Thursday, January 01, 2009

Strange but true incidents in MLB

This was from Jayson Stark of few strange but true incidents in Major League Baseball in 2008...

Strangest but truest Hall of Fame feat of the year
We've always thought that nobody was a bigger threat to stretch a home run into a single than that fabled sprint champ, Bengie Molina. But this year, the Giants' always-innovative catcher did something even more impossible:

He hit a home run -- but DIDN'T SCORE A RUN.

So how'd he become the first man in major-league history to pull that off? It took a rare, Molina-esque combination of muscle, lead-foot-itude and modern technology. But it happened, all right. Here's how:

On Sept. 26, Molina lofted a fly ball that looked as if it hit the top of the right-field wall at AT&T Park. So Molina stopped at first. Emmanuel Burriss trotted out to pinch-run for him. And nothing seemed amiss -- until Omar Vizquel told Giants manager Bruce Bochy he thought he'd heard the ball clank off the metal roof just above the wall.

So Bochy asked the umpires to use replay. And whaddayaknow, the call was reversed and Molina had himself a two-run homer. But the umps WOULDN'T let Molina come back to finish his trot because they ruled Burriss was already in the game and couldn't exit. So Burriss finished circling the bases. And Molina wound up with a box-score line that went 3-0-1-2 -- on a night he hit a home run.

Want to know how impossible that is? Our buddy, Andy Baggarly, of the San Jose Mercury News, checked in to tell us that when official scorer Michael Duca tried to enter this sequence into his computer, the computer program wouldn't let him do it -- because even computers know a guy can't hit a home run without scoring a run. Right?

So check the box score over at It still doesn't believe this happened. But it did. In actual life. And all us Strange But True Feats of the Year fans will be eternally grateful that it did.

Five all-time strange but true-isms of 2008

• BEWARE OF MAD DOG DEPT.: The only Padre to steal a base in the entire month of July was that world-famous base bandit, Greg Maddux.

• EQUAL TIME DEPT.: CC Sabathia tied for the lead in shutouts in BOTH leagues in the same season.

• CRIME DOESN'T PAY DEPT.: Willy Taveras stole five bases in one game on June 14 -- but still didn't score a run.

• SIX OF ONE, HALF-DOZEN OF THE OTHER DEPT.: Matt Holliday reached base six times in one game April 17 -- but didn't score OR drive in a run.

• DÉJÀ VU DEPT.: And the Padres somehow won four games in a row in June by exactly the same score -- namely, 2-1. So how insane was that? (A) They had only one other stretch all year in which they won four games in a row by ANY score. And (B) they were the first team in history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, to win four straight games with exactly the same score of any size, shape or numerical denomination.

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