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Baseball history unpacked, May 16

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A beautiful day for a brawl game, Big Daddy’s birthday, and other momentous events

Rick Reuschel

In our last featurette, we covered Lake Front Park, fans at risk, Wimpy Quinn and Efren Navarro’s birthdays, and other such information. Today we have a few items of Cubs and baseball interest, compiled for your possible pleasure, including such momentous events as Big Daddy Rick Reuschel’s birthday and Sammy Sosa hitting two homers in an inning.

Also, I must note that TOOTBLAN was referenced by Len and JD in the sixth inning of last night’s game.

TOOTBLAN – Tony Jewell: Short for Thrown Out On The Basepaths Like A Nincompoop, TOOTBLAN was created on May 7, 2008, to settle an acrimonious dispute among Cubs fans about whether shortstop Ryan Theriot was any good at baseball. Theriot supporters pointed to his high on-base percentage (.406 at the time), while detractors pointed to his lack of range in the field and his propensity to run into outs after getting on base.

TOOTBLAN is part of a larger statistic known as the Ryan Theriot Adjusted On-Base Percentage (RTAOBP or aOBP, for short), which adjusts OBP for on-base, non-force outs. Here is the formula: RTAOBP = (Hits+Walks+HBP-CS-Thrown Out On The Basepaths Like A Nincompoop)/Plate Appearances (AB+BB+HBP+SF).

The TOOTB is the important part of TOOTBLAN, but it was arguably popularized by the inclusion of “Like A Nincompoop” … which was included in a pique of whimsy. Examples of TOOTBLANs include pickoffs, getting thrown out taking an extra base, runner’s fielder’s choice, oversliding a base, getting doubled off, and even being hit by a batted ball.

We began tracking all TOOTBLANs in 2013. In the TOOTBLAN Era, Jose Altuve leads baseball with 38, including an MLB-best 10 this year (through Friday’s games). He’s followed by Carlos Gomez (35), Yasiel Puig and Starling Marte (33), and Ian Kinsler (32)

Feel free to advise FOX of your complaints and derision.

Here’s a handy Cubs timeline.

Today in baseball history:

  • 1939 - Four years after evening tilts started to be played in the Senior Circuit, the first night game is played in the American League with Cleveland defeating the hometown A’s at Shibe Park, 8-3. The small crowd of 15,109 fans, about half of the expected attendance, is the result of unseasonable cold temperatures in Philadelphia. (1)
Shibe Park

Box score. More about Shibe Park.

  • 1969 - Jim Bouton records his first victory as a knuckleball pitcher when the Pilots hold on to defeat Boston, 10-9, in an extra-inning contest played at Fenway Park. The 30 year-old right-hander throws three scoreless innings and gets the win when Seattle scores six runs in the 11th inning, and the Red Sox’ five-run rally falls a run short in the bottom of the frame. (1)

Box score. As chronicled in the classic Ball Four. If you’ve never read it, this is a good time to remedy that lack. Good article here. Bouton’s other books are pretty good, too.

  • 1972 - With a Ruthian blast at Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium off Burt Hooton, first baseman Greg Luzinski ‘rings’ the replica of the Liberty Bell hanging in dead center field on the fourth level. The 500-foot clanger, which will be overshadowed by Rick Monday’s three routine round-trippers, will account for the Phillies’ only run when they lose to the Cubs, 8-1. (1)

Box score. Hooton had fanned Luzinski a month previously to complete his no-hitter.

  • 1981 - Astros’ shortstop Craig Reynolds hits three triples in one game, helping Houston to beat the Cubs, 6-1. The Texas native is only the seventh major league player to accomplish this feat. (1)

Box score. Nolan Ryan against Randy Martz. Doesn’t seem fair.

  • 1996 - In a 13-1 rout over the Astros, Sammy Sosa becomes the first Cub to hit two home runs in one inning. The slugger accomplishes the feat leading off the seventh with a solo shot off Jeff Tabaka, and then hits a two-run round-tripper off Jim Dougherty later in the frame. (1)

Box score. The Cubs were showing signs of life at that point. Leo Gomez drove in 4 with a homer and a sac fly, Mark Grace and Sammy had 3 rbi each, and the team was three games under .500.

  • 2000 - After a fan steals Los Angeles’ catcher Chad Kreuter’s hat and hits him in the back of the head, many Dodgers, including coaches John Shelby and Rick Dempsey, go into the stands and start fighting with the Wrigley Field faithful. When the melee ends, several fans are arrested as the game is delayed nearly ten minutes, and there is litter all over the field. (1)

Box score. A flashback. More details. Still more. There’s no video of the ‘event’ — I’m sure MLB would nix that quick.

Here’s a great article by Al Yellon about Reuschel. Joe Posnanski makes a Hall-of-Fame case for Reuschel.


Thanks for reading.