December 6, 2013
Get It Now!Hardball Times Annual is now available. It's got 300 pages of articles, commentary and even a crossword puzzle. You can buy the Annual at Amazon, for your Kindle or on our own page (which helps us the most financially). However you buy it, enjoy!
And here's the full roster.
THT's latest e-bookThird Base: The Crossroads is THT's new e-book, available for $3.99 from the Kindle store. The good news is that anyone can read a Kindle book, even on a PC. So enjoy the best from THT in a new format.
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Friday, May 03, 2013
Cardinals 6, Brewers 5: Jake Westbrook with career win 100. And get this: dude allowed only one run in six innings and his ERA increased. Which, yes, will happen when you come in at 0.98. It's now an unsightly 1.10. He talked after the game how 100 was a goal for him. And while, no, it isn't 300, it represented him being a grinder and sticking around and stuff. I think there's all kinds of underrated glory in that: 300-game winners are spectacular, but they're on that far right side of the bell curve with which most folks don't have a frame of reference. Hundred-game winners have been around the block and seen a good deal of bad to go with the good and all of that.
Orioles 5, Angels 1: Chris Tillman with eight shutout innings. He's from Orange County, so maybe it was the home cooking. Unless maybe his mom can't cook and it was really just like, "hey, awesome, we get to eat at Del Taco!" or something.
Tigers 7, Astros 3: Fourteen innings in Houston, decided when Houston intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder to get to Don Kelly. Kelly was up to the challenge and singled in the go-ahead run. Matt Tuiasosopo then doubled in two more followed by a Jhonny Peralta sac fly. Get this: seven shutout innings from the Tiger bullpen. You don't expect that very often.
Nationals 3, Braves 1: Washington earns the split behind a nice outing from Dan Haren, who was really in need of a nice outing. It was the first time he'd gone past the sixth inning this season. First time he reached the eighth in nearly a year.
White Sox 3, Rangers 1: You know what the real tragedy about all this is? Hector Santiago was not even supposed to be here today! But he was and pitched well (5.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 6K). Then he closed the store to play hockey, went to a wake and tried to win back his ex-girlfriend without even discussing how he felt about his present one.
Phillies 7, Marlins 2: Kyle Kendrick: Phillies ace. He picks up his third win after allowing only two runs over seven innings. Domonic Brown was 3 for 4 with a homer. Ryan Howard had a solo shot. Juan Pierre notched his 600th career steal.
Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 1: The Blue Jays waked a lot of Red Sox. How many times did they walk the Red Sox?
This many times!
Haha, no, actually it was 10. And David Ortiz even took the day off. Man.
Padres 4, Cubs 2: Travis Wood deserved better, but bad defense and bad bullpen work did him in.
Rays vs. Royals: POSTPONED: Last time I was here, it was rainin, doesn't rain here anymore. The streets were drowned, and the water's waining, all the runes washed to shore. Now I'm here lookin' through the rubble, tryin' to find out who we were. Last time I was here, it was rainin, ain't rainin' anymore.
Fifty years ago today, something very strange happened, something that had happened only once before in baseball history.
Well, on the face of it, things weren’t that strange—a man hit a home run. Yawn. That happens every day, right? Aye, but there was something special about this home run, something the set it apart.
It came in the man’s only plate appearance of the year.
Yup, a batter hit a home run in his first trip to the plate of the season and his reward was never to be allowed to grab a bat again all year. You've got to admit, that is different.
As you might guess, there is a catch to this story that explains it, and odds are some of you out there in reader-land have guessed it: The slugger was actually a pitcher.
On May 3, 1963, the Baltimore Orioles played in Detroit against the Tigers, and soon fell badly behind. The Tigers scored once in the first, twice in the second, and added another pair in the third for a quick 5-2 lead.
That was enough to chase starting pitcher Chuck Estrada from the scene and bring on the hero of our story, young Buster Narum. At age 22, Narum was a rookie making just his fifth career appearance. After entering two games in mid-April, he sat on the shelf for two weeks, but this was his third straight day of work.
Narum put out the fire in the bottom of the third with a double play grounder, and was due up for his first ever major league at bat a few moments later. He made it count with a two-run homer that trimmed the Tigers' lead to 5-4. The Tigers were so mortified they immediately pulled starting pitcher Don Mossi for reliever, Paul Foytack. The good news was that Foytack didn’t let any pitcher hit homers. The bad news for Detroit was that he did allow three homers, with the go-ahead run coming from the bat of the decidedly power-deprived shortstop Luis Aparicio. Baltimore won the game, 8-5.
But the memorable moment was Narum’s blast. He made two more pitching appearances before getting sent down to the minors. He actually pitched well in his time up—a 3.00 ERA—but the Orioles were stocked to the rafters with young pitchers and they clearly felt he needed more seasoning.
Instead of being part of Baltimore’s youth movement, Narron was traded Narum in the offseason to Washington for a young prospect named Lou Piniella. Yeah, that Lou Piniella.
Prior to Narum, only one person had a homer in his only at-bat on the season, and it was also a pitcher: Bill LeFebvre with the 1938 Red Sox. Since then, it’s happened thrice more. Twice it’s been pitchers – Montreal’s Guillermo Mota did it in 1999, and Gustavo Chacin did it for Houston in 2010. In between, Baltimore’s Eddie Rogersbecame the only non-pitcher to do it. Normally a pinch runner in 2005, he homered in his only time up. He ended his career with 30 PA in 30 games—but only the one homer.
It’s a small club, and Buster Narum joined it 50 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that happened X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim through them.
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