CONTENTS

HR in First ML AB

Ott Oddities

Franchises with Zero No-Hitters

Consecutive Almost No-Hitters

Perfect Game Drought

Double Culprit

Unique Four-Bagger

Brief Record

2 HRs in 3,372 AB

Same WP/LP Both Ends of DH

 

Odd Baseball Facts - I

Odd Baseball Facts - II

Odd Baseball Facts - III

Odd Baseball Facts - IV

Odd Baseball Facts - VI

Odd Baseball Facts - VII

Odd Baseball Facts - VIII

Odd Baseball Facts - IX

 

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Odd Baseball Facts Archive – V
HR in First ML AB
Jordan Schafer, Braves
Jordan Schafer

Consider what happened in the Atlanta Braves opening games of the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

  • April 5, 2009: CF Jordan Schafer hit a HR in his first ML at-bat for the Braves against the Phillies in the top of the second inning off LHP Brett Myers. Schafer also singled and walked in the 4-1 Atlanta victory. Jordan hit one round-tripper in 49 more games that season. He did not make the 2010 roster.
  • Exactly a year later, April 5, 2010, RF Jason Heyward whacked a four-bagger in his first ML AB for the Braves against the Cubs in Atlanta. Heyward's dinger came with two on in the 2nd inning off Carlos Zambrano. Jason also singled in a run in the 8th as part of the 16-5 Atlanta romp.

The Braves thus became the first team in MLB history to have a player hit a homer in his first big league at-bat in consecutive seasons on opening day.

Jason Heyward, Braves
Jason Heyward
Ott Oddities

Without a doubt, the finest baseball player to come out of the New Orleans area (Gretna LA to be precise) was Hall-of-Famer Mel Ott, who played his entire 22-year career with the New York Giants.

  • Mel hit his first HR at age 18 in 1927, an inside-the-park job at the Polo Grounds. He would hit 510 more to retire as the NL record-holder. However, he slammed only one more insider-the-parker despite playing all home games at the Polo Grounds with its spacious CF.
  • Ott died tragically in an automobile accident on November 21, 1959 at age 49 in New Orleans. He is buried in Metairie Cemetery in the Crescent City. His longtime teammate and fellow enshrinee at Cooperstown, P Carl Hubbell, was killed 29 years later in Scottsdale AZ, also in a car accident. The date? November 21. Spooky.

Reference: "Teenager Mel Ott Becomes a Star," Craig R. Wright, BaseballsPast.com

Mel Ott, NY Giants
Mel Ott
Franchises with Zero No-Hitters
Jamie Garza, Tampa Bay Rays
Matt Garza
Entering the 2010 season, three ML franchises had never had one of their pitchers throw a no-hitter. The year in parentheses is the club's first in the big leagues.
  • New York Mets (1962)
  • San Diego Padres (1969)
  • Tampa Bay Rays (1998)

The Rays lost their place on the list July 26 when Matt Garza set down the Detroit Tigers without a hit. So consider these facts relative to the other two teams.

  • The Florida Marlins joined the NL in 1993, 31 years after the Mets. Yet in less than 20 years, that franchise has four no-hitters.
  • The Houston Astros, who entered the Senior Circuit with the Mets in 1962, have twirled 10 no-hitters.
  • San Diego's expansion companions in 1969 were the Montreal Expos, now the Washington Nationals. That franchise boasts four no-hitters.
Addenda:
  1. The Mets finally ended their 8,020-game no-hitter drought in 2012 when Johan Santana tossed one against the Cardinals.
  2. It's still true heading into the 2014 season that the Padres' next no-hitter will be their first.
Consecutive Almost No-Hitters
Dave Stieb of the Toronto Blue Jays came oh-so-close to a no hitter three times before finally getting one.
  • September 24, 1988: Stieb was one strike away from a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians when Julio Franco singled. Stieb walked two batters, one of whom was retired trying steal second while the other was erased in a DP.
  • In his next start, September 30, Dave again had two outs in the ninth when Jim Traber of the Orioles spoiled the no-hit bid with a single. In this game, Stieb issued one walk and hit a batter, but both runners were retired on twin-killings. Dave finished the season 16-8.
  • On August 4, 1989, Stieb was one out from perfect game when Roberto Kelly of the Yankees doubled.
  • In 1990, Stieb finally got his no-no when he beat the Indians on September 2. His gem remains the only no-hitter in Blue Jays history. He went 18-6 that year with a 2.93 ERA.

