A Note About Walks, and The 1962 Mets
Posted by JD on April 4, 2011
Mets batters walked nine times in yesterday’s win over the Marlins. For some reason that struck me as an unusually high number of walks, so I used Baseball Reference’s Play Index to do some research. Here’s what I found:
- Nine walks is a lot, but not uncommon: over the years the Mets have had nine or more walks in 152 games (1.94% of total games played). This means it will happen about three times a season.
- The 2010 Mets achieved the feat four times, including almost exactly one year ago against the Marlins (in a 7-6 loss on April 7th). That was the second game of the season and it took 10 innings to complete. Three Mets had two walks apiece, including everyone’s favorite centerfielder, Gary Matthews Jr. It was arguably his second most productive game of the season (his performance on Opening Day wasn’t too bad), but it was all downhill from there.
- The 1970 Mets hold the franchise record for most games with nine or more walks with 12.
- Surprisingly, the 1962 Mets had eight games of nine or more walks, highlighted by back-to-back games against the Dodgers on June 28 and 29 in which Dodger pitchers gave out 11 and 16 free passes, respectively (this being the 1962 Mets, they managed to lose the 11-walk game). Given that team’s reputation for being comically inept, I was more than a little surprised. Digging deeper I found that the Mets actually lead the league in walks by a healthy margin, accruing 35 more than the Milwaukee Braves (616 to 581). Of course they finished last in hits by an even healthier margin (their 1,318 was 52 less than the next closest team, the Houston Colt 45’s), which resulted in a lower-than-league-average OBP of .318. Lower than average, but not lowest: the Chicago Cubs (.317) and Houston (.310) had that “honor”.
- The Cubs have only themselves to blame for having a lower OBP that season: they walked the Mets 15 times in a game on May 15, 1962. Had they limited the damage to eight walks or less the Mets would have finished percentage points behind them.
So, there’s your walk-related Mets trivia for the day. Use it in good health.