Fun facts to know for 2015

Ben Zobrist has quietly put up big numbers in steals, homers and walks in recent years. Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports

My love of baseball began with a love of baseball cards.

Perhaps it was the graphic designer in me. Little-known Tristan fact: In my college days, I was an art student who dabbled in journalism, rather than the other way around. As a child, I dreamed of being a cartoonist ... a 21st century Charles Schulz?

The artistry of the baseball card lured me into the game: the wood borders of the 1987 Topps set, the rich colors of the 1975 Topps set, the ribbon-like swooshes around the pictures of the 1980 Topps set. Cartoons on the backs seemed to speak to me, and I was saddened to see them go in the early 1980s; imagine my joy when they were restored -- in full color -- on the backs of Topps' 1988 "Big Baseball" series.

And then there were the statistics on the backs. Oh, the statistics.

Baseball statistics are unlike any other numbers, capable of spinning tales up to 140 years old. In retrospect, I should've realized when I opened my first pack of baseball cards that those numbers would represent life's true calling. Mathematics has always been a strength of mine, which explains the obsession with fantasy baseball. In my childhood days, I'd open a new pack of cards, scan the stats on the backs and begin compiling statistics. Yes, on paper. Sooooo much paper.

Second little-known Tristan fact: I didn't play in my first official Rotisserie Baseball league until 1997. From 1985-96, I played an exhaustive amount of computer simulation games and Strat-O-Matic, using those aforementioned baseball cards for compiling endless amounts of data into computer programs to simulate countless seasons. It took six years of watching my brother John, aka. "Bro Stat," play Rotisserie Baseball -- at times serving as his unofficial "advisor" -- to be convinced the game would satisfy my lifelong obsession with baseball statistics. Yes, it's all John's fault that I play in approximately a dozen leagues annually nowadays, and yes, he did beat me in our longtime keeper league last season. (Grumble.)

But, back to the cards, where all this started. Among the neat features of the baseball card are the player facts often cited on the back.

They encompassed a wide range of information, ranging in detail from Dave Cash's 1977 Topps card, "Felipe Alou hit leadoff HRs in 2 straight games twice in his career," to Vic Davalillo's more basic 1974 Topps card: "Vic likes to go to the movies." Well, that's fantastic, Vic! Can I please, one day, have a Topps baseball card that on the back reads, "Tristan enjoys breathing oxygen"?

Two other favorites of mine:

• From the back of Don Mattingly's 1984 Topps card, the first "must-have-it" card added to my collection -- a card that is part of a printing sheet that graces the wall of my office: "June 24, 1983: Belted first major league homer." Incidentally, that game occurred precisely one month before the infamous "Pine Tar Game," which concluded with Mattingly playing second base. Raise your hand if you played in a 1984 Rotisserie league with a one-game, previous-year position requirement, affording you a second base-eligible Mattingly in his batting title season.

• From the back of Ken Griffey Sr.'s 1987 Topps card: "Ken and his wife are the parents of two sons." Well, duh, of course they are ... because one of them, Ken Griffey Jr., would be picked No. 1 overall in Major League Baseball's amateur draft less than six months after the release of that set.

See? Fun stuff. One tale leads to another, and to another ...

These facts, along with the accompanying player statistics, would be what stuck with me over the years. They built the very foundation for my love of statistical research; they are the reason the "Geeky Stat of the Day" is such a fun feature of mine on the "Fantasy Focus Baseball" podcast. (Well, that and getting to do the geeky voice.)

Those Geeky Stats do come from somewhere: They're typically products of a winter's worth of exhaustive player research, entered into a notebook I keep for hundreds -- nearly thousands -- of players annually. These are the stats I collect to drive my player opinions, much the same way I did for my first sim league back in 1985.

Today, it's time to share these notes -- these facts -- with you.

Some might sway your opinion on the player in question. Others might not. It's all a matter of perspective; we can alter the context of any statistic to make it tell the tale we want. You'll see that most of these drive your opinion in a certain direction -- mainly because that's what they did for me -- but some of them, where relevant, actually tell both sides of the story. I'm sharing them and giving you the chance to decide.

With which do you agree?

• If you divide Jose Abreu's U.S. debut season into thirds -- that is, 54-game segments -- his strikeout rate went from 26.5 to 20.7 to 16.8 percent, and his walk rate from 5.3 to 7.0 to 11.8 percent, working forward.

