clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Obscure and Invented Statistical Records from 2006

One of the things that I love about baseball is the idea that you could attend 162 games a year for 50 years, and be virtually guaranteed to see something new every game.

If that can happen on a game-by-game basis, just think of the possibilities when you begin to talk about whole seasons at a time... Surely new records must be set and broken every year.

Sometimes it takes a bit of digging through the stats to find them, though.

That's what I'm here for. I've found enough nuggets of trivia that you'll be able to impress even the most hardcore of baseball nuts at the next SABR convention. Which, by coincidence, I'll be attending in St. Louis this summer. See you all there!


I'll begin by asking you all this question. Have you ever been at the ballpark and seen a player crack a double off of the wall in the gap, and then be surprised when he has to slide into second base? If so, there's a chance you were watching some baseball in the midwest in the last few years.

In the history of the game, there have been just 24 players who managed have a season where they hit 30 or more doubles and failed to steal a single base or record one triple. Now, I'm not calling them slow, but I am going to call them... unique.

1 John Olerud 2000 45 0 0
2 Travis Hafner 2005 42 0 0
3 Kevin Millar 2002 41 0 0
4 John Olerud 2002 39 0 0
T5 Sandy Alomar Jr. 1997 37 0 0
T5 Victor Martinez 2006 37 0 0
7 Johnny Estrada 2004 36 0 0
T8 John Olerud 2003 35 0 0
T8 Frank Thomas 2003 35 0 0
T10 Mike Matheny 2005 34 0 0
T10 Scott Hatteberg 2003 34 0 0
T12 Ken Reitz 1980 33 0 0
T12 Victor Martinez 2005 33 0 0
T12 Walt Moryn 1957 33 0 0
T15 Charles Johnson 2001 32 0 0
T15 John Olerud 1995 32 0 0
T17 Kent Hrbek 1988 31 0 0
T17 Manny Ramirez 2002 31 0 0
T17 Joe Crede 2006 31 0 0
T17 Dick Williams 1960 31 0 0
T21 Ken Griffey Jr. 2005 30 0 0
T21 Aramis Ramirez 2005 30 0 0
T21 Scott Hatteberg 2004 30 0 0
T21 Paul Konerko 2002 30 0 0

What might be more interesting is that of those 24 players, no less than 7 of them played for Cleveland, Chicago, or Cincinnati in the past four years. Kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it?

John Olerud seems to have a lock on this list with three of the top eight seasons, but Victor Martinez might be the new poster boy. Martinez hit 33 doubles in 2005 without a triple or stolen base, good for 12th on the list. In 2006 he topped his own mark, managing 37 doubles without a three-bagger or base-swipe. That put him at 5th on that list.

Over his career, Martinez does have one triple and one stolen base, but he's balanced that out by knocking out 113 doubles so far. I took a peek at four major projection systems, and while ZiPS and Bill James have him reasonably at 0/0 for 3B/SB, PECOTA and CHONE each seem to think Martinez is going to hit a triple next year. So be sure to watch for that. I didn't check the Old Farmer's Almanac for when the triple is due to appear, but I'll get back to you.


Even if you've been living in a cave or under a rock for the past six years, you've probably heard of this ballplayer the Cardinals think has potential, goes by the name of Pujols.

As we're all well aware, he's setting records faster than we can come up with them, and in position to make a run at nearly every number that's standing. Also, he's either the savior of the game or on HGH, depending on your viewpoint... such as if you're wearing a Derrek Lee jersey as you read this.

Pujols has tied an MLB record that I may have just invented (it's so easy to do, just set some arbitrary parameters, throw in a little cherry-picking of stats, bake at 350 for 15 minutes, and BAM: new record.)

If you were to start with a list of all the seasons played by all of the people to ever suit up at the major league level, throw out all seasons with less than 40 home runs, with a lower than .305 average, and 50 or more strikeouts, you'd be left with a very full trash can. What would be spared from the can is a modest list; just 10 individual seasons that meet the criteria above.

If you were to then order the list by home runs hit, you'd see a familiar name at the top. Lou Gehrig. Twice. Tied with Gehrig's nearly identical 1934 and 1936 seasons, though, would be Albert Pujols's 2006 results.

