When a pitcher gives up a home run he feels like he lost a battle. When a pitcher is charged a balk he feels a sense of embarrassment. When a pitcher throws a wild pitch he become helpless and that selfish part of him hopes the scorekeeper charges the catcher with a passed ball instead. Even the best pitchers throw wild pitches every once in a while. With as many balls as they toss at the speed they do it’s an inevitable error. Not a statistic many people talk about, here’s everything you need to know about the statistics and records when it comes to throwing the ball away from the catcher for a wild pitch.
Most in a Career – Tony Mullane
Known as “Count” or “The Apollo of the Box,” Irish-born pitcher Tony Mullane has the record for most wild pitchers in a career with 343 of them. He did this while pitching in a different era of baseball back in the 1800s. Even though he has thrown more wild pitches than anyone else he only led the league twice. In 1884 he had 63 and in 1893 he had 29.
Most in a Career by a Hall of Famer – Nolan Ryan
As it turns out Nolan Ryan was not exactly an artist when it came to pitching. Painting the corners was just not his style. Instead Ryan pulled back and threw fastballs by batters instead of around them. Ryan has the most strikeouts of anyone and ranks second on the all-time wild pitches list, first among Hall of Famers. In his career Ryan had 277 wild pitches. He led the league in the category six times.
Most in a Single Season – Mark Baldwin
Pitcher Mark Baldwin’s 1889 season involved the catcher chasing a lot of balls to the backstop. That year Baldwin set a record still remaining when he was credited with 83 wild pitches. The next closest is Mullane’s 63 he had in 1884.
Active Career Leader – A.J. Burnett
If you know anything about A.J. Burnett’s no-hitter he threw in 2001, then it comes as no surprise that he would be the active pitcher in 2014 with the most wild pitches in a career. Coming into the 2014 season Burnett has thrown 146 wild pitches. The next closest is the hard-throwing Felix Hernandez whom at 28-years-old has a chance to surpass Burnett easily.
Last Cy Young Winner to Lead the League – Tim Lincecum
In 2008 Tim Lincecum won the National League Cy Young Award. He did this with a record of 18-5, 2.62 ERA, and a league leading 17 wild pitches. Of course the wild pitches had very little to do with him winning the hardware for best pitcher. His league leading and still career high 265 strikeouts made up for the amount of times he threw the ball passed the catcher.
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