Author Topic: Nationals' Official Scorer: Home Run Historian David Vincent  (Read 856 times)

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Offline nats2playoffs

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The TV team identified the official scorer at RFK Stadium tonight, David Vincent,who I recalled is a baseball home run historian and published author.  Vinnie the Mullet may enjoy the very last item.  From Parade magazine in 2005:

Who Hit That Home Run?
(Home run historian David Vincent)

Published: August 21, 2005
By Michael Capuzzo

One night last May at RFK Stadium, when Julio Cesar Franco —first baseman for the Atlanta Braves and the oldest man now in the major leagues—hit a homer, sportswriters wondered if they had witnessed history: Was he the oldest ever to hit one out? Within minutes, e-mails and phone calls began flooding in to the one man who would instantly know—home run historian David Vincent (see box).

By the time Franco touched home plate, Vincent, 56, already had tapped into his proprietary database for the answer: No. The oldest ever was “Big Jack” Quinn—then a pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics—on June 27, 1930, during a doubleheader against the St. Louis Browns. He was 46 years and 357 days old. Franco was the second oldest, at 46 years and 281 days on that May night. (Note: Franco passed Quinn in age last week. Any homer he hits now will set a record for “oldest ever.”) At about 7 megabytes, Vincent’s database contains all home runs hit since 1871—230,328 through last season—and is updated daily. It occupies about twice as much digital space as the Holy Bible. “What he’s doing is building one of the great baseball resources of our time,” says ESPN sportswriter Jayson Stark, who dubbed David Vincent “The Sultan of Swat Stats.” Ever wonder what the latest-inning home run in history was? Vincent can tell you. It was hit in the 25th inning, after 8 hours and 6 minutes of baseball, by Harold Baines of the Chicago White Sox in a 7-6 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on May 9, 1984. That game, the longest on record in elapsed time, began on May 8 and was suspended for curfew and finished the next day.Who’s the most-efficient home run hitter of all time? It’s slugger Mark McGwire, with one homer every 10.6 at bats, followed by Babe Ruth (every 11.8 at bats) and Barry Bonds (13.3). Home run king Hank Aaron is well down the list, at one every 16.3 at bats.In 1990, Vincent began helping to log in the home run data on computer for the Society for American Baseball Research. He now uses an army of volunteers, including his son Tim, 27. They have corrected or added an estimated 500,000 pieces of information. Because of Vincent’s work, we now can learn with lightning speed facts such as which pitcher allowed the most home runs in one season: That would be Bert Blyleven—otherwise a good pitcher for the Minnesota Twins—with 50, in 1986. Or how about the most home runs allowed by a pitcher in a lifetime? That record is held by Hall of Famer Robin Roberts of the Philadelphia Phillies, with 505. “Roberts has the 500 Club all to himself,” says Vincent, who even keeps track of the elapsed time of performances of the national anthem. (He was impressed by Tom Wopat’s rendition, which came in at just under a minute and a half.)Players and fans may think home runs simply disappear into the stands, but they’re wrong. The Sultan of Swat Stats can bring them all back—any one you want, any way you want it, however unusual. After Brandon Inge and Omar Infante of the Detroit Tigers hit back-to-back homers on May 14, 2004, Vincent checked his database and determined that they were the first back-to-backers ever hit by teammates whose names begin with “I.” When he was informed of this prestigious honor by a sportswriter, Inge replied: “That’s a very stupid stat, but I’ll accept it. You know what? We’re here to make history.”

Meet the Sultan Of Swat Stats
“I love the fact that if anybody wants to know when was the last time something happened, I can answer it,” says David Vincent. A baseball fan since the 1950s, Vincent learned to keep score in Little League at age 8. Adulthood brought a Ph.D. in musical composition and a brief interlude: He played in the percussion section of the Miami Philharmonic, performing with Beverly Sills, Ann-Margret, Itzhak Perlman and others. But Vincent became tired of the performer’s lifestyle 17 years ago and sought a day job as a computer programmer. Now, he keeps company with baseball greats such as Willie Mays—who, like the late Ted Williams, became wide-eyed over Vincent’s personal home run log. Vincent—now sometimes called “Dr. Longball”—keeps all of the official home run stats for the Society for American Baseball Research in his laptop PC. He was in the press box at RFK Stadium, where he doubles as the Washington Nationals’ official scorer, when Julio Cesar Franco hit his near-historic homer.

Stats To Stump Your Friends
A selection of our favorite home run records:

DEAR MOM. Since Mother’s Day was established in the early 1900s, Frank Robinson has hit the most home runs on that holiday, with nine. A Hall of Fame outfielder and now [2005] manager of the Washington Nationals, Robinson—the last of 10 children born to Ruth Shaw—has said, “My mother was the strength of my young life.”

A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN. In 1920, Babe Ruth out-homered every American League team when he hit 54. The St. Louis Browns came closest—they hit 50. That year, Ruth also out-homered seven of the National League teams. Only the Philadelphia Phillies hit more than Ruth, with 64 long balls.

LONGEST NAMES. The teammates with the longest last names ever to hit back-to-back home runs? Answer: Juan Encarnacion and Frank Catalanotto, then of the Detroit Tigers, who homered consecutively against the Toronto Blue Jays on Sept. 25, 1998. Their 22-letter names beat out the Boston Red Sox 21-letter duo of Carl Yastrzemski and Tony Conigliaro, who accomplished the feat on May 16, 1965.

ROCKIN’ ROBIN. Duke Snider of the Brooklyn Dodgers hit a record 19 home runs off one pitcher—Robin Roberts, setting a number for the ages. With many more teams and players and diluted rivalries, Barry Bonds, for instance, has yet to hit 10 off any one pitcher.

THE GOOD DIE YOUNG. The most home runs hit by a teen was 24, by Tony Conigliaro as a 19-year-old rookie with the Red Sox in 1964. He became, at age 20, the youngest home run champion in American League history. At 22, he became the youngest ever player in the league to reach 100 homers. But a beaning by a pitch in 1967 ruined his career. He later suffered a heart attack and died of kidney failure in 1990 at age 45.

ZERO FOR LIFE. Of the more than 16,200 major league baseball players in history, fewer than half have ever hit a home run—6616 as of the end of last season.

THE QUANTUM LEAP. In 1919, Babe Ruth broke the single-season home run record, with 29. In 1920, he became the first major leaguer to hit 30 homers in a season, 40 homers in a season and then 50 homers in a season—all in the same year.

THE CENTRIST SLUGGER. Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees hit the most home runs in a lifetime by a switch hitter—536—pleasing those who bat left as well as right.

LUCKY SHOT. The most home runs hit on Friday the 13th is a three-way tie with Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, retired Cincinnati slugger George Foster and Washington Nationals [former] third baseman Vinny Castilla, with six apiece. (Vinny’s next shot will make him the Friday champ.)

Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

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Vinnie must also hold the all-time record for wads of chewing gum hit into the infield!   

Offline natsfan1a

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Vincent presided at a SABR chapter meeting that took place at RFK on May 19. I'm a new SABR member and enjoyed listening to him and the other speakers.