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A Eulogy for the Hitting Pitcher/2021 Pitcher Batting Highlights


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It dawned on me the other day that this is quite likely the last chance for us all to comment on the awesome phenomenon in baseball that is the hitter pitcher. So many special moments in major league history have occurred because of the pitcher stepping up to the plate and doing the unexpected; of course there is the Bartolo Colon home run; or Rick Wise's legendary no hitter/2 HR game.

I remember as a young lad going to see the Cubs on my birthday and watching Kerry Wood jack a HR out of Wrigley, or this one, what a moment. Tonight I watched young reliever Keegan Thompson get a base hit late in the game for the Cubbies, and he was giddy. Last nigh an odd scene unfolded in LA, as the Dodgers sent Kenley Jansen to the plate in the bottom of the 8th with a lead after he'd recorded the final out in the top half. He was surrounded by his teammates in the dugout as they all coached and offered advice on which size batting helmet and bat to take to the plate, and then he proceeded to flail at 3 pitches like a runaway duck. It was hilarious, special, and not to mention there is a strategic element involved in these decisions that adds another layer of excitement. 

So what are some of the other standout moments of hitting pitchers, both in history and in the 2021 season? Show off your knowledge. Other than Jansen, what other former position player pitchers come to mind? Why has the pitcher to hitter conversion never really worked out for anyone besides Babe Ruth and Rick Ankiel (at the big league level anyway)? 

All due respect to Ohtani, but I don't want to hear as much about him in this thread. He's another level of performer, but it wouldn't do justice to the Bumgarners of the world to compare their efforts to his game changing efforts. Let's try to give attention to moments like Hyun-Jin Ryu at the plate. I also hope this thread can create some debate on the merits of the inevitable switch to the universal DH-and, as a fantasy player, I guess we'll all happy to see it, but as a baseball fan, I'll definitely miss it.

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I remember Felix Hernandez give hilariously little effort running out a ground ball once. Like he wasn’t even in the screen when the 1B got the ball. I doubt he even made it a quarter of the way down the baseline.

 Not exactly a ringing endorsement for pitchers hitting, but still amusing.

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I’m gonna be the drunk dude at the funeral that shows up with a paper bag to talk sh*t. 

Yeah, we all love those moments. But I want the all the time I spent watching a useless pitcher AB back. 99% of these guys have the hitting skills of a little league shortstop. Sure something great will happen once in a while, but I venture to guess that if a true hitter were to be in those same spots across all of those ABs we’d have even more great moments. But I digress. Just playing devil’s advocate here.

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2001 Estes threw behind Estes in Clemen’s first regular season start at Shea since he intentionally hit Piazza in the head. Later he redeemed himself with this gem

 

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13 hours ago, collucho said:

I’m gonna be the drunk dude at the funeral that shows up with a paper bag to talk sh*t. 

Yeah, we all love those moments. But I want the all the time I spent watching a useless pitcher AB back. 99% of these guys have the hitting skills of a little league shortstop. Sure something great will happen once in a while, but I venture to guess that if a true hitter were to be in those same spots across all of those ABs we’d have even more great moments. But I digress. Just playing devil’s advocate here.

How can you want to get rid of moments like this-after 476 games in the majors, Tommy Hunter got his first career hit last night. 

https://ftw.usatoday.com/2021/05/mets-tommy-hunter-awesome-reaction-to-first-hit

 

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  • 2 months later...
Posted (edited)

This just happened...but almost everything else involving hitting pitchers has been negative. I'm sure I'm forgetting a few, but just off the top of my head...Tommy Hunter went down after the base-hit above, hasn't returned. Elieser Hernandez hurt himself hitting in his first start after missing two months and will miss another two months. Jacob Degrom, in the midst of his historic season, while he has hit .364 this season, his first two or three injuries were blamed on his swing. They say the latest one is unrelated to any of it, but that's another story. Jack Flaherty-oblique tightness on a swing. I know I'm forgetting a few other obvious ones, but you get the point. As much as I love seeing a guy like Lester do this, its time for the Universal DH. 

 

Edited by Richard Kimble
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I’m ready for universal DH. But one of my earliest in-person baseball memories that stuck was as a child at Busch Stadium when Bob Forsch hit a grand slam, sometime in the 80s.

Interestingly, it was a decade before another Cardinals pitcher hit a grand slam, Donovan Osborne in I believe 1996. I was also at that game. My family only averaged about 3 or 4 games a year, so that’s pretty crazy to see both.

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7 hours ago, Caelum said:

Busch Stadium when Bob Forsch hit a grand slam, sometime in the 80s.

Great story, for some reason I read those words and immediately thought of a guy my Dad used to talk about-Frankie Frisch the Fordham Flash. Not a pitcher, also played for the Cardinals, anyway, I know nothing about his career other than that great name. He wasn't a pitcher though, still, once the universal DH appears, we will lose connection to some of these old memories.

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Of course there is the one this year from Padres Daniel Camarena who hit a grand-slam for his first hit against Max Scherzer...

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, posty said:

Of course there is the one this year from Padres Daniel Camarena who hit a grand-slam for his first hit against Max Scherzer...

Oh yes of course, I actually posted that one in my Home Run celebrations thread, I had completely forgotten about this thread at the time. I'm not even sure Camarena is still with the big club, but that guy has one of the greatest debut stories of all time. That was his first game, correct?

EDIT-yes it was his debut, and he's still up, but they stupidly sent him to the plate in last night's game and he struck out! He's now a career .500 hitter, could have retired as the GOAT with a 1-1, Grand slam line on his resume.

Edited by Richard Kimble
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