Pi Day

Today is Pi Day, March 14, 3/14, which seems to have become a thing.  It ‘s kind of odd, really, to rely on a simple three-digit calendar designation to commemorate a mathematical phenomenon the most intriguing aspect of which is its status as an irrational number.  But, hey, any occasion that celebrates two of my favorite things, numbers and bakery products, is OK with me.

Pi taken out to the fifth decimal place is 3.14159.
Joey Votto’s current career batting average taken out to the  seventh decimal place is .3141509.   Joey wins this year’s Archimedes Closest to Pi award.

Other baseball 314’s are after the jump.

–Cecil Travis and Bibb Falk each ended up with a .314 career batting average and at least 5,000 career PAs

–Those with .314 career on base percentages and at least 5,000 PAs: Don Kessinger, Roy McMillan, Terry Kennedy, John Montgomery (“Monte”) Ward, Dots Miller, Mookie Wilson,

–Having a .314 career slugging percentage and at least 5,000 PAs: Otis Nixon, Miller Huggins and Jimmy Austin

–Reggie Smith had 314 career regular season homers; Torii Hunter is currently at 314 career regular season homers.

–3.14 career ERAs, minimum 1,000 IP: Mike Cuellar, Tug McGraw, Mike Marshall, Leon Cadore, Bert Gallia.

–Gaylord Perry had 314 career regular season Wins.

28 thoughts on “Pi Day

  1. 1
    Nick Pain says:

    Pie Traynor batted .314 from 1932-34.

    • 6
      Artie Z. says:

      Felix Pie once had a 35 AB stretch where he hit .314 (11 for 35).

      I couldn’t find an actual stretch that included all his ABs for a game (didn’t check everything) but from 8/6/2010-8/14/2010 he was 11 for 36 in 9 games played, with 0 for 4 games bookending that stretch, so he must have been 11 for 35 at some point.

    • 14
      birtelcom says:

      To get the circumference of the Circle of Greats, multiple its diameter by Pie Traynor. Which may suggest that Pie will be remaining on the outside of the Circle.

  2. 2
    Pseu says:

    Actually, Ty Cobb holds the closest-to-pi BA crown, with Joe Mauer closest among actives. This list bears a striking similarity to the “highest BA” rankings, which shouldn’t surprise as Pi > 1.

    Mr Votto does substantially better on the “closest to Pi/10” metric.

    source: pedantry

    • 13
      birtelcom says:

      Excellent comment. I should have specified that I was talking about a certain aesthetic closeness to pi rather than an arithmetic closeness to pi. I love that you pointed out that the guys with the highest averages are the ones actually arithmetically closest to pi. This is one web site where pedantry as a source is not discouraged.

  3. 3
    ReliefMan says:

    Bronson Arroyo has given up 314 HR, as of this offseason.

    And even if their BBRef pages don’t acknowledge it, you’ve got to wonder how close guys like Prince Fielder, David Ortiz, and CC Sabathia are to 314 pounds.

  4. 4
    Artie Z. says:

    Four players born on 3/14 made the all-star team.

    Bobby Jenks and Butch Wynegar made 2 each.
    Kevin Brown made 6 teams.
    Kirby Puckett made 10 teams – and is the only HOFer born on 3/14.

    Puckett leads all hitters born on 3/14 in AB, R, H, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, OBP, SLG, and OPS (assuming we remove players with less than 20 PAs). He is 2nd to Marty McManus in games and 3rd behind McManus and Wynegar in BB.

    Brown leads in virtually everything but saves (Jenks) and ERA (if you want to count Arnold Carter’s 2.72 in 1944-1945 in 195.1 IP as qualifying). His 3256.1 IP is just a shade under the 3358.1 IP of everyone else born on 3/14, including the 1891 IP by William Pearl “Bunker” Rhines.

    Rhines twice led the NL in ERA, ERA+, and WHIP in the same season (1890 and 1896) and posted an 11.4 WAR season in 1890 as a 21 year-old rookie with Cincy, and may have been an early cautionary tale about overusing pitchers as he racked up 401.1 and 372.2 IP in his 21 and 22 year old seasons, and followed that with 74.2 and 31.0 (with ERAs of 5.42 and 8.71, respectively) in his 23 and 24 year old seasons. He then spent his 25 year old season in the “minors” pitching 406.2 innings in 1894. Defense was clearly lacking on the Grand Rapids team in 1894 as Rhines allowed 436 runs in those 406.2 innings, but only 110 of them were earned, putting his ERA at a respectable 2.43. That team had 17 players who had (or would – but for many it was a “had”) played in the majors, including Lady Baldwin, Fred Carroll, Bob Caruthers, and quite possibly my new favorite baseball name, Frederick M. “Crazy” Schmit (looking at his picture on bbref might suggest how he got that name – look at the eyes).

