Useless Barry Bonds Information
Clubs don't get any tougher to join than that 500-500 Club that Barry Bonds just founded. So let's put into perspective just how exclusive that is:
No other active player is even in the Halfway To 500-500 Club (i.e., the 250-250 Club). Nope, the best we can offer is seven men who have made the 200-200 Club (through Saturday). And we bet you couldn't guess half of them if we didn't give them to you:
|Barry Bonds nabs stolen base No. 500.|
Player SB HR
Roberto Alomar 468 203
Craig Biggio 386 204
Steve Finley 285 236
Reggie Sanders 253 230
Larry Walker 220 343
Raul Mondesi 222 254
Sammy Sosa 233 509
The other thing to remember about our current group of active players (at least until Rickey Henderson escapes the Atlantic League) is that only three guys besides Bonds is even in the 500-Anything Club. Sosa, Rafael Palmiero (92 steals, 509 homers) and Kenny Lofton (502 steals, 111 homers).
On the all-time list, of course, nobody else is even in the 400-400 Club. And you wouldn't exactly have to rent out Pac Bell Park to hold the 300-300 Club meetings, either. Here's that group:
Player SB HR
Barry Bonds 500 635
Bobby Bonds 461 332
Willie Mays 338 660
Andre Dawson 314 438
But if we even lower the standard to 250-250, that brings in only eight other players. Here they are, according to Lee Sinins' Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia CD-rom:
Player SB HR
Rickey Henderson 1,403 295
Joe Morgan 689 268
Eric Davis 349 282
Ryne Sandberg 344 282
Vada Pinson 305 256
Don Baylor 285 338
Kirk Gibson 284 255
Robin Yount 271 251
So what that means is that, in the history of baseball, only 11 other players even climbed halfway up Barry's mountain. And the closest anyone got in both categories was 338-338, which is barely more than two-thirds of the way up Mt. Bonds. Amazing.
But suppose we were to ask ourselves which active players have any shot to make a run at 500-500? Bonds was 25 years old when he reached the 100-100 Club. So how many active players, 25 or under, are in the 100-100 Club? Exactly none. Even Yankees power-speed whiz Alfonso Soriano (107 SB, 81 HR at age 25, through Saturday) falls short.
And Bonds was in the 200-200 Club by age 28. Here are the only other active players, 28 or younger, who can even claim 100-100:
Player SB HR
Alex Rodriguez 167 317
Vladimir Guerrero 119 217
Andruw Jones 116 205
Next to enter: Preston Wilson (94 SB, 121 HR).
So do we see any of those guys having a chance? By age 28, Bonds had already had six seasons of 30 steals or more, two of 40 or more, one of 50. A-Rod has had one 30-plus-steal season, Guerrero two and Jones none. They sure aren't going to steal more bases as they get older.
In other words, there's a heck of a chance that the next member of the 500-500 Club, assuming there is one, hasn't even been born yet, let alone homered yet.
Another fascinating development in Barry's neighborhood last week was that he played his 2,503rd game -- exactly as many as Babe Ruth. Now 163 of Ruth's games came as a pitcher, obviously. But it still makes for a great excuse to compare the career numbers of Bonds and the Bambino.
Homers 714 635
RBI 2,210 1,698
Average .342 .296
Slugging .690 .597
OBP .474 .430
Stolen bases 123 500
At-bats 8,399 8,552
Walks 2,062 1,996
Strikeouts 1,330 1,364
Danny Knobler, who covers the Tigers for Michigan's Booth Newspapers chain, checks in with yet another sign of both Bonds' and baseball's times. Bonds has never played one game for an American League team. Yet, he has homered against almost every team in both leagues. He homered this year against two AL Central teams -- the Tigers and Royals. Which gives him home runs against 26 of the 30 teams. And two of the four he has missed -- the Indians and Red Sox -- he has never played against. The only two teams he has faced but never homered against are the Orioles (3 games, 8 AB) and Devil Rays (2 games, 7 AB).
Finally, what super-cool, and historic, Bonds-related event took place last weekend? When Bonds and Miguel Tejada homered in a June 20 Giants-A's game, it marked the first time ever (counting the World Series) that the two reigning MVPs had homered in the same game.
Useless 25-Run Game Information
Have the Red Sox stopped scoring yet?
