Reading MLB reports can sometimes become confusing. You can find things like strikeouts, shutouts, and putouts. Although all these metrics have the word ‘out’ in them, you might be wondering about putout the most. So what does putout or PO mean in baseball?
A putout occurs when the fielder is the first to make contact with the ball. Then, that player completes the play by themselves to tag a baserunner with an out. At this point, the player that gets the PO credit doesn’t gain an assist point.
Therefore, what’s the difference between a PO and an assist? Also, who made the most POs in MLB history? Continue reading as you dive deeper into this topic and know the answers to these questions.
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What is a PO in Baseball?
A putout is credited to a fielder when he physically records the act of putting out a runner. He can also receive one if he is the closest to a call for interference. First basemen and catchers are typically the top-producing players when it comes to putouts. If a fielder steps on a base and tags a runner, he is not credited with an assist. However, if he makes a play on a ground ball and then throws the ball to a teammate, he is credited with an out.
Several ways exist wherein a player can get credit for a putout. Some examples are:
What is the Difference Between a PO and an Assist?
Putouts are done for the benefit of other players. An assist is done for a teammate to help them reach a putout. Furthermore, don’t confuse PO with another baseball statistic with the same abbreviated letters called pitcher only. In most cases, reports indicate PO as putouts. However, high school and college-level baseball leagues can use PO as ‘pitcher only’ in reference to players that can only play the pitching role.
Who Has the Most POs in MLB History?
Like any other sport, baseball tests the skills of athletes on the field. Therefore, it should be to no one’s surprise that some MLB players are better than others, particularly in getting putouts. The following are some of those outstanding players.
1. Jake Beckley
Jacob Peter Beckley was an American professional first baseman who played in Major League Baseball from 1888 to 1907. He hit .300 with a .409 on-base percentage in 13 seasons. He was inducted into the National Sports Hall of Fame in 1971.
After one and a half seasons with the Alleghenys, Beckley, along with eight of his teammates, jumped to the Pittsburgh Burghers in the Players’ League. The league lasted only one season and only had one team.
After being traded to the New York Giants in 1896, Beckley was released by the team on May 22, and he signed with the Cincinnati Reds the following day. He was known to use a strategy known as the hidden ball trick. When the Cincinnati Colonels faced the Louisville Colonels on September 26, 1897, Beckley hit three home runs in one game.
He retired after the 1907 season with a career total of 2,930 hits. He remains one of the most notable first basemen in the history of the game. Beckley holds the major league record for career putouts with 23,743.
2. Cap Anson
Adrian Constantine Anson was an American Major League first baseman who played for 27 seasons. He is regarded as one of the most iconic players in the history of the game. He spent most of his time with the Chicago Cubs, who later became known as the White Stockings.
His reputation as a skilled player and his participation in the segregation of professional baseball during the 19th century is widely regarded as significant factors that established racial segregation in the game. He spent his retirement living in Chicago, where he operated various businesses. While he was a player, he also managed the New York Giants. He was also nicknamed “Anson’s Colts” by his teammates.
In 1939, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame. He still holds several records with the Chicago Cubs. Today, he still holds second place for the most number of putouts in MLB history with his score of 21,695 in this category.
3. Ed Konetchy
Ed Konetchy was born in La Crosse, Wisconsin on September 3, 1885. He grew up playing baseball in the sandlots of the city. At 19 years old, he joined the La Crosse Blackhawks.
Despite the team’s first winning season in a decade, they finished fifth in the National League, with Konetchy leading the league in hits with a .324 average and eight home runs. He also led the Cardinals in doubles in four different seasons.
He was back in the National League after being released by the Boston Red Sox. He was hitting .300 with 4 home runs and 17 RBIs in his first season with the Mets. He had over 2000 hits by the end of 1920, and he was very high on the all-time leaderboard at that time. Konetchy was selected off waivers by the Philadelphia Phillies on July 4, 1921. He ended his career with 21,361 putouts.
He made his Major League debut in 1907, and he went on to have a successful career with the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1911, he and his teammates were involved in a horrific train crash that killed twelve people.
4. Eddie Murray
Not to be confused with Eddie Murphy, Eddie Clarence Murray, also known as ‘Steady Eddie’ by fans and peers, is a former MLB designated hitter and first baseman. He spent most of his career with the Baltimore Orioles. He is regarded as one of the best first basemen in the history of the game.
Murray was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003, and he is regarded as the fifth-best first base player in major league history. In 1998, he was ranked number 77 on the list of the 100 Greatest Players in Major League Baseball. He was also a finalist for the All-Century Team.
In July 2003, Murray and Carter were inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. The crowd at the ceremony was over 30,000 strong. Murray said that he never felt like he was one person, but was about the team. He told the kids that one day they would be here too. By the end of his career, Murray was able to garner 21,255 putouts.
If you want to see some great putouts, here’s a video of a compilation of some of the most notable putouts in MLB history.
A putout is recorded by touching a base before a force play, catching a fly ball, or throwing to first base. Baseball enthusiasts shouldn’t confuse the PO in putout with the ‘pitcher’s only’ tag commonly found in high school and college sports leagues. Although quite common in professional baseball, some players, like Jake Beckley, Cap Anson, and Eddie Murray, have more putouts than other athletes in MLB history.