This day in baseball: Consecutive no-nos

On June 15, 1938, Johnny Vander Meer of the Cincinnati Reds became the only pitcher in major league history to pitch two consecutive no-hitters.  Four days earlier, the left-handed Vander Meer held the Braves hitless at Crosley Field, leading the Reds to a 3-0 victory.  Then, on June 15th, he defeated the Dodgers at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, 6-0.

Johnny_Vander_Meer

Vander Meer in 1948 (Baseball Digest)


Arlie Latham

Arlie_Latham

Wikipedia

Nicknamed “The Freshest Man On Earth,” Walter Arlington Latham was born March 15, 1860 in West Lebanon, New Hampshire. Latham’s father served as a bugler for the Union Army in the American Civil War, and at the conclusion of the war, young Arlie became interested in baseball when soldiers returning from the battlefield brought the game home with them.

By the time he was fourteen, Latham had become good enough to play with the General Worth nine, a local team in Stoneham, Massachusetts, where the family had moved. Latham started out as a catcher, but later took up playing third base to avoid getting beat up behind the plate.  In 1877, Latham played with the Pittsfield, Massachusetts club as their third baseman, and then in 1879, he made his professional debut in minor league baseball with Springfield in the National Association.

Twenty-year-old Latham made his Major League debut on July 5, 1880 with the Buffalo Bisons of the National League, becoming the first man from New Hampshire to play in the majors. He then played for the Philadelphia Athletics of the National Association in 1881, then the Philadelphia Phillies of the League Alliance in 1882.

Latham then joined the St. Louis Browns of the American Association in 1883. He stayed in St. Louis through the 1889 season, during which time the Browns won four consecutive pennants (1885-1888) in the American Association. Latham led the AA in runs scored with 152 during the 1886 season. He also batted .316 and stole 142 bases, then tacked on another 12 stolen bases in the playoffs. Adding to a reputation as an excellent base stealer, in 1887, Latham stole 129 bases, and he also led the league in stolen bases with 109 during the 1888 season.

In 1890, Latham jumped to the Chicago Pirates of the Players’ League. Later that year, in July, he returned to the NL with the Cincinnati Reds, where he served as a utility player and coach. Latham played for Cincinnati through 1895, then was traded to the Browns after the 1895 season. The Browns then released Latham after the 1896 season. Latham bounced around the minors for a few years before winding up with the Washington Senators in 1899. He later made four appearances for the New York Giants in 1909 at age 49.

Personality-wise, Arlie Latham was considered one of the funniest players in baseball. I’m not sure exactly how he earned the nickname “The Freshest Man on Earth,” but Latham was well-known for playing practical jokes. According to one account, the existence of the third base coach’s box is thanks to Latham. He would taunt opposing players third base coach, taking advantage of the lack of a coach’s box by running up and down the third base line yelling insults at the pitcher while he was in the middle of his windup.

His tendency to shout and gesticulate, not only as a coach, but also as a player, earned Latham the unofficial title of “the father of ‘chatter’.” The implication, of course, being that the practice of infield chatter that exists to this day had begun with Arlie Latham.

Latham finished his playing career with 742 stolen bases in seventeen professional seasons with a .269 batting average, .334 OBP, and .341 slugging. Latham died on November 29, 1952 at the age of 92 in Garden City, New York. He is buried in Greenfield Cemetery in Uniondale, New York.


Quote of the day

I don’t see pitches down the middle anymore – not even in batting practice.

~Hank Aaron

hank-aaron

New York Daily News


Jetpack

Here’s a comic strip by Mark Tatulli.  I suppose that’s one way to get your hands on a major league baseball.

lio baseball mark tatulli

Mark Tatulli


“The Beaning”: Horror Short Documentary

Over the weekend, I watched the latest movie iteration of It, and it prompted my curiosity to do a search of the phrase “baseball horror.”  I didn’t actually expect to find much, but much to my surprise, I found this little documentary (if you can call it that) that ALTER released earlier this year.

To be honest, I cannot say that I’m a particularly big fan of this short little spoof, though it does put forth a weirdly interesting theory.  The video proposes that the death of Ray Chapman as a result of being beaned in the head by Carl Mays was actually a form of occult human sacrifice.  The payoff of the sacrifice?  The rise of the New York Yankees as a baseball empire.

While I do agree with the video’s assertion that baseball can be a form of religion for some folks, the whole occult/human sacrifice bit seems a bit far-fetched to me.  But, here, you can judge for yourself.


This day in baseball: Henley’s 24-inning shutout

On June 8, 1909, pitcher Cack Henley of the San Francisco Seals set a Pacific Coast League record for longest complete game shutout when he held the Oakland Oaks scoreless over 24 innings en route to a 1-0 victory. Henley’s 24-inning mark is tied with three others for the most thrown by a PCL pitcher in one game.

cack henley

milb.com


Quote of the day

A good catcher is the quarterback, the carburetor, the lead dog, the pulse taker, the traffic cop and sometimes a lot of unprintable things, but no team gets very far without one.

~Miller Huggins

Miller_Huggins

Bain News Service