Exploring Old Man Pitcher Dingers

tim-hudson-giants-springtraining-throwing-bullpen
(Photo from AP)

Being old is hard. I can’t tell you that from personal experience, I’m only 20 years old, but I’ve heard from people older than myself that being old can suck. You feel tired all the time, your body starts to deteriorate, and your mind must cope with the psychological tsunami of your past mistakes and the emotional hurricane that is your impending death.

It’s also harder to do things when you are old. Driving gets harder, working out gets harder, sex gets harder… or so I’ve heard. Another thing that is hard to do when you are old is hit home runs. It’s even harder to hit home runs if your job is not to hit home runs. Actually, it’s almost impossible to hit home runs in general. Most of history’s greatest figures, legends as Nelson Mandela, Joan of Arc, and Courtney Cox, have never hit home runs.

Last night Tim Hudson overcame barriers of age and ability to become the 37th pitcher over the age of 40 to homer in a MLB game.

Like Joan of Arc, Tim Hudson is not known for his home run hitting ability. Before last night Hudson had hit only one home run since 2003. But in one shining moment that put father time in his place, Hudson took a straight, 92 MPH fastball from Chase Anderson over the left field fence for an over-the-fence-ball.

Here are some fun stats about old pitcher home runs:

  • Hudson became the first pitcher over the age of 40 to dinger since Woody Williams did it in 2007.
  • Hudson also became the second oldest Giants pitcher to homer. The oldest? A 41-year old STEVE CARLTON hit one out in 1986, his only season in San Francisco.
  • Since the addition of the DH in 1973, only eight pitchers over 40 have homered. Only Gaylord Perry did it twice. The rest of the names are your traditional old man hurlers: Woody Williams, Randy Johnson, Steve Carlton, Phil Niekro, Jim Kaat, Nolan Ryan, and Danny Darwin. (full disclosure: I had no idea who Danny Darwin was. Like I mentioned before, I’m 20).

 

Lets Talk About Warren Spahn

The pitcher over 40 with the most homers? That would be Braves legend Warren Spahn. After his 40th birthday Spahn dingered an astonishing nine times over his last four seasons.

Spahns elderly power outburst didn’t come out of nowhere. He finished his career with a total of 35 home runs, more than Ozzie Smith.

Those nine post-40 homers puts Spahn 51st amongst all players for the most homers over 40. That’s the same number as B.J. Surhoff, one more than Dave Parker,nine more than Joan of Arc, and three more than Pete Rose. Pete Rose! Pete Rose played until he was 67!

Huzzah to old baseball players!

Huzzah to the pitcher hitting!

Huzzah to Tim Hudson and Warren Spahn!

Huzzah to Joan of Arc, bad baseball player!

 

(All stats courtesy of the Baseball Reference Play Index)

 

2 comments to Exploring Old Man Pitcher Dingers

  1. AJ Taylor says:

    Danny Darwin was just some guy who was nicknamed “Dr. Death” while, frankly, not really being good enough for such a cool nickname. Also, he hung around forever as a swingman, won an ERA title, and got hurt a lot.

  2. Don Fallin says:

    Good humor. Darwin had a mean breaking pitch…he’s best known as the “key” to the deal that sent Bagwell to Houston from Boston. Boston fans don’t like that much.

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