50 Random MLB Facts You Never Knew

Doug Mead@@Sports_A_HolicCorrespondent IDecember 14, 2011

50 Random MLB Facts You Never Knew

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    Over the course of MLB’s over 130-year history, baseball fans have steadfastly followed the sport by using its box scores, statistics and analytical data.

    Nowadays, the sport is broken down in great detail, enhanced by the introduction of sabermetrics that analyzes literally every move made in the sport by its athletes.

    However, baseball is also filled with an infinite amount of fun facts that often go unnoticed. With everyone’s eye on its statistics, oftentimes background information about players, stadiums, announcers and others connected with Major League Baseball is largely overlooked.

    We will attempt to uncover some of the unheralded facts in the world of baseball that will make you scratch you head and say to yourself, “Wow, I didn’t know that!”

1. a Former Football Hall of Famer Creates Modern-Day Umpiring System

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    When former New York Giants and Green Bay Packers tackle Cal Hubbard was done playing football, he turned to baseball, but this time as an official, not a player.

    Hubbard was an umpire for the American League between 1936-1951, working four World Series and three All-Star games during his career. After being forced to retire due to a hunting accident that damaged the vision in his right eye, Hubbard became supervisor of umpires for the AL, finally retiring in 1969.

    Hubbard came up with the idea that umpires needed to be positioned better on the field in order to make more consistent calls, so based on his suggestion, Major League Baseball implemented the four-man umpiring crew used in each game, and that plan is still in use today.

    Hubbard is the only man in history to be elected to both the baseball and football Hall of Fame.

2. The Lucky Number 32

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    The year 1963 was definitely unique in terms of numbers.

    Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax and New York Yankees catcher Elston Howard each won their respective league’s Most Valuable Player Award trophies that year. Both players wore the number 32.

    Ironically, the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award winner that year, Jim Brown, also wore the number 32.

3. Dave Winfield's Errant Throw Lands Him in Jail

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    On Aug. 4, 1983, during a game between the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto, Yankees right fielder Dave Winfield was warming up between innings when he threw a ball that struck and killed a seagull.

    After the game, during which fans screamed obscenities and hurled objects at Winfield for his “fowl” act, police officials in Toronto arrested Winfield and charged him with cruelty to animals.

    Winfield posted bond, however, the charges were dropped the following day. Winfield’s throw prompted Yankees manager Billy Martin to say, "They say Winfield hit that bird on purpose. They wouldn't say that if they saw some of the throws he's been making all year!"

4. Eccentric Owner Attempts to Force Rival Team out of Town

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    In 1951, Bill Veeck bought an 80 percent controlling interest in the St. Louis Browns. At the time, the Browns and St. Louis Cardinals both shared Sportman’s Park, with the Cardinals paying rent to the Browns at the time.

    Veeck was determined to drive the Cardinals out of St. Louis, and hired former Cardinal greats Rogers Hornsby and Marty Marion for the 1952 and 1953 seasons.

    Veeck even hired Cardinals pitching great Dizzy Dean as a play-by-play announcer, and famously decorated Sportman’s Park with nothing but Browns’ memorabilia.

    Veeck’s tactics didn’t work—Anheuser Busch bought the Cardinals in 1953, and Veeck sold Sportman’s Park to the Cardinals before finally selling the Browns to an ownership group that successfully relocated the Browns to Baltimore.

5. Home Runs That Weren’t Really Home Runs

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    In the early days of baseball, much of the first part of the 20th century was known as the “dead ball” era, and it wasn’t until the early 1920s that balls started flying out of the stadium at a much more rapid pace.

    Up until the 1930 season in the American League and 1931 in the National League, a player was credited with a home run if a fly ball was hit that bounced in the playing field and then over or through the outfield fence.

    Apparently, none of Babe Ruth’s home runs were of the “bounce” variety, but Lou Gehrig was in fact credited with a few “bounce” home runs.

6. Other Home Runs That Weren’t Really Home Runs—Or Were They?

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    The phrase “walk-off home run” didn’t apply before the 1920 season.

    If a player hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning or in the bottom of an extra inning before 1920, the home run was actually only credited as a single, double or triple, depending on how many bases it took to advance the winning run.

