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Passed Balls

(Catcher's Error or Pitcher's Snafu?)
Lists and Questions About PB

Indicates Hall Of Fame Catcher
{Data Source: Stats Thru 2007; Chuck Rosciam's Catcher Database and David Smith's Retrosheet}



Fewest Passed Balls - Career (20th-21st Century)
(500 Games Caught Minimum)

 

Catcher

PB GmC
1 Earl Grace (1929-1937) 12 557
2 Johnny Estrada (2001-nn) 15 571
3 Marc Hill (1973-1986) 17 687
4 John Wathan (1976-1985) 19 572
5 Gene Desautels (1930-1946) 19 699
6 Mike Redmond (1998-) 20 591
7 Jeff Newman (1976-1984) 20 513
8 Charlie O'Brien (1985-2000) 21 782
9 Eddie Perez (1995-2005) 22 501
10 B.J. Surhoff (1987-2005) 24 704

Fewest Passed Balls Per Game- Career (20th-21st Century)
(800 Games Caught Minimum)

 

Catcher

PB GmC PB/Gm
1 Buddy Rosar (1939-1951) 28 934 .0300
2 Brad Ausmus (1993-nn) 55 1810 .0304
3 Dan Wilson (1992-2005) 41 1281 .0320
4 Sherm Lollar (1946-1963) 53 1571 .0337
5 Al Lopez (1928-1947) 66 1918 .0344
6 Ray Mueller (1935-1951) 32 917 .0349
7 Chris Hoiles (1989-1998) 29 819 .0354
8 Phil Masi (1939-1952) 39 1101 .0354
9 Rick Dempsey (1969-1992) 61 1633 .0374
10 Clyde McCullough (1940-1956) 37 989 .0374

Fewest Passed Balls - Career (19th Century)
(500 Games Caught Minimum)

 

Catcher

PB GmC
1 Joe Sugden (1893-1912) 100 708
2 Morgan Murphy (1890-1901) 108 550
3 Mike Grady (1894-1906) 110 525
4 Boileryard Clarke (1893-1905) 128 739
5 John Grim (1888-1899) 151 578
6 Heinie Peitz (1892-1913) 163 958
7 Charlie Ganzel (1884-1897) 180 578
8 Jack Ryan (1889-1913) 182 526
9 Pop Schriver (1886-1901) 194 654
10 Malachi Kittridge (1890-1906) 201 1196

Most Passed Balls - Career (19th Century)

 

Catcher

PB GmC
1 Pop Snyder (1873-1891) 877 744
2 Silver Flint (1875-1889) 602 743
3 Doc Bushong (1875-1890) 553 668
4 Deacon McGuire (1884-1912) 495 1609
5 Wilbert Robinson (1886-1902) 491 1316
6 Jack Clements (1884-1900) 417 1073
7 King Kelly (1878-1893) 417 583
8 Bill Holbert (1876-1888) 409 538
9 Jocko Milligan (1884-1893) 407 585
10 Barney Gilligan (1875-1888) 377 459

Most Passed Balls - Career (20th-21st Century)

 

Catcher

PB GmC
1 Lance Parrish (1977-1995) 192 1818
2 Ted Simmons (1968-1988) 182 1771
3 Benito Santiago (1986-2005) 157 1917
4 Ernie Lombardi (1931-1947) 152 1544
5 Steve O'Neill (1911-1928) 145 1532
6 Rick Ferrell (1929-1947) 142 1806
7 Frankie Hayes (1933-1947) 139 1311
8 Gus Triandos (1953-1965) 138 992
9 Tim McCarver (1959-1980) 132 1387
10 Wally Schang (1913-1931) 131 1435

Most Passed Balls - Season (19th Century)

 

Catcher

PB GmC
1 Ed Whiting (1882 Bal-AA) 105 72
2 Bill Traffley (1885 Bal-AA) 104 61
3 Mike Hines (1883 Bos-NL) 99 59
  Pop Snyder (1881 Bos-NL) 99 60
5 Sleeper Sullivan (1882 Stl-AA) 97 51
6 Doc Bushong (1886 Cle-NL) 95 62
  Fred Carroll (1886 Pit-AA) 95 70
8 Jackie Hayes (1883 Pit-AA) 93 62
9 Charlie Reilley (1879 Tro-NL) 89 49
10 Wilbert Robinson (1886 Phi-AA) 87 61

Most Passed Balls - Season (20th-21st Century)

 

