Richardson Games Should Be in the Hall of Fame

blaseball bat

By: Paradox (Isaac)#7795

Introduction

Richardson Games is one of the most Blaseball players ever.  At one point in time, they had the highest natural star count for any stat.  There is a lot that you can say about them, and a lot of reasons that you should consider voting them into the Hall of Fame. 

But if you know me, you know there’s one thing that I’m obsessed with in Blaseball more than anything else.  More than Snyder Briggs, more than Simba Davis, more than Yeet Bright Day.  My Blaseball obsession… RGSOTS.

RGSOTS stands for “Richardson Games scores on the sacrifice.”  It was the text that would flash upon the screen whenever Richardson Games was on third base and reached home via tagging up after a ground out or fly out.  When I started watching Blaseball in Season 9, I noticed that it was something that happened fairly often, so I began to make a meme of it, and other Shoe Thief fans followed suit.  Soon, RGSOTS was known team-wide.  After the Grand Siesta, the wording of it changed to spite me, but the acronym stuck around.  At some point during the Grand Siesta, I started to keep a spreadsheet of all eligible situations and the outcomes of them.  

Does this matter?  No, not really.  Richardson gets to be on third base a lot because they’re fast, but whether or not they score in those situations is very rarely up to them and more up to the batter.  Will this argument help convince you to vote them into the hall of fame?  I hope so, but it’s more so a fun analysis than a serious statistical analysis.  But I’m going to share with you some of my favorite parts of this chart, because Richardson Games is on the ballot and I don’t get enough chances to share this spreadsheet around.  

For reference, the full spreadsheet can be found here.

The Basics

So to start, let me explain the color coding.  There are 19 possible outcomes for a RGSOTS-E (Richardson Games scores on the sacrifice eligible) situation.  They can be broadly broken down into four categories: a score with no out, a score with an out (aka a sacrifice), no score with an out, and no score with no out.  The breakdown can be seen below:

Green is the best, but Yellow is where the meme is at.

As you can see here, if there is a RGSOTS-E situation, Richardson scores 64.3% of the time.  This shows that if they can get in these situations, they can really help contribute to their team winning.  Famously, the only run the Shoe Thieves scored on Season 9 Day X against The Shelled One’s PODS was a RGSOTS.

If we take a further look at the sections, we can see the breakdown a bit clearer.  The green section is almost always hits, broken down into singles, doubles, triples, and home runs.  Quadruples are technically possible in seasons and games with the fifth base, but it hasn’t happened as far as I’m aware.  In this category as well are the bases loaded walk, which forces Richardson Games home, and the ever exciting steal home, the only time Richardson gets to actively impact their ability to score.  

In yellow, we have the four categories of sacrifice.  Fly balls and ground balls are the most common.  If there is a player on first base, then two additional options are unlocked.  The fielders can throw out the player running to second for a Fielder’s Choice, or they can get both the runner at second and the hitter running to first for the extremely rare Grounded into a double play sacrifice.  This, of course, is only possible with 0 outs in the inning, as a double play with 1 out would end the inning.  

In red, you can see the seven results that lead to an out without Richardson Games scoring.  The most puzzling to me are always the Flyout and ground out without a score.  There must be reasons why Games isn’t able to score in these scenarios, but I haven’t been able to discern anything specific. Similarly are the Fielder’s Choice and GIDP without a score, though the latter can be explained if there is 1 out.  Then, the two most devastating outcomes, the strikeouts, swinging and looking.  These make up a majority of the outs without scores, because there’s no way that Richardson has a chance to even do anything.  The final possibility is when Richardson gets caught stealing home.  

The blue section is reserved for no score, no out.  The only time this ever happens is when a non-bases loaded walk occurs.  There are theoretically other possibilities, such as a Hit-by-pitch, but none have ever occurred.  

Every category has it’s popular options; singles, Sac bunts/flies, and strikeouts alone make up 65.1% of all outcomes

The two charts above represent all 832 RGSOTS-E situations from season 3 to season 24.  Seasons 1 and 2 are unavailable due to reblase not having recordings of games from those seasons.  This information can be broken down in a number of ways, and I’d like to go through a few of those now to point out some interesting trends.  Some of these matter, most of these don’t.

Seasons

First, the season breakdown.  This shows how many situations there are in each season.  There are a number of trends that you can immediately see from this graph.  First, you can see the result of Richardson Games getting the grappling hook item in the Season 4 Elections. From Seasons 5 through 11, the number of RGSOTS-E situations were always greater than the number in Season 3, thanks in large part to Richardson’s baserunning being maxed out due to the item. 

Additionally, there were 0 situations in both Seasons 19 and 20.  This is because of the infamous Reverb that occurred in Season 18, often called the Gameswap, where Richardson and Cornelius Games were swapped in Reverb weather, becoming a pitcher and batter respectively.  You cannot have a RGSOTS-E situation if Richardson is a pitcher, and they wouldn’t see the batters box again until Season 21.

A very stark mountain and valley.