    Of course if we were drafting people born on 3/14 I would favor that Einstein guy – he might be handy to have in the front office.

    • 12
      Hartvig says:

      What might be the craziest fact about Crazy Schmit’s career could be his having a career as a ML pitcher that spanned 3 decades (assuming your decade spans the 0-9 years & not 1-0) with a winning percentage of .163 and an ERA+ of 69.

  5. 5
    John Autin says:

    Kirby Puckett was born on 3/14, and hit .314 in his last season … and had 3.1 WAR. He’s the only one born on this day who ever hit .314 in a qualified year.

    Ken Boyer in 1961 (his best WAR year) had 314 total bases, while based in the 314 area code.

    Wild Bill Hutchinson fanned 314 batters in 1892, the last year at the old pitching distance. He won 36 and lost 36, in 622 innings — 140 more IP than any subsequent pitcher. (Three modern pitchers hit 313 Ks on the nose, but none had 314.)

    Red Ruffing in 1928 had the best of the pitchers’ years batting .314. Between pitching and hitting, he earned 5.0 WAR — with a 10-25 W-L record.

    • 19
      Voomo Zanzibar says:

      After Ruffings first six seasons his record was 39-93,
      with a 1.500 WHIP.

      Who would have guessed on a HOF career after that?
      Lucky for Ruffing The Red Sox were broke and needed more cash from those New Yorkers.

      • 20
        John Autin says:

        Ruffing was 39-96 with Boston. Then he won his first 5 decisions with the Yankees, to reach a career .314 W%. Didn’t stop there, though.

  6. 7
    J.R. says:

    Andre Dawson and Rafael Furcal (active) both have 314 career SBs.

    Pete Fox (1933-45) and Mike Griffin (1887-1898) both ended their careers with 314 doubles.

    Roger Peckinpaugh sits 8th all-time with 314 career sacrifice hits.

    Robb Nen currently sits 18th all-time with 314 career saves.

    Burleigh Grimes and Joe McGinnity (both HOFs) are tied for 33rd with 314 career CGs.

    Al Worthington finished 314 career games while pitching for New York (Giants), San Francisco, Boston, Chicago (White Sox), Cincinnati, and Minnesota.

  7. 8
    Mike L says:

    The 1938-1940 Phillies lost 314 games. I believe it is only only time that a team won or lost 314 games over a three year stretch.

  8. 10
    oneblankspace says:

    Perhaps more intersting for a batting average would be 1 over pi (.31830988618379067153776752674503 assuming my Windows calculator has an accurate result).

    Outside the US, dates are often written with the day before the month; the most recent major leaguer born on 22/7 is Denis Phipps, who had a cup of coffee in September 2012 with the Reds. Other notable recent 22/7-ers include Juan Uribe and Scott Sanderson.

  9. 11
    Richard Chester says:

    September 24, 1943. Phils vs. Cubs At Wrigley.

    Attendance: 314

  10. 15
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    I was crushed into a brick wall by an SUV on this day,
    as I was about to go into a shop to order a sandwich.
    I was sandwiched.

    It would be better if I was going to get some pie.

  11. 16
    Doug says:

    21 retired players went 3 for 14 for their careers, including 11 pitchers (most recent was Matt Ginter) and 10 positions players (most recent was Drew Meyer).

    109 players (including some of the above 21) have had a 3 for 14 season, but none of them had more than one. Three of those 109 (Chad Moeller, Dennis Powell, Art Herring) had all 3 hits go for extra bases. Notables among them include Bob Watson, Ted Simmons, Herb Pennock, Randy Moffitt, Joe Niekro, Hobie Landrith (on the current COG ballot), Charlie Hough, Harvey Haddix, Hank Aguirre and Tommie Agee. Dick Selma and George Dumont are the only players having a season with a triple as the only hits in 14 AB.

    Woody English (1930), Ted Williams (1948), Stan Musial (1949), John Olerud (1993) and Mark McGwire (1998) have seasons with hits and walks totaling 314. Cy Seymour (1905), Ty Cobb (1916), Rogers Hornsby (1920), Dave Bancroft (1921), Jimmy Johnston (1923), Earl Averill (1932), Doc Cramer (1938), Willie Mays (1954), Ryne Sandberg (1984), Vinny Castilla (1998), Edgardo Alfonzo (1999), Johnny Damon (2005) and Miguel Cabrera (2012) have seasons with hits and runs totaling 314. Jimmie Foxx (1938) has a season with runs and RBI totaling 314.