Their 25-8 win over the Marlins on Friday cleary ranks as the most insane, Useless Info kind of game, of the year. And here is just some of the minutiae we've dug up on that one:
It took the Marlins 52 pitches, three pitchers, 12 hitters and more than 25 minutes to record an out in this game. Naturally, the next day, it took them two pitches.
The Red Sox scored 10 runs before they made an out. Through Saturday, the Tigers had gone 141 straight games without scoring 10 runs in a game.
All told, the Red Sox scored 14 in the first. The Patriots scored 14 in the first (quarter) exactly once all last season (Dec. 8 against Buffalo).
Carl Pavano and Michael Tejera faced 11 hitters in this game, threw 53 pitches and got zero outs. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that made the Marlins the first team to have its first two pitchers of a game not record an out since the 1973 Royals -- managed by the man who manages these Marlins, Jack McKeon.
Johnny Damon singled, doubled and tripled just in the first inning. Which made him the fifth player ever to get three hits in an inning, the second player to do it since 1900 and the first player ever to get three different varieties of hit in one inning. Here are the other members of the three-hits-in-an-inning club:
Gene Stephens, Red Sox (June 18, 1953) -- 2 singles 1 double.
Fred Pfeffer, Cubs (Sept. 6, 1883) -- 2 singles, 1 double.
Ned Williamson, Cubs (Sept. 6, 1883) -- 2 singles, 1 double.
Tommy Burns, Cubs (Sept. 6, 1883) -- 2 doubles, 1 home run.
The Red Sox went an incomprehensible 13-for-14 in the first inning, because they had one runner thrown out at the plate and another one of their outs came on a sacrifice fly. They raised their team batting average three points just in the first inning.
The totals on that first inning: 50 minutes, 91 pitches, 3 pitches swung at and missed, 19 hitters, 7 singles, 4 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homer, 5 walks.
And those 25 runs the Red Sox scored? They're the most by any American League team in a game in which A) a position player didn't pitch or B) the dateline didn't read "Denver" since April 23, 1955, when the White Sox won a 29-6 game against the Kansas City A's.
Useless Brooks Kieschnick Information
Here at Useless Info Central, we now realize that Brewers pitcher-thumper Brooks Kieschnick is the best thing that ever happened to us. This guy is more than just a buy-one, get-one-free sale. He's a walking, talking nonstop font of useless information.
For one thing, he actually served as the Brewers' DH this month in one of their three games in Baltimore -- and pitched in the other two games. We can guarantee no one in history had ever done that before.
He also hit a pinch home run Wednesday. That makes him only the ninth player in the last 50 years (and second in the DH era) to homer as both a pitcher and pinch-hitter in the same season. The others, according to SABR's David Vincent, the Sultan of Swat Stats:
Johnny Lindell, 1953
Bob Lemon, 1956
Tommy Byrne, 1957
Don Larsen, 1958-61
Mickey McDermott, 1957
Gary Peters, 1964-68-71
Earl Wilson, 1966-67
Don Robinson, 1990
But the greatest thing about that pinch homer was that it meant Kieschnick's first three home runs this season came first as a pitcher, then as a DH, then as a pinch-hitter. And according to the Sultan, no one has ever hit a home run in the same season in all three of those roles -- or even in a career. And Kieschnick did it with just his first three home runs of the season. What a guy.
Useless Expos Info
A few totals you need to know on the Expos' 25-day road trip:
They were gone for 25 days.
They traveled 11,310 miles.
They visited six cities.
They made nine plane flights, 44 bus rides to and from their hotels and 14 bus rides to or from the airport.
They visited Pennsylvania twice -- 17 days and five series in four cities apart.
They had a five-game losing streak, a six-game winning streak and a six-game losing streak on the same trip.
They collected $1,912.50 just in meal money.
And if you think it was hard keeping track of all that, at least they were innovative.
"Before we left Montreal, I went out and bought 25 pairs of underwear," Expos shortstop Orlando Cabrera told the Beaver County (Pa.) Times' John Perrotto. "I didn't want to run out of clean underwear. I knew when I got down to my last pair, it would be time to go home."
And that, friends, is creative thinking. Too bad he wasn't around to help the 1899 Cleveland Spiders deal with their travels.
If the Expos think their trip was long, those Spiders were having so many attendance problems (possibly related to their 20-134 record), they essentially stopped playing home games. So they went on a 53-day, 50-game road trip (on which they went 6-44). Then they came home for a week. Then they finished the season with a 46-day, 36-game road trip (on which they went 1-35). Which is just one more reason we love those Spiders.
