Lotta (Last Name) Letters in the Lineup

(Corrected from an earlier version)

Last week, we listed the lineups with the most letters in them (considering last AND first names).  Now we’ll consider only last names.

The starting lineup containing the most letters in the last names was achieved by the Chicago Cubs on August 23, 1946, as they hosted the Boston Braves.  Their one-through-nine tallied 81 letters, an average of 9 per man.  Here is that lineup:

The record for the fewest letters in the last names in a starting lineup is 39, achieved by the 2004 Tampa Bay Devil Rays.  On September 30th of that year, as they hosted the Tigers in the second game of a twinbill, sent out this “nine”:

The record for most letters in the last names of the starting lineups of both teams in a game is 145 144, achieved twice.  On August 20, 1949, the Cubs visited the Reds, and the teams presented these lineups:

15 seasons later, the Red Sox and White Sox tied that record on April 24, 1964 in Chicago, with the following lineups:

The record for the fewest letters in the last names of the starting lineup by both teams is 88, achieved twice.  The first such occurrence was that same September 30, 2004  Tigers-Devil Rays game we mentioned above:

The most recent game 88-letter lineup game was on June 29, 2005, as the Dodgers hosted the Padres:

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Lotta Letters in the Lineup

I’m often asked which lineup has had the most letters in it, and I’m going to partially answer that question now.

Using the gamelogs from Retrosheet, I have complete batting orders/lineups for roughly 168,000 games from 1911-2013.  I’ve stripped out dashes, spaces, periods, hyphens and other extraneous marks, and present to you the most (and fewest) total letters in a team lineup.  This time out, we are considering first AND last names, as listed in Retrosheet.  (We’ll consider only last names in a future post)

The starting lineup containing the most letters was achieved by the Montreal Expos (rest in peace) on September 12, 1999 in a game at San Diego.  Their one-through-nine tallied a whopping 127 letters, an average of 14 per man.  Behold the beauty, and imagine Vin Scully or the late Bob Sheppard reading this list to the crowd before the game:

The record for the fewest letters in a starting lineup is 73, achieved twice by the same team.  The 1954 Cleveland Indians trotted out the same group of nine “short-named” players twice within five days.  On August 8 of that year, they hosted Philadelphia and sent out this “ennead” in the second game of a twin-bill:

The same nine took the field on August 12 at Detroit, with a minor change in the order:

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The record for most letters in starting lineups by both teams in a game is 241, achieved twice:

August 1, 2011: Cleveland at Boston

July 21, 2013: Chicago at Colorado

The record for the fewest letters in a starting lineup by both teams is 159, achieved by the Senators and Indians in a game at Cleveland on June 23, 1950:

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Drop a Letter and You Still Have a Name

Andy, owner of the terrific High Heat Stats and friend of the VORG, asked the following question this afternoon:

Oswaldo Arcia makes me wonder how many MLB players have a surname the same as another, minus the first letter (i.e. Garcia)… @dianagram?

So with the Lahman Baseball Database fired up, here are the names of players that have a last name “partner” if you drop the first letter of the last name.  (The “Match” column shows only the first match, alphabetically)

Continue reading

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The “First Half” Record Holders

A couple of weeks ago on Sunday Night Baseball, John Kruk mentioned how the “first half” of the season doesn’t really match up with the “All-Star Break” anymore.  Now, loyal readers of the VORG will remember that we covered this in detail last year.  The phrase “Most ____ by the All-Star Break” is relatively meaningless when that Break changes from year-to-year.

So, if we were going to discuss the best “first half” performances of all-time, lets restrict them to the first 81 games of seasons since 1961.  Then you’d have the following record-holders (with the 154-game season from 1920-1960 [77-game 1st half] records below them):

HOMERS

Rk Player Year HR
1 Barry Bonds 2001 39
2 Mark McGwire 1998 37
3 Reggie Jackson 1969 34
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/13/2014.

(154-game season first-half record: 32 by Babe Ruth in 1928 and 1930)

RBI

Rk Player Year RBI
1 Juan Gonzalez 1998 96
2 Manny Ramirez 1999 88
3 Carlos Delgado 2003 88
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/13/2014.

(154-game season first-half record: 103 by Hank Greenberg in 1935)

HITS

Rk Player Year H
1 Darin Erstad 2000 130
2 Ichiro Suzuki 2001 125
3 Ichiro Suzuki 2007 124
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/13/2014.

(154-game season first-half record: 139 by George Sisler in 1922)

DOUBLES

Rk Player Year 2B ▾
1 Edgar Martinez 1996 41
2 Manny Machado 2013 37
3 Chuck Knoblauch 1994 36
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/16/2014.

