Odd Facts from the 2010 Season

HR in First AB of Season

Strange Trades

Exact Same Records

34 Runs with Only Two Extra-Base Hits


Two-Out Run Streak

Three Pitches, Three HRs

Complete Game Streak

Bonham Begins and Ends


Odd Baseball Facts - I

Odd Baseball Facts - II

Odd Baseball Facts - III

Odd Baseball Facts - IV

Odd Baseball Facts - V

Odd Baseball Facts - VII


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Odd Baseball Facts Archive – VI

Adam Moore, Mariners
Adam Moore

Scott Gload, Phillies
Scott Gload

Odd Facts from the 2010 Season

  • April 11: Mariners C Adam Moore was called for catcher's interference on Rangers OF David Murphy in the second inning of the game in Arlington. Murphy came around to score one of Texas's four runs in the frame. The very next inning, Moore was called for interference again. The batter? Murphy, who at least didn't score that time.
  • June 23: Dodgers C Russell Martin was ejected after an interleague game with the Angels ended at Dodger Stadium. With the Dodgers trailing by a run and Reed Johnson on second and Martin on first, Jamey Carroll blooped a hit into LCF. Angels LF Juan Rivera fielded the ball and threw behind Martin who had rounded second. Martin was tagged out before Johnson scored the tying run. Johnson had eased up somewhat between third and home. Martin slammed his helmet to the ground after his blunder, causing 2B umpire Jim Reynolds to eject him. Martin was eligible to play in the next game but was subject to a fine.
    Two days later, another Dodger, 1B James Loney, was tossed after the game ended when he argued a Mariano Rivera third strike call by umpire Phil Cuzzi in the Dodgers 2-1 loss to the Yankees.
  • August 24: Ryan Howard of the Phillies was ejected in the 14th inning of a game with the Astros for arguing a third strike check swing call by umpire Scott Barry. Scott Gload, who was on the Disabled List, joined in and was ejected by umpire Greg Gibson.
    September 5: The Braves Chipper Jones, also on the DL, was dismissed after arguing balls and strikes with umpire Doug Eddings.
    In both cases, the player must serve a one-game suspension once he returns to the active list.
Reference: "Baseball Rules Corner: Interesting Plays from the 2010 Season," Rich Marazzi, Baseball Digest, March/April 2011
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Russell Martin, Dodgers
Russell Martin

James Loney, Dodgers
James Loney

HR in First AB of Season
Kaz Matsui
Kaz Matsui

Many players have hit a HR in their first ML at-bat. But Kaz Matsui not only did that but continued to start each season with a HR.

  • Kaz hit the first pitch of his career out of the park to start the 2004 season with the New York Mets.
  • Matsui also began the 2005 season with a homer in his first at-bat.
  • He started the 2006 campaign on the disabled list. But when he joined the active list, he hit an inside-the-park round-tripper in his first plate appearance.

Matsui's homer streak ended at the start of the '07 season, but he started a new streak. He walked in his first plate appearance in 2007, 2008, and 2009. Finally, in 2010, as a member of the Houston Astros, he struck out to end his streak of six straight years reaching base in his initial plate appearance of the season.

Joe Cantillon
Joe Cantillon

Bill Veeck
Bill Veeck
Strange Trades
  • 1915: Manager Joe Cantillon of Minneapolis Millers of the American Association swapped OF Bruce Hopper to the Chicago Cubs for a hunting dog. Cantillon got more use out of the dog than the Cubs did from Hopper, who never played a major league game.
  • 1931: Joe Engel, owner of the Chattanooga Lookouts of the Southern Association, traded SS Johnny Jones to Charlotte for a 25 lb turkey. Engel then served a turkey dinner to sportswriters. After the meal, Joe declared that Charlotte had gotten the better of the deal because the turkey was tough.
  • 1953: St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck scraped to make a profit from his last-place team. He even had team treasurer Rudi Schaefer take out a mortgage on his house to allow the club to open the season. However, when the loan came due, the Browns didn't have the money to pay it back. So on June 13, Veeck traded P Virgil "Fire" Trucks and 3B Bob Elliott to the Chicago White Sox for $75,000 plus two marginal players. That paid the mortgage and tided the franchise over until Veeck sold it to owners who moved the club to Baltimore for the 1954 season.
Reference: "Some of Baseball's Strangest Deals Ever Made," George Vass, Baseball Digest, September/October 2010
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Joe Engel
Joe Engel

Virgil "Fire" Trucks
Virgil "Fire" Trucks

Exact Same Records

Tim Hudson of the Atlanta Braves has had a solid major league career, although no one would call him Hall of Fame material. However, he does have something in common with a Hall of Famer.

  • At the end of the 2010 season, Hudson had a 165-87 career record for his 12 ML seasons.
  • That is exactly the same record compiled by Sandy Koufax in his 12-year career.
  • Tim's best season win-wise was his second when he won 20 for the Oakland Athletics. He led the AL in victories that season as well as winning percentage (.769).
  • After winning 92 games in six seasons in Oakland, Tim has spent the last seven years in Atlanta. His 17-9 mark in 2010 was his best with the Braves.

