Save in 30-3 Game

No Grand Slams

28 Assists in One Game

Same Runner Out at Plate Twice

Same Home/Road Record, Proliferation of Playoffs

Surprise Grand Slam Leader

Boston "Braves" And Their Gigantic Home Field

A Confluence of Threes

Last Two Suits in Dugouts


Odd Baseball Facts - I

Odd Baseball Facts - II

Odd Baseball Facts - III

Odd Baseball Facts - IV

Odd Baseball Facts - V

Odd Baseball Facts - VI

Odd Baseball Facts - VIII


Baseball Magazine

Golden Rankings Home

Odd Baseball Facts Archive – VII
Save in 30-3 Game

On August 22, 2007, the Texas Rangers met the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.

    • After three innings, Baltimore led 3-0.
    • The Rangers then did something rarely seen in a baseball game. They went on a 30-0 tear. Every single one of the runs was earned.
    • Texas banged out 29 hits, enjoyed 8 walks.
    • As you would expect, several Oriole hurlers didn't fare well.
      • Brian Burres surrendered 8 runs in 2/3 of an inning.
      • Rob Bell allowed 7 runs in 1 1/3 frames.
      • Paul Shuey took one for the team, giving up 9 runs in the last two innings.

The Odd Fact about this game involved a Rangers P.

  • Kaston Gabbard pitched the first six innings for the visitors.
  • Wes Littleton finished for manager Ron Washington.

Because Littleton entered with his team leading and pitched three full innings, he recorded a Save for protecting the 27-run lead!

P Wes Littleton Rangers
Wes Littleton

No Grand Slams
P Jim Palmer, Baltimore Orioles

Jim Palmer pitched 19 ML seasons, all for the Baltimore Orioles.

    • He took the mound in 558 games, not counting post-season appearances.
    • He toiled 3,948 innings.
    • He surrendered 303 HRs.

But Palmer has this distinction:

He never allowed a grand slam.

He has another distinction:

He is the only pitcher in big-league history to win World Series games in three decades (1966, 1970–71, and 1983).

28 Assists in One Game

The 1911 Pittsburgh Pirates were not known as a good fielding team. Still, they reached a new low on June 7 when they committed seven errors in a 9-4 loss to the league-leading New York Giants before 6,600 at Forbes Field.

  • The Pittsburgh Post labeled the effort a "blunderfest" that included several other misplays that weren't ruled errors.
  • Yet the Pirates that day set a record that still stands: 28 assists in a nine-inning game.
  • Another oddity of the game was that no Pittsburgh outfielder registered a putout (although an easy fly was muffed as explained below).
Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, 1909
 Forbes Field 1909

What one report called "some queer turns" contributed to the Pirates' spate of assists.

  • Third inning: Two of the Giants' outs came on plays that produced multiple assists. With runners on first and second, CF Fred Snodgrass singled to CF. Tommy Leach threw home too late to stop the runner from second from scoring, but C Mike Simon threw to third to catch the runner from first, Art Fletcher. Then Leach grabbed Fred Merkle's single and again threw home to try to nip Snodgrass. P Babe Adams cut off the throw and threw to SS Honus Wagner, who threw to 1B Bill McKechnie to catch Merkle, who had rounded too far.
  • Fifth inning: 3B Bobby Byrne and P Claude Hendrix fielded grounders and threw to McKechnie, who dropped each toss. Byrne and Hendrix were credited with assists even though no putout was made. One of the runners, Snodgrass, was later caught in a rundown between third and home with Hendrix, Simon, and Byrne all gaining assists.
  • Hendrix had taken the mound for the first time in a major league game in the fourth and pitched quite well the rest of the way. In the fifth, he didn't allow a hit but still gave up four unearned runs thanks to a walk, three errors, and a passed ball.
  • The muffed fly referred to above came in the fourth inning. When Leach injured his leg, Pirate skipper Fred Clarke replaced him with Jack Flynn, who didn't even play his normal position, 1B, very well. To minimize the damage Clarke put Flynn in RF and shifted Owen Wilson to center. In his very first inning in RF, Flynn camped under a routine fly but the ball slipped through his hands, nearly knocking him out. Wilson had to chase down the ball. Let the record show that this was the only game of his ML career in which Flynn "patrolled" the OF.

