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May 8, 2014

Overthinking It

The Masters of the Manufactured Run

by Ben Lindbergh


Like many posts and podcasts before it, this one began with a question from a member of the Effectively Wild Facebook Group:

So Billy Hamilton just scored in the first inning of the Reds/Cubs game without the Reds recording a hit. Walk, stolen base, wild pitch, sac fly. My question is how many times will this happen with Bham in 2014? What is the most times a player has done this in a season?

Mike Zerhusen

Hamilton scored the run Mike is referring to in an April 29 game against the Cubs. It wasn’t an isolated incident. In fact, three of Hamilton’s 13 runs on the season so far have been scored without a hit. On April 21, Hamilton led off the second inning against Francisco Liriano with a walk. He then stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch, waited out another walk, and scored on a second wild pitch. On April 21, again with Liriano on the mound, Hamilton was hit by a pitch to lead off the game, advanced to third on a groundout back to the pitcher (he had been trying to steal), and scored on a fielder’s choice. Here’s what that looked like.

Okay, so Mike’s isn’t the most consequential question. Still, going home-to-first without a hit has a special appeal. In baseball, scoring runs normally resembles a relay race, requiring contributions from multiple batters. Once a guy gets on, he usually has to stand there and hope that another batter (or batters) right behind him gets a good pitch to hit. DIY runs are rare, and they leave you with the wonderful feeling of having gotten something for nothing. Outside of hitting a homer, doing what Hamilton did is the closest a baseball player can come to going coast-to-coast or completing a 100-yard kick return.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article PECOTA Takes on Prospe... (05/08)
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Overthinking It: Catch... (05/07)
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Overthinking It: Have ... (05/15)
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Premium Article Skewed Left: The Five ... (05/08)

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