Pinch hitter

In baseball, a pinch hitter is a substitute batter. Batters can be substituted at any time while the ball is dead (not in active play); the manager may use any player who has not yet entered the game as a substitute. Unlike basketball, American football, or ice hockey, baseball does not have a "free substitution rule" and thus the replaced player in baseball is not allowed back into that game. The pinch hitter assumes the spot in the batting order of the player whom he replaces.

The player chosen to be a pinch hitter is often a backup infielder or outfielder. In Major League Baseball (MLB), catchers are less likely to be called upon to pinch-hit, because most teams have only two catchers, while pitchers are almost never used as pinch hitters, because they tend to be worse hitters than other players on the team. The pinch hitter may not re-enter the game after being replaced with another player.

The American League of MLB, the Pacific League of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), the KBO League (in Korea), and various other leagues, use the designated hitter rule, such that pitchers seldom bat. This eliminates one possible situation, where a pinch hitter may be more desirable.

For statistical and scorekeeping purposes, the pinch hitter is denoted by PH.[1]


Pinch hitters are often used to replace a starting player because of injury or when the pinch hitter is thought to have a better chance of reaching base or helping other runners to score.

In the National League of MLB, the Central League of NPB, and various other minor leagues, pinch hitters are often substituted for the pitcher in the middle or late innings of a game. This is because pitchers are often poor hitters and may become less effective after six to seven innings of pitching. Thus, as the manager often plans to replace the pitcher in the next inning, the major downside of using a pinch hitter, namely that the player being replaced cannot re-enter the game, is taken away.

This use of a pinch hitter is often part of a double switch, in which a relief pitcher replaces a defensive player who will not bat soon, and at the same time a defensive player replaces the pitcher who is scheduled to bat soon.

The pinch hitter may remain in the game following a pinch-hit at-bat and need not (but may) assume the same position as the player for whom he pinch-hits as long as some other player assumes that position. For example, on August 16, 2009, the Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman pinch-hit for second baseman Alberto González and then remained in the game at third base, with previous third baseman Ronnie Belliard switching positions to play second base after the change.[2] Alternatively, the manager may designate another player to replace the pinch hitter; this scenario is common when a team pinch-hits for a pitcher without executing a double switch, such that the new pitcher then replaces the pinch hitter and assumes the previous pitcher's place in the batting order.

If a pinch hitter hits for the DH, the new pinch hitter stays in the game as a DH, and may not be used in the field. If the new DH does take the field, then the team forfeits the DH for the remainder of the game (thus, causing the pitcher to enter the batting order).

MLB all-time pinch hit leaders

This is a list of players with the most pinch hits in Major League Baseball history. Names which appear in bold are active players. Includes games through July 22, 2011.

Rank Player Hits
  1 Lenny Harris 212
  2 Mark Sweeney 175
  3 Manny Mota 150
  4 Smoky Burgess 145
  5 Greg Gross 143
  6 Dave Hansen 138
  7 John Vander Wal 129
  8 José Morales 123
  9 Orlando Palmeiro 120
10 Jerry Lynch 116
11 Red Lucas 114
12 Steve Braun 113
13 Terry Crowley 108
Denny Walling 108
15 Gates Brown 107
16 Matt Stairs 105
17 Jim Dwyer 103
Mike Lum 103
19 Rusty Staub 100
20 Dave Clark   96
21 Vic Davalillo   95

All-time pinch hit records

  • Most pinch-hit at-bats
Lenny Harris – 804
  • Most pinch hits career
Lenny Harris – 212
  • Most pinch-hit grand slams
Rich Reese, Willie McCovey, Ron Northey – tied with three each
  • Most pinch-hit home runs
Matt Stairs - 23
  • Most pinch-hit game-winning grand slams
Brooks Conrad – 2
  • Most pinch-hit grand slams by one team in a season
Atlanta Braves – 3 total in 2010

