Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun alerted us to some history today. Seems that last night Orioles first baseman Chris Davis tied a franchise record. It’s a dubious one, however: most strikeouts, all time, by an Oriole. The record is, for a day at least, simultaneously held by Cal Ripken Jr. Both he and Davis have 1,305 strikeouts as a Baltimore Oriole.
While it sounds weird to say, it should not be surprising to observe that you have to be pretty good to set an all-time strikeout record. The top two on the list all-time — Reggie Jackson and Jim Thome — are Hall of Famers. Numbers four and five — Sammy Sosa and Alex Rodriguez — deserve to be, even if they never get in. Numbers 8, 10, 12, 21 and 24 are Hall of Famers too. Number 14 is Derek Jeter, and he’ll be in Cooperstown one day.
The idea is that, to set such a record you have to be given the opportunity to whiff and you don’t get those opportunities if you stink. In this it’s sort of like losing 20 games as a pitcher (truly bad ones will be sent down or released long before losing that many times) or losing a $100 million case as a lawyer (you’d never be given such a case if people think you’re terrible).
That being said, as Encina notes, Davis tied the Orioles record in 2,029 fewer games than it took Ripken so, um, maybe there are exceptions to every rule.
Davis is having a terrible year, by the way, hitting .152/.225/.257 (OPS+ 35) with only seven homers in 257 plate appearances. Yet, because of his contract — he’s only in year three of a seven-year, $161 million deal — and because the Orioles simply have no other options, he’s going to be in that lineup every single day. As a result, barring injury or immediate turnaround, he’s poised to challenge many marks for hitting futility in 2018 and, possibly, beyond.