Leadoff hitter

In baseball, a leadoff hitter is a batter who bats first in the lineup. It can also refer to any batter who bats first in an inning.

IMG 1235 Drew Stubbs
Drew Stubbs, former leadoff hitter for the Cincinnati Reds

Strategy

Leadoff hitters must possess certain traits to be successful: they must reach base at a proficient on-base percentage rate and be able to steal bases. Sabermetric analysis has indicated that the ability to steal bases is often an overrated quality of leadoff hitters; however, the leadoff hitter should still take a large lead at first and draw a throw from the pitcher. This is useful because it shows the team the pitcher's pick-off move. Many managers also wish their leadoff hitters to take a lot of pitches, to work high pitch counts, to give their teammates a feel for the opposing pitcher, as well as raising his pitch count. Also, because the leadoff hitter is first in the batting order, he will usually have the most plate appearances on the team over the course of a season, therefore must be a competent hitter.

Leadoff hitters tend to play defensively difficult positions, such as shortstop, second base, and center field. Rickey Henderson is widely regarded as the prototypical leadoff hitter.

Notable Major League Baseball leadoff hitters

Notable Korea Professional Baseball leadoff hitters

Abner Dalrymple

Abner Frank Dalrymple (September 9, 1857 – January 25, 1939) was an American left fielder in Major League Baseball who hit 43 home runs (including 22 in 1884, the second-highest total to that date) and batted .288 during his 12-season career spent primarily with the Chicago White Stockings. Born in Gratiot, Wisconsin, he played for the Milwaukee Grays, White Stockings, Pittsburgh Alleghenys, and Milwaukee Brewers.

Dalrymple started his major league career in 1878 with the National League's Milwaukee Grays, and that season, he had a career-high .354 batting average. He spent the next eight seasons with the Chicago White Stockings, for whom he starred as the leadoff hitter on five NL pennant winners. In 1880, Dalrymple led the league in hits (126) and runs scored (91). In 1881, he became the first batter known to be given an intentional walk with the bases loaded. He hit four doubles in a game in 1883, which still ties him for the major league record. In 1884, aided by the short right field fence at his home park, Dalrymple hit a career-high 22 home runs and moved into sixth place on the all-time home run list. On the strength of 11 home runs for the 1885 champions, he moved up one place. For the remainder of his career, he hit only six home runs. His hitting declined in 1886, and his major league career ended five years later.

Dalrymple died in Warren, Illinois at age 81.

Augie Bergamo

August Samuel Bergamo (February 14, 1917 – August 19, 1974) was a Major League Baseball outfielder who played for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1944 and 1945. A native of Detroit, Michigan, he stood 5'9" and weighed 165 lbs.

Bergamo is one of many ballplayers who only appeared in the major leagues during World War II. He was a valuable reserve on the 1944 World Series Champions, batting .286 in 80 games. He was the starting left fielder in World Series Game # 2 against the St. Louis Browns, won by the Cards 3-2 in 11 innings. Bergamo, the leadoff hitter, was 0-for-5 in the game but hit an RBI grounder in the third that plated the first Cardinal run. For the Series he appeared in three games, going 0-for-6 with one RBI and two walks.

In 1945, he batted .316 in 94 games, but St. Louis finished second that year, three games behind the Chicago Cubs.

Career totals for 174 games played include a .304 batting average (151-for-496), 5 home runs, 63 runs batted in, 86 runs scored, a .400 on-base percentage, and a slugging average of .401.

Batting order (baseball)

In baseball, the batting order or batting lineup is the sequence in which the members of the offense take their turns in batting against the pitcher. The batting order is the main component of a team's offensive strategy. In Major League Baseball, the batting order is set by the manager, who before the game begins must present the home plate umpire with two copies of his team's lineup card, a card on which a team's starting batting order is recorded. The home plate umpire keeps one copy of the lineup card of each team, and gives the second copy to the opposing manager. Once the home plate umpire gives the lineup cards to the opposing managers, the batting lineup is final and a manager can only make changes under the Official Baseball Rules governing substitutions. If a team bats out of order, it is a violation of baseball's rules and subject to penalty.

