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The “why pitchers should not hit” is an article about how the game of baseball has changed over time. The author discusses that there is less ‘magic’ in the game now, and it is more about strategy than anything else.

For all of its uniformity, pragmatism, and Shohei Ohtani, the universal DH upsets a tiny number of us, since it loses one of baseball’s unappreciated elements: pitchers hitting, or not hitting, which has offered fantastic statistics, tales, and grins for 150 years.

Yes, we still have Ohtani, but he doesn’t qualify as a hitting pitcher because, like Babe Ruth, he’s too excellent. They are/were two-way players, as is Michael Lorenzen of the Los Angeles Angels, who became the first player since Babe Ruth in 1921 to smash a home run, win a game, and play the field in the same game in 2019. “On my baseball card, there’s just myself and Babe Ruth,” Lorenzen stated. “It doesn’t get much better than that,” says the narrator.

Yes, a pitcher might bat in 2022 if, for example, a game reaches 18 innings, a club runs out of position players, and a position player is injured. A pitcher would have to either bat or play in the field. Pitchers, however, will never bat in the major leagues again for the sake of this tale.

“I’m going to miss it,” said Max Scherzer of the New York Mets, who enjoys hitting and racing the bases as much as any pitcher. “It disturbs me just as much as it should.”

Pitcher Charlie Morton of the Atlanta Braves stated, “I’m not going to miss it.” “I don’t believe anybody wants to see me strike out on three pitches 98 times out of a hundred and go back to the dugout.”

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“I was a.088 hitter, and I’ve always been for pitchers hitting; I enjoy the quirks,” said Jim Deshaies, a former pitcher who is now a Cubs commentator. “When Jon Lester arrived [with the Cubs], he was 0-for-68, but then he began hitting. Pitchers, in my opinion, should hit. It’s beneficial to the game, in my opinion. I mean, Bartolo [Colon’s] home run was incredible.”

Indeed. In 2016, at the age of 42, the overweight, underappreciated, and unforgettable Colon became the oldest player in major league history to hit a first-pitch home run, which featured one of the slowest, most joyous trips around the bases in baseball history, and sparked one of the wildest dugout celebrations we’ve ever seen. “It’s just me and Bartolo when we come back to the dugout; everyone else is down in the tunnel,” said Kevin Plawecki, who was on base at the time of the home run. “I didn’t know what to do; should I bear hug him once more? After then, everyone bursts out from the tunnel. It was incredible. Every single player on the squad rushed over to give him a hearty embrace. It was really insane.”

It was really insane. It was enchanted. That enchantment is no longer present.

We’re never going to see it again. A lot of things will never be seen again:

  • We’ll never see another pitcher hit two home runs on Opening Day like Madison Bumgarner, the only pitcher to accomplish it. Both Adrian Beltre and Johnny Bench hit 477 home runs, but none hit one on Opening Day; Bumgarner blasted two on the same day. “I’m a pitcher, not a hitter,” he told the Hall of Fame when asked for his famous bat. Bumgarner also has two grand slams in his career, more than Pete Rose and Derek Jeter combined in his 25,248 at-bats.

  • Rick Wise’s feat of hitting two home runs while pitching a no-hitter in 1971 will never be repeated.

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  • We’ll never see another pitcher steal a base. Wild Bill Donovan’s 34 thefts in his career are the most by a pitcher since 1900. The last pitcher to steal three bases in a game was Red Faber (1915). Only Don Newcombe (1956) has ever hit two home runs and stolen a base in the same game. Manager Jim Leyland placing his hand on hitting coach Milt May’s shoulder was the steal sign for the Pirates in the early 1990s. During a game, Leyland summoned May over to tell him something and accidently put his hand on her shoulder. Brian Fisher, a pitcher on first base, mistook the steal signal and dashed to second. “He slipped and just sort of plugged,” recalled Rich Donnelly, the Pirates’ third base coach at the time. “He was closer to first base than he was to second base when he completed his slide.”

  • This is the most incredible list of pitchers we’ve ever seen. Daisuke Matsuzaka became the first Red Sox pitcher to have a multi-RBI game in the playoffs in 2007, joining Cy Young and Babe Ruth. Daisuke Matsuzaka, Cy Young, Babe Ruth

  • A pitcher will never hit an inside-the-park home run again, like Butch Henry did in 1992. It was his only career home run.

