Tag Archives: pitcher

On This Day In 1983: The George Brett Pine Tar Incident

Exactly thirty-one years ago today one of the most infamous incidents of modern baseball history occurred.  The game involved the visiting Kansas City Royals taking on the New York Yankees.  The Yankees were leading the game 4-3 with 2 outs in the top half of the 9th inning.  George Brett was at bat and hit an incredible 2-run home run off of Yankees pitcher Rich “Goose” Gossage.  The Royals were suddenly in the lead by one run.

That is until the Yankees manager Billy Martin left the dugout to speak with home plate umpire Tim McClelland.  Martin explained to McClelland that Brett’s bat had pine tar exceeding the normal length allowed on the bat.  This pine tar place on the upper part of the barrel of the bat would make the bat easier to hit the ball solidly off the bat.  McClelland then measured the bat’s pine tar (which was allowed to be more 18 inches up the bat) with the home plate.  The pine tar was over that length,  McClelland immediately over ruled the play and called brett’s at bat as an out.

George Brett protesting the pine tar call after his 2-run home run was ruled an out.  (Getty Images)

George Brett protesting the pine tar call after his 2-run home run was ruled an out. (Getty Images)

George Brett then stormed toward home plate to confront Tim McClelland.  Brett was restrained by his team mates and was brought back into the dugout.  Due to the umpires call the game was now over.  The Yankees were recorded as the winners of the game by a score of 4-3.  The call was later over ruled and a few weeks later the game was restarted after Brett’s at bat with his 2-run home run counting.  The Royals won that game 5-4.

This is a moment that will live forever in baseball history.  It is also George Brett’s most memorable moment in his Hall Of Fame career.

 

MLB Opening Day: The Only No Hitter

The opening day of the baseball season has been filled with historic moments and happenings.  Moments like Hank Aaron tying Babe Ruth’s home run record and Ted Williams hitting .449 in all of his opening day game appearances.  One of these milestones happened in 1940 and has yet to be repeated on the day that starts the long baseball season, a no hitter.

On April 16, 1940 at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Hall Of Fame pitcher Bob Feller made the history books when he threw his first no hitter.  Completing a no hitter as a pitcher is incredible enough but there is another element that makes this feat even more incredible, this is the only occurrence of a no hitter on Opening Day.  On that day Feller pitched his Cleveland Indians to a 1-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox.  The eventual game winning run was scored by the Indians in the 4th inning when Jeff Heath scored on a Rollie Hemsley hit.  The losing pitcher that day was Eddie Smith.

Bob Feller would have two more no hitters in his career before he retired in 1956.  Those came in the 1946 and 1951 seasons against the Yankees and Tigers.  Bob Feller was inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame in 1962.  Feller amassed 266 wins and 162 loses and threw 2,581 strikeouts.  An interensting note to his career is that he also threw 12 one hit games on top of his three no hitters.

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.

Babe Ruth: Hall Of Fame Pitcher?

Babe Ruth is by far the greatest Icon in American sports history.  Some would even argue he is the greatest American Icon period.  Everyone from Grandma to your 5 year old niece or nephew knows who Babe Ruth was.  Most people associate Ruth with his legendary slugging days with the New York Yankees.  Ruth even held the Home Run record in Major League Baseball until Hank Aaron broke that record in the 1970’s.  What many people don’t know is that Ruth had a history before the all of those home runs and before the Yankees.

Babe Ruth while he was with the Boston Red. Getty Images

Babe Ruth while he was with the Boston Red. Getty Images

Babe Ruth made his Major League debut on July 11th, 1914 for the Boston Red Sox.  Ruth won that game; it was the beginning of Ruth’s pitching career.  His pitching career spanned from 1914-1919, all of those seasons with the Boston Red Sox.  Ruth did however pitch 5 games with the Yankees years later and won all 5.  He made the starting rotation for the Sox in 1915 and won 18 games in his first full season.   Ruth started batting in the lineup when not pitching halfway through his time with the Sox.  He had signs of being a great offensive player but was still used primarily as a pitcher.
He went on to have a very respectable pitching career.  He helped pitch the Red Sox to 3 World Series Championships in just 6 seasons.  When Ruth retired he had 94 career wins and a career ERA of 2.28 with 488 strikeouts.  Babe Ruth would be sold to the Yankees in a deal that changed the face of American Sports history.
The Yankees played Babe Ruth in the Outfield and all but ended his pitching career.  There are many people who feel that Ruth could have gone into the Hall Of Fame based on his pitching stats alone.  There is no arguing that Ruth was a great pitcher, but his time in that position pales in comparison to his slugging years.
It really makes you wonder how American Sports would be different if Babe Ruth had not gone to the Yankees and become a baseball hero.  The fact of the matter is as big of an icon Ruth became there would have been no way he would have become so without his years with the Yankees.  The Yankees gave him a grand stage and opportunity to become the Icon he became.  They also surrounded him with other legendary players.

