Hall of Fame Membership and Career Strikeout Rate Below 10%

Suffering through the post-season with little to do but monitor the Hot Stove League developments and the Hall of Fame ballot debates, I find myself thankful for Baseball Reference and its treasure of information. While perusing the Hall of Fame Batting Statistics, I was not surprised to see that Reggie Jackson leads all members with 2,597 strikeouts, but I was a little surprised to notice that Jackson recorded 13 more strikeouts in his career than he did hits: 2,584. This naturally led me to wonder which Hall of Famers had the lowest career strikeout rates.

After downloading the stats and adding a strikeout percentage per plate appearances column to the spreadsheet, I realized that I needed to limit the query to only those batters with at least 6,000 career plate appearances in order to omit the many pitchers who played in the pre-DH era. I also chose to limit the query to those players whose careers lasted until at least 1970 in order to focus on just those batters who have had to do battle against the modern science and strategies of major league pitching.

The following list of 49 Hall of Fame members is ranked from lowest to highest strikeout rate per plate appearances:

Rank Name PA SO SO %
1 Tony Gwynn 10232 434 4.24%
2 Ozzie Smith 10778 589 5.46%
3 Luis Aparicio 11230 742 6.61%
4 Wade Boggs 10740 745 6.94%
5 George Brett 11625 908 7.81%
6 Brooks Robinson 11782 990 8.40%
7 Bill Mazeroski 8379 706 8.43%
8 Al Kaline 11596 1020 8.80%
9 Joe Morgan 11329 1015 8.96%
10 Barry Larkin 9057 817 9.02%
11 Tim Raines 10359 966 9.33%
12 Rod Carew 10550 1028 9.74%
13 Hank Aaron 13941 1383 9.92%
14 Billy Williams 10519 1046 9.94%
15 Carl Yastrzemski 13992 1393 9.96%
16 Cal Ripken, Jr. 12883 1305 10.13%
17 Paul Molitor 12167 1244 10.22%
18 Roberto Alomar 10400 1140 10.96%
19 Robin Yount 12249 1350 11.02%
20 Gary Carter 9019 997 11.05%
21 Eddie Murray 12817 1516 11.83%
22 Ernie Banks 10394 1236 11.89%
23 Roberto Clemente 10211 1230 12.05%
24 Willie Mays 12496 1526 12.21%
25 Kirby Puckett 7831 965 12.32%
26 Joe Torre 8802 1094 12.43%
27 Rickey Henderson 13346 1694 12.69%
28 Frank Robinson 11742 1532 13.05%
29 Orlando Cepeda 8698 1169 13.44%
30 Ryne Sandberg 9282 1260 13.57%
31 Dave Winfield 12358 1686 13.64%
32 Frank Thomas 10075 1397 13.87%
33 Andre Dawson 10769 1509 14.01%
34 Craig Biggio 12504 1753 14.02%
35 Carlton Fisk 9853 1386 14.07%
36 Ron Santo 9397 1343 14.29%
37 Ivan Rodriguez 10270 1474 14.35%
38 Mike Piazza 7745 1113 14.37%
39 Johnny Bench 8674 1278 14.73%
40 Lou Brock 11240 1730 15.39%
41 Jim Rice 9058 1423 15.71%
42 Ken Griffey, Jr. 11304 1779 15.74%
43 Willie McCovey 9692 1550 15.99%
44 Jeff Bagwell 9431 1558 16.52%
45 Tony Perez 10861 1867 17.19%
46 Harmon Killebrew 9833 1699 17.28%
47 Mike Schmidt 10062 1883 18.71%
48 Willie Stargell 9027 1936 21.45%
49 Reggie Jackson 11418 2597 22.74%

The list of batters on the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot ranked in the same way:

Rank Name PA SO SO %
1 Omar Vizquel 12013 1087 9.05%
2 Gary Sheffield 10947 1171 10.70%
3 Vladimir Guerrero 9059 985 10.87%
4 Johnny Damon 10917 1257 11.51%
5 Barry Bonds 12606 1539 12.21%
6 Chipper Jones 10614 1409 13.27%
7 Edgar Martinez 8674 1202 13.86%
8 Larry Walker 8030 1231 15.33%
9 Jeff Kent 9537 1522 15.96%
10 Scott Rolen 8518 1410 16.55%
11 Fred McGriff 10174 1882 18.50%
12 Manny Ramirez 9774 1813 18.55%
13 Andruw Jones 8664 1748 20.18%
14 Sammy Sosa 9896 2306 23.30%
15 Jim Thome 10313 2548 24.71%

Thanks for reading and please consider subscribing to my blog, liking my page on Facebook, and/or following me on Twitter: @Big_Bubbo.

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Author: Big Bubbo

I wear and have worn several different hats over the course of my life: minister, librarian, college administrator, college professor, entrepreneur, researcher, and technology enthusiast. I like to write, explore, bike, cook, watch baseball, and much more. The days are filled!

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