The Numbers, They Are A-Crooked
My sixth and final “Crooked Numbers” column went up on MiLB.com today, and I would implore you to check it out by clicking HERE.
For those who may not be familiar, “Crooked Numbers” is simply a monthly compendium of absurd and improbable Minor League facts. The column will now go on hiatus until 2010, so with that in mind I know present you with my “Crookedest Hits” from the season that was:
You Learn Something New Every Day: On April 23, the Greensboro
Grasshoppers defeated the Asheville Tourists, 8-7, in 14 innings. The
game was a wild affair on many levels — first baseman Bo Bowman
pitched the 14th for the Tourists and took the loss, for example — but
the most memorable aspect of the contest was that pitchers from both
teams filled in as pinch-umpires.
Below is an excerpt from the story written on the game:
This rare, but not unprecedented, occurrence was the result of a
scary event that took place in the sixth inning. Home plate umpire Koyu
Inoue was struck in the head by a foul ball and knocked unconscious,
and the ballgame was delayed for 47 minutes while he was attended to on
the field. Inoue was taken to a hospital for observation, but returned
to the ballpark later in the evening.
When play resumed, field umpire Jason Hutchings moved behind home
plate. Taking his place in the field were a pair of pitchers — Brandon
Todd of the Grasshoppers and Adam Jorgenson of the Tourists.
Synchronicity: Potomac Manager Trent Jewett notched his 1,000th career victory
and his 1,000th career loss on the same day. The veteran skipper
entered an April 30th doubleheader against Wilmington with a 999-999
career record. Potomac dropped the opener, handing Jewett loss No.
1,000. He moved his career record back to the .500 level when the
P-Nats pulled out a 6-0 victory in Game 2.
Cycling Slowly: The month of May featured two instances in which a
player hit for the cycle over a two-day period. On the 9th, Greg Jacobo of the
Cedar Rapids Kernels singled and doubled over two at-bats against the Quad
Cities River Bandits. The game was halted due to rain after an
inning-and-a-half of play and resumed the following afternoon. Jacobo then finished
what he started the night before, homering in the fifth inning and
tripling in the seventh.
The next player to accomplish a multi-day
cycle was Brandon Tripp of the Jupiter Hammerheads. The 25-year-old
tripled in his first at-bat against Lakeland on May 28, but the game was
suspended in the fourth. The following evening he returned to action and hit a
single in the fifth, a homer in the sixth and a double in the eighth.
One Game, 51 Runs: The California League is known as a hitter’s
haven, but June 28’s contest between the Lake Elsinore Storm and the High
Desert Mavericks took the circuit’s reputation for offense to stratospherically
absurd levels. On this day, the Storm defeated the Mavericks, 33-18.
Of course, such a result made quite an impression on the Cal League record
book. A few of the marks that were established:
combined runs in a game (51)
- Most hits,
team (Lake Elsinore, 29)
nine-inning game (4:10, marking the second time this year the Mavericks
have played nine-inning game lasting longer than four hours)
at-bats, nine-inning game, player (nine, Lake Elsinore’s Bradley Chalk)
at-bats, nine-inning game, team (Lake Elsinore, 60)
And not to be overlooked is the fact that Lake Elsinore’s Mark Clark tied a
Cal League record by crossing the plate seven times.
In addition to their 29 hits, the Storm took advantage of 13 High Desert
walks and five errors. But the game’s worst pitching performance came courtesy
of Mavericks catcher Jose Yepez. The moonlighting backstop came on to pitch the
ninth and yielded four home runs, including blasts by the first three batters
he faced. This atrocious pitching line neutralized his stellar day at the
plate, as he homered and drove in four runs.
Not to be lost in the shuffle was the fact that High Desert’s James McOwen
hit safely in his 36th straight game — a new Cal League record. McOwen, Carlos
Peguero, Kuo Hui Lo and Yepez drove in four runs apiece for the Mavericks, and
the team still managed to lose by 15 runs (the most lopsided defeat of the
Four For the Price of Three: An amazing report from Kannapolis Intimidators broadcaster Alex Gyr:
This may be a little late, but I wanted to let you know about our pitcher
Carter. Dexter, who leads the South Atlantic League in strikeouts,
struck out four batters in a row in the same inning twice in the month of May.
He first did it on May
10 in Lake County in the fourth inning, when he struck out four
in a row thanks to a passed ball.
He did it again
on May 27 in the fifth inning at Hagerstown, when he used a
strikeout-wild pitch to strike out four batters in a row.
Striking out four batters in a row in the same inning is something that
has been done fewer than 20 times in the big leagues since 1900, and Dexter did
it twice in the same month!
Mastro, If You Please:
On July 25, Darin Mastroianni set a New Hampshire Fisher Cats franchise record
when he recorded four outfield assists in a game against the Portland Sea Dogs.
This is a rare feat, indeed. Consider that it has occurred just 11 times at the
Major League level, with the most recent such incident taking place in 1928.
Mastroianni threw out John Ottness at home plate in the first inning, gunned
down Jon Still at the plate in the second and sixth, and nailed Matt Sheely at
third base in the fifth. The Fisher Cats nonetheless
lost the game, 4-3.
In Which the Magical Becomes Routine:
The Minor Leagues were awash in no-hitters in August, making that most
cherished of baseball experiences seem almost pedestrian. Eleven no-nos
occurred between Aug. 11 and Aug. 28, including two apiece on the 14th, 19th,
22nd and 28th. The Daytona Cubs contributed two during this time, and reliever Oswaldo
Martinez was involved in both.
I did my best with “Crooked Numbers” this season, but am nonetheless painfully aware that there is much that I missed. Please get in touch at any time in order to share any “Crooked” tidbits of information that you may come across . I’ll post the best of these tidbits on this blog, thereby creating the illusion that there is still baseball going on as opposed to a gaping void that appears to stretch on for all eternity.