Another interesting breakdown can be seen in the general results for each season.  You can see the rise in walks in Seasons 10 and 11, thanks to the Shoe Thieves gaining the Flinch mod, forcing them to take more pitches in general.  This also explains the decline in hits and sacrifices from the championship Season 9 to Season 10.  You also can identify the ruthlessness meta creepin’ in with the low amount of walks from Season 14 onwards (sans Season 16).  The high number of outs compared to sacrifices and hits from Seasons 14 to 17 also reflect this; though this chart doesn’t show the complete breakdown, the majority of the outs in these seasons are from strikeouts.

That season 9 spike is the Shoe Thieves’ only championship.  RGSOTS wins titles confirmed.

Batters

We’ll get back to things that matter in a bit, but I want to point out some less useful charts first.  Here’s a breakdown of who is actually at the plate during these situations:

The result of nearly 15 seasons without a change to the top of the lineup.

Because the Charleston Shoe Thieves never experienced a Reverb for most of their history, the vast majority of these plate appearances are held by Velasquez Alstott and Simon Haley, the first and second hitters to bat after Richardson Games, respectively.  Stu Trololol represents the third player to bat after Richardson, and thus, the bases are usually loaded when she get a chance to bat in an RGSOTS-E situation. 

Lachlan Shelton was Feedbacked for Simon Haley in season 8, explaining his 4th place position on this chart.  But there are so many names on this list with only one or two situations.  What’s the reason for that?  Why, ghosts of course!  Later in the Expansion Era, Velasquez Alstott had their Flinch modification rerolled into Haunted, which occasionally had dead players take plate appearances instead of that player.  By my count, this happened 20 times over the course of Richardson’s career.  The only player to have at bats in RGSOTS-E situations while both alive and dead is Winnie McCall, who batted after Richardson when he was on the Millenials, and got one plate appearance in Season 17, after their incineration late in Season 16.

Vela is worth a slightly deeper look.  In Seasons 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, and 13, they appeared on either the sacrifice flies or sacrifice bunts leaderboard for the season.  For Season 13 in particular, they appeared on both leaderboards, taking the sole top spot for sac flies.  While hitting a sacrifice isn’t always seen as a great thing, especially when a hit is possible, I want to personally thank Vela for helping immensely with the creation of this meme.  Without their bat, RGSOTS and this spreadsheet might not exist.

Twofer at work

Teams

There’s not a ton to say on the Teams front.  The Yellowstone Magic and Hawai’i Fridays top the list, having played in the same division as the Shoe Thieves for every season except the map-driven Season 24.  However, despite being an original team, there has never been an RGSOTS-E situation against the Hellmouth Sunbeams.  The short lived Carolina Queens have 12 situations in six games, and even the Oxford Paws have had one.  A large part of this has to do with the Shoe Thieves and Sunbeams just not playing each other often; they are in opposite divisions, after all.  Hopefully we’ll get to see Dickson on third against the sunbeams when Blaseball returns.

Pitchers

There have been a total of 164 pitchers that have ever faced a batter in an RGSOTS-E situation.  Of those 164, only 25 have been in ten or more situations.

This is completely unreadable.

There are few very interesting pitchers that we can take a short dive into.  Topping the list is Cory Twelve, responsible for 10% of all non-bases loaded walks all by themselves.

Almost all of these were before Cory Twelve got good.

Another long time magic pitcher, and eventual teammate Inky Rutledge comes in at 2nd on this list, and has given up over 20% of all home runs in RGSOTS-E situations:

A normal human distribution for a normal human pitcher.

Nicholas Mora is the only pitcher on this list to have given up a complete cycle in RGSOTS-E situations:

More like Nicholas More-a hits amirite

Evelton McBlase is arguably the greatest pitcher in RGSOTS-E situations.  Their out-no-score rate is 50%, and they’ve never let a batter beat him without recording an out.

This is what peak performance looks like

Defense

For the entire Discipline Era, fielders were not named for sacrifice plays, only on fly outs and ground outs without a score.  So we only have 19 players that were able to record an out in this era without Dickson scoring.  My initial desire to create this spreadsheet was to try and find a reason why RGSOTS happened so often.  Was it something with Vela’s hitting stats?  Richardson’s baserunning?  Or maybe the individual player’s or team’s defensive numbers? 

I ended up not looking into this as deeply as I would have liked; diving deep into the Forbidden Knowledge stats for each of these possibilities would have been a monumental task, and not long after, the Blaseball community was able to discover the purposes of most of the stats anyways.  But if you ever want to take the dive for yourself, the information is there.

Odd One Out

OK, so earlier I stated that there were 19 possibilities for what happens in an RGSOTS-E situation, but I only described 18.  That’s because there was one instance of an out recorded while the game blipped.  On Day 86 of Season 4, in the bottom of the 8th inning, Stu Trololol faced off against San Francisco Lovers pitcher Milo Brown with 0 outs and the bases loaded.  This was a not-uncommon occurrence in the early Discipline Era of Blaseball; the game lags, and a specific play is skipped, not shown on the Feed. 

