Aug 25, 2013

Stat Anomaly: 20 losses in a Season, Chuck Stobbs in 1957

There are some years where you just don't have your stuff.  You can feel the ball spinning too much upward on the curveball or the sinker's downward gradient has decreased by 2%.  Chuck Stobbs experienced that in 1957.

One of the original bonus babies, signed by the Red Sox in 1947, he had been on a major league roster since the age of 17.  In those days, bonus babies (with signing bonuses greater than $4000) had to stay on the big league roster for 2 years or the teams could potentially forfeit their rights to them.  One prominent example of a bonus baby from that time period was Harmon Killebrew.

He made it through those two seasons and then became a reliable, mostly league average starter for many years starting in 1949.  It was during this internecine period that he threw the pitch that he's most remembered for.  He was the pitcher for the Senators when Mickey Mantle hit the record 565 foot home run (captured on 1961 Topps Baseball Thrills #406) out of Griffith Stadium in 1953.

His luck and ability turned for the worse in 1957.  He started the season 0-11, losing 11 of his first 12 starts, with 8 of those starts allowing more than one run per inning.  He was pulled before the end of the 3rd inning in 5 of those starts.

This streak culminated on June 14th against the White Sox, facing a lineup that included Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox, Minnie Minoso, and Larry Doby, allowing 4 runs in the 1st and 6 runs in the 5th.  At that point in the season, his ERA was 8.90.

He improved as the season went on, but he still had 20 losses at the end.

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