Passan: Milestone of 500,000th baseball error deserves inglorious honor

From Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports on September 14, 2012:

Sometime this weekend, an unlucky soul will commit the 500,000th error in baseball history. It has taken the sport 136 years to accumulate enough bobbles, bungles, kicks, trips, flips, flops, flings and altogether awful things to reach half a million. And whether it’s a bad hop, a worse throw or any of the hundreds of other ways to work yourself onto the scorecard, someone will earn a historic Scarlet E.

Should he so desire, the culprit can deny No. 500,000. Record-keeping was shoddy until about 40 years ago. Surely an error in 1892 slipped through the cracks when a drunken scorer was nipping at a flask. Some data-entry monkey could have mistaken a K for an E. Even, the website keeping track of the march to 500,000, notes that if you include National Association games played from 1871-75 the number is over 515,000 already. And the current tally, 499,965, doesn’t include playoff games.


When it happens – and chances are it’ll happen Saturday, seeing as a full slate of games averages about 18.3 errors, both Friday and Saturday are jammed schedules and we’re 35 away – the announcers probably won’t say anything because they neither know about nor have checked Baseball-Reference’s countdown.

And that’s fine. To those in the know – to those who appreciate something good – the error is a secret gem. We know that a few feet away from Castro most games stands Darwin Barney, whose errorless streak at second base has run 127 games. We know that Pedro Alvarez is a great candidate for No. 500,000 and that Aramis Ramirez has only six errors because he’s too decrepit to get to tough balls and that maybe a pitcher is the best bet for half a million, considering just 25 of the 94 qualified starters are errorless.


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Related link: You can view the Stumble to 500,000 Errors at

Originally published: September 14, 2012. Last Updated: September 14, 2012.