Catcher

PB GmC
1 Geno Petralli (1987 Tex-AL) 35 63
2 J.C. Martin (1965 Chi-AL) 33 112
3 Earl Williams (1972 Atl-NL) 28 116
4   Gus Triandos (1959 Bal-AL) 28 125
5 Ted Simmons (1975 Stl-NL) 28 154
6 Bob Didier (1969 Atl-NL) 27 114
7 Mike MacFarlane (1995 Bos-AL) 26 111
8 John Henry (1911 Was-AL) 25 51
9 Bob Uecker (1967 Atl-NL) 25 59
10 Nig Clarke (1907 Cle-AL) 25 115
11 Dick Dietz (1970 SF-NL) 25 139
12 Jason Varitek (1999 Bos-AL) 25 140

Fewest Passed Balls - Season (20th-21st Century)

 

Catcher

PB GmC
1 Johnny Estrada (2004 Atl-NL) 0 133
  Brian Schneider (2004 Mon-NL) 0 133
3 Al Todd (1937 Pit-NL) 0 128
4 Bill Dickey (1931 NY-AL) 0 125
5 Darrell Porter (1975 Mil-AL) 0 124
6 Johnny Bench (1975 Cin-NL) 0 121
7 Toby Hall (2004 TB-AL) 0 119
8 Al Lopez (1941 Pit-NL) 0 114
9 John Flaherty (1995 Det-AL) 0 112
10 Milt May (1977 Det-AL) 0 111

Has a game-ending winning run ever been scored on a Passed Ball?

The short answer is yes. For the data availability period of 1967-68 (A.L.
only) and 1969, 1974-2001 (N.L. & A.L.) there were 15 such events:

Date      Game & Score              Inn Outs Catcher - Pitcher
  8/8/1967 CHI (1) @ DET (2)   10 2  J.C. Martin - Hoyt Wilhelm
4/30/1969 CHI (2) @ KC (3)      9 2  Duane Josephson - Wilbur Wood
9/24/1974 ATL (1) @ LA (2)     10 2  Johnny Oates - Phil Niekro
6/12/1975 CLE (1) @ KC (2)    10 1  John Ellis - Eric Raich
9/17/1976 LA (0) @ ATL (1)     12 1  Ellie Rodriguez - Charlie Hough
6/14/1977 PIT (2) @ LA (3)         9 1  Ed Ott - Goose Gossage
7/23/1978 CAL (3) @ DET (4)    9 2  Brian Downing - Dyar Miller
  6/5/1979 SF (4) @ STL (5)        9 0  Mike Sadek - Randy Moffitt
4/26/1986 CIN (0) @ HOU (1)    9 1  Bo Diaz - Bill Gullickson
6/16/1986 TEX (1) @ CAL (2)     9 2  Orlando Mercado - Charlie Hough
9/20/1986 CHI (7) @ CAL (8)     9 1  Ron Karkovice - Dave Schmidt
10/5/1986 MON (1) @ PHI (2)  10 1  Dann Bilardello - Curtis Brown
  7/5/1989 CIN (2) @ PHI (3)    10 1  Jeff Reed - John Franco
4/17/1991 TOR (4) @ DET (5)  10 2  Pat Borders - Duane Ward
5/28/1993 CLE (6) @ MIN (7)    9 0  Lance Parrish - Eric Plunk

A quick scan of the list will show that several knuckleballers were on the
mound at the time of the PB and that no catcher suffered the indignity more
than once (during the data period). Detroit captured the honors of benefiting
the most times (3) from the E-2 muff while the White Sox were bitten three
times. Except for 1986, when the event happened four times, the PB Scoring the
game-ending winning run only happened once (or none) in the years in the data
spread. In only 1 of the 15 games were the bases loaded at the time of the PB
and that was the ATL-LAN game on 9/24/1974. One special game from the above
group was the 1986 near no-hitter between CAL & TEX.
-------------------------------
Briefly that game's last inning & last play were:

Charlie Hough (the Texas knuckleballer) was on the mound and had a no-hitter
going into the bottom of the 9th the score TEX 1 CAL 0.
Ruppert Jones (pinch hitting for Bob Boone) called out on strikes [OUT 1]
Jack Howell (batting for Gary Pettis) reached on a three base error by George
Wright and advanced to 3rd base.
Wally Joyner singled (FIRST HIT OF THE GAME) scoring Howell to tie the game
1-1.
Catcher Mercado allowed a passed ball (DeCinces batting) allowing Joyner to
move to 2nd.
DeCinces struck out [OUT 2]
Reggie Jackson was walked intentionally.
George Hendrick struck out [OUT 3], but Orlando Mercado allowed a Passed Ball
on the SO and Joyner scored from second when Charlie Hough failed to cover
home.
Final Score CAL 2 TEX 1 (Hough threw a 1-hitter and lost on the Passed Ball).
-------------------------------

