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:

Rk Player PA H From To Age G Tm
1 Randy Tate 47 0 1975 1975 22-22 26 NYM
2 Bo McLaughlin 45 0 1976 1982 22-28 156 ATL-HOU-OAK
3 Tony McKnight 44 0 2000 2001 23-24 21 HOU-PIT
4 Jon Lester 41 0 2006 2014 22-30 232 BOS
5 Roberto Hernandez 39 0 2006 2014 25-33 228 CLE-TBR-PHI
6 Alex Wood 38 0 2013 2014 22-23 45 ATL
7 Daryl Patterson 37 0 1968 1974 24-30 142 DET-OAK-STL-PIT
8 Armando Galarraga 36 0 2007 2012 25-30 100 TEX-DET-ARI-HOU
9 Ted Davidson 34 0 1965 1968 25-28 114 CIN-ATL
10 Charley Stanceu 34 0 1941 1946 25-30 39 NYY-PHI
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/29/2014.

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*:

Rk Player PA TOBwe From To Age G Tm
1 Roberto Hernandez 39 0 2006 2014 25-33 228 CLE-TBR-PHI
2 Tony Pierce 28 0 1967 1968 21-22 66 KCA-OAK
3 Von McDaniel 28 0 1957 1958 18-19 19 STL
4 Harry Ables 26 0 1905 1911 21-27 14 SLB-CLE-NYY
5 Geraldo Guzman 23 0 2000 2001 27-28 17 ARI
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/29/2014.

(*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.

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4 comments

  1. TomG

    May 30, 2014 09:57 AM

    “In 2007, he reached base via a fielder’s choice …”

    What, exactly, was the choice that fielder made? To have a massive coronary before making the relay throw to first? Because it seems improbable, verging on impossible, that Bertie would be able to outrun any throw to first no matter how many layovers the batted ball had been forced to experience before getting to its final destination. (Any competent infield should be able to go around the horn first and still throw him out on a grounder, which would make going around the horn afterwards optional.) In fact, I’m not just rooting to see Hernandez break the record, I’m kinda hoping, before he does, he ropes one over the shortstop’s head and still gets hosed at first, a la Sean Casey. Because it’s probably a foregone conclusion he breaks the record. This – getting thrown out from left – would make it interesting and historic-er.

  2. John Hagee

    May 30, 2014 10:23 AM

    He might be the worst major league hitter I’ve ever seen in years of watching baseball. And very sad to say, one of the strongest arguments for the accursed DH rule. Any thing’s possible, but barring injury, those above listed records are going down..

  3. Pat

    May 30, 2014 01:26 PM

    The first thing I thought of (sadly) was Don Carman. He started out 0-47 with no walks (with 5 sacrifices so he was hitless in his first 52 PAs). I was young, but I distinctly remember Harry and Whitey making a big deal of how bad a hitter he was during the ’86 and ’87 seasons.

  4. Dante

    May 30, 2014 01:42 PM

    Important to point out he’s not even the active leader – Jon Lester, followed by Alex Wood, also have active streaks. However, each of them have at least one BB, and Lester even helped his cause once with a sac fly.

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