Category Archives: MLB

On This Day In 1998: “Kerry Wood Throws 20 Strike Outs”

On May 6, 1998 history was made at one of baseballs most historic ballparks Wrigley Field.  The game was between the visiting Houston Astros and the beloved home town heroes the Chicago Cubs.  Pitching for the Cubs that days was a young right handed pitch named Kerry Wood.  Wood had made his Major League debut just one month earlier and was about to shock the baseball world.

In front of the crowd of 15,758 fans Kerry Wood was set to face an Atros team with former All Stars and a couple of potential Hall Of Fame Players.  Players like Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio headlined the line up for the Astros that day.

Kerry Wood during his 20K performance in 1998. (Getty Images)

Kerry Wood during his 20K performance in 1998. (Getty Images)

Wood struck out every player in the Astros line up at least once during the game.  During his nine inning pitching clinic he gave up only one hit and his Cubs committed no errors.  When the smoke cleared Wood had thrown a record tying 20 strike outs.  The crowd was electrified from the excitement of this rare accomplishment.

Kerry Wood went on to have a respectable career with Cubs, Indians and the Yankees.  He had two stints with the Chicago Cubs and in the last half of his career was a closer.  He played his final game on May 18, 2012 with the Cubs, 14 years after making history.  He became the 1998 National League Rookie Of The Year and a two time All-Star (2003, 2008).  Wood retired with a career record of 86-75 , 3.67 and 1,582 strike outs.

Kerry Wood saying goodbye to the Wrigley Field crowd in his final game on May 18, 2012. (Getty Images)

Kerry Wood saying goodbye to the Wrigley Field crowd in his final game on May 18, 2012. (Getty Images)

The only other player to have struck out 20 batters in a single game was Roger Clemens, he did so in 1986 and 1996.  Only Eight players have pitched 18 or more strike outs in a game.  This record has not been matched or broken since Kerry Wood joined Roger Clemens on the top of this list.

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“Shoeless” Joe Jackson And The 1919 World Series

On October 1, 1919 the World Series began at Redland Field in Cincinnati, OH in front of a crowd of 30,511 fans.  The teams on the field were the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds. No one knew that day that what they were witnessing would later beconsidered the most controversial World Series ever.  When the Series was finished on October 9, 1919 the Reds were crowned Champions by winning five games in the best of nine Series.  Baseball fans all over the country were shocked ass the White Sox were considered the best team in baseball by many.  What unfolded in the next 2 years following the 1919 World Series has been chronicled very heavily in the last ninety years.  

In 1920 it became public the that eight players on the 1919 Chicago White Sox team might have intentionally thrown the World Series.  The allegation was that these players had conspired with gamblers to throw the Series in exchange for a payoff of $5,000 each.  The case was later investigated by a Grand Jury to determine what exactly happened and if any criminal acts had been committed.

"Shoeless" Joe Jackson. (Getty Images)

“Shoeless” Joe Jackson. (Getty Images)

The most prominent of those eight players was “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.  Jackson’s involvement made the story even more interesting.  Jackson is considered one of the greatest baseball players to ever play the game.  In his 23 season career he batted .375, collected 1,772 hits, 54 home runs and 785 RBI’s.  

In 1921 the Grand Jury convinced in Chicago and eventually acquitted all eight players of committing any crime.  Shortly thereafter The Commissioner Of Baseball Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned all eight players from the game of baseball for life.  Landis logic was even though the players had been acquitted, they left a black eye of the game of baseball and must be thrown out in order to clean up baseball’s image.  Because of this action one of the greatest baseball players ever is not allowed in The National Baseball Hall of Fame, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.

His performance during the 1919 World Series was very impressive.  During the eight games Jackson had 12 hits, batted .375 and committed no errors.  He had the most hits and highest batting average of any player on either team.  To think he was involved in the throwing of the world series is unfathomable.  His play told a completely different story, one of a man playing his heart out and trying to help his team win.

The fact that a Grand Jury acquitted the eight players is also a strong statement.  Landis felt like he had to make a statement about the supposed infraction that had occurred.  Landis went too far by banning the players for life and ruining any possibility that these players could be immortalized in the Hall of Fame.  Many baseball fans hold out hope that one day the ban will be lifted by a future Commissioner of Baseball and “Shoeless” Joe will be able to take his place where he deserves to be, the Hall Of Fame.

Babe Ruth’s 500th Home Run

On August 11, 1929 New York Yankee Babe Ruth was the first ever player in Major League Baseball history to hit 500 home runs.  The game took place in Cleveland, OH at League Park VI.  The pitcher that gave up this historic home run was Willis Hudlin of the Cleveland Indians.  Ruth went 2-4 with 2 runs and 1 RBI.  The Yankees would end up losing the game by a score of 6-5.

Babe Ruth ended his career with 714 home runs when he retired in 1935.  His record would stand until Hank Aaron hit his 715th career home run in 1974.  Aaron (755) and the current career home run leader Barry Bonds (762) are the only players to surpass Ruth’s record.

In the history of baseball only twenty-five men have hit 500 or more home runs in their career.  Fifteen of those players are in the Baseball Hall Of Fame.  The last player to reach this milestone was Gary Sheffield on April 17, 2009.

