How Many Altuves?


Length in Feet:

Number of Jose Altuves:

*Note: Number of Jose Altuves is Official Standard Listed Altuves (OSLA). Actual Number of Jose Altuves may vary.

Shortest cleanup hitter?

If you haven't heard yet, the Astros have been occasionally slotting Jose Altuve into the cleanup spot in the lineup this season. In an interview between Jay Mohr and Jeff Luhnow, they wondered if Altuve was the shortest cleanup hitter ever. Let's see what we can find.

Rabbit Maranville - Rabbit was listed at the same 1 Altuve height as Jose. Over the course of his career, he started a game in the cleanup spot 76 times, 73 of those occurring in 1914. Of course, this was before the rise of the home run hitter, and batting cleanup wasn't necessarily reserved for sluggers. This was the time when "Homerun" Baker never hit more than 12 in a season.

Freddie Patek - Though appearing in the 4 spot five times in his career, they were all as subs. Patek never started a game as the cleanup hitter.

Unfortunately, most of the position players who stood in at 1 Altuve or less played in an era we don't have much information on. Did Wee Willie Keeler or Topsy Hartsell hit cleanup? I can't tell you; Baseball-Reference doesn't have splits available for their time period. But it looks like Jose Altuve has, once again, found himself standing tall among short players.




Hall of Altuves - Results

It's been a little over two months since we opened up the voting for the Hall of Altuves, and the results are in.

Here's your 2014 HOA class:


Nobody


That's right, much like the Hall of Fame class of 2013, no player was selected on 75% of the ballots. Here's how the vote shook out:

Eddie Gaedel - 68.6%
Willie Keeler - 57.1%
Rabbit Maranville - 28.6%
Freddie Patek - 28.6%
Bobby Mathews - 22.9%
Larry Corcoran - 22.9%
Topsy Hartsel - 17.1%
Connie Marrero - 17.1%
Lee Viau - 11.4%

The Hall of Altuves

With so much debate swirling about this year's Hall of Fame balloting, I thought I'd take a shot at making my own Hall. Welcome to the Hall of Altuves. We'll take a look at some of the best players in baseball history who were listed at no more than Jose Altuve's height of 5'5". I'll list the top position players and pitchers, then we'll open it up for a vote. Unlike the real Hall of Fame, there are no BBWAA members with hidden agendas standing in the way of who the fans want to see in out Hall.

1) Willie (Wee Willie) Keeler - RF

Wee Willie (.98 Altuves) is a member of the actual HOF (1939), so he has to be a favorite here. Over 19 seasons, Keller had a lifetime batting average of .341 (14th all-time), twice leading the league, and he hit .424 in 1897 with the original Baltimore Orioles franchise. He led the league in hits three times, all during a four season span, and finished his career with 2932 hits, while striking out just 136 times (yes, different era). That's a 63.2 at bat per strikeout ratio, best ever. He his said to have used a 30 inch bat (.46 Altuves), the shortest ever swung in major league baseball.

2) Rabbit Maranville - SS

Like Keller, Rabbit (1 Altuve) is also a member of the HOF (1954). Maranville's career stretched from 1912 to 1935 and was built on defense. He was able to accumulate 2605 hits, but only had a .258 lifetime batting average. He is 19th all-time in triples, with 177. His defense reputation was such, though, that he was able to garner MVP votes in 8 different seasons, including a second place finish in 1914. He has more career assists and more putouts at shortstop than another player.

3) Topsy Hartsel - LF

Hartsel (1 Altuve) played 14 seasons, mostly with the Philadelphia Athletics in the upstart American League. He was on OBP machine, before OBP was cool. He led the league in walks five times and OBP twice, finishing with a lifetime OBP of .384 while hitting just .276. He also led the league in steals and runs once.

4) Freddie (The Flea) Patek - SS

Freddie (1 Altuve spent 14 years in the majors, stealing 385 bases while hitting .242. He was a three time All-Star and finished 6th in MVP voting in 1971. He led the league in triples and stolen bases one time each.

