I ran across an article yesterday on BleacherReport.com that I thought was fun. It’s about major league records you might not know.
Everybody knows the big ones: Hank Aaron has the most legitimate home runs, 755. Ty Cobb’s highest lifetime batting average was .368. Pete Rose has the most hits: 4,256. Cal Ripken’s played in 2,632 consecutive games. Nolan Ryan racked up 5,714 strikeouts.
But there are some obscure, and in some cases less than prideworthy, major league records that are interesting.
Cy Young, by the virtue of 511 career wins, has a coveted award named after him. Here are some lesser-known awards.
THE TANNER SCHEPPERS AWARD: Given to the pitcher with the most career games without earning a win. It’s a tie between two pitchers. Juan Alverez, who pitched from 1999 to 2003, and Ed Olwin, who pitched from 1986 to 1988, both logging 80 major league games in their entire careers without earning a W. The rumor that Jon Daniels is negotiating with Olwin’s agent on a long-term deal is still being confirmed.
THE HECK, EVEN YU DARVISH HIT ONE AWARD: Given to the hitter with the most career at-bats without hitting a single home run. William Holbert played thirteen major league seasons, accumulating 2,335 at-bats, without hitting a single home run. He played in an era where most parks didn’t have home run fences. You just hit it past the outfielders and ran. Seems he struggled hitting it past the shortstop. Not many players hit home runs in his era, though (the 1880s). In his thirteen seasons, the home run leaders hit 5, 4, 9, 6, 8, 7, 9, 10, 27, 11, 11, 19, and 16. It was, indeed, the dead ball era.
THE OPPOSITE OF JON LESTER AWARD: Given to the pitcher who pitched an entire season without having a single runner attempt a stolen base on him. This one, amazingly, has happened a few times. To find the last time, you have to go all the way back to 2016. Josh Tomlin of the Cleveland Indians pitched that entire season, 165.1 innings in fact, without a single batter attempting a steal on him. In 1968 Luis Tiant pitched 258.1 innings without giving up a single stolen base. But nine runners tried.
THE PRINCE FIELDER AWARD: Given to the most career at-bats without a stolen base. In a twelve-year career, over 2,504 at-bats, Russ Nixon attempted just seven stolen bases. He was thrown out every time. By comparison, Eddie Collins stole six bases in one game. Twice. So did Otis Nixon, Eric Young and Carl Crawford.
THE THIS GUY CERTAINLY NEVER PITCHED FOR THE RANGERS AWARD: Given to the major league pitcher with the lowest career ERA. This almost seems like a typo, or it’s made up. Ed Walsh pitched fourteen seasons, all but his last one with the White Sox, and ended up with a career ERA of 1.82. One-friggin-eighty-two. To put that into context, last season, Tony Barnette’s ERA was 2.09. Pitiful by comparison. This is one of those records that definitely deserves to be celebrated more.
THE WILD THING AWARD: Given to the pitcher with the most career wild pitches. The major league record for wild pitches is 277. It belongs to some obscure guy named Nolan Ryan. But, that’s not surprising. Who owns the record for hitting into the most outs? The guy with the most hits, Pete Rose. And which major leaguer was caught stealing the most times? The one who was successful more than anyone else in history, Ricky Henderson.
THE MITCH MORELAND AWARD: Given to the player who grounded into the most double plays in his career. This one belongs to another obscure player named Cal Ripken, Jr. He hit into 350 double plays. That’s 700 outs. And “700 Outs” was, coincidentally, Mitch Moreland’s nickname.
THE RANGERS MIDDLE INFIELD AWARD. Given to the player who committed the most career errors. Rougned Odor had 22 errors last season. He has a whole lot of ball dropping to do to catch up to Herman Long, though. Long racked up 1,069 errors in his career. In his rookie season, the shortstop committed 117 errors. Somehow, he was allowed to play fourteen more seasons after that. He averaged 71 errors per year. Like Michael Jackson—and the middle of the Rangers infield—Herman Long wore a glove on one hand for no apparent reason.
THE HE’S JUST A KID AWARD: Given to the youngest major league player ever. World War II took away many able-bodied major leaguers. So the Reds decided to find one too young for the draft, a local high school kid named Joe Nuxhall with a cannon for an arm. He was just 15. In his first-ever major league game, he gave up five runs and walked five batters in less than one complete inning. But he redeemed himself his next time out by pitching three scoreless innings. Eight years later.
Bring on 2017. Let’s hope that in some ways it’s not a record setting season for the Rangers.