For every Koufax there was a Willie Davis, for every Marichal a Hal Lanier, in the span of 1963-1968 there were 36 regulars in MLB who had over 150 games played and a slugging percentage less than .400 and a on base percentage less than .300. in the years of 1953-1958 there were 4. The game had swung drastically to the other end of the spectrum in the years between 1953 and 1968, glove men with little on base skills or pop were all over the place, among them was perhaps the most wonderful outmaker of all, Hal Lanier.
Lanier was a legacy player, son of Cardinal hurler Max Lanier. Hal was a sought after high school player who surprised most of baseball when he signed with the Giants. While hitting over .300 in the minor leagues in 1964 Lanier got the call, a swift fielding 2nd sacker Lanier hit a respectable .274 in 90 games in San Francisco, however his 5 walks in 401 plate appearances should have been a warning flag the size of Texas. The next season Hal played with an assortment of players at shortstop, but a mid season trade brought Dick Schofield over. Schofield had been the transition shortstop from Grote to Alley in Pittsburgh, when Alley was ready to take over full time the inept bat of Schofield was sent to San Francisco to fill out there shortstop problem.
Together in San Francisco Schofield and Lanier teamed up for 997 trips to the plate that season, unfortunately for the Giants they made an out 758 times, that’s a robust 76% of the time they came to bat. Lanier honed that skill into an art form and no better was that displayed than in the 1967-1968 seasons. By then Lanier had been moved to shortstop, solving the Giant’s lack of defense at the keystone position and also bettering the bat at second by default. Lanier came to the dish 1075 times in the 67-68 seasons and made an astonishing 871 outs, that’s an out 76% of the time he batted. Of the 212 hits that he had 16% were extra bases, none home runs.
Lanier’s 1968 season produced the worst secondary average (The formula is (TB-H+BB+SB)/AB) in the history of the modern game, with his 1969 and 1967 season taking slots 3 and 4.
Meanwhile his teammate Juan Marichal was starting 64 games, piling up 528 innings pitched going 40-19 with a 2.56 era.
Yin and Yang I guess…