According to The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, a team has "batted around" when each of the nine batters in the team's lineup has made a plate appearance, and the first batter is coming up again during a single inning. Dictionary.com, however, defines "bat around" as "to have every player in the lineup take a turn at bat during a single inning." It is not an official statistic. Opinions differ as to whether nine batters must get an at-bat, or if the opening batter must bat again for "batting around" to have occurred.In modern American baseball, some batting positions have nicknames: "leadoff" for first, "cleanup" for fourth, and "last" for ninth. Others are known by the ordinal numbers or the term #-hole (3rd place hitter would be 3-hole). In similar fashion, the third, fourth, and fifth batters are often collectively referred to as the "heart" or "meat" of the batting order, while the seventh, eighth, and ninth batters are called the "bottom of the lineup," a designation generally referring both to their hitting position and to their typical lack of offensive prowess.At the start of each inning, the batting order resumes where it left off in the previous inning, rather than resetting to start with the #1 hitter again. If the current batter has not finished his at-bat, by either putting a ball in play or being struck-out, and another baserunner becomes a third out, such as being picked-off or caught stealing, the current batter will lead off the next inning, with the pitch count reset to 0-0. While this ensures that the players all bat roughly the same number of times, the game will almost always end before the last cycle is complete, so that the #1 hitter (for example) almost always has one plate appearance more than the #9 hitter, which is a significant enough difference to affect tactical decisions. This is not a perfect correlation to each batter's official count of "at-bats," as a sacrifice (bunt or fly) that advances a runner, or a walk (base on balls or hit by pitch) is not recorded as an "at-bat" as these are largely out of the batter's control, and does not hurt his batting average (base hits per at-bats.)

Billy Cox (baseball)

William Richard Cox (August 29, 1919 – March 30, 1978) was an American professional baseball third baseman and shortstop. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Baltimore Orioles.

He played for the Newport Buffaloes high school team. Signed as an amateur free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1940, Cox made his MLB debut with the Pirates on September 20, 1941, playing in ten games at shortstop that season before serving in the military during World War II.

After returning to the Pirates, he was the starting shortstop in 1946 and 1947 before being traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers on December 8, 1947, along with Preacher Roe and Gene Mauch, for Dixie Walker, Hal Gregg and Vic Lombardi.Cox was the third baseman of a Dodgers infield in the 1950s that included Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese.

In the 1953 World Series, Cox had a two-run double in Game 2 and a three-run homer in Game 5 against the New York Yankees. He batted .304 for the Series and led Brooklyn in runs batted in with six.

Cox was an infield starter (principally at third base) and leadoff hitter for the Baltimore Orioles for the first half of 1955, but after being pulled for a pinch runner on June 11, was traded at the trading deadline, June 16. Cox, however, would not report to his new team, the Cleveland Indians, reigning American League champions. Even after a meeting with Indians' manager Al López, Cox resolved to retire and did so on June 17. After Cox retired, the Orioles did not settle on a starting third baseman until Brooks Robinson won the job in 1957. The Orioles used 13 third basemen in 1955.

The youth baseball park on North Second Street in Newport, Pennsylvania, is named after Cox, and hosts River League games (independent Little League) as well as an annual Pete Howell Memorial tournament during the second week of July. Howell was the local district justice and long-time president of the Newport Baseball Association.

Bobby Bonds

Bobby Lee Bonds (March 15, 1946 – August 23, 2003) was an American right fielder in Major League Baseball from 1968 to 1981, primarily with the San Francisco Giants. Noted for his outstanding combination of power hitting and speed, he was the first player to have more than two seasons of 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases, doing so a record five times (the record was matched only by his son Barry), and was the first to accomplish the feat in both major leagues; he became the second player to hit 300 career home runs and steal 300 bases, joining Willie Mays. Together with Barry, he is part of baseball's most accomplished father-son combination, holding the record for combined home runs, RBIs, and stolen bases. A prolific leadoff hitter, he also set major league records for most times leading off a game with a home run in a career (35) and a season (11, in 1973); both records have since been broken.

