All of these players are All-Stars who received MVP votes at least once in their careers. Beyond that, they may not appear to share many similarities. Yet, among players to play their entire careers since 1961, these are the only hitters with a certain career accomplishment.
What is this unusual batting feat?
Congratulations to Richard Chester! He correctly identified that, among players who have played their entire careers since 1961, these are the only hitters with a career total for intentional walks more than 50% higher than their GIDP total.
More on this unusual batting quirk after the jump.
Of course, Barry Bonds is the all-time leader in intentional walks with a 688 total, more than double Hank Aaron’s second place count of 293 (IWs weren’t counted in Aaron’s rookie season, but he likely didn’t get very many that year). Albert Pujols is the active leader with 275, so he is likely to pass Aaron in 2014 or 2015. With Bonds’ commanding IW total, he also has the highest ever IW to GIDP ratio of more than 4:1. The second highest ratio belongs to Ichiro at 2.4 to 1, with Darryl Strawberry the only other player with a ratio of more than 2:1.
Don Buford has the lowest career GIDP total and lowest GIDP to PA ratio among all players with 5000+ PA. He and Brett Butler are the only players with fewer than one GIDP per 150 PA. But, a third may be in the offing: Michael Bourn has only 21 GIDP in almost 4000 PAs, a ratio approaching one GIDP per 200 PA. Barring a dramatic change in his batting approach or results, Bourn seems poised to become the toughest ever batter to double-up (among those for whom we have data).
Looking at the careers for our quiz players, Ichiro will easily retain his 1.5 IW to GIDP ratio for his career and Ryan Howard, the other active player on the list, is also well clear of the 1.5 cutoff.
Ryan Howard has another interesting career ratio. His 88 GIDP to go with 311 HR puts him in the top 15 for best HR to GIDP ratio (among players for whom we have complete data).
Mostly recent players on this list as a high HR to GIDP ratio is generally only achieved with lots of strikeouts. With the notable exception of Roger Maris. After Maris, the next lowest strikeout total on the list (Howard Johnson’s 1053) is over 40% higher than Maris’s modest whiff mark.