The Most Feared Hitter in Baseball

One thing I keep reading regarding the Hall of Fame candidacy of Jim Rice is that he was widely regarded as the dominant hitter in baseball, or “The Most Feared Hitter in the Game” for most of his career, 1975-1986. One way of measuring how feared he was might be to look at how many intentional walks he received.

Now, I’m not saying that intentional walks are necessarily a good measure of hitting quality, but they should be a decent way to gauge if somebody was causing opposing pitchers to quake in fear as the batter strode to the plate. (BTW, looking at IBB for Rice is certainly not my idea. A quick google search will bring you to threads at Baseball Think Factory and Sons of Sam Horn on this very subject.)

Anyway, I have used the Retrosheet data to look at who had the most IBB from 1975 through 1986. I’ve not included IBB to number 8 hitters — lots of these guys are weak hitters who get intentionally walked to reach the even weaker hitting pitcher batting ninth. Rice received 72 intentional walks during that period, which means the “Most Feared Hitter in the Game” ranked 30th on our fearsomeness scale during those years. Of course, there are complications, like who was batting behind Rice and, say, Darrell Porter (who received more IBB than Rice). Still, 30th?

Here’s the list:

+-------------------+-----+
| name              | ibb |
+-------------------+-----+
| Schmidt, Mike     | 155 |
| Brett, George     | 141 |
| Simmons, Ted      | 139 |
| Winfield, Dave    | 127 |
| Parker, Dave      | 124 |
| Cruz, Jose        | 120 |
| Murray, Eddie     | 117 |
| Hernandez, Keith  | 113 |
| Madlock, Bill     | 112 |
| Carew, Rod        | 110 |
| Garvey, Steve     | 100 |
| Evans, Darrell    |  98 |
| Cey, Ron          |  96 |
| Carter, Gary      |  95 |
| Oglivie, Ben      |  91 |
| Oliver, Al        |  90 |
| Driessen, Dan     |  89 |
| Foster, George    |  88 |
| Murphy, Dale      |  86 |
| Cromartie, Warren |  85 |
| Singleton, Ken    |  85 |
| Jackson, Reggie   |  85 |
| Durham, Leon      |  84 |
| Porter, Darrell   |  82 |
| Chambliss, Chris  |  82 |
| Luzinski, Greg    |  78 |
| Buckner, Bill     |  78 |
| Baylor, Don       |  76 |
| Clark, Jack       |  73 |
| Rice, Jim         |  72 |
+-------------------+-----+

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