• In the history of baseball, no player who came to the plate at least 200 times in a season struck out at a higher rate than Javier Baez's 41.5 percent of his PAs. For those whose leagues count batting average, no one in history has ever had 250-plus PAs, struck out in at least one-third of his trips to the plate and batted higher than .260, which is exactly what Mark Reynolds hit in 2009.

• For those on-base percentage-over-batting average leagues, only one player has managed at least 70 home runs, 70 stolen bases and 400 walks in the past five seasons combined: Ben Zobrist.

Three players, meanwhile, have managed double-digit home runs and stolen bases in each of the past six seasons: Andrew McCutchen, Hanley Ramirez and Zobrist.

• Three left-handed batters managed to improve their weighted on-base averages (wOBA) against left-handed pitchers by at least 100 points from 2013-14 (minimum 100 PAs against lefties in each): Brandon Crawford (+.137), Christian Yelich (+.135) and Anthony Rizzo (+.128). Yelich, incidentally, had the majors' worst wOBA among left-handed batters against lefties in 2013 (.224).

• Through June 30 of last season, Adam Wainwright struck out 23.5 percent of the batters he faced, in line with his 22.6 percent rate from 2009-13.

From July 1 forward, Wainwright struck out 16.4 percent of the batters he faced. That 7.1 percent drop between the two was the largest of any ERA qualifier.

Johnny Cueto was 12-for-13 in quality starts when facing a top-10 offense in 2014, his 92.3 percentage best in the majors. He had a 2.00 ERA in those games.

• Only one player in baseball has gone 20/20 in each of the past three seasons: Ian Desmond. He is also only the third shortstop in history to manage three such campaigns consecutively, joining Alex Rodriguez (1997-99) and Hanley Ramirez (2007-10). In fairness to Howard Johnson, though, he did appear in 20-plus games at shortstop while managing 20/20 numbers every season from 1987-91, even if third base was his primary position in each.

• Call him Captain Consistency: From 2012-14, Edwin Encarnacion had at least 20 games played, five home runs and an .800-plus OPS in 14 of 18 months, two more than anyone else in baseball. For a comparison, Mike Trout had 12.

Doug Fister has a 2.16 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 36 career games, 35 of those starts, against National League teams. By the way, in his career against the Washington Nationals' four NL East rivals, Fister has an 11-2 record, 13 quality starts, a 1.51 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in 15 games (14 starts).

• Last season, Todd Frazier became the first third baseman to steal 20 or more bases since Chone Figgins, Mark Reynolds and David Wright did it in 2009.

• In both 2013 and 2014, Cole Hamels had exactly 17 quality-start performances that failed to earn him a win. Those two campaigns tie him with six other pitchers for the most all-time: Claude Osteen in 1965, Jim Bunning in 1967, Nolan Ryan in 1987, Rick Mahler in 1988, Jose Rijo in 1993 and Felix Hernandez in 2010.

• Of Brett Gardner's 17 home runs last season, four came in a three-day span at Texas' Globe Life Park (July 28-30), and four others he hit wouldn't have cleared the fence in at least half of Major League Baseball's parks.

• Project Mookie Betts' performance during the games he was on the Boston Red Sox's active roster last season to the entirety of their 162-game schedule and he'd have batted .291 with 14 home runs, 49 RBIs, 19 stolen bases and 93 runs scored. Those numbers would've placed him among the top 75 overall on our Player Rater.

• Last season, Charlie Blackmon had a .388 wOBA in his home games, compared to .268 in his road games.

• No player in baseball hit more line drives that were judged off the bat by our pitch-tracking service as "hard contact" last season than Michael Brantley (81).

He has also hit 48 of his 49 career home runs to right field, with 32 of those classified as "far right" -- this measures from the right-field foul pole to 18 degrees from it in right-center -- and as I've written previously, Progressive Field plays exceptionally for power to right field.

• Last May 21, the Baltimore Orioles placed closer Tommy Hunter on the DL. The significance of that date: From that day forward, Zach Britton saved 36 games, second-most in baseball, with a 2.05 ERA and 0.91 WHIP.

• In his two seasons with the New York Yankees (2011-12), Russell Martin hit 18 home runs in road games. In his two seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates (2013-14), Martin hit 17 home runs in road games.

In his home games, however, Martin hit 21 homers for the Yankees, and just nine for the Pirates. And now he's moving to Rogers Centre, the fifth-best ballpark in baseball for right-handed power the past five seasons (2010-14).

