Out of the Box
April 15 was celebrated in ballparks across the nation as Jackie Robinson Day, commemorating the anniversary of his major league debut, which took place in 1947. Robinson, baseball's first black major league player, had to deal with numerous hardships every day. Tim Kurkjian told of how Robinson had to watch players in opposing dugouts point their bats at him like rifles.
The Daily Rundown
With all due respect to the Yankees and the Red Sox, the most important series of the week may turn out to be the one between the Royals and the White Sox. Chicago swept Kansas City, winning twice via the walk-off in an attempt to send a message to the AL Central that it will be a contender.
The key number was the bullpen ERAs. It appears bullpens in the AL Central are going to be taxed all season.
Play along with the Baseball Tonight crew and guess which answer fits the number listed. The subject this time is the 2003 ALCS between the Yankees and Red Sox, who meet again for four games this weekend.
Touch 'Em All
Mark Loretta: First Padres home run at Petco Park.
Hee Seop Choi: Fourth homer in last 5 games.
David Segui: Second HR in 41 games at Fenway Park.
Craig Biggio: 35th career leadoff HR (tied with Bobby Bonds for third all-time).
Stats of the Night
No player has averaged scoring 110 runs or more in his first seven seasons since Jackie Robinson did so from 1947 to 1953.
Robinson was the last right-handed hitter to retire with a career batting average of .300 or better and a career on-base percentage of .400 or better.
Source: Elias Sports Bureau
Most Important Thing
Kurkjian: No one wearing No. 42 played on Jackie Robinson Day.
Jeff Brantley: The Phillies rally for a victory.
This might be the only show all year in which the name Barry Bonds was not mentioned. The talk all week has been of Bonds hitting home runs, but he has also taken a few away in his time. One of the Baseball Tonight analysts knows this all too well.
On August 14, 1991, in the fifth inning Bonds reached high over the 10-foot high left field wall at Three Rivers Stadium to rob John Kruk of a two-run home run (which would have been his second of the game) in a 5-3 Pirates win. "I should have hit 101 home runs,'' said Kruk prior to a show earlier this week. Kruk was a fan of round numbers during his playing days. He finished his big-league career with an even 1,200 games and 100 home runs.
Triple Play answers: 1) A; 2) C; 3) B; 4) B
Mark Simon is the researcher for ESPN's Baseball Tonight. He can be contacted at Mark.A.Simon@espn.com.