On This Day In 1993: Nolan Ryan Put Robin Ventura In A Headlock

Nolan Ryan was 46 years of age when the 1993 MLB season began.  He announced that he would retire at the end of the season.  Nolan Ryan had pitched magic through four decades and was ready to call it a career.  The last big moment in his pitching career came not from his pitches but from his fists.

On August 4th, 1993 the visiting Chicago White Sox were in Arlington to take on the Texas Rangers.  Nolan Ryan was on the mound for the Rangers.  After giving up 2-runs to the White Sox in the first inning he was facing young third baseman Robin Ventura.  Ventura had hit for an RBI single off of Ryan in the first inning.  On his first pitch Ryan beaned Ventura in the elbow.

Nolan Ryan fighting at age 46.  (Getty Images)

Nolan Ryan fighting at age 46. (Getty Images)

Robin Ventura appeared to be walking to first base when he suddenly threw his helmet down and charged at the mound.  Ryan calmly side stepped Ventura and put him in a headlock with is left arm.  Ryan proceeded to punch the 26 year old Ventura in the face approximately 6 times before his catcher Ivan Rodriguez could pull him away.  The teams quickly cleared the bench and a wild brawl ensued.  When the field was cleared 5 minutes later, Ventura and his manager Gene Lamont were ejected from the game by the Umpire.  Ryan would not be ejected due to the fact he never left the mound until Ventura reached him.

Nolan Ryan would leave the game in the seventh inning with his team leading 5-2.  The score would not change and Ryan received the win.  It was his third win of the season.

Nolan Ryan would only pitch for a few more times before his arm was finally thrown out in late September.  This is not only one of the many memorable Nolan Ryan moments but it was the most memorable baseball fight of the 1990s.  The fight was played numerous times on television newscasts the next day.  Everyone was happy to see a 46 year old Ryan school Robin Ventura who was 20 years his junior.  It showed how tough Ryan really was and baseball fans nation wide loved it.  This was an incredible moment for Ryan to end his final season on.

The Longest Major League Baseball Game Ever

The game of baseball is the only professional American sport without a clock to time the play.  In the vast history of baseball many games have gone on for hours while some have been completed in less than an hour.  One game holds the Major League record for most innings played.

The game took place on May 1st, 1920 in Boston at Braves Field.  The teams that day were the Brooklyn Robins (Later known as the Dodgers) and the Boston Braves.  This record setting game consisted of 26 innings and ended in a tying score of 1-1.  The game was called due to darkness.  The starting pitchers were Leon Cadore for the Robins and Joe Oeschger for the Braves.  Both pitchers played the entire game which by today’s standards is a heroic feat.

While it holds the record for the most innings it does not hold the record for actual time.  The game was called at 4 hours and 50 minutes after the first pitch.  In the history of the Major Leagues games have gone past 22 innings less than ten times.  The most recent of those was in 1989.  It is safe to say that this game has stood the test of time and will continue to hold this amazing record for many decades to come.

On This Day In 1993: Alex Rodriguez Was The #1 Draft Pick

Alex Rodriguez in 1993. (Getty Images)

Alex Rodriguez in 1993. (Getty Images)

On this day in 1993 one of the biggest baseball stars of the 1990’s and 2000’s was drafted in the MLB Draft.  The Seattle Mariners used their #1 overall pick in 1993 to draft Alex Rodriguez.  Rodriguez was drafted after his senior year of high school where he played at Westminster Christian High School.  He was a highly touted player during high school, hitting .419 over 100 games.  He would go on to be the highest paid baseball player at the time when he signed a 10 year $252 million deal with the Texas Rangers in 2000.  Rodriguez also became the youngest player to reach 500 career home runs at age 32.

Fernando Tatis And His History Making Inning

When you think of all time greats in baseball, names like Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Lou Gehrig and Reggie Jackson are a few of the players that might pop into your head.  When you think of Major League Baseball record holders you might think of Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken Jr and Barry Bonds.  Fernando Tatis would be the last player you would think of being one of the greats of the game or even holding a MLB record.  While he is not a legendary player he does hold a pretty incredible record.

Fernando Tatis rounding the bases. (Getty Images)

Fernando Tatis rounding the bases. (Getty Images)

Only thirteen players in the history of MLB have hit two grand slams in the same game.  Fernando Tatis is one of those players to accomplish this amazing feat, but he did it better than the twelve other players.  On April 23, 1999 Tatis, playing for the St Loius Cardinals took to the plate in the third inning of their game against the Los Angeles Dogders.  Chan Ho Park was the pitcher on the mound for the Dodgers.  Tatis hit not one but two grand slams, all of them in the third inning against Park.  The Cardinals defeated the Dodgers by a score of 12-5 that day.

Fernando Tatis retired from baseball after the 2010 season.  He had a career batting average of .265 with 113 home runs and 448 RBIs.  While not a impressive career numbers, Tatis holds a very rare and difficult record.  Many look to records like Cal Ripken Jr’s consecutive game record and Nolan Ryan’s career no hitter’s as unbreakable records.  This record is right up their with those as records that might stand forever.  The proof is in the amount of player that have hit two grand slams in one game with only thirteen.  Then take a look at how many did that in one inning, only one.

While Fernando Tatis was a very forgettable player that had a forgettable career, no one can take away this accomplishment.  So when you think of incredible records think of Tatis in that one game back in April of 1999.