Baseball is a sport dominated by statistics. Since its inception, those partial to the game are equally as obsessed with the statistics associated with it. But, for every general statistic, such as all-time leaders in hits, home runs, and wins, there are those statistics that stand out for their oddities.
Honorable mentions include Ron Hunt setting the record for being hit the most in a season with 50 hit by pitches in 1970, Bobby Cox holding the record for being ejected the most in a career with 162 ejections, and Pete Rose holding the career record for recording the most outs by a hitter at 10,328.
1. Most walks allowed, career – Nolan Ryan, 2,795
Nolan Ryan needs no introduction to baseball fans. “The Ryan Express” paved the way for today’s flamethrowers by bringing a fastball to the major leagues that no one had seen before then. In a career that spanned from 1966 to 1993, Ryan would accumulate multiple records. He holds the record for both strikeouts in a season (338 in 1973) and in a career (5,714). He also holds the record of seven career no-hitters, and he’s part of the lucrative 300-win club, amassing 324 career wins.
However, as dominant as Ryan was, he was also known to be wild. He would lead the league in walks on eight different occasions, and he had nearly as many career losses as he did wins at 292. Although he is the only pitcher in MLB history with over 5,000 strikeouts, Ryan also holds the record for most walks allowed at 2,795. He is the only pitcher in history with more than 2,000 walks.
2. Most runs scored, game – Cubs def. Phillies, 26-23
On Aug. 25, 1922, in front of 7,000 spectators at Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in the highest-scoring game in MLB history, 26-23. The Cubs’ offensive explosion occurred in mostly the second and fourth innings, plating 10 and 14 runs, respectively. Although the Phillies’ scoring was more spread out, they still put up crooked numbers in the eighth and ninth innings with 8 and 6 runs.
Fifty-one hits were recorded between the two teams (Philadelphia edged out Chicago in hits, 26-25). Despite the high-scoring affair, only three home runs were hit, and they were all by the Cubs: left fielder Hack Miller had two, and catcher Bob O’Farrell hit the other.
Each team also committed numerous errors, with the Cubs tallying five and the Phillies committing four.
3. Consecutive no-hitters – Johnny Vander Meer
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Vander Meer, during his rookie season, completed a feat that had never been done before and may never occur again. On June 11, 1938, Vander Meer threw a no-hitter against the Boston Bees (now Atlanta Braves). Just four days later, in the first night game at Ebbets Field, Vander Meer threw another no-hitter against the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first, and only, player in MLB history to throw no-hitters in back-to-back starts.
Vander Meer would have an impressive career with the Reds, becoming a four-time all star, winning a World Series in 1940, and holding the Reds team record for career strikeouts at the time of his retirement. He was elected into the Reds Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class in 1958.
4. Most ejections, MLB game – White Sox, 14
The July 19, 1946, game against the Boston Red Sox was a game that the White Sox wanted to forget. Not only did they lose, 9-2, but 14 of their players and coaches were ejected.
The tensions for this game began in the bottom of the third inning, when White Sox pitcher Joe Haynes threw a pitch to Red Sox legend Ted Williams that brushed “The Splendid Splinter” off the plate. Home plate umpire Red Jones gave Haynes a warning, and that’s when the insanity began.
On the next pitch, Williams hit a hard single into the outfield. White Sox manager Ted Lyons came out of the dugout to check on Haynes, but he took longer than usual to buy time for his reliever in the bullpen to warm up. When Jones approached Lyons about hurrying up the conversation, Lyons retaliated by stating Jones’ warning distracted his pitcher. After a back-and-forth, Jones ejected Lyons.
This ejection led to heckling from the Chicago dugout. Upset with the talking back, Jones ejected the first three people in the Chicago dugout he saw. The feuding between umpire and dugout lasted 20 minutes. When the dust had settled, every person on the White Sox bench had been ejected: 14 total.
5. Shortest player – Eddie Gaedel, 3’7″
Eddie Gaedel’s claim to this record is thanks in part to eccentric owner Bill Veeck (check out our previous article on Veeck here). In 1951, Veeck was the owner of the St. Louis Browns. During his time with the Browns, Veeck ran numerous promotions seen as out of the ordinary. His most famous came on Aug. 19. In game two of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers, Veeck had Gaedel enter as a pinch hitter.
