Do you have any idea how much baseball information there is in your brain? For even casual fans, numbers like 60 & 61, 714 & 715, 56 & .406 in ’41, 300 & 3,000 are forever part of the sport’s landscape. Statistics are what separates baseball from every other sport. Even avid followers of basketball can’t recite the all-time scoring numbers and football fans are stuck with over 50% of the positions having no real stats at all. Beyond all the famous history, baseball also leads the world in trivial information. Many a bar bet has been won or lost on the answer to a baseball quiz, as in “Which Pitcher threw a no-hitter and didn’t lower his ERA”? The answer, of course, is Bob Feller who hurled a no-hitter on opening day in 1940.
So, to have some fun as Spring Training begins, here’s a look at stats you don’t know. In other words, useless information that does you no good at all but might make you smile when you see a familiar name from the record books.
> Ty Cobb, Mel Ott & Al Kaline all reached 1,000 hits before they turned 25…Mike Trout didn’t.
> Former Senators & Tigers SS Ed Brinkman had over 6,000 major league AB’s and hit .224.
> Harold Baines had 113 RBI’s in 1985 but didn’t have another 100 RBI season (103) until 1999…a 14 year gap.
> Padres OF Phil Plantier had 100 RBI’s in 1993 but only had 292 RBI’s in his entire career.
> Mike Potter had 23 career AB’s in 1976-77 with the Cardinals and never got a major league hit.
> Rickey Henderson hit leadoff home runs in both games of a doubleheader for the A’s in 1993…Brady Anderson did it for the Orioles in 1999.
> Hank Aaron & Eddie Mathews hit home runs as teammates in the same game 75 times.
> Ron Fairly hit 215 career HR’s but never hit 20 in a season.
> While with the Dodgers, Tommy Davis hit a home run three times to give Sandy Koufax a 1-0 win…including a walk-off against Bob Gibson in 1962.
> Cardinals Pitcher Adam Wainwright hit a home run on the first major league pitch he ever faced (2006).
> In April of 2000, the Angels Mo Vaughn, Tim Salmon & Troy Glaus all homered in the same inning twice.
> In April of 1986, Padres Pitcher Craig Lefferts hit a walk-off HR in the 12th inning to beat the Giants…it was the only home run of his 12-year career.
> In April of 1999, the Cardinals Fernando Tatis hit two Grand-Slams in the same inning against the Dodgers. And, both were off Chan Ho Park…who was on my Fantasy team at the time!
> In 1948, Ted Williams had three plate appearances in the same inning against three different pitchers.
> In 1953, Gene Stephens (filling in for Williams, who was in Korea) became the first player to have three hits in one inning.
> In 1962, the Mets Frank Thomas was hit by the pitch twice in the same inning.
> In 2004, Ichiro Suzuki had 264 hits and 225 of them were Singles.
> In 1961, when Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s HR record by hitting 61, he had zero intentional walks.
> In 1962, Harmon Killebrew hit .243 and led the AL in RBI’s with 126.
> In 2003, the Tigers Ramon Santiago finished last in the AL in BA, HR & RBI’s thus winning the Triple Crown Loser Award…Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith did the same for the Padres in 1979.
> In 1963, Red Sox OF Carl Yastrzemski led the AL in both Hits & Walks.
> In 1977, the Twins Rod Carew won the AL batting title by 52 points (.388) over the Angels Lyman Bostock (.336).
> Between 1969 and 1978, Bobby Bonds had 30-30 (HR & SB) seasons five times and played for five different teams.
> In 1978, Pirates SS Frank Taveras had 654 AB’s with 0 (zero) home runs.
> In 1995, Rockies OF Dante Bichette hit 40 HR’s and only walked 22 times.
> In 1960, the Tigers Charlie Maxwell hit five (5) extra-inning home runs.
> In 1948, Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner of the Pirates hit 31 HR’s at home and only 9 on the road.
> Babe Ruth broke the single season home run record in 1919 (29), then again in 1920 (54), 1921 (59) and 1927 (60).
> During his major league career, Todd Zeile hit home runs for 11 different teams.
> Ray Boone and his son Bob combined for 256 lifetime home runs…Ray and his grandson Bret combined for 403.
> Hall of Fame Catcher Carlton Fisk hit 72 home runs after the age of 40.
> In three consecutive seasons, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson hit .408, .395 & .373 but didn’t win the batting title in any of the three (1911, 1912 & 1913).
> In 1947, Braves Pitcher Johnny Sain won 21 games and hit .346 (37-for-107).
On the pitching side…
> Warren Spahn had 20 or more Wins in 13 separate seasons…and 10 of them came after the age of 30!
> Nolan Ryan registered at least 5 Wins in 26 consecutive seasons.
> Hoyt Wilhelm won 124 games in relief.
> Gene Garber lost 108 games in relief.
> Andy Pettitte pitched 18 seasons and never had a losing record.
> Steve Barber issued 10 or more walks in a game four times!
> In 1958-59, the Pirates Roy Face had 22 consecutive Wins.
> Bert Blyleven won 15 games by the score of 1-0.
> Tom Seaver started on opening day 16 times.
> Hall-of-Famer Robin Roberts allowed 505 Home Runs!
> Sandy Koufax pitched for 12 years and held opposing hitters to a Batting Average of .205.
> Pedro Martinez pitched for 18 years and held opposing hitters to an On-Base Percentage of .276 (Koufax was at .285).
> In his 1974 Cy Young Award season with the Dodgers, Mike Marshall pitched in 106 games and finished 83 of them.
> Bob Feller had 36 complete games in 1946.
> In the Mets inaugural season of 1962, Roger Craig lost 24 games (he had 10 Wins).
> Bob Gibson’s 1968 ERA of 1.12 is just ahead of Christy Mathewson (1.14 in 1909) and Walter Johnson (1.14 in 1913).
> In 1985, the Cardinals John Tudor pitched 10 Shutouts…he only had 6 others in his 12-year career.
> Pitching for the Mets in 1994, Bret Saberhagen had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 11-to-1. Last season, Clayton Kershaw’s ratio was 15.6-to-1 (172 K’s & 11 BB).
> In 1966, Tony Cloninger of the Braves threw 27 Wild Pitches and led the NL in Walks, but finished with a winning record (14-11).
> Jose Lima started 33 games in 2000 and 32 games in 2005…his ERA in those seasons was 6.65 & 6.99.
> Bobo Newsom’s 5.08 ERA in 1938 was the highest ever for a 20-game winner.
> In 1916, Babe Ruth pitched 323 2/3 innings and didn’t allow a home run.
> Steve Carlton’s 27 Wins for the last-place Phillies in 1972 equaled 46% of their 59 team wins.
> Wally Bunker of the Orioles won 19 games in 1964 when he was 19 years old.
> Pitching for the Mariners in 1980, Mike Parrot had a record of 1-16…the year before, he was 14-12.
> The 1971 Orioles had four 20-game winners…Dave McNally, Pat Dobson, Jim Palmer & Mike Cueller.
> Juan Marichal had six seasons in which he had 20 Wins, 200 Strikeouts and an ERA below 3.00.
Good luck on the bar bets.