    For instance, if the score was tied in the bottom of ninth with a runner on third, if the batter hit a home run, he would only be credited with a single.

7. Dave Winfield Traded for Expensive Dinner

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    In late August 1994, MLB was over two weeks into a strike that interrupted the season. Just before the waiver trade deadline expired, the Minnesota Twins traded aging outfielder/designated hitter Dave Winfield to the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later.

    Two weeks after the trade, on Sept. 14, the rest of the 1994 season was canceled, so Winfield never played for the Indians that season, and no player was ever named in exchange.

    Later on, executives from both the Indians and Twins got together for a dinner, with Indians’ execs picking up the dinner tab, making Winfield the only player in MLB history ever traded for a five-star meal.

8. Stan Musial Was a Half and Half Guy

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    St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame first baseman Stan Musial retired in 1963 with 3,630 hits, the second-most in MLB history at the time, trailing only Ty Cobb.

    Of Musial’s 3,630 total hits, 1,815 of them were hit at home, and 1,815 on the road.

    Word is that Musial topped off his coffee with half and half, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

9. Sabathia and Lee Get Comfy in 2009

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    The New York Yankees opened their brand spanking new Yankee Stadium on April 16, 2009, against the Cleveland Indians. In that opener, the Yankees’ CC Sabathia faced off against the Indians’ Cliff Lee, with Lee prevailing, 10-2.

    Just over six months later, the Yankees hosted the first World Series game ever at the new Yankee Stadium, and once again, Sabathia and Lee faced off against each other, however this time, Lee was pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies. Two stadium debuts, same pitchers.

    Ironically, both pitchers were also traded by the Cleveland Indians a year after capturing Cy Young awards.

10. A Switch-Hitting Feat 133 Years in the Making

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    On Opening Day in 2009, the Arizona Diamondbacks faced the Colorado Rockies. In the bottom of the fourth inning, D-Backs second baseman Felipe Lopez, who had already homered in the game off Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook in the first inning, launched his second home run, however, this time he hit it right-handed against lefty reliever Glendon Rusch.

    It marked the first time in Major League Baseball history that any player had hit home runs from both sides of the plate on Opening Day.

    Ironically, the feat was repeated in the very same game just one inning later. Diamondbacks first baseman Tony Clark, who had also homered off Cook, launched a solo blast off Rusch with one out in the bottom of the fifth.

11. Johnny Damon Pulls off Ultimate Theft

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    In 2009, New York Yankees left fielder Johnny Damon stole only 12 bases during the regular season, and never stole two bases in one game. However, in Game Four of the 2009 World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, Damon pulled off the ultimate theft with just one pitch.

    After opening the top of the ninth with a tough nine-pitch duel against Phillies closer Brad Lidge that finally resulted in a single to left field, Damon stood on first base with Mark Teixeira at the plate. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel put his infield into a shift, deploying shortstop Jimmy Rollins to the second base side of the field, and third baseman Pedro Feliz covered shortstop.

    On Lidge’s first pitch to Teixeira, Damon took off for second. Catcher Carlos Ruiz’ throw to second was a low dribbler, and Feliz lunged to the second base side of the bag to retrieve the ball.

    Damon, seeing third base completely uncovered, took off with Feliz in chase. Feliz gave up running after a couple of strides, and Damon completed a double steal on just one pitch.

    Damon’s remarkable feat spurred the Yankees to score three runs, giving them a 7-4 victory and a commanding three games to one World Series lead.

12. Babe Ruth Terrible in a Pinch

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    While New York Yankees legend Babe Ruth was an outstanding hitter with a career batting average of .344, he wasn’t quite so inclined when called upon to pinch-hit.

    During his career, Ruth was a paltry .167 hitter as a pinch-hitter, with just 13 hits in 67 at-bats.

13. Gaylord Perry and His Mammoth Moon Shot

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    In 1963, San Francisco Giants pitcher Gaylord Perry famously declared, "They'll put a man on the moon before I hit a home run."

    On July 20, 1969, just 20 minutes after Neil Armstrong became the first human being ever to walk on the moon, Perry hit his first, and only, home run of his career.

    Source: StrangeCosmos.com

14. Mark McGwire Scales Mt. Everest in a Roundabout Way

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    In 1998, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs, breaking the all-time single-season home run record set by Roger Maris in 1961.

