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Top 3 Useless Reader Nuggets

And now the best reader submissions from our ever-bulging in-box:

Third prize
Loyal reader J.B. Borenstein checked in with yet one more stupendous Royals note that made us wonder if maybe they should have hired Dick Vermeil instead of Buddy Bell.

In May, the Royals won four times on Sunday, and four times on all the other days of the month combined. Vermeil's Chiefs, incidentally, had no months all of last season in which they won on four different Sundays.

Second prize
Since this is one of those editions of Useless Info in which we can't stop playing the name game, we got a major kick out of a note submitted by Mike Mondt, who described himself as not just a loyal reader but as a "reader for life."

So we're rewarding all that devotion in advance by saluting Mondt for reporting that in the Twins' 13-inning win over Cleveland June 2, they used five pitchers – and all five had a first name that started with a "J":

Johan Santana, Juan Rincon, Joe Nathan, Jesse Crain and J.C. Romero.

But that's not all. The Twins also started four position players that day whose names started with a "J":

Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jacque Jones and Juan Castro.

So it's an upset that J-Lo didn't sing the Anthem. Don't you think?

OK, so why do we have a feeling someone out there can find a game featuring more than nine players on one team with names starting with the same letter? If you can, operators are standing by at uselessinfodept@yahoo.com.

First prize

Loyal reader Diane Firstman was the first on her block to lock in on one of Eric Milton's most mesmerizing stats this season: 22 home runs allowed, 23 walks.

It's tough to serve up more gopherballs than walks in a season. But while it's not unprecedented, Milton has a shot to give up more homers than any pitcher who has ever done it. Here are the names at the top of that leaderboard, according to Lee Sinins' Sabermetric Encyclopedia:

Got a tidbit of historically useless information you'd like to see us know about? Fire it our way at uselessinfodept@yahoo.com

Useless epilogs of the week
Since useless information doesn't exist in a vacuum (even though some tidbits are sometimes vacuumed up by an occasional Oreck XL), we feel a need to revisit several items from the last edition of Useless Info:

Hitless wonder dept.
After a recent Nationals rally that consisted of two hit batters, a sacrifice bunt and a sac fly, we were wondering how often a team scores a run in an inning that features no hits, walks, errors, stolen bases, wild pitches, passed balls or balks. Well, now we know.

Since 1960, according to Retrosheet's Dave Smith, only two other teams have had an inning like that:

  • June 19, 1985: Dodgers (vs. Padres): HBP, sac-fielder's choice (with no outs at any base), sac, sac fly.

  • Aug. 15, 1983: Indians (vs. Blue Jays): HBP, HBP, groundout, groundout.

Now that is run-manufacturing at its finest.

Bloodless Koo dept.

We were also wondering in our last edition about the goofy play in which Mets reliever Dae-Sung Koo scored from second base against Randy Johnson, on what looked like just your typical sacrifice bunt.

Dave Smith also looked into that one, and found – if you toss out errors and situations involving multiple baserunners – there have been only 11 other plays like that in the last 45 years. And amazingly, the last one also occurred in a Yankees-Mets game, on June 15, 2002.

Just as Randy Johnson didn't cover the plate on Koo's play, this time it was Roger Clemens who didn't cover home as Rey Ordonez was scoring from second on a bunt by Shawn Estes.

Of course, in this case, it wasn't even the most famous incident of that inning since a half-inning earlier, Estes had thrown a pitch behind Clemens to "retaliate" for the Rocket's assorted "crimes" on Mike Piazza. And if any of that slipped your mind, Rob Dibble would be happy to refresh your memory.

Royal renaissance dept.
Was it really just a few weeks ago that we were comparing the Royals with the '62 Mets? Hey, never mind, because since then the Royals have actually won twice as many games as the Yankees (10-5).

So we owe them a few makeup kudos. And here they come:

This is now, officially, the greatest turnaround in history – well, by a team that was that awful, anyway.

Of the 21 previous teams since 1900 to start a season 13-37 or worse, only three – Ginger Beaumont's 1909 Boston Doves, Link Blakely's 1934 Reds and Randy Ready's 1987 Padres – had a winning record over their next 15 games. But all three of those teams went just 8-7. The Royals were 10-4 heading into Thursday.

And to think that U-turn started with a sweep of the Yankees, of all things. Had the Yankees won just one game in that series, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Royals would have tied the 1996-97 Phillies for most consecutive series without a sweep in the expansion era. Instead, that Royals streak ended at 78. Those Phillies went sweepless for 79 in a row.

This series was just the third time in Yankees history that they'd been swept in a series of three games or more by the team with the worst record in the major leagues. The others, according to Elias: August 1937 (against the A's in Philadelphia) and May 2000 (against the Tigers in Detroit).

Even more incredibly, the Newark Star Ledger's Ed Price reports that the three Yankees starting pitchers in that series – Kevin Brown, Randy Johnson and Carl Pavano – had about 17 times as many career wins as the three KC starters – Zack Greinke, D.J. Carrasco and Ryan Jensen. Those totals: Yankees 523, Royals 31.

And by rolling out 200-game winners (Brown and the Unit) in Games 1 and 2 of that series, the Yankees became the first team in any century, according to Elias, to have a couple of 200-game winners lose back-to-back games to pitchers with zero wins that season. Hard to do, friends.

Box score line of the week

On that note, it's almost fitting that this week's box score award goes to a Royal. That would be Greinke, who had himself one of the most astounding games ever pitched June 10 in Arizona: 4 1/3 IP, 15 H, 11 R, 11 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 3 HR allowed, 1 HR hit, and the most amazing distinction of all – no loss.

Yep, the Royals were down by nine runs (11-2) in this game – and still got Greinke off the hook (before eventually losing anyway, in 10 innings). So here are our two favorite historical footnotes to that performance:

Greinke was just the fourth pitcher in the live-ball era to give up 15 hits in a game in which he got no more than 13 outs. The others, according to Elias: Eppa Rixey in 1927, Bill Sherdel in 1931 and Scott Sanders in 1998.

Over the last 45 years, Greinke was only the 10th pitcher to allow 15 hits and 11 runs in the same game. But just one of the other nine managed to escape without a loss, according to Retrosheet. And that was Dave LaRoche, who did it in relief, for the Cubs, on Aug. 20, 1974.

The Cubs trailed 5-1 when LaRoche relieved the immortal Tom Dettore in the second inning that day. So you might say he "vultured" that no-decision. If that sort of thing is possible.

Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Send your Useless Information to uselessinfodept@yahoo.com.