Brady Anderson

Brady Kevin Anderson (born January 18, 1964) is a baseball executive and former outfielder. He made his major league debut for the Boston Red Sox on April 4, 1988, and also played for the Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians. He spent the majority of his career as a center fielder and leadoff hitter for the Orioles in the 1990s, where he was a three-time All Star, and, in 1996, became the fifteenth player in major league history to hit 50 home runs in one season. Anderson bats and throws left-handed, stands 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall, and weighs 199 pounds (90 kg).

A native of Silver Spring, Maryland, Anderson was selected by the Red Sox in the tenth round of the 1985 amateur draft. His 50 home runs in 1996 set an Orioles team record until surpassed by Chris Davis in 2013. With 53 stolen bases in 1992, Anderson became the first player in major league history to have achieved season totals of both 50 home runs and 50 stolen bases. He was inducted into the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2013, he was hired to serve as Vice President of Baseball Operations for the Orioles.

Charlie Blackmon

Charles Cobb Blackmon (born July 1, 1986), nicknamed "Chuck Nazty", is an American professional baseball center fielder for the Colorado Rockies of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut on June 7, 2011, as a member of the Rockies. Blackmon throws and bats left-handed, stands 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m), and weighs 210 pounds (95 kg).

A native of Dallas, Texas, Blackmon attended the Georgia Institute of Technology, and played college baseball for the Yellow Jackets. The Rockies selected him in the second round of the 2008 amateur draft. Blackmon is a three-time MLB All-Star and a Silver Slugger Award winner.

Freddy Sandoval

Freddy Carol Sandoval Herrera (born August 16, 1982 in Tijuana, Mexico) is a former professional baseball third baseman.

Sandoval played his collegiate baseball for the San Diego Toreros from 2002–2004, and was part of two conference championship teams during his career there.

Sandoval made his major league debut for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim against the New York Yankees on September 8, 2008, at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. He Played in the 2009 World Baseball Classic as Mexico's leadoff hitter.

Sandoval was named the Mental Skills Coach by Kansas City Royals after retiring. In 2017, he served as a coach/team psychologist for the Toros de Tijuana of the Mexican Baseball League.

Gene Hassell

Eugene "Gene" Hassell was a minor league baseball player and manager. He played eleven years in the minor leagues then managed for another eleven in the minors. As a player, Hassell was an infielder with a high on-base percentage and speed but without power; he failed to hit a single home run in his professional baseball career. He led his league at least once in walks, OBP and steals.

Hassell broke in with the 1951 Wilson Tobs, hitting .274. In 1952, he returned to the Tobs. He was second in OBP, trailing only Wayne Blackburn, and drew a Coastal Plain League leading 142 walks while only striking out 27 times. Hassell stole 40 bases, fourth in the league, and scored 98 runs, second best. His .955 fielding percentage led league's third basemen by 25 points and he had the most double plays (30), putouts (141) and assists (346) at the hot corner despite being 7th in the 8-team league in errors (23).

In 1953, Gene played for the St. Petersburg Saints, hitting .318. He walked 143 times in 132 games while only striking out nineteen times in 132 AB. He led the Florida International League in walks, OBP and stolen bases (42). He scored 103 runs. His .979 fielding percentage led second basemen with 100+ games while he led league in putouts (364), assists (420) and double plays (88) for his position.

Hassell spent most of 1954 with the Burlington-Graham Pirates, hitting .337, and hit .286 in a brief stint with the Denver Bears. In 1955, Hassell played for the Birmingham Barons, hitting .306 with 108 walks to fifteen strikeouts. He just missed the Southern Association's top 3 in OBP, tied Edward White for third in runs (97) and was second in the league in walks.

