FanDuel - WFBC

May 02, 2014

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 10 comments

Oh, crap, grum is bored!

Tracking lineage in baseball: Finding the last plate appearance of a batter, and then finding the last appearance of the pitcher who faced him, and then finding the last plate appearance of the batter who faced him, and so on...

if you start with Babe Ruth, and you follow one part of his lineage*, you end up with...Mike Trout:

Babe Ruth 1935
   Jim Bivin 1935
Johnny McCarthy 1948
   Vern Bickford 1954
Chico Carrasquel 1959
   Jerry Casale 1962
Bobby Del Greco 1965
   Warren Spahn 1965

From here, you have to do a small jump, as the last batter Warren Spahn faced was Sammy Ellis...a pitcher. His last matchup was as a pitcher, not a hitter, so I went with that instead:

   *Sammy Ellis 1969 (as a pitcher)
Bobby Murcer 1983
   Bob Gibson 1987
Ken Caminiti 2001 (NLDS)
   Octavio Dotel 2013
Mike Trout (active)

If you follow it from Sammy Ellis (the batter), it's Curtis Granderson:

*Sammy Ellis 1969 (as a batter)
   Jim Hannan 1971
Ken Berry 1975
   Jim Todd 1979
Darrell Porter 1987
   Jerry Reed 1990
Dick Schofield 1996
   Bobby Witt 2001 (World Series)
Shane Spencer 2004
   Chad Cordero 2010
Colin Curtis 2010
   Andy Sonnanstine 2011
Curtis Granderson (active)

posted by grum@work at 12:31 PM on May 02

Would be interesting to find the Kevin Bacon of baseball, some pitcher who played for so long in the '50s-'70s that most roads go through him. Actually, given how rare a final at-bat is, there probably isn't one.

posted by yerfatma at 01:31 PM on May 02

Where are you getting play-by-play records? I thought they'd be on Baseball Reference, but no luck.

posted by rcade at 02:07 PM on May 02

rcade: The play-by-play for most of the games are on BBRef, but for the very early ones, I had to reconstruct a couple of them based on batters faced in the box score and pitching/batting order.

For example:

Babe Ruth's last game as a batter is this one.

There is no play-by-play, but since he batted once and then was pulled, it's easy to determine that he faced the first pitcher of the game (Jim Bivin) who threw 6 innings.

I think there was one game where I had to do some calculations to determine who the last batter was, and was able to solve it based on the number of plate appearances everyone had, the hits, errors, walks, and sac flies/sac bunts. In the end, I had a leeway of 2 batters on either side to be right, so I figured I got it with about 90% accuracy.

posted by grum@work at 02:35 PM on May 02

ESPN has some World Cup posters to . . . do I don't know what with.

posted by yerfatma at 03:12 PM on May 02

Would be interesting to find the Kevin Bacon of baseball, some pitcher who played for so long in the '50s-'70s that most roads go through him. Actually, given how rare a final at-bat is, there probably isn't one.

For the reverse, someone like Hank Aaron (last batter for Bob Buhl (1967) and Tommy Byrne (1957 World Series)) might have a few more because of the length of his career (more opportunities) and skills (hits a home run or a double and they pull the pitcher and...that guy never pitches again).

For pitchers, you'd probably want old guys who threw complete games (because they'd face every batter in a lineup) or long time closers (because they'd face the last batters of the game and potential cup-of-coffee pinch-hitting types). So someone like Warren Spahn* or Mariano Rivera would work.

*The extremely old pitchers like Cy Young, Pud Galvin, Tim Keefe, or Kid Nichols don't have all of their individual games available in box score format, so tracking down who played in which game would be difficult. Even Walter Johnson would be a tough one to track.

posted by grum@work at 03:37 PM on May 02

Twitter, racism, and the Boston Bruins...

posted by MeatSaber at 08:02 PM on May 02

ESPN has some World Cup posters to . . . do I don't know what with.

I see they couldn't work out what language they spoke in Belgium, so they went with English.

posted by owlhouse at 10:35 PM on May 02

I see they couldn't work out what language they spoke in Belgium

Neither can the Belgians, but it seems to work out for them anyway.

posted by Howard_T at 01:55 PM on May 03

To be fair, Belgium is a fictional country created by the British, French and Prussians so they'd have a place to fight.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 05:25 PM on May 03

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