Clarifying Some of the Records

This article was written by L. Robert Davids

This article was published in the 1978 Baseball Research Journal


CY YOUNG’S STRING OF HITLESS INNINGS

Several SABR researchers shuddered last season when Dennis Eckersley of the Indians was building his string of hitless innings dangerously close to the 1904 record established by Cy Young. It wasn’t that they disliked Eckersley, who had pitched near perfect ball over a period of 10 days. It was just fear that he would get to around 24 innings and would be proclaimed the record holder. That would have resulted in a statistical mess difficult to straighten out.

Fortunately, a home run by Ruppert Jones of Seattle with two out in the sixth inning on June 3 called a halt to Eckersley’s streak after 22-1/3 innings of hitless ball. Newspaper reporters said he had fallen just two outs short of Young’s 1904 record of 23 hitless innings. Actually, Emil Rothe and Al Kermisch had already established that Young’s record really was 25-1/3 rather than 23 hitless innings. How could such a discrepancy occur?

The record books credited Young with 23 consecutive hitless innings based on these games in 1904:

  • April 25: 2 innings in a 2-0 loss at Philadelphia
  • April 30: 6 innings in relief in a 4-1 win at Washington
  • May 5: 9 innings in the perfect game against Philadelphia
  • May 11: 6 innings starting against Detroit

That adds up to 23 innings, and from a conservative point of view, that would have been the minimum full innings he could have pitched in those games. But counting all the outs Young was responsible for gives a fuller count, as follows:

On April 25 Young gave up only six hits in a 2-0 loss to Rube Waddell of the Athletics. Boston and Philadelphia newspapers indicated that the sixth and last hit made by the A’s was Harry Davis’ leadoff double in the sixth inning. Lave Cross sacrificed Davis to third and Socks Seybold was given a base on balls, but Young then struck out both Danny Murphy and Monte Cross. He retired all six batters in the 7th and 8th (the A’s did not have to bat in the 9th), giving him 9 outs without a hit.

On April 30, Young relieved Boston pitcher George Winter in the third with Washington trailing 3-1. Winter had been smacked for a double and two singles and no one was out when Cy strode in and retired the side in order. He didn’t allow a hit (or a walk) for the rest of the game, although one batter got on by an error in the 9th. Young then had 7 full innings of perfect relief in this outing, which resulted in a 4-1 win for Boston, but which was credited to Winter.

On May 5, Young pitched a perfect game against Philadelphia, and there is no discrepancy involved in this game.

On May 11, Young started against the Tigers and the newspapers of both cities indicate that while Young gave up three walks and hit a batter, no hit was made of him until one was out in the 7th and Sam Crawford connected. According to a Detroit reporter, “the crowd was beginning to think he was out for another no-hitter.” This was another brilliant game for Young, who won 1-0 over Ed Killian in 15 innings.  For our immediate purposes, he pitched the first 6 1/3 innings without giving a hit. This then gives him 3 innings on April 25, 7 on April 30, 9 on May 5, and 6 1/3 on May 11 for a total of 251/3 consecutive hitless innings. Put another way, he retired 76 batters without giving up a hit, a truly remarkable record for which he should receive full credit.

PAUL WANER’S MULTIPLE BATTING STREAKS IN 1927

In June 1927, with most of the attention of the baseball world focused on young Lou Gehrig’s fence-busting challenge to Babe Ruth, there was taking place in the other league a significant batting display that received little notice outside of Pittsburgh.

The Pirates were a good hitting team that year, with Joe Harris and Clyde Barnhart getting off to an unusually good start. But it was Paul Waner who particularly distinguished himself in what might be called the “second quarter” of the season. He ran up a 23-game consecutive hitting streak between May 27 and June 20, but that was not the outstanding feature. During this streak he also:

  • collected two or more hits in 11 consecutive games
  • drove in one or more runs in 12 consecutive games
  • belted one or more extra-base hits in 14 consecutive games

The stretch where he had two or more hits per game ran from June 3 to 16. In this period he went 26 for 48 for a .542 batting average. There are no record data available on two hits per game, but we assume that this performance by the older Waner brother is “One for the Book.”

From June 2 to 16, Paul batted in runs in 12 consecutive contests, which is a National League record and ties him with Joe Cronin and Ted Williams for the major league mark. He knocked in a total of 24 in the dozen games. The streak came to an end in a game against the Boston Braves on June 17, during which contest Waner was batting in the sixth inning with runners on second and third. However, before he had a chance to drive them in, both scored on a wild pitch by southpaw George Mogridge.

