Baltimore Orioles fans have seen Chris Davis and Jesus Sucre take the mound this season. Position players who pitch. It’s become common enough to draw a tsk-tsk from ESPN’s Buster Olney; nevertheless, enough novelty remains that alerts are sent on Twitter, and fans tune in for otherwise uninteresting games to see what happens.
Despite his spot appearances in 2012 and 2019, Chris Davis does not have pitcher listed among his positions on Baseball Reference. If you don’t conduct your search carefully enough on that site’s Play Index, however, the batter formerly known as Crush appears as the Orioles’ all-time pitcher who rakes.
Who really owns the honor of top pitcher who raked in Baltimore?
Check the five spot in the image below. It’s Milt Pappas, a (full-time) pitcher who raked in the pre-DH era of American League baseball.
Pappas, a 1985 inductee to The Orioles Hall of Fame, played nine seasons in Baltimore during which time he clubbed 11 home runs. The second-largest home run total for the O’s belongs to Dave McNally, who had two fewer long balls in more than 200 additional plate appearances.
Who’s Your Pappas?
Noah Syndergaard earned National League Player of the Week honors after he homered for the Mets’ only run while tossing a complete-game shutout versus the Los Angeles Dodgers last week. Impressive stuff.
With all due respect, Thor needs to hold Milt Pappas’ beer.
Pappas homered and tossed a complete-game shutout twice during his nine-year Orioles career. Better yet, one of those games featured a multi-homer effort at the plate.
Pappas homered twice and tossed a complete-game shutout versus the Minnesota Twins on Aug. 27, 1961.
He finished 2-for-4 at the dish with two home runs.
His pitching line? It looked like this: 9 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 11 SO.
Pappas had as many homers that day as the Minnesota Twins had hits off of him.
The Leaderboard in Baltimore and Beyond
Here is the Pitchers Who Raked Leaderboard for the Orioles (years in Baltimore in parentheses):
- Milt Pappas (1957-1965): 11 home runs
- Dave McNally (1962-1974): 9 home runs
- Jack Harshman (1958-1959): 7 home runs*
- Mike Cuellar (1969-1976): 5 home runs
- Steve Barber (1960-1967): 5 home runs
- Ray Moore (1955-1957): 5 home runs
*Harshman started his career as a first baseman but was a full-time pitcher by the time he arrived in Baltimore.
Pappas finished with 20 career home runs, the third-most by a pitcher for any club. Warren Spahn leads the all-time list with 35 homers followed by Carlos Zambrano with 24 homers. Madison Bumgarner leads all active pitchers with 18 career home runs, which ranks fifth all-time.