Thursday, February 08, 2018

Insane baseball trivia: which rare baseball event last occurred on July 4, 1911

Insane baseball trivia: which rare baseball event last occurred on July 4, 1911

The link goes to the box score from the second game of an AL doubleheader between the Philadelphia A's and The New York Highlanders (Yankees). That is when the event occurred. You may not be able to guess the event even if you are a baseball buff and peruse the box. (Answer after the jump)


Answer: It was the last time a shortstop got a fielding chance with a glove on his right hand. (Many shortstops bat left-handed or switch, but they never throw with the left hand.)

Hal Chase, the lefty player-manager of the New Yorkers at the time, over-managed his players in the second game of a double header on July 4th, 1911, leaving himself with no shortstop when the game went to extra innings, so he put himself there and moved a back-up catcher to first. The NY Times account of the game (see below) says that he caught a line drive and tossed over to first to double up a runner!



Note that the Times referred to the team as the Yankees, not the Highlanders. Both the Times and the Tribune pointed out that Chase, one of baseball's most notorious characters, blew the game as a player by failing to cover second on a key play, and also blew it as a manager by making moves which required him to play there, therefore also requiring him to place a totally inept fielder at first.

But the putout and assist are for real.

4 comments:

  1. I remember Don Mattingly playing third a few times when I was a kid. Graig Nettles he wasn't.
    Baseball reference has a list, but doesn't show this game because it starts in 1919.

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/10835.html

    Not sure why left handed catchers are so rare, not that many throw pickoff's to first like Pudge.

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    1. With one exception, none of those left-handed shortstops on that list actually played shortstop. They were listed at that position in a road game, batted in the top of the first, then were replaced in the bottom of the first by a real shortstop. That was a common Earl Weaver strategy to keep Mark Belanger out of the batters' box. Gene Mauch copied the move one time with Mark Ryan and Dick Schofield.

      In the case of Gehrig, the whole thing was a scam to preserve his consecutive game streak. He was sick. He suited up, batted in the top of the first, singled, then was replaced by the real shortstop, who pinch-ran for him. Gehrig returned to his sick bed immediately.

      The one exception was Nino Escalera who actually played shortstop against four batters, but never got a fielding chance.

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  2. Chase was also suspected of throwing games. My guess is he didn’t blow anything, he threw the game.

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    Replies
    1. That is very possible. With the Black Prince, ANYTHING was possible.

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