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.

We hoped you liked reading Introducing the Adam Dunn Hat Trick by Blake Murphy!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




Blake Murphy is a freelance sportswriter based out of Toronto. Formerly of the Score, he's the managing editor at Raptors Republic and frequently pops up at Sportsnet, Vice, and around here. Follow him on Twitter @BlakeMurphyODC.

newest oldest most voted
Otter
Guest
Otter

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.

MDL
Member
MDL

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

Eminor3rd
Member
Eminor3rd

Yes! “The True E5”

Mike G
Member
Mike G

A Phillies blog site has actually been tracking this (HR, BB, Error) since they donned this “The Howard” prior to the 2009 season. There is actually an active list for the year on the right-side of the page.

We Should Be GMs

Joser
Member
Joser

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?)