NEW YORK, NY – It’s single digits here in the Big Apple and my little apples are frozen solid. But likely, like me, a little MLB Trivia is better at warming you up than an electric blanket fire. Let’s to it.
Hammerin’ Hank got his start with the Milwaukee Braves in 1954. His campaign was shortened by a fractured ankle. He then changed his number to #44 and boy, did his luck change. That was a lucky number for Aaron, as he would hit 44 home runs in four different seasons AND and he hit his record-breaking 715th career home run off Dodgers hurler Al Downing, who also wore number 44. HOLY COINKYDINK, BATMAN! That’s crazy! Not enough trivia for you? Well how about the fact that his teammates not only called him Hammerin’ Hank, but they also called him Bad Henry. That’s hot. You’re welcome.
OLDEST PLAYER TO GET A HIT
Imagine being a baseball-playing messenger boy in 1900 at a Minor League White Stockings game when when suddenly the team loses their shortstop. Somebody says, “That kid can play the infield!” – and voila, Charley O’Leary is in the lineup. He did well enough to get noticed but a fastball from the alligator-wrestling Rube Waddell broke his arm. Charley would eventually get to the Majors with Detroit in 1904. After a mediocre career, in which he was an early master of the hidden-ball trick. Off the field, O’Leary paired up with the “Crown Prince of Baseball” Germany Schaeffer to do vaudeville acts. They dressed as leprechauns, did stand-up at bars and made bad Ty Cobb jokes, bad enough that the audience threw eggs, turnips and other veggies at them until the two were dragged off stage. Their act was popular enough, though, that it [allegedly] inspired Metro-Goldwyn musicals “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra… If that’s not enough trivia to warm you up, consider this: He retired in 1913 and became a coach, including with the great Yankee teams from 1920-1930. In 1934, while coaching the St. Louis Browns, circumstances called for a pinch-hitter in the 6th. Just before turning 59, Charley slapped a single off – you guessed it – George Blaeholder. It had been 20 years and 360 days since his last hit! And here’s the proverbial cherry on top: Nobody has been older in a MLB batter’s box.
This is but the tip of the Charley O’Leary iceberg, however. Check this out.
One more log on the MLB Trivia fire…
World War II saw many professional baseball players swap their gloves for rifles, and one consequence was a dearth of MLB players. That became an opportunity for players of little experience in baseball – and in life. Indeed, Joe Nuxhall (more on Joe) became the youngest pitcher ever, at 15+ years. That’s simply amazing. The 2nd youngest player ever, though, was also the youngest to hit a dinger. That distinction, Ladies & [Omicron] Germs, fell upon Tommy “Buckshot” Brown.
You should be plenty warm now, downright cozy. So leave some warm thoughts below and come back tomorrow for The King of Warmth, Grinding Ax Walt.