Quiz – Double Trouble (solved)

The 2012 Minnesota Twins have the unfortunate distinction of being the only club in more than 35 years with some unusual position players on its roster. What unenviable characteristic distinguishes these clubs from among all other post-war teams?

 

Hint #1: There were twelve such teams from 1920 to 1941, and seven more from 1942 to 1945. Seventeen of those 19 teams were Braves, Phillies, Athletics and Reds clubs.

Hint #2: The recent passing of 1960s Giant third baseman Jim Davenport led me to this topic (though he wasn’t one of the players that put the 1968 Giants on this list).

Congratulations to bstar! He correctly identified that only these post-war teams had two players qualify for the league batting championship with ISO of 0.05 or less. More after the jump.

If you’re not familiar with ISO, it stands for isolated power and is simply slugging percentage minus batting average. Thus, if a player hit only singles, his ISO would be zero. Here are the players on the quiz teams.

The appearance of Richie Ashburn on this list is proof that even defending batting champs can sometimes have a bad year (Ashburn saw his batting average slip 84 points and his slugging percentage drop 134 notches from 1958 to 1959).

I mentioned that Jim Davenport‘s recent passing had led me to this topic. Voomo Zanzibar remarked on Davenport’s 1968 season with only three extra-base hits in 307 PA. That translated into a microscopic .022 ISO, the lowest in the majors that season among those with 250 PA (not to be outdone, Davenport’s teammate Hal Lanier matched that .022 mark the next year in 537 PA). Davenport’s career .109 ISO ranks as the 12th lowest mark among single-franchise players with 1500 game careers. But he’s in good company, with a couple of Hall of Famers in 10th and 11th spots, and a couple more not too far away.

Rk Player ISO G PA R H 2B 3B HR BA OBP SLG OPS Tm
1 Clyde Milan .068 1982 8317 1004 2100 240 105 17 .285 .353 .353 .706 WSH
2 Bill Russell .075 2181 8021 796 1926 293 57 46 .263 .310 .338 .648 LAD
3 Jim Gantner .077 1801 6787 726 1696 262 38 47 .274 .319 .351 .671 MIL
4 Phil Rizzuto .082 1661 6719 877 1588 239 62 38 .273 .351 .355 .706 NYY
5 Ossie Bluege .084 1867 7453 883 1751 276 67 43 .272 .352 .356 .707 WSH
6 Luke Appling .088 2422 10254 1319 2749 440 102 45 .310 .399 .398 .798 CHW
7 Dave Concepcion .090 2488 9641 993 2326 389 48 101 .267 .322 .357 .679 CIN
8 Jim Gilliam .090 1956 8322 1163 1889 304 71 65 .265 .360 .355 .715 BRO-LAD
9 Stan Hack .096 1938 8508 1239 2193 363 81 57 .301 .394 .397 .791 CHC
10 Bill Mazeroski .107 2163 8379 769 2016 294 62 138 .260 .299 .367 .667 PIT
11 Pee Wee Reese .108 2166 9470 1338 2170 330 80 126 .269 .366 .377 .743 BRO-LAD
12 Jim Davenport .109 1502 4981 552 1142 177 37 77 .258 .318 .367 .684 SFG
13 Frankie Crosetti .109 1683 7270 1006 1541 260 65 98 .245 .341 .354 .695 NYY
14 Pie Traynor .115 1941 8297 1183 2416 371 164 58 .320 .362 .435 .797 PIT
15 Ed Kranepool .116 1853 5997 536 1418 225 25 118 .261 .316 .377 .693 NYM
16 Tony Gwynn .121 2440 10232 1383 3141 543 85 135 .338 .388 .459 .847 SDP
17 Frank White .128 2324 8468 912 2006 407 58 160 .255 .293 .383 .675 KCR
18 Mickey Stanley .129 1517 5477 641 1243 201 48 117 .248 .298 .377 .675 DET
19 Derek Jeter .130 2747 12602 1923 3465 544 66 260 .310 .377 .440 .817 NYY
20 Alan Trammell .130 2293 9376 1231 2365 412 55 185 .285 .352 .415 .767 DET
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/8/2016.

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33 Comments on "Quiz – Double Trouble (solved)"

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Voomo Zanzibar
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In Davenport’s 1968 season, he had ONE double in 307 PA…

… though that has nothing to do with this quiz
(even though it is called Double Trouble)

Doug
Guest

That observation is related to the quiz.

Davenport’s 1968 season is the last of 300 PA with XBH less than 1% of PAs. Dropping down to 250 PA finds Brett Butler (1982) and Julio Cruz (1986).