The Pirates' sloppy play infected the Giants as well as they committed five errors as well as one fielding blunder that resulted in a HR for Max Carey. Let Joe Dittmar tell the tale.

In the ninth inning, Carey sent a long fly to RCF. Both Red Murray and Fred Snodgrass raced after it, Murray having the better angle. Red just missed making the catch but ran another 30 feet before he could stop. Snodgrass stopped within a few feet of where the ball bounced but thought Murray had made the catch. Murray assumed that Snodgrass had fielded the sphere. Meanwhile, Carey, amid howls of the spectators, raced around the bases and crossed the plate before Al Bridwell, the SS, finally retrieved the ball.

Reference: "Team Makes 28 Assists in One Nine-Inning Game,"
Baseball Records Registry, Joseph J. Dittmar (1997)

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OF Fred Snodgrass, NY Giants
Fred Snodgrass

Pirates OF Tommy Leach
Tommy Leach

Giants 2B Art Fletcher
Art Fletcher

Pirates OF Max Carey
Max Carey

Same Runner Out at Plate Twice

Phil Cavarretta Cubs Phil Cavarretta

It's rare to see a ball game in which two runners are thrown out at the plate. It's even more rare when the same player is thrown out at home twice in a game. And when that game is a Midsummer Classic, that's the rarest of all.

The 1944 All-Star game at Forbes Field, Pittsburgh, was the second straight played at night so that factory workers and service personnel could attend.

    • 1B Phil Cavarretta of the Chicago Cubs walked in the bottom of the first. He moved to second on CF Stan Musial's infield hit and continued to third on 2B Bobby Doerr's wild throw. When the next batter, C Walker Cooper, hit a fly to RF, Cavarretta tried to score but was thrown out by Stan Spence.
    • Phil spanked a triple with two out in the third but was stranded.
    • In the fifth, Cavarretta walked to put runners at first and second. Musial reached on an error to load the bases. Cooper singled to LF, scoring the runner from third. However, LF Bob Johnson threw Cavaretta out at home, Phil vigorously questioning umpire Cal Hubbard's call.
    • Cavarretta singled and walked again to finish a perfect night at the plate.
Same Home/Road Record; Proliferation of Playoffs

The 1946 St. Louis Cardinals compiled the following home and road records.

  • Home: 49-29 (.628)
  • Road: 49-29 (.628)
  • Total: 98-58 (.628)

You'll notice that 98 and 58 add up to 156.

  • For most of the 20th century, the regular season consisted of 154 games.
  • The 1946 NL pennant race ended in a tie between the St. Louis Cardinals and Brooklyn Dodgers.
  • So, for the first time in ML history, a playoff was needed to decide the pennant winner. NL rules called for a best 2-of-3 series.
  • The Cardinals won the first game at home and the second on the road to earn the right to meet the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.

After the NL and AL agreed to co-exist and play the first World Series in 1903, baseball went 43 years without a pennant playoff.

  • Then, just two years after the '46 NL tie, the AL pennant race produced a dead heat between the Indians and Red Sox. Al rules called for a one-game playoff which Cleveland won.
  • Three more seasons brought still another NL tie, necessitating the famous playoff between the Dodgers and New York Giants that ended on Bobby Thomson's HR.
Surprise Grand Slam Leader

David Eckstein is not remembered as a HR hitter.

  • The 5'6" 170 lb SS from the University of Florida (where he walked on to the baseball team) hit just 35 HRs in 5,041 ML ABs for five different clubs over ten seasons (2001-2010).
  • Yet he led the major leagues in grand slams in 2002 while helping the Anaheim Angels win their only World Series. Furthermore, two of his three slams that year came in back-to-back games at a time when the Angels needed a spark.

California had started poorly, 7-14, when they began a three game home series with Toronto on Friday, April 26. The Angels won the opener 4-0.

