January 23, 2008

Baseball Player Name of the Week

Jack Warhop.

It works particularly well if you imagine Bob Sheppard saying Warhop.

Mr. Warhop pitched for the Yankees from 1908-1915 and holds their all-time record for most hit batsmen, with 114 -- though this is only 56th on the MLB all-time list. In fact, the top three batter-hitters all have pretty excellent names:

1. Gus Weyhing (277)

2. Chick Fraser (219)

3. Pink Hawley (210)

Gus Weyhing, in particular, has a nice ring to it. Is there a correlation between coolness of name and career number of batters hit? I may have to email the Baseball Prospectus crew for a definitive mathematical answer to this.

Related: Randy Johnson (182) is #7, and Roger Clemens is #13 (159), just barely edging out Nolan Ryan (158). You probably have to be a bit of a dick to be that high on the list, since pitchers with mere lousy control probably won't end up with enough career innings to make a dent -- that is, if you're given the opportunity to pitch long enough to hit 150 batters, they probably aren't all accidents.

Unless of course you're Tim Wakefield (#18).

Somewhat to my surprise, Bob "Intimidating" Gibson is only 75th (102), tied with Chief Bender. Who probably would have won Name of the Week honors, if only "Chief" weren't a vaguely racist nickname given to seemingly every Native American player in baseball's early days. Ah well.

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