erik lundegaard

Tuesday May 07, 2024

Each Team's Last 200+ Hit Player, or The Curse of Pete Rose

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Today's post is brought to you by Immaculate Grid, about which, yes, Tim and I used to do a SubStack, and may again in the future. In the meantime ...

The grid today included a column on players who got 200+ hits in a season crossed with three original-16 teams: Reds, Cards and A's. I went with Frank McCormick, Lou Brock and Al Simmons. McCormick was a guess. Well, all three were, but Brock got 3,000 hits and didn't walk much, and Al Simmons had those amazing early 1930s years, so those weren't fingers-crossed guesses as much as McCormick. I just didn't want to do Pete Rose ... which, yes, turned out to be the No. 1 answer for that square: Something like 85% chose him.

With reason. This is how many guys hit 200+ in a season for each of those franchises:

  • Cards: 21
  • A's 8
  • Reds: 6

SIX?? And get this: no one since Pete Rose in 1977. That's shocking for two reasons. It means Rose didn't get to 200+ hits the year he hit in 44 straight games AND no Cincinnati Red has gotten 200+ hits in a season since 1977! I.e., since “Star Wars” came out! Since Jimmy Carter's first year in office! Since The New York Times first began to let Donald Trump lie all over its pages! That far back. 

It made me wonder if that's the longest 200+ hit drought for any team. Yep, and it's not even close.


Year Team Player Hits
2023 Atlanta Braves Ronald Acuna Jr. 217
2023 Los Angeles Dodgers Freddie Freeman 211
2023 Miami Marlins Luis Arraez 203
2019 Kansas City Royals Whit Merrifield 206
2019 Boston Red Sox Rafael Devers 201
2017 Colorado Rockies Charlie Blackmon 213
2017 Houston Astros Jose Altuve 204
2016 Arizona Diamondbacks Jean Segura 203
2014 Cleveland Guardians Michael Brantley 200
2012 New York Yankees Derek Jeter 216
2012 Detroit Tigers Miguel Cabrera 205
2011 Texas Rangers Michael Young 213
2011 Chicago Cubs Starlin Castro 207
2010 Seattle Mariners Ichiro Suzuki 214
2009 Milwaukee Brewers Ryan Braun 203
2008 New York Mets Jose Reyes 204
2007 Philadelphia Phillies Jimmy Rollins 212
2006 Baltimore Orioles Miguel Tejada 214
2006 Anaheim Angels Vladimir Guerrero 200
2006 Pittsburgh Pirates Freddy Sanchez 200
2004 San Diego Padres Mark Loretta 208
2003 Toronto Blue Jays Vernon Wells 215
2003 St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols 212
2002 Washington Nationals Vladimir Guerrero 206
2002 Oakland A's Miguel Tejada 204
2001 San Francisco Giants Rich Aurilia 206
1998 Chicago White Sox Albert Belle 200
1998 Tampa Bay Rays n/a n/a
1996 Minnesota Twins Paul Molitor 225
1977 Cincinnati Reds Pete Rose 204

The Tampa Bay Rays are the only franchise that's never had a 200+ hit guy. They topped out with—believe it or not—Aubrey Huff, about to embarrass himself yet again a social platform near you, who got 198 in 2003. He and Carl Crawford (194 in 2005) are the only Rays/D-Rays to top 190. 

But the Rays have an excuse. They've only been around since 1998. The Reds have been swinging bats since basically the Civil War—the 19th century one. In case you're curious, here are the Cincy Six:

  1. Cy Seymour (1905)
  2. Jake Daubert (1922)
  3. Frank McCormick (1938, 1939)
  4. Vada Pinson (1959, 1961, 1963, 1965)
  5. Frank Robinson (1962)
  6. Pete Rose (1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1977)

So is Cincy being punished for all the 200+ seasons it got with Pete Rose? Or because of what Pete Rose became? Or is? Is it the Curse of Charlie Hustle? 

What stunned me about the Twins, meanwhile, is that their last guy to do it, Paul Molitor, did it in his age-40 season, just three seasons from retirement, and he managed *225*. Wow. Even Luis Arraez, when he won the batting title as a Twin in 2022, managed just 173. That's how hard it is to do this thing. 

It helps to be a free-swinger, of course. There's a reason Miguel Tejada and Vlad Guerrero are on the above chart twice. There's a reason, too, that Ted Williams, Barry Bonds and Frank Thomas never got 200+: too many walks. That's probably why, in the Moneyball age, the 200+ stat doesn't seem to have the cachet it used to.

But that's no excuse, Cincinnati. 

Posted at 05:26 PM on Tuesday May 07, 2024 in category Baseball  
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