  • In the second game, Eckstein capped a 7-run 5th by clearing the bases with a four-bagger off Scott Cassidy as the Angels clinched the series, 11-4.
  • The final game dragged on to the 14th inning. After the Blue Jays scored a run to a take a 5-4 lead in the top of the frame, 3B Troy Glaus led off with a single against southpaw Pedro Borbon and went to third on DH Tim Salmon's double.
  • 1B Scott Spiezio lined to SS before the Jays intentionally passed C Bengie Molina to load the bases. The strategy looked smart when 2B Adam Kennedy went down swinging.
  • That brought up Mighty Mouse, hitless in his previous 6 ABs. On a 1-1 pitch, Eckstein crashed a HR over the LF fence.
  • Afterwards, David said, "I was 1-for-7 today. I expect to do better than that, but I was very fortunate to get the game-winner. It was about time I did something."

On Sunday, June 9, the Angels hosted the Cincinnati Reds in an interleague game.

  • The "X Factor" strode to the dish with the sacks loaded with two outs in the second and the home team leading 1-0 thanks to his triple and a groundout in the first inning.
  • The diminutive SS fell behind 1-2, then smote his fourth four-bagger of the season to give the Angels a 5-run lead on their way to a 7-4 victory.

Eckstein finished the '02 season hitting .293 with 8 HRs. He finished 11th in the MVP voting.


Angels SS David Eckstein
David Eckstein

David and Ashley Eckstein
Eckstein and wife Ashley, an actress


Boston "Braves" and Their Gigantic Home Field
When James Gaffney, a New York contractor, bought the Boston National League club in 1911, he became its third owner in just six years.

  • He changed the team's nickname just as the previous two owners did.
  • Originally the Red Stockings, the team became the Doves when John Dovey owned it in 1906-9.
  • In 1909, with William Russell purchasing the club, Boston's NL team became the Rustlers.
  • Gaffney named his new team the Braves because of his membership in Tammany Hall, the Democratic organization in New York City. Tammany members were called "braves," and the club's insignia was an Indian head named Tammany. Continuing the indian theme, the organization's headquarters was called the wigwam.
Gaffney knew that his club needed a new ballpark to compete with the crosstown Red Sox of the American League.
  • Gaffney purchased a enormous lot measuring 850' by 675'.
  • He wanted a field large enough "to hit an inside-te-park home run in any of the three outfield directions."
  • So he built Braves Field with the dimensions shown in the diagram below. The owner proudly billed his creation as "the largest baseball park in the world."
Braves Field Diagram 1915
Braves Field, Boston
Braves Field in its early years


Boston Braves Owner James Gaffney
James Gaffney

Boston Braves Logo 1914
Boston Braves Logo 1914

After opening on August 18, 1915, the park had no over-the-fence HRs for over a year.
  • Adding to the challenge of the gigantic dimensions of the field, the wind generally blew in from the Charles River beyond the outfield.
  • Only eight HRs were hit in the first full season of action at the park, and all of those were inside-the-park.
  • Walton Cruise of the St. Louis Cardinals smacked a ball into the RF bleachers (later known as the "Jury Box") on May 16, 1917. That was the first over-the-fence four-bagger.
  • The next "traditional" HR also came from Cruise, now with the Braves, on August 16, 1921 over the RF wall.
  • Three more clouts went into the RF bleachers before the first HR cleared the LF fence on May 28, 1925. The culprit was Frank Snyder of the New York Giants. That was also the first clout completely out of the park, the ball landing on the railroad tracks behind the bleachers.
Braves Field 1915
Braves Field a week before its opening with the Charles River in the background
The dimensions were finally shortened in 1928 with the erection of bleachers in LF.