Single season pinch hit records

  • Most pinch hit games
Ichiro Suzuki – 109 (2017)
  • Most pinch hit plate appearances
Ichiro Suzuki – 109 (2017)
  • Most pinch hit at-bats
Ichiro Suzuki – 100 (2017)
  • Most pinch hits
John Vander Wal – 28 (1995)[3]
  • Most consecutive pinch hits
Dave Philley and Rusty Staub – tied with eight each (1958 and 1983)
  • Most pinch hit home runs
Dave Hansen and Craig Wilson – tied with seven each (2000 and 2001)
  • Most pinch hit game winning grand slam home runs
Brooks Conrad – 2 (2010)
  • Most pinch hit home runs for a team in a game
St. Louis Cardinals (Jeremy Hazelbaker, Aledmys Diaz and Greg Garcia) – 3 (April 8, 2016)[4]
  • Most pinch hit RBI
Joe Cronin, Jerry Lynch, Rusty Staub – tied with 25 each (1943, 1961 and 1983)
  • Most pinch hit walks
Matt Franco – 20 (1999)

Pinch hit home runs

  • The following players have been called into a game and hit a pinch-hit home run during their first ever Major League at-bat:
American League
Date Name Team Inning
April 30, 1937 Ace Parker Philadelphia 9th Inning
September 5, 1962 John Kennedy Washington 6th Inning
June 19, 1963 Gates Brown Detroit 5th Inning
September 30, 1964 Bill Roman Detroit 7th Inning
September 12, 1965 Brant Alyea Washington 6th Inning
August 7, 1968 Joe Keough Oakland 8th Inning
April 7, 1977 Alvis Woods Toronto 5th Inning
National League
Date Name Team Inning
April 21, 1898 Bill Duggleby Philadelphia 2nd inning
April 14, 1936 Eddie Morgan St. Louis 7th Inning
May 21, 1948 Les Layton New York 9th Inning
September 14, 1950 Ted Tappe Cincinnati 8th Inning
April 12, 1955 Chuck Tanner Milwaukee 8th Inning
September 8, 1998 Marlon Anderson Philadelphia 7th Inning
April 17, 2001 Gene Stechschulte St. Louis 6th Inning
August 21, 2005 Mike Jacobs New York 5th Inning
September 1, 2005 Jeremy Hermida Florida 7th Inning
September 4, 2006 Charlton Jimerson Houston 6th Inning
September 8, 2008 Mark Saccomanno Houston 5th Inning
August 28, 2009 John Hester Arizona 6th Inning

See also


  1. ^ McMahon, Rob, ed. (2009). USA Today Baseball Scorebook. Sterling Innovation. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-4027-6245-1.
  2. ^ "Nationals vs. Reds - Box Score - August 16, 2009 - ESPN".
  3. ^ "In A Pinch". New York Times. September 17, 2006. p. Sports p. 2.
  4. ^ Cardinals set MLB record with 3 pinch-hit homers to beat Braves. Retrieved on April 9, 2016.

External links

Andy Harrington (pinch hitter)

Andrew Matthew Harrington (February 12, 1903 – January 29, 1979) was an American Major League Baseball player who played in one game for the Detroit Tigers on April 18, 1925. He was used as a pinch hitter for one at bat, and did not reach base.

Billy Cowan

Billy Rolland Cowan (born August 28, 1938) is an American former professional baseball player. Appearing primarily as an outfielder, Cowan totalled 493 games played, over all or part of eight Major League Baseball (MLB) seasons, for the Chicago Cubs (1963–64), New York Mets (1965), Milwaukee Braves (1965), Philadelphia Phillies (1967), New York Yankees (1969), and California Angels (1969–72). He attended the University of Utah and began his pro career in the Cubs' organization in 1961. Cowan threw and batted right-handed, standing 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and weighing 170 pounds (77 kg), during his playing career.

Cowan was promoted to the Cubs in September 1963 after three stellar seasons in the minor leagues. After smashing 35 home runs at two levels in 1962, he was selected the 1963 Most Valuable Player and an all-star of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, pacing the circuit in runs batted in (120). In 1964, Cowan was the Cubs' starting center fielder, appearing in 134 games and starting 127 in the position. He also hit an MLB-career-high 19 home runs. But he struck out 128 times (second in the National League), posted a poor .241 batting average and led the Senior Circuit by committing 11 errors in center field. During the off-season, he was traded to the Mets for former Cub all-star outfielder George Altman.

Cowan was a utility outfielder, occasional infielder, and pinch hitter for the remainder of his MLB career, and spent two full seasons (1966 and 1968) back in the minors. He had success coming off the Angels' bench during his 173-game tenure, batting .278 with 13 home runs. He retired after his final big-league game on April 24, 1972, when he struck out as a pinch hitter against Paul Lindblad.Cowan's 281 MLB hits included 44 doubles, eight triples, and 40 home runs. He batted .236 lifetime.

