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They walked Rob Picciolo

Posted by John Autin
You probably know that no other hitter ever walked as rarely as Rob Picciolo (min. 1,000 PAs and excluding pitchers). Picciolo drew 25 walks in 1,720 PAs, a rate of 1.5%; the next-lowest rate is Whitey Alperman's 1.7%.

Picciolo owns the two longest known streaks by a position player who started and did not walk. This list of the longest such streaks for 1970-90 is kind of fun:

Rk Strk Start End Games AB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Tm
1 Rob Picciolo 1977-07-02 1978-09-17 94 294 41 .228 .226 .286 .512 OAK
2 Rob Picciolo 1979-09-15 1980-09-30 90 293 67 .229 .229 .321 .549 OAK
3 Ozzie Guillen 1989-06-02 1989-08-10 63 232 13 .284 .282 .353 .635 CHW
4 Rob Picciolo 1982-04-20 1985-06-08 61 185 23 .232 .230 .308 .538 OAK-MIL-CAL
5 Angel Salazar 1986-08-08 1987-05-30 54 187 22 .251 .250 .337 .587 KCR
6 Alfredo Griffin 1984-07-13 1985-04-10 54 166 13 .247 .246 .283 .529 TOR-OAK
7 Tim Foli 1976-05-24 1976-08-01 54 207 13 .271 .265 .372 .637 MON
8 Benito Santiago 1987-09-01 1988-05-06 52 199 35 .302 .303 .482 .786 SDP
9 Rob Picciolo 1979-07-05 1979-09-07 52 171 18 .298 .302 .374 .677 OAK
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/19/2012.

No other player from 1919-2011 had a streak longer than 70 games (Mariano Duncan).

If it hadn't been for the White Sox, Picciolo's walk rate would have been less than 1%. He walked 10 times in 166 PAs against the ChiSox, a dizzying 6.0%. After not walking in his first 12 career games, he walked in his very first game against the White Sox, then did it again the next day and the day after that. This unlikely 3-day walking binge was capped by his only 2-walk game. (The only other time Picciolo walked in two straight games, the "streak" took him two seasons, the last game of 1980 and the first of '81.)

Picciolo's only intentional walk came from Mike Proly of the White Sox, natch. In the bottom of the 9th, tie game, runners on the corners and no outs, Proly gave Picciolo a pass to load the bases for ... Rickey Henderson?!?

Well, Rickey was a rookie then, and not yet walking at the rate that would eventually make him the all-time walks leader (since surpassed); he also had yet to hit his first HR, in over 300 PAs. Anyway, as you might guess, Rickey drew a walk to force in the game-winning run. He would draw another 2,100+ walks in his career, but just one other "walk-off" walk -- and a certain synchronicity may be evident in the identify of that pitcher.

Back to Picciolo: His 25 walks came against 25 different pitchers. Don Cooper has the distinction of walking Picciolo in their only meeting, which apparently qualified him to become a pitching coach ... for the White Sox. (I'm kidding, of course. We all know that the only qualification for being a pitching coach is that you were a lousy pitcher yourself, and Cooper aced that test with ease.)

And so, in our roundabout way, we come at last to the original theme of the post:
"They walked Rob Picciolo."

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB
Don Cooper 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Bob Sykes 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Ed Nunez 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Dave Roberts 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Dave Hamilton 2 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0
Mike Proly 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
Kevin Hickey 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Ed Farmer 5 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Joey McLaughlin 5 4 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
Dave Freisleben 5 4 2 0 0 0 1 1 0
Charlie Leibrandt 6 5 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
Silvio Martinez 6 5 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
Bob Stanley 7 6 2 0 0 0 0 1 0
Reggie Cleveland 8 7 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Francisco Barrios 8 7 1 0 0 0 1 1 0
Ken Brett 9 8 3 0 1 0 0 1 0
Albert Williams 9 8 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
Pete Vuckovich 10 8 2 0 0 0 2 1 0
Glenn Abbott 10 9 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Ross Baumgarten 12 11 2 0 0 1 2 1 0
Lary Sorensen 13 10 2 0 0 0 0 1 0
Steve Trout 15 14 2 0 0 0 0 1 0
Don Aase 16 14 2 0 0 0 1 1 0
Steve Stone 17 15 3 0 0 0 0 1 0
Richard Dotson 19 17 4 0 1 0 0 1 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/19/2012.

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