Jayson Stark is a Philadelphia-born baseball writer who currently works for ESPN. He’s got a few years on me but I suspect I still have read almost everything he’s written over most of his career. He worked at the local Philadelphia Inquirer before “going national.”
He unearths the bizarre in baseball.
For my first baseball post of 2016 I thought it fun to comb through some of his findings and see if you recall these “highlights” from 2015…
The first rain delay of 2015 occurred in Miami, in a park that had never had a rain delay before. (The Marlins couldn’t get their roof closed in time)
From Opening Day through September 12th there wasn’t a single game in which a team was down by at least three runs with two outs and nobody on in the ninth…and then won the game.
On September 13th both the New York Mets and Houston Astros did just that.
The San Diego Padres lost three games in 48 hours…with three different managers.
Chase Utley played 13 seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies and was on a team that got no-hit once.
After being sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers they were promptly no-hit twice in his first nine games.
Better yet, the same three Dodgers made the last three outs in both those no-hitters: Utley…his former teammate in Philadelphia Jimmy Rollins…and Justin Turner.
Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner was the starter on June 1 against the Mets. He got only 14 outs but still managed to strike out 12 batters…and give up 11 hits…on his box score line. That meant he faced 25 hitters and 23 struck out…or got a hit.
That was the first game in the entire history of baseball where a pitcher piled up at least 10 strikeouts and 10 hits without making it through the fifth inning. We’re talking 140 seasons of the sport for it to happen once.
The next night, also in Petco Park, Mets starter Noah Syndergaard did it too.
In 2015 there were a whopping 27 games where a position player pitched. That’s the most in any baseball season in history.
In addition, no position player had ever pitched in a post-season game until Cliff Pennington did it for the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 4 of the ALCS. Get this – his fastball was gunned at 90.7 mph – 7 mph faster than their starter that game, R.A. Dickey.
Speaking of the post-season, the World Champion Kansas City Royals played 53 innings in the 2015 World Series. They held a lead after only 13 of them. Know how many teams had ever won a five-game Series while holding a lead for that few innings?
Ah, last season’s World Series…I still feel for you Mets fans. The Royals came from behind to defeat the Mets in three different games where they trailed in the eighth inning or later.
That had never, ever happened.
The exclamation point to that is this – the Mets led after almost twice as many innings (24) in the World Series as the Royals…and lost.
Before last season the most innings any team had ever led on its way to losing a five (or four) game World Series was 15.
The call for “Pitchers and Catchers report to camp” doesn’t seem quite so far away after reading through all of Jayson’s findings…which can be found on the links above.
Let’s see if 2016 raises the bar…for the bizarre.