“On a bases-loaded walk against David Palmer, I got my first career RBI. After approximately a week, he was freed. That made me feel guilty.” Jim Deshaies, a former pitcher,

  • We’ll miss Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias’ thinking process at the bat, as he recorded an RBI in five straight starts last year. As one of my teammates put it, “Urias is incapable of running. He’ll lay in the bushes like Manny Ramirez in his first at-bat with no one on base, pretending that he can’t hit a specific pitch. The pitcher feels he can throw that ball again later in the game since Julio can’t hit it, but Julio is ready for it and drives in a run.”

  • This is something we’ll never talk about in a big league clubhouse: In an NBA game in 1990, Chris Dudley of the Nets shot 1-for-18 from the free throw line. “The baseball equivalent would be going 1-for-300 at the bat… which would be really good for me!” quipped Padres pitcher Bruce Hurst, a passionate basketball enthusiast and a fairly strong shooter but a career.113 hitter.

  • A career feat like pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm’s, who hit a home run in his first professional at-bat and then batted 431 times without hitting another, can never be repeated.

  • Dennis Tankersley, who won his first major league game and hit his first major league home run in the same game in 2002, will never be matched. He went on to play two more seasons and never won another game or hit another home run.

  • This trivia question will never be surpassed: Who was the last American League switch-hitter to win the MVP? Pitcher Vida Blue in 1971.

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  • We’ll never forget how humorous relief pitcher Larry Andersen, who isn’t a terrific hitter, explained his 2-for-2 start to the season (1988) by stating, “If I go 1-for-1, I’m batting 1.000, therefore I believe I should be hitting 2.000 if I go 2-for-2. That way, if I am hit by a pitch in my next at-bat, my average will only go down to 1.500.” “Keep your left foot on the bag, and gain as large a lead as you can with your right foot,” first-base coach Jim Frey (then with the Orioles) told pitcher Mike Flanagan after he reached first base. Or have Wally Backman, a hilarious former Mets infielder who wasn’t trying to be humorous, remark, when asked who he would want at the bat in a vital scenario for the slumping 2021 Mets, “[Jacob] deGrom.”

  • We’ll never have a pitching staff with as much competitiveness as the Brewers’ in 2021. Pat Murphy, the Brewers’ bench coach, purchased a 4-foot-tall wooden statue that was given to each pitcher who drew a walk without swinging his bat. Until the following pitcher completed the feat, the honorary statue was put in that pitcher’s locker. “It’s in my locker now,” Adrian Houser, a pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers, proudly said. “It’s a very competitive market. The statue is instantly shifted when this occurs. It’s possible that it’ll stay in my locker indefinitely.”

  • We will never be able to see things from this perspective: Storm Davis, a pitcher, went 0-for-16 in his big league career. He answered, “I was a good hitter in high school,” when I questioned whether he was a good hitter in high school “So, I pressed the button. In high school, it was 450. However, everyone hits. In high school, it was 450.” No, Storm, not everyone in high school hit.450.

  • Never again will a Cy Young Award winner have a higher batting average than the home run champion of the year, as occurred in 1982 with Steve Carlton (.218) and Dave Kingman (.241). (.204).

A-little-less-magic

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  • We’ll never talk about the strange fact that although it’s very unusual for a position player to bat right-handed and throw left-handed (Rickey Henderson), a few dozen pitchers (including Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax, and Tommy John) bat right-handed and throw left-handed every year. Why? Terry Mulholland, a former pitcher, was a BRTL. He said, “Because I have four elder brothers, I should be a left-handed batter. They’re all right-handed batters. My father was never going to teach me to bat left-handed.”

  • This is the last time we’ll see a clubhouse like this: In 1999, Braves pitcher John Smoltz dashed from the clubhouse, grabbed a reporter (myself), and said, “I’m quite sure I’ve walked more batters than any current pitcher. I’m sure I do. That kind of thing is available. Is it possible for you to locate it for me?!” That’s exactly what I did. He was absolutely correct. I informed him. He said, “I knew it!”

  • We’ll never see a pitcher hit in a big league game after not having batted since high school. “Mine was at Wrigley Field against Lynn McGlothen,” says former pitcher Ed Lynch. “I glanced down and my shoelaces were on fire because he threw so hard.” In the 1986 All-Star Game, Roger Clemens faced the deadly Dwight Gooden. The first pitch was a 97 mph fastball. “Do I throw that hard?” Clemens questioned the home umpire, Bruce Froemming, incredulously. “Yes, Roger,” Froemming said. Because he knew no one could hit anything thrown so hard, Clemens became a great pitcher.

