I thought there was a point in baseball time when the walk was not recorded. I was wrong. I did a google search for walk leaders by year and was surprised to see lists all the way back to 1871 when Ed Pinkham of the Chicago Whitestockings led the National League with 18 walks, a pretty low number, but not the lowest. That distinction goes to Candy Nelson of the New York Mutuals when he led the league with 9 walks a few years later in 1874.
A couple of things about Pinkham. What a name! as if a ham could be any other color but pink. Ed surprisingly only played that one season in 1871. I wonder what happened to him? I checked Wikipedia and discovered that he was born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and after his one season, he returned to New York and raised beets. Maybe he made Borscht soup?
I was trying to find a baseball equivalent to blocked shots in basketball because blocks are kind of a new stat. Take Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as an example. In his first four NBA season, from 1969-70 to the 1972-73 season, there is a blank space under blocked shots, for steals too because they didn’t keep track of either until Kareem’s fourth season, the 1973-74 marathon…82 games…Kareem played in 81 of them and averaged 3.5 blocks per game.
It strikes me as kind of weird that the NBA didn’t keep track of steals and blocks for so long, blocks especially since the 60’s were ruled by big men like Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. Wilt retired after the 72-73 season and Russel bowed out after the 68-69 season so any discussion about their prowess as shot blockers is left to bar rail oral histories.
I wonder what changed in the NBA’s mind to add blocked shots and steals? Maybe it’s all part of an evolution in measuring player performance. With that in mind, I’d like to see a new stat for the NBA. It’s one that already exists in hockey. I’m talking about the second assist. Hockey awards two assists per goal. I’m not sure if they always do. I guess it depends on the particular play. In basketball, say Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons snags a rebound and makes a perfect outlet pass to Derrick Rose at half court….Rose then finds Luke Kennard in the corner for a three. I think there should be two assists awarded, one to Drummond and the other to Rose.