Josh Hamilton came to the plate nine times last night in the Angels’ 19-inning loss to Oakland. He made nine outs–including one sacrifice fly and three strikeouts. While that may sound like a historically bad night–and it is in relatively small company–there have been others who have had as many or more plate appearances without reaching base. Thirty-four times since 1916 a player has had at least 9 plate appearances and failed to reach base.
Martin Prado was the last to do it, last year in a game against the Pirates. John Shelby of the Dodgers failed to reach base in ten plate appearances in a 22-inning affair against Houston back on June 3, 1989. The most plate appearances without reaching base belongs to Danny Thompson of the Twins, who went 0 for 11 in a 22-inning game that stretched over two days in 1972. [all data from baseball-reference.com]
While it may not have set the record for futility, the gem turned in by Hamilton comes at the end of a disastrous opening 25 games for Hamilton with the Angels. How bad? Well, John Heyman puts it in perspective.
seen this act: hamilton’s 1st 25 angels games: .202/.246/.298 team 9-16. pujols 1st 25 in ’12: .208/.252/.287 team 10-15.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) April 30, 2013
Albert turned his season around after that slow start. The problem is that Hamilton has been fairly pedestrian for a long stretch, since that amazing start to last year and 4 home run performance in May. Since May 13 of last year, when he hit his 18th home run of the 2012 season, Hamilton has put up the following numbers:.252/.324/.493, 25 home runs in 117 games played.
To put that in perspective, that is basically Mark Trumbo or Cody Ross. That production is fine if you are not paying a guy a huge contract. The Angels better hope that he has a month as hot as last May as the calendar turns.
[photo via USA Today Sports Images]