Catfish Hunter's perfect game

On May 8, 1968, Jim "Catfish" Hunter of the Oakland Athletics pitched the ninth perfect game in Major League Baseball history, defeating the Minnesota Twins 4-0 at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum.

Hunter struck out 11 batters, including the last two batters he faced: Bruce Look and pinch-hitter Rich Reese. He also struck out Harmon Killebrew all three times the two future Hall-of-Famers faced each other. Only two batters got to a three-ball count: Tony Oliva in the second inning, who reached a 3-0 count before striking out, and pinch hitter Rich Reese, who fouled off five consecutive 3-2 pitches before striking out to end the game.Hunter relied mostly on his fastball during the game, only disagreeing with catcher Jim Pagliaroni's pitch-calling decisions twice. As a measure of his appreciation for his catcher's contribution to the perfect game, Hunter rewarded Pagliaroni with a gold watch that he had inscribed on back. Only 6,298 fans showed up for the evening contest.

The perfect game was the American League's first regular season perfect game since Charlie Robertson's perfect game in 1922, as well as the first no-hitter in the Athletics' Oakland history, which was in only its 25th game after the franchise had moved from Kansas City, Missouri, its home from 1955 to 1967. Bill McCahan had pitched the Athletics' last no-hitter in 1947; the franchise was then based in Philadelphia.

One of the best hitting pitchers of his time, Hunter also helped his own cause by batting in three of the four Oakland runs. In the bottom of the seventh inning, his bunt single scored Rick Monday to break a scoreless tie. One inning later, with the Athletics leading 2-0, he singled to score Pagliaroni and Monday.

As of 2017, Hunter is the youngest pitcher to pitch a modern-era perfect game, at 22 years, 30 days old.

Charlie Miller (pinch hitter)

Charles Hess "Charlie" Miller (December 30, 1877 – January 13, 1951) was an American professional baseball player. He appeared in one game in Major League Baseball for the Baltimore Terrapins in 1915 as a pinch hitter.

Dusty Rhodes (outfielder)

James Lamar "Dusty" Rhodes (May 13, 1927 – June 17, 2009) was an American professional baseball player, an outfielder and pinch hitter whose otherwise unremarkable seven-year Major League Baseball career was dramatically highlighted by his starring role for the champion New York Giants during the 1954 season and that year's World Series.

George Wheeler (pinch hitter)

George Harrison "Heavy" Wheeler (November 10, 1881 in Shelburn, Indiana – June 18, 1918 in Clinton, Indiana) was a Major League Baseball pinch hitter who played in three games for the Cincinnati Reds in 1910. He was an outfielder during his minor league career.

Wheeler made his major league debut on July 27, 1910 at the age of 28 and appeared in his final big league game on August 3 of that year. In three at-bats with the Reds, Wheeler collected zero hits, striking out twice.

Though Wheeler's major league career was short, his minor league career lasted eight seasons, from 1907 to 1914. In 119 games with the Terre Haute Hottentots in 1908 he hit .303, and in 124 games in 1913 - split between the Terre Haute Terre-iers and Indianapolis Indians - he hit .320. Overall, he hit .287 in 810 minor league games.Following his death, he was interred at Little Flock Cemetery in Shelburn, Indiana.

Jerry Lynch

Gerald Thomas Lynch (July 17, 1930 – March 31, 2012), nicknamed "The Hat", was an American professional baseball outfielder and pinch hitter. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1954 to 1966 for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds.

He was born in Bay City, Michigan. After two years of military service, he made his Major League debut at age 23 on April 15, 1954 in a 7-4 Pirates' loss to the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. Starting in right field and batting third, he had one hit in four at bats. In his first three at-bats he flied out twice and struck out once against Dodgers pitcher Russ Meyer. His first career hit came in the ninth inning off Meyer, as he singled and also drove in his first two runs.Lynch helped the Reds win the 1961 National League pennant. On September 26, 1961, he propelled the Reds into the World Series with his two-run home run off Cubs pitcher Bob Anderson, scoring Vada Pinson. He finished 22nd in voting for the 1961 NL MVP. He was hitless in three official at bats and four plate appearances during the 1961 World Series, which the Reds lost in five games to the New York Yankees.

