Punch and Judy hitter. It’s an old-school phrase that you can find on the Wikipedia Glossary of Baseball. It references a popular puppet show dating back to the early 19th century that featured Mr. Punch striking his wife, Judy. Apparently domestic violence was funny. Mr. Punch couldn’t hit very hard, so the phrase Punch and Judy hitter was coined to describe someone with little power. About ten years ago some chatty umpire utilized the phrase to describe a base hit a little guy blooped off my six foot tall junior high self. Not too long after that I decided I was better at hitting baseballs than throwing them past hitters.
Anyways, I digress. Ben Revere went another season without hitting a home run, and he’s now up to 1400 major league plate appearances without a home run. He’s got five in 1755 minor league plate appearances. With that in mind, I attempted to find the ten best “Punch and Judy” seasons since 1999. Other than receiving enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title, hitting a home run was the only requirement. Here they are, sorted by OPS+.
And the winner by a nose is Jamey Carroll. He didn’t hit any home runs in 2010 either, but managed a 100 OPS+ with over 414 plate appearances.
I was a little disappointed to see that a personal favorite of mine, Jason Tyner, did not qualify as he never received more than 420 plate appearances in a season. Tyner didn’t hit his first major league home run until plate appearance number 1,322. He hit four home runs in 5,372 professional plate appearances.