    McGwire’s home runs traveled a total of 29,958 feet, more than enough to scale past the summit of Mt. Everest.

15. It’s a Dirty Job, But Someone Has to Do It

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    For every MLB game, umpires and clubhouse attendants prepare approximately six dozen baseballs by rubbing them in mud. And it’s not just any old mud.

    The mud is produced by an unknown source in New Jersey, designed to take the slick shine off new baseballs.

    Source: baseballrubbingmud.com

16. Nabbed for Sleeping on the Job

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    Hall of Fame outfielder Edd Roush enjoyed a great 18-year career, 12 of them spent with the Cincinnati Reds, hitting .323 for his career. However, on one day in 1920, Roush committed the ultimate sin—sleeping on the job.

    Roush was ejected from a game in June 1920, when during a break in the game during which a play was being argued about, Roush took a seat in the outfield and promptly fell asleep.

    When teammates were unable to wake him up, umpires ejected Roush for delay of game.

    Source: The Baseball Biography Project

17. Red Murray and His Shocking Game-Ending Catch

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    On July 17, 1914, the New York Giants were playing the Pittsburgh Pirates at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. The game dragged on for several hours before finally ending in a shocking manner.

    After scoring two runs in the top of the 21st inning to break a 1-1 tie, the Giants took the field to try and close out the drawn-out affair, and skies were dark and gloomy.

    Giants outfielder Red Murray camped under a fly ball that would finally end the game, and upon catching the ball, Murray was struck by a bolt of lightning, rendering him unconscious.

    He apparently hung on to the ball.

18. A Hall of Fame Day for Joel Youngblood

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    On Aug. 4, 1982, New York Mets utility outfielder Joel Youngblood started against the Chicago Cubs and future Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins. Youngblood singled off Jenkins in the top of the third inning, scoring two runs.

    During the game, the Mets traded Youngblood to the Montreal Expos. Youngblood flew to Philadelphia to join his new team late that afternoon, and made his debut that night, replacing Jerry White in right field in the bottom of the sixth.

    The following inning, Youngblood came to bat against future Hall of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton and singled, becoming the first player in MLB history to record a hit off two separate Hall of Fame pitchers while playing for two different teams on the same day.

19. New York Yankees: Not the Original Pinstripe Fashion Divas

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    Contrary to popular belief, the New York Yankees were not the original team to introduce pinstripes to Major League Baseball uniforms.

    In 1911, both the New York Giants and Philadelphia Phillies sported pinstripes on uniforms for the very first time.

20. Deaf Does Not Mean Dumb

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    In a career that spanned 15 seasons, William "Dummy" Hoy was the first deaf player ever to play Major League Baseball.

    From 1888-1902, Hoy batted .288 with 2,044 total hits and 596 stolen bases.

    In May of his final season, while with the Cincinnati Reds, Hoy batted against New York Giants pitcher Dummy Taylor, marking the first time in MLB history that two deaf players ever faced each other in a game.

21. The Spitball Grandfather Clause

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    Up until the 1920 season, pitchers in Major League Baseball were allowed to grease up the ball with as much saliva as they wanted.

    When MLB officials outlawed spitballs, they allowed pitchers who were already throwing spitballs to continue. Burleigh Grimes, pitching for the Brooklyn Robins at the time, continued on in the majors for another 14 seasons, becoming the last player to legally throw a spitball in 1934.

    Source: Snopes.com

22. Allan Anderson Was in the Right Place at the Right Time

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    In a brief six-year career with the Minnesota Twins between 1986 and 1991, starting pitcher Allan Anderson had a couple of very solid seasons, with his 2.45 ERA leading the American League in 1988 and 33 wins in two seasons.

    However, in both 1987 and 1991, Anderson won two World Series rings with the Twins without having to do anything. Anderson was left off the postseason roster both times.

23. The Chicago Cubs and Their "College of Coaches"

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    In 1961, Chicago Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley, who inherited the Cubs from his father in 1932, decided that he needed to do something to break the gloom and doom of decades of losing in Chicago.

    Wrigley created what he called a "college of coaches," an idea that specialized coaches would replace a field manager.

