Kelloggs Cards

Kelloggs Cards

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Players Who Didn't Walk Their Way onto a Kellogg's Baseball Card

Unlike yesterday, today I am looking at players who refused (or couldn't manage) to take a walk but managed to get on a Kellogg's baseball card.  From 1969 - 1982 here are the top two pitchers and hitters based on at-bats per each walk.  I limited this list to players with at least 1,000 at-bats during the 14 years studied.

1.  Phil Niekro got only 15 walks during this time while having 1,319 offiicial at-bats.  That's a walk every 89 at-bats.  Even if he got 4 at-bats per game he'd get a walk about every 22 starts or two per season.

2.  Steve Carlton fared a bit better getting 32 walks in the 14 years analyzed.  That's a walk every 42 at-bats or every 11 starts.

It's understandable that pitchers wouldn't get many walks.  The next players on the list are position players.

3.  Gary Templeton didn't get walked either.  He went nearly 31 at-bats per walk during these years.   I think he was a lead-off hitter sometimes.  That's not good for on-base percentage stats.  To honor his impatience at the plate, I took the first card of him I could find instead of looking for an uncracked one.

4.   Mario Guerrero didn't fare much better.  He was walked about once every 28 at-bats.

For individual seasons here are the bottom three walkers for players with at least 400 at-bats in a season from 1969 -1982.  Keep in mind that Barry Bonds has the record with 232 walks in a season, the most walks for a batter in a game is six and some players have gotten seven consecutive walks.

1. Ken Reitz somehow got only nine walks in 426 offiical at-bats in 1973.  That's a walk every 48 at-bats.  His career high was 25, which would be less than one month for Barry Bonds.  Pitcher Steve Carlton fared better than Reitz.  

2.  Mickey Rivers had 266 walks, just 34 more than Bonds.  Did I mention that Rivers accumulated these during 15 MLB seasons?  For a guy who led the league in stolen bases with 70 in 1975 I'd think someone would tell him to get on base more often by walking.  In 1976 he walked only 13 times while having 590 official at-bats.  That's a walk every 46 at-bats.  

"Why is this guy so blurry?"  I like the blurry photo for a guy who certainly wasn't standing still at home plat much.  I'll probably use some of his well-known quotes in a future post.

3. In 1980 Wayne Nordhagen received only 10 walks.  This certainly didn't help him in the stolen base department.  For a guy born in Thief River Falls, Minnesota he only stole one base in his career.  More on how he got a Kellogg's card in a future post.

There have been 44 players named walk, walker or walkup in MLB history up to 2014.  None got a kelloggs card.  Bob Walk started by winning 11 games in 1980, so he was a bit late

Luke Walker won 15 games in 1970, but he was a Pirate and the 1971 set already had 5 pirates.  He also only started 19 games while pitching in 42 so he probably won lots of game in relief.  There is no love for relief pitchers in Kellogg's card sets.  I will look at that in a future post.


  1. I wonder if there is a causal relationship between having exceptionally bad hair (Carlton, Templeton, Reitz, Nordhagen) and receiving few walks? Admittedly, these cards (apart from Reitz's) do not convey the utter wrongness of the hairtsyles in question, but I know that these 'dos were egregious, even for the 1970s.

    Then again, Darrell (Evans + Porter) both led the NL in walks during the 70s, and they really couldn't carry a 70s hairstyle, either, so this theory of mine might not hold.

    1. That's a great theory. Hairstyles will certainly be a post topic in the future. Al Hrabosky and Oscar Gamble come to mind right away. In response to his appearance Hrabosky said something like "how can I get guys out when I look like a g** d*** golf pro?"

      FYI - congratulations on the first use of the term egregious ever on a baseball-related site. I had a roommate in college named egregious I think. Now I'll need to look that word up.