There are only two days throughout the entire year when none of the four major professional sports (MLB, NFL, NBA & NHL) has a game scheduled. Those days would be the Monday before and the Wednesday after the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. This year’s game will take place this evening at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
Despite the lack of sports competition on Monday, I felt the urge to compile a blog post featuring some obscure trivia about America’s pass time. What better time to do so then on the eve of baseball’s Mid-Summer classic.
-On September 22, 1987, the Chicago Cubs send P Dickie Noles to the Detroit Tigers for a player to be named later. Noles is the player to be named later, going back to Chicago on October 23.
-In 1998 the New York Yankees compiled a record of 125 wins and 50 losses (including post season play). That is a winning percentage of .714. The most famous Yankee of all-time, Babe Ruth, is third on the career home run list….with 714.
-In 1974, Atlanta’s Hank Aaron surpassed Ruth on the all-time home run list by hitting his 715th career homer in an April game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 1985, Cincinnati’s Pete Rose surpassed Ty Cobb on the all-time hits list with his 4,192nd base hit in a September contest versus the San Diego Padres. The Dodgers first baseman in 1974? Steve Garvey. The Padres first baseman in 1985? The same Steve Garvey.
-In 1993, Rickey Henderson was traded from the Oakland A’s to the Toronto Blue Jays, where Henderson helped the Jays win the World Series. John Olerud, the Jays first baseman that season, wore a batting helmet while playing the field. This was done as a precaution due to having suffered a brain aneurysm while in college a few years earlier.
Fast forward to 1999, where Olerud was playing for the New York Mets. Later that season Henderson is traded to the Mets. Upon seeing Olerud working out prior to a game, Henderson says something to the effect of “Hey, I used to have a teammate in Toronto who wore a batting helmet in the field, too.” Olerud replied “Yeah, Rickey. That was me.” Yes, this is the same Rickey Henderson who allegedly took practice swings in the locker room in front of a mirror completely naked while repeatedly saying "Rickey's the best! You tha' man Rickey!"
-In September 1990, I attended a Minnesota Twins game where they were hosting the Texas Rangers. A friend of mine scored great seats along the first base line. While feigning interest in a meaningless game featuring my last place Twins, I noticed a group of well-dressed men walking down the steps near our seats. These men were escorting the owner of the Texas Rangers to his seat. I later came to find out that these men in suits and ties were Secret Service agents and the owner of the Rangers also happened to be the son of the President of the United States. Yes, George W. Bush was within 50 feet of where we were sitting that evening. Who would have thought that 10 ½ years later, he himself would become President?