Derek and the Dominoes Toward 3000
This past week, Derek Jeter became the all-time leader in hits for the New York Yankees when he surpassed Lou Gehrig with his 2,722th hit. It struck us that, in a history so rich in championships and legends, not one of the 27 major leaguers with 3,000 or more hits knocked out that many solely for the Yankees. It led us to a little quiz that we’re putting out to you on how good your trivia is regarding baseball’s all-time hit leaders. Check it out know in our opinions section.
Just Another 200 Hits
While Gehrig has one less mark to brag about in the record book, so does Willie Keelerthanks to Ichiro Suzuki. The Seattle Hit Machine became the first player in major league history to record 200 hits in nine straight seasonsin Suzuki's case, it was his first nine yearsduring the second game of a doubleheader on Sunday at Texas. Not surprisingly, it was an infield hit that earned Suzuki his 200th hit of the year; he only needed 128 games to do it.
Baltimore second baseman Brian Roberts launched his 50th double of the season this past week, reaching the milestone for the third time in his career. Only three other players have managed to do that, and they are: Tris Speaker, Paul Waner and Stan Musial.
Maybe, Just Maybe, No One Will be Looking
A six-year boy ran out to the Comerica Park mound in between innings on Friday night and took a ball that was left for Detroit pitcher Brandon Lyon to throw. The kids (and his uncle who wasn’t paying attention) was given a rebuke by security upon his return to the stands but was allowed to keep the ball. Perhaps the he didn’t want to wait to have a ball thrown to him from Fernando Rodney (recently disciplined for firing a ball into the stands after locking down a tough save for the Tigers).
A Blass From the Past
Steve Blass may have had trouble finding the strike zone in 1973 when he suddenly and inexplicably lost his accuracy as a pitcher, but he had no trouble finding the golf hole this past week at the Pittsburgh Pirates’ annual alumni golf tournament. Blass hit two holes-in-one during his round. According to Golf Digest, the odds of acing two holes out of 18 are 67 million-to-one.
Thirty Times Four
The Phillies began Tuesday’s game with Washington fielding two players with 30 or more home runsand finished it with two more players added to that list. Raul Ibanez, breaking out of a long slump, cracked two long balls and Chase Utley added another to each reach 30 for the year, making the Phillies the 12th team with four players above the 30 mark (Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth are the other two). The 1977 Los Angeles Dodgers were the first team to accomplish the feat; the New York Yankees have an outside shot to join the club this season.
Hit 'Em Where the Fans Are
In the first three innings of their 10-0 blowout of Baltimore on Tuesday, the Boston Red Sox scored eight runs on five hitsall home runs.
The New York Mets’ local telecast of their Tuesday broadcast against Florida included a sixth inning without any play-by-play or commentary. No, announcers Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez did not join the team’s voluminous disabled list, but rather the silence from the booth was done by design, to allow fans to hear the sounds of the game without interruption. It’s not the first time this sort of thing has been attempted; in 1980, a NFL game between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins was televised without any announcers.
Assumptions Be Damned
The lefty vs. lefty matchup is always supposed to favor the pitcherthat’s why there’s a lot of southpaw relief specialistsand that only makes the case of Cleveland’s Rafael Perez all the more strange. An effective setup man for the Indians the last two years, Perez has lost his touch in 2009 with a deplorable 7.94 ERA, thanks in large part to the left-handed hitters who’ve massacred him on the mound; they’re hitting .400 against Perez in 75 at-bats this year.
This Week's Challenger to Joe DiMaggio
Boston’s Victor Martinez and Texas rookie Elvis Andrus each finish this past week with the majors’ longest active hitting streak, at 15 games. Both players added two games to their streak on Sunday after getting hits in both ends of a doubleheader.
The Comebacker’s Greatest Hits
Click here to look at the TGG Comebacker archive going back to the start of the 2007 season.
