(My) Baseball Questions – Answered!

I was thinking how I have a variety of  baseball questions. It’s baseball month and the World Series is about to start so,  why not look up the answers now?  Here are some things I’ve been wondering about, and the answers I found…

What is the Mendoza line?  Here’s one I’ve never known – until now. The Mendoza Line is the batting average below which people say “That guy shouldnt be playing in the majors anymore.” The point is .200 and was named for Mario Mendoza who had a lifetime average of .215. 

(Mendoza)

Who holds the record for HBP (Most Times Hit By Pitch)?   For a long time, I’ve been saying my childhood favorite player, Don Baylor, holds the record for being hit by the pitch.  It turns out, it wasnt Baylor, who does hold the AL record for HBP with 267, it’s Houston Astro Craig Biggio who has the overall major league record with 285.

We also need to mention of Hughie Jennings of old time ball who was nailed 287 times before retiring in 1918. Jennings played for teams like the Phillies and the Tigers as well as long lost teams like the Louisville Colonels. 197 of those h-b-p’s came when he was in Oriole.

(Jennings was known for leading cheers when he went on to manage…)

Thanks for the info  Baseball Almanac.  (They take donations to keep running…)  Speaking of old time teams, here’s another question-

What is the “Dead Ball Era”?  I hear baseball stats divided all the time into the modern era and the dead ball era. Obviously, dead ball refers to the teams of the 19th century, but when does the dead ball eras become the modern era? And what the heck is a dead ball?

Well, according to HistoricalBaseball.com, the Dead Ball era refers to the game from 1900-1919 (Hughie was just shy of making it into the modern era, then…).  The teams back then used one ball the whole game, and it was a soft one – or “dead” – which made it harder to hit it long. Pitchers apparently used a lot of spit balling back then, legally (and I dont mean tossing around ideas) . Greats of the day included Ty Cobb and Shoeless Joe Jackson and pitchers Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson. I know those names. And now I know they played in the deadball era. Apparently there are other eras too, at least on this site, but, I think for my purposes, a break between dead and modern is enough.

(<—-The famed Honus Wagner card…)

Okay, how bout an on-the-field question?

What is a suicide squeeze? I was asking my mom about this a few weeks ago. I didn’t really get what she said. But I looked it up and it’s not so complex- basically, it’s when a runner from third base heads home on the pitch prior to a bunt and not after the bunt. This means his chances of getting their safe are low – suicidal, even. This isn’t a common play- the runner has to be fast, like, I guess, Jacoby Ellsbury fast. And the team has to have less than two outs.

Alright, speaking of sliding, I read somewhere when I was researching a play that a guy once intentionally slid into Jackie Robinson with his kleets…

Did someone slide into Jackie Robinson with his kleets, aiming to hurt him? If so, who? That happened – it was Enos Slaughter the season Robinson joined the majors. There is dispute over whether or not it was racially motivated (isnt there always)- but the story has stuck.

Why is there an asterisk beside Roger Maris’ homerun stat?    

Short answer :  there never was one .  But it was suggested that because  Maris broke the single season home run record with 61  in 1961 (that’s funny)  in over 154 games– as opposed to the  154 it took Babe Ruth back when the season was shorter – that his record should come with some disclaimer. That never happened. Baseball moves on.

What are the numbers associated with the field positions?   1=Pitcher 2=Catcher 3= First Base 4= Second Base 5=Third Base 6=Shortstop 7=Left Field 8=Center Field 9=Right Field.  Thanks Anonymous Contributor at Answers.com

Last question – how low will the TV ratings be for the series this year? Im going to predict an answer here  – historically low. lol.

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