Despite all that's been said in the wake of Thursday night's melee between the Padres and Dodgers, Carlos Quentin still isn't the career leader in number of times hit by a pitch. He's just inside the top 50 all-time, sure, and he's been plunked 116 times, the seventh-highest total among active players.
In short: He's no Hughie Jennings, who holds Major League Baseball's all-time plunking record -- a whopping 287 in 5,860 plate appearance over an 18-year career. At least not yet. Because yes, Quentin finds himself on the receiving end of pitches at an almost impressive rate. In fact, he gets hit once every 24.14 plate appearances.
Active HBP leaders
|Player||Current team||No. of times hit|
That statistic may be difficult to process, but consider that Jason Giambi, who's been hit by more pitches (175) than any other active player, has been plunked, on average, once every 49.27 plate appearances. The regularity with which Quentin gets hit by pitches is more in line with how often Giancarlo Stanton hits a home run (once every 16.51 trips to the plate) than how often normal players are plunked.
There's a reason, of course, that Quentin led the Majors in the category in 2011 and tied for the lead in '12. He sets up extremely close to the plate, so pitches that may be merely inside to others are going to find their way to his body. Quentin has been hit by two pitches this season -- as many as four teams and more than three others.
San Francisco's Ryan Vogelsong frustratedly pointed out to reporters after he accidentally hit Quentin last August that Quentin sets up uncomfortably close to the plate, then reacts with some degree of surprise -- or anger -- when he's plunked. After being injured in Quentin's subsequent mound-charging and the benches-clearing incident that erupted Thursday night, Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke said more of the same.
"I've never hit him on purpose," Greinke told reporters Thursday night. "I never thought of hitting him on purpose. He always seems to think that I'm hitting him on purpose, but, I mean, that's not the case. ... I actually thought it was just a ploy to get people to not throw inside to him. I just feel like he's trying to intimidate people to throw away. But I don't know anyone who has hit him on purpose."
Greinke, it's worth noting, is 49th among active pitchers when it comes to hitting batters. Veteran reliever Jamey Wright leads that list with 146 plunkings over the course of his 18-year career. He's followed by A.J. Burnett and Tim Hudson (108), John Lackey (101), Darren Oliver (94), Bronson Arroyo and Barry Zito (93), Chris Carpenter and Ryan Dempster (85) and Jason Marquis, who rounds out the top 10 with 83.
Gus Wheying, who played from 1887-1901, tops the list of all-time leaders with a whopping 277. He's followed by Chick Fraser (219), Pink Hawley (210), Walter Johnson (205), Randy Johnson and Eddie Plank (190), Tim Wakefield (186), Tony Mullane (185), Joe McGinnity (179) and Charlie Hough (174).
Craig Biggio was hit by 285 pitches, more than any other player in the modern era and second only to Jennings on the all-time list. He's followed by Tommy Tucker (272), Don Baylor (267), Jason Kendall (254), Ron Hunt (243), Dan McGann (230), Frank Robinson (198) Minnie Minoso (192) and Jake Beckley (183).
Not that you'd hear any of them complain. In the end, it's just another way to get to first base, right?
"From the standpoint of a hitter, I didn't move. I didn't stand on top of the plate, but I knew if guys came in, I was going to get hit," Biggio recently told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. "That's part of the game."