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Dave Stieb
Dave Stieb
Perfect Game Drought
Don Larsen
Don Larsen

Roy Halladay's no-hitter in the 2010 post-season brought renewed attention to Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series.

Roy Halladay
Roy Halladay
  • Larsen's was the first perfecto in the major leagues since Charlie Robertson of the White Sox threw one against Detroit in 1922.
  • The AL drought of 34 years pales in comparison to the National League's. After two perfect games in 1880, the senior circuit went without one until June 21, 1964 when Jim Bunning of the Phillies retired all 27 batters against the Mets.
  • Since Larsen's and Bunning's masterpieces, the longest stretches without a perfect game in the two leagues have been 23 years in the NL (1965-1988) and 13 years in the Junior Circuit (1968-1981).
Jim Bunning
Jim Bunning
Double Culprit

 

Bob Feller
Bob Feller

Bobby Doerr
Bobby Doerr

Bob Feller pitched three no-hitters and 12 one-hitters during his illustrious career with the Cleveland Indians. The 12 one-hitters ties him with Nolan Ryan for the most in baseball history.

On two occasions, the lone hit in one of Feller's gems was surrendered to the same player. Furthermore, the singles came in the same inning in each game.

  • May 25, 1939: Bobby Doerr, Boston Red Sox 2B, got a "fluky handle hit" in the second inning for the only safety off the 20-year-old P. The Indians romped 11-0 before a Thursday crowd of 5,600. Feller struck out 10 and walked 5.
  • July 31, 1946: Doerr again singled in the second inning, this time in Cleveland at League Park. The Red Sox had scored a run without a hit in the first inning. Feller whacked a two-run triple in the 2nd inning to spark the 4-1 victory. Rapid Robert fanned nine to run his season's total to 239 on his way to a record 348 Ks. This masterpiece tied Feller with Addie Joss for most one-hitters in history with nine.

The tie with Joss lasted all of eight days.

  • On August 8, 1946, Feller one-hit the White Sox at Comiskey Park.
  • The sole bingle again came in the second inning off the bat of C Frankie Hayes.

Feller's 12th and last one-hitter was perhaps the most frustrating.

  • It occurred on April 23, 1952, against the Browns in St. Louis.
  • Rookie LF Jim Fridley played LF that night. In the first inning, Bobby Young sliced a fly toward the LF line. Fridley broke the wrong way before righting himself, but the ball sailed over his head for a triple.
  • The next batter, Marty Marion, drove in Young with a grounder that 3B Al Rosen muffed.
  • Left-hander Bob "Sugar" Cain also fired a one-hitter, a single by Luke Easter in the fifth inning, but prevented the Indians from scoring.
  • It was only the third double one-hitter in ML history and the second ever in the AL.
Bob Cain, Browns
Bob "Sugar" Cain
Unique Four-Bagger
Hoyt Wilhelm, Giants
Hoyt Wilhelm
Hoyt Wilhelm was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1985. He was best known for his knuckleball, which helped him compile 143 victories and 227 saves during his 21-year ML career. There are several odd facts associated with him.
  • On Saturday, September 20, 1958, Hoyt started against the New York Yankees on a drizzly afternoon at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. Wilhelm not only won his third game against 10 losses but no-hit the Bronx Bombers.
  • The losing pitcher, who did not allow a run until the 7th, was Don Larsen, a former Oriole who two years earlier had pitched a perfect game in the World Series.
  • The Yankees would not be no-hit again until 2003, when six Astros P shut them down.

