Over at the excellent and entertaining “The Captain’s Blog“, William Juliano wonders if the “walk-off” plate appearance (and inevitable celebration) has become cliched.
Maybe it has … maybe it hasn’t. But the phrase itself has only been around for about 25 years (Dennis Eckersley has been given credit for first uttering the term after walking off the mound in response to yielding a game-ending hit in 1988). At first, we only had (or noted) walk-off homers . . . then it expanded to any type of hit, then to walks, errors, hit-by-pitches, balks and all other categories of plate appearances. There is a Twitter account (and website post) dedicated to alerts for potential walk-off walks. Doug Kern of ESPN recently tweeted the following:
@dianagram I’m trying to get “bean-off” (HBP) and “bounce-off” (WP) into common usage.
During a bases loaded, tie game situation in a Rays/Orioles contest earlier this week, one of my Twitter followers was rooting for a walk-off catcher’s interference. (Sadly, that did not occur).
Armed with the Baseball Reference Play Index, which has complete play-by-play data back to 1973 and partial PBPs going back to 1948, the VORG gives you the approximate counts of various game-winning walkoff events through the end of Friday’s games (along with the link/reference to the most recent instance):
HBP: 55, 5/26/2012
Catcher Interference: 1, 8/1/1971
Walks: 435, 7/31/2012
Strikeouts: 14, 9/29/2010
Batter reaches on error: 442, 9/14/2012
Singles: 5459, 9/13/2012
Doubles: 824, 9/13/2012
Triples: 133, 7/20/2012
Homers: 3104, 9/9/2012