  • A pitcher will never establish a record for batting futility. Eduardo Rodriguez, who is 0-for-26 in his career, will have no chance of breaking pitcher Randy Tate’s (1975 Mets) big league record of most career at-bats (41) without a single. Joakim Soria, a reliever who has appeared in 773 games but never batted, is now very certain to surpass pitcher Buddy Groom’s record of 786 games without a hit.

  • This elite club will never have a pitcher: Last season, Zack Greinke, who isn’t known for his enthusiasm, stated he was looking forward to hitting his next home run, which would have been No. 10. And now he’s not going to. It’s also improbable that he’ll steal another base, which would have made him the sixth pitcher (with at least 1,500 innings thrown) since 1900 to have 10 career home runs and 10 career thefts, and the first since Bob Gibson.

  • We’ll never see another pitcher hit like Wes Ferrell, who has 37 career home runs, ten more than his brother Rick, a Hall of Fame catcher. Wes Ferrell of the Boston Red Sox hit a pinch-hit three-run walk-off home run in 1935. Ferrell blasted a walk-off home run the following day to win a game he began. The Red Sox would have to wait another 70 years to win back-to-back games with a walk-off home run.

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  • A pitcher as awful at the bat as Daniel Cabrera will never be seen again. In his first 17 plate appearances, he struck out. Then he grounded out to Chris Volstad at first base. He got a walk in his next at-bat against Hayden Penn. Cabrera has a lifetime batting average of.026 with 24 strikeouts and two walks. Pitchers who are unable to hit might nonetheless put pressure on opposition pitchers. Jim Deshaies, who had 440 plate appearances in his career and had 33 hits and 12 RBIs, stated, “On a bases-loaded walk against David Palmer, I got my first professional RBI. After approximately a week, he was freed. That made me feel guilty.”

  • Walter Johnson, who owns the most hits (547) by a pitcher since 1900, will never be surpassed. Johnson had the greatest batting average (.433) of any pitcher in a season with at least 50 at-bats in 1925. In 12 seasons, Johnson had a better batting average than ERA, including 10 years in a row.

  • Red Ruffing had 521 hits and 36 home runs in his career, as well as a.269 average and.389 slugging percentage. He pinch batted for future Hall of Fame catcher Bill Dickey four times as a Yankee. Ruffing hit.324 in 617 plate appearances from 1928 to 1932, which was higher than 14 future Hall of Fame position players.

  • We’ll never see another pitcher hit like Jim Tobin did as a rookie in 1937, when he hit.441 (15-for-34) in 15 at-bats. Tobin became (and still is) the only pitcher to hit three home runs in a game on May 13, 1942. David Ortiz, Gary Sheffield, and Rafael Palmeiro all hit 500 home runs, but none of them hit three in the same game. The wind knocked down a fly ball caught on the warning track in left field in Tobin’s first at-bat on that fateful day in 1942. Tobin had blasted a home run in his lone at-bat the day before as a pinch hitter. So, in five consecutive at-bats, a pitcher came close to hitting a home run.

  • We will never see a pitcher hit like George Brett’s elder brother, Ken, who set a big league record by hitting a home run in four consecutive starts. George used to brag about how Ken was the family’s finest hitter. Scott McGregor, who would throw 13 years in the big leagues, was also the top batter on George Brett’s high school in his senior year. McGregor stated, “I out-averaged George; I didn’t out-hit him.” “Before I had threw in a game, I was utilized as a pinch hitter after signing [to play professional baseball]. In the lesser leagues, I spent three years playing for Bobby [Cox]. I was his go-to pinch runner. But when George was interviewed for his induction into the Hall of Fame, he complimented me. When he was in high school, he was asked whether he was widely scouted. ‘No, everyone came there to see Scott McGregor,’ he said.”

“It’s not something I’m going to miss. 98 times out of a hundred, I don’t believe anybody wants to see me strike out on three pitches and go back to the dugout.”

A-little-less-magic

Pitcher Charlie Morton of the Atlanta Braves

  • Micah Owings, who still holds the Georgia state high school record for career home runs with 69, will never be matched. In 205 at-bats in the big leagues, he had a.502 slugging percentage and a.283 batting average. Owings became the only pitcher since Whitey Ford in 1953 to have two four-hit games in a single season in 2007. But neither Owings nor Ford had a five-hit game; Mel Stottlemyre, who went 5-for-5 with a two-hit shutout against the Senators in 1964, was the last pitcher to do it.

  • We’ll never have another hitting and pitching combination like this: Catfish Hunter and Bob Gibson were the last pitchers to hit.300 in a season (minimum 80 at-bats) in which they won 20 games.

