Wednesday, September 18, 2013

21 STOLEN BASES WITHOUT GETTING A HIT? LARRY LINTZ AND THE GO-GO OAKLAND A'S

Back in the beginning of June I profiled Topps' 1975 card for Herb Washington, "Designated Runner" for the Oakland A's.
The card offered a never before (or since) seen set of statistics on the back that listed: Games, Runs, Stolen Bases and Caught Stealing. That's it. No at-bats, no hits, no average.
That experiment lasted a couple years, as Washington was out of baseball by the end of '75.
However, there was another player who was used primarily as a pinch runner even though he garnered a few at-bats before his career was done: Larry Lintz.
Check out the stats on the back of his 1977 card (#323):

Lintz probably wondering when he'll finally be allowed to bat.

1 single at-bat with 21 runs scored. Love it.

You just have to love the odd stat line that shows one official at-bat with 21 runs scored! His highlight text at the bottom then states that he had 31 stolen bases as well.
Not bad for aa player who never even got a hit that year!
Unlike Washington however, Lintz did see some playing time as a batter before he got to Oakland.
In 1974 with the Montreal Expos he did manage to get 319 at-bats and 76 hits while stealing a career high 50 bases, good for fifth in the N.L. that year.
But by the time his 1977 card was issued, he only had 30 at-bats left in his career, all of which came during the '77 season.
In 1978 he got into three games for the Cleveland Indians, but no official at-bats and a run scored. Kind of odd since "Baseball-Reference.com" has him in a game as a "designated hitter", yet he didn't have an official plate appearance. (???)
I like looking at Lintz's final career stats and taking them as only ONE full season based on his total career at-bats.
What a sick season that would make:
616 at-bats, 137 runs scored, 140 hits, 27 R.B.I.'s and 128 stolen bases with a .277 batting average.
Another bit of Charlie Finley's influence on the crazy-1970's baseball scene...

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