It Probably is So, Joe
Two Chicago lawyers have thumbed through all available notes of Eight Men Out author Eliot Asinof at the Chicago History Museum and came to the conclusion that the great Joe Jackson, part of the Chicago White Sox’ cabal to throw the 1919 World Series against Cincinnati, should be exonerated and reinstated for enshrinement into the Hall of Fame. What’s their claim? That Jackson was not part of the fix but was lumped in by the other Black Sox participants because it would make it easier to get the money from the gamblers; and that Jackson said that he “played his heart out” in the Series rather than lay down for the cash.
Jackson’s numbers during the 1919 World Series certainly lends credence to those who believe he couldn’t have been involved in the Black Sox Scandal. His .375 average was the highest among all players from both teams, and he hit the only home run of the entire eight-game series. But stats can’t prove that he ran hard after every fly ball, made accurate or timely throws, or didn’t step it down a gear running out a ground ball. Beyond that, the hardest and most incriminating proof remains: He took $5,000 from the gamblers. That fact, alone, heavily implicates Jackson in a plot that nearly took the sport down. As such, it’s hard to claim he had nothing to do with baseball’s darkest hour.
Hibernation Has Started Early in Toronto
Now that the Toronto Blue Jays are long out of playoff contention and the kids are back in school, live bodies are hard to come by at Rogers Centre. This past Wednesday, the Jays witnessed their smallest crowd since the facility opened as Skydome in 1989 when 11,179 bothered to show up for a 4-1 loss to Minnesota. Toronto has never drawn a crowd of less than 10,000 since beginning play in 1977; their all-time low gate is 10,079 on April 17, 1979.
One Reason Not to Drink at the Ballpark
A New York plumber has been slapped with a one-year ban at Citi Field after he interrupted a May 12 game between the Mets and Braves by running onto the field wearing only a stuffed monkey around his private parts. The man avoided a one-year sentence in jail, but here’s an idea for an even harsher punishment: Show a clip of his streak during every time he shows up at Citi Field, once his ban ends.
Numbers That Are Hard to Beat
One reason for the St. Louis Cardinals’ runaway success in the season’s second half: Starting pitchers Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter and Joel Pineiro are a combined 24-4 with a 2.49 ERA since the All-Star break. (Recent momentum is not good for the Cardinals, however; two of those four losses came this weekend against Atlanta.)
Big Blast for Big Papi
Finally, some good news for David Ortiz this season: This past week, the beleaguered Boston slugger tied Frank Thomas’ major league record for most career home runs as a designated hitter when he launched his 269th blast while playing the non-field position against Baltimore in Tuesday’s 10-0 rout of Baltimore in Boston.
The Road Warrior
Scott Feldman of the Texas Rangers established a team record this week by winning his 12th game on the road, helping to improve his overall record to 16-4 and giving him a shot to become the Rangers’ first 20-game winner since Rick Helling in 1998. In Feldman’s last four startsall on the roadhe’s allowed one earned run in 26.1 innings of work, and has won in each of his last eight starts away from Arlington.
Lidge on the Ledge
How bad of a year is it for Philadelphia closer Brad Lidge, so perfect during the Phillies’ championship run last year but anything but in 2009? His ERA for games in which he hasn’t blown a save is 4.70.
Wounded of the Week
Here’s the good news for Tampa Bay slugger Carlos Pena: He won’t break the AL strikeout record this season. Here’s the bad news: He won’t even get the chance. Pena experienced an early and painful end to his year when New York Yankee pitcher CC Sabathia hit him on the hand, breaking two of his fingers. It’s the second straight year that the AL home run leader has had his season cut short by injury; in 2008, Carlos Quentin suffered a wrist injury on September 1 and ultimately lost the home run title to Detroit’s Miguel Cabreraby one. Now that Pena’s stuck on 39, there’s a good chance that the Yankees’ Mark Teixeira (35) will surpass him for the AL home run crown.
Otherwise, bad backs seemed to be the theme of the week, with San Francisco ace Tim Lincecum, Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and the Yankees’ Johnny Damon all sitting out most if not all of the week after they each reached down at some point and yelled, “Ooh-ooh, my back!” As of upload time, neither of these players is headed for the disabled list.