With the season about six weeks away, and teams reporting in full, we are starting to feel baseball fever creeping in. We’ve seen major signings in the last few days, including J.D. Martinez finally (and inevitably) signing with the Red Sox and Eric Hosmer trading in his Royal blues for Padre robes.
Baseball is full of random facts throughout its history, I thought I’d dig up a few and share them for some easy reading. It’s only February 19, so, just as the players are loosening up their arms, let’s start revving the engine and opening our minds to the best thing about Spring: The Return of Baseball.
- The Los Angeles Dodgers used to play in Brooklyn. That’s not a surprise to anyone, but what a lot of people don’t know is the origin of their name “Dodgers.” Ebbets Field was built in a very busy area of Brooklyn where trolleys darted up and down the block. Fans going to the games found themselves dodging these trolleys. The team earned the nickname “Trolley Dodgers” after this fact, and then just shortened to “Dodgers.”
- Sticking to New York baseball, after the Giants and Dodgers left for western pastures, the New York Mets joined the league in 1962. Their colors are a combination of blue and orange of the teams that vacated the city in the prior decade.
- In baseball’s early beginnings, there was an additional… and painful… way to get base runners out. In the mid 1800’s, you could throw the ball at the player to get him out. The method, called “patching” by players, was not easy to let go of for many players who thought it was a sign of masculinity that shouldn’t be removed from the game.
- Early in the 1900’s, if you hit a home run with runners on base to win the game, you wouldn’t get credit for the home run when the winning run was on base. So in a 4-3 game with two runners on, the player that hit the home run would not get credit because the second runner on base immediately ended the game. There’s debate about how many Babe Ruth hit and therefore may have had a higher career total than the 714 for which he is officially credited.
- There’s a rule in the Major League Baseball rule book (rule 4.01c) that states that umpires must rub the baseballs for every game down with mud that comes from a New Jersey river. This is a tradition that has existed for years. The purpose is to make sure pitchers have a reasonable grip on the otherwise shiny and slick balls when they are new.
Anything about these you like? Feel free to comment below.