Cubs' pinch runners, Part 1

How often does a pinch runner score?

For the Cubs, in the Modern Era, the answer is 29.3 percent of the time, according to my analysis of data and play-by-play at baseball-reference.com, plus accounts of games in contemporary newspapers.

The Cubs played 19,017 regular-season games between 1901 and 2022.

In those games, they employed 3,074 pinch runners, an average of about 1 every 6 games.

903 of them scored after replacing a teammate on a base.

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SOME MATH

How does that 29.3 percent compare to batters who reached base and were not replaced?

In their 19,017 games, the Cubs scored 82,727 runs.

They hit 13,820 home runs, so 68,907 runners who were on base reached the plate.

Subtract the 903 times pinch runners did so and 68,004 original runners scored.

The Cubs left 133,050 men on base.

Subtract the 2,171 pinch runners who were stranded and 130,879 original runners were left.

Add 68,004 and 130,879, and 198,883 original runners reached base.

Divide 68,004 by 198,883 and you get 34.2 percent of original runners who scored -- 5 percentage points higher than the percentage for pinch runners.

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MOST FREQUENT RUNNERS

The Cubs used 626 different pinch runners.

By far the most frequent was Hal Jeffcoat, who spent 8 seasons as a Cub, starting as a rookie in 1948.

Jeffcoat, a 23-year-old outfielder, did not pinch run in 134 games that year, then did it 11 times in 174 games the next 2 seasons.

But from 1951-53, he was called upon 47 times.

In 1954, Jeffcoat was converted to a pitcher. He pinch ran 11 times that year, then 3 in 1955, bringing his count to 72.

Jeffcoat then was traded to the Reds, for whom he played 4 years and pinch ran 28 times. He did it once during his final year, 1959, with the Cardinals, making his career total 101.

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His 72 as a Cub are one third more than the 54 by runnerup Mick Kelleher.

Clay Bryant ranks third, with 50.

Only 4 others pinch ran even half as often as Jeffcoat.

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Here is the top 10, with the years of their first and last time pinch running as a Cub:

72: Hal Jeffcoat, 1949-55

54: Mick Kelleher, 1976-80

50: Clay Bryant, 1935-40

44: Cleo James, 1970-73

43: Tuck Stainback, 1934-37

39: Jose Hernandez, 1994-99

36: Bob Ramazzotti, 1949-53

35: Gene Hiser, 1971-75

34: Doug Dascenzo, 1989-92

33: Jerry Kindall, 1956-61

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Steve Dillard and Lennie Merullo are next, each with 29, followed by Tony Campana and Bill Schuster, with 28.

26 players pinch ran at least 20 times. Campana (2011-12) and Felix Pie (20 in 2007-08) are the only 2 among the 26 who played in this century.

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45 more players took over on a base at least 10 times, for a total of 80.

390 did it exactly once, 58 of them since 2000, including 5 in 2022: P.J. Higgins, Zach McKinstry, Alfonso Rivas, Ildemaro Vargas and Patrick Wisdom.

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The top 10 pinch ran a combined 440 times, 14.3 percent of all 3,074 -- 1 of every 7.

The 80 who ran at least 10 times are 12.8 percent of all 626 runners. They ran 1,541 times, 50.1 percent of all times.

Those 80 averaged 19 times; the remaining 279, just 5.5.

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PITCHERS AS RUNNERS

Of the 626 different pinch runners, 104 were pitchers -- 1 of every 6.

19 of the 104 ran since 2000. The most recent were Adbert Alzolay and Adrian Sampson (2021), Mike Montgomery and Tyler Chatwood (2018), Carl Edwards Jr. (2017) and Kyle Hendricks and Travis Wood (2016).

All of those 7 did it just once.

Edwards Jr. did it twice, and Wood did it 15 times, making him the second mot frequent pitcher to pinch run in team history.

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Here is the top 10, with the years of their first and last time pinch running as a Cub:

50: Clay Bryant, 1935-40

15: Travis Wood, 2012-16

13: Al Lary, 1954-62

13: Lon Warneke, 1933-35

11: Jason Marquis, 2007-08

10: Warren Hacker, 1949-54

10: Rick Reuschel, 1977-81

9: Dave Hillman, 1955-59

9: Larry Jackson, 1965

9: Bud Teachout, 1930-31

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Greg Maddux is next, with 8, all in 1986-88.

