This reminded me of a feature I discovered on Baseball Reference a while back that allows you to see batters' statistics against specific pitchers and vice versa. If you're ever bored and want to kill time, I highly recommend you check it out.
I used this tool for my Six Degrees of Separation post and discovered that Greg Maddux was owned by Tony Gwynn. Gwynn faced him 107 times, had a career .415 batting average against the Professor, and struck out zero times. Zero times. Maddux had 3,371 strikeouts during his 23 year career, but none of them came against #19.
So who was Gwynn's kryptonite? Well, I could say Frank DiPino, who only allowed him to reach base twice in twenty-three plate appearances. But I prefer a larger sample size... so I decided to pick Dwight Gooden instead. Doc is the only pitcher to face Mr. Padre fifty or more times and hold him to less than a .260 batting average. In 77 plate appearances, Gwynn collected only 17 hits (.243 batting average).
1999 Calbee #269
So who was Gooden's kryptonite? I'm going with Tuffy Rhodes, who faced Doc three times and each time he launched a solo home run. I know it's a small sample size. But who says that (sample) size matters? Before you say it does... let me give you one more interesting fact. All three of these home runs were hit on Opening Day back in 1994.
1995 Stadium Club Virtual Reality #16
So who was Rhodes' kryptonite? Tuffy had a lot less MLB at bats compared to Gwynn, but two pitchers really stand out. He only faced two pitchers fourteen or more times during his MLB career. One of them was Orel Hershiser who had a lot of success against him. But Ken Hill was the other pitcher... and he had even more success. Hill didn't give up any hits, walks, or RBI's against Tuffy... which makes him his kryptonite.
2014 Topps High Tek Autographs #HT-JC
So who was Hill's kryptonite? Jose Canseco owned Mr. Hill. In 36 plate appearances, Canseco cranked out 15 hits, 4 of which were home runs. When you throw in his 3 walks, he reached base 50% of the time.
1985 OPC #273
So who was Canseco's kryptonite? Hershiser didn't just dominate Rhodes, he also had Canseco's number. Bulldog struck out Canseco 11 times in only 30 plate appearances and only allowed him to reach base four times (2 singles and 2 walks).
1988 Topps Big #91 and #161
This post could literally go on forever... so I figured I would wrap things up by seeing how Tony Gwynn fared against Hershiser. They faced each other 88 times. Gwynn collected 25 hits (9 of them were doubles) and walked 8 times, had a career batting average of .321, while only striking out twice. I'd say he had the upper hand against him... although I've got to admit, Hershiser played the role of kryptonite against plenty MLB hitters.
Do you remember any of your favorite players owning specific players?
If not... head over to Baseball Reference and find out. Just type in your player's name and look under the advanced stats tab for either "vs. batter" or "vs. pitcher". Just be warned. You could end up spending hours on there.
Happy Tuesday and sayonara!