- Jayson Stark, Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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Beat the heat. Turn up the air conditioning. And settle in for another super-cool edition of the Top 10 Useless Info Nuggets of the week.
10. Useless Intentionality Dept.
Has there ever been a goofier intentional walk than this: No balls thrown intentionally by the pitcher responsible (Steve Kline) -- but one intentional walk on the old stat sheet?
Yep, that really happened. The Newark Star Ledger's Ed Price reports that in the eighth inning of a June 27 Yankees-Orioles game that we're still sorting out, Kline went 3-and-0 on Jason Giambi, got called for a balk, went slightly berserk, got ejected, was replaced by Jorge Julio and then ... since first base was suddenly open ... Julio lobbed in ball four for what became an intentional walk.
That was charged to Steve Kline.
So score that as one intentional walk, charged to a pitcher who was no longer in the game, who never intended to walk anybody. Only in baseball.
9. Useless DP Info
The double play of the year might have taken place last Sunday in Oakland, according to Booth Newspapers' ever-alert Tigers beat man, Danny Knobler:
Just your basic 9-6-3 on the old score sheet.
So how'd that happen? Here goes:
Pudge Rodriguez looped a ball to right. Nick Swisher tried to make a diving catch, but couldn't hang on. Swisher scrambled up, threw to second and forced out Dmitri Young, who was heading in the other direction (because he thought the ball was caught). But Rodriguez also thought he was out. So that gave Bobby Crosby time to deliver the ball to first before Pudge arrived.
9 to 6 to 3. Boy, those A's can really turn 'em, can't they?
8. Useless Not-As-Big-As-We-Thought Dept.
More Oakland: You may be hearing a lot these days about Barry Zito's eight-game winning streak. But by A's pitching standards, that isn't even unprecedented for him (since he also did it in 2001).
There is a streak within that Oakland rotation, though, that is unprecedented: Bet you didn't notice that the A's have now won 13 games in a row started by Dan Haren. Yep, 13.
The correct answer: Never. Of course.
7. Useless Overtime Dept.
The Red Sox may not be opposed to giving a little extra now and then (all left fielders exempt, naturally). But it still took them 99 games this year to play their first extra-inning game.
That 98-game streak is the longest in history. And once that was out of the way, the Red Sox didn't play another extra-inning game for ... another 24 hours, when they ripped off their second in a row.
That's a certifiable testament to the lunacy of baseball. But so is this: 107 games into their season, the Red Sox still have played fewer extra-inning games in this season (two) than they played last year during the postseason (three).
If you're curious, the fewest extra-inning games any team has ever played was three, by Chief Hogsett's 1936 St. Louis Browns.
6. Useless Farm-Land Info
Some things in life are worth repeating. And one player who recently took that to heart, reports Tucson Sidewinders broadcaster Brett Dolan, was Tucson leadoff man Andy Green.
In a nutty June 28 game, in the always-entertaining Pacific Coast League, Tucson wiped out Las Vegas, 21-1. But Green did something in that game we've never heard of:
He got two hits in one inning -- and made two outs in another inning. Try that in your next ESPN Ultimate Baseball game.
5. Useless Double Dipper Dept.
Derrek Lee might not win the Triple Crown. But he could still hit the Double Double.
He's leading the league in doubles (with 33), and he'd held at least a share of the home-run lead for the last 3½ weeks, until Andruw Jones pulled ahead by one (33-32) Thursday night.
Now it might not seem too unusual to have the same man lead in both home runs and doubles. But guess again.
ESPN research guru Mark Simon reports that the last man to lead the National League in homers and doubles was the great Wilver D. Stargell -- in 1973.
And when was the last time the NL home-run champ had as many doubles as homers? Would you believe, according to loyal reader David Hallstrom, it was the last year the Cubs played in a World Series -- 1945 (when Tommy Holmes had 47 doubles and 28 homers)? You could look it up. Except they already did.
4. Useless Quadruple-Double Dept.
As long as we're doubling up, let's check in on one of our favorite quirky feats -- the Quadruple Double (i.e., at least 10 doubles, triples, homers and steals in the same season).
