Monday, September 15, 2014

Lloyd and Paul Waner First Brother Duo To Go Back-to-Back on September 15, 1938

On this day in Baseball History September 15, 1938: Brother duo and future Hall of Famers Lloyd and Paul Waner are the first brother duo to hit back-to-back home runs in Baseball History. They did so while playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates against Cliff Melton of the New York Giants. The brothers known as known as Little Poison (Lloyd) and Big Poison (Paul) hit their back-to-back shots in the top of the fifth inning at the Polo Grounds with two outs. The New York Times article Pirates Rout Giants With Five Homers, Lead Idle Cubs by 3 Games by John Drebinger from September 16, 1938 doesn't make much mention of the event aside from five homers being hit in the game with two by Paul and one by Lloyd.

Here is the boxscore to the Pittsburgh Pirates vs New York Giants game on September 15, 1938 from the September 16, 1938 edition of the New York Times:

It would be seventy-five year later that a brother duo would hit back-to-back homers. B.J. and Justin Upton went back-to-back against Colorado Rockies pitcher Jon Garland on April 23, 2013.

Will we go another 75 years before we see another brother duo go back-to-back?

Until Then Keep Playing Ball,
Baseball Sisco

- Click here to access Lloyd Waner's career statistics from Baseball
- Click here to access Paul Waner's career statistics from Baseball
- Click here to access the article Waner Brothers by Max Nichols from the Oklahoma Historical Society's Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture
- Click here to access the article Pittsburgh Poison: An appreciation of the Waner brothers by Lawrence Richards from the National Pastime Museum website

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Willie Mays Reaches The 500 Home Run Plateau September 13, 1965

On this day in Baseball History September 13, 1965: Willie Mays of the San Francisco Giants hits his 500th career home run making him the fifth player to reach the 500 home run plateau. Mays led the fourth inning against Houston Astros starter Don Nottebart with a drive into the center-field stands at the Houston Astrodome. At this time in Baseball History, the 500 home run club was a small one made up of the following members:
  1. Babe Ruth August 11, 1929
  2. Jimmie Foxx September 24, 1940
  3. Mel Ott August 1, 1945
  4. Ted Williams June 17, 1960
Mays would become the first African-American and first former Negro Leaguer to reach the 500 home run plateau. Here is the boxscore for September 13, 1965 match up between the San Francisco Giants and the Houston Astros:

Mays would finish the 1965 season with a league leading 52 home runs and would pass Mel Ott on both the All-Time Home Run list and the National League home run list on May 4, 1966. Mays would remain the National League All-Time hit list until he was passed by Hank Aaron on June 10, 1972.

Mays would retire after the 1973 season with the New York Mets and would be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979 with 94.7% of the vote (409/432 ballots).

Mays truly was one of the best in the game. A player truly worth of the five-tool label. Players come and go, but there will only ever be one Willie Mays.

Until Then Keep Playing Ball,
Baseball Sisco

For Further Reading:
- Click here to access Willie Mays' career statistics from Baseball

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mickey Mantle Hit The Ball OUT of Tiger Stadium September 10, 1960

From The Cards
That Never Were
On this day in Baseball History September 10, 1960: At Briggs Stadium (later known as Tiger Stadium) in Detroit, Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees strides to the plate with two men on base and two outs against Detroit starter Paul Foytack in the seventh inning. Mantle being a switch hitter took his place in the left-hand hitter box.

Yankees announcer Phil Rizzuto described Mantle's swing as "putting good wood on the ball" as Mantle swung at the 2-0 offering by Foytack and put the ball over the right field roof of Briggs Stadium. Let me repeat that, he hit the ball OVER the roof of Briggs Stadium. The ball landed at a lumberyard across the street. Though not measured at the time, a measurement "after the fact" estimated that the ball traveled a distance of 643 feet. The article Mickey Mantle's 10 Longest Home Runs by Lewis Early from The describes the story in detail about Mantle's homer and the measurement:
Detroit's Tiger Stadium (the name was changed from Briggs Stadium) was a favorite Mantle hunting ground for legendary home run blasts. On September 10, 1960, with two out and two on in the seventh, Mickey worked the count to 2-0. Righty Paul Foytack fired a fastball right into the Mick's killing zone and he jumped on it. He crushed a spectacular drive that easily cleared the right-field roof (something Mickey had done several times by this point in his career), crossed Trumbull Avenue and landed at the base of a shed in the Brooks lumberyard across from the ballpark.