    Well, it didn't fly. Wrigley kept the experiment going for two seasons, during which the Cubs were 123-193.

    Vedie Himsl (10-21), Harry Craft (7-9), El Tappe (46-70), Lou Klein (17-24) and Charlie Metro (43-69) were the specialized "coaches" during the experiment.

24. Always a Bridesmaid...

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    During the heyday of Sammy Sosa's career with the Chicago Cubs, he became the only player in Major League Baseball to hit 60 home runs in a season on three separate occasions.

    However, all three times Sosa failed to win the home run title, losing out to Mark McGwire in 1998 and 1999, and to Barry Bonds in 2001.

    Sosa did win the home-run title twice with lesser amounts, however.

25. Glen Gorbous Has a Rocket for an Arm

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    Canadian-born right fielder Glen Gorbous enjoyed a very brief three-year career in Major League Baseball with the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies from 1955-1957, but it was after his career ended that Gorbous astounded the baseball world.

    In an exhibition while he was with the minor-league Omaha Cardinals, on Aug. 1, 1957, Gorbous set a world record by throwing a baseball 445 feet 10 inches.

    With today's modern baseball stadium standards, that ball would travel out of every park in the majors.

26. No Gopher Grannies for Palmer

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    During a fabulous 19-year career that saw him inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame in 1990, Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer won 268 games, including eight separate 20-win seasons and three Cy Young awards.

    Palmer also gave up 303 home runs during his career, but remarkably, none of them were grand slam home runs.

27. Playing with Treadmills and Children Will Get You in Trouble Every Time

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    Following his first year with the Houston Astros in 1998 during which he led the team with 38 HR, 124 RBI and a .312 batting average, Moises Alou went to work during the offseason to prepare to lead the Astros once again in 1999.

    However, Alou tore his ACL falling off a treadmill, causing him to miss the entire 1999 season. Alou was prepared to come back strong the following year, however he re-injured his knee tripping over his son, causing him to miss a chunk of time in late April and early May.

    Treadmills and toddlers somehow weren't a good combination for Alou.

28. Snowy Beginning Causes Sudden Ending

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    On Opening Day 1907, the New York Giants hosted the Philadelphia Phillies. The city of New York had just dealt with a rare early-spring snowstorm, and the stands were still filled with snow when the game started.

    The Giants quickly fell behind the Phillies, and by the sixth inning, fans were fed up and started throwing snowballs onto the field.

    Fearing for safety, umpires quickly called the game to a halt and a forfeit was called in the Phillies' favor.

29. Bobby Richardson Goes Against the Grain in 1960 World Series

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    During the 1960 regular season, New York Yankees second baseman Bobby Richardson hit just one home run with 26 runs batted in over 150 games and 460 at-bats.

    However, during the World Series, Richardson hit one home run with 12 RBI in just seven games, with the homer being a grand-slam.

    Richardson was voted MVP of the World Series, becoming the first player ever at the time to win the award while playing for the losing team.

30. Triple Plays Are Rare, but This One Even More Rare (Rarer?)

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    The triple play is indeed a rare feat in baseball, but on Sept. 2, 2006, the Tampa Bay Rays pulled off a first, even for the rarest of feats.

    On that day, the Rays produced a triple play that consisted of a strikeout and two baserunners caught off base, against the Seattle Mariners.

    With runners on first and third, Rays reliever J.P. Howell struck out Raúl Ibáñez, with Mariners third baseman Adrian Beltre running from first on the play.

    Rays catcher Dioner Navarro fired the ball to shortstop Ben Zobrist, who tagged Beltré out. During that throw, Jose Lopez tried to go home from third, but Zobrist fired the ball back to Navarro in time to nail Lopez at the plate.

    The play resulted in completing the first 2–6–2 triple play in MLB history.

31. Triple Plays Are Rare, but Ending a Game with One Is Even Rarer (More Rare?)

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    While the triple play is indeed rare, the unassisted triple play is even more so—only 15 times in Major League Baseball history has the feat ever been pulled off.

    Only twice in MLB history has an unassisted triple play ever ended a game.

    The first time occurred on May 31, 1927, when Detroit Tigers first baseman Johnny Nuen caught a line drive, tagged the runner leading off the first-base bag, and then raced to second to tag the runner returning back to the bag.

