keyboard_arrow_uptop

Sam Miller hates (hates hates) the cycle. I also hate the cycle. It’s an accomplishment built on its aesthetic merit rather than productive merit: perfect games, triple doubles, and hat tricks are all built on the athlete trying to create the most value with every single opportunity. The cycle is about a player rolling the dice on his abilities in a given number of plate appearances, and having the numbers come up in a pretty fashion. And yet, like the wave, the human spirit rallies behind the cycle despite all reason. The heart always wins.

But stats get stale. That’s why I propose a new achievement: the Yahtzee.

A Yahtzee is easy to describe: it’s any game in which a player has five plate appearances, and achieves the same result all five times. Sorry, Raul Ibanez! Your six singles don’t count, because they’re not five. Equal apologies to the 75 players who struck out five times in a game, because anyone can do that. Yahtzees may be an arbitrary accomplishment, but they’re still an accomplishment; they have to be positive outcomes.

Given these restrictions, there have been 242 Yahtzees since the dawn of the Play Index in 1914: 207 through singles, and 35 through walks. We haven’t seen a double, triple, or home run Yahtzee yet, though Mike Cameron came within feet of it on May 2, 2002. It’s a pleasing total; given that there have been 245 cycles over the same time period.

Your Yahtzee leaderboard (asterisk denotes active player):

Rank

Player

Count

1

Ichiro Suzuki*

4

2t

Rabbit Maranville

3

2t

Tris Speaker

3

4t

Barry Bonds

2

4t

Bob Dernier

2

4t

Curt Flood

2

4t

Earl Averill

2

4t

Eric McNair

2

4t

Goose Goslin

2

4t

Jake Daubert

2

4t

Juan Pierre

2

4t

Kiki Cuyler

2

4t

Mark Grudzielanek

2

4t

Mel Ott

2

4t

Paul Molitor

2

4t

Rod Carew

2

4t

Roger Cedeno

2

4t

Roger Peckinpaugh

2

4t

Ron Santo

2

4t

Stan Musial

2

4t

Tony Oliva

2

4t

Yunel Escobar*

2

23t

194 Others

1

It’s no surprise that Ichiro heads the list, though this may be the first time Rabbit Maranville has been mentioned at BP in a positive light. Only two players achieved two walk Yahtzees, Bonds and Ott, and two others split one of each: Roger Peckinpaugh and Earl Averill.

It’s interesting to note that in 67 of the 242 iterations, the man who reached first five times failed to score even a single run. No man has yet recorded the Super Yahtzee and scored all five times; four fell a run short. Players who Yahtzeed saw their teams win 76.9 percent of the time. George Springer, who singled five times earlier this year, watched his team score only once in a loss.

Yahtzees have the added benefit of being an equal opportunity achievement:

The three pitchers to manage the feat: Vic Aldridge in 1922, Hank Johnson in 1928, and Johnny Murphy in 1936. Of the three, Murphy’s is perhaps the most impressive: in his fifteen year career he managed a scant 46 career hits, meaning that nearly 11 percent of that total came from a single game.

The up-and-comer on that leaderboard, however, is Yunel Escobar. The Nationals shortstop isn’t young, though he has the distinct advantage of still playing baseball, unlike most of the names above his. But what makes him dangerous to Ichiro is that both of his Yahtzees came last month, a mere week apart from each other, on 5/4/15 and 5/11/15. It’d take just one good week for Yunel Escobar to hold a share of a record that, until this article was published, never existed.

You need to be logged in to comment. Login or Subscribe
jfranco77
6/29
I like it. Any list with Ichiro on top is a good list in my book.
leites
6/29
This is awesome, thanks for doing it!
jj0501
6/29
Steven Souza, Jr. on June 15 had 5 PA's, 5 BB's, and 0 runs or RBI. Did we see a first in Yahtzee history ?
euqubudhp
6/29
Sadly, no. The zero run/zero RBI Yahtzee has happened eighteen times, seven via singles and 11 via walks. George Springer did it less than three weeks ago. If you're looking for something unique, at least Souza's 0.051 WPA was the lowest of the eighteen. But that's all I can give you.
GBSimons
6/29
I'm curious what Sam Miller thinks of the Yahtzee, because every one achieved so far has been less impressive than a cycle. I'll take the 10 total bases of a cycle over 5 TB from a Yahtzee.
Schere
6/29
I want a Yahtzee in the box score: 5AB, 5H, 5R, 5RBI and not one of those fancy new-fangled boxscores with LOB in it, because that doesn't work. There are only five of these, and they all happen to be from really good players - Larry Parrish (with 3HR) Steve Garvey 2 HR Al Simmons 2 HR Earl Sheely a 20-15 game, so every run counted Bibb Falk (also a walk, so his 6PA is a little off-putting.) There are 158 "3" yahtzees (mostly with a few walks added in), also 28 "4" yahtzees, and no 6 yahtzees.