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Losses piling up for Mariners' Garcia

6/7/2003

Since we unveiled the first edition of an entire Useless Information Dept. fueled by readers last month, we've had so many e-mails, our inbox couldn't hold them all. So if we missed your best brainstorm, we apologize in advance.

But we also want to compliment you all -- because you definitely get the hang of this Useless Information gathering. So here comes another rendition of Useless reader classics:

First Prize
Through Thursday, one-third of the Mariners' losses this year (6 of 18) were by Freddy Garcia (and it was once 6 of 16). So Bubba, a Mariners fan from Seattle, wondered who the last pitcher was to lose that high a percentage of their team's games.

Well, the answer to that, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, is Dolf Luque, who accumulated 23 of the Reds' 68 losses in 1922 (33.8 percent).

But the record for highest percentage of their team's losses is the note of the week -- because, according to Elias' Ken Hirdt, it's 100 percent.

Yep, in the late, great 1800s, three different pitchers were responsible for every one of their team's losses:

Tommy Bond, 1878 Boston Red Caps (19 of 19)
Jim Devlin, 1877 Louisville Grays (25 of 25)
Grin Bradley 1876 St. Louis Brown Stockings (19 of 19)

Second Prize
In our last edition of Useless Reader Info, we fooled around with the greatest weight differentials between starting pitchers. But loyal reader Michael Mavrogiannis wasn't fooling. He actually looked them up on Retrosheet:

The modern record: 140 pounds -- Sept. 10, 1932, 2nd game, Jumbo Brown (295) vs. Tommy Bridges (155).

Jumbo, not surprisingly, is responsible for 17 of the top 18 weight gaps in history -- and he only made 23 starts in his career. He also faced Sam Jones (170) twice, Lloyd Brown (170), Roxie Lawson (170), George Turbeville (175), Fritz Ostermueller (175), and Vern Kennedy (175), among other normal humans.

The two biggest weight gaps in the post-Jumbo era:

105 pounds -- May 4, 2002, Jeff D'Amico (250) vs. Carlos Hernandez (145).
102 pounds -- July 21, 2001 Bobby Munoz (252) vs. Odalis Perez (150).

Great work, there, Michael.

Third Prize
It never looks good to be more games behind the leader in your division than you have wins. But loyal reader Richard Reaves checked in to report just how historic it really is.

Through Thursday, both the Tigers (16 wins, 16½ out) and Padres (18 wins, 19 out) were in contention for this rarified distinction. And they probably don't want to know that no team has pulled this off over a whole season since the fabled '62 Mets (40 wins, 60½ out).

The Devil Rays almost joined them last year. But they needed to beat the Yankees twice in three games in the final series of the year -- and did it. Before expansion and the breakup into divisions, this was so much easier that it had been done 41 times. The Phillies (eight times) have done it most, with the A's right behind (seven). Most wins by a team that did this: 55, by the 1909 Dodgers (55 wins, 55½ out).

Fourth Prize
Reader Mike Douglas asks: Is it possible to have a "quality start" in relief? Uh, not exactly. But in that 17-inning Yankees-Tigers game last Sunday, Steve Sparks pitched 7 1/3 innings (all in extra innings) for Detroit and gave up one run. Which counts as -- what? -- a quality non-start?

Well, whatever it was, games like that don't come along real often. Last pitcher to throw that many extra innings and pitch that well, according to Elias: Scott Sanderson (8 IP, 1 R), for the Cubs on Aug. 6, 1989 -- in an 18-inning game. But like poor Steve Sparks, Sanderson was the losing pitcher that day. At least it was a quality loss.

Fifth Prize
You have to give reader Greg Olman credit for being observant. He noticed that in the Padres' recent nine-game losing streak, nine different pitchers took the loss.

Which is hard to do. But not that hard. Last time a team did that, according to Elias was waayyyyy back last year, when the Devil Rays pulled it off, with these nine pitchers doing the, eh, honors: Esteban Yan; Paul Wilson; Delvin James; Joe Kennedy; Ryan Rupe; Tanyon Sturtze; Steven Kent; Jesus Colome; Victor Zambrano.

Useless Name-Game Information

  • We should have known Diamondbacks rookie Andrew Good would produce many Good notes. It was practically a religious experience for reader Brian Schneider to notice that Good made his big-league debut on (what else?) Good Friday. And reader Ken Fredette worked up an appetite over Good's win over the Padres on Memorial Day, because the losing pitcher was Adam Eaton. And there's no excuse not to do lots of Good Eaton on Memorial Day.

  • After Mike Williams got a save last week in a game in which the losing pitcher was Woody Williams, reader Victor Morange wondered if there has ever been a game in which the winning, losing and saving pitchers all had the same name.

    Well, we're not sure of that. But there was an Astros-Phillies series back on May 29-31, 1992 in which all three winning pitchers were named Jones. Barry Jones won the first and third games of the series for the Phillies. Jimmy Jones won the middle game for Houston, with a save in there from Doug Jones.

    And man, it's scary that we even know that.

    See ya next time at Reader Central.

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