In 1956, Hassell made his AAA debut, with Denver (Denver had been a Class A team when he was them in 1954). Gene hit .319 with twenty-four runs batted in as the leadoff hitter for a team that made the American Association finals. He was among the circuit's top ten in batting average. In 1957, Hassell returned to the Bears and hit .308. He only had 188 AB in 85 games, backing up Curt Roberts at second base and Rance Pless at third base, plus being a key pinch hitter for Denver. In the Junior World Series, Gene got the start at second base with Roberts suffering a leg injury and the sub went four for thirteen with two doubles, a triple and a steal as the leadoff hitter for the Bears. Denver won the title, but Hassell hurt his leg while doubling to lead off the finale and Roberts had to play despite his own pains and limitations.

In 1958, Gene hit .292 for Denver, followed by a .284 campaign in 1959. In 1960, he moved to the Charleston Senators but hit just .211. He faded even further in his final season, only hitting .122 for the Amarillo Gold Sox and .198 for the Des Moines Demons.

Ginger Beaumont

Clarence Howeth "Ginger" Beaumont (July 23, 1876 – April 10, 1956) was an American center fielder in Major League Baseball who spent most of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1899–1906) and Boston Braves (1907–1909). He was born in Rochester, Wisconsin, and attended Beloit College. During the years 1900–1904 – with the Pirates winning pennants from 1901–1903 – Beaumont led the National League in hits three times, scored 100 runs four times, leading the league once, and also captured the 1902 batting championship with a .357 mark. As the Pirates' regular leadoff hitter, he was the first player ever to bat in a World Series game.Nicknamed "Ginger" for his thick red hair, he used his excellent speed to great advantage; on the day before his 23rd birthday in his rookie season, he had six infield singles and became the first player to score six runs in a game. He was also the first player in major league history to lead his league in hits three consecutive years, which has been accomplished by only five others; he led the NL in hits a fourth time with the 1907 Braves. Often bothered by leg injuries, he joined the Chicago Cubs for the 1910 season, and made pinch-hitting appearances in the first three games of the 1910 World Series before leaving the major leagues with a .311 career batting average and on base average of .362. He played one more season in the minor leagues before retiring to his Honey Creek, Wisconsin farm. He was one of the first inductees to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1951. Beaumont suffered two strokes in his seventies, and died at age 79 in Burlington, Wisconsin.Beaumont has a baseball field named after him in his hometown of Burlington. His name also represents part of the Burlington Little League organization. In July 2015, a monument to Beaumont was dedicated at Beaumont Field.

Jimmy Sheckard

Samuel James Tilden "Jimmy" Sheckard (November 23, 1878 – January 15, 1947) was an American left fielder and left-handed leadoff hitter in Major League Baseball who played for the Brooklyn Bridegrooms/Superbas (1897–98, 1900–01, 1902–05), Baltimore Orioles (NL) (1899), Baltimore Orioles (AL) (1902), Chicago Cubs (1906–12), St. Louis Cardinals (1913) and Cincinnati Reds (1913).

Sheckard was the Chicago Cubs' leadoff batter for the final game of the 1908 World Series. His team played in four World Series in a five-year span from 1906-1910.

Johnny Temple

John Ellis Temple (August 8, 1927 – January 9, 1994) was a Major League Baseball second baseman who played for the Redlegs/Reds (1952–59; 1964); Cleveland Indians (1960–61), Baltimore Orioles (1962) and Houston Colt .45s (1962–63). Temple was born in Lexington, North Carolina. He batted and threw right-handed.

Temple was a career .284 hitter with 22 home runs and 395 RBI in 1420 games. A legitimate leadoff hitter and four-time All-Star, he was a very popular player in Cincinnati in the 1950s. Throughout his career, he walked more often than he struck out, compiling an outstanding 1.92 walk-to-strikeout ratio (648-to-338) and a .363 on-base percentage. Temple also had above-average speed and good instincts on the base paths. Quietly, he had 140 steals in 198 attempts (71%).

In 1957, Temple and six of his Redleg teammates—Ed Bailey, Roy McMillan, Don Hoak, Gus Bell, Wally Post and Frank Robinson—were voted into the National League All-Star starting lineup, the result of a ballot stuffing campaign by Redlegs fans. Bell remained on the team as a reserve, but Post was taken off altogether. Bell and Post were replaced as starters by Hank Aaron and Willie Mays.

