Roger Maris – from zero intentional walks one season to four in one game – and other IBB Trivia

Maris

In 1961, the Yankees’ Roger Maris belted 61 home runs (breaking Babe Ruth’s then MLB record of 60). He also drove in a league-leading 141 runs, scored a league-leading 132 times and won his second consecutive AL Most Valuable Player Award. In addition, he drew a career-high 94 walks.  Ironically, however, 1961 was the only season in his 12-year MLB-career that Maris did not draw a single intentional walk. 

Compare that to the following season, when – On May 22, 1962 – in a 2-1, 12-inning Yankee victory over the Angels, Maris drew five walks in six trips to the plate – including an AL single-game record (later tied by the Red Sox’ Manny Ramirez) four intentional passes. In 1962, Maris drew a career-high eleven intentional passes, while putting up a .256-33-100 line.

 

Notably, when you talk intentional walks, the conversation pretty much has to focus on Barry Bonds.   Bonds holds the records for:

  • IBB in a season – 120 with the Giants in 2004. (Bonds, in fact, holds the top three spots. The first non-Barry on the list is the Giants Willie McCovey with 45.) Note: Only three players had as many total walks as Bonds had intentional walks in 2004 – Bobby Abreu, Lance Berkman, and Todd Helton (127 each). Bonds drew 232 total walks.
  • IBB in a career – 688. Second Place goes to the still active Albert Pujols of the Angels with 305 as this is written.
  • Most seasons leading the league in IBB – 12.
  • Most IBB’s in a nine-inning game – four (twice) on May 1 and September 22, 2004.

FEASTING ON FREEBEES

On May 22, 1990, RF and cleanup hitter Andre Dawson of the Cubs came to the plate eight times in a 16-inning, 2-1 Cubs win over the Reds. Dawson drew five intentional passes – the MLB record for IBB in a game. His day went like this:

  • Bottom of the first – runner on second and one out – intentional walk.
  • Bottom of the fourth – leading off – groundout to SS.
  • Bottom of the sixth – two outs and a runner on first – fly out to left.
  • Bottom of the eighth – score still 0-0, runner on third, two out – intentional walk.
  • Bottom of the 11th – runner on first, no outs – single.
  • Bottom of 12th – still 0-0, runners on first and second, two outs – intentional walk.
  • Bottom of 14th – score now 1-1, runner on second, two out – intentional walk.
  • Bottom of 16th – runners on first and third, one out – intentional walk, loading the bases. LF Dave Clark followed with a walk-off single to win the game.

Dawson, who hit .310-27-100, drew a career-high 21 intentional free passes in 1990.

A few other free pass marks:

  • Most IBB in a season in the American League – 33 by Ted Williams in 1957 and John Olerud in 1993.
  • Most IBB to a rookie – 16 to Mariners’ OF Al Davis in 1984, when he hit ..284-27-116 and was the AL Rookie of the Year.
  • Most intentional walks received by a team in a game – six, provided by the Cardinals (to the Giants) in a 5-2 loss On July 19, 1975 – with three going to number-eight hitter catcher Dave Rader. Here are the IBB’s: bottom of second to Dave Rader with a runner on second, one out and Cardinals down 2-0; bottom of third to Dave Rader, runners on second and third, two out, Cardinals down 4-2; bottom of the fifth to Dave Rader, with a runner on second, two out and the Giants up 4-2; bottom of the sixth to Bobby Murcer, with a runner on second, one out and the Giants up 4-2; bottom of the sixth to Willie Montanez, with the bases loaded, two outs and Giants still up 4-2; bottom of the eighth to Willie Montanez, with a runnr on third and one out and Giants up 4-2.
  • Six players have received intentional walks with the bases loaded: Abner Dalrymple (August 2, 1881); Nap Lajoie (May 23, 1901); Del Bissonette (May 2, 1928); Bill Nicholson (July 23, 1944); Barry (of course he did) Bonds (May 28, 1998); and Josh Hamilton (August 17, 2008).

WALKIN’ IN THE SUNSHINE

In 2004, the year he set the single-season record for intentional walks (120), Barry Bonds also set the single-season record for total walks (232). The next highest MLB walk total that season was 127.  In 2004, Bonds walked in 37.9 percent of his trips to the plate. (Notably, he only struck out 41 times in a .362-45-101 campaign.) While Bonds walked more than 100 times in a season 14 times, the only season he reached 100 strikeouts was in his rookie year (1986).  Note: The other two members of the 700+ home run club –  Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth – had zero 100 strikeout seasons between them.  Aaron also never drew 100 walks in a season, while Ruth had 12 seasons of 100+ bases on balls.