For the above 15 Catchers who allowed a Passed Ball to score the game-ending
winning run here are their PB totals for the years that their ignoble events
occurred and how many by their battery mate (in the PB Scoring Winning Run
game):

Year    PB    Catcher
1967    16    J.C. Martin (6 of them thrown by Hoyt Wilhelm)
1969     9    Duane Josephson (4 of them thrown by Wilbur Wood)
1974    15    Johnny Oates (8 thrown by Phil Niekro)
1975     7    John Ellis (1 thrown by Eric Raich - the event ball)
1976     3    Ellie Rodriguez (3 thrown by Charlie Hough)
1977     8    Ed Ott (1 thrown by Goose Gossage - the event ball)
1978     2    Brian Downing (1 thrown by Dyar Miller - the event ball)
1979     9    Mike Sadek (2 thrown by Randy Moffitt)
1986     6    Orlando Mercado (5 thrown by Charlie Hough)
1986     5    Ron Karkovice (1 thrown by Dave Schmidt - the event ball)
1986    12    Bo Diaz (2 thrown by Bill Gullickson)
1986     6    Dann Bilardello (1 thrown by Curtis Brown - the event ball)
1989     5    Jeff Reed (2 thrown by John Franco)
1991    13    Pat Borders (2 thrown by Duane Ward)
1993     3    Lance Parrish (1 thrown by Eric Plunk - the event ball)

To flip the coin over, I now present the above pitcher's PB totals when they
were on the mound for the years of the ignoble events.

Year    PB    Pitcher
1967    10    Hoyt Wilhelm (6 muffed by J.C. Martin)
1969    16    Wilbue Wood (4 muffed by Duane Josephson)
1974    20    Phil Niekro (8 muffed by Johnny Oates)
1975     2    Eric Raich (1 muffed by John Ellis)
1976     6    Charlie Hough (1 muffed by Ellie Rodriguez)
1977     1    Goose Gossage (1 muffed by Ed Ott - the event ball)
1978     1    Dyar Miller (1 muffed by Brian Downing - the event ball)
1979     2    Randy Moffitt (2 by Mike Sadek)
1986    17    Charlie Hough (5 muffed by Orlando Mercado)
1986     1    Dave Schmidt (1 muffed by Ron Karkovice - the event ball)
1986     2    Bill Gullickson (2 muffed by Bo Diaz)
1986     1    Curtis Brown (1 muffed by Dann Bilardello - the event ball)
1989     2    John Franco (2 muffed by Jeff Reed)
1991     2    Duane Ward (2 muffed by Pat Borders)
1993     1    Eric Plunk (1 muffed by Lance Parrish - the event ball)

The total Passed Balls for MLB for the above years (1967 A.L. only) and the
Catcher - Pitcher leaders in PBs (not just battery mates):

Year      PB    Catcher(s) - Pitcher(s) Leaders
1967    161    J.C. Martin & Joe Azcue (16) - Hoyt Wilhelm (10)
1969    463    Bob Didier (27) - Phil Niekro (24)
1974    348    Fran Healy (21) - Bruce DalCanton (22) - (20 w/Healy)
1975    352    Ted Simmons (27) - Phil Niekro (24)
1976    306    Ed Hermann (13) - Phil Niekro (26)
1977    289    Joe Ferguson (16) - Phil Niekro (34)
1978    301    Joe Nolan (14) - Phil Niekro (38)
1979    341    Lance Parrish (20) - Phil Niekro (25)

1986    365    John Russell (17) - Charlie Hough (17)

1989    333    Chad Kreuter (20) - Charlie Hough (15)
1991    369    Lance Parrish (19) - Tom Candiotti (17)
1993    366    Benito Santiago (23) - Charlie Hough (17)

Clearly the knuckleballers caused (?) the majority of the Passed Balls during
the period analyzed, although many "straight forward" pitchers had their PB
troubles as well. On the other hand, the catchers who led the majors in PB not
always could lay blame on the knuckleballers. The majority of the catcher
leaders didn't pair up with a knuckleballer when they led the MLB in PBs.



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