Fascinating Baseball Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

Fascinating Baseball Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

Over the course of its long and rich history, baseball was studied with the help of box scores, statistics, sabermetrics, and analytical data. What only the eyes could observe in the olden days, nowadays a technology can break down into the tiniest of details.  Despite all this, baseball is still full of fun and interesting facts that not many people know.
So, let us embark on a journey to the highly-unexpected, borderline impossible, and downright bizarre.

Once in a blue moon?

The first home run that ever took place was the work of Jimmy Sebring, who died only six years after reaching this milestone. Namely, Jimmy nabbed the honor in the 1903 Fall Classic against Pittsburg Pirates and passed away at the age of 27, in 1909.

Since then, home runs have become more common, unlike anything seen in the “dead ball” era. Moreover, one extraordinary event was on October 18th, 1977. That day saw Reggie Jackson hitting three home runs on three consecutive pitches. Even more impressive is that he hit them all on the first pitch of the respective at-bats.

Off to a shaky start

One thing that stands out among baseball history facts is that The World Series started as an attempt to reconcile two separate leagues that were archenemies: The American Leagues and the National. So, professional baseball had been around for quite some time before it was given a uniting organizational structure.

In any event, putting an end to the bitter rivalry was no walk in the park, to say the least. The New York Giants’ manager John McGraw even refused to play against Boston Americans in the 1904 World Series. The tension would continue to persist, but also slowly wither away after that.

Jail-worthy errant throw

On August 4th, 1983, Yankees right fielder Dave Winfield was warming up between innings. Little did he know that his almost casual throw would be fatal, for one poor seagull. The fans were not amused. In fact, they screamed various obscenities during the game, declaring the throw a “foul act”.

The situation got from bad to worse when the police arrested Dave and charged him with cruelty to animals. The charges were dropped the next day, however, and his coach commented on the fans’ reaction, saying “They wouldn’t say that if they saw some of the other throws he’s been making all year”.

A series of bizarre events followed Dave on as he was later traded for believe it or not, for an “expensive dinner”.

A switch-hitting stunt

Sometimes, two remarkable, almost one-of-king occurrences are packed in a fraction of the time. In 2009 Opening Day, D-backs Felipe Lope Rockies homered pitcher Aaron Cook in the first lining. Then in the fourth one, he made his second home run, just this time right-handed against a lefty reliever.

This was the first time in 133-years long MLB history that someone hit home runs from both sides of the plate on an Opening Day. Shockingly enough, the same feat was repeated just one inning later in the same game. Go figure.

Muddy waters

For each and every MLB game, clubhouse attendants and umpires have one less-than-graceful task at hand. Namely, they have to rub around six dozen baseballs in mud. Why in hell would anyone do this you might ask? Well, the balls need to be “prepared”.

According to The Baseball Stop, the purpose of this strange ritual is to take the shine off new balls.  It is also interesting that it is not just any mud, though. Its origin is shrouded in mystery, but apparently it comes from an unknown source in New Jersey. Not the nicest job there is, but someone has to do it all right.

Deaf, not dumb

Deafness may sound like a great hindrance in any sport and baseball should not be an exception, right? However, it did not prevent William “Dummy” Holly, the first deaf player to ever make an appearance in MLB, to have a prolific career spanning 15 years.

He made 2,044 total hits and had 696 stolen bases.  The game against the New York Giants in his final season was quite special, and not just for Holly, but the whole league. It was the first time that two deaf players (the other one was Dummy Taylor) faced off each other in an official game.  

Hit and miss

All game-watchers are a bit concerned when it comes to stray balls. In some sports arenas like Fenway, a spectator is hit by a stray ball or a bat once every three or four matches. Most of the injuries are minor, while some of them cause hospitalization.

So, what are the chances of being hit? One research estimates they are 300,000 to 1. This may appear slim, but one fan was hit twice in the same game, by the same player. Of course, note that some of the best seats bring an increased risk of being hit. All of the sudden, praying you get a chance to catch a ball does not seem like such a good idea, does it?

Against all odds

Baseball is packed with those kinds of phenomena that make you ask “What are the odds”. Well, they are quite diminutive, but nevertheless, once in a while, we witness something mind-boggling. Uncovering these unheralded facts about baseball can actually help us understand the whole sport better.

The modern era has turned baseball into a huge marketplace of facts, but even traveling down the memory lane and unveiling the history of the sport gives us a plenty of answers, talking points, and amusing facts.

What are the baseball facts that you know that are not listed here? Please comment down there.

Sean Lockwood

Sean is a programmer with a passion for extreme sports. Favourite extreme sports discipline is biathlon. Started this blog because of the great love for nature and adrenaline which results in something extreme like Extreme Sports Lab (ESL).

2 Comments
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