Among the references sources for this post: Baseball-Almanac.com; Baseball-Reference.com; MLB.com.

 

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Grand (Slam) Old Day at the Ballpark(s)

Albert Pujols photo

Photo by Keith Allison

It was a big day in baseball yesterday, not only did fans witness the first no-hitter of the 2017 season (the Marlins’ Edison Volquez), but major league hitters bashed a one-day record seven Grand Slams.  The four-run blasts where flying off the bats of players from A to Z (Adams to Zunino). The “Granddaddy” of those was stroked by Angels’ DH Albert Pujols in a 7-2 win over the Twins. It was Pujols’ ninth round tripper of the year, but more significantly, the 600th of his career.

All in all, it was a good day to come to the plate with the sacks full. On the day, MLB hitters made 20 plate appearances with the bases loaded – and hit a robust .579 in those situations.  The finally bases-full tally:

  • 20 plate appearances;
  • 11 hits (19 at bats) and a walk;
  • Three singles, one double and seven Grand Slams;
  • 37 total RBI in bases-loaded trips to the plate.

Here are the day’s Grand Slam contributors:

Matt Adams, 1B, Braves …. Fifth home run of the season, as the Braves beat the Red 6-5. (Adams hit a second home run later in the game.)

Ian Desmond, 1B, Rockies – His third home run of 2017, as the Rockies topped the Padres 10-1.

Albert Pujols, DH, Angels … His ninth HR of the year, as Angels win 7-2 over Twins.

Kyle Schwarber, LF, Cubs … His ninth HR, as the Cubs topped the Cardinals 5-3.

Travis Shaw, 38, Brewers … His tenth long ball, as the Brewers lost 10-8 to the Dodgers.

Chris Taylor, CF, Dodgers … His seventh, as the Dodgers beat the Brewers 10-8.

Mike Zunino, C, Mariners …. His second dinger of the season, as the Mariners topped the Rays 9-2. (Zunino had seven RBI in the game.  He had just five RBI in 33 games played going into the game.)

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Tumbling Tommy was also Tom Terrific

Tommy Lasorda photo

Photo by SD Dirk

First let me send get well wishes to Hall of Fame Dodgers’ manager Tommy Lasorda ... now recovering aty home after hsi recent pacemaker replacement.  

Today seems an appropriate day to look at Lasorda’s (continuing) baseball career, since it was on this date (May 31) in 1948 that Lasorda – then a 20-year-old southpaw in the Phillies’ system – set a new profesional record for strkeouts in a game (25).  

 

 

 

TOMMY LASORDA SETS PRO BASEBALL STRIKEOUT RECORD

In a game on May 31, 1948, 20-year-old Tommy Lasorda took the mound for the Schenectady Blue Jays as they faced off against the Amsterdam Rugmakers of the Class C Can-Am League.  The youthful southpaw made history that day – fanning 25 Rugmaker hitters in a 15-inning complete-game victory.  Lasorda gave up 10 hits, 12 walks, one hit batter and five runs over the course of the game (pitch count estimated at just shy of 300). Oh, and he also drove in the winning run with a walk-off single. Lasorda held the record for strikeouts in a single professional game until 1952, when Ron Necciai fanned 27 hitters in a nine-inning contest.  Read about that one here.

Lasorda

A 5’10, 175-pound lefty, Lasorda did make it to the major league mound – 26 appearances for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Kansas City Athletics between 1954 and 1956.  And, he got there the hard way. As John Houseman would say “He earned it.” (Now, that’s a reference that dates me. Check the Academy Award winner’s Smith Barney commercials.)

While Lasorda’s major league record was 0-4, 6.48, with 56 walks and 37 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings, his minor league performance earned him true prospect status.

In 14 minor league season, Lasorda went 136-104 overall – and 110-63 in 11 seasons at Triple A.

A few Lasorda minor league pitching factoids:

 

  • He pitched in 14 minor league seasons – eleven at Triple A.
  • His toiled in the Philies, Dodgers, Athletics and Yankees systems.
  • His best season was with the Triple A Montreal Royals (Dodgers) in 1958 (at age 30), when he went 18-6, with a 2.50 ERA – and was voted the International League’s Most Valuable Pitcher.
  • In a three-start stretch for the Schenectady Blue Jays of the Can-Am League (late May-early June 1948), Lasorda fanned 53 batters.
  • Lasorda also played winter ball in Cuba 1950-52 and 1958-60, with his best effort being 8-3, 1.89 in the 1958-59 season.
  • At Triple A, he also logged seasons of 17-8, 2.81 (1953); 14-5, 3.51 (1954); 14-5, 3.66 (1952) – all with Montreal. His career record with Montreal is 107-57.
  • His professional baseball career was  interrupted by a two-year stint in the military (1946-47).

