20th anniversary: Frank Tanana and baseball trivia Valhallaby Chris Jaffe
July 17, 2013
Twenty years ago today, Frank Tanana entered the inner circle of ultimate baseball trivia. He did something that made him half of the answer to my all-time favorite baseball trivia question:
Who are the only two pitchers to surrender home runs to both Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds. And yes, Frank Tanana is half of the answer.
Really, it’s amazing that Tanana ever allowed a homer to either of them. He spent nearly his entire career in the wrong league. In his 4,188.1 innings pitched, more than 4,000 took place in the AL. Both Hank Aaron and Bonds were longtime NL players.
Yeah, but Tanana was in the right place at the right time with the wrong pitch with both of them.
As a 22-year-old fireballer with the Angels in 1976, Tanana faced an aged Hank Aaron. This was the final phase of Aaron’s career. After 21 years as a Brave, from 1975-76, he went to the AL as a Milwaukee Brewer, and that’s when Tanana faced him. Specifically, on June 14, 1976 Tanana battled Bad Henry and lost, as Aaron clocked home run No. 748 of 755.
Tanana spent the rest of 1976 as an Angel, and the next 16 seasons with various AL teams. Finally, in 1993, he switched to the NL, pitching for the Mets. Bonds was in his first year the Giants, one in which he hit 46 homers. If it wasn’t for Tanana, it would’ve been 45. Twenty years ago today, on July 17, 1993, Bonds smacked a solo shot off Tanana in the seventh for his 201st career home run.
The other pitcher in the club is Big Daddy Rick Reuschel. Well, he makes more sense. Like Aaron and Bonds, Reuschel spent nearly his entire career in the National League. On June 16, 1973, Reuschel served up a pitch that Aaron turned into career homer No. 691. (A year later, Reuschel gave up Hank Aaron homer 725.)
Reuschel was actually a Pittsburgh teammate of Bonds when Bonds first made the majors, but in 1989 Reuschel went to the Giants, four years before Bonds did lik—ewise. Reuschel didn’t allow a homer to Bonds that year, but he did on May 27, 1991. Actually, Reuschel allowed three homers in that gameand never allowed another one after it. He went on the DL after that game and didn’t come back until September, and pitched only 15 innings then. He pitched barely over 10 innings in 1992 before calling it a career.
So those are the two guys who surrendered home runs to the two greatest homer hitters ever—and one of them joined the club 20 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which are things that happened X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim through things.
3,000 days since the Players Association and baseball commissioner Bud Selig agrees to a 50-game suspension for the first offense, a 100-game for the second offense, and a lifetime suspension for the third offense for players caught using steroids.
4,000 days since Carlos Beltran hits an inside the park home run off Kyle Lohse. It’s the first inside the park home run in his career.
4,000 days since Cincinnati’s Russell Branyan hits three home runs in one game.
5,000 days since the Dodgers trade Raul Mondesi to Toronto for Shawn Green.
5,000 days since the U.S. Senate passes a resolution calling for Shoeless Joe Jackson to be honored. You’ve got to be kidding me.
6,000 days since General Mills unveils three Jackie Robinson cereal boxes to be sold in stores.
7,000 days since Tom Glavine notches his 100th win.
7,000 days since Yomiuri Giants pitcher Hiromi Hakihara throws a perfect game against Hiroshima Toyo Carp.
7,000 days since Reds owner Marge Schott tells the Ohio City Treasurers Association that “only fruits wear earrings.” She later claims her remarks were misconstrued.
8,000 days since Reggie Sanders makes his big league debut.
40,000 days since Brooklyn purchases horrible hitting catcher Bill Bergen from the Reds.
1880 Harry Stovey, at one point the game’s all-time home run king, hits the first of his 27 inside the park home runs.
1891 Cy Young hits a home run off Tony Mullane.
1900 Christy Mathewson makes his major league debut.
1902 The AL’s Baltimore squad releases a slew of players, including Hall of Famers Joe Kelley, Roger Bresnahan and, Iron Man Joe McGinnity. AL president Ban Johnson announces that unless Baltimore fields a team, its stockholders would forfeit its franchise.
