The Forgotten Pitchers: Part 1 of 2

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thousands of pitchers have played major league baseball. Most of us only remember the greats and rightly so. Hall of Famers like Walter Johnson, Sandy Koufax, and Greg Maddux. These are great pitchers and should be remembered. But what about all the others? There are a few that have slipped thru the cracks that I find very interesting.

This is a list of all MLB pitchers in history who have only one career appearance and recorded no outs in that appearance. These are not position players who happened to pitch one time. Some were starters others relievers, but all of them where pitchers who had one game, zero innings pitched careers. Take a trip back in history and learn how a few forgotten players contributed to the game in their own little way.

1. Bill Childers (1895)
Not much is known about Bill Childers except that he was born in St. Louis, MO and his career professional pitching line is one of the worst of all time. Bill entered his one and only game on July 27, 1895 and 2 hits, 6 walks, 3 wild pitches and 6 earned runs later his career was over. His final ERA was "Infinite".

Career Pitching for Bill Childers
0 8 6 6 Inf 2 6 3 0

2. Doc Hamann (1922)
Doc was one of many minor leaguers that Cleveland Indians manager Tris Speaker brought up to play in the game against the Boston Red Sox on September 21, 1922. Speaker thought it was a good opportunity for the Indian fans to get a look at the clubs prospects. However, for Doc this would be the first and last major league game he would ever play in. Doc's pitching line includes 7 batters faced, 3 hits, 3 walks, and 1 hit by pitch. He left the game allowing three runs, all earned, without recording a single out. This concluded his pro ball career.

Career Pitching for Doc Hamann
0 7 6 6 Inf 3 3 1 1

3. Mike Palagyi (1939)
Mike played and pitched in his only major league game against the Boston Red Sox on August 18, 1939 as a member of the Washington Senators. In that game he faced three Hall of Fame players in Ted Williams, Jimmy Foxx, and Joe Cronin. I would give him credit for this, but he walked two of them and beaned the other before finally being pulled from the game. He never pitched or played again.

Career Pitching for Mike Palagyi

4. Fred Bruckbauer (1961)
Mr. Bruckbauer was a good pitcher for the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the late 50s, but did not find such success in his one appearance for the Minnesota Twins. On April 25, 1961, Fred made a relief appearance against the Kansas City Athletics at Municipal Stadium. It would be his last. He saw 4 batters gave up a hit to three of them and walked the other. He retired and went down in history with an infinite ERA.

Career Pitching for Fred Bruckbauer

5. Jim Schelle (1939)
A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Jim Schelle made his professional baseball debut on July 23, 1939 with the Philadelphia Athletics. The Athletics were playing the Detroit Tigers and Schelle came in as relief in the fourth inning. He allowed all five batters he saw to reach base allowing three of the players to score. He was then pulled, before recording an out, and sent back to the minors were he would end his career.

Career Pitching for Jim Schelle

6. Frank Dupee (1901)
Dupee saw success as a semi pro pitcher in the New England League before joining the Chicago White Stockings in the summer of 1901. Dupee was given the start on August 24, 1901 against the Baltimore Orioles. Clinging to a half game lead over the Boston Americans, Chicago was dealing with several injuries to key pitchers and were in desperate need of a solid performance from their new starter Dupee. He did not deliver. Dupee walked the first three batters he faced and was replaced. All three of those runners ended up scoring and the White Stockings went on to lose the game. Dupee never played in another major league game.

Career Pitching for Frank Dupee

7. Will Koenigsmark (1919)
A native of Illinois, Will Koenigsmark, right handed pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, made his only appearance in the majors on September 10, 1919. He allowed 2 hits, 1 walk, and 2 earned runs. What a career!

Career Pitching for Will Koenigsmark

8. Bill Ford (1936)
On the last day of the 1936 season, the Boston Bees sent Bill Ford to the mound as the starting pitcher going against the Philadelphia Phillies. Ford could not retire a single batter walking all three he faced. He was replaced by Guy Bush who pitched all nine innings and won the game. Bill Ford's stat line was not found until 2003.

Career Pitching for Bill Ford

9. Lou Bauer (1918)
At the young age of 19, Lou Bauer appeared in his one and only game for the Philadelphia Athletics on August 13, 1918. It did not go well. His game/career line includes 2 batters faced, 2 walks, and 1 earned run. Seems like he should have got another chance.

Career Pitching for Lou Bauer

10. Gordie Sundin (1956)
Gordie Sundin's lone appearance came on September 19, 1956 for the Baltimore Orioles. Baltimore was behind 8-1 to the Detroit Tigers when Sundin came into the game. He walked both batters he saw and was subsequently pulled from the game. He was charged with 1 earned run. This outing was the end of his MLB career. He went back to the minors and retired 5 years later.

Career Pitching for Gordie Sundin

11. Larry Yount (1971)
Larry Yount, older brother to Hall of Famer Robin Yount, holds one of the most peculiar baseball records of all time. Larry is the only pitcher in MLB history to appear on the official score book without ever facing a batter. On September 15, 1971, while playing for the Houston Astros, Yount was announced as the pitcher in the ninth inning against the Atlanta Braves, but experienced soreness in his arm while warming up and was removed before he threw an official pitch. After the game he went back to AAA. Larry played for 8 years in the minor leagues, but was never able to make it back to the show. Meanwhile, his brother Robin had more hits than anybody in the 1980's. Sorry Larry.