Lynch is considered one of baseball's all-time best pinch hitters. He had 116 pinch hits during his career, which ranks him 10th on the all-time list. Lynch is third on the all-time pinch hit home run list (he was first when he retired) with 18, with five of those coming during the 1961 season while driving in 25 runs.Lynch was once quoted as saying, "The good pinch-hitter is the guy who can relax enough to get the pitch he can hit. You almost always do get one pitch to hit every time you bat. So you have to have the patience to wait. And then you've got to be able to handle the pitch when you get it."In 13 seasons, he played in 1,184 games with 2,879 at bats, 364 runs, 798 hits, 123 doubles, 34 triples, 115 home runs, 470 RBI, 224 walks, .277 batting average, .329 on-base percentage, .463 slugging percentage and 1,334 total bases.After his baseball career ended, Lynch partnered with former Pirates teammate Dick Groat to operate the Champion Lakes Golf Course in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. He retired to the Atlanta, Georgia area in the late 1980s. Lynch died on March 31, 2012 at age 81 in Atlanta. He was survived by his wife Alice, sons Mark, Keith and Gerald, and daughter Kimberly.

Jim Campbell (pinch hitter)

James Robert Campbell (born January 10, 1943) is a former Major League Baseball player for the St. Louis Cardinals. Campbell played one season, appearing in 13 games in 1970 as a pinch hitter in each game.

Mark Sweeney

Mark Patrick Sweeney (born October 26, 1969) is a former first baseman in Major League Baseball. He is best known for his skill as a pinch hitter, where he ranks second in career pinch hits with 175 and first in career pinch hit runs batted in with 102.

Middle relief pitcher

In baseball, middle relief pitchers (or "middle relievers") are relief pitchers who commonly pitch in the fifth, sixth, or seventh innings. In the National League, a middle reliever often comes in after the starting pitcher has been pulled for a pinch hitter. A middle reliever is usually replaced in the eighth or ninth innings by a left-handed specialist, setup pitcher or closers; middle relief pitchers may work these innings as well, especially if the game is not close.

Pinch hitter (cricket)

In cricket, pinch hitter or slogger is the usual term for a batsman (not a substitute, unlike in baseball) promoted up the batting order in order to score quick runs. As attempting to score runs quickly involves playing more aggressive shots and thus an increased likelihood of being dismissed, it is generally considered unwise for a top-order batsman to attempt this. Therefore, a lower-order batsman (such as a bowler) is sometimes promoted. There is less importance placed on his wicket, so he can play with more freedom. This is an important tactic in One Day International cricket, with its occurrence in Test cricket far less regular.

The term was relatively recently introduced to cricket, and was unfamiliar to many cricket followers before the 1992 World Cup. New Zealand employed a slightly different form of the tactic to considerable effect with Mark Greatbatch playing the pinch-hitting role. This was among other innovative tactics New Zealand employed successfully during the round-robin stage to reach the knockout stage.

It has since been used throughout limited overs cricket, with the aggressive batsmen known as "pinch-hitters."

However, "pinch hitter" usually refers to an aggressive batsman moved up the batting order from his usual place, used in situations where scoring runs quickly becomes more important than keeping wickets in hand.

Pinch hitters are known for their big hitting and high strike rates. However, they sometimes lack the technique of higher-class batsmen and therefore often go out for low scores through their excessive attacking. This is not the same as a "nightwatchman" used in Test and first-class matches.

Ray Brown (Negro leagues pitcher)

Raymond Brown (February 23, 1908 – February 8, 1965) was an American right-handed pitcher in Negro league baseball, almost exclusively for the Homestead Grays. Brown was most notable for many pitching accomplishments. While he was considered a very good pinch hitter and a solid bat, his arm earned him high praise. In February 2006, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Red Lucas

Charles Fred "Red" Lucas (April 28, 1902 – July 9, 1986) was an American professional baseball pitcher and pinch hitter. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1923 to 1938 for the New York Giants, Boston Braves, Cincinnati Reds, and Pittsburgh Pirates.

He was a pitcher who contributed to his teams over the years. Lucas also was one of the last two-way players, appearing occasionally as a fielder early in his career, and serving as a prolific pinch hitter throughout his career. Some of his career highlights were as follows:

He helped the Giants win the 1923 National League Pennant.

He finished 11th in voting for the 1927 National League MVP. That year, he had a won-loss record of 18–11, with 19 complete games, 4 shutouts, 2 saves, 239 ⅔ Innings Pitched, and a 3.38 ERA.

He finished 6th in voting for the 1929 NL MVP for leading the league in WHIP (1.204), hits allowed per 9 innings pitched (8.90), and complete games (28).

