-320.3400.415*2/937
1960-69Bill Skowron367123121724422.3%366029-360.3170.434*3/5
1960-69Ron Hansen424100153732422.5%463222-310.3230.355*6/543
1960-69Johnny Edwards30162111423922.7%347423-310.3110.361*2
1960-69Bob Aspromonte36055139030522.8%427922-310.3100.343*5/76349
1960-69Boog Powell513202156131122.9%435519-270.3510.469*37/9
1960-69Jim Gentile433178129125522.9%343826-320.3700.489*3
1960-69Woodie Held367123118524423.0%338028-370.3400.41864978/5
1960-69Harmon Killebrew864393243447123.1%604324-330.3870.546375/9
1960-69John Roseboro40877150133123.2%445427-360.3260.365*2/53
1960-69Bill Freehan399110133628923.6%376619-270.3430.410*2/39
1970-79Willie McCovey461207165225417.6%434032-410.3710.478*3/D
1970-79Boog Powell376137130523920.5%345428-350.3730.452*3/D
1970-79Ken Reitz31758127525921.3%422121-280.2910.362*5/64
1970-79Tommy Helms2252098320521.3%314729-360.2950.331*4/56D
1970-79Bill Freehan30790108121721.9%313428-340.3360.414*2/3D7
1970-79Bob Boone29652115224422.2%336424-310.3320.381*2/357
1970-79Deron Johnson324122103020222.2%319831-370.3130.410*3D/5
1970-79Rico Carty442126154531622.3%409530-390.3670.451*D7/3
1970-79Willie Horton507176165733122.3%479227-360.3330.449*D7/9
1970-79Earl Williams361138112722322.5%343121-280.3180.424*23/5D
1970-79Greg Luzinski574204183337022.7%488319-280.3650.493*7/39
1970-79Gene Tenace555171185738422.8%465423-320.3860.432*23/59D47
1970-79Ron Fairly405113138829222.9%362531-390.3760.429*379/D8
1970-79Bernie Carbo37296129527623.0%329722-310.3880.42997D/85
1970-79Rico Petrocelli371110123626123.2%358127-330.3340.404*56/D43
1970-79Jeff Burroughs544183173036123.3%466519-280.3560.446*97/D3
1970-79Davey Johnson348103115024523.4%314627-350.3560.432*43/56
1970-79Bob Bailey404121133028323.4%349427-350.3700.438*57/3D
1970-79John Mayberry610198193041223.8%520921-300.3630.440*3/D
1970-79Brooks Robinson36772131229523.8%401233-400.3160.361*5
1980-89Mike Scioscia29445133624919.3%376621-300.3480.354*2
1980-89Steve Balboni32716494216321.0%312824-320.2920.455*3D
1980-89Jody Davis364127125023721.1%395324-320.3090.405*2/3
1980-89Dave Kingman380190106519021.7%345531-370.2980.448D37/9
1980-89Jason Thompson371114127525722.1%329425-310.3800.436*3/D
1980-89Terry Kennedy426106152932022.5%474924-330.3130.390*2/73
1980-89Ron Hassey30059112724122.6%315327-360.3490.393*2/D3
1980-89Jim Sundberg33366123426722.9%372829-380.3220.355*2/7D
1980-89Bob Boone37253142031923.3%464832-410.3020.323*2/D
1980-89Nick Esasky334122103021223.3%302523-290.3300.449*35/7
1980-89Jim Morrison31895103722323.7%329527-350.3060.417*54/6D7391
1980-89Bo Diaz31585105123023.8%336927-360.3000.392*2/D
1980-89Ray Knight41072148733823.9%450427-350.3170.384*53/D74
1980-89Alvin Davis461131151133023.9%377223-280.3920.474*3/D
1980-89Chris Chambliss31980107523924.0%301331-390.3450.422*3
1980-89Keith Moreland508121173138724.0%502926-350.3340.41095327/D
1980-89Andre Thornton387127120226024.2%334531-370.3500.432*D/3
1980-89Mike Marshall395137119825824.3%354621-290.3250.449*937/5
1980-89Graig Nettles380126116825424.4%343635-430.3270.405*5/3D6
1980-89Ernie Whitt420131131528924.4%392728-370.3290.422*2/D
1990-99Joe Oliver2708899118220.2%326524-330.2980.385*2/3D79
1990-99Darrin Fletcher28989105820020.6%322923-320.3210.422*2/D
1990-99Mark McGwire791405211338622.6%505426-350.4110.615*3/D
1990-99Tim Wallach35399117925423.5%365132-380.3100.395*5/3D9
1990-99Cecil Fielder677288193938923.6%538126-340.3490.483*3D
1990-99Benito Santiago396123125527324.1%390325-340.3090.418*2/37D
1990-99Chris Hoiles415151124326424.2%332925-330.3670.468*2/D35
1990-99Paul Sorrento452166133628624.4%386324-330.3400.459*3D/79
1990-99Mickey Tettleton530186159134424.5%409629-360.3810.4642D39/7
1990-99Harold Baines591184184640724.5%479031-400.3780.478*D/97
1990-99Chili Davis646206198644024.7%513630-390.3800.477*D/7931
1990-99Mo Vaughn691263199042824.8%504423-310.3900.538*3D
1990-99Dave Magadan38131144135024.8%360927-360.3940.377*53/D
1990-99Eric Karros574211165636325.1%490323-310.3290.470*3/D
1990-99Fred McGriff837300243653725.1%625526-350.3810.514*3/D
1990-99Charlie Hayes504127162237725.2%494225-340.3170.403*5/34D67
1990-99Danny Tartabull440156128228425.2%339627-340.3670.492*9D/7
1990-99Jeff Conine434119136731525.2%380124-330.3510.457*73/9D5
1990-99Todd Hundley389148108324125.8%333221-300.3190.438*2/7D
1990-99Terry Steinbach490128153136225.8%456228-370.3240.424*2/D3
2000-12Brian Schneider28467116021719.9%357023-350.3200.369*2/3D79
2000-12Yadier Molina34377138726620.3%406021-290.3360.394*2/3D
2000-12Brian McCann421156141126521.1%395221-280.3510.475*2/D
2000-12Mike Piazza437187136225021.3%367031-380.3600.512*2D/3
2000-12Bengie Molina449143158130621.3%504925-350.3070.413*2/D
2000-12Wes Helms2787498620422.4%301424-350.3180.404*53/79D4
2000-12Russell Branyan401193111420822.6%335224-350.3290.488537D/9
2000-12Pat Burrell767292239347522.6%652023-340.3610.472*7D/39
2000-12Frank Thomas526220156730622.7%398332-400.3870.528*D/3
2000-12Jason LaRue2959396520223.2%300026-360.3160.397*2/3579D
2000-12Jason Giambi819323246149623.2%587429-410.4140.535*3D
2000-12Prince Fielder654260195539423.2%490021-280.3930.538*3/D
2000-12Billy Butler383103130628023.3%354021-260.3620.468*D3/7
2000-12John Buck341118107522323.3%348123-310.3030.405*2/D
2000-12Casey Kotchman32271114425123.4%339121-290.3280.388*3/D
2000-12Ramon Hernandez563163182640024.1%548824-360.3260.418*2/3D5
2000-12Brad Hawpe398124126027424.1%336925-320.3680.480*9/3D7
2000-12Rafael Palmeiro506208143729824.2%378235-400.3730.519*3D
2000-12Paul Konerko1014391293162324.5%795024-360.3620.504*3D/5
2000-12Javy Lopez391141115725024.6%331229-350.3360.482*2D/3

