About 20 years ago, there was an interesting left-handed pitcher for the Duluth-Superior Dukes, a very bad team in a league beneath the status of “minor”—minuscule, I might call it, though I am glad to know that there are still a few small-town baseball teams not in serfdom to the majors.  The pitcher’s name was Borders.

In certain respects, Borders was physically unimpressive: 5' 10" (five inches shorter than the average pitcher in the major leagues) and 150 pounds (even slighter of frame than that spidery fellow Oil Can Boyd).  Squeezing all the juice from the arm, Borders could sometimes pump the fastball up past 80 miles per hour.  Normally it was in the 70’s, the fastball of a first-rate Little Leaguer, or of a middling pitcher in junior high.  Batters would rocket that pitch all around the park, so Borders had to throw low in the strike zone, and rely on a slow curve and a screwball.

Though the Dukes had plenty of pitchers who were not much better, Borders’ stat line for the Dukes in 1998 was awful: Wins 1, Losses 4, Innings 43.2, Hits 65, Earned Runs 42, Home Runs 11, Walks 14, Strikeouts 14, ERA 8.66.  I cannot locate any further information about the kinds of hits Borders gave up, or about how many outs came from double plays, sacrifices, or sacrifice flies.  Assuming that every out counted as an at-bat, and that all of the hits...

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