Yesterday I saw something I’ve never seen in a baseball game before: a runner getting hit by a batted ball, which according to Rule 7.08(f) means the runner is out and the ball is dead. It turns out that this isn’t as unusual an event as I’d thought (see below), but what was unusal is that this ended the game between the Angels and Giants. Even stranger, this is also how the game between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers ended.
Let’s use Retrosheet data to see how often this happens. Retrosheet data is organized into game data, roster data and event data. Event files contain a record of every event in a game and include the code BR for when a runner is hit by a batted ball. Here’s a SQL query to find all the matching events, who got hit and whether it was the last out in the game.
SELECT sub.game_id, teams, date, inn_ct, outs_ct, bat_team, event_tx, first_name || ' ' || last_name AS runner, CASE WHEN event_id = max_event_id THEN 'last out' ELSE '' END AS last_out FROM ( SELECT year, game_id, away_team_id || ' @ ' || home_team_id AS teams, date, inn_ct, CASE WHEN bat_home_id = 1 THEN home_team_id ELSE away_team_id END AS bat_team, outs_ct, event_tx, CASE regexp_replace(event_tx, '.*([1-3])X[1-3H].*', E'\\1') WHEN '1' THEN base1_run_id WHEN '2' THEN base2_run_id WHEN '3' THEN base3_run_id END AS runner_id, event_id FROM events WHERE event_tx ~ 'BR' ) AS sub INNER JOIN rosters ON sub.year=rosters.year AND runner_id=player_id AND rosters.team_id = bat_team INNER JOIN ( SELECT game_id, max(event_id) AS max_event_id FROM events GROUP BY game_id ) AS max_events ON sub.game_id = max_events.game_id ORDER BY date;
Here's what the query does. The first sub-query sub finds all the events with the BR code, determines which team was batting and finds the id for the player who was running. This is joined with the roster table so we can assign a name to the runner. Finally, it’s joined with a subquery, max_events, which finds the last event in each game. Once we’ve got all that, the SELECT statement at the very top retrieves the columns of interest, and records whether the event was the last out of the game.
Retrosheet has event data going back to 1922, but the event files don’t include every game played in a season until the mid-50s. Starting in 1955 a runner being hit by a batted ball has a game twelve times, most recently in 2010. On average, runners get hit (and are called out) about fourteen times a season.
Here are the twelve times a runner got hit to end the game, since 1955. Until yesterday, when it happened twice in one day:
|1956-09-30||NY1 @ PHI||PHI||S4/BR.1X2(4)#||Granny Hamner|
|1961-09-16||PHI @ CIN||PHI||S/BR/G4.1X2(4)||Clarence Coleman|
|1971-08-07||SDN @ HOU||SDN||S/BR.1X2(3)||Ed Spiezio|
|1979-04-07||CAL @ SEA||SEA||S/BR.1X2(4)||Larry Milbourne|
|1979-08-15||TOR @ OAK||TOR||S/BR.3-3;2X3(4)#||Alfredo Griffin|
|1980-09-22||CLE @ NYA||CLE||S/BR.3XH(5)||Toby Harrah|
|1984-04-06||MIL @ SEA||MIL||S/BR.1X2(4)||Robin Yount|
|1987-06-25||ATL @ LAN||ATL||S/L3/BR.1X2(3)||Glenn Hubbard|
|1994-06-13||HOU @ SFN||HOU||S/BR.1X2(4)||James Mouton|
|2001-08-04||NYN @ ARI||ARI||S/BR.2X3(6)||David Dellucci|
|2003-04-09||KCA @ DET||DET||S/BR.1X2(4)||Bobby Higginson|
|2010-06-27||PIT @ OAK||PIT||S/BR/G.1X2(3)||Pedro Alvarez|
And all runners hit last season:
|2014-05-07||SEA @ OAK||OAK||S/BR/G.1X2(3)||Derek Norris|
|2014-05-11||MIN @ DET||DET||S/BR/G.3-3;2X3(6);1-2||Austin Jackson|
|2014-05-23||CLE @ BAL||BAL||S/BR/G.2X3(6);1-2||Chris Davis|
|2014-05-27||NYA @ SLN||SLN||S/BR/G.1X2(3)||Matt Holliday|
|2014-06-14||CHN @ PHI||CHN||S/BR/G.1X2(4)||Justin Ruggiano|
|2014-07-13||OAK @ SEA||SEA||S/BR/G.1X2(4)||Kyle Seager|
|2014-07-18||PHI @ ATL||PHI||S/BR/G.1X2(4)||Grady Sizemore|
|2014-07-25||BAL @ SEA||SEA||S/BR/G.1X2(4)||Brad Miller|
|2014-08-05||NYN @ WAS||WAS||S/BR/G.2X3(6);3-3||Asdrubal Cabrera|
|2014-09-04||SLN @ MIL||SLN||S/BR/G.2X3(6);1-2||Matt Carpenter|
|2014-09-09||SDN @ LAN||LAN||S/BR/G.2X3(6)||Matt Kemp|
|2014-09-18||BOS @ PIT||BOS||S/BR/G.3XH(5);1-2;B-1||Jemile Weeks|
Yesterday, the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox played a game at Camden Yards in downtown Baltimore. The game was “closed to fans” due to the riots that broke out in the city after the funeral for a man who died in police custody. It’s the first time a Major League Baseball game has been played without any fans in the stands, but unfortunately it’s not the first time there have been riots in Baltimore.
After Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered in April 1968, Baltimore rioted for six days, with local police, and more than eleven thousand National Guard, Army troops, and Marines brought in to restore order. According to wikipedia six people died, more than 700 were injured, 1,000 businesses were damaged and close to six thousand people were arrested.
At that time, the Orioles played in Memorial Stadium, about 4 miles north-northwest of where they play now. I don’t know much about that area of Baltimore, but I was curious to know whether the Orioles played any baseball games during those riots.
Retrosheet has one game, on April 10, 1968, with a reported attendance of 22,050. The Orioles defeated the Oakland Athletics by a score of 3–1. Thomas Phoebus got the win over future Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter. Other popular players in the game included Reggie Jackson, Sal Bando, Rick Mondy and Bert Campaneris for the A’s and Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Davey Johnson, and Boog Powell for the Orioles.
The box score and play-by-play can be viewed here.