The last post suggested that the Phillies walked in about 7.4% of their 2012 plate appearances, a rate that was 15th-best in the National League. It also showed walk rate data for the last ten years, which indicated that the Phillies had not been in the bottom half of the NL in walk rate in the last ten seasons.
So when was the last time that the Phillies were in the bottom half of the NL in walk rate for their hitters? And when was the last time that their walk rate was as low as 7.4%?
It’s been a while since the Phls were in the bottom half of the NL in walk rate. In 1998, Desi Relaford, Doug Glanville and Gregg Jeffries all got at least 500 plate appearances for the Phils and walked in 6.0% or fewer, leading the Phils to an 8.1% walk rate overall, which was 11th-best in the NL.
That’s the most recent time prior to 2012 that the Phillies had been in the bottom of the NL in walk rate for their hitters as a percentage of plate appearances.
The walk rate overall for the team hasn’t been at 7.4% for a long time. Here are the numbers for the last 49 (!) years:
The table above includes data for the last 49 seasons because you have to go back to 1964 to find a season in which Phillie batters walked in 7.4% or less of their plate appearances.
Also, there’s this: In 1964, the last time the Phillies had a walk rate as bad or worse as they did in 2012, Ruben Amaro, Sr, was a contributing factor.
Phillie hitters walked in about 7.2% of their chances that season. Among the players with at least 200 plate appearances for the ’64 Phils, the worst walk rate belonged to Ruben Amaro, Sr. He walked in about 5.0% of his 323 plate appearances that season.
Here are the walk rates for hitters on the 1964 Phillies among players with at least 200 plate appearances:
Notably, the 7.2% walk rate for the Phillies was better than the league average of 7.1% for the year. It was also up from 1963, when the Phillies walked in just 6.6% of their plate appearances, well below the NL average of 7.6%.
As you surely know, Phils were very good in 1964, going 92-70 and tying with the Reds for the second-best record in the NL, a game behind the Cardinals. The Phillies led the NL by 6 1/2 games with 12 games to play before losing ten in a row, which included a sweep by the Cards in a three-game set. The Phils won their last two games of the season, but still finished a game behind St Louis and the Cardinals went on to beat the Yankees in the World Series.
By runs scored per game, the Phillies had the third-best offense in the ten-team NL that season.
The other thing that’s weird about this is that Ruben Amaro Sr’s walk rate in 1964 was way worse than it was over his career. Amaro Sr walked in 9.3% of his plate appearances over his career. Other than 1964, there was no season in his career in which he got more than 200 plate appearances with a walk rate under 7.2%. He came into the ’64 season having walked in 10.7% of his 957 plate appearances in the previous three seasons.
The Inquirer ranks to the top 25 prospects for the Phillies in this article.