Career Pitching for Larry Yount

Go to The Forgotten Pitchers: Part 2 of 2

(Statistics derived from a SQL query of the Lahman Baseball Database)

Brainstorming MLBAM StatCast (Ongoing)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Here are my thoughts on how teams could use the new MLBAM StatCast player tracking system to evaluate players performance. I have broke it down by a few broad baseball functions (Base running, Hitting, Fielding Infield, Fielding Outfield, and Pitching). I will update this post from time to time with new ideas.

Base runners
1. Top speed from home to first base, second base, and third base
2. Running path from home to first base, second base, and third base
3. Players top speed during a stolen base
4. Average length of a base runners lead
5. Players top speed from any base to any base
6. Players running path from any base to any base
7. Create a statistic for a players top average speed from each base to any base
8. Categorize base running stats by average top speed, average lead length
   i. Determine the correlation of avg top speed to stolen base pct and avg lead length to stolen base pct
   i. Determine correlation of avg top speed to extra base hits and running path to to extra base hits
9. Determine how many feet it takes for a player to reach top speed (Acceleration)
10. Determine optimum distance for a player to reach top speed while stealing a base 
11. Determine optimum distance for a player to reach top speed while running from one base/plate to another base. (Ex. Runner should reach top speed on a double when he is 50 feet away from 2nd base)
12. Determine optimum distance for a runner to begin their slide based on their average top speed, distance to reach top speed, and height of runner.
13. Determine which sliding path is most efficient (Ex. inside part of base, out side, straight)
14. Determine optimum base runner lead for a safe steal and slide back
15. Calculate a players average batted ball speed
   i. Correlation between avg batted ball speed and BA, SLG, OBP, extra base hits, HR, 1B, 2B, 3B
   i. Batted ball speed and the age of the player
16. Calculate a players average launch angle
   i. Correlation between a players avg launch angle and BA, SLG, OBP, extra base hits, HR, 1B, 2B,         3B (Can a player correct or improve his launch angle?)
17. Calculate a players average hang time of batted balls
   i. Correlation between a players hang time and BA, SLG, OBP, extra base hits, HR, 1B, 2B, 3B
18. Determine average first step of a base runner stealing a base
19. Determine average acceleration of a runner stealing a base

1. Average batted ball distance
   i. Determine correlation from average batted ball distance and number of extra base hits, batting average, slugging pct, on base pct
   i. Determine average batted ball distance changes with the age of player
   i. Determine average batted ball distance for each MLB stadium
   i. Determine average batted ball distance for each stadium for each month (home and or away)

Fielding Infield
1. Most efficient place to stand when receiving a throw down from the catcher (be able to know the most used slide path of base runners)
2. Determine average route efficiency for each player
3. Percentage of balls fielded cleanly and thrown out (infield) (Ex. A player might have good range to get to the ground ball, but is he able to throw the runner out?)
4. Average distance a fielder travels to field ground ball cleanly (ex. compare good range with bad)
5. Calculate a players average first step time
6. Average catcher pop time
7. Average catcher arm strength in mph
8. Average infielders arm strength on throws to first
9. Average flight path of a catchers thrown ball (more to the left, right, or straight to 2nd base)
   i. Can throw down path demonstrate if a catcher is successful?

Fielding Outfield
1. Determine average route efficiency for each player
2. Average distance a fielder travels to field ball cleanly (ex. compare good range with bad)
3. Calculate a players average first step time
4. Calculate a players average top speed while fielding a line drive, fly ball, ground ball
5. Calculate a players average acceleration to the ball
6. Average arm strength on attempted assist throws.

1. Determine correlation between a pitchers regular velocity and extension
2. Determine correlation between a pitchers perceived velocity and extension
3. Does spin rate determine where a ball might be hit?
4. Does spin rate correlate with the velocity of the ball?

Total MLB Player Salaries by University from 1985-2013

(SQL query of Lahman database using Salaries table and Schools table)

ChyronHego and TrackMan™ Press Release About New StatCast Technology

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The following press release was taken from

ChyronHego and TrackMan™, a leading provider of radar technology for sports, today announced a strategic partnership in baseball player and ball tracking technology. 
The combined best-of-breed solution is a non-invasive offering that provides quality data for player evaluation, coaching and fan experience analysis in a converged infrastructure. Teams can now develop customized analytics while maintaining their own unique process. 
“The ChyronHego and TrackMan partnership is a breakthrough in data gathering for the sport of baseball,” said Johan Apel, president and chief executive officer at ChyronHego. “Coaches are now able to analyze individual player movements and track the ball for every play and our real-time data provides fan experience executives with never before seen opportunities to engage fans in this uniquely data-driven sport.”
“The Big Data trends driven by cloud and mobility are creating a new style of sports analysis that is transforming what coaches and fans expect and need from sports technology,” said John Olshan, general manager at TrackMan Baseball. “I’m thrilled to have Trackman and ChyronHego work together to help the sport tackle these exciting challenges. By jointly developing and leveraging each other’s technology, we will deliver the highest standard in data performance and reliability. “  
ChyronHego and TrackMan will continue to develop and market the technology to a broad range of baseball teams and leagues around the globe. The combined solution has already been successfully deployed in multiple U.S. stadiums.