 

 


Comments

Prodigal baserunners – players who seldom come home — 39 Comments

  1. List 1 is virtually all older and/or notoriously slow players, with two notable exceptions: Jose Oquendo ’88, and Reggie Jackson ’70.

    Oquendo ’88 batted 6th and 7th on a Cardinals team that ranked next-to-last in scoring, and last by miles in HRs and SLG. He also had no extra-base power (.350 SLG, .073 ISO) and no SB prowess (4 for 10). And in that year, he did poorly at taking an extra base on teammates’ hits.

    As for Reggie ’70 — For one thing, he took himself out with a league-high 17 CS. He had his best OBP while batting 6th (about 1/3 of his PAs), and while Oakland’s #7 hitters were good, their #8 were awful, and #9 was the pitcher. (BTW, their #9 out-slugged their #8 — I’ll bet you don’t see that a lot on a non-DH team!)

  2. At first I was surprised to not see Ernie “The Schnozz” Lombardi on the first list, as he was legendary as one of the slowest MLB runners ever. Then, I saw the requirement of 502 PA, which Lombardi met only one season.

    HOWEVER – up till the mid-50s, the PA requirement for the batting title was only 400 PA. Using this standard, along with a .350+ OBA and a TDI of 35 or less, he qualifies in 1932, 1936, and 1945.

