Last time I wrote about why I think all pitchers should have to bat, and I used Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner as an example of a pitcher who hits pretty well. He smacked two homers in the first game of this past season:
But MadBum’s not the only pitcher, current or former, who’s also a good hitter. Here are a few more:
Throwback to the 30’s. Ferrell played for teams that have since moved to other cities or changed their names: the Washington Senators, the Boston Braves and the Brooklyn Dodgers. He also played for the Indians, Yankees and Red Sox.
Ferrell holds the MLB record of 37 home runs for a pitcher. His best season was in 1935, when he hit seven homers and 32 RBIs for the Red Sox. His average was .342 and he pinch-hit 37 times.
Sports Illustrated called the New York Mets’ ace (above) one of the MLB’s best-hitting pitchers in 2016. In one game that May, he batted in all four of the Mets’ runs and allowed two runs in eight innings on the other side of the plate. Apparently no other pitcher (until MadBum this year) had hit two runs since this next guy…
Owings had that two-homer game in August of his rookie year, 2007. His average through 2012 was .283, and he had 35 RBIs. He’s been floating around in the minors and as a free agent for the past couple years, so his star has faded, but at least he had that one game to his name for almost a decade.
In six years with the Brewers, Gallardo hit 12 homers and 21 doubles. After the 2014 season, he played for three AL teams in three years, so he rarely bats anymore. Now he’s a free agent, and hopefully he’ll end up on an NL team again soon.
As a northern Illinois native, I grew up reading about Zambrano in the sports section of the newspaper. I remember him as having a hot temper, and he was apparently known for it. I wasn’t aware at the time that he was good behind the plate. He holds the Cubs’ record for most home runs with 24, and he hit 71 RBIs in his 11-year career.
Oh, and an honorable mention goes to Francisco Liriano. Of course I had to include a Pirate. Interestingly, he’s the only lefty on this list (Zambrano was a switch-hitter). He was a decent hitter for a couple years before the Bucs dealt him to the Blue Jays in 2016. I was a little sad that he went to an AL team because it meant he would almost never get to bat anymore. I wasn’t surprised about the trade, though, because he just wasn’t as good as he used to be.
Funny story about Liriano: When I was visiting Mizzou for my Summer Welcome in June 2015, Liriano faced off against Max Scherzer and the Nationals. Scherzer, a Mizzou alum, threw a no-hitter and the Nats won 6-0. I think that was the start of Liriano’s pitching downward spiral. Oh, well.