Jay Bruce's strikeout rate has increased in every season since 2009. He is the only player to have done that while qualifying for the batting title each year from 2010-14.

• Between the regular season and postseason, Madison Bumgarner threw 4,074 pitches, faced 1,068 batters and amassed 270 innings pitched. Among single seasons during the six-year era for which our pitch-tracking service compiled such statistics, those numbers ranked him ninth, sixth and sixth, respectively.

Now let's have a little fun with workloads: Let's extract the seven previous pitchers during that same six-year span to total at least 4,000 pitches, 1,000 batters faced and 250 innings pitched, with the postseason included in the totals. And, since you might be interested, that group includes Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia in 2009, Chris Carpenter, Justin Verlander and C.J. Wilson in 2011, Verlander again in 2012 and Wainwright in 2013.

Those seven pitchers combined to average 34 starts, 236⅔ innings pitched, a 2.99 ERA and 1.12 WHIP during their "workhorse" campaigns.

Those same seven pitchers combined to average 28 starts, 193⅓ innings pitched, a 3.10 ERA and 1.15 WHIP during their follow-up seasons. Carpenter did get hurt in 2012 and made three starts; he was 37 years old at the time. Lee missed April 2010 with an abdominal injury; he was 31. The rest of the group remained healthy.

• Nobody in baseball swung and missed more often on two-strike pitches outside the strike zone last season than Marlon Byrd (108).

On 93-plus mph fastballs up in the strike zone, Byrd batted .282 from 2010-12 ... then .203 in 2013 ... then .152 in 2014.

Byrd also amassed 77 of his 185 strikeouts against either a curveball or slider, and he batted .226 with a .353 slugging percentage against those pitches.

• Durability counts: Robinson Cano has played in at least 150 games at second base -- that's not 150 total games, but rather 150 games at specifically second base -- in each of the past eight seasons. Only Nellie Fox (10), Eddie Collins (9) and Ryne Sandberg (9) had more such seasons, and Fox is the only one who ever did it in as many consecutive seasons as Cano (Fox also did it in exactly eight straight).

Chris Carter, in 2014, became only the seventh player in the history of baseball to strike out in at least 30 percent of his trips to the plate in consecutive, batting title-qualified seasons. He joined Rob Deer (1986-87), Jose Hernandez (2001-03), Jack Cust (2007-09), Mark Reynolds (2008-11), Drew Stubbs (2011-12), Pedro Alvarez (2012-13) and Adam Dunn (2012-14) in that unfortunate club.

But if you're scrambling to apply the "undisciplined" label to Carter, hold tight: His chase percentage -- this measures the frequency at which he swung at non-strikes -- ranked in the 37th percentile, and his rate of swinging at "non-competitive" pitches -- these are offerings our pitch-tracking service deemed substantially outside the strike zone, like pitches at the eyebrows or shoelaces -- ranked in the 69th percentile.

• Now for the converse: In his three-year big league career, Yoenis Cespedes has swung and missed at 394 pitches that were within the strike zone ... and 442 that were outside of it. In fact, Cespedes' chase percentage was a whopping 10 percent higher than Carter's was in 2014.

• Among pitchers who tossed at least 50 innings in a season, Aroldis Champan owns the best (52.5 percent, 2014), fourth-best (44.2, 2012) and sixth-best (43.4, 2013) seasons in baseball history in terms of strikeout percentage (K's calculated as a percentage of the total batters the pitcher faced that year).

• Only 10 pitchers in baseball history have managed five seasons of at least 70 appearances and 70 innings pitched in their careers, and only two of those 10 did it in five consecutive seasons: Aaron Heilman and Tyler Clippard.

No one has ever reached both of those plateaus in six consecutive years, which is what Clippard will attempt to do in 2015.

• I love baseball's statistical history. In case you couldn't tell.

• Only 10 qualified pitchers from 2013-14 had a lower ERA than Alex Cobb's 2.82.

• While I caution never to read too much into first- and second-half splits, Edinson Volquez's tell a curious tale, especially the xFIPs:
Before the All-Star break: 3.65 ERA, 4.36 FIP, 4.24 xFIP
After the All-Star break: 2.20 ERA, 3.87 FIP, 4.13 xFIP

• Since June 1, 2012, Troy Tulowitzki has batted .323/.408/.566 and averaged 35 home runs, 101 RBIs, two stolen bases and 107 runs scored per 162 games played.