Whereas Hudson has been consistently good from the start of his career, Koufax made the Hall of Fame based on his last four seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

  • He won 25 games in 1963, then 19, then 26, and finally 27 before abruptly retiring because of elbow miseries that made pitching excruciatingly painful.
  • Koufax struck out far more batters, 2396, in his 12 seasons than Hudson has - 1541.
  • Sandy fanned over 300 batters in three of those last four campaigns.

Tim Hudson, Atlanta Braves
Tim Hudson

Sandy Koufax, Dodgers
Sandy Koufax

34 Runs with Only Two Extra Base Hits

On July 24, 1930, the Chicago Cubs played the Philadelphia Phillies in the City of Brotherly Love.

  • The Phils home park, Baker Bowl, was a "band box" known as the best hitters park in the majors, especially for left-handed batters.
  • Here were the dimensions.

LF: 342'; LCF: 359; CF: 408; RCF: 300; RF: 281

Baker Bowl, PhiladelphiaBaker Bowl, Philadephia

That summer day in 1930, a year when the NL collectively batted .303, the Cubs beat the Phillies 19-15.

  • Each team collected 17 hits.
  • The Cubs tallied 13 runs in the first two innings.
  • There were only two extra base hits in the contest, both doubles.
  • So that game holds the distinction of the most runs scored with no home runs.

The Phillies 1930 staff compiled an ERA of 6.71 for the entire season, the highest in the modern baseball era.


Midway through the 1934 season, 10 of the 16 major league teams had player-managers. With the nation in the throes of the Great Depression, owners saved money by paying a player a supplement to manage rather than hiring a separate skipper.

Here's the list, including the manager's position and age.

National League - 6 clubs

  • Chicago Cubs - Charlie Grimm 1B, 35
  • Cincinnati Reds - Bob O'Farrell C, 37 (first 90 games until replaced)
  • New York Giants - Bill Terry 1B, 35
  • Philadelphia Phillies - Jimmie Wilson C, 33
  • Pittsburgh Pirates - Pie Traynor 3B, 35 (took over after 51 games)
  • St Louis Cardinals - Frankie Frisch 2B, 35.

American League - 4 clubs

  • Chicago White Sox - Jimmy Dykes 3B, 37 (took over after 15 games)
  • Detroit Tigers - Mickey Cochrane C, 31
  • St. Louis Browns - Rogers Hornsby Util, 38
  • Washington Senators - Joe Cronin SS, 27

Both 1934 pennant winners, the Cardinals and Tigers, had player-managers. In fact, the winning skipper was an active player for three straight years in both leagues.

* marks World Series winner

National League Pennant Winners

  • 1933 New York - Bill Terry*
  • 1934 St. Louis - Frankie Frisch*
  • 1935 Chicago - Charlie Grimm

American League Pennant Winners

  • 1933 Washington - Joe Cronin
  • 1934 Detroit - Mickey Cochrane
  • 1935 Detroit - Mickey Cochrane*

The NL streak continued in '36 and '37 as Terry's Giants copped the flags. However, they faced the Yankees of Joe McCarthy, who never played in the big leagues.

6 of the 10 '34 player-managers are in the Hall of Fame: Terry, Traynor, Frisch, Cochrane, Hornsby, and Cronin.

Bill Terry, Giants
Bill Terry

Frankie Frisch, Cardinals
Frankie Frisch

Mickey Cochrane, Tigers
Mickey Cochrane
Two-Out Run Streak
Charlie Neal, Dodgers
Charlie Neal

Norm Larker, Dodgers

Carl Furillo, Dodgers
Carl Furillo

The Los Angeles Dodgers put together an impressive streak of clutch hitting during the 1959 World Series. After being shutout in Game One in Chicago, 11-0, the Dodgers first 11 runs over the next three games scored with two outs in the inning.

  • Game 2 in Chicago: 4-3 Dodger victory
    • With two outs and none on in the fifth inning, Charlie Neal poled a HR to end LA's 12 2/3 inning scoreless drought to pull within 2-1 of the White Sox.
    • Still trailing by one in the seventh, the Dodgers erupted for three runs with two outs and none on. Chuck Essegian hit a pinch-hit HR into the upper LF seats. Following Junior Gilliam's walk, Neal struck again with a clout into the Chicago bullpen in CF.
  • Game 3 in Los Angeles: 3-1 Dodger victory
    • In the bottom of the seventh of a scoreless game, Neal singled off the LF screen with one out. After Wally Moon's grounder advanced Neal to 2B, Norm Larker and Gil Hodges walked to load the bases. Gerry Staley replaced the starter, Dick Donovan. PH Carl Furillo singled into CF to score two runs.
    • After the White Sox scored a run in the top of the eighth, SS Maury Wills led off for LA with a single. P Norm Sherry sacrified Maury to 2B. After Wills moved to 3B on Gilliam's groundout, Neal doubled off 3B Sammy Esposito's knee to provide an insurance run.
  • Game 4 in Los Angeles: 5-4 Dodger victory
    • Walt Alston's club put together their best inning of the series thus far with four runs in the bottom of the third to break the scoreless tie. With two out and none on, Moon singled to LF, then raced to 3B on Larker's single. When CF Jim Landis's throw hit Moon and bounced away, Wally scored and Larker went to second. Hodges singled to LF, scoring Larker. Don Demeter singled to CF, moving Hodges to third, where he scored on a PB while Demeter took second. C John Roseboro blooped a single to RF, plating Demeter.
    • LA's two-out charm ended in the eighth, but no Dodger fan complained. After Chicago tallied four in the seventh to tie the game, Hodges led off the eighth with a HR into the LF stands for what proved to be the winning tally.

