Top Five Useless Reader Nuggets


We just hope cyberspace is big enough to hold all the e-mails from you amazing folks in Useless Info-ville, because we don't just need an in-box to hold them all anymore. We need a landfill.

So, here they come -- the top five reader nuggets from the latest e-mail deluge:

Fifth prize -- not just another "W"
What do the names Williams, Wellemeyer, Wuertz, Wood and Williamson signify?

No, they're not that law firm that negotiated the nice pain-and-suffering settlement for your Aunt Gertrude. They're the five men who pitched for the Cubs in their Aug. 29 game against the Dodgers.

Yes, as dozens of you useless infomaniacs reported, this team used five pitchers -- and every one of them had a last name that started with a W.

And, as loyal reader Brian Elginsmith noticed, they also gave up one home run -- to a guy whose name started with a W -- Jayson Werth.

But only the Cubs could do all that -- and not even get a W out of it. (The Dodgers handed them an L, by a score of 9-6.)

Fourth prize -- the Boston-NYC shuttle
If this were an episode of Baseball Jeopardy, the answer would be: Mark Bellhorn, Alan Embree and Carl Mays.

But only loyal reader Doug Greenwald came up with the question:

"Who are the last three players to play for the World Series champion Red Sox one year -- and the hated Yankees the next?"

Bellhorn and Embree you know about. But Mays? We're guessing you don't recall his insane saga.

You might say Mays' exit for The Bronx was slightly wilder than Bellhorn's or Embree's. He paved the way for his departure by storming off the mound in July 1919 and ripping his Boston teammates for lack of support.

Red Sox management (led by the soon-to-be-reviled Harry Frazee) was so pleased, they traded Mays to the Yankees. But when they did that, they were also disobeying a direct order from the de facto commissioner, Ban Johnson, who was trying to suspend Mays and keep him from playing anywhere. The Yankees eventually had to get a court order allowing him to pitch.

We're only sorry there was no SportsCenter in those days, so legal analyst Roger Cossack could have made some sense of that.

Third prize -- calling Agent 99
Here at Useless Info Headquarters, we love it when our loyal readers take their number crunching to a whole new level. And loyal reader Tom Boyd did that in an Aug. 23 Pirates-Cardinals game.

It was cool enough to Boyd that he got to see Cardinals pitcher Cal Eldred face Pirates rookie Brad Eldred for the first time (they're the only two Eldreds in baseball history).

But that wasn't even the highlight of the night. That occurred when So Taguchi stepped in to face Rick White -- and Boyd realized something truly magical and historic was going on.

Taguchi, you see, wears No. 99. And White's number is about as far south of that as numbers ever get -- as in 00.

We still get chills when we recall the time, back in 2003, when Taguchi was pinch hit for by No. 0 on his own team, Kerry Robinson. But this has the makings of the biggest numerical separation ever between any pitcher and any hitter.

We know it's a record that can't possibly be broken. But if you can recall any confrontation that can challenge that standard (Mitch Williams versus Al Oliver, perhaps), feel free to drop us a line at uselessinfodept@yahoo.com.

Second prize -- right on Q

You'd think that out in San Diego there could have been no greater alphabetical thrill last month than witnessing the first grand slam in history by a man whose name started with an X (Xavier Nady). But take a Q-tip from us -- that was nothing.

As loyal reader Bob Sly reports, the most historical alphabetic achievement of the year came on both July 5 and Aug. 24 -- when, in the very same game, the Padres ran Paul Quantrill to the mound and the Astros brought in Chad Qualls.

What's the big deal about that? Hey, they're the only games in history in which two pitchers whose names started with a Q appeared in the same box score.

Sly did way too much research on this, so we know it's true. There have been only three other times when two Q-pitchers were in the big leagues at the same time. But two of those duos -- Quantrill and Rafael Quirico in 1966, and Mel Queen and Frank Quinn in 1950 -- never made it into the same league at the same time. And the only other pair -- Eddie Quick and Tad Quinn in 1903 -- never had much of a shot, since Quick lived up to his name by having a one-game-and-done big-league career.

So save those box scores. Maybe you can sell them some time ... on QVC.

First prize -- just don't ask them Y
OK, it's official. It's now Initials Week here in Useless Info Land. This week's championship submission headed straight for the back of the alphabet, where loyal reader Peter J. Rudy clearly understands the reason Y the Useless Info Department needs to exist.

All it took was the sight of Yorvit Torrealba and Yuniesky Betancourt playing in the same lineup in Seattle for Rudy to launch into intensive research to determine whether Yorvit and Yuniesky constitute the first Y & Y tag team in history.

He found 15 Y-men have played in the modern era. And just because it's such an alliterative group, we'll list all 15:

Yorman Bazardo, Yamil Benitez, Yogi Berra, Yuniesky Betancourt, Yhency Brazoban, Yo-Yo Davalillo, Yamid Haad, Yovanny Lara, Yadier Molina, Yorkis Perez, Yank Terry, Yorvit Torrealba, Yohanny Valera, Yats Wuestling and Yam Yaryan.

All right, so Yogi isn't that Berra guy's real name. It's Rudy's list, and he's allowed to include him.

Rudy also determined that this is the first season in history in which five Y's were playing in the big leagues at the same time (Betancourt, Brazoban, Haad, Molina and Torrealba).

And the only previous Y-men who played on the same team in the same year (Lara and Valera) never passed through Montreal at the same time in 2000.

So, who says it's been a disappointing season in Seattle? They've achieved a whole new standard in Y-dom.

And they might not even be through making history. Remember the best prospect they traded for at the trading deadline? Yorman Bazardo.

Heck, they should bring him up right now. Y not?

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