It may have seemed like just another run of the mill HBP in the 4th inning yesterday when Colby Lewis hit Yoenis Cespedes with an 86mph 0-2 fastball. Sure, it was the 1200th HBP ever recorded by a Cuban born batter in the Major Leagues, but that's hardly worth more than a footnote. The plunk didn't result in a walkoff win, or a bench clearing brawl, or anything like that - it was just a pitch that put Cespedes on base in a scoreless inning. But, that pitch was historic. It was HBP number 4002 in Athletics franchise history.
The Athletics got hit by 1,694 pitches when they played in Philadelphia from 1901 to 1954, and collected another 377 HBPs from 1955 to 1967 in Kansas City. Cespedes' plunk yesterday was the 1,931st since the Athletics moved to Oakland. They're the 6th American League franchise to reach the 4,002 plunks milestone, and 582 different batters have contributed to that total. 199 of them only got hit by one pitch for the Athletics, but their contributions were no less valuable than each of the 93 plunks Jimmy Dykes took for the team, or the 62 plunks each that Sal Bando and Reggie Jackson recorded for the A's.
It's taken the A's just under 19 years to get from 3,002 to 4,002 plunks. Marcos Armas was the lucky recipient of plunk 3,002 in franchise history, on September 14, 1993. Prior to that it took 28 years to get through 1000 plunks - number 2,002 in A's history was recorded by Mike Hershberger on September 22, 1965 for the Kansas City Athletics. And it was an even longer gap going back to number 1,002. That one landed on Max Bishop on August 8, 1924.
So, Please join me in congratulating the Athletics on this important and historic accomplishment, of seeing 4,002 of their batters take the difficult and painful route to first base.
(Important note: this post was intended to be written yesterday, and it was going to explain that Brandon Moss's plunk on the July 17th by Roy Oswalt was the 4000th in A's history, and that Mike Bordick had number 3000 on September 3, 1993, and that Bert Campaneris got number 2000 on September 4, 1965, and that Frank Welch was the 1000th batter hit by a pitch for the Philadelphia A's, and that was on August 7, 1924. That would have made a lot more sense, but adjustments had to be made do to the 24 hour waiting period for posts by new members of this site. Apparently I've never posted here before.)