Heart and Soul of the Dodgers

While Lasorda made his major league debut as a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers, he was made to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers.  In all or parts of 21 seasons managing the team, he not only proved himself a winner on the ball field, but also proved he could more than hold his own in a city that treasured entertainment and celebrity.

Lasorda’s managerial career was one of tirades (reporters and umpires come to mind), tackles (the Phillie Phanatic) and tumbles (after being hit by Vlad Guerrero’s flying broken bat while coaching third base during the 2001 All Star Game). It was also a career in which he became friends – and held his own –with celebrities from Frank Sinatra to Ronald Reagan to Muhammad Ali.

When Vin Scully retired, much was made of his role as the “voice” of the Dodgers.  If Scully is the Dodgers voice, Lasorda is the team’s heart and soul.

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And, it has been a career in which Lasorda (who still holds a position in the Dodgers’ front office) –  in his own words –  “bled Dodge Blue.” As the Dodgers’ Manager (1976-96), Lasorda rang up 1,599 wins (1,439 losses); two world Championships (four World Series appearances); seven NL West titles; and two NL Manager of the year Awards (1983 and 1988).

There are three types of baseball players.  Thos who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happened. 

                                                                                  Tommy Lasorda

The fact is, Lasorda was successful as a manager at every level. After he retired as a player, Lasorda began his career with the Dodgers as a scout (1961-65). In 1966, he got his first managerial assignment with the Rookie League Pocatello Chiefs, before moving on to the Ogden Dodgers – a team he led to the Pioneer League title in 1966-67-68. In 1969, it was a move up to a managerial post with the Triple A Spokane Indians and Albuquerque Dukes (the transferred Spokane team), where he led the team to the Pacific Coast League title in two of four seasons (1970 and 1972) and never finished lower than third. In eight seasons as a minor league manager, Lasorda went 501-347, won five league championships and never finished lower than third place.

I walk into a clubhouse today and it’s like walking into the Mayo Clinic. We have four doctors, three therpists and five trainers. Back when I broke in, we had one trainer who carried a bottle of rubbing alchohol – and by the seventh inning, he’d already drunk it.

                                                               Tommy Lasorda

In 1973, Lasorda moved up to the big league club, as third base coach for manager Walter Alston – becoming manager when Alston retired in September of 1976. The rest, as they say is Hall of Fame-worthy history. Note: Since retiring as manager in 1996, Lasorda has served in number of executive capacities (Senior Vice President, Special Advisor) with the Dodger Organization.

CONSISTENCY IS …  A HALL MARK OF TOMMY LASORDA

In a March 2, 2017 LA Times column, Bill Plaschke pointed out that Tommy Lasorda has spent 68 of his 89 years as part of the Dodger organization; 67 years married to wife Jo; and 65 years living in the same Fullerton, California home. Add to that the fact that in his minor and major league managerial career (32 seasons), his team finished first 40.6 percent of the time and first or second 65.6 percent of the time – and you have a record of consisent loyalty and excellence. 

Tommy Lasorda is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, International League Hall of Fame, Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame.

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The Most Produtive Strikeout Ever – Killer Fans, Twins Scamper

It was May 18, 1969 and the Twins were taking on the Tigers in Minnesota. In the third inning of that game, Twins’ slugger – and future Hall of Famer – Harmon Killebrew had what BBRT considers the most productive MLB strikeout ever. The Minnesota’s first baseman came to the plate with the Twins trailing 2-0 and runners on first and third with no one out.  The Killer struck out, yet during his at bat (without the aid of a passed ball, wild pitch, error, interference or balk), both runners scored, tying the game.   But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Starting for the Tigers was 1968 World Series MVP Mickey Lolich. Lolich had gone 17-9, 3.19 in 1968 and then 3-0, 1.67 with three complete games in the World Series.  For the 1969 season, he was 3-1, 4.41, Opposing him on the mound that day was the Twins’ Dave Boswell (10-13, 3.32 in 1968 and 4-3, 2.68 on the 1969 season.)  These two are only bit players, however, in the story of the most productive strikeout ever.

Boswell had given up two runs on six hits over the first three innings, while the Twins had gone scoreless, despite three hits and a walk in their first two innings on offense.  Then came the historic bottom of the third.

