Cleveland Indians: Pitcher’s Batting History

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May 22, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; General view of bat weight in the on-deck circle during a game between the Cleveland Indians and the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Indians defeated the Orioles 8-7 in thirteen innings. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Batting Misfortunes:

As with any baseball team, the Cleveland Indians have had some pitchers who bat horribly. After all, the designated hitter was installed to increase offense and to make games more exciting. With this in mind, let’s look at some of the worst batting pitchers in the history of the Cleveland Indians.

These three pitchers are not particularly well known in Tribe lore, and none of them really played fantastically well. Rip Hagerman and Ed Klepfer were teammates back in the 1910s, and Jim Joe Edwards played a little later in the early 1920s. Of the three, Klepfer had the best pitching career and posted two fairly solid seasons. He also served in the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War One.

Rip Hagerman only had 110 plate appearances, and those were 110 plate appearances too many. He managed to strikeout an impressive 57.3% of the time – the most for any pitcher with at least 50 plate appearances for the Indians – and would’ve cost the Tribe nearly 100 runs with his bat if allowed make 600 plate appearances. Luckily for the Cleveland Indians, he didn’t have time to reach anywhere near that total and only cost the team about two wins worth of batting runs.

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His teammate Ed Klepfer was barely any better. In fact, he was such a bad batter that someone wrote one of the six paragraphs on his Wikipedia page about it. While he kept his strikeouts down to only about a third of his plate appearances, he batted well below the Mendoza line and managed to amass more walks than he did hits. To put his low batting average in context, he averaged one hit a season. Other than his batting and two average pitching seasons, his most notable baseball feat was that the Cleveland Indians traded Shoeless Joe Jackson for him and a few other prospects.

Finally, we take a look at Jim Joe Edwards. A left-handed pitcher, he had one good season but no other notable pitching accomplishments. The most notable thing about him is just how bad he was at batting. Despite his batting average, wOBA, and strikeout rate all seemingly fairly average for a pitcher, he managed to cost the teams runs at an astounding rate. He managed to cost the Cleveland Indians runs at a rate faster than any other pitcher with a minimum of 60 plate appearances.

But how could he cost the team runs quicker than the other two pitchers we looked at in this post?   He managed to achieve this misfortune by getting exactly one extra-base hit – and it wasn’t even with the Cleveland Indians. What exactly did he do with this double? I have no idea, as box scores from 1926 are not easily searchable online.


We have looked at some of the Cleveland Indians’ best and worst pitchers at batting. Hopefully, you learned something new and interesting about a player you may never hear about again; I know that I sure have. At the very least, this post serves as a friendly reminder that there was a time before the designated hitter.

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