For spectators that day it was another of many tape measure homers Mantle hit during his career. For the Yankees the win - coupled with a Baltimore Orioles loss - put them back in first place in a tight pennant race. This overshadowed the magnitude of Mickey's blast in the stories that appeared in newspapers the next day. That plus the fact that spectacular Mantle home runs were becoming somewhat commonplace. So much so that Yankees' PR director Bob Fishel (Red Patterson's successor), who had many other duties, couldn't keep up with every tape measure blast Mantle hit. For that matter, Fishel wasn't with the Yankees in Detroit on that trip, so there was no one to emphasize to the press what Mickey had accomplished, and the Tigers certainly had no motivation to point it out.

But this one turns into quite a story a quarter of a century later. As told by Mark Gallagher in his excellent book, Explosion!, Dr. Paul Susman, a true Mantle fan, was convinced that this home run was special. As part of Dr. Susman's research for Gallagher's book, he went to Detroit to see if he could get the necessary information to calculate the exact distance the ball traveled.

It turns out that the story of Mickey's historic drive was well known at Brooks Lumber. Paul Borders, a Brooks employee, saw exactly where the ball landed. Susman and fellow researcher Robert Schiewe calculated the distance through Schiewe's use of the Pythagorean Theorem. The result was a prodigious 643 feet. This is the longest home run to have actually been measured from the point it was hit to the point at which it landed. Although it was measured after the fact, the point of impact was well-known and we believe this distance to be completely reliable. This is no computer estimate. This is the distance the ball traveled in the air from home plate to the place where it landed. The Guinness Book of Sports Records notes it as the longest home run in a major league game to be measured "after the fact." It is the longest home run ever hit in a major league game where it was possible to get the exact measurement. Considered along with the Bovard Field homer, it demonstrates that Mickey's unheard of home run distances are no flukes.
Now as the article Tigers beaten 5-1 by John Drebinger in the New York Times of September 11, 1960 states:
In one of Mantle's two previous clouts over this same roof, Foytack was also the victim. That occurred on June 18, 1956. Mantle's second one was hit off of Jim Bunning on Sept. 17, 1958.

Prior to that, only one homer cleared that Detroit rampart and this took place more than twenty-one years ago. (Ted) Williams did it on May 4, 1939.
Here is the box score for the September 10, 1960 game between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers from the September 11, 1960 New York Times:

Mantle would go on to hit a total of 536 homers over an 18-year career. In doing so, Mantle sits at the top of the list of the most home runs by a switch-hitter in the history of the game (Eddie Murray is second with 504 homers). Mantle would retire in 1968 and would be inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974 with 88.2% of the vote (322/365 ballots).

Ok, let me rant for a minute. How the hell does Mickey Mantle not get at least 90% of the vote for induction. We're talking about Mickey "F'n" Mantle here. You ever get into a discussion with a person who believes that the Hall of Fame should have less members and their criteria is "If you have to think about someone being a Hall of Famer then they shouldn't be in"? If I'm going by that, the Mick is a no-brainer. You don't have to think if the Mick was a Hall of Famer. He was. HE IS!!! Bar none. His getting 88.2% of the vote is downright embarrassing. Mays got 94.6% of the vote (409/432 ballots) and in my mind, I think Mays and Mantle goes hand-in-hand. I know the Yankees dominated during Mantle's time with the era, so the Yankees hate must have been really strong. LOL. Getting off the soapbox now.

Many people wonder if we'll ever see a player like Mickey Mantle. Switch-hitting aside, I think Mike Trout is as close as we'll get this generation to a player of Mantle's caliber. Now only time will tell if Trout will continue on the pace he's playing at to make this a fair comparison.

