Adam Dunn

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Adam Troy Dunn

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Biographical Information[edit]

Adam Dunn is the only player in Major League history to hit a ball into another state. In 2005, Dunn hit a home run out of Great American Ballpark in Ohio into the Ohio River. However, that part of the river is owned by Kentucky. In August of 2001, he set a Cincinnati Reds rookie record with 12 homers during the month; it was broken by Aristides Aquino in 2019.

Dunn held the single-season major league strikeout record from 2004 until 2007, when Ryan Howard broke his mark. The mark was later taken over by Mark Reynolds. Despite his penchant for strikeouts and a low .237 career batting average. Dunn compiled a stellar 36 percent OBP.

In 2007, Dunn broke an unusual record: the most home runs by a player hitting exactly the same number in three straight seasons. He had 40 each year from 2005-2007: Mike Schmidt had hit 38 HR each year from 1975 to 1977. Then, in 2008, Dunn hit exactly 40 HR again. This broke the record of Ken Boyer, who hit 24 HR each year from 1961 to 1964.

After signing with the Chicago White Sox as a free agent before the 2011 season, Dunn nearly broke a less prestigious mark when he was hitting .160 at the All-Star break. Only John Shelby in 1989, at .157, had a lower average by a player with 200+ AB in the history of the All-Star break. He finished the season at .159 and would have achieved the dubious distinction of the player with the lowest batting average to qualify for the batting title since before World War I except that he was short six plate appearances to qualify (perennially weak-hitting catcher Bill Bergen hit .139 for the 1909 Brooklyn Superbas). The season had started on the wrong foot for Dunn when he had to undergo an emergency appendectomy on April 5th. He hardly missed any playing time, but never managed to get his bat going.

On April 6, 2012, Dunn hit a home run on Opening Day against Colby Lewis of the Texas Rangers. It was his 8th opening day homer, tying the record shared by Frank Robinson and Ken Griffey; Dunn had homered on six different opening days, twice banging a pair of homers on that day. He opened the season by striking out in each of Chicago's first 20 games, something no major leaguer had done since at least 1910 (when strikeouts were tracked by batter); the old mark had been much lower, 14 by Howie Goss in 1963. The streak eventually reached 32 games, and when combined with a strikeout in his last four games the previous season, gave him a major league record 36 consecutive games with at least one strikeout; that record was eclipsed by Aaron Judge, a very similar type of player, in 2017. Still, he made a tremendous comeback in his second season with the Pale Hose, earning his second nomination to the All-Star team on the back of an outstanding first half, at least in terms of power numbers. His batting average was barely above .200, and he was leading the AL in strikeouts. On August 18th, he hit his 400th career homer off the Kansas City Royals' Tim Collins, a shot to the opposite field for his 35th dinger of the year. Teammate Paul Konerko had hit his 400th earlier that season, making them the first pair of teammates to have ever reached the milestone number in the same year. He finished the year with 41 homers, 87 runs and 96 RBI, although he hit only .201. He led the AL with 105 walks, but also with 222 strikeouts, a new league record and one shy of the major league mark held by Mark Reynolds.

Dunn was again in a huge slump at the start of the 2013 season. On April 21st, his third home run of the year finally managed to lift his batting average above .100, but with 7 hits in 65 at-bats, he threatened to annihilate the futility marks set in 2011. Worst, he had only drawn three walks while striking out 26 times, giving him an OPS+ of only 12. He had managed to lift his average to .165 and his OPS+ to 74 on June 10th when he had a two-homer game against R.A. Dickey and the Toronto Blue Jays to lead the Sox to a 10-6 win. The first homer, in the 3rd inning, was hit in a deep fog, prompting the umpires to interrupt the game for over an hour a few minutes later; he added a second one, good for 3 runs, in the 4th inning, finishing the day 4-for-4 with 3 runs and 5 RBI. That marked the start of much better times for Dunn, as he moved his average up to .219 by the end of the year, with an OBP of .320 and a .442 slugging percentage in 149 games. He hit 34 homers and drove in 86 runs while walking 76 times (against 189 strikeouts), for an OPS+ of 103 for the last-place White Sox.

Dunn played a small non-speaking part as a bartender in the 2013 Oscar-nominated film Dallas Buyers Club; a friend and neighbor of producer Joe Newcomb, he was a financial backer of the small-budget movie and visited the set in New Orleans, LA as a result, where Newcomb insisted that a part be found for Dunn. As a native Texan and a friend of star Mathew McConaughey, he was a natural for the film set in the Lone Star state in the 1980s. When the film was an unexpected critical and popular hit, he was invited to attend the Academy Awards ceremony in early March 2014, missing a few days of spring training. On August 5th, he was asked to pitch the 9th inning of a game against the Texas Rangers in which the White Sox were being blown out, 15-0. He gave up a run on two hits and a walk, and became the pitcher with the 6th most homers in his career, behind Babe Ruth, of course, and a few other sluggers who had also made token pitching appearances during their careers. On August 31st, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics in return for minor league pitcher Nolan Sanburn; Dunn took the opportunity to announce that he would be retiring at the end of the season. He had a storybook debut with the A's, belting a two-run homer in his first at-bat on September 1st to launch the team to a 6-1 win after the team had been struggling badly since mid-August, falling out of first place in AL West. The A's did manage to clinch a postseason slot on the final day of the season, meaning Dunn would have an opportunity to get a taste of postseason ball for the first time after 2,001 games. However, he was not used when the A's lost the Wild Card Game to the Kansas City Royals in 12 innings. He confirmed his retirement the next day.

He became eligible for the Hall of Fame in its 2020 election but received only a single vote and was dropped from the ballot. He was originally signed by scout Johnny Almaraz.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2001 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
  • 2-time All-Star (2002 & 2012)
  • 2-time League Bases on Balls Leader (2008/NL & 2012/AL)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 12 (2002-2010 & 2012-2014)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 9 (2004-2010, 2012 & 2013)
  • 40-Home Run Seasons: 6 (2004-2008 & 2012)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 6 (2004, 2005 & 2007-2010)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 3 (2004, 2005 & 2007)

Records Held[edit]

  • Strikeouts, batter, left-handed, season: 222 (2012)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Andrew Mearns: "Adam Dunn's adventure on the mound was the pinnacle of position-player pitching", "Cut 4",, August 5, 2018. [1]

Related Sites[edit]