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Another Yankees pitcher shoots for history

Sep 12, 2011, 3:32 PM EDT

burnett getty wide Getty Images

Mariano Rivera‘s saves record is a forgone conclusion. A.J. Burnett probably won’t break a record this year, but he will come pretty close:

Burnett already has 23 wild pitches this year, which puts him on a historic pace. Since 1901, only five pitchers have finished a season with more than 23 wild pitches, led by Red Ames’s 30 for the Giants in 1905. Since World War I, only three players have surpassed Burnett’s wild pitch total.

And of course all of those pre-WWI catchers were using mitts made out of, I dunno, passenger pigeon down and elephant ivory or whatever, so their numbers may have been inflated.

In Burnett’s defense, they used to actually call a lot of passed balls in this game, but seem way less likely to do it in recent years.  Burnett is not a victim of his catchers, of course, but he’s not getting a ton of help from them either.

Anyway, history is always fun to watch.

  1. Francisco (FC) - Sep 12, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    Somehow, AJ30 isn’t as catchy as DJ3K

  2. yankeesfanlen - Sep 12, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    Don’t try to sugarcoat this Craig, two feet off the batter’s box means a legitimate try for a wild pitch.
    We don’t want his efforts impugned around here……though we might want him gone.

    • cur68 - Sep 12, 2011 at 3:54 PM

      What’s more there is a very credible attempt to impugn the character, quality and ability of one Russell Nathan Jeanson Coltrane Martin, Jr. I will not stand by and let a fellow beaver wrestler be non pugned upon, no I won’t! AJ didn’t need the help of my boy Russ with all those wild pitches. He was perfectly capable of beaning the Durham Bull without a Canuck to throw at.

      • jimbo1949 - Sep 12, 2011 at 4:54 PM

        Glad to see you finally acknowledged the beauty of his full name. :-)
        AJ would have broken the record by now with a lesser talented backstop.

      • cur68 - Sep 12, 2011 at 5:12 PM

        Jimbo I’ve been onto that name for a while now but I’ve been trying to concentrate the “Phull Name” treatment for Philly players only. Since you brought it up in an earlier post I realized that anyone with “Coltrane” in his name deserves to have the full handle used as often as possible just to emphasize what a stud he is.

        Seriously, they should double Russell Nathan Jeanson Coltrane Martin, Jr.’s pay every time he has to catch AJ. They can take the cash out of what they were going to pay AJ.

  3. thefalcon123 - Sep 12, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    FYI, between the 2000 postseason and 2001 MLB and minor league stats, Rick Ankiel managed 34 wild pitches in 26 games, or 120 innings pitched*.

    Burnett has some more work to do.

    *In 2001 at AAA, Ankiel walked a mind blowing 17 batters in 4 and 1/3 innings, creating an unbelievable 35.3 BB/9.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 12, 2011 at 4:17 PM

      Challenge Accepted!
      -AJ Burnett

      • Francisco (FC) - Sep 12, 2011 at 5:31 PM

        Would have been even cooler if you created an AJBurnett login…

  4. southofheaven81 - Sep 12, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    What’s the record for “Highest paid player to be left off a playoff roster”?

    • clydeserra - Sep 12, 2011 at 3:55 PM

      barry zito $18.5 M has AJ by $2M.

  5. proudlycanadian - Sep 12, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    Let Montero catch the rest of his games. It would be an interesting test of Montero’s catching skills.

    • southofheaven81 - Sep 12, 2011 at 9:12 PM

      Oh come on, what has Montero ever done to deserve that? He’d spend the rest of his life curled up in the fetal position, randomly snatching at air and crying.

  6. funkygoorilla - Sep 12, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    As a Yankee fan, I am getting increasingly frustrated with watching AJ pitch. It seems like if another team was in this situation they would have benched this guy weeks ago. Why does this not apply to the Yankees? Instead they stroll him out there and watch him blow game after game. At least try something else! Come on now!!

    • pisano - Sep 12, 2011 at 4:53 PM

      funkygoorilla….. It has to do with the 80+ mil they handed to this supposed # 2 starter. The Yankees are stuck with him at least til the end of the season, but I’d try everything under the sun to trade him to an NL team this winter.

  7. drewmunny - Sep 12, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    Craig, you are on point today! First, the musical power rankings, pure genius. And now, you have a die-hard Yankees fan cracking up at one of our own. And I got the added benefit of raised eyebrows and confused looks in the otherwise quiet employee cafeteria. Good post, seriously. And I say keep ol AJ around, what else about the Yankees do I have to b*tch about (sarcasm).

  8. doghousejohnny - Sep 12, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    I was unaware that Burnett was still referred to as a pitcher. He’s looked more like a tosser lately.

  9. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Sep 12, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    I demand this image always be used in post related to Burnett:

    • pisano - Sep 12, 2011 at 6:58 PM

      “El Bravo”…. the picture tells us all what his problem is, he’s on crystal meth.

  10. lukeslice - Sep 12, 2011 at 8:18 PM

    “Burnett is not a victim of his catchers, of course, but he’s not getting a ton of help from them either.”

    Russell Martin has actually been nothing short of spectacular for Burnett behind the dish. If it weren’t for him and say Jorge Posada, Jesus Montero, etc. were catching him more regularly, I bet he’d have 30+ WP already. Actually I’m just about sure of it…this has nothing to do with Russell Martin’s inability to block Va-AJ’s pitches!

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