MLB's 'Dog Days of Summer,' a Player Named Chicken Wolf and Aug. 23 Obscurities
The long summer months of Major League Baseball have perennially been referred to as "the dog days of summer." In 2013, fans are now actually able to bring their dogs to the baseball games, as this handy schedule of "dog day" events illustrates—Sept. 9 "Puppypalooza" in Cleveland, anybody?
Thursday night, I was watching the 11 p.m. SportsCenter—cliche, I'll admit—when a brief segment concerning Major League Baseball's obscure and nuanced past caught my eye: "This Day in History."
But that was not the unusual part.
William Van Winkle Wolf—it seems "Chicken" couldn't have been much worse—hit a long fly ball that didn't clear the fence. The outfielder was unable to return the ball to home plate on time. Actually, due to a dog nipping at the outfielder's heels—no, literally biting his leg—the fielder never even reached the ball.
Apparently, the dog had been sleeping by the outfield fence.
We have heard of Angels in the Outfield, a fictional movie released July 15, 1994, and despite our doubts as kids of such an occurrence, many of us believed a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
But Chicken Wolf is real, and he really accrued statistics and accolades over his 11-year career with the Colonels—who were known from 1882-84 as the Eclipse—and the St. Louis Browns; they are not flashy, however.
As per Baseball-Reference, he not only won the 1890 American Association (AA) batting crown (.363 in 134 games), but he made $216 as a 20-year-old Eclipse player in 1882.
Rather than continue a discussion of our new friend, Chicken, I've hand-picked three interesting Major League Baseball obscurities from this day in history.
The information is derived from Nationalpastime.com, a fantastic database whose slogan is "Touching Base with History."
That said, let's get into a few quick stories from August 23 and touch base with some obscure history.
1906: A 19th Consecutive Victory, Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox beat the Washington Senators 4-1 at American League Park in Washington, D.C. for their 19th consecutive win.
The American League record would stand for almost 100 years, until the Oakland Athletics won 20 straight ballgames in 2002.
The 21st century win streak is glamorized, romanticized and probably remembered from 2011's Moneyball, in which Brad Pitt plays general manager Billy Beane.
1961: A 12-Run, 10-hit, Five-Home Run Ninth Inning, San Francisco Giants
At the time, this home run parade tied the 1939 New York Giants' record for a single inning. The dozen runs within the final frame were part of a 14-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds at Crosley Field.
The home-team Reds committed three errors during the inning—because no rally of those proportions is without the simultaneous implosion of the losing team.
The five sluggers for the Giants included Orlando Cepeda, John Orsino, Felipe Alou, Willie Mays and Jim Davenport—his was an inside-the-park round-tripper.
1989: The First Team Mascot to Be Ejected, Montreal Expos
Manager Tommy Lasorda—who has encountered his fair share of embarrassment, when he was knocked to the ground at the 2001 All-Star Game by a Vladimir Guerrero broken bat—complained to the umpires in the 11th inning and Youppi! was subsequently ejected, the first in history for a mascot.
Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda complains to the umpires about the hairy orange giant's behavior at Olympic Stadium. The L.A. skipper takes exception to the loud noise caused by the hairy creature's running leap onto the visitors' dugout before sneaking back into a front row seat.
Stay tuned for more nuances, obscurities and stories from the final few dog days of summer, though I can't guarantee I'll see you at "Bark at the Park" at Citi Field on Sept. 14.
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