1902 Dummy Hoy appears in his last game.
1903 Dan McClellen of the Cuban X-Giants pitches the first perfect game in black baseball history.
1903 Rube Waddell is arrested for assaulting a fan who criticized his pitching. Connie Mack bails him out.
1908 Mordecai Brown beats the Christy Mathewson 1-0 on a fifth inning inside-the-park home run by Joe Tinker.
1908 Pittsburgh has Honus Wagner Day, giving the star shortstop a $700 gold watch.
1909 Smokey Joe Wood becomes the first man to reach double-digit Ks in a relief stint, fanning 10 in four innings out of the bullpen.
1911 Jack Coombs, a pitcher, hits a home run in the 14th inning off of 200-game winner Jack Powell.
1913 Cy Seymour, a combination pitcher and outfielder, plays in his last game.
1914 Babe Adams of the Pirates pitches 21 innings only to lose 3-1 to Rube Marquard and the Giants. Always the control artist, Adams walks none in the game.
1914 Washington outfielders Clyde Milan and Danny Moeller collide in the outfield, breaking Milan’s jaw. He’ll miss 40 games.
1917 Cooperstown-bound shortstop Lou Boudreau is born.
1917 The Reds select pitcher Dutch Ruether off waivers from the Cubs.
1918 Cubs pitcher Lefty Tyler defeats the Phillies 2-1 in 21 innings.
1920 Outfielder Bibb Falk makes his big league debut.
1923 The Indians maul Carl Mays, getting 20 hits and 13 runs. Mays is left in all game long because his manager is irked at him.
1924 Pie Traynor hits an inside the park walk-off homer in the bottom of the 13th inning.
1924 Jesse Haines no-hits the Braves, walking three in a 5-0 win for the Cardinals.
1928 Ty Cobb plays his last complete game. He’ll have 10 more pinch-hit appearances and three more times he starts but is pulled during the game.
1929 Roy McMillan, shortstop, is born.
1932 Hall of Famer Joe Sewell gets his 2,000th career hit.
1932 Outfielder Charlie Jamieson plays in his last game. He led the 1923 AL in hits.
1934 Babe Ruth draws his 2,000th career walk.
1935 In a doubleheader against Cleveland, Billy Werber of the Red Sox bangs out seven doubles.
1936 Carl Hubbell begins his 24-game winning streak. He’s 10-6 when this day begins and will end the season 26-6. He'll then start the following campaign 8-0.
1936 Jimmie Foxx hits one over the upper deck roof of Comiskey Park’s left field roof and onto the street.
1936 Goose Goslin enjoys the last of his 14 multi-home run games.
1937 Luke Appling gets his 1,000th career hit.
1938 Deron Johnson is born. He’ll lead the 1965 NL in RBIs.
1939 Chuck Klein gets his 28th and final career multi-home run game.
1939 Earl Averill has his 19th and final career multi-home run game.
1941 It’s over—Cleveland holds Joe DiMaggio hitless, ending his streak at 56 games.
1942 Don Kessinger, longtime Cubs shortstop, is born.
1946 Red Kress plays his last game. He was a good hitting third baseman for the Browns in his prime about 15 years previously.
1947 Bobo Newsom wins his 200th game. His record: 200-208.
1947 The Browns sign Negro Leaguers Hank Thompson and Willard Brown. Thompson makes his big league debut, helping to integrate the St. Louis Browns. It’s purely a stunt for attendance. When it doesn’t lead to a big boom in fans in the seats, the Browns release both.
1947 The Yankees win their 19th consecutive game, tying an AL record set by the 1906 Yankees. It will be a jointly held record until the 2002 A’s win 20 straight.
1948 Leo Durocher makes his debut as Giants manager.
1950 Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Gordon goes 5-for-5 for the only time in his career. He homers and drives in four.
1952 Ralph Kiner hits the sixth of eight career walk-off homers. He also gets his 1,000th hit.
1954 For the first time in history, Brooklyn fields a majority-black team. I think it’s the first time any team has done it. On the field are Jim Gilliam at second base, Jackie Robinson at third, Roy Campanella behind the plate, Don Newcombe on the mound, and Sandy Amoros in the outfield. The Dodgers top the Braves, 2-1.
