So I look at the leaderboards today, and I notice that White Sox leftfielder Carlos Quentin has already been plunked 6 times this year, and is on pace to get nailed 39 times by the end of the season. If he could maintain that pace, he would be in pretty elite company – the all time record for HBP in a season is Ron Hunt’s astonishing 50 in 1971, followed by Don Baylor’s 35 in 1986, and Craig Biggio’s 34 in 1997.
Of course, that plucky munchkin David Eckstein has also been plunked 6 times so far, and Reed Johnson of the Cubs has been hit 5 times, but who is most likely to keep up the insane pace?
The answer is clearly Quentin, who has already demonstrated that he is the greatest at getting hit by pitches in the history of the game. So far in his pro career, Carlos Quentin has been hit by a pitch every 16 plate appearances. This is an insanely high rate, when you consider that modern master Biggio was hit every 43.8, 80′s champ Baylor was plunked every 35.2, and HBP god Ron Hunt was hit “only” every 25.3 plate appearances.
In 2004, Quentin set the all-time minor league record for getting hit by the pitch by getting plunked 43 times across 2 levels, and in 2005, he set the all-time Pacific Coast League record for HBP by getting hit 29 times.
And Quentin’s propensity for getting hit by the pitch didn’t just start in the pros either. When I was at Stanford, he set the NCAA Division I record by getting hit by 5 pitches in a single game against Florida State. 5 plate appearances, 5 HBP! That was insane.
So get used to seeing images like the photo above, because going forward, if Quentin can avoid the injury bug that has plagued him thus far in his major league career, you can expect him to mount a serious threat to Ron Hunt’s record each and every season.