TovarTwins LF and leadoff hitter Cesar Tovar started the inning with a single. Then, with 2B (and future Hall of Famer) Rod Carew at the plate, Lolich balked on an attempted pickoff – sending Tovar to second. As Carew worked a base on balls, Tovar stole third.  That brought up the Twins’ big RBI man, Killebrew.  Lolich did bear down and fan “The Killer,” but in the course of the at bat:

  • The Twins pulled a double steal, Tovar swiping home and Carew taking second;
  • Carew stole third;
  • Carew stole home, tying the game.

So, during Killebrew’s strikeout, the Twins advanced four bases and scored two runs – without the aid of a passed ball, wild pitch, balk (that occurred in Carew’s at bat), interference or error.  In the process, they also tied the record for steals of                                                            home in an inning.

CArewI’d like to say it was surprising to see that bat taken out of the hands of the Twins most vaunted run producer as Tovar and Carew scampered around the bases.  This, however, was the era of Billy (Martin) Ball in Twinsville. That season, Tovar stole 45 bases; Rod Carew stole 19 bases, included home seven times; and even Killebrew had a career-high eight steals (as well as leading the league with 49 home runs and 140 RBI).

I’d also like to say the Twins won this contest, but they fell to the Tigers by a score of 8-2. Lolich picked up his fifth win (a complete game), lowering his ERA to 3.30; while Boswell dropped to 4-4, 3.42.

In 1969, The Twins won the AL West (lost to the Orioles in the ALCS) with a 97-65 record. They led the AL in runs scored with 790 – and were fourth in both home runs (163) and stolen bases (115). On the mound, they had the third-best team ERA at 3.24.

And, of course, they had the most productive strikeout ever.

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You Ain’s So Bad … Pete Richert’s MLB Debut – One for the Record Books

RichertFifty-five  years ago today, Dodgers’ pitcher Pete Richert made one of the most auspicious MLB debuts ever – setting a couple or records in the process.  In fact, it reminds of one of my favorite lines from the “Rocky” movies – in Rocky III, when Rocky Balboa tells Clubber Lang, “You ain’t so bad!”  That may be how Richert felt after his first couple of innings facing major league “clubbers.”

Richert – a 5’ 11”, 165-pound southpaw – at 22-years-old was already in his fifth pro-season.  He was what every team looked for – a left-hander who could bring some heat. In four full minor league seasons, Richert had gone 44-40, 3.71, with 742 strikeouts in 721 innings.

On April 12, 1962, the rookie came to the mound in the top of the second inning (in relief of starter Stan Williams) with the Dodgers trailing 4-0 and the Reds’ SS Eddie Kasko on second base.  Richert proceeded to fan the first MLB batter he ever faced (CF Vada Pinson) swinging.

Richert came out for the third inning and fanned the next four MLB batters he faced. (Richert remains the only pitcher with a rare four-strikeout inning in his MLB debut.)  It went like this: Reds’ RF Frank Robinson goes down swinging; 1B Gordy Coleman fans swinging, but reaches first on a passed ball; CF Wally Post strikes out swinging; C Johnny Edwards ends the inning by swinging at strike three.  But, Richert wasn’t done yet. 

In the top of the fourth, Richert got the sixth major leaguer to step in against jhim – Reds’ 3B Tommy Harper – on a called third strike. Ironically, it was Reds’ pitcher Joey Jay who ended Richert’s career-opening, MLB-record six straight strikeouts by grounding out to first base. Richert got the final out of the inning on another grounder, 2B Don Blasingame retired second to first.

The top of the fifth was uneventful, although it did include Richert’s seventh strikeout. The rookie hurler got Kasko on a fly to center; Pinson on a foul pop; Robinson reached on an outfield error; and Coleman fanned looking. The Dodgers then scored seven times in the bottom of the inning (during the rally Duke Snider pinch hit for Richert) and Joe Moeller replaced Richert on the mound in the sixth.

Richert’s final line – 3 1/3 innings pitched, no hits, no walks, no runs and seven strikeouts. He faced 12 batters, with two getting on via a passed ball and an error.  He threw 40 pitches – 33 strikes. He set a record for consecutive batters fanned to start a career and became the first (still only) MLB pitcher with a four-strikeout inning in his MLB debut.

Richert went on to finish the season 5-4, 3.87 (19 appearances, 12 starts), with 75 strikeouts in 81 1/3 innings. The southpaw had a 13-season MLB career – 80-73, 3.19, 51 saves and 925 whiffs in 1,165 2/3 innings.  He was primarily a starter from 1962 to 1967 and had his best years (making the All Star team) were with the Washington Senator in 1965 and 1966.  In 1966, he went 15-12, 2.60 for a Senators’ squad that finished eighth at 70-92.

