Quiz – Tom Glavine

Tom Glavine was among the finest pitchers of his time, compiling a distinguished 20-year, 300-win career likely to be recognized with his enshrinement in the HOF. Among Glavine’s many accomplishments was a season performance which, at the time, had not been achieved in either league in almost 60 seasons. What was this accomplishment?


      • When Glavine became the ninth pitcher since 1901 to achieve this feat, he was (like most who had done it before him) past age 30
      • The eight pitchers preceding Glavine accomplished this feat within a span of just 23 seasons. None of them are in the HOF.
      • A tenth pitcher achieved this feat  before Glavine retired, becoming the oldest pitcher to do so. Like Glavine, he is probably destined for the HOF.
          • Besides Glavine, there is only one other lefthander among these ten pitchers

Congratulations (and welcome back) to Raphy, with an assist from Richard Chester. Raphy identified search criteria satisfying the above clues. The season I had in mind was Glavine’s 2004 campaign with 200+ IP, ERA+ >= 100, zero wild pitches and zero hit batsmen. The list of pitchers to do this since 1901 satisfies the above clues.


Quiz – Tom Glavine — 43 Comments

      • There had to be a lot of guys back in the dead ball era who did that though- of the top 20 career leaders in triples all but a handful played most of their careers in that era and only 2 of them had careers that started after 1920. Couple that with guys routinely pitching 300 and some even 400 innings and you have to have more than just 8 guys that gave up double figures in triples in a season.

      • You’re right that it isn’t what I had been looking for, and it doesn’t produce the same list, but it does satisfy all of the clues I identified, so that’s good enough for me.

        The criteria I had in mind was ERA+ >= 100 instead of GR <= 10.

          • Color me confused Doug. If Raphy’s suggestion produces a different list of pitchers how does that count but my suggestion in #23 gets rejected? Mine was closer to your original idea and leaving out Maddux isn’t actually germane since Maddux was only a clue, not actually an essential part of the criteria.

          • Ed, it’s because Raphy’s list satisfies the 4 clues I identified for the post.

            I think the clues are germane. If the criteria you come up with doesn’t satisfy one or more of the clues, I don’t think you can say it’s the right answer. :) Someone else might have had the same criteria but declined to post it, knowing that it didn’t satisfy all the clues.

            It’s the same idea for the more normal approach of giving you the list first. If someone comes up with a set of criteria different from what I had in mind, but it produces the same result, that’s good enough for me.

          • I see your point Doug but IMHO what should take precedence over anything else is what your original idea was. Accepting a completely different idea, one that is completely unrelated to what you were looking for and in many ways is superfluous to the accomplishment AND results in a different list of pitchers, doesn’t make much sense. If we were really, really far away from solving the quiz, perhaps, but we weren’t.

          • Fair enough, Ed.

            But, you should know that there was just one pitcher different between my list and Raphy’s. So, it wasn’t a completely different list.

  1. Congratulations to Raphy, with a big assist to Richard Chester. They identified that Glavine was the first pitcher to have a season matching the clues identified at the top of the post.

    Glavine’s 2004 season included 200+ IP, ERA+ >= 100 and zero WP and HBP. Pitchers to do this since 1901 are:

    Rk Player Year ERA+ WP HBP IP Age Tm
    1 Greg Maddux 2006 109 0 0 210.0 40 TOT
    2 Tom Glavine 2004 119 0 0 212.1 38 NYM
    3 Fred Hutchinson 1946 119 0 0 207.0 26 DET
    4 Al Smith 1943 122 0 0 208.1 35 CLE
    5 Jim Turner 1937 149 0 0 256.2 33 BSN
    6 George Blaeholder 1934 117 0 0 234.1 30 SLB
    7 General Crowder 1932 129 0 0 327.0 33 WSH
    8 Huck Betts 1932 135 0 0 221.2 35 BSN
    9 Red Lucas 1931 103 0 0 238.0 29 CIN
    10 Red Lucas 1927 114 0 0 239.2 25 CIN
    11 Jesse Barnes 1924 118 0 0 267.2 31 BSN
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 11/14/2012.

    – Glavine was the first pitcher in 58 years to have such a season
    – The first eight pitchers to do this all accomplished the feat in a span of just 23 seasons (1924-1946)
    – Greg Maddux joined this group two years after Glavine, at age 40 the oldest to accomplish this feat
    – Besides Glavine, Alfred Smith is the only lefthander in the group

    Notable is General Crowder, accomplishing this feat while leading the league with a hefty 327 IP. That’s a lot of pitches without a wild one or a plunking.

  2. It looks like Paul Derringer holds the record for most consecutive IP without a WP or HBP. From 9-14-36 to 9-7-38 he pitched in 83 games for a total of 506 innings without either. For the games immediately prior to and after the 83 games it cannot be determined exactly when he had a WP or HBP. So his streak is at least 506 IP.

    • Evidently, pitchers in the 20s and 30s were throwing scared. While batters in the dead-ball era could be (and were) intimidated, usually with impunity, those days were now gone.

      After Walter Johnson retired in 1927 with 205 career HBP, there was no active leader in career HBP over 150 until Don Drysdale in 1968, and only one year with an active leader above 100 HBP (Earl Whitehill at 101 in 1939) from 1937 to 1963. In contrast, prior to Walter Johnson, you have to go back to Tony Mullane in 1890 to find an active leader below 150. Similarly, active leaders have been above 100 HBP every year since 1974.

      • Doug:

        Rapid Robert Feller is an example of how pitchers did not throw inside in the 30s and 40s. Although he could never be mistaken for someone with great control, hence the post 19th century record for walks in a season in 1938 with 208 (and his 1941 season of 194 is 4th (with 2 Nolan Ryan seasons in between)), he never hit more than 7 batters in a season, with only a career 60 hit batsmen (compared to 1764 walks, which is 5th alltime). I think those stats make it clear that when Rapid Robert missed the strike zone (which was often), he made sure that it missed low and away and not up and in.

        • Good point, Robert. It would be interesting to look at how closely HBP correlates with wildness.

          Don Drysdale ranks 90th highest and 93rd lowest (about 10th percentile) among live-ball pitchers in career (min. 1000 IP) WP and BB/9. But, in HPB, he ranks 8th highest. So, for Don, HPB seems much more intentional than as a result of wildness.

          Bob Gibson was basically league average BB/9 (461st best at 3.10 vs. 3.08 median) but ranked 38th in HBP and 36th in WP. That seems both deliberate (high HBP relative to BB/9) and accidental (high WP relative to BB/9) unless the high WP came from batters getting out of the way of his intended HBP pitches (which may well be the case).

          An then there’s Nolan Ryan who looks completely accidental, ranking 1st, 6th, and 8th worst in WP, HBP and BB/9.

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