Brandon McCarthy now holds an all-time major league record…but not for his pitching

ADDED 4/24/17: I’m leaving this post up, but Brandon no longer holds the record…after failing to score a run through his first 115 career plate appearances, he finally touched home plate on April 23, 2017.

On April 19, 2015, Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy led off the bottom of the third inning and struck out. That gave him sole possession of an all-time major league record. It was the 89th plate appearance of McCarthy’s career, and he has never scored a run. That broke a tie with 1980s Montreal Expo Razor Shines, who finished his career runless in 88 trips to the plate. I have a bit more about Razor at the end of this post. McCarthy had a sacrifice bunt in his other plate appearance in the game to increase his record of runless PAs to 90. (ADDED 3/24/16: McCarthy made only one more start in 2015 before his season ended due to injury. He enters the 2016 season with 93 career plate appearances — and no runs scored.)

Brandon McCarthy: better at pitching than he is at hitting

Brandon McCarthy: better at pitching than he is at hitting

McCarthy didn’t even reach base in his 10 trips to the plate in interleague games during his years in the American League from 2005-12. He hasn’t done much with the bat in his hand since coming to the National League, with just five hits (all singles) and four walks (he also reached on an error once). He’s never reached third base (although to be honest I haven’t checked to see if he ever reached base on a fielder’s choice and advanced to third after that).

Here is the list, updated through 4/19/2015, of all players in major league history who have had at least 50 career plate appearances without scoring a run. Note almost all of these players were primarily pitchers, the exceptions being Shines and two players from the deadball era, catcher Joe Jenkins and outfielder Frank Hemphill.

Player PA R From To AB H BB HBP BA OBP Pos TEAMS
Brandon McCarthy 90 0 2005 2015 79 5 4 0 .063 .108 *1 CHW-TEX-OAK-ARI-NYY-LAD
Razor Shines 88 0 1983 1987 81 15 5 1 .185 .239 /*H3175 MON
Gavin Floyd 80 0 2004 2014 74 5 2 0 .068 .092 *1 PHI-CHW-ATL
Mike Fiers 72 0 2011 2015 58 4 0 0 .069 .069 /*1 MIL
Carlos Silva 71 0 2002 2010 58 5 4 0 .086 .145 *1 PHI-MIN-SEA-CHC
Taylor Buchholz 65 0 2006 2011 56 5 4 0 .089 .150 *1/H HOU-COL-TOR-NYM
Jeff Reardon 65 0 1979 1994 57 5 1 0 .088 .103 *1 NYM-MON-MIN-ATL-BOS-CIN-NYY
Joe Jenkins 64 0 1914 1919 60 8 2 0 .133 .161 /*H2 SLB-CHW
John Dopson 62 0 1985 1994 55 3 3 0 .055 .103 *1 MON-BOS-CAL
Rawly Eastwick 62 0 1974 1981 56 4 2 0 .071 .103 *1 STL-CIN-PHI-NYY-KCR-CHC
Jim Colborn 60 0 1969 1978 55 4 2 0 .073 .105 *1 CHC-MIL-SEA-KCR
Al Williams 56 0 1937 1938 49 3 3 0 .061 .115 /*1 PHA
Jason Hirsh 55 0 2006 2008 50 3 1 0 .060 .078 /*1 HOU-COL
Tom Dixon 55 0 1977 1983 48 5 1 0 .104 .122 /*1 HOU-MON
Frank Hemphill 55 0 1906 1909 43 3 9 2 .070 .259 /*7 CHW-WSH
Ed Farmer 53 0 1971 1983 47 4 1 0 .085 .104 *1 CLE-DET-BAL-MIL-TEX-CHW-OAK-PHI
Marty Kutyna 53 0 1959 1962 47 9 1 0 .191 .208 *1 KCA-WSA
Albie Lopez 52 0 1993 2003 46 2 2 1 .043 .102 *1 CLE-ARI-TBD-ATL-KCR
John McPherson 51 0 1901 1904 48 3 2 0 .063 .100 /*1 PHA-PHI
Pat Misch 50 0 2006 2011 39 3 3 0 .077 .143 /*1 SFG-NYM
Johnny Gray 50 0 1954 1958 47 2 1 0 .043 .063 /*1H PHA-KCA-CLE-PHI
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/20/2015.
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