In 1968, his second season with the Orioles, Richert was moved to the bullpen and did not make another start over his final seven seasons. His best year as a reliever was with the O’s in 1970, when he appeared in 50 games, won seven and lost two, racked up 13 saves and had a 1.98 ERA. That season, Richert fanned 66 batters in 54 2/3 innings. From 1968 through his final season (1974), Richert had a 30-21 record in relief, with a 2.68 ERA and 49 saves.

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Hitting for the Cycle – Past and Present

Wil Myers photo

Wil Myers – first cycle of 2017. Photo by Minda Haas Kuhlmann

Wil Myers, first baseman for the often offense-starved San Diego Padres, yesterday (April 10, 2017) hit for the cycle (single-double-triple-home run) as the Padres topped the Rockies 5-3 at Coors Field. Myers singled in the first inning, had an RBI double in the second, a solo home run in the sixth and a triple in the eighth – all part of a four-for-four, two-run, two-RBI game.  It was only the second cycle in Padres’ history (Matt Kemp, August 14, 2015 – also at Coors Field).

Myers’ was the first MLB cycle of 2017.  The last cycle was achieved by John Jaso of the Pirates on September 28 of last season (versus Cubs).

Let’s celebrate Myers’ cycle with a look at some cycle trivia.

  • On June 18, 2000, Rockies’ second baseman Mike Lansing set an MLB record by completing a cycle in just four innings. As the Rockies topped the Diamondbacks 19-2, Lansing – hitting second in the order – hit an RBI triple to right in the first inning, added a two-run home run in the bottom of the second, hit a two-run double in the bottom of the third (the Rockies scored nine times in the inning to take a 14-1 lead), and then completed the cycle with a single to right in the fourth. Lansing then struck out in the sixth, before being pinch hit for in the eighth. The Rockies won the contest 19-2.
  • Four players have hit for the cycle a record three times: Adrian Beltre (Mariners-2008, Rangers-2012 and 2015); Bob Meusel (Yankees-1921, 1922 and 1928); Babe Herman (Brooklyn Robins-1931 twice and Cubs-1933); John Reilly (Reds-1883 twice and 1890).

THE HOME RUN CYCLE – IT’S HAPPENED JUST ONCE

horne

Tyrone Horne – the only professional player to hit for the “Home Run Cycle.”

BBRT has written about this unique feat before, but it deserves repeating.  On July 27,  1998, Tyrone Horne, playing for the Double A Arkansas Travelers, became the only professional player (to date) to hit for the “Home Run Cycle” – bashing a solo, two-run, three-run and grand slam home run all in the same game (a 13-4 win over the San Antonio Mission). For full details, click here.

 

 

 

 

  • The Expos’ Tim Foli is the only player to start a cycle one day and complete it the next. On April 21, 1976, Foli collected a single, double and triple in a contest against the Cubbies that was suspended in the top of the seventh due to darkness. When play resumed the following day, Foli added an eighth-inning home run. (The Expos prevailed 12-6.)
  • Adrian Beltre has hit a record-tying three cycles – all at Arlington (twice for the hometown Rangers and once for the visiting Mariners, making him the only player to hit for the cycle in the same stadium for two different teams).
  • Four players have hit for cycle twice in the same season: John Reilly (American Association Red Stockings- 1883); Tip O’Neill (American Association St. Louis Browns-1887); Babe Herman (NL Brooklyn Robins-1931);  Aaron Hill (NL Arizona Diamondbacks-2012);
  • John Reilly (Reds) and Tip O‘Neill (St. Louis Brown Stockings, American Association) had the shortest time between cycles at just seven days. Reilly’s came on September 12 and September 19, 1883, while O’Neill’s came on April 30 and May 7, 1887. Reilly and Aaron Hill (Diamondbacks) are the only players with two cycles in the same calendar month.  Hill achieved his on June 18 and 29, 2012.
  • The longest time between cycles goes to the Royals’ George Brett (May 28, 1979 and July 25, 1990) at 11- years/58 days.
  • The youngest MLB player ever to hit for the cycle is the NY Giants’ Mel Ott (age 20, cycle on May 16, 1929).
  • The oldest player to hit for the cycle is The Angels’ Dave Winfield (age 39, cycle on June 24, 1991).
  • Three players have hit for the cycle in both the NL and AL: Bob Watson (NL Astros-1977 and AL Red Sox-1979); John Olerud (NL Mets-1997 and AL Mariners-2001); Michael Cuddyer (AL Twins-2009 and NL Rockies-2014).