Walton Cruise, Cardinals and Braves
Walton Cruise

Frank Snyder, New York Giants
Frank Snyder

A Confluence of Threes

White Sox P Dickie Kerr
Dickie Kerr
White Sox P Eddie Cicotte
Eddie Cicotte
White Sox P Lefty Williams
Lefty Williams

The Chicago White Sox met the Cincinnati Reds in the 1919 World Series.
  • The third game was played October 3 at Comiskey Park in the Windy City.
  • Chicago's third best pitcher, Dickie Kerr, started.
  • He pitched a three-hitter to win 3-0.
Of course, there's more to any game than just a recitation of the basic facts but especially this one.
  • The White Sox trailed two games-to-none because some members of the team had accepted money from gamblers to throw both games in Cincinnati. Their #1 and #2 pitchers, ace Eddie Cicotte, 29-7 on the year, and Lefty Williams, 23-11, had done less than their best.
  • The original plan called for the conspirators to lose Game 3 also. But dissent had broken out among the players, leaving the scheme in disarray. So they played this one straight. One of the leaders of the ring, 1B Chick Gandil, drove in two of the three Sox tallies.
  • Kerr, a dimunitive 5'7" 155 lb southpaw who was not in on the fix, struck out four and walked only one. He had contributed 13 victories to Chicago's 3.5-game pennant edge.

After the Reds shutout Chicago in the next two games to take a commanding 4-1 in the best-of-nine series, Kerr took the hill again for Game 6 back at Redland Field in the Queen City.

  • After giving up 2 in the third and 2 more in the fourth, Kerr squelched the Redlegs after that, enabling the White Sox to catch up and win 5-4 in ten innings.
  • Cicotte gave 100% the next day to win 4-1.
  • But Lefty, supposedly because the gamblers had threatened his wife, gave up four in the first frame back in Chicago to start the Red Stockings on their 10-5 Series-clinching victory.

It would take almost a year, but the conspiracy unravelled before a Chicago Grand Jury, leading to new Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis to permanently ban eight of the "Black Sox" from baseball, including OF Shoeless Joe Jackson, who undoubtedly would have made the Hall of Fame otherwise.

Last Two Suits in Dugouts

Young Connie Mack
Young Connie Mack
The last two ML managers to direct their teams in street clothes both directed their last game on the same day - October 1, 1950.

Connie Mack

  • Connie (real name Cornelius McGillicudy, Sr.) served as a manager far longer than anyone, which led to his holding the records for wins (3,731) and losses (3,948). His win total is almost 1,000 more than any other manager (John McGraw with 2,763).
  • He first served as player-manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1891-6. Connie played C.
  • He became owner and manager of the Philadelphia Athletics in 1901 at age 39 and steered them for fifty years until his sons finally convinced him to step down as manager. Throughout his career with the A's, he wore a business suit while managing.
  • When Mack retired, baseball passed two rules that insured he would be the last of his breed.
    • Managers were prohibited from having any financial stake in the teams they managed.
    • Managers were required to wear baseball uniforms during games.

Old Connie Mack
Old Connie Mack

Burt Shotton, player
Burt Shotton
  • Burt played outfield for the St. Louis Browns (1909, 1911-17), Washington Senators (1918), and St. Louis Cardinals (1919-23).
  • He became the Cardinals' "Sunday manager" when Branch Rickey observed the Christian Sabbath.
  • After retiring from playing, Burt coached for St. Louis from 1923-5 before becoming a minor league manager.
  • Shotton helmed the Phillies from 1928-33 and the Reds in 1934.
  • Burt hung up his uniform in 1946 and became a scout for Rickey with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
  • When Commissioner Happy Chandler suspended Leo Durocher for the entire 1947 season because of his associations with gamblers, Rickey sent his old friend Shotton a telegram: Be in Brooklyn in the morning. Call nobody, see no one. Rickey used all his powers of persuasion to convince the 62-year-old Shotton to take over the club, which included rookie Jackie Robinson.
  • Shotton took the job but didn't wear a baseball uniform, although he usually wore his team's cap and jacket.
  • The Dodgers won the pennant in 1947 before losing to the Yankees in seven games.
  • Shotton led the Bums to another flag two years later but again they lost to the Bronx Bombers, this time in five games.
  • The Phillies beat the Dodgers on the last day of the 1950 season to cop the crown. When new majority owner Walter O'Malley forced Rickey out as GM, Shotton went back into retirement.

Manager Burt Shotton
Manager Burt Shotton



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