The White Sox eked out a 1-0 win in Game 5 to send the series back to the Windy City.

  • The Dodgers scored two more two-out runs in the third inning of Game 6 on their way to a 9-3 clinching triumph.
  • So LA tallied a total of 13 two-out runs in the Series.
Wally Moon, Dodgers

Gil Hodges, Dodgers
Gil Hodges

Maury Wills, Dodgers
Maury Wills

Three Pitches, Three HRs

Reggie Jackson, 1977 World Series
Reggie Jackson right after hitting
the third HR off Charlie Hough

Babe Ruth's 3rd HR in Game 4, 1926 World Series
Babe Ruth connecting for his third HR
in Game 4 of 1926 World Series

Reggie Jackson earned his nickname "Mr. October" with performances like the one he staged in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series for the New York Yankees against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    • To that point, the only person who had hit three HRs in a Fall Classic game was - who else? - Babe Ruth, another Yankee of course.
    • The Bambino walloped three four-baggers in 1926 against the St. Louis Cardinals and repeated the feat against the same club two years later. Both trios came in Game 4 at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis.

Jackson equalled Ruth's record but went him three better.

  1. Reggie hit his circuit clouts at Yankee Stadium in consecutive at-bats in the 4th, 5th, and 8th innings. In 1926, Babe walked between his second and third HRs. In '28, he tapped to the mound before his third round-tripper.
  2. Jackson victimized three different pitchers: Burt Hooten, Elias Sosa, and knuckleballer Charlie Hough (the last to the tune of 450'). Both of Ruth's trifectas came off only two pitchers: two off Flint Rehm and one facing Hi Bell in '26 and Bill Sherdel (two) and Grover Cleveland Alexander in '28.
  3. Finally, the oddest fact of all about Reggie's performance. All three HRs came on the first pitch. Not even the Babe could say: three pitches, three HRs.

No one has hit three HRs in a Fall Classic game since '77.

P Robin Roberts, Phillies
Complete Game Streak

Philadelphia Phillies starter Robin Roberts defined the role of the starting pitcher. The future Hall of Famer completed 305 games during his 19-year career.

  • But even in an era filled with complete games, Roberts' streak against the Boston/Milwaukee Braves in the mid-1950s was truly remarkable.
  • From 1952 to 1954, Robin tossed 13 consecutive complete games against the Braves.
  • Roberts compiled a 12-1 record against the Braves in those starts.

Robin Roberts

Bonham Begins and Ends

This is a tale of two pitchers who scored firsts on the same day - August 5, 1940.

  • Ernie "Tiny" Bonham of the Yankees lost 4-1 to Boston at Fenway Park. It was his first ML appearance.
  • Halfway across the continent, at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, John Whitehead pitched a no-hitter for the Browns in the second game of a doubleheader. The Associated Press article on the game provided these details.

Silent John Whitehead, who hadn't won a game this season and was so ineffective the St. Louis Browns sent him to the minors for a spell, blanked the Detroit Tigers 4-0 without a hit in the second game of a doubleheader and knocked the Bengals out of first place.

Whitehead pitched only six innings, because rain halted the game, and his performance won't get his name on the no-hit Hall of Fame list that Cleveland's Bob Feller and Brooklyn's Tex Carleton made early this season.

The two pitchers' careers diverged considerably in subsequent seasons.

  • Bonham pitched 10 seasons with the Yankees and Pirates. His best year was 1942 when he led the AL in winning percentage with a 21-5 (.808) record. From 1942-4, he won 48 games, nearly half his 103 total.
  • Whitehead won 47 games with the White Sox from 1935-8. However, he never came close to double-digit wins again. After only one victory with Chicago and St. Louis in '39, the abbreviated no-hitter was his only triumph in 1940 and last in the majors. After spending 1941 in the minors, he pitched in four more games for St. Louis in 1942 without recording a win.

So what makes the tale of these two pitchers so odd? Whitehead, who pitched his no-hitter on the day Tiny Bonham debuted, died October 20, 1964 in Bonham TX at age 55.

P Tiny Bonham
Ernest "Tiny" Bonham

P John Whitehead
John Whitehead