Joey Votto’s bid for history

There’s this guy on the Reds named Joey Votto. Maybe you’ve heard of him. He’s pretty good.

That’s a rather blatant understatement. He’s led the league in OBP three times in a row. He’s led the league in walks each of the last two years while hitting over .300. He has some power, so he once led the league in slugging percentage. No wonder he’s already won an MVP.

But so far, this might be the most impressive season he’s had. Currently, he leads the league in walks drawn and hits. That’s tough to do. In fact, it’s been done only once in the last half-century, four times since 1900, and six times ever.

Here is a list of everyone who ever led the league in walks and hits in the same year:

Lenny Dykstra, 1994
Carl Yastrzemski, 1963
Richie Ashburn, 1958
Rogers Hornsby, 1924
Billy Hamilton, 1891
Ross Barnes, 1876

That’s nice company. Four are Hall of Famers. Barnes was a great hitter by the rules of the day, though the league soon changed the rules. (He was master of the fair-foul hit, in which if the ball first landed fair, then it was fair even if it went foul before leaving the infield). Dykstra is the weird one, but even he had a nice career.

Will Votto keep it up? It’s tough to do, but if he stays healthy and keeps hitting .361, you’ve got to like his odds.

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Comments

  1. lexomatic said...

    I’m curious how much list expands when you consider top 3 in both hits & walks in the same season.
    Obviously you get a few Boggs seasons… but what else?

  2. Dave Cornutt said...

    I think you’ve got the wrong year on Dykstra… it probably should be 1993.  It’s definitely not ‘94, because he only had 386 plate appearances that year.

  3. Chris Jaffe said...

    Yeah, you’re right – 1993 for Dykstra.  Damn typo. 

    That said, 386 PA would be enough in ‘94, because that was the strike year.

  4. Dave Cornutt said...

    Oh, that’s right.  IIRC most teams had completed about 120 games when the strike was called.

  5. Chris Jaffe said...

    Ian – that’s a typo.  It should say 1993.  I put in the wrong year. 

    At any rate, in 1994 he qualified for the batting title because there was a strike that year that wiped out nearly a third of the season.

  6. Ian R. said...

    Re: 1994 – Since we’re talking about counting numbers anyway, does it matter whether he qualified for the batting title? In theory 330 plate appearances could be enough – he just would have had to get a hit or a walk in pretty much every single one of them.

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