Golden Baseball Magazine

Odd Baseball Facts

Napoleon Lajoie

Shad Barry




Rafael Ramirez

More Odd Baseball Facts

There is a player in ML history whose batting average for one season increased 21 points without playing another game.

  • Napoleon "Nap" Lajoie, the Hall of Fame second baseman of the Philadelphia Athletics, had one of the greatest seasons in baseball history in 1901.
  • He hit .401 to lead the American League by 61 points over Mike Donlin of the Baltimore Orioles.
  • Nap also led the first-year circuit in runs, hits, doubles, and home runs as well as in statistics computed a century later: on-base %, slugging %, and on-base+slugging.
  • But fifty years later, Cliff Kachline of the Baseball Hall of Fame examined the daily official scorers' reports for 1901 and discovered numerous errors.
  • He determined that Lajoie had been shortchanged by nine hits. Adding those increased his batting average by 21 points to .422. That now ranks as the highest average for one season in American League history, just edging out Ty Cobb's .420 in 1911 and George Sisler's .420 in 1922.
  • The nine extra hits also raised Nap's lifetime average from .338 to .339.

The "Dead Ball Era" was well-named.

  • 1902 - the Philadelphia Phillies hit only five home runs for the entire 154-game season. OF Shad Barry clouted three of them. The Brooklyn Dodgers led the league with a grand total of 19 round-trippers. Tommy Leach of Pittsburgh topped all batters with six circuit clouts.
  • 1906 - the Chicago White Sox, known as the "Hitless Wonders,"won the AL pennant despite hitting a puny .230. They went on to defeat the Cubs in the World Series, during which they "outslugged" their crosstown rivals .198 to .196 with, of course, no home runs for either team.
  • 1908 - the White Sox slugged only three home runs, the fewest ever in a season by a major league team. The National League record is 9 by the 1917 Pirates.
Cesar Cedeno of the Houston Astros hit what may be the shortest grand slam ever.
  • Facing the Los Angeles Dodgers September 2, 1971, with two outs in the bottom of the 5th in the Astrodome, Cedeno hit a 200' fly. 2B Jim Lefebvre and RF Bill Buckner collided as they converged on the ball.
  • The ball fell safely. By the time the Dodgers retrieved the ball, Cedeno had followed the three runners across the plate.

The 1989 Astros were involved in a strange situation in which a player was charged with an official at-bat without actually stepping into the batter's box.

  • Houston manager Art Howe switched the places of Rafael Ramirez and Alex Trevino in the batting order right before a 1989 game against the Cardinals in the Astrodome. However, the two players were unaware of the change.
  • So with one out in the bottom of the 1st, Trevino came to the plate in the second spot occupied by Ramirez in the official lineup given to the umpires. Alex rapped a single.
  • Before the first pitch to the next batter, Kevin Bass, St. Louis skipper Whitey Herzog protested that Trevino had hit out of order.
  • At first, the umpires correctly called Trevino out but incorrectly allowed Ramirez to bat next. He flied out, apparently ending the inning. But, knowing the rules better than the umpiring crew, Herzog convinced them that Bass should have hit instead of Ramirez. After a few minutes of discussion, the umps put the Cards back on the field and sent Bass to the plate. He struck out to end the inning for a second time.
  • So with his illegal at-bat wiped away, poor Rafael was charged with an at-bat without stepping to the plate.
  • The Astros had lost five in a row but beat the Redbirds that day, 6-3. 3B Ken Caminiti recalled, "Everyone in the dugout was laughing. We knew we had hit rock bottom when we couldn't even bat in the right order."



Odd Baseball Facts - I
Fours Are Wild | Non-K King | Four Inside-the-Parkers | CF HRs at Polo Grounds | Yankees' Chaotic '82 | Atlanta Bookends | WWII Slugger | Salary Comparison | Leader on All Inside-the-Park HRs | Standing O for Dr. Strangelove

Odd Baseball Facts - II
I Pinch Hit for Ted and Yaz | Three-Team Doubleheader | Games = Hits | 500 ABs, Then 0 | K and E Leader | Two Steals of Home in One Game | Only All-Sar At-Bat | Games Played: 0; Ejections: 1 | AL MVP 1-2 1941 | One At-Bat, Two Ejections

Odd Baseball Facts - III
Statistical Anomalies | Staged Triple Play
Homer into Another Ballpark | Player Traded for Himself? | Kicked Out of His Very First Game? | Out with Old, In with New | One Hit Allowed in 18 Innings | From P to 1B | Ejected While Warming Up | HR Leader with 6

Odd Baseball Facts - IV
Five Shutouts vs One Team | Baseball to Bassist | Nearly Beat VanderMeer to the Punch | Best Two-Strike Hitter | Worst Pitching Staff Ever | Who Won the ERA Crown? | One Game Pitchers | One Game Batters | Three-Pitch Inning | First Game Called by Darkness; Let's Play Two

Odd Baseball Facts - V
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 - VI
Odd Facts from 2010 Season | HR in First AB of Season | Strange Trades | Exact Same Records | 34 Runs with Only Two Extra-Base Hits | Player-Managers | Two-Out Run Streak
Three Pitches, Three HRs | Complete Game Streak | Bonham Begins and Ends

Odd Baseball Facts - VII
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 - VIII
Back-to-Back Slam Days | Staff of Losers
Four Hrs in Season - by a Team
The Game Is Not Over Until the Last Man Is Out | Four for Four
Thomson Had Another Chance to Be a Hero
Labine's Three HRs in '55
38 Starts, 27 Passed Balls
Strange Winning Pitcher Decisions

Odd Baseball Facts - IX
Player-Managers Rule!
38 Starts, 27 Passed Balls
Strange Winning Pitcher Decisions
Miscxellaneous Odd Facts
A Collection of Odd Facts
More Odd Facts



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