Ben Revere Homered, Now What?
For those of us who enjoyed Ben Revere‘s historic homerless streak, the celebration over his first career homer was tinged with sadness. What good are those 1,565 homerless plate appearances now? Revere established a record and then with one swing of the bat, the record vanished. Now he’s just another major leaguer with a big league home run to his name. Where’s the fun? Where’s the excitement? Where’s the historical streak of offensive futility keeping us tethered to our baseball-viewing devices?
Good news! There’s another remarkable and historically inept batter on the Phillies roster and he says his name is Roberto Hernandez.
Back in his Fausto Carmona days, Bertie (can I call him Bertie? I’m going to call him Bertie) pitched for Cleveland before a name change and subsequent move to Tampa Bay. His years in the DH-plagued junior circuit resulted in Bertie only stepping to the plate 20 times before joining the Phillies this year. Add in the 19 times he’s batted in 2014 and he now has a career total of 39 plate appearances or, to be more precise, 39 hitless plate appearances. That’s right, Hernandez has recorded zero career hits. Nil. Zilch. Not a one.
Throughout baseball history, there have been plenty of horrendously poor hitting pitchers. Is it really all that unusual to not record a single hit? As it turns out, the answer is yes. Bertie is now 8 plate appearances shy of the record Randy Tate holds for most career PA’s without a hit since 1901:
If Bertie continues to average two plate appearances per start, he’s only four starts away from joining Randy Tate atop that leaderboard. The title is within his grasp, but will he be able to claim it? If that suspense is not reason enough to tune into games with Hernandez on the bump and watch with bated breath, then what is?
As if the lack of hits weren’t impressive enough, Hernandez has another claim to fame. Not only has he never reached base via a hit, he’s never walked, been hit by a pitch or reached base on an error. In that department, Hernandez is that all-time champion. No batter since 1901 is even with 10 plate appearances of Bertie without ever reaching base*:
(*Hernandez has stood on first base at least once. In 2007, he reached base via a fielder’s choice, but apparently that experience hasn’t properly incentivized him to find a way to reach base again.)
Naturally, Bertie Watch is as perilous as Revere’s streak was. One bloop hit or lucky swing and it’s all over. So root for Bertie to break the record or root for the streak to end. It doesn’t matter. Just be thankful there’s something other than the team’s struggles to focus your energies on while watching Phillies baseball.