This day in baseball: Gehrig’s 2,000th

Lou Gehrig played in his 2,000th consecutive game on May 31, 1938.  In the game, Gehrig hit an RBI single as the Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox, 12-5, in the Bronx.

Lou Gehrig Holding Three Baseball Bats

glogster.com


Turn around

Poor umpires.  It’s just too easy, sometimes.

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21 strikeouts

Congratulations to New Jersey high school softball pitcher Mia Faieta for striking out all 21 batters she faced on Friday in a state playoff game.  Faieta’s performance led Cedar Grove to a 4-0 victory over North Warren.  How about this for an impressive scorecard?

Faieta scorecard

Twitter: @SeanReillyHS

Not only did Faieta toss the ultimate perfect game, but doing it while in the state playoffs makes it that much more impressive, because you’re not just facing any ol’ team from across town at that point.

 

Faieta

Mia Faieta

 

Perhaps the most interesting factoid about this feat is that Faieta’s performance did not set a state record for New Jersey.  That record still belongs to Nicole Webb of Manchester Township, who struck out 22 due to a wild pitch on a strikeout in a regular-season game in 2003.


Quote of the day

The trouble with baseball is that it is not played the year round.

~Gaylord Perry

gaylord perry

San Francisco Chronicle


“Van Lingle Mungo,” by Dave Frishberg

Van Lingle Mungo was a right-handed pitcher who played thirteen seasons (1931-1945) with the Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers) and the New York Giants.  He was a three-time all-star, but still never seemed to live up to the expectations of his managers.  For example, while he did have two 18-win seasons, one of those seasons also included 19 losses.  He threw an impressive number of strikeouts, leading the National League with 238 in 1936, but also led the league in walks on a number of occasions.

This song named after Mungo isn’t necessarily about him, however.  Rather, Dave Frishberg merely used the song as a way to play around with the various names in baseball, writing the lyrics with the help of a baseball encyclopedia.  Frishberg is a big baseball fan, however, having been a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) since 1984.


“The Outfield Boy,” by Andrea Dietrich

I like how this piece captures the general feeling of standing in the outfield.  On one hand, you are playing the game you love.  On the other hand, the closest person to you is still quite a ways away.  You can make a play, and for a brief moment, you get a little attention for it.  But as soon as the next pitch gets thrown, outfielders return to their anticipatory solitude.

*

The outfield boy stands waiting all alone,
playing the game that many children love.
From the pitcher’s mound, a ball has been thrown.
The outfield boy stands waiting all alone.
The ball has been hit. See how it has flown
straight into the glowing boy’s baseball glove!
The outfield boy stands waiting all alone,
playing the game that many children love.


This day in baseball: Stealing frenzy

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.

1888_Pittsburg_Alleghenys

1890 Pittsburgh Alleghenys (ootpdevelopments.com)


Quote of the day

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

~Earl Weaver

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cooperstownersincanada.com


Seven baseballs

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

johnny_bench_7_baseballs

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)