EVEN MORE UNUSUAL BASEBALL RECORDS
I can't imagine any player today breaking this record, which was set by the great Chicago White Sox second baseman Nelson Fox, who is now in the Baseball Hall of Fame. This feat is inscribed on Fox's plaque in Cooperstown.
Fox, during the 1958 season, played an incredible 98 straight games without ever striking out. Fox came to the plate 451 times during that stretch and batted .293, collecting 116 hits and 34 bases on balls, as well as 9 hit by pitches, 10 sacrifices and 2 sac flies, but no strikeouts. In my mind, this feat is comparable to Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak. Fox struck out 11 times that season. There are players in the major leagues who strike out that often in a weekend.
On May 16, 1958, Fox, facing the forgettable Dick Tomanek of the Cleveland Indians, went down swinging. Then, on August 23rd, in the first inning against the immortal southpaw, Whitey Ford of the world champion New York Yankees, Fox was fooled again and went down on strikes. But then, Ford, who was known as the "Chairman of the Board" and one of the all time great money pitchers, fooled a lot of batters over the course of his Hall of Fame career. Incidentally, of Fox's 11 strikeouts that season, 8 occurred in the first innings of games, and all were off different, mostly average pitchers like Jack Urban, Duke Maas, Billy O'Dell, Hank Aguirre and Bobby Shantz.
Fox was the ultimate contact hitter. A left handed hitter, he stood in the batter's box with his feet spread like a duck, holding up a thick handled bat, and took a short compact swing. He could hit the ball off the thick handle and still put it into play. He hit few home runs, although he once hit 2 in a game in Detroit, which had a short fence in right field. The Sox lost that game 10-9. Fox struck out 216 times in his 19 year career, in over 9200 at bats. Heck, Ryan Howard struck out 199 times in 2006 alone (but hit 58 homers). Fox led the league in fewest strikeouts for 11 straight seasons.
Fox, who died of cancer in 1975 at age 48, had his name immortalized in the 1989 Steven Seagal movie, Above the Law, where the spy, Seagal's nemesis, was named Nelson Fox. The story is that the director, Andrew Davis, an old friend of mine from the South Side of Chicago, is a Sox fan although he lives in California now. About 5 years ago, at a party, Davis and I had some laughs about that when I brought it up to him. Davis, known for action films like The Fugitive, with Harrison Ford, and Collateral Damage, with Gov. Schwarzenegger, often sneaks in those types of hidden treasures in him movies, which are usually filmed in Chicago.
FEWEST INTENTIONAL WALKS FOR 2 TIME MVP PLAYER WITH OVER 60 HOMERS IN A SEASON
Zero. This could only happen to New York Yankee outfielder Roger Maris in his record breaking 1961 season, who batted with the great Mickey Mantle in the on-deck circle. Opposing pitchers, caught between a rock and a hard place decided that Maris, despite his 61 home runs and 141 RBI's was the lesser of two evils. Mantle, batting behind him, collected 53 homers that season.
MOST PLATE APPEARANCES IN A SEASON WITH NO EXTRA BASE HITS
One of the weakest hitters ever--Dwain Anderson, a shortstop with St. Louis and San Diego, came to the plate 144 times in 1973, and batted a pitiful .121 with no extra base hits. Mercifully for the fans, they sent him back to the minors the next season. More recently, Mike Gallego of the Oakland A's came to the plate 120 times and batted .233 with no extra base hits.
FRANK THOMAS ENTERS THE RECORD BOOKS
He may or may not be proud of this one, but former Chisox slugger Frank Thomas now holds the all time record for most plate appearances without a sacrifice bunt--approximately 10,000 and counting. But he does have 520 homers. No manager in his right mind would expect Thomas to bunt--or play the field, for that matter.
ONLY PLAYER TO HIT 4 DOUBLES IN ONE GAME AND 2 TRIPLES IN ONE INNING
They didn't occur in the same game, but outfielder Al Zarilla hit 2 triples in one inning for the St. Louis Browns in 1946. Playing for the Boston Red Sox in 1950 against the St. Louis Browns, he hit 4 doubles and a single in one game. Boston won that game 29-4 in Fenway Park.
Zarilla, a journeyman outfielder, batted .276 over a 10 year career. His other distinction, while we're on unusual baseball records, was to play in the same outfield with Gus Zernial with the 1951 Chicago White Sox, thus creating the only outfield in baseball history to have 2 players with names starting with "Z" playing together. Carlos Zambrano was not born yet.
That's all for now.