Introducing the Adam Dunn Hat Trick

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
Player Number Career HR
Jim Thome 154 612
Mark McGwire 133 583
Babe Ruth 125 714
Barry Bonds 125 762
Adam Dunn 113 429
Harmon Killebrew 111 573
Manny Ramirez 105 555
Alex Rodriguez 98 647
Sammy Sosa 97 609
Frank Thomas 94 521

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
Player Number Career HR
Adam Dunn 113 429
Manny Ramirez 105 555
Alex Rodriguez 98 647
Carlos Pena 73 285
Ryan Howard 69 311
David Ortiz 64 418
Carlos Beltran 61 353
Lance Berkman 59 366
Jason Giambi 57 435
Dan Uggla 49 225

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
Player 2013 Career
Mark Trumbo 7 11
Mark Reynolds 6 42
Evan Longoria 5 31
Miguel Cabrera 5 45
Justin Ruggiano 4 7
Colby Rasmus 4 14
Brandon Phillips 4 19
Brandon Moss 4 8
Edwin Encarnacion 4 21
Chris Davis 4 12
Michael Cuddyer 4 23

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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Blake Murphy is a news editor at The Score, and is a freelance sportswriter covering baseball, basketball, hockey and more. Think Bo Jackson, without the being good at every sport part. Follow him on Twitter @BlakeMurphyODC.

57 Responses to “Introducing the Adam Dunn Hat Trick”

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  1. Otter says:

    Love it. However, I think it should be expanded to also committing an error or some sort of horrible defensive play. Sadly he didn’t walk on July 4th, but basically we got the strike out, error and home run.

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    • Blake Murphy says:

      Would have to lean on an SQL friend, as BRef play index doesn’t include errors. But that’s a fun extension idea.

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    • MDL says:

      We could probably call a home run, a walk, and an error the Edwin Encarnacion Hat Trick.

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    • Joser says:

      It’s a fun idea for an extension, but it would automatically exclude DHs who would otherwise show up frequently on this list. So we could call that something else (the Pedro Alvarez Sombrero?)

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  2. Pete says:

    I’d be interested in seeing how the tables change using games in which ONLY the TTO were resultant. Which players had the most games with ONLY HR/BB/KO?

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    • Blake Murphy says:

      I can maybe do this as a follow up – there are 24,493 Hat Tricks recorded, so I’d have to pull all of that from BRef to Excel somehow. SQL guys might have a shortcut they can share.

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      • NWein44 says:

        Click the CSV button in BR, copy the text and save it in Notepad or other .txt format. Go to excel and open the text file and select comma as the delimated-format.

        Might be a fancier way, but that will do the trick.

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        • Blake Murphy says:

          The issue is that only gives you 500 lines at a time, so I’d have to copy and paste it 50 times.

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        • Eric R says:

          Fangraphs seems to have daily information [perhaps not that far back?] in their database… maybe one of the data folks can pull it straight from the database.

          Or, maybe a personal request to the database guys at bb-ref?

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  3. Matt says:

    There have been seven double-Dunn hat tricks (at least 2 HR, SO, and BB) in history, but since I’m not a b-r subscriber, I can’t see any details about who or when. Would be intrigued to know.

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    • Blake Murphy says:

      A-Rod, Sexson, Bernie Williams, Bret Boone, Man-Ram from 2000 to present.

      And Ted Williams in ’49 and George Foster in ’78.

      Sexson’s in Sept ’06 was most recent double.

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    • Jason B says:

      Two of each in the same game? That’s a neat extension of the data! I really like stuff like this.

      However I don’t know if we can call that the double-Dunn if the namesake has none, putting him in a tie with TTO luminaries like Oil Can Boyd, Luis Castillo, Tim Naehring, and Charlamagne.

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  4. BrianB says:

    A little surprised Uggla only has 49. All he does is walk, K or homer.

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  5. Jay29 says:

    “Clobby Smashmus is an interesting name…”

    You could say that again.

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  6. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    For those keeping score, Adam Dunn’s walks, homers, and strikeouts total up to 3771, and his career plate appearances are 7541.

    3771/7541 = 50.007%

    Literally half of Adam Dunn appearances end with a strikeout, walk, or home run.

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  7. Tim A says:

    I want too see a player rock the every outcome day 1b 2b 3b HR walk strikeout hbp, dont think anyones ever done it?

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    • Michael says:

      B-ref shows 3 occurrences of this particular batting line:
      Frank Robinson on May 2nd, 1959 (clean, one of all those Results)
      Lou Clinton on July 13th, 1962 (with 2 Singles and 2 Ks)
      Bobby Murcer on August 29th, 1972 (clean as a whistle)

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      • Blake Murphy says:

        Damn, I’m surprised. I did a Beyond the Box Score piece on Trout’s “super cycle” from earlier in the year (cycle with an SB) and it’s rarely been done. Surprised to see three with K+BB+HBP.

