December 8, 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!
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Saturday, May 04, 2013
Fifty years ago today, the Braves made the history books—but not in a good way. It wasn’t a terrible day they had, but it sure was a terribly frustrating day for their pitchers, especially starter Bob Shaw. He committed a record five balks and the club ended the day with the all-time high, six.
On May 4, 1963, the Milwaukee Braves hosted the Chicago Cubs, and it didn’t take long for Shaw to start bulking up on balks.
With two outs in the first, Shaw allowed a single to Billy Williams. That was the first Cubs base runner. A few minutes later Williams stood on second, thanks to the first balk of the day.
In the second inning, Shaw allowed three base runners, but managed to get out of the inning without issuing a balk.
Sure enough, in the third, Williams led off with another single. He must’ve been dancing around off the back something fierce, because soon enough Shaw had once again balked him to second. And things weren’t done yet. Before you knew it, Williams induced another Shaw balk. That was three, all of which advanced Williams.
And the inning still wasn’t over.
After two outs failed to advance Williams, leaving him seemingly stranded on third, Shaw walked shortstop Andre Rodgers. And wouldn’t you know it—Shaw balked yet again. That finished off balking Williams around the bases. Three balks in one inning, and four on the day.
In the fourth inning Shaw managed to avoid another balk despite putting base stealing threat Lou Brock on base, but that was his last hurrah. In the fifth, he allowed singles to Williams (of course!) and Ernie Banks. And that’s when Shaw unleashed balk No. 5. No one else has ever balked five times in one outing, and Shaw did it in five innings. Rather interestingly, Williams was the lead runner for all five balks. Did Williams have the whammy or him or was it just a coincidence? Who knows?
Anyhow, after the fifth balk Shaw walked two straight batters and then had to take a walk to the showers. The bullpen generally avoided balks, but in the eighth Denny Lemaster issued their sixth balk of the game. The runner? Would you believe it was yet again Williams. Whatever Williams did on the bases that day sure was working.
Oh, and the Cubs issued a balk of their own, one that scored a run when umpires called Paul Toth for it in the seventh. Truly the umpires were looking for the balk that day. The Cubs won, 7-5, but more memorable than the score were all those pesky balks.
Aside from that, many other events celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that occurred X-thousand days ago) today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim.
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