Goat Anderson (1907) is the only player below 1% in a qualifying season (modern definition), with 510 PA and 5 XBH.

CursedClevelander
Guest
Going into the 19th century, you get Herman Pitz, who played for one season in 1890 in the American Association. 346 PA, 0 XBH, and 39 SB. I looked him up a few months ago when I was checking for the most SB in a season without a 2B, most SB without a 3B, and most SB without a HR. Of course, 1890 was a season with 3 major leagues, as it was the only season of the Player’s League. The AA was already the NL’s little brother, and the addition of the Player’s League meant that a lot of… Read more »
brp
Guest

2012 Twins and 1979 Indians both have 3 guys with 500+ ABs who never hit 10 HRs in a season at any point in their career (some still active for Twins; Span & Revere).

It seems to be something about multiple players on the roster with really low HR totals, which would explain the higher prevalence in earlier eras. Can’t pinpoint it beyond that.

Doug
Guest

One the right track re: multiple players and 500 PA.

But, it’s only about the seasons in question, not other seasons. And, not related to home runs (other than indirectly).

Richard Chester
Guest

I ran the PI for 1946 to date for number of players on a team with 400+ PA and XBH less than .04*PA. All of of the teams on Doug’s list appeared but so did 57 others.

Richard Chester
Guest

That’s for teams with at least 2 such players.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

All eight teams listed above had at least five regulars with a SLG % less than .400??

Luis Gomez
Guest

Those teams had two players with more than 500 PA and 20 or less extra-base hits.

David P
Guest

That ’79 Indians team is remarkable in at least two ways:

1) Two players with 500+ PAs and 0 homeruns. Looks like the most recent team to do that was the `86 Cardinals (Ozzie and Vince Coleman). The `76 Angels did it as well. I’m sure there are others but it can’t be that common in the post-Ruth era.

2) They were led in WAR by a reliever! Sid Monge led all players, both pitchers and position players, with 5.6 WAR. That’s…WOW! Rare enough that a reliever leads his team in pitcher WAR, but to lead all players in WAR???!!!

Richard Chester
Guest

Since 1920 there have been 20 teams with 2 or more players with 500+ PA and 0 HR. The 1944 A’s and Senators had 3 such players. As mentioned the 1986 Cards were the last to do it.

Doug
Guest

Pet Kozma had 111 PA last year with no extra-base hits. Mark Grudzeilanek’s .273 BA in 2010 is the highest in a 100 PA season with no XBH. Others to post such a season include: Mike Gallego (1995), Otis Nixon (1984), Paul Casanova (1974), Pat Corrales (1972) and Frank Baumholtz (1956).

Kahuna Tuna
Guest

1979 was the year Jim Kern had his big year as the Rangers’ closer (13-5, 1.57 ERA, 29 saves). The NBJHBA names Kern as the best pitcher in baseball that year. Yet according to B-Ref Kern’s 6.2 overall WAR did not lead his team—Buddy Bell had 6.9.

John Hiller led the Tigers in overall WAR in his huge 1973 and 1974 seasons. (Hiller posted 8.1 WAR in ’73!) I’m sure a number of other examples can be found, especially on clubs with poor offenses.

Doug
Guest

A few other relievers to lead their team in WAR.
– Dick Radatz – ’62 & ’64 Red Sox
– Dick Selma – ’70 Phillies
– Tom Murphy – ’74 Brewers
– Rich Gossage – ’75 White Sox
– Greg Minton – ’82 Giants

Brendan Bingham
Guest

Interesting that after Gossage had his best year with the White Sox in ’75, they made him a starter in ’76, and he was mediocre. Beginning in ’77 with Pittsburgh, he never started again.

AlbaNate
Guest

I remember Monge, but I forgot how good he was. That’s the 11th highest WAR season ever for a pure reliever. Gossage’s mind-blowing 8.2 in 75′ is the best ever.

no statistician but
Guest

The list of 20 players with low ISO includes 6 HOFers and one future HOFer (Jeter) plus two arguable HOFers, Hack and Trammell, and two more, Milan And Gilliam, who were very good in relatively short careers. Evidently there’s more to baseball than Isolated Power, even if Bill James has a fetish about it.

Doug
Guest

Admittedly, it’s 20 of only 65 one-franchise players with 1500+ career games since 1901 (incl. one active player, David Wright). 33 of the 65 are HOFers, four more are on the ballot, and two others (Jeter and Chipper) should be easy picks.

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