There's Cy ... and then everyone else
Greg Maddux has passed one Cy Young record, but other than that Young remains on his own level.
With Greg Maddux passing Cy Young's record for most consecutive 15-win seasons, we got to thinking: What are the odds we'll ever see any of Cy Young's other records broken -- in our lifetimes or anyone else's. Here's a quick look:
|This time it doesn't count|
As Eric Gagne's perfect save streak mounts, we're finding we can't get a certain expression out of our heads: "This Time It Counts."
Yes, this time the All-Star Game counted, all right -- except in these two instances:
So let's get this straight. Did it count -- or not?
In other words, we give up!
Useless generation information
It's getting tougher and tougher to compare the feats of this generation of hitters with the feats of their forebears. So we'll try to put a few recent feats in slightly different perspective.
Strange, but true useless info
|Boxscore line of the week|
Dusty Baker pulled an all-timer Sept. 10 -- taking two Cubs pitchers out of a game while they were working on a no-hitter, in the sixth inning. Their lines (vs. Montreal):
Stat of the day: Obviously, Jimy Williams pulled five pitchers during the Astros' six-pitcher no-hitter this year, so it happens. But according to Elias, the last time a team pulled two pitchers that deep into a no-hitter -- and then lost the no-hitter -- was an Aug. 12, 1998 White Sox-A's game. Scott Eyre threw five hitless innings. Keith Foulke then pitched two more. Then Bobby Howry came in and gave up a hit to Jason Giambi.
Quote of the day: From Baker, who said: "It's tough when you look up there and you still have a no-hitter and they've scored two runs. I don't think I've ever seen that before."
From the Elias vaults
Last team to do it, according to Elias: Ty Cobb's 1907-08-09 Tigers, who won 10 in a row in September 1907, 10 in a row again the next September and 14 in a row in August 1909. Those Oakland streaks are 11, 20 and 10. (Hmmm. Can you argue the 20-gamer was actually two 10-game streaks?) And the year before that, they went 18-4 in their final 22 games -- to make the playoffs by a half-game.
Even more useless information
Before this year, no game in the 32-season annals of Retrosheet had featured two pinch hits by pitchers in the same game, according to Retrosheet founder Dave Smith. Then, in a June 3 interleague game, Detroit's Steve Avery and San Diego's Adam Eaton got pinch hits for each team in the same inning. And amazingly, just three momths later, another game featured pinch hits by two pitchers on the same team.
Even more amazingly, it wasn't even an extra-inning game. Plus, it's almost impossible for that to happen in September, after rosters expand -- except the Expos' roster wasn't permitted (by MLB) to expand.
Through Thursday, he had 43 homers and 86 RBI -- meaning he'd driven in himself as many times as his teammates. Obviously, that's a reflection on how little he's pitched to with runners on base. But here are the fewest RBI in a season by a hitter with 43 homers or more, according to Lee Sinins' Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia:
Only four other players have ever even had one season like that. And the only previous player to do it in any back-to-back seasons was Ted Williams, in 1946-47. Here is everyone who has ever done it:
Barry Bonds, 4
Ted Williams, 3
Babe Ruth, 2
Mark McGwire, 1
Mickey Mantle, 1
Tom Glavine and Kevin Millwood vs. Atlanta:
0-7, 8.76 ERA, 13.5 hits per 9 IP, 1 HR every 3.2 IP.
Glavine and Millwood vs. everybody else:
23-17, 3.64 ERA, 8.6 hits per 9 IP, 1 HR every 13.8 IP
|Deja vu line of the week|
In our last edition of Useless Reader Information, we presented one of our favorite box-score lines of the year -- in which Minnesota's Juan Rincon recorded more strikeouts (one) than outs (zero). Amazingly, according to loyal reader Kevin Jacobsen, it happened again less than a week later:
Pittsburgh's Mike Gonzalez vs. Cincinnati: 0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K.
What made this one particularly noteworthy is that Gonzalez managed to strike out Russell Branyan, not throw a wild pitch and still pull this off -- because Jason Kendall made a wild throw to first trying to get Branyan after he'd missed a pitch in the dirt.
13: John McGraw, 1905 Giants
12: Paul Richards, 1956 Orioles*
11: Frank Frisch, 1940 Pirates*
11: Paul Richards, 1954 White Sox
(* -- at least one ejection hasn't been verified)
Since the dawn of the modern save rule in 1973, only two teams have ever been led in saves (in a non-strike season) with a total that small, according to Retrosheet's Dave Smith. They were the 1974 Angels -- who had 12 saves all season, led by Orlando Pena with three -- and the 1974 Mets -- who had 14 saves all season, led by Harry Parker with four.