    Ironically, another unassisted triple play had occurred the previous day, when Chicago Cubs shortstop Jimmy Cooney pulled off the feat.

    The second time occurred on Aug. 23, 2009, when Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Eric Bruntlett snagged a line drive, tagged second base and tagged the runner trying to retreat back to first base.

32. Toby Harrah Pulls off Two Firsts in Two Years

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    It's not often that a baseball player achieves a "first" of anything in baseball. However, for Texas Rangers shortstop Toby Harrah, becoming the "first" to do something became old hat.

    On June 25, 1976, in a doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox, Harrah became the only shortstop ever to play every inning of a doubleheader and not get a single ball hit to him.

    As if that weren't enough for Harrah, one year later, on August 27, 1977, in a game against the Bostom Red Sox, Harrah and teammate Bump Wills became the only players in MLB history ever to hit back-to-back inside-the-park home runs.

33. Yankees Finally Skunked

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    In 1963, the New York Yankees won their record 28th pennant, and were moving on to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the '63 World Series.

    In 27 previous tries, the Yankees had won 20 World Series titles, however that year, the Dodgers denied the Yankees a chance at their 21st, pulling off something no team had previously done.

    The Dodgers swept the Yankees in four straight games, marking the first time in history that the Yankees had ever been skunked in a World Series.

34. Tony Cloninger Pulls off the Impossible

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    Just who exactly said pitchers can't hit?

    Hard-throwing pitcher Tony Cloninger had a record of 113-97 during the his career while playing for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals.

    However, it was Cloninger's bat that earned him a spot in baseball's record books.

    On July 3, 1966, while playing for the Braves, Cloninger hit not just one, but two grand slam home runs in a 17-3 rout of the San Francisco Giants. Cloninger tacked on an RBI single to add to his total of nine runs batted in for that game.

    Cloninger became the first player in National League history to hit two grand slams in one game.

35. Eddie Mathews Makes SI History

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    Third baseman Eddie Mathews was a great player during his 17-year career, the first 15 with the Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, hitting 512 home runs along the way.

    However, on Aug. 16, 1954, Mathews made history in another way, becoming the first athlete in any sport featured on the cover of the new Sports Illustrated magazine.

36. Don Baylor Is a Good Luck Charm

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    It took Don Baylor 17 seasons to finally make it to the World Series, but when he finally got there, he didn't want to leave.

    Baylor became the first player in MLB history to appear in three straight World Series with three different teams—the Boston Red Sox in 1986, the Minnesota Twins in '87, and the Oakland A's in 1988.

    Baylor quit while he was ahead, retiring from baseball following the '88 World Series.

37. Another Famous Babe at the World Series

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    While just about every knowledgeable baseball fan is well aware of Don Larsen's perfection in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, there is one other little-known fact regarding that call.

    After a 22-year career as a National League umpire, Babe Pinelli was behind the plate when he called pinch-hitter Dale Mitchell out on strikes to end Larsen's perfect game.

    It was the last game Pinelli would call as a home-plate umpire, retiring after the '56 World Series.

38. No Wonder They Worked Side Jobs

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    In 1965, the average minimum salary in Major League Baseball was $6,000, just a thousand dollars more than the major league minimum 18 years earlier, in 1947.

    Many players actually worked jobs during the offseason to supplement their income.

    Today, the minimum salary in MLB is approximately $417,000, no side jobs needed.

39. Claude Berry Protects His Berries

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    Claude Berry only played 21 total games in the majors between 1904 and 1907, but he came up with a new innovation that saved a few berries, so to speak.

    Berry was the first catcher in MLB history to wear a protective cup during a game.

    I'm guessing he got his bell rung just once too often.

40. Steroids in the 19th Century?

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    Chicago White Stockings third baseman Ned Williamson had never hit more than three home runs in his first six seasons in the National League, but in 1884, Williamson found his...er...power stroke.

    Williamson hit 27 home runs in 1884, a record that would stand until 1919, when some dude named Ruth hit 29 to set the new standard.

    Williamson greatly benefited from a very short outfield fence in his home ballpark, Lakeshore Park. During the park's previous years, balls hit over the fence in that park were ground-rule doubles, but in 1884 (its final year) they were credited as home runs.

