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Quickie: The World Series NL DH October 23, 2008

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Things are fairly busy – it’s midterm time, and in my spare time I’ve been crunching numbers on the Canadian federal election. I’ve also been following Theron over at Recondite Baseball, who did a very interesting post about pitchers responsible for a high percentage of their team’s wins. I’d like to take a look at something that I consider to be the opposite: the poor guy who ends up playing DH for the National League team.

I ran a Baseball-Reference.com report on all players for an NL team who played as the designated hitter in the World Series. For whatever reason, it omitted the 2002 and 1982 World Series, so I dug them up and added them manually. There have been 108 instances of someone playing as DH, PR-DH or PH-DH for a National League team in the World Series; all told, they’ve scored 38 runs, recorded 78 hits in 315 at-bats and 353 plate appearances, had 4 sacrifices, walked 36 times, struck out 59, and hit 11 home runs. The most appearances as an NL DH in the World Series: Lonnie Smith, who DH’d in 9 games spanning 4 different series for 3 teams – the 1980 Philadelphia Phillies, the 1982 St. Louis Cardinals, and the 1991 and 1992 Atlanta Braves. Why? I’m not quite sure – he had 7 hits, 1 homer, 3 walks and 6 strikeouts in 40 plate appearances and 35 at-bats, for an average of .200 and an OBP of .250.

Chris Coste of the 2008 Phillies is upholding the tradition – he went 0-for-4 last night.

The most DHs used all-time is 14 by Saint Louis, with Atlanta following with 9 and then several teams with 6. Within one series, the NL teams with the most variability were the 82 Cardinals and the 97 Marlins, each using 5 different DHs.

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