  • This level of pitching output will never be seen again: Chris Carpenter, who joined Robert Person (2002) and Vic Raschi (1953) as the only pitchers in baseball history to have more RBIs than innings thrown in a game, drove in six runs in a game despite throwing just five innings in 2009.

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  • Another pitcher will never hit a grand slam. Tony Cloninger, a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, hit two grand homers in one game in 1966. In 2011, the Cardinals became the first club in history to obtain a grand slam from a pitcher three years in a row when Jake Westbrook hit a grand slam. Last year, Padres reliever Daniel Camarena hit a grand slam against Nationals’ Max Scherzer to become the last pitcher to smash a grand slam. Camarena joined Enrique Romo in 1980 and Don Robinson in 1985 as the third reliever to smash a grand slam in the last 70 years. Scherzer has never allowed a pitcher to hit a home run before. It was Camarena’s first hit in his professional career. He’s the only pitcher to smash a grand slam in his first at-bat since 1900. Camarena added, “It still doesn’t feel genuine.” “It’s all Disney. As a child, I was a big fan of the film “Rudy.” Rudy was my inspiration. I was expecting him to blast my doors apart, but it turned out to be more like hitting a whiffle ball against my brother. I’ll keep that one forever if it’s the last [grand slam hit by a pitcher].”

  • Joaquin Andujar threw 2,153 innings in his career while Gary Peters pitched 2,081 innings, and none of them ever gave up a grand slam. They did, however, each hit one.

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  • There will never be another May 13, 2021 like it. Huascar Ynoa, a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, hit his second grand slam in as many starts. On the same day, White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease went 3-for-3 in his first at-bats in pro ball, marking the first time a pitcher has hit three home runs in a season before Mookie Betts or DJ LeMahieu (among many other position players). In 1950, Erv Palica hit a grand slam and Ned Garver had three hits on the same day (and the pitcher had to pitch, not pinch bat). Kevin Gausman of the Giants and Max Fried of the Braves both recorded walk-off RBIs in 2021. Mike Stanton and Darren Dreifort got a walk-off RBI in 1994, the last time two key pitchers combined for a walk-off RBI.

  • There will never be another game like the one on April 16, 2021. Dodgers pitcher David Price blasted a sacrifice fly in the 12th inning against the Padres, his second RBI of the season. Pitcher Joe Musgrove, who had pitched a no-hitter seven days before, caught the ball. When second baseman Jake Cronenworth was called in to pitch, Musgrove was forced to play left field. Shane Rawley popped out to left fielder Don Robinson in the third inning, marking the first time a pitcher hit a ball to a position-playing pitcher since Sept. 30, 1984. Robinson, a good-hitting pitcher, began in left field for the last game of the season. “I’ve always wanted to play on the field,” Musgrove said. “I always have my spikes on in case I have to pinch bat, pinch run, or play a position.” “It wasn’t like shagging fly balls at 5 o’clock during BP when I got to left field because the lights were so much brighter than I expected. Then a pitcher hit a fly ball to me while our second baseman was throwing. If I hadn’t been prepared, I would have been furious.”

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Bartolo Colon hit his first and only long ball of his career on May 7, 2016.

  • A pitcher will never be utilized as the designated hitter. In a game against the Orioles in 1988, Yankees manager Billy Martin employed pitcher Rick Rhoden as his designated hitter. Shortstop Rafael Santana and catcher Joel Skinner were not happy to be batting behind the pitcher, and neither were the position players who began the game on the bench. Martin said, “He was my best choice today.” In the second inning, Rhoden hit a sacrifice fly. He was credited with the game-winning RBI at the time.

  • The conclusion of a hitting career like Max Scherzer’s will never be equaled. He’s an excellent hitter for a pitcher, and he’s made a career out of it. 168 batting average, one home run, 30 RBIs, and three stolen bases without being caught. Last year, though, he went 0-for-59 in his last season of hitting. Pitchers Bob Buhl (who went 0-for-62 in 1962) and Bill Wright (who went 0-for-61 in 1950) are the only players in big league history to go hitless in a season.

    “It drives me nuts to finish that way,” Scherzer said, adding that he would not ask Mets manager Buck Showalter to allow him to pinch bat in order to break his 0-for-59 drought. “Look, I like hitting, but I’ve already hit a home run, stolen a base, and driven in a run. So, I’m OK.”

The “home run predictions 2022” is a new book that looks at the rise of analytics in baseball. The author, Michael Lewis, believes that these advancements will lead to less ‘magic’ in the game.

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