Until Then Keep Playing Ball,
Baseball Sisco

For Further Reading:
- Click here to access Mickey Mantle's career statistics from Baseball
- Click here to access the article Mickey Mantle's 10 Longest Home Runs by Lewis Early from The
- Click here to access Distance of Longest Batted Baseball from The Physics Factbook Edited by Glenn Elert -- Written by his students from the Physics Factbook website

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sandy Koufax Becomes The First Pitcher to Throw 4 No-Hitters September 9, 1965

On this day in Baseball History September 9, 1965: In front of a small crowd of 29,135 fans at Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, Sandy Koufax throws a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs becoming the first pitcher to throw four no-hitters in the Major League Baseball History. Koufax threw no-hitters in four consecutive season: June 30, 1962 against the New York Mets 5-0, May 11, 1963 against the San Francisco Giants 8-0, June 4, 1964 against the Philadelphia Phillies 3-0 and the perfect game against the Cubs 1-0. Here is the box score for the perfect game against the Chicago Cubs from the September 10, 1965 edition of the New York Times.

In achieving his fourth no-hitter, Koufax passed Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians who threw no-hitters in 1940, 1946 and 1950. Cy Young threw a no-hitter in 1987 of the then National League Cleveland team and for the Boston Red Sox 1901 and 1908.  Larry Corcoran of the Chicago Cubs threw no-hitters in 1880, 1882 and 1884. Koufax's record would stand until September 26, 1981 when Nolan Ryan of the Houston Astros would throw his fifth of his record setting seven no-hitters against the Los Angeles Dodgers at the Houston Astrodome.

The book "Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy" by Jane Leavy weaves the biography of Koufax's live in between chapters that focuses on this game from the perspective of fans at the game, those listening at home and from players at the game from both teams. I would highly recommend to not only read about this game but to learn more about Sandy Koufax who is a very private person and is very hesitant to let too many people in his personal life.

What made the feat even more amazing was that Koufax was laboring with a left arm that would hurt him so much during the season, that he would retire after the 1966 season. Koufax would strike out 14 Cub batters to give him a league high 332 strikeouts. Koufax would finish the season with a league high 382 strikeouts. That puts Koufax as ninth All-Time in single season strikeouts and only second behind Nolan Ryan when not counting the dead-ball era pitchers on the list.

Here is the top ten pitchers on the single season strikeout list (age in parenthesis):

  1. 513 Matt Kilroy (20) Lefty 1886
  2. 499 Toad Ramsey (21) Lefty 1886
  3. 483 Hugh Daily (36) Righty 1884
  4. 451 Dupee Shaw (25) Lefty 1884
  5. 441 Old Hoss Radbourn (29) Righty 1884
  6. 417 Charlie Buffinton (23) Righty 1884
  7. 385 Guy Hecker (28) Righty 1884
  8. 383 Nolan Ryan (26) Righty 1973
  9. 382 Sandy Koufax (29) Lefty 1965
  10. 374 Bill Sweeney (26) Righty 1884

Koufax would finish the 1965 season with a record of 26-8 with a 2.04 ERA with 27 complete games in 41 games started and the aforementioned 382 strikeout with 71 walks and 216 hits allowed for a WHIP of 0.855. Koufax would unanimously win his second of three Cy Young Award trophies. That in itself is an amazing achievement since only ONE award was given to the best pitcher of BOTH leagues combined until the year 1967. For the 1967 season, there was an award given to one American League pitcher and one National League pitcher.

As I mentioned above, Koufax would retire after the 1966 season and would be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972 with 86.7% of the vote (344/396 ballots). That is also an amazing achievement as Leavy's book mentions in detail, Koufax had his troubles with control while playing for the Dodgers in Brooklyn. It wasn't until the team moved and was playing in Los Angeles for a few years, that something seemed to click for Koufax. His last six of a total of eleven seasons, from 1961-1966 were simply amazing. Here are his statistics from that period courtesy of Baseball

What I find amazing is that the three no-hitter level has only been populated by five players in over 150 years of Professional Baseball. Homer Bailey, Tim Lincecum and Justin Verlander all have two no-hitters each. Can either one of those players make history and join Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax, Jim Corcoran, Bob Feller and Cy Young with three no-hitters? Time will tell for Bailey, Lincecum and Verlander if they can join this exclusive club.

