TRIVIA FROM RECENT READINGS (from the book Grand Slam Baseball): Walter Johnson wound up with more wins (417) than anybody other than Cy Young, but if he had played for a good club, who knows how many more wins he would have racked up. He had 110 shutouts (a sure way to get a win) which is 20 more than the #2 pitcher on that list, but of the 64 games he pitched which ended in a 1-0 score, he lost 26. He lost 65 shutouts overall, getting lousy run support from his Senators. Still, he averaged 30 wins per year over a five-year stretch.
Babe Ruth died in 1948 and at that time, many years after he had quit pitching, he still owned the highest winning percentage of any other pitcher against the Yankees. Unless I missed someone, Ruth and Gehrig are among just 38 players to ever steal home 10+ times. In 1920, 14.6% of all American League homers came off the bat of Ruth. After Boston sold him to the Yankees, he hit more home runs than the entire Red Sox squad in 10 of the following dozen seasons.
The most productive states for producing big leaguers in the 20th century were: California with 1,828; Pennsylvania at 1,324; New York with 1,107; Illinois at 985; then Ohio with 956.
On May 16, 1902, William “Dummy” Hoy, who was deaf, faced Luther “Dummy” Taylor, marking the first time a deaf batter opposed a deaf pitcher. Their nicknames reveal the insensitive attitude of their times.
Juan Marichal was among the top 10 in ERA seven seasons and in the top five for wins six times. However, he went through the entire decade of the 1960s and never got a single vote for the Cy Young Award. The only time he cracked the top 10 was in 1971 the he came in 8th in the voting.
Ted Williams won the Triple Crown in ’42 and ’47 yet came in second in MVP voting both seasons…In 1951, a pitcher named Ned Garver won 20 games for his St. Louis Browns. The entire team won only 32 more games as he became the first man to win 20 on a team which dropped 100 or more games in a season…Carlos May asked to wear jersey #17 so that the back of his uniform top indicated his birthday of May 17…Albert Spalding once said that two hours was “about as long as an American can . . .” last for a baseball game. Yet games reaching 3 1/2, 4 hours, and longer happen now all too often.
Here’s a very trivial item: Luis Gonzalez was the first man to hit homers into two different bodies of water. He hit one which splashed down in the pool during a Diamondbacks home game in April of 2000 then blasted one which ker-plunked into McCovey’s Cove in the Giants ballpark in September.
Cy Young must have known when to quit as the last seven batters he ever faced hit a triple, three doubles, and three more singles. He later said he never had a sore arm until his last day in the majors. A great quote from Young to a young reporter: “Son, I won more games than you’ll ever see.”
Rod Carew is the only A.L. player to lead the league in hitting without once connecting for a homer (1972)…Nolan Ryan is the only pitcher to have his number retired by three different teams…Kerry Wood fanned 20 men in just his fifth career start, tying the record for a nine-inning game. In that game he became just the second pitcher to match his age with the number of K’s he recorded–the other man was Bob Feller who whiffed 17 in a game when he was 17-years-old. When Roger Clemens twice struck out 20, he did not give up a single walk.