Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dave Johnson, 1991 Score #506

You want a really random, obscure statistic? Of course you do; you're a baseball fan. In 1990, when he went 13-9 with a 4.10 ERA for the Orioles, Dave Johnson did not allow a stolen base in 24 straight starts to begin the year. Neither were any runners caught stealing while he was on the mound in those games. In other words, no one so much as attempted to run on Dave Johnson, a 30-year-old journeyman. It's the longest such streak to begin a season since 1973, which is as far back as complete baserunning data goes. That is truly bizarre.

Let's look at the circumstances. Dave was a 30-year-old journeyman who tended to pitch righty. Generally, lefties have the better pickoff moves (see: Flanagan, Mike), since they face first base when standing astride the mound. I can't imagine him being that quick to the plate, since he struck out 68 batters in 180 innings in 1990. As for his batterymates, there were no Ivan Rodriguez types at catcher for the O's that year: Mickey Tettleton gunned down 28% of would-be base thieves that year; backup Bob Melvin was only slightly better at 30%. Chris Hoiles checked in at 50%, but in a very small sample size (4-for-8 in 7 games).

Now I'll admit that I have no personal memories of having seen Dave Johnson pitch. Does anyone remember him being tough on baserunners, or was this just one of those freak things?


Rounding Thirty 3rd said...

Maybe opposing batters thought he looked so hittable that no one wanted to risk taking the bat out of the batters hands by trying to steal?

Commishbob said...

I've got his last Saturday in '89 start vs the Jays on a video tape around here someplace. Pretty memorable day. Wish it had a happier ending.

Kevin said...

Tim - That makes a lot of sense, actually.

Bob - I still watch the "Why Not?" highlight video once in a while, and I'm always hoping it will end differently.