After the no-hitters, and most home runs by teenagers


Tony Conigliaro

Tony Conigliaro hit 24 home runs for the Red Sox in 1964 as a 19-year-old, more than any other major-league teen. He had hit 104 home runs when he was struck by a Jack Hamilton pitch in 1967. He was the youngest ever in the AL to hit 100 home runs. He hit 62 more after the beaning, including 36 in 1970 for Boston. He was the Red Sox’s DH on opening day in 1975 after a three-year absence, but had just 57 at-bats — and the last two of his career 166 home runs — for the 1975 AL champions.

Updated Sept. 28, 1:42 p.m.: With home runs on Wednesday and Thursday, Bryce Harper now has 21, more than any major-league teen other than Tony Conigliaro. Harper is only the second major-leaguer to ever hit 20 home runs before his 20th birthday. Harper has six games left beginning Friday night to hit three home runs and tie Conigliaro, or four home runs and pass him.

Updated Sept. 6, 2:40 p.m.: Bryce Harper hit two home runs in a game Wednesday for the second time in a week, giving him 17 for the season. He’s now third on the list of home runs by a teenager (see last graph below); with three more in the season’s final three-plus weeks he can become the second player ever to hit 20 homers before the age of 20.

Updated Aug. 30, 7:37 p.m.: With his 15th home run Thursday, Washington rookie Bryce Harper is now fourth on the list of home runs by a teenager. The list of players with at least 10 home runs before their 20th birthday is at the bottom:

9.45

ERA of White Sox pitcher Phillip Humber since his perfect game. Perfectly horrendous. In the 20 innings in his four starts since, Humber has been touched for 25 hits, five home runs, 14 walks and 21 runs. Is it too late to take a second look at the checked-swing third strike on Brendan Ryan for the final out? The good news? Humber’s post-perfect ERA was 13.51 before he finally righted himself with 6.2, four-hit innings on Sunday.

8.71

ERA of Angels’ starter Jered Weaver since his no-hitter vs. Minnesota on May 2. Weaver’s ERA was inflated by Sunday’s 3.1 inning, eight-run meltdown vs. Texas. It was the most runs allowed, and earliest exit by Weaver in 84 starts — since he allowed 8 runs in 3.1 innings in a 16-6 loss to Baltimore on Aug. 14, 2009. Sometimes no-hitters are not all they’re cracked up to be.

24

Most home runs by a major leaguer before the age of 20, hit by Tony Conigliaro in his rookie season of 1964 as a 19-year-old. Bryce Harper, who homered in back-to-back games this week, has 22 more to go and all season to do it. Harper’ 20th birthday is Oct. 16. Hall of Famer Mel Ott, who debuted at 17 years and not quite two months in 1926 for the Giants, hit 19 before he turned 20, then hit 42 as a 20-year-old in 1929. (Only seven players (besides Harper now) have hit at least 10 home runs as a teenager, according to baseball-almanac.com. Can you name the other five? Answer below).

22

Age at which Ott hit his 100th home run, 65 days younger than Conigliaro, making him the youngest ever. Ott, according to baseabll-almanac.com, was 22 years and 132 days old when he hit his 100th home run in 1931, one of two he hit on July 12 against the Phillies, No. 100 off Frank Watt). That gives Harper until the end of the 2014 season to get there first — he has 98 to go.

931

The OPS of 20-year-old Angels outfielder Mike Trout, or 189 points more than Harper’s beginning play on Wednesday. Trout reached the majors last year at age 19, didn’t stay and started this year in the minors. He won’t be going back, and for the next five years the Angels won’t be paying him anywhere near what the Yankees pay the declining Mark Teixeira. Sweetly ironic, given that the Angels drafted Trout with the pick they received for losing Teixeira to free agency.

8

Number of time the Angels have been shut out in their first 37 games. At this pace, the Angels will be shut out 32 times this year, which won’t do much for attendance, or for the ratings for that new TV contract, which is to pay the $240 million Albert Pujols is due for the next 10 years. The eight pitchers to start shutouts vs. the Angels? Hiroki Kuroda, Bartolo Colon, David Price, Derek Lowe, Brandon Morrow, Henderson Alvarez, Scott Diamond and Tyson Ross. That’s not exactly the staff the AL will employ in this year’s All-Star Game.

0

Number of strikeouts for Boston starting pitcher Clay Buchholz in 6.1 innings in his win over Cleveland last Friday. That bettered Josh Beckett’s low total against Tampa Bay — Beckett had only one, the 23rd out, on April 13. Buchholz’s year has been a statistical oddity — he’s Boston’s leading winner at 4-1 despite an 8.31 ERA and 10 home runs and 22 walks in 39 innings.

3

Number of times Boston outfielder Daniel Nava has been hit by pitches in his first 24 plate appearances since being recalled from the minors. Expect more. Nava, on average, has been hit once every 19 plate appearances in his brief major league career.

3

Number of batters Washington closer Henry Rodriguez walked in the ninth inning of a save situation vs. San Diego on Monday before being pulled. Sean Burnett got the final two outs and a save; Rodriguez was awarded a hold. A scold would have been more meaningful, and accurate.

35

Number of at-bats since Albert Pujols’ only home run of the season. Pujols has had nine singles since; Martin Trumbo, last year’ Angels first baseman, has homered twice and doubled three times in that span.

143

Number of at-bats without a home run for the Mets’ Daniel Murphy, who now that Albert Pujols has homered, has the most of the former without one of the latter. But Murphy’s year has been better than Pujols’ or ex-Met Jose Reyes’ (137 at-bats, no homers). Murphy is hitting .336.

68

Number of at-bats without an extra-base hit by Giants utility infielder Emmanuel Burriss, most in the majors by 24 over Brewers outfielder Erik Komatsu. They each have a ways to go to equal Florida’s Emilio Bonifacio, who who was powerless until his 120th at-bat of 2012. Since then, Bonifacio has been better than Pujols — four extra-base hits in his last 20 at-bats.

1.86

ERA of Pittsburgh pitcher A.J. Burnett in four of his five starts this year. Of course, in the fifth start, a 12-3 loss to St. Louis, his ERA was closer to 40.00. Too bad this isn’t an academic exercise where you throw out your worst test score.

Trivia answer: The other five players pre-Bryce Harper, besides Conigliaro (24) and Ott (19) to hit at least 10 home runs before their 20th birthday were Ken Griffey Jr. (16), Phil Cavarretta (14), Mickey Mantle (13), Ed Kranepool (12) and Robin Yount (11). Source: baseball-almanac.com.

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