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Passed Balls Trivia

PASSED BALLS LEADERS LIST


Passed Balls Records
(800 Games Career Minimum)

Fewest Passed Balls Career (19th Century)
Duke Farrell (247) in 815 games caught (1888-1905)

Fewest Passed Balls Career (Post 1900)
Buddy Rosar (28) in 934 games caught (1939-1951)

Most Passed Balls Career (19th Century)
Pop Snyder (647) in 877 games caught (1873-1891)

Most Passed Balls Career (Post 1900)
Lance Parrish (192) in 1818 games caught (1977-1995)

Fewest Passed Balls per Game Average Career (19th Century)
Malachi Kittridge (0.168) 201 PB in 1196 games caught (1890-1906)

Fewest Passed Balls per Game Average Career (Post 1900)
Buddy Rosar (0.030) 28 PB in 934 games caught (1939-1951)

Most Passed Balls per Game Average Career (19th Century)
Pop Snyder (0.738) 647 PB in 877 games caught (1873-1891)

Most Passed Balls per Game Average Career (Post 1900)
Ed Herrmann (0.153) 125 PB in 817 games caught (1967-1978)

Most Passed Balls Season (19th Century)
Ed Whiting (1882 Bal-AA) with 105 in 72 games caught

Most Passed Balls Season (Since 1900)
Geno Petralli (1987 Tex-AL) with 35 in 63 games caught

Fewest Passed Balls Season (Since 1900 - 150 or more games)
Gary Carter (1978 Mon-NL) with 1 in 152 games caught

Most Passed Balls In A Game (19th Century)
Alex Gardner (Was-AA) with 12 on May 10, 1884 (his only major league game).

Most Passed Balls In A Game (Post 1900)
Harry Vickers (Cin-NL) with 6 on October 4, 1902
Jerry Goff (Hou-NL) with 6 on May 12, 1996
Geno Petralli (Tex-AL) with 6 on August 30, 1987.

Most Passed Balls In An Inning (19th Century)
Dan Sullivan (StL-AA) with 5 on August 9, 1885, 3rd inning.

Most Passed Balls In An Inning (Post 1900)
Ray Katt (NYG-NL) with 4 on September 10, 1954, 8th inning
Geno Petralli (Tex-AL) with 4 on August 22, 1987, 7th inning.

Best Hall Of Fame Catcher - Career Passed Balls per Game Average
Gary Carter with 0.041 (nineteenth overall best) 84 PB in 2056 games caught.

Fewest Career Passed Balls By A Hall Of Fame Catcher
Roy Campanella (56) in 1183 games caught (31st overall best).


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, 2005 (N.L. & A.L.) there were 16 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

8/2/2005 PHI (4) @ CHN (3)      9 0 Michael Barrett - Michael Wuertz

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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