This day in baseball

On May 23, 1890, the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Alleghenys steal a combined seventeen bases in a single game, setting a National League record that still stands today.  New York won the contest, 17-10.

The overall Major League single game record for combined stolen bases was set on April 22, 1890 by Philadelphia and Syracuse in the American Association.


1890 Pittsburgh Alleghenys (

Quote of the day

The key step for an infielder is the first one, but before the ball is hit.

~Earl Weaver


Seven baseballs

Catcher Johnny Bench had hands so large, he could hold seven baseballs with just one hand:


His large hands also gave him the advantage of being able to block balls in the dirt more effectively.  Rather than dropping to his knees to block low pitches, Bench would often scoop them easily with one hand.  The size of his hands also enabled him to adopt the hinged catcher’s mitt, which in turn allowed him to catch one-handed.  Where previous mitts required the catcher to use both hands to ensure the ball would not pop out, the hinged mitt would snap shut upon contact with the ball.

His ability to hold so many baseballs provided some off-field benefits.  The photo below, for example, depicts Bench with his then wife, Vickie, at a gathering for the American Cancer Society (circa 1975-76).  He was named the new head of Athletes Against Cancer, and each of the baseballs was intended to represent one of the seven ways to check for cancer.

Johnny Bench seven baseballs

Getty Images

This day in baseball

In 1905, a team of Waseda University students visited the United States and conducted a tour in which it played American baseball teams up and down the West coast.  One of those games, on May 17th, was against Los Angeles High School, which Waseda won 5-3.  According to some sources, this was the first game of a tour that included games in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Fresno, Eugene, Oregon, and Seattle (other sources cite a start date from April of that year).  Regardless, the tour marked the first time that a Japanese team played baseball in the United States.


waseda 1910

1910 Waseda baseball team (Library of Congress)


Quote of the day

I think about the cosmic snowball theory. A few million years from now the sun will burn out and lose its gravitational pull. The earth will turn into a giant snowball and be hurled through space. When that happens it won’t matter if I get this guy out.

~Bill Lee

bill lee

Can you make a living playing silly games?

Leave it to Calvin to skip the sugarcoating.

calvin ballgames

Happy Mother’s Day!

Because where would a lot of our favorite ballplayers be today without their moms?

mothers day