Who is Baltimore’s best bunter?

Baltimore’s baseball players have been getting on base without hitting the ball very far since the late 19th century. Back then, with the help of the groundskeeper and some tightly packed dirt, the Baltimore Chop turned into the stuff of legend.

Before becoming Baltimore’s baseball franchise, the St. Louis Browns made a name for themselves by allowing short hits to Nap Lajoie – bunt singles, to be specific – as part of an infamous doubleheader that shaped the 1910 batting race.

(Jon Wertheim tells that story in the recent Sports Illustrated article, “The Amazing Race“).

All this to say that Baltimore – the home of pitching, defense, and the three-run homer – also has some small ball in its blood. Just ask Adam Jones.

A little more than a month after he won a game with a walk-off bunt in the 11th inning, Jones plated the Orioles’ first run on Sunday against the Yankees with yet another two-out RBI bunt single. In the process, he tied Cesar Izturis for the team lead in bunt hits with seven. Both players are tied with Ichiro for fifth place for bunt hits in the American League.

Overall, the Orioles have the sixth most bunt hits in the American League and are in line with the league average of 20.

Though he has played in roughly 50 fewer games than either Jones or Izturis, Corey Patterson currently has the third-most bunt hits on the team with five. That should come as no surprise to anyone who follows this stat, which means that anyone reading this is now surprised.

Patterson led the team in bunt hits in 2006 and 2007; his 17 bunt hits in 2006 are the most ever recorded for an Orioles player (the stats go back to 1988).

If Patterson is the master of the bunt hit in Baltimore, Melvin Mora is surely his apprentice. Mora led the Orioles in bunt hits for three consecutive seasons (four times overall) and finished second to Patterson in the category in 2006. He had 16 bunt hits in 2001.

As if all this information weren’t trivial enough, here’s your final piece of bunt hit trivia: 1991 American League MVP and All Star Game MVP Cal Ripken Jr. tied Brady Anderson for the team lead in bunt hits that season with four.

On to the numbers:

2010 American League Leaders – Bunt Hits

1. Erick Aybar – 16
2. Julio Borbon – 13
3. Elvis Andrus – 11
4. Juan Pierre – 10
5. Ichiro Suzuki – 7
5. Adam Jones – 7
5. Cesar Izturis – 7
8. Ben Zobrist – 6
8. Sean Rodriguez – 6
8. Cliff Pennington – 6
8. Chone Figgins – 6

Baltimore Orioles team leaders in bunt hints, by season

Brian Roberts, 2009 – 3
Melvin Mora, 2008 – 6
Corey Patterson, 2007 – 12
Corey Patterson, 2006 – 17
Melvin Mora, 2005 – 12
Melvin Mora, 2004 – 7
Melvin Mora, 2003 – 6
Jerry Hairston, 2002 – 7
Mevlin Mora, 2001 – 16
Luis Matos, 2000 – 3
Gene Kingsale & Mike Bordick, 1999 – 3
Roberto Alomar, 1998 – 5
B.J. Surhoff, Mike Bordick & Roberto Alomar, 1997 – 2
Roberto Alomar, 1996 – 9
Curtis Goodwin, 1995 – 5
Brady Anderson, 1994 – 5
Harold Reynolds, 1993 – 8
Billy Ripken & Joe Orsulak, 1992 – 3
Cal Ripken & Brady Anderson, 1991 – 4
Steven Finley, 1990 – 6
Phil Bradley & Brady Anderson, 1989 – 3
Rick Schu & Brady Anderson, 1988 – 4

Related reading:

“Walk-off bunts are nothing new in Baltimore” (Camden Chat)

“Bunting for a Hit with 2 Outs and a RISP from the 4 Hole” (Baseball Reference Blog)

“The Amazing Race” (Sports Illustrated)

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About mptaylor11

Roar from 34, a Baltimore Orioles Blog. Humor. History. Homerism. Since 2006.
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