Digging out the obscure numbers
From "unhittable" pitchers to very "hittable" pitchers, the numbers offer the cold, hard facts.
The Useless Information keeps on coming, with our Top 10 Useless Info Nuggets of the Month ...
Carlos Delgado is one of seven left-handed hitters who have averaged at least 35 homers a year in the five seasons of the 2000s. Can you name the others?
See answer at the bottom of the page.
Best starters in that category:
Would you believe 21 (not counting interims)? That's six by the Marlins (who weren't even around when Cox started), five each by the Mets, Phillies and Expos-Nationals.
Well, we don't know which kind -- good or bad. But Schilling is, in fact, the only pitcher ever to do that. The two other pitchers in history with three second-place Cy Young finishes, according to baseball-reference.com, are Randy Johnson and Warren Spahn -- but they both won a Cy.
Three pitchers in history had two second-place finishes without winning -- Jimmy Key, Dan Quisenberry and Tommy John.
And among active pitchers, only Johnson (eight), Roger Clemens (eight), Pedro Martinez (five), Greg Maddux (five) and Tom Glavine (four) have more top-two finishes than Schilling. Except those other five own a combined 21 Cy Youngs, to Schilling's zero. Timing is everything, isn't it?
Great as Kolb was last year, he also struck out fewer hitters (21) than any closer in history who saved at least 35 games. And his strikeout rate (3.3 per 9 IP) was the lowest by anybody with that many saves since Dan Quisenberry in 1984.
Smoltz, on the other hand, has averaged 3.3 strikeouts for every nine outs over the last three years.
Who's the only player in history who has played for all three franchises to pass through Washington? The answer would be the great Al Newman (1985-86 Expos, 1987-91 Twins, 1992 Rangers).
But wait. She's not through:
In the last major-league game played at RFK Stadium in Washington, the home team's manager was a Hall of Fame outfielder, member of the 500-home run club, and someone who had once hit for the cycle (Ted Williams).
When they play the next game at RFK, the home team's manager also will be a Hall of Fame outfielder, member of the 500-home run club and someone who once hit for the cycle (Frank Robinson). Excellent!
Loyal readers Lonnie Burstein and Mark Shapiro report that two other players were also the final batter in two World Series. One was Boss Schmidt (later reportedly demoted Assistant Custodian Schmidt), who was responsible for making the final out for the Tigers in both the 1907 and 1908 Series.
But the other was Bob Meusel, who joined this club much more creatively -- since his bat never touched the ball in either at-bat. In 1926, he was up there when Babe Ruth got thrown out stealing to end the Series. The next year, he struck out on a wild pitch -- resulting in the winning run scoring. Hard to do.
Hey, wait. We're still not through. Loyal reader Tim DeMoss wonders whether Renteria is the first player ever to make the final out of a World Series -- and then sign with the team he lost to.
Not surprisingly, he sure is. The Elias Sports Bureau says that the only other player in the free-agent era to lose a World Series and then sign with the winning team that winter was Tommy John, who bailed on the Dodgers and signed with the Yankees after the 1978 Series.
So who else, you ask, has ever played games in a home park with the same name as his last name? Carminati actually looked it up. Here goes:
Clark Griffith: Griffith Stadium in Washington, 1912-13-14
Bert Griffith: Griffith Stadium in Washington, 1924
Dan Murphy: Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, 1989
Kevin King: Kingdome in Seattle, 1993-94-95
Then there are the close-but-not-quites: Jim Hunt at the Huntingdon Avenue Grounds in Boston in 1910, and David Bell at Pac Bell Park in San Francisco in 2002.
We're disqualifying all the guys named Field and Park who played in a Field or a Park. Sorry. Too easy.
And we should disqualify Clark Griffith, too -- since he owned and managed the Senators. Not to mention that the stadium was named after him. Or that it was actually known as National Park when he played in it. For some reason, though, we're going to let him slide, trivia softies that we are.
Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com.