(154-game season first-half record: 37 by Paul Waner in 1932)

TRIPLES

Rk Player Year 3B ▾
1 Curtis Granderson 2007 15
2 Jose Reyes 2011 15
3 Rod Carew 1977 14
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/16/2014.

(154-game season first-half record: 14 by four players)

STRIKEOUTS

Rk Player Year SO ▾
1 Adam Dunn 2012 127
2 Chris Davis 2009 114
3 Ryan Howard 2008 112
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/16/2014.

(154-game season first-half record: 78 by Wally Post in 1956)

WALKS

Rk Player Year BB ▾
1 Barry Bonds 2004 119
2 Barry Bonds 2002 104
3 Frank Thomas 1995 86
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/16/2014.

(154-game season first-half record: 97 by Ted Williams in 1947)

INNINGS PITCHED (ONLY AS STARTER)

Rk Player Year IP ▾
1 Wilbur Wood 1973 213.0
2 Wilbur Wood 1972 198.0
3 Gaylord Perry 1972 194.2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/16/2014.

(154-game season first-half record: 191.3 by Pete Alexander in 1920)

INNINGS PITCHED (ONLY AS RELIEVER)

Rk Player Year IP ▾
1 Mike Marshall 1974 99.0
2 Eddie Fisher 1965 94.1
3 Mike Marshall 1973 88.1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/16/2014.

(154-game season first-half record: 91 by Hoyt Wilhelm in 1953)

STRIKEOUTS (ONLY AS STARTER)

Rk Player Year SO ▾
1 Nolan Ryan 1977 214
2 Nolan Ryan 1973 188
3 Steve Carlton 1972 182
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/16/2014.

(154-game season first-half record: 190 by Bob Feller in 1946)

WINS (AS STARTING PITCHER)

(154-game season first-half record: 16 by three players)

SAVES

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The 2014 All-Star Game Lineups, Anagrammed

By now you know the starting lineups and their affiliations for both teams in the All-Star Game. The VORG is proud to present them here, in anagram form:

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates – Screw dirt-cheap, mean cunt.
Yasiel Puig, Dodgers – Ugly or diseased pig.
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies – Utilize two tricky rooks.
Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks – Hot pudding blackmails? Odd scam.
Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins – Strong, national carnalism.
Aramis Ramirez, Brewers – Bizarre ears warm miser.
Chase Utley, Phillies – The icy phalluses lie.
Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers – Joy! Heartburn clears now.
Carlos Gomez, Brewers – Zeros screw large mob
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals – Maniac’s daring withdrawal.
AMERICAN LEAGUE
Derek Jeter, Yankees – Eyes knee-jerk trade.
Mike Trout, Angels – Geek or stimulant.
Robinson Cano, Mariners – Brains races on in moron.
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers – Terrible garage music.
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays – Joy! Jesus! A suitable bat.
Nelson Cruz, Orioles – Surlier colon zones.
Adam Jones, Orioles – Major loon disease.
Josh Donaldson, Athletics – Old jail enchants hot sods.
Salvador Perez, Royals – Sparsely loved a razor.
Felix Hernandez, Mariners – Learn harm in frenzied sex.

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Pitchers with a Lower ERA than WHIP in a Season

Paul Swydan of The Hardball Times and Fangraphs tweeted the following:

Paul Swydan @Swydan

1.87 would be a great ERA for a reliever. Too bad that’s Craig Breslow’s WHIP. Why is he on the Red Sox still? Give me one reason.

I then responded:

dianagram @dianagram

@Swydan HMMM …. seasons in which a pitcher’s ERA matched or was lower than his WHIP …. #ARTICLEIDEA

So here are the pitchers who had a season of at least 20 innings pitched in which their ERA was lower than their WHIP.  All of these pitchers were relievers, though a few had spot starts in the particular season.  Bob Veale has the most innings pitched with ERA < WHIP (77 1/3).  Dennis Eckersley’s 1990 season is one for the record books . . . possibly the most dominant relief campaign of the decade.