Until Then Keep Playing Ball,
Baseball Sisco

For Further Reading:
- Click Here to access Sandy Koufax's career statistics from Baseball
- Click here to access the No Hitter Records page from Baseball

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Couple of 20-Game Winner Accomplishments September 8th

On this day in Baseball History September 8th: A couple of milestones were reached by two 20-Game winners.

- September 8, 1939
Cleveland Indians starter Bob Feller becomes the youngest pitcher to win 20-games. Feller won his 20th game at the age of 20 years old against the St. Louis Browns at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. Feller's record would stand until August 25, 1985 when New York Mets starting pitcher Dwight "Dr. K" Gooden defeated the San Diego Padres at Shea Stadium 9-3 to become the youngest 20-game winner in Major League Baseball history. Here is my August 25, 2014 post Dr. K Becomes the Youngest 20-Game Winner August 25, 1985.

Feller would finish the season with a 24-9 record and a 2.85 ERA with 24 complete games in 35 games started. Here is the box score for the September 8, 1939 game between the Cleveland Indians vs. the St. Louis Browns

- September 8, 1963
Milwaukee Braves starter Warren Spahn ties legendary pitcher Christy Mathewson with 13 20-win seasons. Spahn pitched a complete game for his 20th against Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 at Connie Mack Stadium (aka Shibe Park before 1953), Philadelphia.

Mathewson had 12-consecutive 20-win seasons from 1903-1914. His first 20-game season came in 1901. The pitcher with the most 20-game seasons is Cy Young. Young had 15 20-game win seasons. You can also add on the 5 30-game win seasons to that list as well. Walter Johnson and Kid Nichols had 12 20-game win seasons. Spahn would finish the season with a 23-7 record with a 2.60 ERA with 22 COMPLETE GAMES!!!!! Mind boggling. Let me blow your mind, Spahn for his career had 382 complete games out of 665 games started. LOL.

Here is the box score for the September 8, 1963 game between the Milwaukee Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies.

- Click here to access Warren Spahn's career statistics from Baseball
- Click here to access Christy Mathewson's career statistics from Baseball
- Click here to access Cy Young's career statistics from Baseball
- Click here to access Walter Johnson's career statistics from Baseball
- Click here to access Kid Nichols' career statistics from Baseball

Both Feller and Spahn had the 20-game historical moments on September 8th. While Feller was a tender 20-years of age when he achieved his first 20-game season, Spahn was the grizzled age of 42 when he reached his final 20-year season. Which one do you think we see sooner: a 20-year old 20-game winner or a 42-year old 20-game winner?

Until Then Keep Playing Ball,
Baseball Sisco

Mark McGwire Hits Home Run Number 62 September 8, 1998

On this day in Baseball History September 8, 1998: Slugger Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals broke Roger Maris' record for home runs in a single season, hitting number 62 off Chicago Cubs pitcher Steve Trachsel at Busch Stadium, St. Louis. McGwire would finish the 1998 season with 70 single season record setting home runs. Where the achievement was celebrated by many at the time, McGwire's admission of steroid use on January 11, 2010 has placed a cloud over his 70 home run season of 1998.

Maris' single season record stood since 1961 and was in itself a point of controversy. Maris' record was looked upon by some as not being legitimate on the point that it took Maris' eight more games than it took the original single season home run king Babe Ruth to hit 60 in 1927.

Regardless of how some people feel today, that was an emotional moment in the history of the game. I can't speak for anyone but myself but I remember sitting on the edge of my seat with every at-bat that both McGwire and Sammy Sosa took waiting to see how would hit the ball out of the park. McGwire would finish with 70 homers while Sosa finished with 66.

I know many fans have been embittered with the whole "Steroid Era". For myself I can say that I am not. I am not going to sit here and thump my proverbial bible as some baseball writers, executives and TV people do today. Why? Everyone benefitted from the Steroid Era. Newspapers profited, TV/Cable networks profited, MLB profited, owners profited, players profited, vendors profited, sponsors profited. Everyone profited, even us fans. And I don't see anyone of those groups that profited giving back any of those profits back. So it is easy for many of them to place themselves on a higher moral plane without realizing that many of them just turned a blind eye to what was going on because it was convenient to "not rock the boat". Think back to 16-years ago (looking past your bitterness) and tell me that watching those clips, like the one up above don't give you goosebumps. I know they did to me.

