Intended only as fun, this award has been created to honor the highest level of hitting futility by a St. Louis Cardinals pitcher in a season.
To select the award’s namesake, I first had to unearth the worst yearly performance with the bat by a pitcher in team history, post-1900. Of the hundreds of Cardinals hurlers with at least 30 plate appearances in a season, only two posted a .000 OPS.
They are Vicente Palacios in 1994 and John Fulgham in 1980.
To break the apparent tie, I dove into the specifics.
In his season of futility, Fulgham, in his second of two career MLB seasons, had exactly 30 plate appearances. He had three sacrifices, therefore had only 27 official at-bats. He fanned 17 times, but managed to score once.
Palacios had 36 plate appearances in 1994 and also had three sacrifices. He struck out 15 times, but also ground into a double play. Palacios did not cross home plate.
Therefore, Palacios broke the close tie as having the worst hitting season by a Cardinals pitcher since at least 1900.
Here are the worst ten in team history, courtesy of the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia.
|Rk||Worst OPS pitcher||Yr||OPS|
The 2009 hitting data was already presented in the earlier article, “Wainwright wins 2009 Allen Watson Award”. Todd Wellemeyer’s .256 OPS brought up the rear as the worst mark for those pitchers with at least 30 plate appearances.
Here are those who would have been the Palacios Award winners this decade. Wellemeyer’s 2009 mark would not have been worst in eight of the last ten years. Anthony Reyes‘s .154 OPS in 2007 was the lowest qualifying mark since 2000. Chris Carpenter is the only name listed twice – in 2005 and 2006.
|Year||Worst OPS pitcher||OPS|