Gentile: The best bunter of all-time

From James Gentile at Beyond the Box Score on December 10, 2012:

The ‘Sacrifice Bunt’ has become this sort of tired and played-out point of contention between the old and new schools of baseball, and it really is a shame because all the hullabaloo distracts from what is undoubtedly one of the more beautiful events of the game– the bunt for a hit.

It really is a gorgeous spectacle, and it is not always simply an exhibition of outstanding speed and bat control. With the recent rise of the defensive shift, we’ve even been blessed with a new form of bunt– the shift-killer. Whatever the method used, I’d like to pay tribute to those who excelled at it, and ridicule those who embarrassed themselves when attempting to harness its wonder.

In order to do this, I first needed to design a decent method of measuring the event. Because, while I’m certain some of the more proficient bunters in baseball history did at times bunt for a hit with runners on, I’m afraid attempting to extract those occurrences from plain old sacrifice attempts would get entirely too hairy. I’ve therefore limited my search to all bunts with the bases empty (or b.e.). That way, there can be absolutely no confusion as to what the batter’s intentions were.

I first queried the 100 players who had most often bunted themselves aboard in their careers. I then sorted those 100 players by success rate, presuming this would show us the greatest base-hit bunter of all-time. Here is the best of that group.

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Originally published: December 10, 2012. Last Updated: December 10, 2012.