Category Archives: trivia

April Achievers – Pitchers Edition

With one month in the books, here’s a look at some of the noteworthy pitching performances for this April.

Before injury led to an abbreviated outing on the last day of the month, Noah Syndergaard had four starts with 6+ IP and nary a walk or home run allowed. That ties him with Adam Wainwright in 2013 for the longest such streak to begin a season.

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Inaugural Babies

Major League Baseball players born on the day a U.S. President was inaugurated:

–The first major leaguer born on an Inauguration Day was born on March 4, 1861, the day Abraham Lincoln was sworn in (until the mid-20th century, scheduled inaugurations usually took place on March 4). The player born that day was apparently the child of patriotic parents because they named their brand new baby after the brand new president. Abraham Lincoln Wolstenholme was born in Philadelphia, cradle of the nation. Abe Westenholme grew up to play in three games in 1883 for the brand new National League franchise in Philadelphia, which eventually became the Phillies but was then known as the Quakers. The other MLB players born on the day a U.S.president was sworn into office were: Continue reading

All I want for Christmas is …

In the spirit of the season, here’s a rundown of some of the more notable transactions occurring on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Possibly the most important Christmas signing occurred in 1964 when the woeful Kansas City A’s began putting together the pieces of a future dynasty, acquiring an undrafted 18 year-old pitcher with the unlikely name of Rollie Fingers. That 1964 season also saw the A’s debuts of Dave Duncan and Blue Moon Odom, two other teenagers who would figure prominently in the first of Oakland’s three 1970s championship seasons.

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2016 Year in Review – Records You Didn’t Hear About

Scanning baseball’s statistical leaderboards for the 2016 season will tell you the players who turned in the best or worst performances last year. But, for some context, I’ve looked at some of those leading players to consider the significance of their accomplishments over a longer period than just last season. For example, you probably weren’t aware that Bryce Harper‘s .243 batting average last year was the lowest by a player leading his league in IBB, breaking the old mark of .249 by White Sox catcher Ed Herrman in 1972.

More on last season’s statistical leaders after the jump.

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Homering in both ends of a double-header on your birthday

On August 31 of this past season, the Rockies’ Stephen Cardullo homered in both ends of a doubleheader AND it was his birthday. He’s just the 4th guy to accomplish this feat since 1913, and there’s a good chance nobody else did it before then.

Players to HR in both ends of a double header on their birthday since 1913:

Stephen Cardullo 8/31/2016
Tony Perez 5/14/1972
Joe Rudi 9/7/1970
Eddie Joost 6/5/1949

Double headers are so rare right now (the Rockies/Dodgers one this year was likely because of a rainout on a Tuesday as both games were played on a Wednesday) that it seems pretty unlikely anybody will ever again achieve this–although I would have said the same before this season 🙂

Bend Sinister

This past September 26, when Dee Gordon came to the plate as the first Marlins hitter to bat after the passing on September 25 of the team’s young star Jose Fernandez, Gordon, who bats as a left-handed batter, took the first pitch as a right-handed batter. That was done in honor of Fernandez, a righty pitcher and batter. After that first pitch from Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon, Gordon turned around and hit from his usual side, as a left-handed batter. From his normal side, Gordon promptly hit a home run off of Colon, to give Florida a lead, and the Marlins went on to win a game that was deeply haunted by the death of Fernandez the previous morning.

By a strange coincidence, Gordon’s homer as a lefty batter, coming after his first-pitch appearance from the other side of the plate, caused an all-time MLB record, specific to lefty hitters, to be tied (the record was then subsequently broken a few days later).

Here are the pitchers who have allowed, over a career, the most home runs to batters hitting from the lefty side of the plate (including both regular and post-season home runs allowed):

1. Bartolo Colon 231
2. Robin Roberts 230
3. Catfish Hunter 224
4. Jack Morris 214
5. Ferguson Jenkins 213 (or 214)
6. Bert Blyleven 206
T7. Phil Niekro and Don Sutton 203
9. Javier Vazquez 202
10. Dennis Eckersley 198

Bartolo, who himself hit a memorable home run this season (albeit as a right-handed batter), tied the all-time career HRs-allowed-to-lefties record, previously held by Robin Roberts, when he allowed the Dee Gordon homer on September 26. Colon then broke the record when he allowed another memorable homer on October 1, to Ryan Howard. It was Howard’s final HR for the Phillies, and perhaps of his career (I’m not sure Ryan Howard will find another MLB spot next season — he’s been a rather consistently sub-replacement level performer since he badly injured his Achilles tendon making the final out of Philadelphia’s 2011 post-season; the Phillies have not been back to the post-season since that play). That final homer for Howard, the record-breaker for Colon, came as the Mets sought to clinch a post-season berth on the second-to-last day of the season. Howard’s blast off Colon tied the game, and put the Mets’ post-season hopes in jeopardy, but another left-handed hitting first baseman, James Loney — owner of one of the lowest HR per PA ratios of any recent long-term first basemen — hit a homer of his own to restore the Mets lead, allowing Colon, the new all-time leader in homers allowed to lefties, to get the win and the Mets to grab a wild card spot. The Mets then went on to lose the wild card game — on a ninth-inning homer by unheralded lefty batter Conor Gillaspie.