5) Eddie Gaedel - PH

Eddie (.66 Altuves) finished his career (1 PA) with a lifetime 1.000 OBP. No discussion of the shortest players in baseball is complete without him.

6) Bobby Mathews - RHP

Mathews (1 Altuve) pitched for 15 seasons, from 1871-1887. He finished his career with a 297-248 record and a 2.86 ERA. He twice led the league in shutouts, once in innings pitched, three times in strikeouts, and four times in K/9. He also led the league in losses once, hits and earned runs allowed twice, home runs allowed once (with 8 in 516 innings), walks twice, and wild pitches three times. He's 25th all-time in wins. He is the winning-est pitcher not in the Hall of Fame, and is claimed to be one of the first to master a curveball (thrown underhanded, as was the custom at the time).

7) Larry Corcoran - RHP

Larry (.97 Altuves), who at least once in his career alternated throwing arms during a game, played for just 8 seasons, mostly with the Cubs. He had a career record of 177-89, leading the league in wins in 1881 and winning percentage, WIP, and ERA in 1882. His rookie season, he led the league in strikeouts, K/9, and walks. In 1884, he allowed 10% of the entire leagues home runs that season, giving up 35 of 321 total (including his Cubs, who hit 142 that year). He held the all-time record for no-hitters, with three, until Sandy Koufax threw his fourth in 1964. He's also credited with creating pitch signals, as he would switch his wad of tobacco from one cheek to the other to indicate to his catcher what he was going to throw. His career was cut short by a dead arm in 1885 and he was out of baseball after 1887.

8) Lee Viau - RHP

Viau (.98 Altuves) pitched just five seasons, accumulating a 83-77 record with a 3.33 ERA.

9) Connie Marrero - RHP

Connie (1 Altuve) also pitched just five seasons (from the ages of 39-43!), all for the Washington Senators. He put together a 39-40 record along with a 3.67 ERA. He was an All-Star in 1951 and finished 34th in MVP voting in 1952.

Not surprisingly, there aren't that many players in baseball's history that "measure up" here, so let's go ahead and take it to a vote. Vote for as many players as you like!

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An honor

Today, How Many Altuves has learned that we have been accepted into the official Grantland Baseball Dictionary, as announced in this post by Jonah Keri.

I just want to say, it was thrilling just to be considered, but being accepted is a true dream come...well...true. To see HMA mentioned alongside other esteemed entries like BABIP, #BARVES, Clown Question, Bro, and Pitching to Score is an unbelievable honor.

I'd like to thank a few people for helping me get here. First, obviously, is Jonah Keri. I've never met him, and may have exchanged just one or two tweets with him, but I really feel that he understands me at the deepest level. You may even say, we're soulmates. Second, the pair of Astros fans that inspired me to start down the path of HMA, @Love_My_Astros and @brittany_lamas, as well as Justin Maxwell for hitting this bomb the day HMA was born on-line.



 I'd like to thank @astroscounty for letting me take time away from my postings at Astros County so I could give How Many Altuves to a world that so desperately needed it. There's the Alderman clan, led by sisters Ashley and Jennifer, who were the first to model the HMA t-shirts
(didn't they make the shirts look good?). I owe a big debt to Kelly George, for getting the ball rolling for my opportunity to visit Minute Maid Park and meet the HMA namesake. Of course, I also need to thank Mike Ferrin and Morgan Ensberg, for hatching the Altuve as a measurement and incubating it until it was ready to be revealed to the world.

But most importantly, I need to that Jose Altuve, as the inspiration for the Altuve. Not only is he a short guy, but he's a great sport about everything. He's gritty, he gives everything he has out on the field, which makes it so easy for fans to support and celebrate his success.

Again, thanks so much for this honor.

Hey Jonah, where's the after-party?