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        • AC of DC says:

          Double-checked these. They are all Cycle + K + Walk, no HBP. Murcer was intentionally walked after having hit for the cycle (wouldn’t you?), while Clinton’s IBB was in the middle. Robinson’s was a traditional BB.

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    • JuanPierreDoesSteroids says:

      How this for an every outcome day?

      1. One hit.
      2. One hit by pitch.
      3. One walk.
      4. One reach on catcher’s inteference.
      5. One fielder’s obstruction.
      6. One pass ball on a strikeout.
      7. One base reached on error.

      And all after entering the game as a pinch runner…

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      • Blake Murphy says:

        Holy…that’s like Mario Lemieux’s even strength, short handed, power play, penalty shot, empty netter game.

        Someone has only reached by H+HBP+BB+ROE in the same game 221 times in history. I can’t find the rest without hitting up a Retrosheet guy but I’d be pretty surprised if anyone had ever hit 6 of the 7.

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  8. Bluebird in Boulder says:

    Shouldn’t we, in the spirit of The Gordie Howe Hat Trick, name it after someone who rarely does it but we feel like they do it all the time?

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      • Visitor says:

        Rob Deer?

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      • Bluebird in Boulder says:

        Not the best with using B-Ref’s play index, but an essential methodology would be to sort by the sum of TTO% and count the number of “hat tricks” (cut off TTO% at some arbitrary number). Find one that has produced a shockingly low total base on underlying peripherals.

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      • DavidJ says:

        Reggie Jackson is a guy I’m surprised not to see in the all-time top ten. 563 homers, double-digit BB% most seasons (12% for his career), still the all-time strikeout leader, and 21st all-time in games played.

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    • Joser says:

      No, this is perfect. I knew exactly what it would be before even reading the article (the “Jim Thome Hat Trick” would’ve had me scratching my head) — and the key thing is, he’s not the guy who does it the most. Just the guy who we think does.

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      • Jon L. says:

        Adam Dunn has done it slightly more often per game, so far, although that might be weighted by Jim Thome’s late-career pinch-hit appearances.

        Dunn is a better choice because Thome wasted more of his career doing irrelevant things. For goodness sake, most of his hits were singles!

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  9. Cool Lester Smooth says:

    I’m not sure Trumbo walks enough to threaten Dunn’s crown.

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  10. Dylan says:

    As you mentioned in your SBNation article on this, Thome has the most AB’s ending in a TTO ever. I definitely support naming it after Dunn’s higher rate of doing this instead of Thome’s longevity.

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  11. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    Adam Dunn
    113 hat tricks in 1801 games = 6.27% hat tricks
    Jim Thome
    154 hat tricks in 2543 games = 6.06% hat tricks

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  12. hoser says:

    This is hilarious! Thank you! I greedily want that first table to have a column for TTO% and ADHT% also.

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  13. Ballfan says:

    any chance baseball writers have to reference ice hockey is fine by me

    this is a fun analysis

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  14. Jim Price says:

    You stole my idea, sort of. I had Dunn on my fantasy team for several years running when he was in the NL and had to play the field. This resulted in many occurances of what I coined the “Adam Dunn Cycle” which of course is a HR, a K, a BB, and an E.

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  15. bdhudson says:

    Joey Gallo comes in at 56% at Hickory this year

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  16. Shlum says:

    Sup Blake

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  17. dtpollitt says:

    Love this, thanks. Can’t wait to talk about this with my buddies at the bar.

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  18. The Party Bird says:

    I was expecting, if not this:

    1. Strike out on a fastball
    2. Strike out on a changeup
    3. Strike out on a curveball or slider

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  19. Pennsy says:

    To make the feat a touch rarer it should be limited to games where the batter collects one each of a BB/HBP, SO and HR and has no other outcomes from an AB. Rather than calling it an Adam Dunn Hat Trick I’d refer to it as a Dunner. As in, Adam Dunn last had a Dunner 1 June 2012 against the Seattle Mariners.

    Bottom of the 1st – Strikeout

    Bottom of the 3rd – Walk

    Bottom of the 5th – Home Run

    Bottom of the 7th – Strikeout

    White Sox beat the Mariners 7-4, and Adam Dunn’s BABIP is totally unaffected despite 4 PAs.

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  20. washedupjock says:

    As a White Sox fan of 50 years, and considering Dunn’s record with the Sox is something like one HR for every 22 plate appearances, but one K for every 3- the Dunn Hat Trick I’ve seen most often is just 3 K’s in a game.

    Happens a lot.

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  21. Nonsuch Ned says:

    Can you work it so a base hit disqualifies you for the Hat Trick?

    I think that could weed out some of the non-Dunn players who are actually known for production.

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  22. Raidas77 says:

    Seems like the true essence of the AD Hat Trick would be a night of all HRs, BBs and Ks.

    Last night, George Springer had 5 PAs. 1 HR, 2 BB and 2 K.

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  23. tehzachatak says:

    We Cardinals fans used to track something called the “Cykiel”, which was when Rick Ankiel would strike out looking, strike out swinging, pop up weakly to the infield, and hit a meaningless HR in the same game.

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