From June 3 thru June 19, Waner had one or more extra-base hits in 14 consecutive games, a major league record. In the American League Babe Ruth got as high as 9 consecutive games. In those 14 games, Waner had 12 doubles, 5 triples, and 3 homers. Ironically, he was not given credit for the full performance until recently because the official sheets had a clerical error on the June 10 game, where the records of Waner and Clyde Barnhart were transposed. They both had 3 hits, but Barnhart was credited with two doubles and a triple and Waner with 3 singles. There is no doubt that the reverse was the case because Waner was married the night before and his exploits on the diamond on June 10 were well publicized in the Pittsburgh papers.

This also was the game where Waner lost an apparent homer based on the rules of that time. Here is what the Gazette-Times had to say:

“Paul rung up two doubles and a triple in succession and then socked the ball into the right field stands for what the fans thought was a homer, but a questionable rule of the game caused the umpires to declare the drive a foul. The last long smash of the little slugger passed into the stands on the fair side of the foul marker, but it swerved into foul territory after it passed the white stick according to the officials. The rules provide that the ball shall be judged from where it was last seen by the umpires.”

Anyway, it was still a great day for the newlywed Waner brother, who was mid-way into several outstanding streaks and who would wind up the season leading in hits with 237, in triples, total bases, RBI, and batting with a .380 mark. Incidentally, his revised totals would give him 114 runs, 42 doubles, 18 triples, and 342 total bases for the 1927 season.

Barnhart, whose stats were inadvertently entangled with Waner’s on June 10, also had a good batting streak during this period. He also hit safely in 23 consecutive games, 21 of which were during Waner’s string. It marked one of the few times when teammates had concurrent batting streaks of more than 20 games.

There was another happening, early in Waner’s streak, that gave no indication of his later heroics. In the first game of the May 30 Memorial Day doubleheader with the Cubs, he came up in the fourth inning with brother Lloyd on second and Barnhart on first. Paul lined to shortstop Jimmy Cooney, who stepped on second and then tagged Barnhart going back to first for an unassisted triple play. But all was not lost for the elder Waner, who still collected three hits and two RBI in that game.

There follows a rundown of Paul Waner’s 23-game hitting streak, during which he also compiled three other streaks of note.

 

 

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

May 27

5

0

1

0

0

0

1

May 28

3

2

1

0

0

0

0

May 29

6

0

3

0

1

0

3

May 30 (1)

5

1

3

0

1

0

2

May 30(2)

5

1

1

0

0

0

0

May 31

5

1

1

0

0

0

1

June 1

4

1

2

0

0

0

0

June 2

4

1

1

0

0

0

2

June 3

5

2

3

0

0

1

4

June 6

4

1

2

1

0

1

3

June 7

4

2

2

1

0

0

1

June 8

5

0

2

0

1

0

2

June 9

4

0

2

1

0

0

1

June 10

5

3

3

2

1

0

2

June 11

5

0

3

1

0

0

2

June 12

4

2

3

1

1

0

1

June 13

4

2

2

0

0

1

2

June 15

5

1

2

2

0

0

1

June 16

3

2

2

0

1

0

3

June 17

4

1

1

1

0

0

0

June 18

4

2

2

0

1

0

2

June 19

5

2

3

2

0

0

2

June 20

4

0

2

0

0

0

1

 

102

27

47

12

7

3

36

 

ROY CULLENBINE WALKED IN 22 CONSECUTIVE GAMES

The record books list Ted Williams as the player receiving bases on ball in the most consecutive games, 19, from August 24 to September 14, 1941. That was the year Ted hit .406, and opposing hurlers were pitching him carefully late in the season. The National League leader is Darrell Evans of Atlanta, who was walked in 15 consecutive games, April 9 to 27, 1976.

Recent research has disclosed that Roy Cullenbine, switch-hitting first baseman of the Tigers in 1947, was walked in 22 straight games.  Cullenbine was not a particularly distinguished player, although he twice batted over .300 in his 10-year career. He was good at receiving walks, however, collecting 121 with the Browns in 1941, leading the league with 112 for the Indians and the pennant-winning Tigers in 1945, and achieving a high figure of 137 in 1947, which is the all-time Detroit record. His 22-game mark that season, which was his final year, was achieved as follows:

 

Date

Opponent

AB

R

H

BB

July 2

at Clev.

