On July 21, 1975, Joe Torre of the Mets tied a major league record by hitting into four double-plays, each time after Felix Millan had singled just before Torre came to the plate.
"What's everyone blaming me for?" Torre said afterward. "Blame Felix. I wouldn't have hit into the double-plays if he hadn't hit singles."
A UNIQUE TRIO
The 1970 Pittsburgh Pirates pitching staff might have been mistaken for a butcher shop. On the pitching rosters were Moose, Lamb, and Veale.
A sign at the Kansas City ballpark in 1882 read as follows:
PLEASE DO NOT SHOOT THE UMPIRE.
HE IS DOING THE BEST HE CAN.
Coaching for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1961, Leo Durocher stood watching the game with his foot on the top step of the dugout. Seated close by him was movie star Frank Sinatra, an avid Dodger fan. Imitating Durocher's voice, Sinatra argued one call after another--loud enough for the home place unpire to hear. Unnerved by all the complaints, Jocko Conlan wheeled around, pointed to Durocher, and said, "You're out of the game!"
Durocher, who hadn't uttered a word, was furious. He stormed out of the dugout and confronted the ump.Then he started to kick dirt on the umpire's uniform. One of the kicks missed the ground and landed a direct hit on Conlan's shins. Conlan kicked back and the two of them went at it like schoolboys--until Durocher realized he was getting the worst of it: the umpire was wearing shinguards!
The National League subsequently disciplined both men.
GO GET 'EM PITCHER
Steve Mingori was a relief pitcher for Cleveland when Johnny Lipon was named interim manager following the ouster of Alvin Dark. Lipon, always a nervous man who had a habit of fumbling things in his hands, waved Mingori into a game. When the pitcher arrived at the mound, the manager had the lineup card in on hand and the ball in the other. "Go get 'em," Lipon told Mingori. With that, the manager gave the pitcher the lineup card and headed toward the dugout with the baseball.
Baltimore leftfielder John Lowenstein had a unique explanation for his hot hitting early in the 1982 season: he spent the time between innings flushing the toilet in the Oriole dugout to keep his wrists strong.
FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY
The Gashouse Gang Cardinals of 1934 were having a reunion. Branch Rickey, the man who put the World Championship team together, praised the participants as men who loved the game so much they would have played for nothing.
Pepper Martin seized the opportunity."thanks to you, Mr. Rickey, we almost did!" he said.
THE CANNED BALL
Cleveland's Jimmy McAleer once hit a ball into an empty tomato can at the base of the outfield wall. Outfielder Hugh Duffy, unable to pry the ball loose, threw the whole can toward an infielder, who relayed it home. The catcher tagged McAleer with the ball in can. The umpire ruled the runner safe.
At the Polo Grounds one day, uninhibited Rabbit Maranville was credited with a most unique stolen base. He did it by diving through the legs of Hank O'Day, one of the more dignified umpired in the National League, even though he could have gone around him. The headfirst dive outraged O'Day, be he had no choice other than to call Maranville safe at second.
When the Mets owned the pitching trio of Tom Seaver, John Matlack, and Jerry Koosman, they were noted for good pitching but weak hitting. At a banquet, NBC's Joe Garagiola watched a waiter place breadsticks on the table, then announced, "I see the Mets' bats have arrived!"
Pitcher Ted Lyons once said that Stan Musial's batting stance reminded him of a kid peeking around the corner to see if the cops were coming.
In 1932, the New York Yankees stopped in Chattanooga en route home from spring training camp. Joe Engle, owner of the independent minor league club in Chattanooga, was full of surprises, and this visit was no exception. Engel unveiled a new pitching phenomenon who struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Tony Lazzeri. Jackie Mitchell made headlines all over the country--not so much as the strikeout feat but for the fact the pitcher who had fanned three of the game's biggest sluggers was a woman.
During World War 11, Bill Veeck, enterprising young owner of the American Association's Milwaukee Brewers, decided to stage a morning game for the benefit of night shift workers in defense plants. Fans arriving at the ballpark found ushers attired in stocking caps and nightgowns, handing out doughnuts, milk, and coffee.
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