He had a 19–12 won–loss record, with 2 shutouts and a 3.60 ERA. Lucas finished 14th in voting for the 1931 NL MVP.

Lucas led the National League in shutouts (4) in 1928, complete games (28) in 1932, walks/9IP (1.33) in 1936.

He appeared in 19 games as a fielder, mostly at second base, but occasionally at third base, shortstop, or the outfield.

Lucas pinch hit 505 times over his 16 seasons. His 114 base hits as a pinch hitter rank him among the most prolific pinch hitters in Major League Baseball history. And his total was, by far, the most ever for a player whose primary position was pitcher.As a pitcher, Lucas batted seventh in the lineup for the Reds on September 7, 1933, and was the last Reds pitcher to bat higher than ninth until Jason Marquis batted eighth in May 2015.He posted a .281 batting average with 155 runs, 3 home runs and 190 RBI in his major league career.

After his major league career, Lucas spent several seasons managing and occasional pitching in the minor leagues. He served as a minor league manager in 1941 with Grand Rapids (Michigan State League) and in 1942 Newport (Tenn.) of the Appalachian League. Lucas was a player/coach for the Nashville Vols in 1944 and 1945. He managed the Class D Lumberton Cubs of the Tobacco State League in 1947. In 1948, Lucas was the manager of the Decatur Ill. club in the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League.

His nickname, "The Nashville Narcissus," was coined by Colonel Bob Newhall, a reporter for the old Cincinnati Tribune, who may have thought the young pitcher was a blooming star. He died in Nashville, Tennessee on July 9, 1986.

Smoky Burgess

Forrest Harrill "Smoky" Burgess (February 6, 1927 – September 15, 1991), was an American professional baseball catcher / pinch hitter, coach, and scout, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1949 to 1967. Later in his career, Burgess became known for his abilities as an elite pinch hitter, setting the MLB career record for career pinch-hits with 145. During his playing days, he stood 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 m) tall, weighing 188 pounds (85 kg). Burgess batted left-handed and threw right-handed.

Steve Stanicek

Stephen Blair Stanicek (born June 19, 1961) is a former Major League Baseball player. He played parts of two seasons in the majors, 1987 for the Milwaukee Brewers and 1989 for the Philadelphia Phillies. He played 13 games, twelve as a pinch hitter and one as a designated hitter.

Steve is the brother of fellow former major leaguer Pete Stanicek. The brothers made their Major League debuts 15 days apart in 1987.

In a Sept. 16 game at Yankee Stadium, with the visiting Brewers trailing in the seventh inning, Steve Stanicek came to bat for the first time, pinch-hitting. He reached safely against Yankee pitcher Tommy John on an error, and Milwaukee rallied for three runs in the inning and a 5-4 victory.

Two nights later, Stanicek got his first big-league hit. He was a pinch-hitter again, this time in the ninth inning of a game at Tiger Stadium in Detroit that the Brewers were losing 7-1. After a two-run Dale Sveum home run, Stanicek was sent up against Willie Hernandez with a teammate on base and delivered a single. Next batter Paul Molitor hit a three-run homer to make it 7-6 and knock Hernandez out of the game, but that's how the game ended.

Stanicek is an alumnus of Rich East High School in Park Forest, Illinois and the University of Nebraska. He has been a successful high school coach in the Chicago area and is currently head coach at Glenbrook South High School in Glenview, Illinois.

The Pinch Hitter (1917 film)

The Pinch Hitter is a 1917 American silent comedy drama film directed by Victor Schertzinger and starring Charles Ray. It was produced by Thomas H. Ince and released by Triangle Film Corporation.The film was remade in 1925 starring Glenn Hunter under the same name.

The Pinch Hitter (1925 film)

The Pinch Hitter is a 1925 American silent film sports comedy directed by Joseph Henabery and starring Glenn Hunter and Constance Bennett. It is a remake of a 1917 film of the same name starring Charles Ray. It was produced and distributed by Associated Exhibitors. A print survives.

Tip Tobin

John Martin "Tip" Tobin (September 15, 1906 – August 6, 1983) was a pinch hitter for the New York Giants baseball team in 1932.

Tom Miller (pinch hitter)

Thomas Royall Miller (July 5, 1897 – August 13, 1980) was a Major League Baseball player. He played two seasons with the Boston Braves from 1918 to 1919.



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