Garcia-Garcia-Garcia Outfield (April 14, 2017)
Yesterday marked only the second time in MLB that three outfielders who share the same last name played in a game at the same time for the same team. The previous instance of this was 1963 San Francisco Giants, who had the Alou brothers (Felipe, Matty, and Jesús) in the outfield at the same time. Felipe Alou was a longtime starter for that team, Matty was a defensive replacement, and Jesús got a cup of coffee with the team in September. Ultimately, the Alou brothers played in eight games at the same time, but never started a game together.
That brings us to yesterday. The White Sox called up Willy Garcia to replace Melky Cabrera, who was placed on the paternity list. Willy got his first career start in the majors in left field yesterday, joined by Leury Garcia in center, and Avisail Garcia in right. This marks the first time that three starting outfielders have shared the same last name, and it’s especially cool since they aren’t related to one another.
Hearing about this got me thinking about strange-but-true things that have happened in baseball, and after a little bit of research, I’ve come up with this list.
Bryce Harper reaches base 7 times in 7 PA without swinging the bat (May 8, 2016)
Yes, that seriously happened. Here’s the box score in case you don’t believe me.
The Cubs, who are one of the most notorious users of advanced metrics (shifting, batting order optimization, etc.), decided that they would be better served putting Harper on base every time he came to bat rather than pitching to him. And that’s exactly what they did. Here are his plate appearances in that 13-inning game, in order.
- 1st inning: Four-pitch walk against Jake Arrieta
- 3rd inning: Five-pitch walk against Jake Arrieta
- 4th inning: Intentionally walked by Jake Arrieta
- 6th inning: Hit by pitch by Trevor Cahill (first pitch)
- 8th inning: Five-pitch walk against Trevor Cahill
- 10th inning: Intentionally walked by Adam Warren
- 12th inning: Intentionally walked by Justin Grimm (with runners on first and second!)
Twenty-seven pitches, seven times on base, zero swings. That’s pretty incredible.
The Cubs ended up winning the game in 13 innings (4-3), and swept the series that four-game series with the Nationals. Bryce Harper finished the series with 1-4 with a sacrifice fly, 13 walks and one HBP. He played every inning of all four games and only registered four official ABs. Insanity.
Michael Morse hit a Grand Slam and had to run backward (September 29, 2012)
You really have to watch the video of this ridiculous home run trot to understand exactly what happened, but I’ll try my best to summarize.
In the first inning of a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals, Michael Morse (who started the game for the Nats in left) came to bat with the bases loaded and one out. He swung at Kyle Lohse’s first pitch and lined a laser-beam to right field. The ball went off the top of the wall and ricocheted back into play. Bryce Harper came in to score the only run of the play, and Morse was tagged out between first and second because he thought it was a home run, but the ball was ruled in play by the umpires.
After a replay review, the umpires determined that Morse’s hit had cleared the fence, so they made him return to home plate, take a swing (yes, seriously), and then round the bases. Watch the video if you don’t believe me.
Angels throw a combined no-hitter…and lose. (June 28, 2008)
Jered Weaver and Jose Arredondo combined for 8 IP, 3 BB, 9 K, and 0 ER. How’d they lose? A few mishaps in the bottom of the fifth inning allowed the Dodgers to plate a run. Here’s a rundown of the home fifth:
- Matt Kemp reaches on Jered Weaver throwing error.
- Kemp steals second base. Kemp advances to third on throwing error by catcher Jeff Mathis.
- Blake DeWitt sacrifice fly to right field (Kemp scores).
- Angel Berroa fly out to center field.
- Chad Billingsley walk.
- Juan Pierrer ground out to second.
To be fair, if you make two errors in the same inning, generally a run will be scoring. It’s unfortunate, though, that the Angels couldn’t get any runs home the entire game (they combined for only five hits).
The All-Jeff infield (Houston Astros, 2003)
More fun with names! The Garcia trio marked the first time that three players with the same last name started in the outfield, and the All-Jeff infield marked the first time that each of the four starting infielders shared the same first name (albeit with different spelling). May 3rd, 2003 was the first time that the ‘Stros trotted out an all-Jeff starting infield. Here was their starting lineup (with the Jeff/Geoffs in bold):
- Craig Biggio, CF
- Geoff Blum, 3B
- Jeff Bagwell, 1B
- Jeff Kent, 2B
- Lance Berkman, LF
- Richard Hidalgo, RF
- Brad Ausmus, C
- Adam Everett, SS
- Tim Redding, P
Adam Everett isn’t named Jeff, you say? His real name: Jeffrey Adam Everett. Four Jeffs, four infield positions. That’s pretty neat.
More Jeffs–Pirates and Royals make six-player deal, four of whom are named Jeff (December 14, 1996)
The Pirates, since they hate to actually pay their players, had been doing their customary salary-dumping, and this meant that Jeff King, who was fresh off a 30 HR, 111 RBI season, had to go, since he was going to command a large contract. The Pirates shipped him and Jay Bell to the Royals in exchange for Jeff Martin, Jeff Granger, Jeff Wallace, and Joe Randa. Four Jeffs, all six names starting with J. And another cool tidbit: each of the Jeffs that the Pirates received were pitchers.
A dream come true: Cal Ripken Sr. puts both his sons in the starting lineup (July 11, 1987)
I can’t imagine that there’s any better feeling for a former MLB player than watching his two sons play in the majors as well. Bonus points if they play for the same team.
Cal Ripken Sr. was extremely lucky, because he made history as the first manager ever to pencil both of his sons into the starting lineup. It happened for the first time on July 11, 1987, Cal Jr. hit 3rd and played short (obviously) and Billy started at the keystone and hit seventh.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to figure out how many games Billy and Cal Jr. both started with their father managing (and I’m not particularly interested in checking hundreds of individual box scores), but my guess is somewhere in the 70-80 game range.
(Image Credit: @WhiteSox on Twitter)