Hitless Seasons

While writing the bio for today’s “This Date” article on Albert Hall, I noticed a very interesting fact on him that I mentioned, he played in the majors each year from 1981-83 without collecting a base hit. I figured that had to be a very rare occurrence for a positional player, no matter how few AB’s he actually received over those seasons.

The Pirates have had 1814 players in their history, 1451 of them have collected at least one hit and while that means 363 didn’t collect a hit, the only ones that played three or more seasons without getting a hit were all relief pitchers, not surprisingly. Leading that list with seven seasons is John Grabow who came to the plate a total of just six times. He is followed by Mike Williams, who batted ten times in his six seasons and Scott Sauerbeck who strolled to the plate eight times over his five years.

The Pirates player with the most plate appearances without a hit? Pete Schourek, 31 in his only season with the Pirates in 1999.

Grabow is also the leader in most games without a hit with 390.

Getting back to the position players part. As I said no position player in team history ever matched what Hall did his first three years and in fact only one played two seasons without a hit. Mickey Keliher was a first baseman for the 1911-12 Pirates, who got into just five games over his two seasons. His bio, which is interesting despite his short career, can be read here.

The position player with the most times up without a hit was Cliff Carroll, an outfielder for the 1888 team that they gave up on after just five games. He batted 20 times, struck out eight times and made three errors. The odd part about his career was that not only did he not play anywhere else in pro ball in 1888 or 1889 but when he came back in 1890 he led the National League in AB’s with 582. He also has an interesting story that can be read here.

Finally, we get to the position player who played at least three seasons with the lowest hit total, since no one finished with zero. That honor goes to Doe Boyland, who collected two hits over his three seasons. He was a first baseman for the 1978-79 and 1981 Pirates. His story isn’t as interesting as the other two players but during the writing of his bio I noticed a strong comparison to Starling Marte most fans would rather not see(check the comments below the story)

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About John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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