(Roughly) Daily

“Just take the ball and throw it where you want to. Throw strikes. Home plate don’t move.”*…

 

In the major leagues this season, batters have been hitting the ball so hard, and so far, that pitchers are suggesting foul play. “There’s just something different about the baseballs,” one veteran reliever complained earlier this summer. “I don’t have anything to quantify it, but the balls just don’t feel the same.” It’s been an unprecedented year for home runs: hitters are on pace to shatter the previous single-season record for them (5,693), which was set in 2000, at the height of the steroid era, when sluggers were making widespread and illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs. In June, players hit more home runs than in any previous month in the game’s history (1,101), sometimes in gaudy fashion, as when seven different players hit grand slams in a single day (another record)…

Under the circumstances, it was easy to miss another major-league record being set this week. Granted, it was somewhat obscure. It concerned one of baseball’s most pleasurable and least appreciated feats: the immaculate inning.

Rick Porcello [above], the starting pitcher for the Red Sox, threw one in a win against the Tampa Bay Rays on [August 9]. He struck out the side—three up, three down—on nine consecutive pitches. It was the eighth immaculate inning pitched this season, which topped the previous high (seven), from 2014…

Rarer than a no-hitter: “The ephemeral perfection of the Immaculate Inning.”

And check out The Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s “Treasures from the Baseball Diamond.”

* Satchel Paige

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As we contemplate control, we might consider its opposite, recalling that on this date in 1909, in the first of two games at South Side Park, Dolly Gray of the Washington Senators entered the record book by walking eight White Sox in the 2nd inning, with seven of the walks in a row (each feat a Major League record that stands to this day). The six runs scored were enough for a 6 – 4 Chicago win, although the Sox managed only one hit against Dolly.

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Written by LW

August 28, 2017 at 1:01 am

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