Temple enjoyed his best year in 1959, with career-highs in batting average (.311), home runs (8), RBI (67), runs (102), hits (186), at-bats (598), doubles (35) and triples (6). At the end of the season he was sent to Cleveland for Billy Martin, Gordy Coleman and Cal McLish.Temple also played with Baltimore and Houston, and again with Cincinnati for his last major season, where he was a part-time coach. In August 1964, he cleaned out his locker after having a fight with fellow coach, Reggie Otero. When Fred Hutchinson had to leave the Reds due to his health, Cincinnati management decided to go with only two coaches and not reinstate Temple.After his baseball career was over, Temple worked as a television newsman in Houston, Texas and got involved with a business that sold boats and RVs. The business failed causing Temple to lose everything, including his home. In 1977, Temple was arrested and charged with larceny of farm equipment. Through the efforts of his wife, who wrote a public letter to The Sporting News, Temple got legal assistance. He gave testimony to the South Carolina assembly against his criminal partners.Temple died in Anderson, South Carolina in 1994 at the age of 66.

Lead off

In baseball, a lead or lead off is the short distance that a player stands away from their current base. This term should not be confused with "leadoff hitter", which is the first batter of a game or of an inning.

Mickey Rivers

John Milton "Mickey" Rivers (born October 31, 1948) is an American former baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball from 1970 to 1984 for the California Angels, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers. As a member of the Yankees, he was part of two World Series championship teams, both wins over the Los Angeles Dodgers, in 1977 and 1978. "Mick The Quick" was generally known as a speedy leadoff hitter who made contact and was an excellent center fielder, with a below-average throwing arm.

Omar Moreno

Omar Renán Moreno Quintero (born October 24, 1952) is a former center fielder who played from 1975 through 1986 in Major League Baseball. He was best known for his years with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and was the starting center fielder and leadoff hitter on their 1979 World Series champion team.

Peter Bergeron

Peter Francis Bergeron (born November 9, 1977) is an American former professional baseball outfielder and current Major League scout.

Bergeron appeared in 308 Major League Baseball games, all of which were played with the Montreal Expos over five different seasons. He was known as primarily being a leadoff hitter, with above average speed and defensive skills, however his offensive ability and career .226 batting average hampered his career success.

Toi Cook

Toi Fitzgerald Cook (born December 3, 1964) is a former professional American football player who was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the eighth round of the 1987 NFL Draft. A 5'11", 188 lb (85 kg). defensive back from Stanford University, he played in 11 NFL seasons from 1987 to 1997. In 1992, he had a career-high six interceptions for 90 yards and one touchdown for the Saints. He appeared in Super Bowl XXIX for the victorious San Francisco 49ers. He had an interception in the Super Bowl. Before his NFL career, he was an outfielder, and the leadoff hitter, on Stanford's 1987 College World Series national champion baseball team.

Vic Davalillo

Víctor José Davalillo Romero [da-va-LEE-yo] (born July 30, 1936) is a Venezuelan former professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball as an outfielder for the Cleveland Indians (1963–68), California Angels (1968–69), St. Louis Cardinals (1969–70), Pittsburgh Pirates (1971–73), Oakland Athletics (1973–74) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1977–80). Davalillo batted and threw left-handed.Davalillo was a leadoff hitter known for his speedy baserunning and capable defensive ability. Later in his career, he became a valuable utility player and a record-setting pinch hitter. Davalillo also had an exceptional career in the Venezuelan Winter League where he is the all-time leader in total base hits and in career batting average.

Willie Wilson (baseball)

Willie James Wilson (born July 9, 1955) is a former professional baseball player. He played 19 seasons in Major League Baseball for the Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, and Chicago Cubs. He was an outfielder known for his speed and ability as an effective leadoff hitter. Wilson's career total of 668 stolen bases currently ranks him in 12th place all-time among major leaguers.

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