THIS CYCLE WAS A STRETCH

Lou Gehrig photo

Photo by dangaken

The Yankees’ 1B Lou Gehrig actually made an out while completing a cycle. On June 25, 1934, as New York topped Chicago 13-2  at Yankee Stadium, Gehrig hit two-run home run in the first inning; a  single in the third; and a double in the sixth.

Gehrig came up needing just the triple for the cycle in the seventh and hit a smash to deep center (scoring Yankees’ CF Ben Chapman). Gehrig wasn’t satisfied with a three-bagger and was thrown out at home (8-6-2) trying for an inside the park home run – thus getting credit for the triple he needed for a cycle.

  • Fourteen players have hit for the cycle in natural order (1B-2B-3B-HR) – the most recent being the Rangers’ Gary Matthews, Jr. (September 13, 2006 versus the Tigers).
  • Just six MLB players have hit for the cycle in reverse order, the most recent being the Indians’ Rajai Davis on July 2, 2016.
  • No team has hit for the cycle more time than the Giants (25). The Marlins are the only team with zero cycles.
  • The most cycles (all MLB teams) in any given season is eight (1933 and 2009).

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Holliday Takes A Walk in the Park – Five Times

 

Yesterday (April 9, 2017), the Baltimore Orioles’ apparently decided to give New York Yankees’ Designated Hitter Matt Holliday a holiday – at least from hitting.  Holliday came to the plate five times and walked five times.  For the day, Holliday was zero-for-zero with zero runs scored and zero RBI – despite being on base five times in five plate appearances.  It was truly a Holliday “walk-in-the-park.”  Oh yes, the Bombers won 7-3.

Here’s how Holliday’s day went.

  • With two out in the top of the first Wade Miley walked Holliday – and then picked him off first for the final out.
  • With one out and Brett Gardner (who had walked) on first in the top of the third, Miley again walked Holliday, but pitched out of the jam. Baltimore up 1-0.
  • In the top of the fifth, with two outs and Aaron Hicks on second, Miley again walked Holliday – and, again, pitched out of the jam (getting Chris Carter on a groundout to shortstop).
  • With one out and no one on in the top of the seventh, the Orioles now up 3-2 and Tyler Wilson pitching, the Orioles brought in Mychal Givens to pitch to Holliday. Givens walked Holliday and then gave up a single to Chris Carter.  Givens, however, worked out of the difficulties, retiring Starlin Castro on a pop up and Chase Headley on an infield liner.
  • In the top of the ninth – game tied 3-3 – Darren O’Day came on to pitch to Holliday (leading off the inning). Surprise! Holliday walked – and was replaced by pinch-runner Jacob Ellsbury (who later scored the go ahead run.)

The Yanks scored four runs in the ninth, delivering the Orioles their first loss of the season.

Holliday’s five free passes, by the way, tied the Yankees’ record for a game, but fell one short of the MLB record of six.  The Red Sox’ Jimmie Foxx (June 16, 1938) and Walt Wilmot of the Chicago Colts (August 22, 1891) share the MLB record for a nine-inning contest. More recently, three players have drawn six walks in an extra- inning contest:  Bryce Harper, Nationals (in a 13-inning game versus the Cubs on May 8, 2016); Jeff Bagwell, Astros (in a 16-inning contest versus the Marlins on August 20, 1999); and Andre Thorton, Indians (in a 16-inning game versus the Orioles on May 2, 1984).

A few other bases on ball tidbits:

  • Only twice has an MLB player totaled eight free passes in a doubleheader. (Remember those?)  Max Bishop did it for the Philadelphia Athletics (playing 2B and leading off versus the Yankees) on May 21, 1930 and again on July 8, 1934 (playing against the Athletics; at 2B and leading off for the Red Sox).
Max "Camera Eye" Bishop

Max “Camera Eye” Bishop

Max Bishop – whose nickname was appropriately “Camera Eye” – drew 1,153 walks in 1,338 MLB games (over 12 seasons). While he led his league in walks only once (128 in 1929), Bishop topped 100 free passes in seven seasons. Bishop averaged one walk every five plate appearances for his career – helping translate a .271 batting average into a .423 on base percentage.  The only player with a higher percentage of walks per plate appearance than Bishop is Ted Williams.  Note: BBRT found a discrepancy in searching out Bishop’s walk totals.  Sources differ on his overall total (1,153 or 1,156), due to disagreement on his 1928 total – some sources list it as 97 walks, others as 100. I am continuing to dig into this, as the three walk difference in 1928 does make a difference.  With them, Bishop has eight straight 100 or more walk seasons, giving him a share of the MLB record.

