MLB: Most consecutive foul balls

While following along online with today’s Red Sox-Twins game, Eduardo Rodriquez is pitching to Shane Robinson, and the first 8 pitches were fouls. That was followed by 2 balls, another foul, and finally a fly out. I don’t think I’ve ever watched 8 foul balls in a row. I know there have been at bats more than 12 pitches so there must have been lots of foul balls, but is there a record kept for how many in a row? Or how many to start an at bat?

Unofficial record-22

Looking at the citation it mentions 22 foul balls in an at bat, not consecutive. Alex Cora had 14 consecutive foul balls in 2004 before homering of Matt Clement. He took the first three pitches, getting the count to 2-1, then hitting 14 straight foul balls, and homered to right on the 18th pitch. What a great at-bat.

This article talks about a few undocumented feats, such as 24 fouls and 17 consecutive fouls.

Pardon the aside, but this reminds me of a book I read when I was a kid. In The Kid Who Batted 1.000, the protagonist is a rookie who can hit every pitch, but only hit it foul. Every time he comes to the plate, he fouls off pitch after pitch after pitch until the pitcher gets tired of it and just walks him. IIRC, he finally gets one official AB at the end of the book. Is it in the championship game? Does he record a hit? I will not spoil the book for you.

Looks like the title of the book is the spoiler.

Actually, in the book the phrase comes about as a publicity thing regarding his unbroken string of walks. A local newspaper made up a new form of “batting average”.
But you’re also right.

As someone who used to watch baseball the foul ball situation in my mind needed to be fixed. IMO all fouls should be strikes. Watching five foul balls with the typical adjustments and time wasting between pitches always annoyed me.

watching a batter foul off ball after ball waiting for his pitch is great

counting all fouls as strikes would take away that aspect of the game

Watch the Alex Cora video in the link above - IMO that’s great entertainment. Yes, it took over 5 minutes (and they appear to have cut out some standing around so the actual at bat was even longer) but it was great watching the two of them battle it out for so long. A real nail biter.

Really? :confused: You should not get an infinite number of chances to hit the damn ball in play. :smiley:

David Hulse of Texas once hit 4 consecutive fouls into the same spot in the Angels dugout. :wink:

At the professional level, making a foul ball a third strike would collapse batting averages and scoring to an extent unprecedented in the live ball era. You’d probably see batting averages drop to .210, and the resulting adjustments batters would have to make to increase contact would reduce home runs. It would certainly speed games up but they’d be so pitching-dominated it would be terrible entertainment.

Foul balls as third strikes are in fact a thing in high scoring forms of the sport, such as slo-pitch, but there they serve a valuable purpose in the context of a version of the game where scoring is very high.

Thank you.

Just watched this.


As a former pitcher, I can tell you that Clement’s stamina was impressive also. I am going to watch it again, but he started throwing breaking balls after his second ball (pitch 3), and I am not sure he threw another fast ball again.

It is tiring to throw to the same batter over and over. You get no real rest between pitches, not like you do when there is an out made, a hit, or even a walk. You just get back on the mound and throw.

I don’t know how many time-outs were called, but the only one I saw was from Cora stepping out. The batter usually controls the tempo of the at bat, and if ypu watch Clement, he is in a rhythm… So that last pitch was after 17 straight pitches where he is trying to get the batter out. Those aren’t batting practice pitches.

His arm had to feel like rubber after that. But also his legs and his back were feeling it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he stiffened up after leaving the mound that half inning and never returned.

Plus, giving up a HR after that battle had to suck any life he had left in him out of his soul that night. If he pitched deeper into the game, I would be even more impressed.

Anyone know how long Clement pitched in this game, or what happned to his arm?

Just found the box score

Clement was pulled right after the HR.

That was the right call. I doubt he could have thrown another effective pitch.

Blast from the past. I watched David Hulse play single A ball in Port Charlotte, Florida. He was a fan favorite.

Every other sport has a clock. Knock yourself out.

(Bowing to the much better answer that followed.)

Exactly. Also, you’d rob baseball of one of it’s most interesting elements: wearing down a very good pitcher until he makes a mistake, or hits a pitch count so high that he leaves the game.

If the pitcher is mixing up his pitches and you’re getting a piece off a slider, a fastball, a changeup, another fastball, a curve, another damn changeup, etc… well, you deserve to get to keep swinging.