9 more pitchers pinch ran at least 5 times, for a total of 20.

55, more than half of all 104, did so once.

Pitchers pinch ran a combined 342 times, which is 11.1 percent of all 3,074 times the Cubs used a pinch runner -- 1 of every 9.

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RUNS SCORED

Of the 626 different pinch runners, 359 scored at least once, 57.4 percent.

185, more than half of the 359, scored exactly once.

Among the 185: Adbert Alzolay, Mark Bellhorn, David Bote, Johnny Callison, Carl Edwards Jr., Kosuke Fukudome, Rich Harden, Jason Heyward, Jim Hickman, P.J. Higgins, Nico Hoerner, Ken Holtzman, Fergie Jenkins, Rick Monday, Keith Moreland, Rafael Ortega, Addison Russell, Sammy Sosa, Ildemaro Vargas, Kerry Wood, Travis Wood, Carlos Zambrano and Don Zimmer

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Here is the top 10, with the years of their first and last time pinch running as a Cub:

27: Hal Jeffcoat, 1949-55

18: Tuck Stainback, 1934-37

17: Clay Bryant, 1935-40

15: Ced Landrum, 1991

14: Cleo James, 1970-73

13: Jose Hernandez, 1994-99

12: Mick Kelleher, 1976-80

11: Gene Hiser, 1971-75

11: Bob Ramazzotti, 1949-53

10: Bill North, 1971-72

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5 others scored 9 times: Jose Arcia, Tony Campana, Steve Dillard, Miguel Dilone and Jerry Kindall.

The top 10 combined to score 148 of the 903 total runs by pinch runners, 16.4 percent.

They averaged nearly 15 runs; the remaining 349, just 2.2.

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RUNS SCORED BY PITCHERS

Bryant scored 17 times as a pinch runner.

Warneke is a distant second, with 7.

Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown, Marquis and Teachout each reached home 6 times.

10 more pitchers tallied 2 or 3 times, leaving 89 who did so once.

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HIGHEST PERCENTAGE OF TIMES SCORED

Among the 80 Cubs who pinch ran at least 10 times, Bernie Friberg scored the most often: 60 percent, 6 of 10.

3 others scored more than half the time they ran.

Here is the top 10 by percentage, with the number of runs scored and times ran in parentheses after the player's name:

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60.0: Bernie Friberg (6/10)

58.8: Bill North (10/17)

57.7: Ced Landrum (1/26)

53.8: Lon Warneke (7/13)

46.2: Marty Callaghan (6/13)

46.2: Chris Speier (6/13)

45.5: Manny Alexander (10/22)

45.5 Babe Twombly (5/11)

43.8: Rudy Meoli (7/16)

42.9: Davy Lopes (6/14)

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Others with at least 40 percent: Tuck Stainback, 41.9 (18/43); Footsie Blair, 41.7 (5/12); and Joe Wallis, 40.0 (4/10)

All 80 who ran at least 10 times scored 30.1 percent of the time, 507 of 1,541.

The remaining 279 scored 25.8 percent of the time, 396 of 1,533.

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LOWEST PERCENTAGE OF TIMES SCORED

Infielder Jimmy Stewart played 324 games as a Cub in 1963-67, more than three quarters of them, 248, in 1964-65.

He pinch ran 11 times, all in those 2 years.

He never scored, the only 1 who did not among the 80 who ran at least 10 times.

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Here is the bottom 10 by percentage, with the number of runs scored and times ran in parentheses after the player's name:

0.0: Jimmy Stewart (0/11)

6.7: Travis Wood (1/15)

7.7: Al Larry (1/13)

8.3: Manny Trillo (1/12)

8.3: Don Zimmer (both 1/12)

10.0: Warren Hacker (1/10)

14.3: Bill Schuster (4/28)

14.3: Lou Stringer (2/14)

16.7: Vic Harris (2/12)

16.7: Dave Martinez (2/12)

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Others with less than 20.0: Doug Dascenzo, 17.6 (6/34); Rollie Hemsley, 18.2 (2/11); Bill McCabe, 18.8 (3/16); and Bob Dernier, 19.0 (4/21).

5 more had exactly 20.0. The most recent was Felix Pie (4/20), in 2007-08.

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TOMORROW: Tying and go-ahead runs scored by pinch runners

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