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October 23, 2013

Pebble Hunting

What To Talk About When the Red Sox Are Hitting

by Sam Miller


The idea was that I was going to make like Vin Scully and try to find original things to talk about when each player comes up to bat this week. Originally, this was going to include something for each of the 50 players on this year’s World Series rosters. Then I started spending way too long on each of them, and ran out of time. So when you notice there are no Cardinals, don’t accuse me of bias; I simply started with the Red Sox and didn’t finish. When you notice there are no pitchers, don’t accuse me of bias; I simply started with the position players and didn’t finish. And when you notice there are no David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, or Will Middlebrooks, don’t accuse me of bias. You probably already have enough to talk about when they come up! And I didn’t finish.

Quintin Berry
Berry was acquired in a trade three days before the postseason-eligibility deadline, added to the 40-man and active rosters in September, and put in postseason play after getting all of nine big league at-bats this year. We’ve talked before about Freddy Guzman, the Mexican Leaguer the Rays quietly signed and stashed in case they needed a postseason runner, but Quintin Berry is the same phenomenon: A player with one weapon that is so valuable in October that it merits 4 percent of the postseason roster, but so easily found that a contending team can completely ignore it until August 27th.

Berry is notable because he has never been caught stealing. In the majors, at least; in the minors he has a pedestrian 80 percent success rate, though it’s improved to 87 percent over the past three seasons. But in the majors he entered the season 21 for 21; stole three more for the Red Sox in September; and, for good measure, is four for four in the postseason. Twenty-eight attempts, 28 steals.

Only two players in history have stolen more bases than he has with even an 88-percent success rate and, of course, nobody has stolen as many in a career without getting caught. (Josh Rutledge, 19; Christian Yelich, 10 are the closest.) Berry will get caught eventually and no longer be on top of that particularly specific leaderboard, but for now he’s the guy with the most career stolen bases without getting caught. Fun accomplishment! Others who have similar accomplishments:

  • Walter Tappan, most career plate appearances without a strikeout: 42. (.205/.225/.308 overall line)
  • John Paciorek, most career plate appearances without an out: 5. (At age 18, no less. Hit .209/.236/.386 in six minor league seasons.)
  • Tony Bartirome, most career plate appearances without a GIDP: 387. (.220/.273/.265 overall line. Kip Wells trails him by 16. Eduardo Escobar, still active, trails by 45.)
  • Timothy Jones, most career innings without allowing a run: 10.
  • Ed Taylor, most career batters faced without allowing a baserunner: 12.

Xander Bogaerts
There’s an interview with 295 views on YouTube in which Richard Visser, the quadrilingual minister of public sport and health for Aruba, talks about Xander Bogaerts. A photo is displayed showing what appears to be Visser congratulating Bogaerts for something related to being on the Red Sox. And, behind him, is the Rising Stars of Aruba wall:

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Related Content:  World Series,  Boston Red Sox

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Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (10/23)
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Pebble Hunting: The Se... (10/10)
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The Lineup Card: 12 Mo... (10/23)

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