One-Hit Wonders, edited by Bill Nowlin

SABR Digital Library: One-Hit Wonders

One-Hit Wonders, edited by Bill NowlinAdd a new baseball book to your collection from the SABR Digital Library:

One-Hit Wonders
Edited by Bill Nowlin
Associate editors: Carl Riechers and Len Levin
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-9701-5956-1, $9.99
ISBN (paperback): 978-1-9701-5957-8, $32.95
8.5″ x 11″, 339 pages

Over the years, millions have dreamed of playing major-league baseball, but only around 20,000 players have put on a big-league uniform. Some had lengthy careers, some much briefer—including a surprising number who had just one base hit: close to 1,400 of them. Some of these “one-hit wonders” were pitchers, and not expected to hit—though right-hander Fred Gladding had 68 plate appearances with just one hit. Others simply had such short careers, they consisted of one game—or less.

More than 50 SABR researchers, authors, and editors contributed to this book and present brief biographies of 70 players, telling the stories of some who might otherwise be overlooked—but who made the grade and got exactly one hit in the majors. Center fielder Skeeter Skelton had 43 plate appearances but just one hit. Gene Woodburn had just one hit, but four career RBIs (and the hit was not a grand slam). Thirteen others have three RBIS apiece. There were 22 players whose one and only hit was a home run. There were 22 whose hit was a triple, and quite a number—179—whose only hit was a double.

For some, their only hit came on their first at-bat. Others had to wait a lot longer (Gladding’s hit came in his 50th plate appearance). Pitcher Arthur Rhodes played in exactly 900 big-league games (and 29 postseason games), with one base hit to his credit. Some stuck around the game, like Rod Dedeaux, who became one of the most celebrated amateur baseball coaches in history, coaching at USC for 45 years. Others, like a USC alum whom Dedeaux coached, Dan Ardell, would end up in other industries. When asked if he’d had two hits in the major leagues, instead of just one, if he thought his story wouldn’t have been as interesting, Ardell replied, “I think that’s exactly true.”

One-Hit Wonders presents a variety of life stories, and adds a few dozen more biographies to SABR’s BioProject, has published biographies of over 5,000 figures involved with baseball.

Contributors include: Niall Adler, Malcolm Allen, Jim Ball, Henry Berman, Charlie Bevis, Richard Bogovich, Ryan Brecker, Alan Cohen, Mike Cooney, Rory Costello, Richard Cuicchi, Tim Deale, Max Effgen, Brian Engelhardt, Jeff English, Brian Flaspohler, Steve Friedman, Darren Gibson, Tim Hagerty, Tom Hawthorn, John Heeg, Paul Hofmann, Mike Huber, Tara Krieger, Gerard Kwilecki, Bob LeMoine, Len Levin, Mitch Lutzke, Mike Mattsey, Chad Moody, Jack V. Morris, Bill Nowlin, Tony S. Oliver, Len Pasculli, Chris Rainey, Alan Raylesberg, Carl Riechers, Joel Rippel, Benjamin Sabin, Dan Schoenholz, Joe Schuster, Peter Seidel, Bill Staples Jr., Clayton Trutor, Eric Vickrey, Bob Webster, Phil Williams, Gregory H. Wolf, Jack Zerby, and Don Zminda.


SABR members, get this e-book for FREE!

Buy the book


About the SABR Digital Library

For more than 40 years, SABR and its members have led the way in publishing the best baseball historical and statistical research. Our publications program is shifting to take advantage of new methods of publishing. Not only will we continue to publish new books like Can He Play? A Look At Baseball Scouts and Their Profession (2011); Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (2013); Scandal on the South Side: The 1919 Chicago White Sox (2015); Au jeu/Play Ball: The 50 Greatest Games in the History of the Montreal Expos (2016); The Pride of Smoketown: The 1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords (2020); and Jackie Robinson: Perspectives on 42 (2021), which showcase the best efforts of SABR’s members, chapters and committees, but new technology makes it possible for us to bring out-of-print titles like The Fenway Project (2013); Go-Go to Glory: The 1959 Chicago White Sox (2019); and Green Cathedrals (2020) back again.

Visit to find all past titles and download your favorites. Books will be available in digital formats as well as paperbacks produced by “print on demand” (POD).

SABR members can download all Digital Library e-book editions for free and save 50% on purchase of the paperback editions. If you’re not a member, click here to join SABR.

Stay tuned throughout the year for new (and old!) titles that we’ll be adding to the SABR Digital Library. To learn more about SABR Publications, contact Publications Editor Cecilia Tan at


Having trouble downloading our e-books? To view PDF files on your computer, click here to download the free Adobe Reader software. Having trouble downloading e-books to your Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader or iPad? Click here for additional help.

Originally published: October 19, 2021. Last Updated: October 19, 2021.