Intended only in fun, this award honors the highest level of hitting futility by a St. Louis Cardinals pitcher in a season.
Hitting stats for St. Louis Cardinals pitchers in 2010 were already presented in the earlier article, “Wainwright repeats as Allen Watson Award winner”. Chris Carpenter’s .288 OPS brought up the rear as the worst mark by more than 100 points for those Cardinals pitchers with at least 30 plate appearances.
Against righties, Carp was absolutely terrible with just five hits and no walks in 65 plate appearances for a .191 OPS. His only home run and all four RBI were accrued in his 19 plate appearances versus left-handers, making for a .650 OPS. Further, most of his 2010 success was experienced while hitting eighth (.479 OPS versus just .126 when batting ninth).
In originally selecting 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|
Here are those who would have been the Palacios Award winners over the last decade plus one year. Note that Carpenter is the only name listed twice, let alone three times. Fortunately his pitching keeps him coming back.
|Year||Worst OPS pitcher||OPS|