Who Is The Best Pinch Hitter In MLB Baseball History?

Who Is The Best Pinch Hitter In MLB Baseball History

While pinch hitters may not play the entire game, they can be used as a weapon later on in a baseball game. Ever wonder who the best pinch hitter in MLB history is? Read on to find out.

What is a Pinch Hitter?

In a baseball game, a pinch hitter is a substitute who bats for a teammate. A pinch hitter is typically used in two situations, the first being to replace a weak hitter. For example, pitchers are typically not considered to be strong hitters in Major League Baseball, except for a select few like Shohei Ohtani, or another weak hitter who is in the field and is due up to bat.

The second instance in which a MLB manager may opt to substitute a hitter would be for that player to execute a specific play for the team to gain an advantage in the game. For example, a pinch hitter may be substituted into the game to execute a sacrifice bunt in a particular situation.

When a pinch hitter is substituted into the game they are “announced into the game.” After they are announced into the game, the hitter that they are replacing cannot return back into the game. Following the at bat, when the team returns to the field, the pinch hitter can either take the defensive position of the player they batted for, take another position in the field given other defensive substitutions are made, or be replaced by a defensive substitute. 

Who Is the Best Pinch Hitter in MLB Baseball History?

While there have been many notable pinch hitters in MLB, the best pinch hitter in MLB history was Lenny Harris. Harris played 18 seasons on a plethora of National League teams from 1988 until 2005. He was a utility player in the field, playing games in each of the outfield positions, second base, first base, shortstop, and he is credited with being one of the last ever full-time pinch hitters to be kept on a Major League Baseball team’s roster.

Harris is considered to be the best pinch hitter of all time since he holds the record for most hits as a pinch hitter, with a career 212 pinch hits recorded. Additionally, Harris holds both the single-season and career records for most at bats and most games played as a pinch hitter. Harris also recorded a .269 career batting average, 131 stolen bases, and 369 RBIs.

Honorable Mentions

While Lenny Harris is considered the best pinch hitter in MLB baseball history, there have been a number of successful pinch hitters in MLB history including Mark Sweeney, Manny Mota, and Smoky Burgess. Sweeny recorded 175 career pinch hits during his 14 season career,  Mota recorded 150 career pinch hits during his 20 season MLB career, and Burgess recorded a total of 145 career pinch hits during his 18 season career. While all of these pinch hitters made significant contributions to their teams during their career, it is without a doubt that Lenny Harris was the best pinch hitter in history.