Useless Pitcher-Hitting Information
As long as we're on the subject of pitchers and their bats, interleague play wound down for the year this weekend. And you know what that means: No more AL pitchers heading for home plate. We'll miss them. Here's why:
In the Indians' visit to Pittsburgh last weekend, C.C. Sabathia got a hit in two different games of the same series. He got a pinch-hit in a 15-inning game in the opener, then had a bunt single two days later in the game he pitched in.
So when was the last time an American League pitcher got hits in two different games in the same series? How about never -- in the DH age, anyway? According to Elias, the last AL pitcher to get hits in two different games in any series was Gary Peters of the Red Sox, who did it against the Indians on Sept. 3 and 5, 1971.
Then there's Toronto pitcher Mark Hendrickson. On June 21 against Montreal, he became the fifth AL pitcher of the DH era to hit a home run. The others, according to Elias, were Esteban Yan (2000), Dwight Gooden (1999), Dave Burba (1998) and Bobby Witt (1997).
But that's not even his (ahem) biggest feat. Hendrickson is 6-foot-9. Which, as loyal reader Thomas Ayers points out, makes him the tallest player in history to hit a home run. The previous record was 6-foot-8 -- by fellow pitchers J.R. Richard and Gene Conley.
One asterisk here is that after Bobby Munoz (officially listed as 6-7) hit a home run in 1994, he was measured by his teammate, noted height-a-matician Larry Andersen, and Andersen claimed Munoz was really 6-9. But he and Mark Hendrickson can have a joint growth-chart night sometime and figure this out among themselves.
And interleague play didn't go too hot for the Devil Rays, in pretty much any department. Their sweet-swinging pitching staff went 0-for-14 in their nine interleague games at NL parks, with six strikeouts. And that makes them the first AL staff to go 0-for-the season since the 1999 Red Sox went 0-for-17, with seven whiffs.
Other AL staff highlights and lowlights, heading into the weekend:
Highest batting average: Mariners (.217).
Most hits (team): Blue Jays (6).
Most hits (individual pitcher): Sabathia (3).
Extra-base hits: Hendrickson (HR), David Wells (double).
Relief pitchers who got hits: R.A. Dickey (Rangers), Jeff Tam (Blue Jays).
Pitchers who got pinch-hits: Sabathia, Steve Avery (Tigers).
Sabathia, by the way, was the first Indians pitcher to get a pinch-hit since Dick Donovan in 1963. And Avery was the first Tigers pitcher to get a pinch-hit since Joe Niekro in 1970.
Useless Doubleheader InformationSince it rained every weekend on the East Coast for about two months, the Phillies had the bizarre retro experience of sweeping doubleheaders (from the Expos and A's) on back-to-back Sundays, just like the good old days. Last time they did that, according to Elias: June 14 and 21, 1964.
The Mets, on the other hand, had a less exhilarating doubleheader experience. They got swept in a doubleheader by the Mariners -- by a combined score of 20-1. According to loyal reader Jerry Beach, Mets beat man for esportsny.com, it was the first time they'd been outscored by 19 runs ore more in any doubleheader since July 30, 1969, when they lost 16-3 and 11-5 games to the Astros. At least that season had a happier ending than this one figures to have.
But that sweep by the Mariners, incredibly, marked the fourth straight home doubleheader in which the Mets got swept, dating back to last season. And Elias reports that no team has managed to get swept four times in a row in its home park since another Mets team, Joe Torre's 1979 edition, were swept in four doubleheaders at Shea in a span of five days in September.
The Expos, meanwhile, were swept in three doubleheaders on the same road trip (against the Pirates, Phillies and Marlins). And you sure don't see that much. In fact, Retrosheet's Dave Smith reports Montreal is the first team to do that since the 1975 White Sox got swept by the A's once and the Twins twice between July 27 and Aug. 3.
And for the greatest doubleheader note of the year, check out the last edition of Useless Reader Information.
Really Useless Information
BLOWN SAVE OF THE MONTH:
On June 20 in Arizona, Reds closer Scott Williamson blew a save without a bat touching a ball. How? Here's how, courtesy of the East Valley (Ariz.) Tribune's Ed Price:
Walk to Tony Womack. Wild pickoff throw, sending Womack to third. Wild pitch, tying the game. So that's 6 pitches, 5 balls, 1 error, 1 WP, 1 tie game, if you're scoring at home.