    • Another player that I thought I might see on the first list and was amazed that I did not see in the decade breakdowns was the immortal and notoriously slow afoot Willie Mays Aikens. What made it doubly surprising was that his replacement, Steve Balboni, was number 2 on the list for the 80’s.

      While it’s true that Balboni is very well known for doing very little except hitting home runs and was terrible at getting on base and Aikens was a more well rounded hitter it’s still more than a little surprising. They were both used is much the same way hitting mostly in the 4 thru 7 slot but Aikens had a higher percentage of his AB’s in the 5th or lower spot. The early 80 KC teams were a little better than the late 80 ones but most of that was pitching.

      • Aikens didn’t make the decade lists because he had less than 3000 PAs in his career. For his career, his TDI% was 20.7%, so he definitely would have been near the top of the decade list with a few more PAs (Aikens had 2856 for his career, and 2308 in the 1980s).

        His 33 TDI in 1982 would have made list #1 with a few more points on his 0.345 OBP. Also, his 26 TDI in 1983 was just outside the cutoff for list #2 (although Aikens missed the PA requirement for that season). In 1984, Aikens had just 10 TDI in a half-season (265 PA), so he was on pace to join Cardenas and Molina in the under-20 TDI club.

    • Doug,

      Yes, I saw “The Schnozz” on the 1930s decade list, but I was referring to the first list, of seasonal TDI less than 35.

      • Lombardi had 502 PA just once, in his MVP season in 1938. His TDI that year was 41.

        In his 8 seasons over 400 PA, Lombardi had TDI totals ranging from 23 (twice) to a high of 36.

  3. JA @ 1,

    Good thoughts about RJ and Oquendo.

    My question: what was a 47 HR hitter doing hitting anywhere but 3rd or 4th (or maybe 5th)?

    On a similar vein, curious that two Yankee mainstays (and HOFers) make the list for worst TDI for the 1930s. Tough to figure that one.

  4. Part of the reason for low run totals for Dickey and Lazzeri lies in the fact that they both hit mainly in the lower part of the batting order, the overwhelming majority of their PA came in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth spots. Not many good hitters left to drive them home.

    • Yes, but you could say the same of any team. It’s just curious to me that the highest scoring team of the decade would have its bottom-of-the-order guys here.

      • Re: Bill Dickey and the Yankees, it’s not just the bottom of the order that would depress his TDI. They often had crappy hitters at the #1 and/or #2 slots, as well. Consider 1941:

        The ’41 Yanks were #2 in the AL with 5.32 R/G. Dickey, hitting 6th and 7th all year (at the tail end of his career), had a .371 OBP but scored just 35 Runs in 397 PAs.

        Their #8 hitters were OK for that era, but they had no power — just 4 HRs, 21 doubles. Then the pitcher, and then the execrable leadoff men: .242 BA, .291 OBP, .313 SLG.

        With nobody hitting any XBH behind him, and Dickey probably running about as well as most old catchers, it’s strictly station-to-station. And with a couple of dead spots in a row, the chain gets broken pretty easily.

      • Take the 1927 Yankees — one of the greatest offensive teams ever at 6.30 R/G.

        Their #1-2-3-4 hitters scored 143, 138, 163 and 149 Runs. Their #5-6 hitters, collectively the league’s best, dropped off to 93 and 92 Runs. But the #7 spot — even with a surprisingly good #8 behind them (and a fantastic leadoff spot) — scored just 66 Runs.

        That’s an extreme case, but the general shape is typical of a lineup with a pitcher hitting 9th, especially in an era of hierarchical orders.

        In the 1927 AL, cleanup men scored 837 runs (the top 4 spots averaged 848). #5 men scored 655, almost 1/4 less than the man ahead of them. And #7 scored 517 runs, just 61% of the top 4 average.

        Modern orders are a little more spread out, but still, in the NL last year, #6 men scored only 69% as much as #3 men.

        • If you randomly select a given year for any team or any league and go to the splits for Batting Order Position the trend is the same. The top four batters score the most runs, both on an absolute basis and a percentage basis, and then there is a rapid drop-off for the rest of the batting order whether it’s the 1968 ML or the 1930 ML or it’s the 1927 Yankees or the 1935 Braves.

          • I guess that’s my original point in comment #9, when I said that this would be true of just about every team. Thus, it struck me as odd that two Yankees would show up in the lowest 20, given that the Yankees in that decade scored far more runs than anybody else (15% more than Detroit, who were 2nd; 30% more than median). Of course, those extra runs the Yankees scored (including by their bottom hitters) means those bottom hitters are getting more PAs than bottom hitters on other teams, so that could also be part of the answer.