But the save rule was actually changed for just that season, resulting in a massive decline in saves. So there actually has never been a bullpen like this under the current save rule. Of course, it's not as if there have been many games to save.
Dan Schatzeder, Expos vs. Cubs, Aug. 9, 1984, 10 IP
Dennis Eckersley, Cubs vs. Phillies, April 16, 1985, 10 IP
John Tudor, Cardinals vs. Mets, 10 IP
Jack Morris, Tigers vs. Yankees, Sept. 27, 1986, 10 IP
Teddy Higuera, Brewers vs. Indians, Aug. 26, 1987, 10 IP
Mike LaCoss, Giants vs. Dodgers, Aug. 16, 1987, 10 IP
Bruce Hurst, Red Sox vs. Tigers, Aug. 7, 1988, 10 IP
Greg Maddux, Cubs vs. Padres, May 11, 1988, 10 IP
Dave Stewart, A's vs. Mariners, Aug. 10, 1990, 11 IP
April 19, 1985: WP Gooden (20 years, 154 days) vs. ND Steve Carlton (40, 118)
April 30, 1985: WP Gooden (20, 165) over LP Joe Niekro (40, 174)
May 10, 1985: WP Gooden (20, 175) over LP Carlton (40, 139)
May 15, 1985: WP Gooden (20, 180) over LP Joe Niekro (40, 189)
Since the current playoff format began in 1995, 24 teams won their playoff spot by eight games or more -- and only eight of them lost in the first round. Another 22 teams won their playoff spot by no more than three games -- and 14 of them lost in the first round. Of course, better teams tend to clinch earlier. So this doesn't resolve all those debates. But it's sure interesting.
The Sultan's Corner
Gary Carter, Expos, May 31, 1980
Gary Carter, Expos, April 29, 1979
Johnny Bench, Reds, May 30, 1972
Buck Crouse, White Sox, April 18, 1925
Patsy Gharrity, Senators, June 23, 1919
Wally Schang, Athletics, Aug. 28, 1914
Branch Rickey, Browns, Aug. 6, 1906
Doggie Miller, Pirates, April 21, 1886
John Kerins, Louisville Colonels, July 5, 1885
Buck Ewing, New York Gothams, July 4, 1883
|Joe Crede||2002||12||5 + 5 + 2|
|Charlie O'Brien||1996||13||5 + 5 + 3|
|Pedro Guerrero||1981||12||5 + 5 + 2|
|Roger Repoz||1965||12||5 + 6 + 1|
|Bill Skowron||1958||14||6 + 5 + 3|
|Joe Adcock||1952||13||7 + 5 + 1|
|Eddie Miller||1945||13||7 + 5 + 1|
|Jeff Heath||1939||14||7 + 6 + 1|
|Rogers Hornsby||1926||11||5 + 5 + 1|
|Tris Speaker||1922||11||5 + 5 + 1|
|Dan Brouthers||1887||12||5 + 6 + 1|
Harmon Killebrew, 1964: No. 28 on birthday No. 28
Boog Powell, 1970: No. 29 on birthday No. 29
Zeke Bonura, 1934: No. 26 on birthday No. 26
Matty Alou Sept. 1, 1970: 1 in 677 AB
Brett Butler, Sept. 3, 1993: 1 in 607 AB
Bert Campaneris Sept. 10, 1976: 1 in 536 AB
Mike Champion Sept. 9, 1977: 1 in 507 AB
Scott Fletcher Sept. 12, 1989: 1 in 546 AB
Tim Foli Sept. 19, 1975: 1 in 572 AB
Tim Foli Sept. 19, 1979: 1 in 532 AB
Dick Groat Sept. 20, 1964: 1 in 636 AB
Ozzie Guillen Sept. 8, 1989: 1 in 597 AB
Billy Hunter Sept. 26, 1953: 1 in 567 AB
Don Kessinger Sept. 4, 1968: 1 in 655 AB
Bill North Sept. 27, 1975: 1 in 524 AB
Ron Oester Sept. 6, 1985: 1 in 526 AB
Jose Oquendo Sept. 25, 1989: 1 in 556 AB
Ozzie Smith Sept. 4, 1978: 1 in 590 AB
Eric Yelding Sept. 13, 1990: 1 in 511 AB
Jose Offerman Sept. 8, 1993: 1 in 590 AB
Pat Listach Sept. 17, 1992: 1 in 579 AB
Rey Ordonez Sept. 19, 1996: 1 in 502 AB
Rey Ordonez Sept. 15, 1998: 1 in 505 AB
Rey Ordonez Sept. 28, 1999: 1 in 520 AB
Juan Pierre Sept. 29, 2002: 1 in 592 AB
Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com.