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12 Baseball Feats That Only Happened Once

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website.

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

[Germany Schaefer, Washington AL (baseball)] (LOC)

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

(Image source: Number 5 Type Collection)

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


(YouTube link)

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.

8. TAKING IT EASY

On June 25, 1976, Texas Ranger shortstop Toby Harrah played a doubleheader and never touched a batted ball nor had a single ball hit to him -no chances, no putouts, no assists.

9. ONLY PLAYER KILLED BY A PITCH

(Image credit: Wikipedia user Jtesla16)

This is, obviously, the saddest entry on this list.

On August 16, 1920, Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman was struck by a submarine pitch from Yankee hurler Carl Mays. Unsteadily, Chapman took a few steps toward first base before collapsing.

He died in the hospital the next day and remains the only Major League baseball player ever killed by a pitch. Incredibly, batting helmets did not come into common use by players until 1941, over 20 years after Chapman's fatality.

10. BEST-EVER PITCHING DEBUT

On April 12, 1962, L.A. Dodgers pitcher Pete Richert, pitching in his first-ever Major League game, struck out the first six batters he faced.

11. PITCHING WHILE YOUR MOTHER GETS HIT ON MOTHER'S DAY



In a 1939 game, pitcher Bob Feller's mother was cheering her boy on from the stands on Mother's Day. While Feller was pitching, a foul ball was hit into the stands, smacking poor Mrs. Feller in the head and injuring her over the eye.

12. THE ONLY PITCHER TO PITCH TO A HORSE ON A TV SHOW

On a 1963 episode of Mr. Ed (TV's talking hose), Mr. Ed bats against Dodger ace pitcher Sandy Koufax. In the classic episode titled "Mr. Ed Meets Leo Durocher," Mr. Ed holds the bat in his mouth, hits Koufax's first pitch, and proceeds to scramble around the bases, sliding into home plate. Sandy Koufax, one of the greatest pitchers in history, remains the only pitcher to give up a run to a talking horse. The punchline:

LEO DUROCHER: "That's the smartest horse I ever saw."

WILBUR: "He's not so smart. He forgot to touch second base."


(YouTube link)

See also: 12 More Baseball Feats That Only Happened Once

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Stealing first base? So many questions. Starting with: What kind of lead do you take if you're stealing the previous base? Was he cheating off second *toward* first?

Oh, and the big question: Why? Did he drop his can of chew when he was on first base the first time?
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