Name ERA WHIP IP Year G GS SV SO9
Hank Aguirre 0.69 1.154 39.0 1968 25 0 3 5.77
Jonathan Broxton 0.62 0.759 29.0 2014 30 0 6 5.90
Brian Bruney 0.87 1.403 20.2 2006 19 0 0 10.89
Bobby Castillo 1.11 1.603 24.1 1979 19 0 7 9.25
Joba Chamberlain 0.38 0.750 24.0 2007 19 0 1 12.75
Nelson Chittum 1.19 1.319 30.1 1959 21 0 0 3.56
Louis Coleman 0.61 0.843 29.2 2013 27 0 0 9.71
Harry Coveleski 0.00 0.650 20.0 1907 4 0 0 2.70
Jesse Crain 0.74 1.145 36.2 2013 38 0 0 11.29
Joey Devine 0.59 0.832 45.2 2008 42 0 1 9.66
Gus Dorner 1.25 1.278 36.0 1902 4 4 0 1.25
Dennis Eckersley 0.61 0.614 73.1 1990 63 0 48 8.96
Foster Edwards 0.72 1.320 25.0 1926 3 3 0 1.44
Rich Gossage 0.77 0.771 46.2 1981 32 0 20 9.26
Earl Hamilton 0.83 1.111 54.0 1918 6 6 0 3.33
Chris Hammond 0.95 1.105 76.0 2002 63 0 0 7.46
Bill Harris 0.87 0.968 31.0 1931 4 4 0 2.90
Carmen Hill 1.15 1.170 47.0 1915 8 3 0 4.60
Kenley Jansen 0.67 1.000 27.0 2010 25 0 4 13.67
Dan Jennings 1.03 1.443 26.1 2014 28 0 0 8.54
Joel Johnston 0.40 0.806 22.1 1991 13 0 0 8.46
Jeff Keener 1.61 1.701 22.1 1982 19 0 0 10.07
Paul Kilgus 0.63 0.907 28.2 1993 22 1 1 6.59
Craig Kimbrel 0.44 1.210 20.2 2010 21 0 1 17.42
Barry Latman 0.76 0.923 47.2 1958 13 3 0 5.29
Name ERA WHIP IP Year G GS SV SO9
Nick Maddox 0.83 0.833 54.0 1907 6 6 0 6.33
Cliff Markle 0.39 0.913 23.0 1915 3 2 0 4.70
Walt Masterson 1.08 1.240 25.0 1945 4 2 0 5.04
George McQuillan 0.66 0.780 41.0 1907 6 5 0 6.15
Earl Moore 0.00 1.077 26.0 1908 3 3 0 5.54
Rob Murphy 0.72 0.934 50.1 1986 34 0 1 6.44
Buck O’Brien 0.38 1.070 47.2 1911 6 5 0 5.85
Eric O’Flaherty 0.98 1.086 73.2 2011 78 0 0 8.19
Harry Otis 1.37 1.671 26.1 1909 5 3 0 2.05
Jim Park 1.19 1.191 22.2 1915 3 3 0 1.99
Dennys Reyes 0.89 0.987 50.2 2006 66 0 0 8.70
David Robertson 1.08 1.125 66.2 2011 70 0 1 13.50
Fernando Rodney 0.60 0.777 74.2 2012 76 0 48 9.16
Ray Searage 0.70 0.939 38.1 1984 21 0 6 6.81
Kevin Siegrist 0.45 0.882 39.2 2013 45 0 0 11.34
Matt Smith 0.87 0.919 20.2 2006 26 0 0 9.15
Bob Spade 1.00 1.111 27.0 1907 3 3 0 2.33
Al Tedrow 1.21 1.478 22.1 1914 4 3 0 1.61
John Tsitouris 0.84 0.938 21.1 1962 4 2 0 2.95
Bob Veale 1.04 1.275 77.2 1963 34 7 3 7.88
Tony Watson 0.84 0.938 42.2 2014 43 0 0 10.34
Chris Young 0.90 1.050 20.0 2010 4 4 0 6.75
Brad Ziegler 1.06 1.156 59.2 2008 47 0 11 4.53
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Most of a Given Name on a Team

Last time out, we listed the yearly leaders for most popular first names in baseball.    A natural extension of this is to find the teams with the most players with the same first name in a single season.  There have been four teams with at least seven different players with the same first name:

1989 Los Angeles Dodgers (8 “Mikes”): Mike Davis, Mike Hartley, Mike Huff, Mike Marshall, Mike Morgan, Mike Munoz, Mike Scioscia, Mike Sharperson

1902 Philadelphia Athletics (7 “Bills”): Bill Clay, Bill Duggleby, Bill Hallman, Bill Magee, Bill Salisbury, Bill Thomas, Bill Wolff

1973 Texas Rangers (7 “Jims”): Jim Bibby, Jim Fregosi, Jim Kremmel, Jim Mason, Jim Merritt, Jim Shellenback, Jim Spencer

1975 Texas Rangers (7 “Jims”): Jim Bibby, Jim Fregosi, Jim Gideon, Jim Merritt, Jim Spencer, Jim Sundberg, Jim Umbarger

Last year, the Detroit Tigers led the Majors, by having five players named “Jose”: Jose Alvarez, Jose Iglesias, Jose Ortega, Jose Valverde and Jose Veras

(First names are based upon listing in Lahman Baseball Database.  The linked names may differ slightly in Baseball Reference.)

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