Back then, I was doing all of this research manually by hand, going through each individual game.  When I was looking for the outcome of this particular situation, I encountered this blip.  This had only happened one other time in all 832 situations, but due to context clues, I figured out that that situation ended in a single.  There are any number of ways for an out to be recorded, so this out may forever remain a mystery.  Worry not, however, as Sebastian Woodman was able to draw a walk immediately after, sending Dickson home.

This at-bat will forever haunt me

Clutch

Finally, we arrive at Hall of Fame consideration again.  While doing this research and analysis, I wanted to see how important these RGSOTS-E situations really were.  So I came up with some criteria for what could be considered a “clutch game.” The criteria for such a game are as follows:

  • Any game where RG’s team won or lost by the number of runs equal to the number of RGSOTS-E situations in that game (unless RG scored in all situations and their team still lost, or if they didn’t score and they still won).
  • Any game that went to extra innings in which there was an RGSOTSE situation before extra innings occurred.
  • Any games with RGSOTSE situations in extra innings.
  • If Sun 2 or Black Hole was activated, the situation will only be significant if the number of RGSOTE situations directly caused the activation.

Overall, this gave me about 139 games in which the number of RGSOTS-E situations really mattered and impacted the outcome of the game.  For the purpose of this section, walks without scores were ignored.  I’ve organized those games into a few categories:

This graph features gray and purple, oooooh

38.8% of the time, successful scores in RGSOTS-E situations directly cause Richardson’s team to win.  In another 25.9% of situations, a score forced the game into extras.  That means in 64.7% of all clutch games, Richardson created a positive outcome by scoring in RGSOTS-E situations.  That translates to 90 entire games. 

Now, it’s unfair to say that Richardson is the only reason that these games went to extras or won, but it’s a significant number to consider, especially when compared to their career Wins above Tokyo (WhAT) of 39.796, which while impressive, isn’t among the elite batters in league history.

There’s our guy

Unfortunately, the rest of the pie is a bit more complicated to understand.  In orange, we have the “Would have prevented extras” category.  These represent games where there was at least one non-score in an RGSOTS-E situation, where if there had been a score, Richardson’s team would have won outright and extra innings would not have been required. 

This doesn’t mean that all of those games were losses, but it means that the games could have been decided without the need for any additional innings.  And in red, we have situations where the games were lost.  In successful scoring situations, Richardson’s runs could have been enough to force extras or even win these games, however in these games he was unable to make that happen.

Then we have the fun ones.  First up is the “Non-winning run in extra innings”.  There have only been five of these situations recorded, and most were slightly different.  The first was a sacrifice fly from Velasquez Alstott in the top of the tenth inning on Day 64 of Season 5, but the Shoe Thieves had already recorded the run they needed to win the game.  Just 11 games later, another Vela sacrifice in the top of the tenth, a bunt this time, was not enough to prevent the Dallas Steaks from shaming the Shoe Thieves in the bottom of the tenth off of a three-run August Mina triple. 

On Day 61 of Season 11, a Simon Haley homerun caused the difference, however Richardson’s run didn’t contribute to the winning difference.  Similarly on Day 39 of Season 12, a Velasquez Alstott sacrifice bunt occurred after the Pies had already been shamed.  And in Season 17, Richardson did score in the bottom of the 11th, but it was only enough to stay alive until the Georgias were shamed in the bottom of the 17th.  

Then we have the “Contributed to Sun 2 / Black Hole”.  These runs brought the Shoe Thieves’ total number of runs to 10 in Sun 2 or Black Hole weather, causing the activation.  This happened four times in total, with two Sun 2’s and two Black Holes.  There’s also an interesting 5th addition to this list, when on Season 17 Day 24, the Hades Tigers activated the Black Hole, eating ten of their runs and leaving them with a final score of 0.4.  However, Richardson’s score in the 1st was the Shoe Thieves only run, giving them the technical win on the day.

God I love Blaseball

Finally, the “Non-score in extra innings” is pretty obvious; it details a situation in which there was an RGSOTS-E situation in extra innings, but where Richardson failed to score.  This has only ever happened four times: a Velasquez Alstott flyout in the bottom of the 10th inning on Season 14 Day 59, and back-to-back strikeouts from ghost Case Sports and Simon Haley in the bottom of the 10th on Season 17 Day 82. 

The Thieves would go on to win the former of these games and lose the latter, however it should be noted that in that latter game, a sacrifice bunt from ghost Hendricks Ragnel was the reason that the game went into extras in the first place.  Finally, on Season 23, day 49, Richardson Games hit a game-winning double in the 11th, making Conner Haley’s strikeout later in the inning irrelevant for the outcome of the game.

Conclusion

In the grand scheme of things, none of this really matters.  Richardson Games was a phenomenal player for many reasons.  Their baserunning and stealing was widely known, and they may be the player that proved that “defense is real” more than any other.  But despite all of the moments inside and out of the game, the one thing I will remember Richardson Games the most for is scoring on the sacrifice. 

I’m hoping that you will remember them too when it’s time to submit your ballot for the Hall of Fame.

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