Tag Archives: Houston Astros

The Strikeout: The Rise and Acceptance of Baseball’s Unproductive Out

Hitters Never Used To Strikeout Like This

Chris Carter does what he does best: strikes out. photo: Houston Chronicle

Chris Carter does what he does best: strikes out. photo: Houston Chronicle

We are not even at the end of June and yesterday I read that the Astros Chris Carter had struck out 102 times so far this season. Carter is batting .198 with 13 home runs. The Astros as a team have struck out 728 times.

Those statistics are appalling and yet no one in baseball circles talks about it. Had they been playing thirty or more years ago players like Chris Carter, Mark Reynolds and the recently retired Adam Dunn most likely would not have been on a major league roster. Hitting thirty or more home runs, and batting .220 or under and striking out around one third of your plate appearances would have insured that you would not be around the big leagues very long.

But those days are over. Apparently there is no shame in striking out consistently if you can hit a few homers. Many teams apparently covet these one dimensional players and give them big contracts if they can hit some dingers.

The 1935 starting infield of the Detroit Tigers from left to right Charlie Gehringer, Billy Rogell, Hank Greenberg and Marv Owen. They combined for 173 strikeouts.

1935 starting infield of the Detroit Tigers (l to r) Charlie Gehringer, Billy Rogell, Hank Greenberg & Marv Owen. They combined for 173 of the team’s 453 strikeouts.

Contrast today’s strikeout numbers with baseball’s glory days and the statistics are startling. For instance, the 1935 Detroit Tigers hitters had 453 strikeouts in total.

Almost every starting player on the team had more walks than strikeouts.

Even the Tigers pitchers only struck out a combined 84 times in 549 plate appearances.

Tigers 1935 stats via baseball-reference.com Hank Greenberg led the team with 91 strikeouts, while hitting 36 home runs and driving in an astounding 168 runs. Hall of Fame catcher Mickey Cochrane batted .319 and struck out a total of only 15 times. Continue reading

Wayne Garrett And Roger Metzger

Close Play At Third

Photo © Louis Requena

It looks as though Mets third baseman Wayne Garrett was going to apply the tag and get Astros shortstop Roger Metzger out, before he gets to third. But I don’t know for sure if that is what happened, because I don’t have information on exactly when this photo is from.  An educated guess: 1971 or 1972.

Regardless it is a good action shot.

On November 29, 1979 Metzger lost the tips of four of his fingers on his right hand in a freak power saw accident. He tried to play the following season with the Giants saying, “I don’t want people feeling sorry for me. I want to win a job on the Giants because someone thinks I can play. I just have to adjust to that fact. I have to go on living. The world doesn’t stop because something happens to you.”

Metzger played only 28 games in 1980, mostly as a defensive replacement, batting just .074. He was released on August 16 that year ending his career prematurely at age 32.

On other interesting factoid on Metzger:  During his 11 years in the majors with 4201 at bats, he hit just five home runs.

Additional Baseball Playoff Wildcard Is An Abomination

New Watered Down Playoff System Brings Lesser Teams New Hope

In 2011 the team that tied for the tenth best record in major league baseball won the World Series. The St. Louis Cardinals were a good team at 90-72, but were they the best team in baseball? If your measurement is winning the World Series the answer is yes. Using any other criteria the answer is definitely not. They were a team that got hot at the end of the year and that carried over throughout the postseason.

The real question is: should a team that has the tenth best record in baseball have the right to play in the World Series? Continue reading