I’ve been a Major League baseball nut since I was about 12 years old. I will read and study box scores and baseball record books and derive the same joy other men probably derive from reading Shakespeare, Poe, or Dickens. My mind is a reservoir of odd baseball facts, statistics, and trivia. So here is a list of “only occurred once” baseball facts.
1. STEAL A BASE, GO BACK AND STEAL AN EARLIER BASE, THEN STEAL IT AGAIN
On September 3, 1908, while on first base, Herman “Germany” Schaefer of the Detroit Tigers stole second base, then ran in reverse and stole first base, then stole second base again! Germany remains the only player ever to steal second base twice in the same base-running series. Before 1920, there was no official rule that you couldn’t steal bases in reverse order.
2. CHARLIE PICK GOES 0 FOR 11
In the longest game in Major League baseball history, on May 1, 1920, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Boston Braves played to a 1-1 tie after 26 innings. Braves second baseman Charlie Pick has “the bad day” at the plate, going 0 for 11 (poor Charlie made an error that day, too).
3. BACK-TO-BACK NO-HITTERS
On June 11 and 15, 1938, Johnny Vander Meer pitched back-to-back no-hitters for the Cincinnati Reds. The second no-no was pitched at Ebbets Field and was the first night game ever played there. Babe Ruth was in attendance. Vander Meer, a lifetime “fairly good” 119-121 pitcher, is enshrined in the Cincinnati Hall of Fame. No, Pete Rose can’t get in that one, either.
4. RICHIE ASHBURN HITS THE SAME LADY TWICE WITH TWO FOUL BALLS
On August 17, 1957, Richie Ashburn of the Philadelphia Phillies hit spectator Alice Roth with a foul ball, breaking her nose. As Alice was being carried off the field on a stretcher, Ashburn hit her with another foul ball, breaking a bone in her knee.
5. THE WORLD SERIES PERFECT GAME
New York Yankee Don Larsen, a mediocre 81-91 lifetime pitcher, pitched the only perfect game in World Series history on October 8, 1956, in series game five. A few days earlier, Larsen couldn’t hold a 6-0 lead in game two and lost 13-8. The perfect game took Larsen 97 pitches. Strangely, Larsen’s wife filed for divorce that same day.
6. CAUGHT STEALING FOUR TIMES
On June 27, 1986, Robby Thompson of the San Francisco Giants was caught stealing a record four times in one game. Small consolation for Thompson: it was a 12-inning game.
7. THREE BROTHERS BAT IN A ROW
On September 10, 1963, three Alou brother, Jesus, Matty, and Felipe, all batted in a row for the San Francisco Giants. Jesus and Matty were both pinch-hitters before eldest brother Felipe stepped up.
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