Since June 1, 2012, Tulowitzki has missed more Colorado Rockies games (220) than he has played in (217), with 209 of the absences specifically attributed to injuries.

• From 2011-14, Mark Trumbo hit 25 more home runs before the All-Star break (67) than after it (42). He has never posted a second-half OPS greater than .744 (that was in 2011); his first-half OPS was at least .786 in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

• The optimist's take: Only two players in baseball history batted .300-plus with at least 90 home runs, 300 RBIs, 90 stolen bases and 300 runs scored through the conclusion of their age-23 seasons: Alex Rodriguez and Mike Trout. Amazing, right?

The pessimist's take: Trout saw 138 pitches clocked at 93 mph or faster that were in the upper third of the strike zone (and judged to be within said strike zone) in 2014, and he had just one hit against those 138.

One. Boy, Trout stinks.

For some fun, that one hit? It was a soft-contact infield single on Aug. 5 ... against Clayton Kershaw.

• I also love ridiculously unexpected baseball outcomes. In case you couldn't tell.

• Hey, speaking of Kershaw, last season he became the first player in history to lead all of Major League Baseball in ERA in four consecutive seasons.

It's a pitching-rich era, yes, but next consider: Kershaw's 197 Adjusted ERA+ -- this adjusts the number for both ballpark and league context -- in 2014 was the best number by an ERA-crown qualifier since Zack Greinke had a 205 in 2009.

And from a fantasy standpoint, Kershaw is the only player in the game to have finished among the top 10 on our Player Rater in four consecutive seasons.

Brian McCann has hit at least 20 home runs in each of the past seven seasons, making him one of only six players to do that. He is the only catcher to have done it, and his 152 homers during that seven-year span were 29 more than any other catcher-eligible player hit (Mike Napoli had 123 as a catcher-eligible player).

• Five times last season, Julio Teheran produced a Bill James Game Score of at least 75 -- that's an "excellent" outing by those standards -- and failed to record the win. Only two pitchers have ever had more in a single year: Jeff Pfeffer in 1917 (6) and Felix Hernandez in 2014 (6).

This offseason, Teheran's Atlanta Braves jettisoned Evan Gattis, Jason Heyward and Justin Upton, three players who combined for 9.1 offensive WAR (Wins Above Replacement only from offensive contributions) in 2014. Not one of the hitters they brought aboard as replacements, meanwhile, managed greater than 0.5 offensive WAR.

• In the past three seasons combined, no pitcher with at least 100 save chances has a greater conversion rate than Huston Street (97-for-103 in saves, 94.2 percent).

• Only 14 players hit more home runs before their 25th birthdays than Giancarlo Stanton's 154: Eddie Mathews (222), Mickey Mantle (207), Albert Pujols (201), Hank Aaron (179), Alex Rodriguez (178), Mel Ott (176), Jimmie Foxx (174), Ken Griffey Jr. (173), Orlando Cepeda (163), Juan Gonzalez (162), Tony Conigliaro (160), Adam Dunn (158), Frank Robinson (157) and Andruw Jones (155).

Stanton, incidentally, has slugged .610 and hit 55 home runs at Marlins Park during its three years of existence; he slugged .486 with 43 homers in road games during that same three-year span (2012-14).

• Fun with arbitrary endpoints, mainly because it's all we've got when it comes to George Springer's big league career to date: From May 8 through July 19 of 2014, the entirety of the healthy portion of his rookie year, he ranked fourth in the majors in isolated power (.306), second in home run percentage (9.1 percent), first in home run per fly ball rate (37 percent) and third in average fly ball distance (313 feet).

Springer also had the highest miss rate (43 percent of his swings) and third-highest strikeout rate (32.7 percent) during that same span.

• Since the 2013 All-Star break, Jean Segura has a .263 wOBA. Only Alexi Amarista, Darwin Barney and Mike Aviles had worse, among qualifiers.

A.J. Pollock was one of 12 players to combine for at least 15 home runs, 25 stolen bases and a .280 batting average from 2013-14, and he accomplished those counting numbers in 137 fewer plate appearances than any of the others.

Danny Santana had a .405 BABIP last season. In the past 90 seasons, only two players who came to the plate at least 400 times in the given year had a higher BABIP: Rod Carew (.408, in 1977) and Reggie Jefferson (.408, in 1996).

