Sullivan: Baseball has a new all-time record: catcher’s interference

From Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs on September 12, 2017:

No other sport loves its records in the way that baseball does. Baseball, from the beginning, has lent itself to being tracked by statistics, and it’s almost impossible to talk about baseball without discussing its numbers. Certain numbers are held in particularly high esteem, which is why so many people remain unwilling to accept Barry Bonds as the legitimate all-time leader in single-season home runs. The record is considered too sacred to be held by someone who bent or broke the rules. The all-time hits record is also something sacred, and an international conversation developed as Ichiro Suzuki plugged away. He surpassed Pete Rose in career professional hits, counting his hits in Japan, but Rose was defensive about it, arguing that combining the numbers isn’t fair. Rose has built much of his identity around being the Hit King, and most of us would act defensive when we perceive we’re under threat.

Rose cares about his records. He cares about his legacy. Yet, he lost a record Monday night. I have yet to see a statement or an interview. Maybe he doesn’t care, or maybe he doesn’t know. But as of yesterday, Pete Rose no longer ranks in first place on a major-league leaderboard.

The Yankees beat the Rays, 5-1, powered by a five-run top of the fourth that, for Jake Odorizzi, spiraled out of control. Jacoby Ellsbury came up to bat after the inning was extended by a two-out error on a ball off the bat of Matt Holliday. Ellsbury took a first-pitch strike, then a second-pitch ball. Then a third-pitch strike, then a fourth-pitch ball. The fifth pitch was another ball, setting up a full count. On the sixth pitch, there was history. Not that you’d necessarily know it by glancing at the Yankees’ official website today.

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Originally published: September 12, 2017. Last Updated: September 12, 2017.