I've been pretty impatient for Jason Kendall to get his HBP game going this season, and yesterday he finally got his 250th career plunk (contributed by Fausto Carmona). But, given that only 5 people have ever made that milestone, and only 3 of them were born since the Rutherford B Hayes administration, I should probably cut him some slack. Because getting hit by 250 pitches is hard.
Here are a few assorted groups of people who never managed to get hit by 250 plunks.
- Every major league pitcher from 1996 to today. Since Kendall joined the league in 1996, pitchers have been hit 233 times. Put another way, since 1996, major league pitchers have plunked Jason Kendall 250 times, but they've only hit the opposing pitcher 233 times. Pitchers have had approximately 10 times more plate appearance than Kendall in which to get plunked.
- The 1980s Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles only got hit 240 times during the 10 seasons from 1980 to 1989. And there were actually ahead of the Braves, Reds, Pirates, Cubs, Cardinals, Astros and Padres in total plunks for the decade.
- 99.99% of any two randomly selected active major leaguers this year. If you were to invent a game in which you had to randomly select two active players among those who have batted this season, who aren't Jason Kendall, but have to have their total HBPs add up to at least 250, your odds of winning that game would be about 1 in 9,179, or 0.011%. There have been 591 different players to bat this year, other than Kendall, but only 38 possible combinations of 2 players whose career totals add up to 250 or more - and one of the two would have to be either Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter or David Eckstein.
- Every Kansas City Royal prior to May 4, 1977. The Royals made it through their first 8 seasons before breaking the 250 plunk barrier. The 250th plunk in franchise history was recorded by Tom Poquette on May 4, 1977 - thrown by Jamie Moyer. (Not really - it was White Sox pitcher Steve Stone).
- Everyone born in 1932. Partly due to a low birth rate in the early 30s, and possibly as a rebellion against their parents depression-era grittiness, major league players born in 1932 were only hit by 243 pitches. There were only 73 of them, which is low, but they only got hit by an average of 3.3 pitches each - which is really low. There were only 86 major league batters born in 1934, but they managed to get hit 857 times - nearly 10 times each. Players born in 1974, when Kendall was born, have been hit 1,990 times and even excluding Kendall they've been plunked an impressive 9.4 times each.
- Everyone who has played this year for the Rays, Braves, Astros, Angels, Twins, Marlins, A's, Pirates or Diamondbacks. If you add up the career totals of every guy who's played for the Rays this season, it comes to 249 plunks. And they're only 22nd in the league in that category. The members of the 2010 Pirates have been hit a total of 154 times, which is 23 fewer plunks than Kendall had as a Pirate.
- Every player in major league history born on January 25th, February 19th, June 13th, and September 8th - combined. The combined total plunks for everyone born on those for dates is 227. Somehow players born in September 8th have only been hit 35 times, while players born on February 29th have been hit 50 times. There are 186 different birthdays (more than half the possibilities) on which the combined plunk total for players born on that date is less than 250. (However, there are 481 plunks attributed to players whose birthdays are unknown). The 41 players born on January 15th, and the 44 players born on December 17th have been hit exactly as many times as Jason Kendall.
- People born in Delaware. Delaware has produced 48 major league batters who have been hit 245 times. They're the closest of 12 US states who haven't been hit by 250 pitches in total. Put another way, if Jason Kendall was his own state... or at least he was born in a state where he was the only person ever born - that state would be 39th in total plunks by state of birth.
- People whose last name starts with Q. Despite Carlos Quentin's best efforts, players in the Q section of the baseball encyclopedia have only been hit by 201 pitches.