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Michael Morse: No Ordinary Hitter

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Michael Morse had another Michael Morse-type game Monday night in the Nationals’ 5-4 loss to the Giants: two extra-base hits (homer, double), two strikeouts. Morse is the epitome of a free swinger: lots of K’s (42), few walks (7), but plenty of pop in his bat (9 dingers in 159 at bats).

At his current pace, according to’s statskeepers, he’ll finish the season with 113 strikeouts, 19 walks and a .522 slugging percentage. Do you have any idea how rare it is for a player to have 100 K’s, 25 or less walks and still slug .500 or better? Only four players in major-league history have done it – four!

Here’s what’s really interesting, though: The last two to do it also played for the Nats – though they accomplished the “feat” with another team. I’m talking about Alfonso Soriano (157 Ks/23 BB/.547 slugging with the 2002 Yankees) and Wily Mo Pena (108/22/.527 with the ’04 Reds). Soriano, of course, spent the ’06 season in Washington, and Pena was here in ’07 and ’08.

What is it about this kind of hitter that the Nationals find so attractive?

By the way, the two other members of the club are Cory Snyder (123/16/.500 with the 1986 Indians) and Jesse Barfield (110/22/.510 with the ’83 Blue Jays). Alas, they didn’t get to play for the Nats because the Nats didn’t exist yet.


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About the Author
Dan Daly

Dan Daly

Dan Daly has been writing about sports for the Washington Times since 1982. He has won numerous national and local awards, appears regularly in NFL Films’ historical features and is the co-author of "The Pro Football Chronicle,” a decade-by-decade history of the game. Follow Dan on Twitter at @dandalyonsports –- or e-mail him at

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