1-2-3 INNING OF THE MONTH:
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat's Jeff Fletcher reports that on June 14, A's reliever Ricardo Rincon spun off one of the most unique 1-2-3 innings of all time -- because it took him an almost-impossible 27 pitches. Here's how:
An eight-pitch strikeout of Ron Calloway (from 0-2 to 2-2, then two foul balls, then ball three, then a swinging strikeout).
An 11-pitch strikeout of Jamey Carroll (from 0-2 to 1-2, then a foul ball, then ball 2, then two more fouls, then ball 3, then two more fouls, then a swinging whiff).
A seven-pitch ground-ball out by Endy Chavez (started with strike 1, then alternated balls and foul balls until 3-2, then ground ball to second).
So that's three straight first-pitch strikes, two 0-and-2 counts, one ball put in play, nobody reaching base and 27 pitches. Hard to do, folks.
Useless Tigers InformationIt took the Tigers just 76 games to fall 40 games under .500 (18-58). Danny Knobler, Booth Newspapers' Tigers beat man, reports that they're only fifth team in modern history to hit 40 games below sea level that fast -- and the first since the 1932 Red Sox.
No Tigers team in history had any 76-game stretch in which it went 18-58.
In the first 102 seasons of their existence, the Tigers had three stretches in which they lost 18 of 20 games. This team has done it twice in three months. Sparky Anderson managed the Reds and Tigers for 26 years and never once lost 18 of 20. Alan Trammell managed the Tigers for less than three months and did it twice.
When the Tigers got swept in a four-game series at Fenway, it lowered their record this year to 1-15 in games played in front of large gatherings of witnesses (i.e., crowds of 30,000 or more). The only win was April 26 in Seattle.
The Tigers moved in the fences this year at Comerica Park. And they're still on pace to hit fewer home runs than ever before at Comerica. They hit 69 the first year, 58 the second, 61 the third and were on a pace to hit (gulp) 16 heading into this homestand.
The Tigers just sent Brandon Inge to the minor leagues, freezing his batting average at a subterranean .150 (25-for-167). If he never returns or doesn't inflate it when he comes back, he'll be only the fifth catcher in the last-half-century to hit .150 or lower with that few at-bats. The others:
Luis Pujols 1978 .131 20-for-153
Chris Bando 1985 .139 24-for-173
Bob Didier 1970 .149 25-for-168
Bob Uecker 1967 .150 29-for-193
And through Saturday, the Tigers had won six games in Comerica Park (6-31) all season. That's only one more game than the Cleveland Indians have won at Comerica this year. (They're 5-1).
Far From Useless Larry Doby Information
The late, great Larry Doby has gotten a lot of attention since his death last week for being a pioneer -- but not enough attention for being a great player.
Lee Sinins, creator of the fabulous Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia CD-ROM, uses an old Bill James stat called "runs created" to rank players compared with the players they played against. And over the course of his major-league career, Doby ranked third in the American League -- behind two players you may have heard of. The top seven:
1. Ted Williams 896
2. Mickey Mantle 645
3. Larry Doby 359
4. Minnie Minoso 307
5. Yogi Berra 296
6. Al Rosen 230
7. Joe DiMaggio 212
Boxscore Line of the Week
Reds pitcher Jimmy Anderson, Thursday in St. Louis:
5 IP, 15 H, 11 R, 11 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 2 HR.
STAT OF THE DAY: Anderson, who was designated for assignment the next day, was the first pitcher to throw a 15-hitter since Oakland's Mike Oquist gave up 16 hits (and 14 runs) to the Yankees on Aug. 3, 1998.
Useless Tidbits of the WeekRoy Halladay is tied for the AL lead in wins after winning no games in April. If he keeps this up, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, he would be the fifth pitcher in the last 30 years to go 0-for-April and then lead (or tie for the lead) in wins. The others: Mike Mussina in 1995 (abbreviated April), Mike Boddicker in 1984, Pete Vuckovich in 1981 and Dave Goltz in 1977.
A bunch of readers pointed out that on June 18, all 14 AL teams played, but there were a total of only three home runs (by Alex Rodriguez, Jay Gibbons and Eric Munson). According to Elias, it was the fewest home runs on a day when there were at least seven AL games in the rocketball era since July 25, 1992 (when only Scott Fletcher, Dean Palmer and Edgar Martinez homered).