  • The MLB career leaders for walks drawn is Barry Bonds, with 2,558 (in 22 seasons). Bonds also holds the single-season record at 232 (in 2004) and, in fact, the top three season totals. Bonds also holds the records for consecutive seasons leading his league (five – 2000-2004); total seasons leading his league (12 – 1992, 1994-97, 2000-04, 2006-07); and total seasons of 100 or more walks (14).
  • The most consecutive walks received by a hitter is seven. Notably, in the NL, all three players to accomplish this played for the Giants: Mel Ott (June 16-18, 1943); Eddie Stanky (August 28-29, 1950); and Barry Bonds (September 14-26, 2004).  In the AL, it was Billy Rogell (Tigers – August 17-19, 1938) and Jose Canseco (A’s – August 4-5, 1992).

WHICH OF THESE IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER ONES?

Only four players have drawn 2,000+ career walks: Barry Bonds (2,558); Rickey Henderson ((2,190); Babe Ruth (2,062); and Ted Williams (2,012).  Of these Rickey Henderson is the outlier – the only right-handed hitter and the only one of the four with less than 500 home runs (297).

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Highest Attendance Ever at a Game Between MLB Teams

On this day (March 29) in 2008, a record 115,300 baseball fans attended an exhibition game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox at the  Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.  (Still the largest crowd for a game between two MLB teams). The game, which raised more than $1 million for the Dodgers’ “Think Cure!” cancer research charity, celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Dodgers’ 1958 move from Brooklyn to LA.  The Dodgers played in the Coliseum from 1958 to 1961. (Dodger Stadium at Chavez Ravine opened in 1962.)

Note: While the newly transferred LA Dodgers awaited the 1962 completion of Dodger Stadium, they had a trio of potential sites for regular season games: LA’s Wrigley Field (most famous as the site of the Home Run Derby television series); the Rose Bowl; and the Coliseum.

The site of the March 29, 2008 game (and the Dodgers’ first four Los Angeles seasons), the Coliseum was originally built in 1923 primarily as a football stadium (also hosted Olympic events in 1932 and 1984).   The oval-shaped Coliseum proved difficult to transform into a baseball park.  The Dodgers ended up with: a VERY short left field porch (250-feet down the line, topped with a 40-foot-high screen);  320-feet to the left-center alley;  425-feet to center; a VERY deep 440-feet to right center; a right-field fence angling sharply to a  300-foot right field line.  BBRT note: For the 2008 exhibition game, left field – adorned with a sixty-foot-high fence –  was just 201 feet from the batters’ box.

By the way, for those who are interested in such things, the Red Sox won that March 29, 2008 game 7-4. Tim Wakefield started and threw five shutout innings, supported by a pair of Kevins – catcher Kevin Cash hit a three-run homer and first baseman Kevin Youkilis hit a two-run shot. For the Dodgers, Esteban Loiaza took the loss (five runs, two earned, in three innings) and first baseman James Loney hit a solo shot.

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Baseball Stocking Stuffers – Gene Rye, John Schuerholz and Mickey Mantle

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Happy Holidays to all!  To kick of the season, BBRT is providing an alternative to the usual in-depth posts found here. Instead I am posting are a trio of stocking stuffers focusing on the most powerful one-inning display of batsmanship ever (Gene Rye); the Today’s Game Era Hall of Fame ballot (John Schuerholz, Bud Selig); and my favorite comic book (Mickey Mantle).

ONE POWERFUL INNING

Gene Rye. Photo: Society for American Baseball Research.

Gene Rye. Photo: Society for American Baseball Research.

Boston Red Sox outfielder Gene Rye came by his nickname naturally – the 5’ 6”, 165-pounder was known around baseball as “Half Pint.”  However, for one inning of one game, this small-of-stature ballplayer carried professional baseball’s biggest and most powerful bat.  On August 6, 1930, playing for the Class A Texas League Waco Cubs (against the Beaumont Exporters), Rye became the first (and still only) professional ballplayer to hit three home runs in a single inning.

