The more obscure of a name I find when doing these Astro History articles the better. I think I've found the most obscure name and most interesting number for game 87. The thing is I forgot to do a post about it. Sure I worked late but I came home with enough time to write about it I just completely forgot. I apologize.
So today you'll get two Astros History posts. Lucky you!
Denis Menke was acquired from the Atlanta Braves along with Denny Lemaster for Sonny Jackson in 1968. He would spend four years after the trade with Houston and a fifth year in 1974. In the five years with Houston Menke hit for a 109 OPS+. His best year with Houston came in 1970 when he hit for a 127 OPS+ at the age of 29.
But that's not the reason why we're highlighting him. Instead check out his 1969 season in which he had exactly 87 walks and 87 strikeouts.
I thought this would be a fairly unique thing for a player, to have the same amount of strikeouts as walks. One should never assume.
Since the 1800's there have been 176 seasons in which a batter had 500+ plate appearances and had similar strikeout and walk numbers.
Since the expansion era (1961-present) there have been 83 seasons in which a player had the same amount of strikeouts as walks. The only players to have more in this category was Brady Anderson in 1992 (98), Ron Cey in 1978 (96) and Barry Bonds in 1989 (93).
Menke wasn't the only player to accomplish this. Jose Cruz 1978, Gerald Young 1988 and Moises Alou 2001 all accomplished this feat.