30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Baseball Reference is one of my favorite websites to hang out and kill time.  I can spend hours looking up statistics and finding pieces of trivia about both players and teams.  Yesterday, I read a cool article in the January/February 2012 issue of Baseball Digest that talked about a few hall of fame pitchers and some lesser known guys who had their number.

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.

2001 SP Game Used Authentic Fabric #GM and #TGw

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. 

1985 Nike Poster #NNO

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.

Okay guys... it's your turn.

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!


  1. I just recently wrote a post on my favorite players and spent a lot of time of baseball reference. Concerning Mr. Gwynn, I learned that he hardly ever struck out against anybody. The man was insanely good at avoiding the K.

  2. Cool, just found out my favorite obscure guy to collect, Mike Reinbach, had a healthy 1.667 OPS vs. Nolan Ryan. :)

  3. I don't know why I remember this, but I feel like Tino used to own Esteban Loaiza.

    ARod vs Colon was always fun too.

  4. This was a lot of fun to read. Currently I know that Travis Shaw absolutely destroys Pirates pitcher Ivan Nova. He's 11 for 17 with 3HR, 8 RBI, and a .786/.824/1.571 good enough for a 2.395OPS.

    In terms of my favorite player, Cutch, I would say he has owned former Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo swatting 4 HRs, 8 RBI, and a 1.059 OPS against the former Brewers ace.

    I always remember Paul Goldschmidt just torching Tim Lincecum a few years ago.

  5. kin -thanks!

    trevor p - mike madden had gwynn's number. he struck him out 5 times in 15 at bats. but you're right. gwynn never struck out more than 9 times against any pitcher. actually outside of nolan ryan, nobody struck out gwynn more than 6 times

    defgav - interesting. looks like ryan feared his bat. he even intentionally walked reinbach

    the lost collector - yeah he did. tino launched a home run 1 in every 7 at bats against loaiza

    collecting cutch - lol. they refer to goldschmidt on local radio as the giant killer

  6. I always thought Canseco kryptonite was himself haha

    Great post!

  7. Great post, decide to check out Willie McCovey, in 42 Plate Appearances he hit .545 with 7 HRs and 14 RBI and 9 walks. I always heard he owned Don Drysdale and the numbers are pretty solid - 151 PA, .336 BA, 12 HRs 31 RBI 21 BB but also 24 Ks. On the flip side Don Sutton did pretty nicely against stretch. Allowing only a .203 BA in 146 PA with 38 Ks. McCovey did hit him for 8 HRs and 24 RBI.

  8. Near the end of the post I wondered what latitude & longitude I was at as I travelled further down the rabbit hole. Baseball Reference has left me feeling similarly on a handful of occasions. It's often referenced on a Effectively Wild, a podcast I listen to regularly

  9. sport card collectors - very true. sad. but true.

    arpsmith - mccovey took a lot of guys deep. since you looked up drysdale and sutton... i went and compared him to koufax as the tie breaker. he struggled against sandy. 1 hr in 42 at bats with a .143 average

    xavier higgins - never heard of that podcast. i'll have to check it out.