            Incidentally, it’s a testimony to the Yankees’ dominance that their bottom hitters scored about as frequently as the Braves’ cleanup man (see poor Wally Berger also on the list).

            My guess is that lesser teams would tend to have more fluid batting orders, so 3000 PAs for players on those teams is likely to include a variety of batting order positions. Also, guys at the bottom of the order on weaker teams are more likely to be fringe players (as opposed to HOFers) who likely won’t compile 3000 PAs in a decade.

  5. My jaw dropped when I saw Leo Cardenas’ 1972 runs scored and TDI totals. What was going on that year with him? First, the perspective: Not only is Leo the only player in history with 600+ PA and 25 runs scored or less, there is no one in history with 500+ PA and 25 runs or less either. You have to go back to 1917 to find Chuck Ward, who scored 25 runs for the Pirates in 483 PA.

    Cardenas batted sixth or seventh for the Angels that year but also saw time in the second and third spots in the order. The Angels were last in the league in scoring at 2.93 R/G and were tied for last in HRs. The #8 hitter that year was the catcher duo of Art Kusyner/Jeff Torborg, both of whom had an OPS+ under 70.

    • Those Angel teams really scuffled. They had zero batters with .400 SLG in 400+ PAs in 1966, 1969, 1971 and 1976 (they had one such batter in 1968, 1972 and 1975). In the rest of MLB in that 11-year period (1966-76), there were only 7 other such seasons without a .400 SLG/400 PA batter.

      From 1977 to 2009, outside of strike seasons, there were only two such years, the 1985 Pirates and 1992 Angels. But, there have been 4 such seasons since 2010, most recently by the 2012 Astros.

      • Amazing that the Angels were 75-80 in 1972. Doug, do you know what was up with the game totals in 1972? I can’t remember what happened. Everybody in MLB that year played 153-156 games instead of 162. A work stoppage I was unaware of? It looks to me like they started the season a week or ten days late.

        • A work stoppage. The first Marvin Miller moment. They struck over pension contributions, and the union won some concessions after the cancellation of 86 games.

        • And because the ’72 schedule did not get rebalanced, my Tigers were able to cop the division flag by half a game over Boston.

          Detroit went into a final 3-game set with the BoSox trailing by a half-game, but took the first 2 behind Lolich & Fryman (another all-time great stretch-drive pick-ups) to clinch the title.

          In his last 10 games that year, Al Kaline went 21-41 with 4 HRs and a 1.401 OPS, and he had the go-ahead hit in the 7th inning of the clincher, off El Tiante.

          Ah, memories…

          • Didn’t see your response.

            Your point about the schedule not
            being rebalanced made me wonder
            if the split season format of 1981,
            was a direct response to the 72 AL East
            result.

    • Cardenas ’72 had the 5th-worst rate of Runs per PA of any modern player with 100+ games, and had by far the most games and PAs of anyone in the neighborhood.

      Rate-wise, Bill Bergen stands alone (of course). But Clay Dalrymple, Phillies catcher of the ’60s, owns two of those bottom 5 rates.

      Position-wise, Cardenas is the only one of those bottom 5 who was not a catcher.

  6. I was surprised Paul Konerko didn’t make the first list, although he does sneak into the 2000s table. Konerko has 38 and 40 TDI the last two seasons.

  7. The TDI formula here would count a run where batter hit safely and scored on an error in the same at-bat, no? Possibly some of these TDI totals could be less accounting for such. Or just rename TDI to more accurately reflect the calculation like Times Scoring Without Homering.

    • You’re right, David. A more correct name would be as you have indicated.

      Also, TOB does not include times reaching base on a fielder’s choice. But, it does include (of course) times reaching base and then being erased on a fielder’s choice. So, it’s not completely exact but it’s probably not far off the true number.

  8. Some say that late at night, when the stadium is empty and everyone has gone home, Wes and Tommy Helms roam the basepaths endlessly, waiting for someone to come break their family’s curse.

  9. Richard, it was those 1950s Red Sox teams who were the under-performers. Williams inclusion is similar to Wally Berger in the 1930s for the lowly Braves. They make the list mostly because they get on base so much.

    • In a five year period (’54-’58), Ted Williams had four seasons in which he had 502+ PAs, an OPS greater than 1.000, and fewer than 100 RBIs and runs scored. Pretty remarkable considering there are only 20 such seasons in the entire history of baseball (Tris Speaker is the only other player with multiple such seasons).

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