• Hey OBP'ers! Carlos Santana is the active leader in terms of walk rate (15.6 percent of his trips to the plate), and he is the only player in baseball, among qualifiers, to have walked in at least 14 percent of his PAs in each of the past four seasons.

Santana is also a lifetime .270/.389/.499 hitter in 872 plate appearances as a first baseman, compared to .238/.357/.416 in 1,889 PAs everywhere else.

Phil Hughes' 11.63:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio was the best all-time among pitchers who qualified for the ERA title.

Much of the reason he did this can be attributed to his major league-leading strike rate on the first pitch of the count, 72.5 percent. If you use FanGraphs' 13 years of pitch-tracking data for a reference point, Brad Radke (72.8 percent, 2005) was the only pitcher who had a better first-pitch-strike rate in a single, qualified year.

Francisco Rodriguez surrendered a home run 29 percent of the time he served up a fly ball last season, by far the majors' highest rate for a reliever (or any pitcher with 50-plus innings). And before you play the "bad luck" card, keep in mind that he afforded a .219 BABIP, which was the seventh-lowest among qualified relievers.

• Both Fernando Rodney (1.34 WHIP, 48 saves) and Trevor Rosenthal (1.41 and 45) saved at least 40 games with a WHIP greater than 1.25 in 2014, making them the 25th and 26th closers in history to do that.

The previous 24 closers to save at least 40 games with a WHIP of 1.25 or higher, as a group, saw their ERAs increase by more than three-quarters of a run (3.37 to 4.16) and averaged 22 fewer saves in their subsequent seasons.

• Only four first basemen in history have hit at least 80 home runs and stolen at least 40 bases through their age-26 campaigns: Jimmie Foxx (266 HR, 42 SB), Orlando Cepeda (222 and 92), Jeff Bagwell (92 and 45) and Paul Goldschmidt (83 and 46).

• Last season, David Ortiz became only the fifth player in history to, in his age-38 season, manage at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. He was the first to accomplish that since Frank Thomas did it in 2006.

Only one player ever reached those two plateaus in a season at an older age: Barry Bonds, who did it as a 39-year-old in 2004 (45 HRs and 101 RBIs).

Jon Lester has a 2.77 career ERA when working with David Ross as his catcher.

That's Lester's best ERA with any of the four catchers with whom he has amassed at least 25 games, 100 innings pitched and 400 batters faced: He has a 3.24 ERA with Victor Martinez, 3.41 ERA with Jason Varitek and 4.20 ERA with Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Jose Fernandez made his major league debut on April 7, 2013, and his final outing before Tommy John surgery on May 9, 2014, a span of 219 days of Major League Baseball (counting the two March 2014 games in Australia).

Using those dates as endpoints, these were Fernandez's major league rankings during that span: second in ERA (2.25), fourth in WHIP (0.97), sixth in strikeouts (257), 12th in quality starts (26) and 16th in wins (16).

• Nine players have placed among our Player Rater's top 20 overall at season's end in at least three of the past five seasons (2010-14). Alex Rios is the only one who, during that same five-year span, also has two finishes outside the top 150: 17th in 2010, 355th in 2011, 11th in both 2012 and 2013 and 172nd in 2014.

[Note: If you count Wainwright's missed 2011 due to injury as "outside the top 150," then he also qualified, having been a top-20 finisher in 2010, 2013 and 2014, but ranking 156th in 2012.]

• Since the turn of the century, only seven relief pitchers had a worse save conversion percentage over a two-year span (minimum 80 save chances) than Addison Reed in 2013-14 (83.7 percent). Strangely, four of the previous six managed to save at least 20 games in their subsequent seasons; Jeff Shaw (2000-01) retired before 2002 and Juan Carlos Oviedo (2010-11) missed 2012 due to injury.

• The 10 most comparable players to Pujols through their age-34 seasons, according to Baseball-Reference.com, combined to average 27 home runs and 84 RBIs during their age-35 campaigns. Jimmie Foxx was the only one who fell short of 20 home runs; he sat out his age-35 season in 1943.

• Remember when Yasiel Puig used to swing at everything? Consider this: In 2014, he swung at 8 percent fewer pitches outside the strike zone than in 2013, and he missed on 7 percent fewer of his total swings. No player with at least 400 plate appearances made a greater improvement in those categories.

