It’s MLB Week here at Awesemo, or at least it is for me anyway. What better way to celebrate the imminent return of the best sport there is than to look at some of the more bizarre, interesting and amusing pieces of history and trivia that we could dig up?
1) The 266-day delay between the end of 2019’s World Series and 2020’s Opening Day is the longest in MLB history
2) The Yankees and Dodgers are two of the favorites to make the World Series. They have met a record 11 times with the Yankees holding an 8-3 edge. They have not met in the World Series since 1981
3) The last time the MLB All-Star Game was cancelled was in 1945 due to a small historical blip known as World War II.
4) Only one pitcher at any level of organized professional baseball has ever struck out the maximum 27 hitters in a game. That pitcher was Ron Necciai, that level of organized professional baseball was “D.”
5) In 133 years of MLB history, no player had ever hit home runs from both sides of the plate on Opening Day until the Rockies and Diamondbacks met to start the 2009 season. The Rockies; Felipe Lopez and the Diamondbacks; Tony Clark both accomplished the amazing feat, because baseball.
6) In a 1983 game in Toronto, Yankees outfielder Dave Winfield accidentally killed a seagull with an errant throw while warming up. He would be arrested for animal cruelty following the game but later released. Manager Billy Martin reportedly said “It’s the first time he’s hit the cutoff man all season.”
7) The U.S. Army has, on multiple occasions, compared the ability to throw a baseball with the ability to throw a hand grenade, even going so far as to specifically design grenades to be the relative size and weight of a baseball after World War II. “In 1988, I don’t believe there was a soldier in training who had not thrown a baseball,” Sgt. 1st Class Brent Sauer told Medium, “the drill sergeant emphasized that if you could throw a baseball, you could throw these grenades.” Because the Army went to the Patches O’Houlihan school of logic.
8) The ten years between their 2009 World Series win and the end of the 2019 season were the first decade in which the Yankees failed to make a World Series since the 1920s.
9) Bobby Richardson is the only player to ever win the World Series MVP Award while playing for the losing team.
10) Slugger Moises Alou refused to wear batting gloves during his MLB career, preferring his own method for toughening up his hands … peeing on them.
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10) Josh Gibson may have been MLB’s all time home run king if the league had integrated earlier. Gibson hit between 800 and 1,000 home runs in baseball’s Negro Leagues and various barnstorming leagues against high-caliber professionals.
11) Superstar Negro Leagues pitcher Satchel Paige once intentionally walked two hitters in an All-Star Game so he could pitch to Gibson with the bases loaded; then he told Gibson what he was going to throw and where. Then he struck Gibson out on three pitches.
12) Paige was known for his on-field stunts, one of his most famous routines would be to call his outfielders in either to sit in the infield or all the way to the dugout before Paige would go on to strikeout the side.
13) Despite being easily one of the best pitchers of his generation, Paige was not the first player to break MLB’s color barrier and did not debut until more than a year after Jackie Robinson integrated baseball. He was 42 the first time he took the mound in an MLB game.
14) Jim Abbott threw a no-hitter with one hand, what have you done lately?
15) David Wells threw a perfect game with “a raging, skull-rattling hangover.”
16) Doc Ellis threw a no-hitter while high on LSD… maybe it’s just not as difficult as we think?
17) Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench could hold seven baseballs in one hand.
18) From 1867 to 1887 batters were allowed to request either a high or low pitch and pitchers were required to throw underhand.
19) Babe Ruth led the league in home runs a record 12 times in his career.
20) Ralph Kiner is the only player to ever lead the league in home runs for seven straight seasons, they were the first seven of his career.
21) Mets manager Bobby Valentine was fined $5,000 for returning to a game from which he’d been ejected; Valentine had simply changed clothes in the clubhouse and put on a fake mustache before returning to the dugout.
22) Burleigh Grimes was the league’s last spitballer, retiring in 1934, a full 14 years after the league had banned the pitch but grandfathered-in pitchers who had utilized it previously.
23) The last MLB hitter to hit .400 for a season was Ted Williams in 1941.
25) MLB has a 60-game season this year.