4

0

0

1

July 3

at Clev.

3

3

1

2

July 4

at Clev.

2

0

1

3

July 4

at Clev.

3

1

1

1

July 6

at StL.

4

2

2

1

July 6

at StL.

4

2

3

1

July 10

vs. Bos.

3

0

0

1

July 11

vs. Bos.

3

1

0

1

July 11

vs. Bos.

3

0

1

1

July 12

vs. Bos.

3

0

1

1

July 13

vs. Phil.

3

2

1

2

July 13

vs. Phil.

3

2

1

2

July 15

vs. Wash.

3

2

1

2

July 16

vs. Wash.

3

4

3

2

July 16

vs. Wash.

3

0

0

1

July 17

vs. Wash.

4

1

1

1

July 17

vs. Wash.

3

1

1

2

July 18

vs. N.Y.

4

1

0

1

July 19

vs. N.Y.

4

0

0

1

July 20

vs. N.Y.

3

0

1

1

July 20

vs. N.Y.

2

3

1

4

July 22

at Wash.

2

0

0

2

   

69

25

20

34

 

The streak ended July 23 at Washington where Ray Scarborough celebrated his 30th birthday by shutting out the Tigers 6-0. Cullenbine got one of the hits but neither of the two walks given up by the Senator hurler. It was a strange streak and a strange season for Cullenbine.

Beset by rain and other scheduling problems, the Tigers played seven doubleheaders in this brief period. In seven of the 22 games Cullenbine did not get a hit, yet he did smash six home runs and did score 25 runs, based in good part on the 34 walks he received.

It was a strange season because while he did hit 24 home runs, tops for his career, he batted .224, the lowest of his career, and a drop of 111 points from the previous season. He collected 137 walks as against only 104 hits. Tiger management apparently looked at his low batting average rather than his home runs and his on-base average, which were quite good, and Cullenbine was through in the major leagues.

Collecting more walks than hits in a season is not so unusual, but the disparity in Cullenbine’s figures in 1947 was remarkably great.  There follows a list of those players since 1900 who collected more than 100 bases on balls in a season and had more walks than hits. Most of these players, like Cullenbine, had low batting averages, but there were two exceptions.

 

Player

Year

Hits

BB

Bat.

Max Bishop

1926

106

116

.265

 

1927

103

105

.277

 

1929

110

128*

.232

 

1930

111

128

.252

 

1932

104

110

.254

Eddie Stanky+

1945

143

148*

.258

 

1946

132

137*

.273

Hank Greenberg

1947

100

104*

.249

Roy Cullenbine

1947

104

137

.224

Eddie Joost

1947

111

114

.206

 

1949

138

149

.263

Wes Westrum

1951

79

104

.219

Ted Williams

1954

133

136*

.345

Eddie Yost

1956

119

151*

.231

Mickey Mantle

1962

121

122*

.321

 

1968

103

106

.237

Jimmy Wynn

1969

133

148*

.269

 

1975

102

110

.248

 

1976

93

127*

.207

Gene Tenace

1974

102

110*

.211

 

1977

102

125*

.233

 

+In 1951 Stanky had the same number of hits and walks, 127.

*Led league in bases on balls

 

SEWELL BACK UP TO 114 CAREER STRIKEOUTS

An article on Joe Sewell in the 1976 Baseball Research Journal indicated that he was credited with a strikeout on June 29, 1923 on the official sheets which should have gone to rookie Rube Lutzke. This was confirmed and Sewell’s lifetime whiffs were to be reduced by one to 113.

The next year, when Sewell was elected to the Hall of Fame, a review of newsclippings about his career indicated that one of his six strikeouts in 1926 fell on a different date than that displayed on the official record. In checking this out we found that Sewell had an additional strikeout in 1926, being fanned by George Murray of the Senators on September 12. It was confirmed by the play-by-play in the Cleveland Plain Dealer even though it was not on the official sheet.  Seven whiffs for Sewell in 1926 brings his career total back up to 114.

Therefore, before the recordkeepers could get the lead out of their type and make the change to 113, it became unnecessary.

 

*Material for this article was contributed by Emil Rothe, Pete Palmer, Richard Burtt, Al Kermisch, Cliff Kachline and the late Leonard Gettelson.

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