April 26, 2005
The DiSars Are Back!
I usually put out a call for the DiSar Awards in March, but they slipped by this season. In fact, I never even handed out the 2004 Golden Crutches. No, I should rephrase...I never even asked Keith Woolner to tell me who won the '04 Golden Crutches.
For those of you new to this space, the DiSar Awards are named in tribute to former Angels shortstop Gary DiSarcina who, bless him, once said that he had a goal of going through an entire season without drawing a walk. DiSarcina has left the field, but the DiSars live on to honor that notion, going to the position player in each league who goes the deepest into his season without hearing the words, "Take your base!"
For the history buffs, the first four winners of the awards were:
Year American League National League 2003 Jose Molina Rainer Olmedo 2002 Carl Crawford Shawon Dunston 2001 Alfonso Soriano Marquis Grissom 2000 Jacque Jones Shawon DunstonThe 2004 honorees are a pair of bench players who, in the tradition of '03's winners, didn't let part-time status get in the way of swinging the bat. Like Jose Molina and Rainer Olmedo, Jose Macias and Cesar Crespo parlayed their limited opportunities into glory, not wasting their time at the plate watching pitches, but getting after them in the manner that made Gary DiSarcina an Orange County Legend.
Macias racked up 98 at-bats before drawing his first free pass on June 23. Diamondbacks' rookie shortstop Jerry Gil made a spirited run at Macias, but ran out of season--Gil ended the year with 86 at-bats and no walks. Crespo might well have walked...er...swung past all of them, but he was banished from the Red Sox bench early in July, having picked up 79 at-bats and not a single base on balls. He does, however, take home AL honors. Jorge Cantu was the only player to make a charge; he drew a walk in August, after 54 at-bats.
Pitchers aren't eligible for the award, but they peppered the list, holding down five of the top ten DiSar streaks. Among position players, Alex Sanchez (72), Jolbert Cabrera (59) and Bret Boone (58) were next in line.
There was a contest last year, and that contest once again had no winners. No one named Macias or Crespo, much less both. I seem to remember a rider about picking a winner based on who amused me, but after re-reading the e-mails, it appears no one even tried.
This year, there are some terrific DiSar races going on in the early going, although recent history has taught us that these things are won in the summer. Through Sunday, four players had already set DiSar numbers of 50 or higher, and two of those took active streaks into the season's fourth week.
AB Jose Reyes 82* Orlando Hudson 68 Aaron Miles 67* Grady Sizemore 54 Jason Lane 46 Jorge Cantu 45 Jose Guillen 42 Edgar Renteria 40The only other active streak of note through Sunday is Lance Niekro's 35 and counting.
Finally, Keith Woolner, being the type of guy he is, passed along a list of the longest DiSar streaks since 1972. We're still waiting for that elusive walkless season, but there were some doozies. Enjoy.
YEAR NAME AB 1980 Rob Picciolo 259 1995 Mariano Duncan 213 1994 Kim Batiste 179 1973 Craig Robinson 146 1987 Angel Salazar 144 1985 Mickey Hatcher 134 1985 Alejandro Sanchez 133 1984 Jeff Kunkel 125 1990 Oscar Azocar 125 1986 Tom Paciorek 124 2001 Marquis Grissom 121 1984 Rob Picciolo 119 1983 Brian Harper 117 1974 Al Oliver 110 1986 Fernando Valenzuela 109 1977 Phil Niekro 109 1989 Kevin Romine 107 1972 Terry Humphrey 106 1978 Mike Colbern 105 1978 Taylor Duncan 105 1979 Rob Picciolo 105 1972 Catfish Hunter 105 2003 Jose Molina 104 1993 Alvaro Espinoza 104 1985 Milt Thompson 103 1992 Greg Briley 103 1974 Steve Carlton 102 2001 Alfonso Soriano 101 1989 Mariano Duncan 101 1982 Steve Carlton 101 1979 Joe Cannon 101 1976 J.R. Richard 100