You've no doubt been tossing and turning these last few nights, asking yourself the following burning question:
"Gee, I wonder what Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Livan Hernandez and Orlando Hernandez have in common."
Hey, glad you asked -- because the Useless Information Department is here to tell you exactly what they have in common.
Eli and Peyton are brothers who won championships in back-to-back years. Livan and El Duque are also brothers who won championships in back-to-back years.
OK, so the Hernandezes are actually half-brothers. Sue us. Livan won a World Series with the '97 Marlins. El Duque won with the '98 Yankees (not to mention the '99 and 2000 Yankees).
But wait. Those Hernandez (half) brothers aren't through. Eli and Peyton are also the only brothers who each won Super Bowl MVP awards. And while no brothers have combined to win World Series MVPs, Livan and El Duque did each win LCS MVP awards (Livan in '97, El Duque in '99). So close enough.
Other award-winning baseball brothers: Gaylord and Jim Perry are the only Cy Young award-collecting brothers: Jim in 1970, Gaylord in 1972 and '78. And Roberto and Sandy Alomar won All-Star Game MVP trophies in back-to-back years -- Sandy in 1997, Roberto in 1998.
Finally, know the only other set of baseball brothers to win the World Series in back-to-back years? It was the Meusels. Who else? Irish won with the 1922 Giants. Bob won the next year with the '23 Yankees. Who will ever forget that, outside of pretty much everybody?
USELESS ERIK BEDARD INFO
How dominating is Erik Bedard? He struck out 10.93 hitters per nine innings last season. And that's the best rate of any left-handed starter in the history of every American League franchise -- except one: the franchise he's heading for, the Mariners. Randy Johnson topped that ratio three times in the Great Northwest -- in 1995, '97 and '98.
Here's a trivia question you'll never, ever get: Outside of the Big Unit, who's the only other left-handed starting pitcher in history to run up a better single-season strikeout ratio than Bedard did last year? No, not Johan Santana. It's Johan's new teammate, Oliver Perez, of course. He punched out 10.97 per nine innings for the 2004 Pirates.
Here's a stat that astounded us: Bedard owns four of the top eight single-season strikeout rates by a starting pitcher in Orioles history (minimum: 125 innings). Mike Mussina and (take a deep breath) Daniel Cabrera split the other four. But guess how far you need to ride your submarine down the list to find Jim Palmer's top season? Would you believe all the way down there at No. 39? Palmer whiffed 6.35 per nine innings in 1966, a ratio that nudges him into 39th place behind Connie Johnson (6.37 in 1956) and Jeremie Guthrie (6.31 last year). Who knew?
MORE USELESS FEBRUARY INFO
Since Johan Santana moved into the Twins' rotation to stay on July 11, 2003, he has the best ERA (2.92) of any left-handed pitcher in baseball. Guess how many left-handers are even within three-quarters of a run of him? How about three:
Andy Pettitte, 3.56
Scott Kazmir, 3.64
C.C. Sabathia, 3.66
Useless Mike Cameron Factoid of the Day: ESPN research genius Adam Reisinger reports that the new Brewers center fielder already owns two seasons in his career of 25 homers or fewer, a .250 batting average or lower, and 160 strikeouts or more. (One of those came last season, by the way.) Just two other players in history have had two seasons like that -- and they both spent time with the Brewers: Jose Hernandez and the still-legendary Rob Deer.
Useless Pedro Feliz Factoid of the Day: The Camden Courier Post's Kevin Roberts reports that maybe Feliz isn't as big an offensive upgrade in Philadelphia as advertised. Last year's primary third basemen, Wes Helms and Greg Dobbs, combined for a .721 OPS. And what's Feliz's career OPS? Exactly .721.
Loyal reader Erik Seidman can't believe we haven't chronicled the epic domination of Chris Young by, well, Chris Young. The Diamondbacks center fielder went 0-for-the-2007 season (0-for-10, with 4 walks) against the Padres pitcher of the identical name, but not so identical stature.
Finally, we can't let the retirement of one of our favorite guys, Mike Lieberthal, pass without mentioning what he has in common with Babe Ruth. And if that doesn't keep you reading, nothing will.
First, loyal reader Billy Chuck, of billy-ball.com, checked in with all sorts of Lieberthal trivia, including this entertaining factoid: His final home run came as part of a two-homer game, on Sept. 17, 2006. So it got us to wondering how many other players who hit as many career homers as Lieberthal (150 on the nose) hit their final home run during a multi-homer game. Here's that fun list, courtesy of the Sultan of Swat Stats, SABR's David Vincent:
If you're really paying attention, you'll notice that the Babe and Lieberthal weren't quite exact parallels, since Ruth is the only player in history whose last home run came as part of a three-homer game.
And if you're paying extra close attention, you'll notice that brother-act theme reared its head again in this very list. Those Boyer brothers, Ken and Clete, were also linked in multi-homerdom. What were the odds of that?
Finally, here's one last Mike Lieberthal farewell factoid, courtesy of Bill Chuck:
Last known televised sighting of a Mike Lieberthal Bobblehead doll: Sitting on Dwight Schrute's Dunder-Mifflin desk on the "The Office."