The next appearance David Ortiz makes for the Red Sox as the designated hitter will see him set a new Major League Baseball record for most appearances as a DH.
Should David Ortiz appear tonight for the Red Sox against the Yankees at Fenway Park as the designated hitter, and by all accounts he will, he will set a new Major League Baseball record for most appearances as a DH with 1644 games, surpassing former slugger Harold Baines. Ortiz already holds the record for most starts in league history by a DH with 1625, well ahead of Baines at 1565 starts.
Big Papi is far and away the leader in most offensive categories as a designated hitter: most plate appearances (7188), most hits (1779), most doubles (450), most home runs (385), and most RBI (1256). Counting only players with at least 2000 plate appearances as a DH, his OPS of .941 ranks second to Edgar Martinez (.959).
Continue reading “Did You Know? – Appearances as Designated Hitter”
By the early 1980s, former outfielder Don Balyor had been regulated to the designated hitter’s role by the California Angels and remained in that role for three seasons with the New York Yankees between 1983 and 1985. Less than two weeks before the start of the 1986 season, Baylor was traded straight up for Boston Red Sox designated hitter Mike Easler. In the end, Baylor batted just .238 in 160 games played, but he also led the club in home runs with 31, drove home 94 runs, and provided some veteran leadership in the clubhouse as the Red Sox ran away with the American League East division title. The next season, he cracked another 16 home runs and drove in 57 more runs before being traded away to Minnesota in late August.
He also set a record that possibly very few Red Sox batters aspire to hold: given that he loved to lean out over the plate, daring opposing pitchers to throw inside to him, he was hit by 35 pitches over the course of the 1986 regular season, an American League record. Only one other player since 1900 has been hit by more pitches in a single season and, until 2005, he owned the career mark for a major league player, having been plunked 267 times over 19 big-league seasons. To put in perspective another way, Baylor ranks number one and number two in Red Sox franchise history for the single-season record, having been hit another 24 times in 1987. He is also third all-time, tied with Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk, for the most times hit by a pitch in a Boston uniform and sits only twelve behind the Red Sox career leader, Mo Vaughn. Perhaps even more interesting is that he reached his personal mark in only 1,096 plate appearances for Boston, less than a quarter of the number that both Fisk and Vaughn had with the Red Sox. Ouch!