2008: Dominican GIDP history in the making?
Watching the Orioles-Angels contest last night, my interest was piqued when the Anaheim announcers mentioned that Vladimir Guerrero has been hitting into an awful lot of double plays recently. Not one to take a guy nicknamed “Wonder Dog” (Rex Hudler) at his word, I looked it up, and sure enough Vladdy already had 21 GIDP’s this year. Then on cue, he ripped a shot down the third base line that Baltimore’s Melvin Mora sent around-the-horn for number 22.
For what it’s worth, with 50 regular season Angels games remaining, Guerrero has a chance to break a somewhat dubious record:
Most Double Plays Grounded Into In A Single Season By A Player Born In the Dominican Republic
Here are the top 10 such seasons:
32 – Miguel TEJADA (2008 Astros) EDIT – after article originally posted
29 – George BELL (1992 White Sox)
28 – Julio FRANCO (1986 Indians)
28 – Miguel TEJADA (2006 Orioles)
27 – Julio FRANCO (1989 Rangers)
27 – Albert PUJOLS (2007 Cardinals)
27 – Vladimir GUERRERO (2008 Angels) EDIT – after article originally posted
26 – Julio FRANCO (1985 Indians)
26 – Miguel TEJADA (2005 Orioles)
26 – Jhonny PERALTA (2008 Indians) EDIT – after article originally posted
25 – Deivi CRUZ (2000 Tigers)
25 – Aramis RAMIREZ (2004 Cubs)
24 – Vladimir GUERRERO (2001 Expos)
Hmmm. Perhaps we should call it the JULIO FRANCO AWARD. Now I love Vladdy, so I can’t say I’m “rooting” for him to break it, but George Bell remains an all-time favorite of mine so I wouldn’t mind if he got knocked off the top spot of this list.
Now, on the other hand, I noticed something else when looking into this last night. Willy Taveras of the Colorado Rockies hasn’t grounded into a single double play all year. He has a shot to become the first Dominican to qualify for a batting title without hitting into a pitcher’s best friend.
In 2003, Rafael Furcal of the Atlanta Braves grounded into just one double play in 734 plate appearances (664 official at bats). By one measure, that’s the best performance by a Dominican so far. Mariano Duncan also deserves a mention. For the Cincinnati Reds in 1991, Duncan went to the plate 356 times (333 official at bats) without grounding into a twin-killing.
As for Taveras, he’s avoided a GIDP in his first 388 plate appearances of 2008 (350 at bats), and hasn’t grounded into one since April 29,2007 against the Braves. So overall, Taveras hasn’t grounded into a double play in 717 plate appearance (652 at bats) heading into play on 8/5/2008. (EDIT – Taveras grounded into 4 double plays before the 2008 season was complete).
Just a couple more things to keep an eye on during these dog days of August!
-by Malcolm Allen