T1 Albert Pujols 2006 49 .331 50
T1 Lou Gehrig 1936 49 .354 46
T1 Lou Gehrig 1934 49 .363 31
T4 Barry Bonds 2002 46 .370 47
T4 Joe DiMaggio 1937 46 .346 37
6 Barry Bonds 2004 45 .362 41
T7 Ted Williams 1949 43 .343 48
T7 Al Rosen 1953 43 .336 48
9 Rogers Hornsby 1922 42 .401 50
10 Chuck Klein 1930 40 .386 50

Even with Ryan Howard's fantastic 2006 season, you'd have to hand it to Pujols, he had a point in arguing that he was the MVP. By some criteria he had one of the best seasons ever.


Occasionally you'll hear talk of players not "hitting their weight", i.e. hitting below .200 or so. But do you ever hear of pitchers not "pitching their weight"? I can't say that I have.

Well, I'm here to remedy that imbalance. Using space age computer techniques, I've been able to divine, aided by my SABR-issued dowsing rod, just which pitchers passed muster at the weigh-in this past season. My criteria was that a pitcher needed to record one strikeout for every pound of his official MLB weight.

There were only four players that had enough mustard on their pitches to make weight. Leading the way by a wide margin was Johan Santana, listed at 210. Santana blew away 245 batters this year, though, leaving him enough room for error that he could eat a dozen doughnuts a day, show up in Florida at Twins camp Runelvys Hernandez-sized and still be fine.

In second place was Jake Peavy, whose 210 K's and 180 Lbs apparently aren't enough to allow him to park where he damn well pleases at the Mobile airport.

As for the other two qualifiers, Bronson Arroyo notched 184 strikeouts this year while only tipping the scales at a slender 180. Avoiding the "old man beer-gut syndrome" was John Smoltz, who just slipped in at 210 pounds and 211 strikeouts. Those National Leaguers better be thankful that they have pitchers to strike out every nine men up, otherwise they'd have to lay off the clubhouse doughnuts like their AL brethren to make this list next year.

Lbs K Diff
Johan Santana 210 245 90
Jake Peavy 180 215 35
Bronson Arroyo 180 184 4
John Smoltz 210 211 1

Roy Oswalt and Scott Kazmir also threatened to make the list, but were just short. Or heavy. However you'd like to call it.


As an A's fan, I'd be remiss if I didn't include one of the more pathetic levels of achievement of an offensive player in the last century. It's an old canard, but Antonio Perez's offensive production last season was nothing short of, well... offensive.

Worst Batting Averages (min. 110 PA)

1 Sandy Nava 1884 0.095 127 35 11
2 Mike Jordan 1890 0.096 143 19 12
3 Antonio Perez 2006 0.102 110 44 10
4 Ben Egan 1915 0.108 132 14 13
5 Jose Gonzalez 1991 0.111 134 42 13

Not only was Antonio Perez the owner of the third-worst batting average in the history of the game (and the worst in the past 116 years), but he didn't even look good doing it, if that's even possible. He struck out 40% of the time he walked up to the plate. He might as well have been holding the bat upside down.

Not convinced? Here's another list. It's how far below league average OPS a player was, among all-non pitchers given 110 PA.

1 Ted Kazanski 1954 -.423 .346 .769
2 Frank O'Rourke 1912 -.407 .325 .732
3 Mark Parent 1997 -.392 .375 .767
4 Antonio Perez 2006 -.389 .389 .778
5 Kevin Cash 2003 -.386 .377 .762
6 Dave Shean 1919 -.385 .329 .713
7 Morgan Murphy 1897 -.383 .375 .759
8 Tom Egan 1974 -.383 .311 .694
9 Andy Anderson 1949 -.380 .376 .756
10 Bill Bergen 1911 -.378 .337 .715
11 Mike Benjamin 2002 -.378 .385 .763
12 Frankie Pytlak 1940 -.374 .401 .776
13 Sandy Nava 1884 -.373 .268 .642
14 Mike Jordan 1890 -.372 .314 .686
15 Ben Egan 1915 -.371 .297 .669

I don't mean to bash Perez too badly, though. After all, he was used very irregularly, and he's certain to bounce back to an extent this year. But that was historically bad. It's hard to believe that Perez didn't earn a negative win share, but scored a zero. Perhaps his one homer (off of Randy Johnson?!) counts more than I'm giving him credit for.