The oddest fact about Wilhelm takes us back to the start of his career.

  • In his second big league game on April 23, 1952, Hoyt made his first appearance as a batter for the New York Giants.
  • Facing another rookie, Dick Hoover of the Boston Braves, Wilhelm sliced a HR over the short RF fence at the Polo Grounds.
  • He came to the plate another 431 times in his career and never whacked another round-tripper.
Brief Record
Bob Feller
Bob Feller

In 1946, Bob Feller thought he had broken a long-standing major league record only to learn in the off-season that he hadn't.

  • The record was Rube Waddell's major league mark of 343 strikeouts set in the 1904 season for the Philadelphia Athletics.
  • The closest anyone came in the next 41 years was Walter Johnson's 313 in 1910.
  • In his first year back with the Cleveland Indians after serving four years in the military, Feller fanned 348. Manager Lou Boudreau gave his ace every opportunity to surpass Rube, with extra starts and relief appearances. Feller was so intent to breaking the record that he chastised hitters he felt were deliberately trying to avoid striking out.
  • After the season ended, baseball statisticians combed the 1904 box scores and determined that Waddell's correct count was 349, keeping him one ahead of Rapid Robert.
  • Sandy Koufax of the Los Angeles Dodgers finally broke Rube's record in 1965 with 382 Ks.

Another odd fact about Feller's career is this.

  • His mother watched her son pitch in the big leagues for the first time on May 14, 1939.
  • Chicago 3B Marv Owen fouled a pitch into the stands that knocked her unconscious. She recovered but had to have stitches.
Rube Waddell
Rube Waddell
Two HRs in 3,372 AB
Johnny Cooney played in the major leagues from 1921-1944.
  • He pitched for the Boston Braves through 1930, also playing a few games at 1B and the OF.
  • After toiling in the minors from 1931-4, Johnny came back to the NL with Brooklyn primarily as an OF.
  • Cooney returned to Boston from 1938-42, then played with the Dodgers again in 1943-4 before finishing with a brief stint with the Yankees in 1944. He retired at age 43.

Cooney didn't hit a HR until the 1939 season at age 38.

  • Johnny smacked a four-bagger on September 24, 1939.
  • He proceeded to double his career HR output the very next day.
  • Cooney garnered no more round-trippers in his career a total of 3,372 AB over 20 years.
Johnny Cooney
Johnny Cooney
Same WP/LP in Both Ends of Doubleheader
On Friday, July 16, 1937, the 8th (last) place Philadelphia Phillies hosted the 3rd place St. Louis Cardinals at Baker Bowl.
  • Phils RHP Bucky Walters, fresh off a 4-hit shutout of the Boston Bees (and on his way to stardom with the Cincinnati Reds from 1938-48) started and gave up 4 runs in only 1/3 of an inning.
  • Cardinals starter Si Johnson, pitched a complete game 10-3 victory, scattering 7 hits in the 2:16 game.
Baker Bowl, PhiladelphiaBaker Bowl

The nightcap produced the same pitchers of record as the opener.

  • Playing in the best hitters' park in the majors, the Cards again tallied 10 in 9 innings. However, the Phils scored the same number to send the game into extra innings.
  • Having hardly worked up a sweat in the first game, Walters toed the slab again in the eighth inning for Player-Manager Jimmy Wilson and pitched into the tenth. The visitors erupted for 8 in that frame, the first two off Walters to make him the loser.
  • For the day, Walters pitched 3 innings and gave up 10 hits and 10 runs. His ERA rose from 4.38 to 4.93.
  • On the other side, Manager Frankie Frisch summoned Johnson from the bullpen to pitch a scoreless ninth and tenth to gain the victory. Game Two took 3:04, a very long time in 1937.

Bucky Walters
Bucky Walters

 

Si Johnson
Si Johnson