The game we love isn't a perfect game, played by human beings, that for as much as we place them on the high pedestals aren't perfect. Many are flawed. Many do things to get an edge be it for fame, records or millions. That isn't a product of the Steroid Era. Many players throughout the history of Baseball have done that in different ways, shapes and forms. For better or worse Baseball is, and probably always be a game where cheating thrives. I would suggest that you read Roger I Abrams book "The Dark Side of the Diamond: Gambling, Violence, Drugs and Alcoholism in the National Pastime". Abrams does an amazing job researching different eras and you'd be surprised at the lengths some players (even some of them Hall of Famers) have gone to gain an edge.  

Will that change? No. I think players will continue to look for ways to find an edge be it via physical means or by equipment and hardware. Many will celebrate those who we believe to have done it "cleanly" or the "right way". If you as a player, with the rules in place against PED's decide to do so and get caught then so be it. You get your just desserts.

I'm so over the Steroid talk. When do we start complaining about Nano-tech, muscular implants and ocular implants in Baseball ;)

Until Then Keep Playing Ball,
Baseball Sisco

For Further Reading:
- Click here to access Mark McGwire's career statistics from Baseball
- Click here to read my article The Return of Mark McGwire from my former blog from January 9, 2010
- Click here to access McGwire Surpasses Maris With 62nd Home Run by Richard Justice from the Washington Post dated September 8, 1998
- Click here to access the article Mark McGwire Falls: Roger Maris & Babe Ruth Regain Title, "Home Run Kings" by Patrick Read from Bleacher Report dated January 11, 2010


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Eddie Murray Hits His 500th Home Run September 6, 1996

On this day in Baseball History September 6, 1996: Eddie Murray of the Baltimore Orioles hits home run number 500 against Detroit Tigers starter Felipe Lira over the right-field wall at Orioles Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore. In doing so, Murray became the 15th player to reach the 500 home run plateau and joined Hank Aaron and Willie Mays as the only players to get 3,000 hits (Murray got his 3,000th hit on June 30, 1995) and 500 home runs. Rafael Palmeiro would later join them on this list. Murray is the only switch hitter in the 3000/500 club. Here is the boxscore for the September 6, 1996 game between the Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles.

Here is the 500 home run club at the time Murray hit his 500th:

  1. Babe Ruth August 11, 1929
  2. Jimmie Foxx September 24, 1940
  3. Mel Ott August 1, 1945
  4. Ted Williams June 17, 1960
  5. Willie Mays September 13, 1965
  6. Mickey Mantle May 14, 1967
  7. Eddie Mathews July 14, 1967
  8. Hank Aaron July 14, 1968
  9. Ernie Banks May 12, 1970
  10. Harmon Killebrew August 10, 1971
  11. Frank Robinson September 13, 1971
  12. Willie McCovey June 30, 1978
  13. Reggie Jackson September 17, 1984
  14. Mike Schmidt April 18, 1987
  15. Eddie Murray September 6, 1996
Murray would retire in 1997 with 3,255 hits and 504 home runs. His 504 homers was second best for a switch-hitter, Mickey Mantle is at the top of the switch-hitter home run list with 536 homers. Murray would be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in in 2003 with 85.3% of the vote (423/496 ballots).

Murray's milestone came a year to the day of Cal Ripken's 2,131st consecutive game played, passing Lou Gehrig as MLB's Iron Man. 

Until Then Keep Playing Ball,
Baseball Sisco

For Further Reading
- Click here to access Eddie Murray's career statistics from Baseball
- Click here to access the article Murray Collects 500th Hr, But Orioles Fall In 12 Innings by Stephen Nidetz from the Chicago Tribune website dated September 07, 1996
- Click Here to access the article Homeric Odyssey: Eddie Murray’s biggest ball has gone from milestone to afterthought by Dave McKenna from the Washington City Paper website dated January 26, 2007