Brad Wilkerson just became the fifth player since 1976 to hit for the "natural" cycle (single, double, triple and homer in that order). The others, according to Elias: Jose Valentin (April 27, 2000), John Mabry (May 18, 1996), Bob Watson (Sept. 15, 1979) and Tim Foli (April 21, 1976).
Danny Graves now has a complete-game shutout and a save against the same team (Cardinals) this year. Loyal reader Steve Lewis wondered how rare that was. According to Elias, he's only the fourth pitcher in the last 10 years to do that in the same season. The others: Kelvim Escobar vs. Detroit in 2000, Scott Sanders vs. Texas in 1997 and Michael Mimbs vs. San Diego in 1995.
The Detroit Free Press' John Lowe points out that Ted Lilly's June 11 start against the Braves was as bizarre as it gets. He gave up five home runs -- but no other hits. According to Elias, Lilly was the first to do that since Charlie Hough on June 24, 1989. And Hough was the first since Steve Stone, on July 9, 1974.
Nomar Garciaparra just became the first player in the post-1961 expansion era to have a five-hit game and a six-hit game in the same week. In fact, according to Elias, he's only the fourth player in that span to have two five-hit games within four days of each other. The others: Roberto Clemente in 1970 (two days apart), Dave Winfield in 1984 (three days) and Kenny Lofton in 1997 (four days).
We're not sure when Garciaparra turned into Cristian Guzman, but he has seven triples in June. That makes him the first player to triple seven times in any calendar month, according to Elias, since Craig Reynolds did it in May, 1981.
Devil Rays media relations genius Rick Vaughn reports the Rays have already played 47 games decided by two runs or fewer. If they maintain that pace, they'll play more of those close games (96) than any team since the 1978 Orioles.
ESPN stats guru Mark Simon reports that last Sunday's Mets-Yankees game continued the coolest Subway Series streak ever: If you count the 2000 World Series, it means that every year that the Yankees and Mets have met, at least one game has been decided in one team's final at-bat.
Through Saturday, the Diamondbacks were up to 18 straight games won by pitchers not named Schilling or Johnson. Their longest previous streak since those two paired up, according to the East Valley Tribune's Ed Price, was five. And that 10-game winning streak, without Johnson or Schilling winning a game, blew away their previous longest streak in which neither co-ace won -- a seven-game streak in the pre-Twin Towers era in 1998.
Former Astros and Marlins publicity whiz Chuck Pool reports that of the 10 Astros no-hitters since 1962, Yankee Stadium is the only one still being used for major league baseball. Six of the others came in the Astrodome, two in old Colt Stadium (which, believe it or not, has actually been moved and reassembled in Mexico) and one in old Crosley Field in Cincinnati.
And while we're talking no-hitters, loyal reader Doug Greenwald reports that the Astros now join the Expos as the only two teams that have been involved in no-hitters against all the franchises that have played baseball in New York -- the Giants, Dodgers, Mets and Yankees.
Until June 19, the Phillies were 0-25 this year when trailing after seven innings. Then they won two games in a row in which they trailed after seven -- against John Smoltz on June 19, then against the Red Sox bullpen on June 21.
Phillies PR whiz Greg Casterioto reports that Brett Myers' shutout of the Red Sox last Sunday (at age 22 years, 309 days) made him the youngest Phillie to throw a shutout in two decades -- since Kevin Gross threw one on Aug. 30, 1983 at age 22 years, 83 days.
In the final game of the 2002 ALCS, Adam Kennedy hit three home runs in one game. Counting the rest of the postseason, it took him 105 at-bats to hit his next three home runs.
ESPN research genius Jeff Bennett reports that Mets shortstops had 14 RBI in 61 games before Jose Reyes showed up. Reyes drove in 15 runs in his first 18 games.
Finally, our bobblehead czar, loyal reader David Hallstrom, reports that those 60,960 Steve Carlton bobbleheads the Phillies gave out June 22 were an all-time record for Most Bobbleheads Given Away on One Day (at least in a big league park). The old record was also set by the Phillies -- 58,493 for a two-headed Harry Kalas-Richie Ashburn doll last year.
Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Send your Useless Information to: firstname.lastname@example.org