A goal, an assist and a fight. A gino, a helper and a tilly. That’s The Gordie Howe Hat Trick, a rare feat in the game of hockey that honors the gritty and the skilled. It’s a feat that its namesake, Mr. Hockey himself, actually only did twice in his career – it’s named more for his career-long achievements in point production and face punching.
Well, it’s high time that baseball got a hat trick of its own. So today, with a hat tip to David Laurila for the idea, we’re introducing the Adam Dunn Hat Trick.
The Adam Dunn Hat Trick is simple – just strike out, walk and homer in the same game. If the name needs further explaining, consider than Dunn has a 16% career walk rate and a 28.3% career strikeout rate with 429 home runs, making him a prince of Three True Outcomes. Balls in play are not for Adam Dunn.
And thanks to Baseball Reference’s Play Index, it’s easy to go back as far as 1916 and count the number of Adam Dunn Hat Tricks that baseball has witnessed for the past century. It shouldn’t surprise you, based on the historical Three True Outcomes trend, that a few modern day players rank high on our list.
But first, a question: should the feat be named after the most prolific TTO hitter we’ve seen, Dunn, or the man who has accomplished the feat more times than anyone else, Jim Thome? Perhaps it should be The Jim Thome Hat Trick? Thome has 154 instances where he walked, struck out and hit a home run in the same game, a ridiculous 6.1% of his career games. Dunn, meanwhile, is the active leader and fifth overall with 113 ADHTs, or 6.3% of his career games. It’s close enough that I’m going to keep it as The Adam Dunn Hat Trick, though you could make a case for Thome, Mark McGwire, Babe Ruth or Barry Bonds as well.
The table below shows the top-10 players in Adam Dunn Hat Tricks, dating back to 1916.
|Adam Dunn Hat Tricks – All-Time|
What sticks out, other than the fact that the greatest home run hitters of all time appear on here (no surprise), is how many fewer career home runs Dunn has than everyone else on the list. This speaks to the fact that he’s still active, but it also demonstrates his proclivity for the other two elements of the hat trick. When Adam Dunn is hitting a home run, there’s a solid chance he’s striking out and walking in the same game. In fact, Dunn has hit 118 home runs in those 113 games, meaning 27.5% of his career home runs have come in games when he also whiffed and got a free pass.
If we look at just active players, Dunn dominates the field. Manny Ramirez gets on the list because he’s kind of still “active,” and names like Bobby Abreu and J.D. Drew are recent retirees who would have made the top-10. But after Dunn, ManRam and A-Rod, there’s a significant drop off.
|Adam Dunn Hat Tricks – Active|
But Dunn’s crown might not be safe forever. 2013 has been a major year for the ADHT even though Dunn himself has just three – eleven players have four or more.
|Adam Dunn Hat Tricks – 2013|
Mark Trumbo doesn’t have many for his career yet but definitely has the type of profile that could lead to prolific ADHT numbers. The same could be said for Chris Davis, who got a slow start with this stat because he didn’t walk much until this season. Clobby Smashmus is an interesting name, too, as he’s become one of baseball’s TTO kings this year. Rasmus has the ninth highest TTO-rate in the league with 45.5% of his plate appearances ending in a true outcome.
Chris Carter is a name to watch out for moving forward, too, as he’s the league’s leader in balls not put in play with a 54% three true outcome rate. He has just a pair of Adam Dunn Hat Tricks to his name, though, a number that should climb.
So Adam Dunn, keep racking up those strikeouts, walks and home runs. With the league becoming more strikeout-heavy, your crown may eventually be in danger.
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