    28 pitchers have had exactly 3 seasons with 14 wins, Matt Latos being the most recent. David Cone (1989-91) and Jim Kaatn (1968-70) did so in consecutive seasons. 17 pitchers have exactly 3 seasons with 14 losses, Brad Radke being the most recent, with Bob Buhl (1962-64) and Gene Conley (1960-62) doing so inc consecutive seasons. Roy Oswalt, Juan Guzman, Roger Moret, Wayne Simpson and Bob Moose have had a 14-3 season, while Charlie Bishop, Lum Harris and Ike Pearson have been 3-14. No pitchers have a career mark of 14-3 or 3-14. Jesse Tannehill and Willis Hudlin both had winning records in 314 decisions. Robb Nen compiled 314 career saves.

    No pitchers have 314 strikeouts in a season, but Jake Arrieta, Seth McClung, Frank Williams, Ed Vande Berg, Hal Reniff and High Mulcahy did that for a career. Andy Coakley, Ed Karger, Dave Ferriss and Hod Lisenbee allowed 314 walks in their careers.

    Dizzy Trout, Carl Hubbell, George Pipgrass, Tom Zachary, Christy Mathewson and Jack Chesbro have allowed 314 hits in a season, while Billy Taylor, Ben Rivera, Tom Filer and Jim Brillheart did that for a career. George Kahler and John Montague allowed 314 runs in their careers, with Kahler’s 3.17 ERA coming close to matching his run total.

  12. 17
    John Autin says:

    Raul Mondesi is the only player with 20+ WAR and an average of 3.14 WAR per 162 games.

    Dizzy Trout’s 314 hits allowed came in 1944, along with MLB-best 2.12 ERA, 9.6 WAR/pitch and 11.1 total WAR, plus a plurality of the MVP votes — but Newhouser outpointed him for the trophy.

    Roger Bresnahan was a P.I. in the offseason. And I didn’t find that with the Play Index.

  13. 18
    John Autin says:

    Pete Incaviglia.

    Phil Irwin, 2013 Pirates pitcher. Had a 3.14 ERA in 2011 in the minors, and a 13-4 record.

    Dick Hall, the OF-turned-pitcher, is the only one with 1,000 IP and a 3.14 SO/BB ratio. He also had a 3.14 ERA in his 2 years with the Phils.

    The only modern teams with a season .314 W% were the 1903 Cardinals and Senators, both 43-94. (It’s impossible to have a .314 W% in a full 162 games or 154 games.)

    P.S. While looking for pi, I found MLB pitching brothers Gary and Mike Ignasiak, born 17 years apart. Mike was born on 3/12.

  14. 21
    John Autin says:

    One pitcher with 50+ decisions had a .314 career winning percentage: Fleury Sullivan pitched only one year, going 16-35 for the 1884 Pittsburgh Alleghenys.

    But hey, the rest of the staff went 14-43 (.246). Even Phenomenal Smith lost his only game for them. Their 3B, Joe Battin, wasn’t so aptly named, hittin’ .164 that year. (He even flopped in the Union Association.)

  15. 22
    John Autin says:

    I’ll stop after this one — the only searchable game where a team’s line score was 3-1-4:

    Hippo Vaughn’s Cubs defeated the Robins, 3-2. But that’s not all. The Cubs’ cleanup hitter was Heinie Zimmerman, the man with the most games among all players who died on 3/14.

    If Vaughn had sat out that day, he’d have finished with 314 decisions.

  16. 23
    Doug says:

    The single season batting average closest to pi winner is .3141593, by Jim Thome (1995), Turner Barber (1921) and Scoops Carey (1902), all with identical totals of 142 hits in 452 AB.

  17. 24
    Ken Schmidt says:

    The pitchers with season ERA closest to pi are Mel Parnell in 1948, Paul Foytack in 1957, and Jerry Koosman in 1970, all with 212 IP and 74 ER for a 3.14151 ERA. The closest possible to pi that I could find is 303.2 IP and 106 ER for a 3.14160 ERA.

    • 25
      Doug says:

      Jim Kaat (1975) hit the 303.2 IP on the number and had just one ER too few with 105. He allowed 16 unearned runs, so could have been just one scorer’s decision from hitting it on the nose.

  18. 26
    David Horwich says:

    Tony Gwynn had 3141 hits.

    Hank Leiber had 3141 plate appearances.

    Tom Seaver had 311 regular season wins and 3 in the postseason, for a total of 314.

  19. 28
    John Autin says:

    A day late for Pi Day, but Arquimedes Caminero got the last 3 outs as Miami no-hit the Yankees in Panama City Saturday. He’s having a good spring, after a good cameo last year.

    Dunno if he throws a screwball, but if so, I got dibs on yelling “Eureka!”

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