One Base Advancement Events

June 22, 2020

One Base Advancement Events

            One Base Advancement Events are Wild Pitches, Passed Balls, Balks and Stolen Bases.   I put them together because their consequences are essentially the same, and can be temporarily measured as being the same, and (b) it is, in several different ways, easier to deal with the data.  You’ve got one good-sized wild animal to keep track of, rather than a bunch of squirrels and possums and skunks and rabbits.   In "Balks" as an individual category, one team is six standard deviations worse than the norm; in passed balls, one team is eight standard deviations worse than the norm.   But when you put them all together, no team is five standard deviations worse than the norm, so everybody is on the school bus.   I think that I just mixed my metaphors, and now have lions and skunks on the school bus with the children, so let’s hope that nobody gets hurt. 

            The worst team ever in this category is the 1915 Philadelphia A’s; remember them?  They allowed 295 stolen bases, threw 68 Wild Pitches, had 17 Passed Balls and committed 4 balks, a total of 384 one-base advancement events.  This is .06647 one base advancements per batter faced, or basically one for each 15 batters faced.

            Somebody at this point is going to say that the 1915 Philadelphia A’s allowed a large number of runners to advance because they had a large number of runners on base, so shouldn’t you be basing their advancement on their runners on base, rather than batters faced?

            It’s a judgment call.   We’re just asking "How Many" here, not "why’.  First we have to measure the fact; then we can place the fact in context.   The number of runners on base is not a major variable in the number who move up; it’s a minor component. 

            On the other end of the scale, the team which allowed the fewest runners to move up would be the 1944 Cincinnati Reds, who allowed only 45 runners to advance—31 stolen bases allowed, 9 Wild Pitches, 5 Passed Balls, no Balks.   Comparing the two teams, the 1915 Athletics had 32% more runners on base by way of hit, walk or hit batsman (2232 to 1695), but had eight and a half times as many opposing runners who moved up a base. 

            The 1944 Reds allowed 45 one-base advancements, and are thus credited with 383 base advancements prevented, which actually is NOT the record; several other teams slip past them because they played longer schedules. The 1915 A’s allowed 384 one-base advancements, and are thus credited with 45 prevented; 384-45, and 45-383.  The Reds were managed by Bill McKechnie, who was an absolute fanatic about defense.  His team finished 89-73 although they were next-to-last in the league in runs scored, some of which was because of the park.  


COMMENTS (8 Comments, most recent shown first)

6 times players who were primarily catchers have played in at least 158 games in a single season.

Player G Year Games at Catcher
Ted Simmons 161 1973 153
Johnny Bench 160 1974 137
Randy Hundley 160 1968 160
Gary Carter 159 1984 143
Gene Tenace 158 1975 125
Johnny Bench 158 1970 129

When Hundley caught 160 games, he caught 1385 innings. I remember the Royals Salvador Perez in 2014 actually caught more innings than that in 2014. Salvy had 1248 in the regular season, and the Royals played 15 post season games, but I can't find combined post season fielding stats easily right now. The Royals announced this as a single season record I remember.

Mike Webber
6:56 PM Jun 24th
The first man to catch 100 games in a season was Doc Bushong in 1886. Below is the progression of the single season record for games caught from BBRef.
Ted Simmons caught 154 games in 1975, and actually caught more innings in 1973 in few games played. In 1973 Simmons played 161 games, but "only" caught in 151, but he also played 7 games at 1b, and 2 games in RF.

Year Single-Season G
1886 Doc Bushong 106
1890 Chief Zimmer 125
1895 Deacon McGuire 133
1908 George Gibson 140
1909 George Gibson 150
1920 Ray Schalk+ 151
1944 Frankie Hayes, Ray Mueller 155
1968 Randy Hundley 160

6:37 PM Jun 24th
Brock Hanke
I tried looking up a few catchers that I knew had had huge workloads in a season. Randy Hundley played 160 games for the Cubs in 1968, but not all of them were as a starting catcher, and 160 is not 162. Ted Simmons did Hundley one better. He played 161 games for the Cards in 1973, but, again, they were not all at starting catcher. I couldn't find anyone else who had 161 at catcher. That does not imply that there were no others.
6:12 PM Jun 24th
The amazing thing about those 1915 Athletics is, they were even worse the next year.

As noted, Ray Mueller started every game for the 1944 Reds, and Baseball-Reference shows him with only 1 fielding run. Looking at the team totals, the Reds were actually last in assists by catchers, as well as putouts and double plays. The five passed balls were only 1 fewer than Boston, and the 10 wild pitches were equaled by Pittsburgh. Also, they were last in caught stealing %. Their pitching staff had the fewest walks allowed as well as fewest strikeouts. So looks like their low number of one base advancement events was largely due to not many pitches getting past the batters rather than good fielding by Mueller. I wish they had pitch counts back then.
8:38 PM Jun 22nd
On that 1915 A's team, Wally Schang, who ended up being a decent C, caught 26 games while playing 41 at 3B and 42 in the OF.

I am interested to see how this item plays out in total reconciliation. While the 44' Reds were the lowest in history it was effected greatly by the era as they ended up only being 36 bases below the average team in the league and 59 below the worst team in the league (Dodgers).
12:47 PM Jun 22nd
Frankie Hayes of the A's also started all 155 games in 1944!
11:38 AM Jun 22nd
Responding to Mathias. . ..Yeah, I think Mueller was the only guy ever to do that, wasn't he? I think he held the record for games caught in a season until maybe Randy Hundley broke it in the 1960s. ​
9:41 AM Jun 22nd
Catcher(!) Ray Mueller, second baseman Woody Williams, and shortstop Eddie Miller started all of the 155 games the 1944 Reds played (one tie).
6:36 AM Jun 22nd
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