Saturday, August 4, 2007

? No. 23: Hardest to K

Quick: Name the hitter currently leading the majors in strikeouts. It's an easy question, as Adam Dunn, who has 128 whiffs already, is always at or very near the top. He's currently one behind Ryan Howard, also a great guess. But turning the tables, can you tell me who the current leader is in fewest strikeouts? Of those qualified for the batting title, there are just two batters under 25 — Paul Lo Duca with 24 and Placido Polanco with 19.

Today's question takes this theme a step further. Since 1957, one batter has been particularly stubborn at the plate, striking out fewer than 20 times in a season on seven occasions in that span. Over his 19-year career, the bulk of it spent as an everyday player with few trips to the DL, he K'd just 216 times. He holds the record over that stretch of time for fewest K's in a season: 11, in a whopping 698 plate appearances. Who was this 15-time All-Star?

Yesterday's Answer: Believe it or not, two teams have scored 8-plus runs in the same inning only one other time in major-league history. The first occurrence happened on May 8, 2004, when visiting Detroit got eight runs and Texas countered with 10 in the fifth inning of the Rangers' 16-15, 10-inning win. The 16 runs combined were a record for a second inning, two more than the previous mark.