It should not be forgotten just how great Babe Ruth was as an all around baseball player.  While not the most athletic player to grace a baseball field, he was by far the most dynamic.  Ruth was and forever will be America’s first sports legend.

Jose Reyes’ Hitting Streak Comes To An End At 26 Games

The longest hitting streak of this season has come to an end today in New York.  Jose Reyes went 0-4 against the New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey.  Reyes is now 2-16 all time against Dickey.  The consecutive game hitting streak was ended at 26 games.  Reyes will likely keep the record through the end of the 2012 season.  Reyes started this streak after the All Star break on July 13th and did not let up until Thursday the 9th of August.  The pitching of R.A. Dickey proved to be too much for Reyes.  If anyone was going to end the streak abruptly it would be the crafty knuckleballer.

Jose Reyes
(Getty Images)

Reyes streak was the last remaining hope that Marlins fans had for any excitement this year.  The team has fallen 17 games back behind the National League East leading Washington Nationals.  The hitting streak was just starting to get major media attention and just as it was it is already over.  It was a fun ride to watch the suspense of Reyes getting hits in many of the games in late innings was energizing.  Reyes is the defending N.L. batting champion.  He is not going to win that title this year but showed that he is still a great hitter and a valuable asset to his team this year.

Where do the Marlins go from here?  Likely straight to the off season with no more major stories for the team this season.  Although there is another potential streak brewing.  The Marlins Carlos Lee has a 14 game hitting streak.  Lee will probably not reach even 20 games given his aging veteran status, but hey you never really know.

Reyes has been a great addition to this Marlins team this year.  Lucky for the fans of South Florida he will be back next season.  With any luck his success will rub off on the rest of the team and the Marlins will be the contenders they were supposed to be this year.

Perfect Phil

The White Sox Phillip Humber throws MLB's 21 prefect game.
(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Chicago White Sox pitcher Phil Humber pitched his way into the history books on Saturday.  Humber pitched the White Sox to a perfect game win over the Seattle Mariners with a score of 4-0.  Humber amazed the baseball world with incredible pitching against a decent Mariners ball club.  He performed this incredible feat in just 96 pitches and had 9K’s.  This was his first win of the season, and what a great way to way to do it.

Humber is probably the last guy anyone would have expected to throw a perfect game.  He went 9-9 last year with a 3.75 ERA in his first full year in the show.  He was drafted 3rd overall by the Mets in 2004 and had elbow issues by 2006.  He was bounced around the league for a few years and ended up in Chicago off of waivers in 2011.  Humber’s performance is inspiring due to the fact he underwent Tommy John surgery 7 years ago.  Many pitchers never return to for or develop into a player that can perform such a feat after major surgery on their arm.

Here are some facts of where this perfect game sits in the history books.  This was just the 21st perfect game in MLB history.  The first one since the Phillies Roy Halloday did it in 2010 against the Florida Marlins.  It just the 7th perfect game ever pitched on the Road. The most impressive stat of them all is he did it the earliest in a season ever.  Beating the previous record of April 30th by Charles Robertson in 1922.

This season has been very entertaining already, and it isn’t even May yet.  I am sure we will see more history going forward.  As far as Humber goes, he is in for a wild ride.  He will be followed very closely the rest of the year to see how he fares during the grueling season.  Can he do it again? That is going to be the fun question that we will be waiting to find the answer to.  All eyes will be on him during his next start against a Boston Red Sox club that has been struggling this year.  No matter what he does for the rest of the season he has made his mark, and his outing on Saturday will never be forgotten.