December 30, 2003

Strange But True Baseball Stories. From Jayson Stark's year-end wrap-up:

On August 21 in Milwaukee, the Phillies managed to get five straight hits without scoring a run. (They had one runner thrown out at the plate, another nailed at second trying to stretch a single and a third turn the wrong way after crossing first base and get tagged out.)

He was the Babe Ruth of the 21st Century. The sensational Brooks Kieschnick's first three homers of the year came as a pinch hitter, as a pitcher and as a DH. And in the same three-game series in Baltimore, Kieschnick served as the Brewers' DH in one game, and pitched in the other two.

After hitting no grand slams in 2,999 consecutive at-bats, Boston's Bill Mueller switch-hit grand slams from each side of the plate in back-to-back innings, July 29 in Texas.

In a June 20 game in Arizona, Reds closer Scott Williamson blew a save without a bat touching a ball -- on a walk, wild pickoff and wild pitch.

In that crazy June 27 game in which the Red Sox scored 10 runs before the Marlins recorded an out and put up 14 runs in the first inning, Damon became the first player in history to get three different kinds of hits (single, double, triple) in one inning.

In a June 11 start against the Braves, Oakland's Ted Lilly gave up five homers -- and no other hits.

Texas third baseman Hank Blalock had maybe the most bizarre game of the season May 16. He drove in six runs and struck out four times -- in the same game.

In the same Yankees-Red Sox series in July, Byung Hyun-Kim had a win, a loss, a save and a blown save.

In five straight games starting July 24, the Dodgers played games in which the final scores were 1-0, 2-1, 1-0, 1-0 and 2-0. Last team to play five games in which that few runs were scored: the 1906 Cubs.

Also: Aaron Gleeman takes a look at Ben Grieve and Tony Batista. ... A Bronx man who lived alone in a 10-by-10-foot room crammed with a decade's worth of magazines, newspapers, books, catalogs and junk mail was buried standing up when some piles collapsed on Saturday. He was rescued on Monday afternoon. His landlord: "I heard him moaning for a couple of days, but he talks to himself all the time, so I didn't pay him any mind." ... According to the New York Times, "there is no agreement among experts on the causes of the phenomenon, which dates back thousands of years." I wish an example or two had been mentioned.

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