1954 The Giants overcome an 9-0 deficit only to lose anyway in 11 innings, so never mind.
1955 Earl Torgeson steals home in the 10th inning for a 6-5 Tigers win over the Yankees.
1955 Starting pitcher Roger Craig makes his big league debut.
1956 Ted Williams hits his 400th home run and spits at the press box when he crosses the plate.
1956 Turk Lown enjoys the best relief stint in Cubs history according to WPA. He throws seven innings of shutout ball for a 0.922 WPA.
1959 Chicago’s Early Wynn and New York’s Ralph Terry have a 0-0 duel after eight innings, with Terry pitching a no-hitter. Then in the ninth he allows a hit to Jim McAnnay and then a Jim Landis home run for a 2-0 White Sox win.
1959 Cleveland’s Minnie Minoso strikes out from the on-eck circle. He refuses to come to the plate due to an argument with the umpire, and so the umpire orders the pitcher to throw the ball anyway.
1960 Al Kaline draws four walks in four plate appearances.
1960 Bobby Thomson, famous for the 1951 pennant-winning home run, plays in his final game.
1960 Relief pitcher Jim Brewer makes his big league debut.
1961 St. Louis Cardinal Bill White goes 8-for-10 in a doubleheader sweep of the Cubs.
1961 Former deadball star pitcher Ed Reulbach dies at age 78.
1961 Ty Cobb dies at age 74, inspiring Lawrence Ritter to do his oral interviews for The Glory of Their Times.
1961 Ford Frick makes his asterisk declaration on the home run chase for Babe Ruth’s single season record.
1962 Sandy Koufax experiences numbness in his pitching hand and is replaced after one inning in the Dodgers-Reds game.
1962 Sport McAllister, the last survivor of the worst team of all time (the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, who went 20-134), dies at age 87.
1963 Bobby Thigpen, who at one point will hold the all-time single season saves record, is born.
1964 The White Sox release former star outfielder Minnie Minoso.
1965 The Mets release what’s left of Warren Spahn.
1966 Pete Rose has the first of five career multi-home run games.
1966 Billy Williams hits for the cycle.
1970 Current Texas manager Ron Washington signs with the Royals as an amateur free agent.
1971 For the first time in his career, Juan Marichal walks in a run. He’s thrown 2,954.1 innings up to this point.
1971 The dormant Forbes Field is damaged by fire.
1971 The Yankees sign free agent Bobby Cox, who isn’t a great player but will later be a great manager.
1974 Bob Gibson becomes the second pitcher to fan 3,000 batters, joining Walter Johnson. Gibson’s milestone victim is Cesar Geronimo, who will later become Nolan Ryan’s 3,000th strikeout victim.
1974 Dizzy Dean dies at age 64.
1974 Tommy John blows out his arm, seemingly ending his career. Of course he comes back after an experimental surgery works great for him.
1976 George Brett hits a walk-off home run against Luis Tiant.
1978 Texas pitcher Doc Medich saves the life of a 61-year-old fan having a heart attack. Medich, an actual medical student, does a heart massage until paramedics arrive. Doc isn’t just a nickname for him.
1978 Joe Niekro has his longest outing, 11 innings for a complete game win. His Game Score of 88 is also his best ever.
1978 Darrell Evans, one of baseball’s most underrated players ever, has the first of two career 5-for-5 games.
1982 Andy Hawkins makes his big league debut.
1986 Pete Rose, at age 45 years, three months, and three days, triples. It’s his second triple of the year.
1986 Jim Presley of the Mariners hits a walk-off grand slam for a 5-1 win in 11 innings over the Red sox.
1987 Dale Sveum of the Brewers hits three homers in one game.
1987 Dave Winfield suffers through his worst day at the plate, going 0-for-5 with four Ks.
1987 Hal McRae plays in his last game.
1989 Carlton Fisk catches his 2,000th game.
1989 Longtime relief pitcher Kent Tekulve, the second player to ever pitch in 1,000 games, retires.
1989 David Wells wins both game of a doubleheader. It’s the first doubleheader in the Skydome.
1990 Carlton Fisk, at age 42, steals two bases in one game.
1990 Bo Jackson of the Royals hits three homers in one game and separates his shoulder trying to catch a ball that goes for an inside-the-park homer. The man legging out that blast is Bo’s fellow two-sport star, Deion Sanders.
