How Many Times Can a Batter Get on Base Without a Hit?

In May 2016, Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper set a record by getting on base 7 times without hitting the ball.
In May 2016, Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper set a record by getting on base 7 times without hitting the ball.

Baseball is filled with record accomplishments, but sometimes it's what you don't do that gets you noticed. On May 8, 2016, Bryce Harper, then of the Washington Nationals, got on base a record seven times without ever hitting the ball. He did it by walking six times – tying the Major League record – and by being hit by a pitch. In other words, Harper didn't record an official at-bat.

In the last 100 years, the only other players to get six walks in a single game were Jeff Bagwell in 1999, Andre Thornton in 1984, and Jimmie Foxx in 1938. Harper, the National League MVP in 2015 (and again in 2021, with the Philadelphia Phillies), was a feared hitter, so the likelihood that the walks were intentional was high. "They had a plan," Harper said afterward. "They had a plan, and unfortunately, it worked." The Cubs beat the Nationals 4-3 in 13 innings. In the four-game series with the Cubs, Harper walked a record 13 times.

Other unusual records:

  • Juan Alvarez and Ed Olwine hold the record for most games pitched without a win, with 80.

  • In his 27-year career, Hughie Jennings was hit by a pitch a record 287 times.

  • As a Cardinal, Fernando Tatis became the only player to hit two grand slams in the same inning, on April 23, 1999.

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    • In May 2016, Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper set a record by getting on base 7 times without hitting the ball.
      By: apardavila
      In May 2016, Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper set a record by getting on base 7 times without hitting the ball.