Loyal Quadruple-Double aficionado Julian McCracken reports that the first man to pull off The Quad this year was Carl Crawford. He's only the third active player to go Quad-ing in back-to-back seasons (joining Bobby Abreu and Jimmy Rollins).
Grady Sizemore, Ichiro Suzuki and Rafael Furcal are all close. But the guy to watch is Rollins (three triples and two homers away). This would be his fourth Quad, breaking him out of a tie with Johnny Damon for the most among active players.
But that elite modern group with four Quads also includes a bunch of Hall of Famers (Willie Mays, George Sisler, Lou Brock, Robin Yount, Tony Lazzeri). And it would put Rollins within one Quad of the post-1900 leader, Goose Goslin. So this is one time where a guy could pull a Quad, and even the trainer wouldn't mind.
3. Useless Plunkmeister Info
We now present the most innovative hit streak of the year. The man who has perpetrated it is Devil Rays pitcher Casey Fossum, who just hit at least one batter in 10 straight starts. Which takes some work.
The Elias Sports Bureau reports that Fossum was the first pitcher to compile a 10-game plunking streak since the Brewers' Jamey Wright matched that streak in 2001. But how many other guys have done that over the last 35 years? That would be zero.
And just so you know how tough that is, the lonnnngggg list of pitchers who never hit 10 batters in their whole careers includes Trevor Hoffman (seven in 734 appearances), Dan Quisenberry (seven in 674 appearances) and the mysteriously nicknamed Wild Bill Hallahan (eight in 224 starts, 1,740 innings).
2. Useless Rocket Launch Info
Roger Clemens' season is a Useless Info-fest in and of itself. But here's another fun Rocket feat that caught our eye:
Clemens has made 10 starts on the road this year -- and allowed one earned run or zero in all 10 of them.
The last pitcher to give up one earned run or none in at least 10 road starts in a row, according to Elias? How about Bob Gibson (11 straight) in 1968.
We remind you, by the way, that Pedro Martinez gave up three earned runs on the road in his first inning of the season. Clemens has given up three all year.
1. Useless One-Dimensionality Dept.
Well, another historic Frank Thomas season is in the books -- assuming he's done for the year, that is.
In the 34 games Thomas was around before reinjuring his ankle, he got 23 hits. Here's what was interesting about those 23 hits:
Home runs: 12.
All other kinds of hits: 11.
That may not sound too impressive. But in the history of modern baseball, according to Lee Sinins' Sabermetric Encyclopedia, only one other player had more homers than non-homers in a season in which his hit total was in double figures. Guess who?
Mark McGwire, 2001 (29 HR, 27 other hits).
Closest runner-up: Jack Harshman, 1956 (6 HR, 6 other hits).
No one else has done this in a season in which he got more than seven hits. So Thomas has truly taken the age of DH specialization to new heights.
The Sultan's Corner
• Bobby Abreu hit 41 homers in the All-Star Home Run Derby. It then took him 20 games -- and 24 days -- to hit another home run.
So does that mean there's some kind of Home Run Derby Hex? No way, says the Sultan of Swat Stats, SABR home run historian David Vincent. Since the Derby went to mano a mano format a decade ago, Abreu's drought was the longest ever by the Derby winner -- by more than two weeks.
Here are your Derby champs since 1995, with the date of their next homer, courtesy of the Sultan:
• When Jose and Bengie Molina both hauled out their home-run trots for the Angels last Sunday, they became the first pair of brothers ever to homer in the same game in Yankee Stadium. But even cooler, they became only the ninth pair ever to hit a home run for the same team in the same game in any ballpark. The others, according to the Sultan:
Lloyd and Paul Waner, 1927-29-38 Pirates (three times)
Felipe and Matty Alou, 1961 Giants
Matty and Jesus Alou, 1965 Giants
Hank and Tommie Aaron, 1962 Braves (three times)
Billy and Tony Conigliaro, 1970 Red Sox (twice)
Cal and Billy Ripken, Orioles, 1990-96 Orioles (twice)
Vladimir and Wilton Guerrero, 1998-99-2000 Expos (four times)
Jason and Jeremy Giambi, 2000-01 A's (four times)
Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Send your Useless Information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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