Sometime towards the end of production on Baseball Prospectus 2002, a regular correspondent dropped me an e-mail:
Who won the 2001 DiSar Awards?
Now, seeing as the DiSars are generally wrapped up around the All-Star break, I figured I must have announced the winners some time last summer. I jumped into our archives…and was horrified to discover that while I had run an update, I hadn't published the final results.
To refresh your memory, the DiSars are named in honor of proud non-walker Gary DiSarcina, who once proclaimed his desire to go the entire season without drawing a walk. The awards, introduced in 2000, go to the player in each league who accumulates the most at-bats from the beginning of the season without seeing ball four. The inaugural DiSars were won by the Twins' Jacque Jones and the Cardinals' Shawon Dunston.
With the help of data guru Keith Woolner, I was able to identify the 2001 DiSar Award winners long after the season concluded. It's with a sense of pride, and not a little bemusement, that I present the 2001 DiSars to the Dodgers' Marquis Grissom and the Yankees' Alfonso Soriano.
Grissom, like Dunston before him, began the year in a bench role, and was nowhere near the DiSar leaderboard in April. However, he slugged his way to more playing time, and ran his streak to 124 walk-free at-bats before the Rockies' Kane Davis put him on in the ninth inning of a romp at Dodger Stadium. Grissom obliterated the competition: of NL players who eventually did draw a walk, World Series hero Curt Schilling went the second-longest before doing so, taking his base on September 23, after 76 walkless at-bats. (The Giants' Livan Hernandez batted 81 times without ever walking.)
In the American League, the award was once again won by a young player. Soriano's free-swinging ways were a popular topic of conversation early in the year, as he and Boston's Shea Hillenbrand hacked their way to notoriety. Hillenbrand's shot at the crown was ruined by the Devil Rays' Travis Harper, who found a way to send Hillenbrand to first base on April 17. It would be Hillenbrand's only walk in the season's first seven weeks.
Soriano would eventually crack the century mark, batting 101 times before Oakland's Barry Zito walked him in the third inning of an April 29 game at Yankee Stadium. The Rangers' Bill Haselman made a run late in the year, but on September 8, his 83-AB streak ended at the fingertips of the Royals' Chris George. Haselman's walk was George's only free pass of the game. Ah, the mighty hand of fate…
Now, I know I announced a contest in which the first person to nominate both leagues' winners would receive a free copy of Baseball Prospectus 2002. As I did in 2000, I saved and filed away all the e-mails I received with your guesses.
And then in May, I got a bright, shiny new laptop, and relegated my old PC–a Hamster 1300–to a corner of the closet. More recently, it was sent to a friend's, and rumor has it that I'll be seeing a CD with the contents of my hard drive Real Soon Now. When that gets here, I'll dig through the entries and see if we have any winners. Rather than go by first entry, I'll simply award a book to anyone who named both Grissom and Soriano.
Thanks to everyone who participated, congratulations to the honorees, and let's all start thinking about who the 2002 winners will be. Submit your entries by clicking here, and this time, I promise not to upgrade my computer until the last player has heard "Take Your Base!"
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