It came about in the bottom of the eighth inning – which opened with Waco trailing Beaumont 6-2 and Rye leading off.  The left-handed swinging Rye took Gerald Mallet deep to left for a solo round tripper.  That blast sparked the Waco offense and the team batted around – bringing Rye to the plate for a second time in the frame, now facing reliever Walter Newman with Waco up 9-6 and two men on base. Rye upped the lead to 12-6, this time pulling the ball over the right field fence.   Beaumont may have decided the game was out of reach because Newman was still on the mound when Rye came up for a third time in the inning – with the bases loaded. In his third at bat of the inning, Rye again pulled the ball over the right field wall for a Grand Slam. By the time the inning was over, Waco had scored 18 runs and held at 20-6 lead. (They would eventually win 20-7.)  Gene “Half Pint” Rye (whose real name was Eugene Mercantelli) had set the professional records for home runs (3), total bases (12) and RBI (8) in an inning.  Rye still holds all three records – although the RBI record for an inning has since been tied by:  Ken Myers of the Class C (Sunset League) Las Vegas Wranglers on May 2, 1947; Armando Flores of the 1952 Class B (Gulf Coast League) Laredo Apaches on June 25, 1953; Lance Junker of the Class A (California League) Redwood Pioneers on June 30, 1983; and, at the Major League level, Fernando Tatis of the Cardinals on April 23, 1999.  All four of these players tied the single-inning RBI mark by virtue of two Grand Slams in the inning.

Rye, who began his professional baseball career in 1925 (at age 18), had been on the rise when he fashioned his record-setting inning. In 1928, he hit .289 with 12 home runs for Winston-Salem in the Class C Piedmont League. In 1929, he moved up to the Class A Waco squad and  hit .284, with 19 round trippers.  In 1930 – the season of his three-homer inning – the 24-year-old Rye hit .367 with 26 home runs.

Not surprisingly, Rye’s emerging power attracted interest at baseball’s highest level.  In 1930, Half-Pint Rye found himself playing for the Boston Red Sox. However, a broken wrist in Spring Training limited his effectiveness and he played in only 17 games (.179 average with no home runs and one RBI) before being sent to the minors in June. He played in the minors until 1936, but never made it back to the major leagues.

BBRT note:  In his big inning, Rye nearly hit for the “Home Run Cycle” – a solo, two-run, three-run and Grand Slam homer.  Only once player – Tyrone Horne – had his for the Home Run cycle in a single game.  You can read that story here.

BBRT on the Today’s Game Era Hall of Fame Ballot

John Schuerholz - unanimous selection on BB HOF Today's Game ballot. Photo by The SABR Office

John Schuerholz – unanimous selection on BB HOF Today’s Game ballot. Photo by The SABR Office

BBRT was two-for-three in predicting electees on the Today’s Game Era Hall of Fame ballot.  BBRT predicted three of the ten candidates would get the necessary 75 percent support: Executives John Schuerholz and Bud Selig, and manager Lou Piniella. Schuerholz and Selig made it. Piniella finished third in the voting, but received only seven of the 12 votes necessary. You can read BBRT’s take on the entire list of candidates here. 

As far as the results. Schuerholz – with his fine work with the Royals and (especially) the Braves was an easy pick.  Like many “old-schoolers,” I had reservations about Selig (especially given how his contraction talked affected Minnesota), but MLB did flourish (and work through some tough challenges) during his tenure as commissioner.  I also thought Piniella’ 23 managerial seasons, 1,835 wins and three Manager of the Year Awards should have earned him at least 75 percent support. (Piniella has the 14th most managerial wins in MLB history. Thirteen of the 14 managers ahead of him are in the Hall of Fame – as well as a host of those who trail him.  Looking to recent history, for example, Piniella has 236 more wins than Tommy Lasorda, 264 more than Dick Williams, and 355 more than Earl Weaver.

Note: For BBRT’s take on the traditional BBWAA player HOF ballot (results announced next month), click here.

My Favorite Comic Book

mantlec1Twenty-five years ago this month (December 1991), Magnum Comics released the first issue of Mickey Mantle Comics – dedicated to exploring the life (in comic book form) of this Yankee icon. The comic book also included a section on the Boston Braves’ “Super-Sub” Sibby Sisti, as well as Mantle and Sisti commemorative post cards. On its inside back cover, Magnum Comics previewed upcoming issues on Brooks Robinson and Duke Snider.mantle2

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Member: Society for American Baseball Research (SABR); The Baseball Reliquary; Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

World Series Game Three Wrap Up A Little Late

Baseball Roundtable Game Three Wrap Up will be posted early- to mid-afternoon.  Have to attend the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Halsey Hall Chapter Meeting (9 a.m.-lunch). Will be posting on Terry Francona’s ability to consistently “pull the right lever,” key moments in Game Three, Cleveland’s bullpen, wild fans in Cleveland and Chicago,  Jose Altuve’s Player of the Year Award, the Cubs’ last World Series Championship (Ty Cobb on one side and Tinker-to Evers-to Chance on the other). Stop in at BBRT before the game.