5 Things You Probably Don't Know About Baseball
I'll admit, I am a huge baseball dork. I have wasted hours upon hours engulfed in the baseball world. Like most people today I was once a casual fan. However, as I read more and more I have become a self proclaimed quasi-expert. Next time you are at a baseball game whip out these 5 facts and "impress" your friends.
5) Four Strikeouts in One Inning
Yes, there can be four strikeouts in one inning. If a catcher drops the third strike and the runner reaches first base safely, it counts as a strikeout. However, there cannot already be a runner on first with less than two outs. The official scorer will rule it a wild pitch or passed ball. Therefore, with two outs (three strikeouts) the pitcher can strikeout the next batter to end the inning resulting in a fourth strikeout.
4) Death via Spitball... or was it a Fastball?
Yankees pitcher Carl Mays was a spitballer. These pitchers applied saliva or a vaseline like substance to their fingers. The ball would spurt out of his hand like a fast moving knuckleball. This pitch was so dangerous and wild that it was banned in 1921 by the MLB. However, in August of 1920, Carl Mays threw a wild pitch that hit Indians shortstop Ray Chapman in the head. Many people suspect the pitch was just a normal fastball. Nonetheless, Chapman died the next day from the head injury.
3) Why do we stretch in the 7th Inning?
If you are a American history aficionado you may know that the 27th President of the United States, William Howard Taft, was a rather large man. Apart from your American history knowledge you may also know that typical stadium seating is rather tight and uncomfortable. To boot, in 1910 the chairs were made of wood. So, when sitting in the tiny wooden chair (in the middle of the 7th inning) became too unbearable for President Taft, he stood up. Fans thought he was leaving so they stood as well. However, President Taft did not leave and soon sat down. Thus, the 7th inning stretch was born.
Why are strikeouts called and scored as a "K"? A journalist named Henry Chadwick developed a scoring system around 1861. His reasoning for using the letter K was that it stood out in the word strike (I guess we all have our reasons). Many are of the opinion that "K" comes from the "first true" strikeout pitcher back in 1886, Matt Kilroy of the Baltimore Orioles. But... they're wrong.
1) Former Team Names
Baseball has been around for awhile. As a result, teams have gone through a myriad of changes. Most notably are team names. Here's a list of former and current team names.
- White Stockings = White Sox
- Orphans = Cubs
- Colt 45's = Astros
- Naps = Indians
- Alleghenys = Pirates
- Redlegs = Reds
- Highlanders = Yankees
- Senators = Twins and Rangers
- Perfectos = Cardinals
- Pilots = Brewers
- Beaneaters, Doves, Red Caps = Braves
- Robins, Superbas, Bridegrooms = Dodgers
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A great guide to baseball for any type of fan. Cheap yet comprehensive.
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