Lost amid the Yankees’ barrage of 12 runs and 13 hits in yesterday’s lopsided victory over the White Sox was a seemingly inconsequential pop fly double in the bottom of the eighth.
The double, which landed safely because of a miscommunication between shortstop Alexei Ramirez and left fielder Mark Teahen, was Gustavo Molina’s first hit in six plate appearances. By reaching safely, the backup catcher not only became the last member of the team to fill the hit column, but also removed the “0-fer” from his Yankees career. With Francisco Cervelli rehabbing in the minors, last night’s at bat could wind up being Molina’s last in pinstripes, so the fortuitous bounce was almost like a parting gift.
Had Molina’s pop fly been caught, he could have joined a select fraternity of non-pitchers who never recorded a hit with the Yankees. In honor of his accomplishment, listed below are the names of the group that Molina managed to avoid joining.
Damned Yankees: Most Plate Appearances Without a Hit
|Alex Arias||8||2002||2002||6||0||0||1||0.125||SS, 3B|
|Slats Jordan||7||1901||1902||2||0||0||0||0.000||1B, RF|
|Marshall Brant||6||1980||1980||3||0||0||0||0.000||1B, RF|
|Woodie Held||6||1954||1957||5||2||0||2||0.333||SS, 3B|
|Joe Harris||6||1914||1914||2||0||0||3||0.800||1B, LF|
Molina’s double was actually his sixth career hit (spanning five teams), so even if his stint with the Yankees remained fruitless, he would have still had a batting average upon which to fall back. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Roy Luebbe.
Before joining the Yankees at the end of the 1925 season, Luebbe was a promising young catcher who was batting .370 with the Omaha Buffaloes of the Western League. Starving for offense, particularly behind the plate, the Yankees purchased Luebbe for an impressive figure of $12,500, but the catcher was never really given much of a chance. Then, at the end of 1925 season, the Yankees acquired veteran Pat Collins, which made Luebbe expendable. In January 1926, the catcher was released to the Atlanta Crackers of the Southern League. Despite playing seven more seasons in the minors, he never made it back to the big leagues.
By failing to get a hit, Luebbe not only carved out an infamous niche in Yankees’ lore, but also earned himself a prominent place among all position players who went hitless during their careers. If only one of his pop flies would have fallen in!
Most Hitless Plate Appearances by a Position Player, Since 1901
|Jim Riley||SLB-WSH||17||1921||1923||6||1||0||3||0.176||1B, 2B|
|Sap Randall||CHW||15||1988||1988||4||1||1||2||0.133||1B, RF|
|Larry Eschen||PHA||15||1942||1942||12||0||0||4||0.267||2B, SS|