Gaedel, standing 3-foot-7 and sporting a uniform with the number “1/8” on the back, stepped up to the plate, and home plate umpire Ed Hurley immediately called time out to question the legitimacy of the move. Veeck and Browns manager Zack Taylor had a copy of Gaedel’s contract on hand, proving he was a member of the active roster.
Gaedel, instructed not to swing, took four straight balls for a walk, and he was taken out of the game for a pinch runner, solidifying his place in baseball history.
6. Multiple hits for two teams in one day – Joel Youngblood
Joel Youngblood had a solid run in the MLB. In a career that spanned from 1976 to 1989, Youngblood played for five teams and earned an all star appearance in 1981.
On Aug. 4, 1982, Youngblood and the New York Mets were playing at the Chicago Cubs for a day game. Youngblood, who was New York’s starting centerfielder that day, hit a two-run single in the third inning. The next inning, while on deck, Youngblood was called back in to the dugout, being informed that he had not only been traded to the Montreal Expos, but that they requested he was made available for their game in Philadelphia that night.
After gathering his gear and making the 90-minute flight, Youngblood arrived in the sixth inning of the Expos’ game against the Phillies. Shortly after arriving, Youngblood was called upon to pinch hit, and he reached base on an infield single. Youngblood is still the only player to record hits for two separate teams on the same day.
7. Two Grand Slams in one inning – Fernando Tatis
Fernando Tatis is now known as the father of one of the best players in the game today, Fernando Tatis, Jr. However, the elder Tatis has his own record that his superstar son, or any other superstar, may never touch.
On Apr. 23, 1999, Tatis and the St. Louis Cardinals were playing the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. In the second inning, the Dodgers had a 2-0 lead and were cruising with one of their star pitchers, Chan Ho Park, on the mound. Park began the inning giving up two hits and hitting a batter to load the bases for Tatis. He would send a pitch deep into left field for the no-doubt grand slam.
The inning kept going for the Cardinals. After more offense from the Cardinals, they quickly went up, 7-2, with Park still in the game and Tatis, once again, up with the bases loaded. Tatis worked the count to full, and, on a hanging breaking ball, put one into the left-centerfield bleachers for his second grand slam of the inning.
According to an article written on MLB.com, the odds of such an occurrence happening are 12 million to one.
8. Grand Slam from each side of the plate – Bill Mueller
Bill Mueller is in the upper echelon of switch hitters in MLB history. In an 11-year career, Mueller had a .291 career batting average with four teams, including winning a batting title in 2003 with a .326 average.
Not known for his power, Mueller did set a home run record on July 29, 2003, when he hit a grand slam on both sides of the plate in the same game.
In a game against the Texas Rangers, Mueller, with the Boston Red Sox, stepped into the box against R.A. Dickey in the third inning with Texas leading, 2-0. Mueller sent a solo shot into right field to cut the lead, 2-1.
In the top of the seventh, Mueller, from the right side of the plate, hit a grand slam off of Rangers lefty reliever Aaron Fultz, giving the Red Sox a 5-4 lead. Just an inning later, Mueller, once again up with the bases loaded, faced righty reliever Jay Powell, sending Mueller back to the left batter’s box. Mueller would send his third home run and second grand slam of the game into the bleachers.
Only 13 players have hit two grand slams in one game, but Mueller is the only one to do so from both sides of the plate.
9. Worst playoff record, MLB – 2005 San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres did not have an impressive 2005 season. Finishing with an 82-80 record, just two games above .500, the Padres had the luxury of playing in a weak National League West division.
The Padres were the only team in the NL West to finish above .500, with the next closest team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, having a 77-85 record and being five games back.
The Padres would be swept by the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-games-to-0.
10. Most intentional walks with the bases loaded – 1, 8 players
Intentional walks are a pivotal part of baseball strategy. Whether it’s to avoid a dangerous hitter or to create a force play on the bases, the intentional walk occurs frequently. What doesn’t occur frequently is an intentional walk with the bases loaded.
In fact, it has only happened eight times in major league history.
The first occurrence of this came on Aug. 2, 1881, when Abner Dalrymple of the Chicago White Stockings was purposefully walked with the bases loaded. This also occurred to superstars Nap Lajoie, Mel Ott, Barry Bonds, and Josh Hamilton.
The most recent occurrence came on Apr. 15, 2022, when the Los Angeles Angels intentionally walked Corey Seager of the Texas Rangers with the bases loaded in the fourth inning.
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