    Thankfully, he wasn't accused of juicing.

41. The Light-Hitting 1970s

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    The decade of the 1970s saw incredible baseball, with the rise of the Big Red Machine, the New York Yankees' resurgence and many other feats. However, the 70s also saw one milestone achieved only once.

    Outfielder George Foster of the Cincinnati Reds was the only player to hit 50 home runs in one season, launching 52 in 1977.

42. Four Times Is the Charm

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    In the history of Major League Baseball, rare has been the time when pitchers have recorded four strikeouts in the same inning, with the feat only achieved 50 times.

    However, in 2011, three pitchers pulled it off. A.J. Burnett struck out four Colorado Rockies batters in the sixth inning on June 24, Justin Masterson of the Cleveland Indians struck out four in the second inning against the Boston Red Sox on Aug. 4, and Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo struck out four in the fifth inning of a game against the Cincinnati Reds on Sept. 17.

43. Cartwheeling His Way to the DL

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    There have certainly been many players in MLB history who love to have fun on the field, but only one tried a stunt that landed him on the DL for a long period of time.

    On Sept. 6, 1992, Chicago Cubs pitcher Mike Harkey was trying to impress his teammates by attempting a cartwheel. The 6 foot 5 inch player didn't quite land it sharply, severely damaging his knee in the process and ending his season.

    Harkey took over six months to rehab, not returning until mid-April the following season. Word has it that Harkey did not attempt anything acrobatic during his first start back from the DL.

44. J.D. Drew Gets a Charge in Philly

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    When outfielder J.D. Drew was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies with the second overall pick in the 1997 MLB Draft, on the advise of his agent Scott Boras, Drew opted not to sign. Drew would pay the price just two years later.

    On Aug. 10, 1999, Drew, who was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals with the fifth pick in 1998, made his first appearance at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. Fans let Drew know exactly how they felt about him, pelting him with a multitude of batteries.

    Drew had to be escorted off the field while the Phillies cleaned up the field and urged the crowd to stop, giving a brand new meaning to assault and battery.

45. A Pizza Attack at Fenway Park

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    In April 2007, the Los Angeles Angels were visiting the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The Angels left fielder drifted over to the foul line to attempt a catch, however, the ball was just out of his reach.

    In his reach though were two cups of beer that he tipped over while attempting the catch, prompting another fan to throw a slice of pizza at the beer-drenched fans.

    Many things have been thrown at parks in MLB history; however, pizza has never been high on the list of items hurled.

46. The Strangest Man in Baseball

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    Backup catcher Moe Berg carved out a 15-year in Major League Baseball, spending much of his time on the bench with five different teams.

    Berg went to Princeton University, got his law degree at Columbia University, and studied linguistics at the Sorbonne in Paris.

    Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel called Berg "the strangest man in baseball," and one reporter once said, "He could speak a dozen languages but couldn't hit in any of them."

    Source: Townhall.com

47. Birthday and Uniform Go Hand in Hand for Carlos May

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    Chicago White Sox outfielder Carlos May fashioned a nice career for himself on the South Side, playing in 1,002 total games, hitting .275 during his time in Chicago from 1968 to 1976.

    May is the only player in MLB history to wear his entire birthday on the back of his uniform—May 17.

48. Justin Verlander Was Good, but Jered Weaver Was Pretty Special as Well

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    While Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander put together a phenomenal year in winning both the American League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jered Weaver had a pretty special year as well.

    Weaver was only the fifth pitcher in the designated hitter era to post a sub-2.00 ERA in the first 20 starts of a season.

49. The Sultan of Swat Was a Knobby Guy

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    Legendary Hall of Fame slugger Babe Ruth has been called a lot of things during his life and beyond, but he was also credited with being an innovator as well.

    In 1919, Ruth ordered special bats from Louisville Slugger that allowed him to hit 29 home runs in his first full season as a position player, breaking the long-standing single-season home run record set in 1884.

    It was the first time that a baseball bat had been produced with a knob on the end.

50. MLB Has Got Some Balls

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    If you have been wondering why the price of your baseball tickets have been going up, here might be part of the reason.

    On average, MLB goes through about 850,000 baseballs each year. At a price of approximately $72 per dozen, that's about $5.1 million.

    Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.

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