Historical Oddities From the Phillies-Reds Marathon

From SABR member Jayson Stark at ESPN.com on May 26:

Judging by the tweets that came flying at me all night long, people seem to think that 19-inning games in which the starting second baseman turns out to be the winning pitcher are kind of unusual.

Also judging by all those tweets, I’m required by law to put goofy games like Wednesday’s Reds-Phillies classic in their proper historically weird perspective.

So OK, you got your wish.

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• More historical minutiae: [Wilson] Valdez was the first position player to win a game since Brent Mayne on Aug. 22, 2000. And those two are the only position players to win a game in the 43-season division-play era. He and Mayne also are the only National League position players to win a game since 1923 and just the fourth and fifth since 1900.

• But wait. We’re not through. As the Elias Sports Bureau reported, Valdez was the first man to start a game in the field and then win it on the mound since that ringer Babe Ruth did it for the Yankees on Oct. 1, 1921, in a game he started in left field. And that’s the first time we’ve ever linked Babe Ruth and Wilson Valdez in the same note, for some reason.

• One more Babe Ruth tidbit: Of the nine times in the live-ball era that a guy who was mostly a position player won a game as a pitcher, Ruth won FOUR of them. He did it — for amusement purposes, primarily — in 1920, 1921, 1930 and 1933.

• OK, now back to our show. We’re STILL not through with Wilson Valdez claims to fame. Valdez was the first second baseman to win a game since that immortal 5-foot-3 Cleveland Blues infield whiz, Cub Stricker, did it in 1888. One question: How come Cub Stricker never played for the Cubs?

Read the full article here: http://espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/stark_jayson/id/6592647/inside-philly-marathon



Originally published: May 26, 2011. Last Updated: May 26, 2011.

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