• We often talk about FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) as a good indicator of pitching skill. Well, David Price has improved his in each of the past four seasons, culminating in 2014's career-best 2.78. The only other ERA-qualified pitchers to do that during the divisional era (1969 and on) were Sabathia (2004-08) and Javier Vazquez (2005-09).

Michael Pineda returned from a right teres major (shoulder) strain last Aug. 13, and from that date forward, he had the majors' best WHIP (0.76), 10th-best ERA (1.91) and fifth-best strikeout-to-walk ratio (11.00:1).

• You remember that World Series ending, don't you? Last season -- regular season -- Salvador Perez swung at pitches outside the strike zone when he was behind in the count at a greater rate than anyone in baseball (52 percent).

Devin Mesoraco, in 2014, became only the 14th different catcher to manage at least 25 home runs and 80 RBIs in a season at the age of 26 or younger. The others were Rudy York (1937-38), Yogi Berra (1950-51), Joe Torre (1965-66), Bill Freehan (1968), Johnny Bench (1969-70, 1972-74), Earl Williams (1971-72), Joe Ferguson (1973), Gary Carter (1977, 1980), Lance Parrish (1982), Matt Nokes (1987), Mike Piazza (1993, 1995) and Joe Mauer (2009).

Casey McGehee grounded into 31 double plays last season but produced only 34 extra-base hits. He became the first player to ever ground into at least 30 twin killings while recording fewer than 50 extra-base hits; the 15 previous players to ground into at least 30 double plays averaged 59.5 extra-base hits in those seasons.

• What made the difference for J.D. Martinez in 2014: Of his 23 home runs, 14 were hit to center, right-center or right field.

Of his 24 home runs hit while with the Houston Astros from 2011-13, only five were hit to center, right-center or right field.

The counterargument against Martinez, however, is that he had the majors' highest batting average on balls in play among players with at least 450 trips to the plate (.389), the eighth-highest home run per fly ball percentage (20.5 percent) and the second-shortest average home run distance among the top 20 in home run per fly ball percentage (average of 392.5 feet).

• Proof positive that players can overcome their "injury-prone" reputations: Since Aug. 7, 2012, Evan Longoria has started 372 of 376 Tampa Bay Rays games. Only Hunter Pence had more starts during that same span.

Longoria had missed 114 of the Rays' previous 268 games leading up to that date.

• PitchF/X had Corey Kluber's curveball being worth 21.6 runs above average last season. That number might not mean much to you, though, so let's put it into perspective: It's the second-highest during the eight-year era for which PitchF/X has data (2007-14); Jose Fernandez's 23.3-run curveball in 2013 was the only one better.

Kluber also had a slider worth 12.4 runs above average last season; that ranked 10th in the majors and it made him one of only 12 pitchers who had two different pitches that were worth 10 or more runs above average (Dellin Betances, Cobb, Cueto, Wade Davis, Felix Hernandez, Kershaw, Jake McGee, Garrett Richards, Chris Sale, Wainwright and Jordan Zimmermann were the others).

• Since taking over as Kansas City Royals closer on Aug. 1, 2012, the day after Jonathan Broxton was traded, these are Greg Holland's rankings among qualified relievers in various Rotisserie categories: tied for first in saves (109), third in ERA (1.44), sixth in WHIP (0.93) and fourth in strikeouts (228).

• And finally, the last one should always be a fun one. On Thursday, actor Will Ferrell played 10 different positions for 10 different teams in five different cities, in a one-day tour through the Cactus League to help raise money for cancer research.

You probably already know that, among celebrities, Garth Brooks played in four separate spring trainings. What you might not know is the last celebrity to appear in a spring training game was Billy Crystal, who spent his 60th birthday playing one game for the Yankees in 2008. He struck out in his only at-bat, against Paul Maholm.

You probably also know that Bert Campaneris, the first major leaguer to ever play all nine positions in a single game, will be in attendance. What you might not know is the last major leaguer to appear in all nine positions in a single game was Shane Halter, who did so for the Detroit Tigers on Oct. 1, 2000.

And you probably already know that Joel Youngblood was the only player in baseball history to register a hit for two different teams in two different cities on the same day. What you might not know is he's not the only player to appear in two different games for two different teams on the same day; Max Flack and Cliff Heathcoate did so in 1922 when they were traded for one another between games of a Chicago Cubs-St. Louis Cardinals doubleheader. Hey, it might've happened in the same city, but then Ferrell will be sporting different uniforms within the same city on the same day!