1990 The Twins pull off two triple plays in one game against the Red Sox, but lose 1-0 anyway.
1990 For the fifth and last time in his career, Roberto Alomar plays shortstop. I was at this game—it was the first time I ever saw a game at Wrigley Field.
1991 Randy Johnson walks 10 batters, tying his personal career high.
1993 Tim Raines legs out his 100th career triple. He hit No. 99 yesterday and will get four all month—and those are his only four on the year.
1993 The A’s sign amateur free agent Miguel Tejada.
1993 Minor league pitcher Glenn Dishman loses a perfect game in frustrating fashion. He’s one out from a perfecto when a batter grounds to the second baseman, who flips to first for the out—but the first baseman takes his foot off the bag early in celebration, and the batter is safe.
1993 Texas trades reliever Robb Nen to the Marlins.
1995 The White Sox release relief pitcher Rob Dibble.
1995 Dave Stewart plays in his last game.
1995 Jason Isringhausen makes his big league debut.
1995 Jeff Suppan makes his big league debut.
1998 Albert Belle hits his 300th home run.
1998 Jorge Posada experiences the first of his 17 multi-home run games.
1998 Rafael Palmeiro smashes his 300th career home run.
1998 Pittsburgh trades pitcher Esteban Loaiza to the Rangers for reliever Todd Van Poppel and second baseman Warren Morris.
2001 Jim Edmonds cracks out his 1,000th hit.
2001 Atlanta signs free agent reliever Chris Hammond.
2001 Bartolo Colon is ejected for throwing the ball over the head of Houston’s Scott Servais. The league will suspend Colon six games for this.
2001 Mike Mussina has his last successful pick-off. He’ll play over seven more years without another one.
2001 Umpire Greg Gibson ejects Expos coach Ozzie Guillen before the game for continuing an argument from the previous day’s game.
2002 Nomar Garciaparra hits the 10,000th home run in the history of the Red Sox franchise.
2002 The Big Hurt Frank Thomas enjoys the only three-double game of his career. He’s 4-for-5 overall on the day.
2002 Torii Hunter of the Twins fires the ball at Indians pitcher Danys Baez after a hit by pitch. After the game, Baez apologies to the Minnesota clubhouse.
2002 Lee Maye dies at age 67. He led the NL in doubles in 1964.
2004 Rey Ordonez appears in his last game.
2004 Jorge Cantu makes his big league debut.
2008 Oakland trades Joe Blanton to the Phillies for three players.
2009 Atlanta retires No. 31 for Greg Maddux.
2009 Jim Thome gets a personal best seven RBIs in one game. He’s 2-for-4 with a home run, walk, and strikeout.
2010 A.J. Burnett is upset with his pitching and so slams the clubhouse door—and slices both of his hands on the lineup card holders mounted on the door. Uh, OK.
2011 Boston 1, Tampa 0 (16). Dustin Pedroia gets an RBI single in the 16th inning—and it’s only the eighth hit in the game for either team (five for Boston, three for Tampa). The hits for Tampa came in the first, ninth and 11th innings.
2012 The Nationals top the Mets, 5-4 on a walk-off wild pitch in the bottom of the 10th. The wild pitch is thrown by reliever Pedro Beato, who had just entered the game a few seconds earlier. The Mets lead 4-3 entering the bottom of the 10th, but blow it. They allow a single and a a game-tying triple, and then intentionally walk two batters just before the wild pitch.
History instructor by day, statnerd by night, Chris Jaffe leads one of the most exciting double lives imaginable; with the exception of every other double life possible to imagine. Despite his lack of comic-book-hero-worthiness, Chris enjoys farting around with this stuff. His new book, Evaluating Baseball's Managers is available for order. Chris welcomes responses to his articles via e-mail. Oh, and now he's on twitter.